This year the AFL will see some of the most anticipated games yet: a Grand Final rematch, battle of the king of the state and just some plain old classics. We will see the two youth teams fight it out this year and a game that saw one coach and player jump ship to a fierce rival. Let’s kick it off with the ten most anticipated games in round order.
Greater Western Sydney vs Sydney, Round 1, ANZ, Saturday night
The first game of the year, first battle of New South Wales and the first game for the new boys, GWS. It will not be a game of many fierce battles on the field, though the game is a must-watch, as it is the first time we see the new boys in action. We will see their youth, we will see Kevin Sheedy coaching another team and hopefully we will see Israel Folou play. Sydney should triumph, however this will be a game that will go down in the history books.
Hawthorn vs Collingwood, Round 1, MCG, Friday night
We all remember the preliminary final between these two teams and what a cracker that was, with the Pies just winning. Hawthorn led for most of that match and I am sure they will want revenge now. It will be Nathan Buckley’s first game as coach and he will want to get off to a perfect start. There are stars on each team, too many to name, and this is pegged to be one of the best matches of the year.
Geelong vs Hawthorn, Round 2, MCG, Monday Afternoon
Hawthorn had a cracker of a match round one, now they have another ripper of a game. The last ten games between these two teams, have been separated by less then 11 points, seven times. Since 2007, Hawthorn has only won two of them games. The game in 2007 and the all famous 2008 Grand Final. Geelong has had the wins, though that Grand Final still haunts them. And that is why these games are so great. It will be tough, it will be a classic and this is a must watch.
St.Kilda vs Fremantle, Round 4, Etihad Stadium, Friday night
What a game this will be, Ross Lyon and Zac Dawson, facing their old team at their old home. It may not be the prettiest game; however it will be good to see how each team has come, four games into the year. The two teams generally have close encounters, but with the added intensity of people jumping ship, it will be a classic. I am sure many St Kilda supporters will be seeking a win, to show Ross Lyon and Zac Dawson wrong.
Carlton vs Essendon, Round 4, MCG, Saturday Afternoon
Last time these two teams met, Carlton humiliated Essendon in front of a packed MCG at an elimination final. This time, Essendon will want to prove Australia wrong and make a much better effort. These two teams have always been bitter rivals and this game should be no less. It doesn’t get any better, by having a packed MCG on a Saturday afternoon, with two of the fiercest rivals in the game.
West Coast vs Hawthorn, Round 4, Paterson Oval, Saturday night
This game can be called the battle of the kids against the battle of the survivors. It’s early on in the season and both teams will be fighting this one to the death. They may not have the rivalry, though they could have it in the years to come. Franklin at one end and Kennedy at the other, the battle of the forwards. This game could be the start of many rivalries to come.
Greater Western Sydney vs Gold Coast, Round 7, Manuka, Saturday Afternoon
The youth game. One team has been in the competition for a year, whilst GWS is in its first year. This game will have the most youth that we will ever see. In five years time, we could be saying that we saw those youth fight it out and now they are battling for a grand final spot! It may not be the prettiest of games; however it will be intriguing to find out how the kids play against each other.
Collingwood vs Geelong, Round 8, MCG, Friday night
Grand Final rematch, that is really all that needs to be said. This should be a cracker of a match. A lot has changed since that game; coach leaving, players retiring and this could show the difference in how the team’s future could be. There will be some fierce memories that haunt players from that Grand Final, so expect an all out contest and one not to be missed.
West Coast vs Carlton, Round 12, Paterson Oval, Thursday night
The last time these two teams played, West Coast won a cracker by 3 points in the semi final. That was one of the best games of last year. This should be nonetheless. Judd against his old team, Kennedy against his old team and both teams are pretty balanced. This will be one for the ages!
West Coast vs Geelong, Round 20, Paterson Oval, Friday night
Geelong destroyed West Coast in the preliminary final, however West Coast beat Geelong at home earlier in the year. West Coast remembers the final’s defeat, and it will be making the stomach churn in their players, if they lose like that again. Both teams will have a mission to prove the doubters wrong and this is one game the fans should not miss.