Round 1 of the 2018 AFL kicks off tonight when defending champions Richmond take on Carlton at the MCG. The premiers will be hoping to off to a flying start in what are predicted to be perfect conditions.
On Friday night the Essendon Bombers will take on the Adelaide Crows at Docklands. The Crows were grand finalists last year and many are tipping them to go one better this season. Adelaide certainly hasn’t lost any talent, so they should take this one out.
On Saturday the Brisbane Lions will face St Kilda, also at Docklands. The Lions were a basket case last year and haven’t shown any signs of improving, but St Kilda don’t look like contenders at the moment either.
The second Saturday game will see Port Adelaide at home against Fremantle. Port Adelaide have a reasonably strong side, and will be looking to remind people that Adelaide has TWO AFL teams. The Dockers, meanwhile, look vulnerable.
The final Saturday night game will be on the Gold Coast when the Suns take on North Melbourne. The Suns are currently the bookies favourites to come last this year, with North Melbourne not far behind. Both sides will want to prove their doubters wrong.
On Sunday the AFL season will have its first game in Sydney, as the Greater Western Sydney Giants take on the Western Bulldogs at Spotless stadium. GWS are one of the more favoured contenders, while Footscray will be hoping for a repeat of their 2016 heroics.
The MCG will host its second game of the opening round on Sunday, when the Melbourne Demons take on the Geelong Cats. The Demons look like they have cast aside the chaos of a few years ago and have a strong team, while the Cats are perennial contenders. This one could be the game of the round.
The final game of the round will come on Sunday afternoon when the Sydney Swans travel to Patersons Stadium to face West Coast. Sydney will be aiming to avoid a repeat of the start of last season, where they lost their first 6 games.
Given they made the semi-finals from this position, however, they are clearly a high quality team. The Swans are joint premiership favourites along with the Crows, and they should get the better of the Eagles.
At this stage, of course, tipping premiers and places on the ladder is pure speculation. As The NRL this year has shown us, it will take a few rounds for sides to settle in. That said, strap in for the 2018 AFL season!