Round 1 Preview
Updated: Mar 21
Well, this sure feels strange. But the show is going on!
We will run through a brief preview of all the games and give you a taste of the Behind The Footy format for each round. Probably best just to take it one game at a time at the moment, so here are our thoughts on tonight's season opener...
Richmond v Carlton
Hard to see this going any other way than a fairly large Tigers win. 20 of the 22 who played in the Grand Final are back for Round 1, with Jack Graham an upgrade on Brandon Ellis. Only Houli missing in a pretty serious lineup.
The Blues are going to find it incredibly hard to score with Casboult and McGovern shouldering the load against a settled defence. But we get our first look at Martin and Newnes in Carlton colours, and hopefully they can help start to build a bit of momentum. The comp needs another team on the rise, but it's a fairly daunting task first-up against the reigning premiers.
Pick: Richmond by 44
Western Bulldogs v Collingwood
Match of the round here. What a cracker it promises to be. But it's an absolute coin flip.
What did we learn from last night's game? Does the lack of atmosphere give the games a less intense feel? It feels like the tackling and contested ball took a back seat to basic, clean footy. But of course we are dealing with a one-game sample size, so it will be fascinating to see how this plays out over each game in Round 1.
If it turns into a bit of a running race, then you'd favour the Bulldogs in this one. The Pies are set up to win by grinding away, whereas the Dogs want the pace on from the start.
Still feel like Collingwood has the class to get the job done - if they can stop the game from turning into a big circle work session then they may just have the edge. But this could go either way.
Pick: Collingwood by 10
Essendon v Fremantle
Bombers should account for a team who might struggle to score 50. Essendon are missing some firepower but will salute.
Pick: Essendon by 22
Adelaide v Sydney
Both teams in for a long year. Could go either way but leaning Crows. Think the Swans are going to be the more exciting side, strangely enough.
Pick: Adelaide by 20
GWS v Geelong
Feel like the Giants are going to burst out of the blocks here but Geelong travel well. Too much class at GWS to let this one go.
Pick: Giants by 15
Gold Coast v Port Adelaide
Bullish about Port in 2020. Dixon missing makes it a bit of a danger game but should be way too much supply to their other forwards to be an issue. Keen to see how the Suns midfield sets up - could be formidable soon with their new additions and some older heads.
Pick: Port Adelaide by 31
North Melbourne v St Kilda
Genuine coin flip here. Saints with a bit too much zip in a round that seems to lack the usual ferocity and tackling (in a very small sample size). Loads of goalscoring options and enough run to get the job done.
Pick: St Kilda by 12
Hawthorn v Brisbane
Gut feel says Hawthorn. Like them at the MCG against a younger team here. Patton to kick a bag? Lions will be fine but Hawthorn is building again and well coached to prepare for the weirdness that is an empty 100,000-seat stadium.
Pick: Hawthorn by 18
West Coast v Melbourne
West Coast are one of the most heavily favoured teams of the round, but Melbourne are highly capable of pulling off the upset here. No crowd obviously means the intimidation factor is non-existent, and if the Demons can get some early goals on the board (unlike THAT Prelim Final) then it's a definite possibility.
Kennedy and Darling will prove a handful, but a fit Steven May helps.
Pick: Melbourne by 1
Round 1 Burning Question:
Who will end up embarrassed by their Round 1 showing?
There is always one team that feels prepared and gets shown up in the first game of the year. Last year the Bombers were obliterated by the Giants, while North didn't put up any sort of fight against the eventual 13-placed Dockers.
Who will it be this weekend?