How will we remember season 2020?
By William Clemente
The strangest season that Australian Rules Football has ever endured. It is a fair assessment to say that it has been the most unorthodox seasons of AFL football.
We are currently at the twig light stages of the home and away season as 14 rounds have been played in a shortened season of 18 rounds. The impact of COVID-19 as severely affected all aspects of life across the globe, including our great game. A much-shortened home and away season and shortened quarters by five minutes have been severe changes to the format that players, coaching staff, umpires and spectators have required adjusting to. However, the establishment of hubs in Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia, has been the most significant COVID influenced adjustment.
I believe that one of the greatest debacles of the season thus far was the situation of Victorian clubs being isolated to play in Victoria before the escalation of the COVID crisis. My interpretation was that the arrangement stirred a lot of emotions of football fanatics in the AFL realm. It is also reignited the “Victorian bias” debate, one of the most heated footy discussions that always seems to get swept under the rug. Many argued, including myself I may add; it is unfair for interstate teams to travel every second week interstate and Victorian clubs play in their home state week in, week out. The escalation of this fiery debate has been one of the highlights of the season off the field.
Off field debates and debacles occur in every season no matter the conditions. We footy enthusiasts are like moths to the flame when action on the field is taking place and that is what it is all about. The severe demise of the Adelaide Crows, remaining winless so far with 13 consecutive losses is one of the most whopping results to be seen. Adelaide have been a strong performing club since their establishment and their maiden wooden spoon in 2020 has been executed in poor style.
It has been competitive at the top end of the table as Port Adelaide, Brisbane, West Coast and Geelong are making their premiership bids. It will be intriguing to see who will be lifting the premiership at seasons end but I am more intrigued to see how the premiers of this season will be accepted into history. Will this season be revered as the season that did not matter or will it be one of the most important seasons our game has ever endured? The rise of prevalent young talents that will be the future of our game is something this strange season will be remembered for. The rise of number one draft pick, Matt Rowel in the early season, Izak Rankine, Jack Lukosius, Ben and Max King, Harris Andrews, Jack Steele and many more have injected excitement into our game. The breakout talents we have seen emerge in this COVID struct season has made this season detrimental to future of the AFL I strongly believe.
It is yet uncertain where the Grand Final will be staged at the conclusion of the season, but we do know that it will not be at the MCG. This is enormous; the MCG has been the main stage of the Grand Final for decades and to will this Grand Final played outside of Victoria influence seasons to come?
The affects of COVID-19 is making this season a memorable one; the rise of young talent, drastic changes to conditions, off-field debacles and the relocation of the Grand Final. However, I believe we’re all intrigued to see how this season gets revered in footy history, only time will tell.
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