The annual AFL off-season wait is almost over
After every grand final, footy fans around the country grieve, aside from fans of the Premiers perhaps. They mourn the loss of footy for the six or so months to follow.
The weather heats up, schools close, and of course we are glued to the screen watching the cricket until late January, around the same time that most of us start to suffer serious footy withdrawals, with cold sweats and sleepless nights.
Suddenly it’s February. The Test matches are done and dusted, and smiles reappear on faces as we drive around town seeing our beloved goal posts re-erected on local footy grounds. Footy is back in the news, once again taking pride of place on the back page of the papers.
With that come the inevitable debates of this time of year. Who will win the flag? Who will win the wooden spoon? Will GWS win a game? Will Jonathan Brown make it to Round 4 or will injury end his season 18 weeks early?
Don’t you just love it?
Already fans are clogging up the airwaves talking up their club’s 2012 chances while taking potshots at opposition clubs and their supporters for no apparent reason. Not a ball has been kicked in anger, yet Collingwood and Carlton are the subject of ridicule from talkback callers on a daily basis. Brilliant!
In the summer months we all band together as one in support of the Australian cricket team. We rejoiced together as we watch the merciless thumping of India without an ounce of sympathy. Yet as footy season comes upon us, we segregate ourselves from the other fans, and quietly pray that as much misery and humiliation as they can endure falls upon them.
I’m struggling to contain myself.
So many questions to be answered and so much fun to be had. We all like to think our team is a realistic chance of a flag this year but deep down we also know that it is probably a four-horse race at best.
North will hover between seventh and 10th with limited impact on anyone. The Dogs will lose more games than they win with nobody quite understanding how this can be possible, again.
Richmond will show early promise before losing traction at Round 11 and completely falling apart by Round 16, blaming fatigue, and Freo will become the new St.Kilda – impossible to score against while not scoring themselves.
The big guns will be there again. Collingwood, Hawthorn, Carlton, Geelong and West Coast will fight for positions in the top four, before one falls one hundredth of a percent short and is labelled a failure.
Ah footy season; the time where cynics thrive.
To answer the questions of earlier, Carlton will win the flag. GWS will win their first of many wooden spoons, and Jonathan Brown will in fact make it to Round 4 without a season-ending injury. Just.
The footy season is upon us and not a minute too soon.
Bring it on!