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Opinion

What we won't see in a 17-week AFL season

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Roar Guru
17th March, 2020
9

The AFL season is now 17 weeks long. So, besides 45 matches of football, what else are we going to miss in 2020 that we probably-maybe-possibly would have seen?

A 100-goal season
To be fair, this was always in the ‘outside chance’ – I wouldn’t argue with zero chance – category, even in a 22-round season.

But we can now firmly say this will not happen. Jeremy Cameron probably was the one with the best chance in a full season plus finals.

The last person to crack 100 goals in 17 rounds was Gary Ablett Snr.

Buddy getting to 1000 goals
This was in the maybe, or even probably, slot. Lance Franklin needs 56 goals to break 1000 but his body is starting to break, so he probably needed 19 games to have a chance.

He’s already ruled out of Round 1, so will he get 56 goals in 16 games? That would require an above-average season and he’s getting older.

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Fan will need to wait until 2021 before we see the next pitch invasion. Besides, this will be the last time a player breaks the 1000-mark, so it would be criminal to happen behind closed doors.

Lance Franklin Swans

Lance Franklin (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

The Brownlow medallists topping 30 votes (again)
In recent years, umpires have handed out three votes to midfielders like candy. The past decade saw more winners get 30-plus votes (and runners-up for that matter) than the previous 80 years combined.

It was and is a joke.

Fortunately, we probably won’t see that this year. But never say never – these are AFL umpires at the end of the day.

The rise of a bolter from the bottom six
The teams in the bottom six last year are particularly unlucky, with the soft draw that is usually afforded to them gone – they won’t play each other twice now.

It’s possible that, aside from a little bit of shuffling here and there, the three groups of six from last year’s ladder will look the same this year.

The unluckiest team in that bottom cluster is probably the Melbourne Demons, who were hoping to prove that 2019 was a blip in their growth plan.

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The coaching slaughterhouse and speculation
Ken Hinkley might keep his job after all. This season is going to be a huge disruption for all and we cannot conclusively say whether we will even get a 17-round season in, or (as might be likely) we have four rounds, break, a few rounds, break, a few rounds, break, etc.

No team will truly cope with that.

While it’s likely the ladder positions from last year will look the same, it’s equally possible we could be seeing absolute chaos, which won’t be the fault of the coaches.

As such, the standard metrics and KPIs will be given a lot of leeway this year, as is the case with most normal businesses.

Ken Hinkley

Ken Hinkley (AAP Image/Kelly Barnes)

The long weekend specials
We won’t get those this year. That’s a shame. Maybe we’ll be compensated with football every night of the week in the middle of the year to bank in some games instead. That’s a nice consolation.

And one thing we might actually get this year…

Grand final timing and location chatter
All bets are off. Despite Gillon McLachlan locking in a day grand final at the MCG earlier this year, that is surely no longer ironclad.

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There really is no guarantee the final will be at the MCG now, or during the day, or in front of people – or even on!

Once we know whether or not the season will progress to the point where a finals series is likely, expect some chatter as to where and what time it might be played.