Footy is back! But it’s time to revisit the opening act

I, like many others, will be glued to the screen.

Heck, it’s been 109 days since the AFLW playoff blared into our lounges and 170 since the AFL Finals last year.

Football fans are so ravenous that I’d just as happily tune in to a local rivalry between amateur clubs Bullcreek Leeming and the Willetton Blues. After all, we know exactly how good the atmosphere is in the can bar.

Tonight’s game marks the eighth time in nine years that Richmond and Carlton have had the honor of starting the season.

The breakaway came last year when Premiers Melbourne scored four of their last five goals to tackle big finalists, the Western Bulldogs.

During that time, the Tigers and Blues have had dark affairs. Every. Singles. Time.


The Tigers win all seven games, only once do the Blues have fewer than four goals.

And those one-sided results could have easily been predicted by those at AFL HQ given the form lines of theirs coming into the season.

Carlton had not made the finals once the year before, while Richmond finished in the top eight in all bars and won three premierships in one season.

But why not take the guessing element out of the pairings and go with a simple formula that will most likely give footy fans a match worthy of a proper season opener.

A great final replay.

Sure, it doesn’t make for surprisingly tight, hard-fought competition, but neither does it function as a free hit for clubs like the Blues, who are currently being rewarded for being perennial underperformers.

Let’s reward the best team of the previous year with the season opener. Give the Premiers the eyes of the footballing world they deserve and a chance to fly the flag in front of their fans at their home stadium.

There is also a greater chance of even competition.


Both sides have exactly the same amount of preparation time and time to recover from injuries and should anyone be banned for the grand final they will pitch it against the team they injured.

I’m not a fan of constantly adjusting and changing the rules every season.

But at least it gives the season opener the best chance of being a spectacle worthy of the occasion and the hype.

“You really get what you deserve in a game,” was a quote from Adam Simpson in 2021.

It was very fitting after the Eagles were beaten by Geelong by 97 points.

Unfortunately, the same principle cannot be said when it comes to the mindset of those sitting in the Docklands as they land well on their way to the start of each AFL season.

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Ryan Sederquist

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