10 Games You Can't Miss this 2019 AFL Season
We count down 10 AFL games you can’t afford to miss this year!
2018 was one of the most competitive on record and we expect more of the same this season. As always, there are standout matches across the season you don’t want to miss. Whether it’s a milestone match, a player facing his old team or just a good old fashioned blockbuster, we’ve ranked 10 unmissable games for season 2019 in chronological order. Strap yourselves in!
GWS v Essendon
Dylan Shiel doesn’t have to wait long to face his former teammates with an opening round clash against the Giants. Not only is this a must watch for the Shiel factor but it could be a good indicator as to where these two top four aspirants are placed early in the season.
Collingwood v Richmond
This Thursday night blockbuster promises to be just that with a replay of last year’s incredible preliminary final where the red hot premiership favourites ran into a rampant Pies outfit who put an end to their dream of back-to-back flags. The Pies endured their own heartbreak a week later and will be keen to make a statement early in 2019 in a battle of the two biggest clubs in Victoria. Tom Lynch will suit up against one of the clubs he knocked back while Jack Riewoldt could be celebrating his 250th match, if he misses Round 1 with his first child due around the opening week of the season.
Collingwood v West Coast
A Grand Final rematch so early in the season always carries a little extra significance, especially after such an epic on the last Saturday of September last year. The Eagles return back to the home of footy for the first time since the club’s 4th premiership
West Coast v Fremantle
The Derby is always a hotly contested match but the first one of 2019 will have some extra significance as Andrew Gaff faces a potentially very hostile Fremantle. Gaff has two matches left to serve on his suspension meaning he will be available for the clash, as will Andrew Brayshaw who suffered a badly broken jaw at the hands of the gun Eagle in Round 20 last season. Thankfully for Gaff, it’s a West Coast home match, which should reduce the amount of abuse and boos directed at him but how the Dockers go about it will be must watch television.
Good Friday double-header
North Melbourne v Essendon and West Coast v Port Adelaide
Good Friday footy is here to stay and North Melbourne will once again host an afternoon time slot on the sacred day. This time they are set to play against a higher drawing in Essendon in what was one of the great modern rivalries of the late 90’s and early 2000s. The match will be followed by West Coast and Port Adelaide at Optus Stadium, a fixture the reigning premiers have won two of the past three with kicks after the siren including the 2017 elimination final.
Melbourne v Richmond and Collingwood v Essendon
The ANZAC Day Eve fixture has almost become as big as the match on the following afternoon with Melbourne and Richmond to square off on what will be a Wednesday night this year. The teams are two of the major premiership fancies and Melbourne will be looking to redeem themselves after a blowout loss last season with another bumper crowd expected. It will also be the first meeting of the former Gold Coast co-captains Tom Lynch and Steven May who are likely to line up on one another. The Pies have dominated the traditional ANZAC Day game against the Bombers this decade, winning seven of the last nine encounters and last year’s crowd of 91,000+ could be surpassed, especially if these two powerhouses are up and going early in the season.
Sydney v Collingwood
These two teams have formed a brilliant rivalry over the last decade or so with meetings always close and met with plenty of feeling. The Swans got back one on the Pies late last season in a classic where Tom McCartin squeezed home the winning goal in the dying minute. Their first meeting of 2019 coincides with the beginning of Sir Douglas Nicholls round in which superstar Lance Franklin will likely and fittingly notch his 300th career game. Franklin currently sits on 290 games and is just 83 away from becoming only the sixth man in history to reach 1000 career goals.
Hawthorn v Port Adelaide
One of the big trades of the off-season was Chad Wingard linking up with Hawthorn and he will get to face his former side for the first time in Round 10 in Tasmania. It’s a shame this game wasn’t in Adelaide with some bad blood between player and coach allegedly leading to the All-Australian’s exit from Alberton.
Collingwood v Melbourne
The traditional Queen’s Birthday blockbuster has become even more special with the Big Freeze. Now into its fifth year, another 85,000+ will pack the MCG to support a wonderful cause and see two top four teams from a season ago go at it as well the two premier ruckman of the competition. The teams put on a great match last year where the Pies emerged as a genuine premiership contenders and will host the match as their home game for the first time since 2001, which may help to draw an even bigger crowd.
Gold Coast v Richmond
The worst kept secret of last season was Tom Lynch leaving the Gold Coast Suns. Once the news was confirmed their co-captain and all-time leading goalkicker was stripped of the captaincy and essentially banished from the club. A spiteful return to Queensland could be on the cards for Lynch who’s announcement wasn’t met favourably by his former teammates.