AFL Set to Bounce for Real Eagles Tipped to Miss Finals
Eager football fans will be gladdened to see the real thing when the AFL gets underway for real. The Richmond Tigers and the Carlton Blues share the distinction of playing the first match of the 2016 season on Thursday, 24 March.
Fans who want to see if Hawthorn can repeat will have to wait until Monday, 28 March, when the Hawks meet the Cats, but in between, the remaining 14 teams in the league will stage Round 1 games.
With 18 teams each playing 22 matches, it is no longer possible for each team to play the other both home and away, so the league has taken to a complex formula that divides the 18 teams into top, middle and bottom six.
Before the footy has bounced on one single game that matters, every team has premiership aspirations, but none more so than West Coast Eagles, that have the desire to atone for last year’s Grand Final loss that may have seemed like something out of the NAB Challenge.
West Coast has lost the services of Eric Mackenzie and Mitch Brown for the duration, causing them to be tipped to miss the final eight. Coach Adam Simpson has had to ratchet up the creativity and plans to use a team defense concept to fill the void created by season-ending injuries to key defenders.