7:20 just can’t come quick enough. There are hundreds of reasons to be excited about the return of footy – here are ten.
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1. No more boring conversations
Traffic, weather, your mate’s latest home renovation project. Having no footy to talk about is tough. The awkward printer conversations at work seem to last for days when you can’t talk about the forward pressure of Freo or Juddy’s form. You have to pretend to be interested in a variety of topics. But it’s back. And you’re safe.
2. Grounds for appeal
Adelaide Oval has transformed the city of churches, the MCG is (probably) sport’s greatest stage, Simonds Stadium still has all its charm, and the Gabba gets going when the Lions are in front. Our footy grounds have history and charm and we can’t wait to get back there.
3. The need for feed
It’s been talked about for years and the AFL has listened: cheap(er) food at the footy. Now you can spill half a Four’N Twenty down your footy jumper in the outer without worrying about how much it’s cost you.
4. The rivalries
Geelong and Hawthorn, Adelaide and Port, the Eagles and Dockers, Collingwood and, well, everyone. The fierce rivalries make for great viewing. The fact an Essendon fan can sit next to a Collingwood fan at the ‘G on Anzac Day makes it even better.
5. We meet again…
Dayne Beams V Collingwood, James Frawley V Melbourne, Heritier Lumumba V Collingwood and more. It probably means absolutely nothing to the clubs themselves but it’s always interesting to see the reactions from players and fans when former teammates return to the ol’ stomping ground for the first time.
6. A ton of fun
Matthew Lloyd reckons ‘Buddy’ could kick 100 goals this season. Even Hawthorn fans would surely love that? With the game tipped to become more attacking again in 2015 there’s a genuine excitement about the style of footy set to go on show.
7. The great unknown
There’s always one. West Coast in 2011, Adelaide in 2012, and Port Adelaide since. A team comes from almost nowhere to crack the top four and becomes the fairytale story of the season. Who will it be in 2015? Can the Tigers roar? Will Brisbane break through? Suns, Giants, or Mick and the Blues?
8. Star power
Ablett, Fyfe, Selwood, Franklin, Pendlebury … the game is littered with players you’d pay to go and watch. And there’s a new batch right behind them, headed by Marcus Bontempelli, who are about to explode. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show they put on.
9. New kids on the block
McCartin, Cockatoo, Brayshaw – they haven’t played a game and we’re already excited to see how they go. This year’s crop of draftees have had a taste of the big time in the NAB Challenge series and a handful of them will have an impact when the real stuff starts in 2015.
10. It’s the best game in the world
It might not be played across the globe, it might not have a world championship, appear at the Olympics, or even rate a mention on ESPN. But it’s ours. It’s Australia’s game. It’s unique, it’s thrilling, and it starts on Thursday night. Enjoy the season.