2020 AFL season
The 2020 Australian Football League season is the ongoing 124th season of the elite Australian rules football competition and the 31st under the name "Australian Football League", having changed from "Victorian Football League" after the 1989 season. There will be 18 teams competing in the league, the same as the previous eight seasons.
|2020 AFL premiership season|
|Attendance||0 (0 per match)|
The 2020 season was disrupted by the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic, which was formally declared a pandemic on 11 March 2020, eight days prior to the scheduled start of the premiership season.
- Prior to the commencement of the season, the fixture was shortened from 22 matches per team to no more than 17, under the expectation that matches would be forced to stop at the peak of the disease, or if any player tests positive.
- The season commenced on 19 March as originally scheduled, but the introduction of restrictions (and later of formal quarantines) on interstate travel, resulted in suspension of the season after round one. No further premiership matches will be played until May 31 at the earliest.
- Matches were played in empty stadiums for the first time in the league's history, starting in Round 1 and not ending until at least after the government imposed restriction on non-essential public gatherings is lifted.
- Matches played in Round 1 were played at a shortened length of 16 minutes plus time on per quarter, instead of 20 minutes plus time on. This was done in the unfulfilled hope that more than one round would be played before a suspension of the season, and that playing shorter games could facilitate more frequent games than weekly until that suspension.
- St Kilda and Port Adelaide did not play a match at Jiangwan Stadium in Shanghai, China, as scheduled as part of the original Round 11 – this decision being made while the virus was still mostly prevalent within China and prior to its spread in Australia, but would eventually have been mandated by restrictions on international travel.
- Clubs placed restrictions on spectator access to training sessions or other public areas of club facilities, as well as media and press, and made special arrangements, including seeking charter flights and cordoning off areas of airports or hotels, to protect players from external threats when travelling interstate.
- The starts of the VFL, SANFL, WAFL and NEAFL seasons were suspended due to the greater risk of external threats in the semi-professional state league environment.
- The two-test international rules football series against Ireland, planned to have been played in Ireland in November, was cancelled.
When the season was suspended, the league and clubs were faced with an acute cash flow shortage, as the gate and broadcast revenues which had been budgeted for stopped immediately; clubs deriving revenues from gaming and other public venues also saw those revenues drop when public gatherings were restricted. The league and clubs all stood down or severely reduced hours for huge percentages of their staff during the suspension; and the AFL agreed with both the AFLPA and ALFUA to significant play cuts for the players and umpires for the season, amounting to 50% of their wage from the point of the suspension until the end of the season, and increasing to 70% for any period of suspension which extends beyond the end of May. The league successfully obtained a $500-600m line of credit with the National Australia Bank and ANZ Bank, leveraged against its ownership of Marvel Stadium, to cover its and its clubs' cash shortfalls during the suspension.
Contingency plans have been developed to ensure the entire shortened 17 round season, plus finals, can be completed – in large part to ensure that the league can recover as much broadcast revenue as possible, since this revenue is critical to the game's finances. This may include shorter breaks between games, or extending the finish date for the season into as late as December if required – although the latter option would be complicated by grounds availability as the cricket season commences.
Marsh Community SeriesEdit
The pre-season series of games returned as the 2020 Marsh Community Series, with teams playing two games each. The games were stand-alone, with no overall winner of the series. Each team played two games, many at suburban or regional venues, while all games were televised on Fox Footy.
State of Origin for Bushfire Relief MatchEdit
A one-off benefit match was played on 28 February 2020, as a fundraiser for the relief effort for the 2019–20 Australian bushfire season. The league donated $2.5 million to disaster relief funds in association with the match. Selection for the two teams was under state of origin rules, and it was the first interstate representative match featuring AFL-listed players since the AFL Hall of Fame Tribute Match held in 2008.
|State of Origin for Bushfire Relief Match|
|Friday, 28 February 2020 7:50 pm||Victoria||def.||All-Stars||Marvel Stadium (crowd: 51,052)||Report|
|Umpires: Fisher, Stephens, Nicholls, Williamson|
Best on Ground Medal: Dustin Martin (Victoria)
Kelly, Greene 4
Martin, Gaff, Bontempelli, Gresham 2
Dangerfield, J Cameron, Lynch 1
|Goals||C Cameron 3 |
Coniglio, Breust, Riewoldt, Smith 2
Neale, Weller, Walters, Hill 1
|Kelly, Martin, Greene, Papley, Pendlebury, Haynes, Cotchin, Dangerfield||Best||Coniglio, C Cameron, Mills, Cripps, Neale, Johannisen|
|Map of the grounds to be used during the 2019 AFL season (excluding Jiangwan Stadium, Shanghai)|
As the coronavirus situation develops, the AFL has advised that only the first four rounds will be played as originally drawn, although the dates and times may be altered as the situation develops. The rest of the fixture will be redrawn into a seventeen-round season in which each team plays each other once.
However, on 22 March 2020 the season was paused after the completion of Round 1 until 31 May 2020. This was a result of various Australian state governments announcing the closure of their borders due to the coronavirus.
|Round 1 (Opening Round)|
|Thursday, 19 March (7:40 pm)||Richmond 16.9 (105)||def.||Carlton 12.9 (81)||MCG (crowd: 0)||Report|
|Friday, 20 March (7:50 pm)||Western Bulldogs 5.4 (34)||def. by||Collingwood 13.8 (86)||Marvel Stadium (crowd: 0)||Report|
|Saturday, 21 March (2:10 pm)||Essendon 9.9 (63)||def.||Fremantle 8.9 (57)||Marvel Stadium (crowd: 0)|
|Saturday, 21 March (4:05 pm)||Adelaide 11.5 (71)||def. by||Sydney 11.8 (74)||Adelaide Oval (crowd: 0)|
|Saturday, 21 March (7:40 pm)||Greater Western Sydney 17.3 (105)||def.||Geelong 11.7 (73)||GIANTS Stadium (crowd: 0)|
|Saturday, 21 March (6:40 pm)||Gold Coast 4.5 (29)||def. by||Port Adelaide 10.16 (76)||Metricon Stadium (crowd: 0)|
|Sunday, 22 March (1:05 pm)||North Melbourne 8.8 (56)||def.||St Kilda 7.12 (54)||Marvel Stadium (crowd: 0)|
|Sunday, 22 March (3:35 pm)||Hawthorn 14.6 (90)||def.||Brisbane Lions 9.8 (62)||MCG (crowd: 0)|
|Sunday, 22 March (3:40 pm)||West Coast 12.6 (78)||def.||Melbourne 7.9 (51)||Optus Stadium (crowd: 0)|
Bold – Home game
X – Bye
Opponent for round listed above margin
|Greater Western Sydney||Geel
|1||Port Adelaide||1||1||0||0||76||29||262.1||4||Finals series|
|5||Greater Western Sydney||1||1||0||0||105||73||143.8||4|
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) percentage; 3) number of points for. Uncomment this section once season has started
- Numbers highlighted in green indicates the team finished the round inside the top 8.
- Numbers highlighted in blue indicates the team finished in first place on the ladder in that round.
- Numbers highlighted in red indicates the team finished in last place on the ladder in that round.
- Underlined numbers indicates the team had a bye during that round.
- Subscript numbers indicate ladder position at round's end.
|5||Greater Western Sydney||45|
|John Worsfold||Essendon||17 September 2019||Will step down at the conclusion of the club's 2020 season as part of a succession plan.||N/A||Ben Rutten|
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- "Marsh Community Series". Australian Football League. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
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- "AFL Tables - Greater Western Sydney - Game Records". afltables.com.
- "Adelaide's 2020 captain and leadership group announced". Adelaide. Telstra Media. 21 January 2020.
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- "Three new additions to AFL leadership group". Carlton. Telstra Media. 17 February 2020.
- "Pendlebury to lead Pies for a seventh season". Collingwood. Telstra Media. 4 March 2020.
- "2020 leadership group named". Essendon. Telstra Media. 4 February 2020.
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- "SUNS name 2020 Leadership Group". Gold Coast Suns. Telstra Media. 4 March 2020.
- Ritson, Jon (3 December 2019). "GWS Giants star Stephen Coniglio to take captaincy from veterans Phil Davis and Callan Ward". The Daily Telegraph.
- Forsaith, Rob (15 January 2020). "Greene, new faces in GWS leadership group". Seven News.
- "Hawthorn Leaders United in 2020". Hawthorn. Telstra Media. 6 February 2020.
- "Gawn named captain for 2020". Melbourne. Telstra Media. 24 February 2020.
- "North's new leadership group". North Melbourne. Telstra Media. 6 February 2020.
- AAP (6 December 2019). "Port Adelaide do away with co-captaincy model after one season". News.com.au.
- "Cotchin to captain in 2020". richmondfc.com.au. Telstra Media. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
- "Geary to captain Saints in 2020". St Kilda. Telstra Media. 19 February 2020.
- "Leadership group locked in". Sydney Swans. Telstra Media. 18 December 2019.
- Schmook, Nathan. "Gun Eagles join leadership group, Hurn steps away". westcoasteagles.com.au. Telstra Media. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
- Gabelich, Josh (10 December 2019). "Western Bulldogs announce Marcus Bontempelli as new captain after Easton Wood steps down". Fox Sports.
- Olle, Sarah (17 September 2019). "Essendon coach John Worsfold's beautiful tribute to 'selfless' family". Fox Sports Australia. Retrieved 25 September 2019.