The AFL stands for the Australian Football League and is the leading professional Australian Rules competition run down under each year.
Featuring 18 teams the league was founded back in 1897 as the Victorian Football League (VFL) when just eight teams from Victoria faced off. Five Australian states are now represented in the current AFL Premiership, which came about in 1990 when the league was officially renamed to make for a more national competition, although Victoria continues to dominate with 10 still in the mix including nine from Melbourne.
The other states with AFL teams are New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia each with two clubs in the competition. The first non-Victorian AFL club was the Sydney Swans that came about when South Melbourne relocated interstate in 1982 and interest in the game grew.
Unlike in the NRL there is no New Zealand AFL club, although New Zealand has been host to offshore AFL games over the years.
AFL Betting: Round 14 Preview
It’s back to a full nine-match round of Aussie Rules football this weekend as all 18 AFL clubs are back in action. It’s a tight race towards the end-of-season AFL Finals at this stage with only four points between 4th and 15th on the ladder. The weekend kicks off on Thursday night with the top-ranked Crows hosting the Hawks in the easiest game of the weekend to tip. Adelaide are leading the ladder for a reason and are fresh off a bye, looking very hard to beat. The Swans also start favourites in their Friday night AFL game against Essendon following Sydney’s win over Richmond last Saturday that put them back in finals contention – their fifth win from their past sixth played. Fourth-ranked Port Adelaide take on Collingwood in a cracking Saturday arvo game. The Lions look in trouble hosting GWS also on Saturday afternoon, Brisbane with just the two season wins to date, while GWS are into second on the table. The Western Bulldogs are just sitting outside the Top 8 but get the chance to sneak in when they play North Melbourne having won their past five played against the side at Etihad Stadium, before a close clash takes place between West Coast (6th) and Melbourne (7th) who are alongside each other in the standings. The Cats are the ones to beat on Sunday afternoon, Geelong tipped to bounce back after their loss to the Eagles last Thursday when they host Fremantle. Richmond play Carlton at the MCG later that afternoon, before things come to a close with St Kilda – who snapped a three-game losing streak beating North Melbourne last week – hosting the out of form Gold Coast Suns where Gary Ablett plays his 300th game.
The current AFL teams are the:
- Adelaide Crows (SA)
- Brisbane Lions (QLD)
- Carlton Blues (VIC)
- Collingwood Magpies (VIC)
- Essendon Bombers (VIC)
- Fremantle Dockers (WA)
- Geelong Cats (VIC)
- Gold Coast Suns (QLD)
- Great Western Sydney Giants (NSW)
- Hawthorn Hawks (VIC)
- Melbourne Demons (VIC)
- North Melbourne Kangaroos (VIC)
- Port Adelaide Power (SA)
- Richmond Tigers (VIC)
- St Kilda Saints (VIC)
- Sydney Swans (NSW)
- West Coast Eagles (WA)
- Western Bulldogs (VIC)
Of these seven are foundation clubs having inaugurated in 1897 with: Carlton, Collingwood, Essendon, Geelong, Melbourne, St Kilda and Sydney the oldest AFL
clubs in the competition.
The AFL Premiership consists of a pre-season competition known as the NAB Challenge followed by a 23-week regular season that runs from March to September each year that sees all teams play 22 games each.
The 23 AFL Rounds lead into the highly anticipated AFL Finals football that pits the Top 8 teams on the AFL Ladder in a four-round series that culminates with the AFL Grand Final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
Some of the other key AFL games over the season are the Collingwood vs. Essendon ANZAC Day match at the MCG and the Queen’s Birthday fixture between Melbourne and Collingwood.
As well as the Premiership title there are plenty of other coveted AFL awards up for grabs for the teams and players each year including the Brownlow Medal awarded to the fairest and best player in the league – Brownlow Medal betting on offer throughout the season. Essendon and Carlton share the record of most VFL / AFL Premiership wins with 16 each. Collingwood meanwhile boast the most AFL Grand Final appearances with 43.
2017 AFL Season
The 2017 AFL Season begins with Round 1 on Thursday March 23, 2017 when Carlton take on Richmond. The standard AFL 2017 season concludes with Round 23 run from August 25 – 27 before the 2017 AFL Grand Final steals the show and decides the premiership winner on Saturday September 30, 2017.
- 2017 AFL Round 1 Starts: Thursday March 23, 2017
- 2017 AFL Grand Final Date: Saturday September 30, 2017
The same 18 AFL teams that have competed in the competition for the previous five seasons are in premiership contention again in 2017 and the Western Bulldogs are the defending AFL Premiers.