Season Preview: AFL Canberra First Grade Men’s

With the AFL Canberra First Grade Men’s season set to get underway next week, Jaike Alteri has a look at what to expect in 2019.

2018 Summary

The 2018 season was one of ups and downs for many clubs, with Belconnen holding a top two position on the ladder all year, only to lose to Eastlake in the preliminary final. Gungahlin were ever improving and played some good footy towards the end of the season, with Tuggeranong’s struggles continuing, finding themselves at the bottom of the table. Eastlake would be hanging around all year, coming from fourth on the ladder to make it to the Grand Final, but Ainslie would beat them convincingly, winning their third premiership in a row.

First Month

But a new year brings new opportunities and the first month of season 2019 will show who the premiership contenders are. Expect Queanbeyan to be towards the top early on with a slightly easier fixture, facing Tuggeranong and Gungahlin in the first two rounds of the season. Ainslie also face the Hawks and Jets inside the first month and will look to take advantage of those matches early on. Eastlake will host Ainslie in the first Grand Final rematch under lights at Football Park in round 4. Every club will be looking to start the year strong but none more so than Belconnen and Eastlake, who play every finalist from 2018 within the first month. It’s a tough fixture for both clubs, but good wins early will give them a huge confidence boost for the remainder of the season.

2019 Will Be a Hit If…

It’s a competitive season. It’s a simple answer but football fans just love seeing close, competitive games of football and players love playing in them. It makes the competition interesting and each week an uncertainty. An ideal situation would be having a 5thteam, either Gungahlin or Tuggeranong, fighting for a spot in the finals with games consistently going down to the wire.

2019 Will Be a Miss If

There are injuries to big players. Injuries are a cruel part of the sport and can affect clubs majorly, especially the stars of the competition. The competition needs the big-name players to be out on the field week in and week out to give supporters the best experience. The competition needs all of its guns fit and firing throughout the whole season, so the spectators can see some incredible matchups during season 2019.

Star Power

With the new 6-6-6 rule being introduced, there a number of players to have on your watchlist for 2019. Midfielders such as Beau Walker and Josh Bryce should light up the centre with hardness at the contest as well as clean skills on the outside to make the most of their opportunities. In saying that, power forwards such as Hayden Armstrong who’ll relish the 1 on 1 opportunities that will come with the new rules.

Rookie Watch

There’s plenty of young stars around Canberra and expect many of them to get an opportunity during the 2019 season. Belconnen young gun Max Monoghan will be close to making a first-grade debut during the season, after starring in two second-grade matches last year. Will Spencer finally cracked into the first-grade team for Ainslie last year on the back of some great form and expect him to add to the game tally this year. Although not the biggest person on the field, he takes no prisoners and isn’t afraid to win his own ball at the contest.

 To Kick Things Off

Round one will start on Saturday afternoon with Tuggeranong taking on Ainslie at Greenway oval, and Belconnen hosting Eastlake at the Adero Law Nest, in what should be a cracking game. Sunday see’s Queanbeyan play host to the jets from Allinsure Park at 1:15pm.

Stay tuned for next week’s Season Preview: UNSW Canberra First Grade Women’s

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