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.
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The 2020 season was disrupted by the COVID-19 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.
- Template:AFL StK and Template:AFL PA 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.
During the hiatus, players were allowed to train only within the strict restrictions of the government restrictions on public gatherings; at the height of the pandemic in April and May, when gatherings larger than two were restricted, this means players could train only in pairs. Sixteen Adelaide players, as well as assistant coach Ben Hart, were sanctioned for inadvertently breaching these guidelines when training too close to each other on a quarantine camp in early May; Hart was suspended for six weeks and the players each received a suspended sentence of one week.
Pre-season[edit source | edit]
Marsh Community Series[edit source | edit]
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 Match[edit source | edit]
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.
Scorecard[edit source | edit]
Premiership season[edit source | edit]
As the coronavirus situation developed, only the first round was played as originally drawn. The rest of the fixture will be redrawn into a new seventeen-round season in which each team plays each other once.
On 22 March 2020, the season was paused after the completion of Round 1 until no earlier than 31 May 2020. This was a result of various Australian state governments announcing the closure of their borders due to the coronavirus. There are plans to restart the season on June 11, but the South Australian government made it clear that Adelaide and Port Adelaide will not be exempt from the mandatory 14-day quarantine, potentially forcing the two teams to temporary relocate; Fremantle and West Coast Eagles have plans to relocate to Queensland.
Round 1[edit source | edit]
Win/loss table[edit source | edit]
Template:AFL win loss table legend
Bold – Home game
X – Bye
Opponent for round listed above margin
Ladder[edit source | edit]
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Ladder progression[edit source | edit]
- 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.
Club leadership[edit source | edit]
Coach changes[edit source | edit]
|John Worsfold||Template:AFL Ess||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|
References[edit source | edit]
- "AFL statement on postponement of 2020 season". AFL. 22 March 2020.
- "Season cut to 17 games, call delayed on R1 start". afl.com.au. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
- "WATCH from 4.30pm AEDT: AFL postpones season". AFL.com.au. 22 March 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
- Jon Ralph (13 March 2020). "The AFL season is in limbo with Round 1 to be played without fans". Herald Sun. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
- Damian Barrett (18 March 2020). "It's on: AFL confirms round one will go ahead". Australian Football League. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
- McLure, Sam (11 February 2020). "China game won't be moved to Moorabbin". The Age.
- Morris, Tom (3 March 2020). "AFL cancels St Kilda vs Port Adelaide China game for 2020 due to coronavirus, meaning a potential bye week reshuffle". Fox Sports Australia. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
- Jourdan Canil (13 March 2020). "Coronavirus crisis: What we know, what we don't". Australian Football League. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
- Jennifer Phelan (16 March 2020). "LOCKED DOWN HOTEL FLOORS, PRIVATE PLANES, AIRPORT ACCESS". Australian Football League. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
- Riley Beveridge; Mitch Cleary (16 March 2020). "UPDATE: State league comps suspended due to corona crisis". Australian Football League. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
- Glenn McFarlane (5 April 2020). "AFL calls off International Rules series this year, with doubts on its future viability". Herald Sun. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
- "'Embarrassingly disappointing': AFL legend 'has lost respect' for the players over pay cut debate". Fox Sports. 24 March 2020. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
- Jon Pierik (16 March 2020). "AFL clubs to face 'double hit' with pokies downturn". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
- Mick Warner (27 March 2020). "Done deal: AFL and AFLPA for players to take a 50 per cent pay cut until May 31". Herald Sun. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
- Damian Barrett (3 April 2020). "Umpires agree to same pay cuts as players". Australian Football League. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
- Sam Landsberger (30 March 2020). "$600m lifeline via Marvel Stadium saves AFL but where will they play?". The Australian. Melbourne, VIC. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
- Jon Ralph (11 May 2020). "Adelaide's quarantine-breaking 16 avoid suspension, but assistant coach Ben Hart stood down". Herald Sun. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
- "Marsh Community Series". Australian Football League. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
- Waterworth, Ben. "It's officially back: AFL confirms details for historic one-off Victoria vs Allies clash". Fox Sports. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
- "AFL confirms Victoria vs Allies match, makes massive donation". Australian Football League. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
- Mitch Cleary (16 March 2020). "Season cut to 17 games, call delayed on R1 start". Australian Football League. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
- Barrett, Damian (5 May 2020). "Old fixture binned, traditional time slots a priority in full rewrite". Australian Football League. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
- Health officials choose not to provide exemptions for South Australian players (new.com.au)
- "Adelaide's 2020 captain and leadership group announced". Adelaide. Telstra Media. 21 January 2020.
- Fielding, Josie (13 February 2020). "Zorko to lead in 2020". Brisbane Lions. Telstra Media.
- "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.
- "Fremantle announce 2020 leadership group". Fremantle. Telstra Media. 26 February 2020.
- Oates, Stacey (13 March 2020). "2020 leadership group named". Geelong. Telstra Media.
- "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". Richmond. Telstra Media. 13 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.
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