Teams To Watch For AFL 2021
After last season’s Covid-related disruption, the AFL returns in 2021, with a clutch of teams harbouring realistic hopes of claiming the Premiership. We’ve compiled a list of some of the teams to watch in the coming season. Take a look and pick your favourite.
Richmond certainly looked strong against Collingwood in their pre-season friendly at Marvel Stadium, running out with a 11.14 (80) to 11.8 (74) victory at the game’s conclusion. But does this mean they are going to achieve a third successive AFL Premiership in 2021?
Despite bringing in no new players ahead of the 2021 season, Richmond’s squad looks to be one of the strongest in the league. After finishing third in last season’s unprecedented short-season league table, the Tigers surged through to claim the Premiership over Geelong, and there’s nothing to suggest they won’t do the same this year. In fact, the odds on Richmond winning the Premiership in 2021 are currently 4.5 as of March 2021.
The Power found themselves at the top of the AFL ladder last season, achieving the 4th Minor Premiership in their history, but they were unable to translate this to Finals glory. In the end, it was eventual champions Richmond who stopped them in their tracks at the Adelaide Oval, with a 6.4 (40) to 6.10 (46) reverse.
Port Adelaide have bolstered their defensive options this season, bringing in Aliir Aliir and Orazio Fantasia from Sydney Swans and Essendon Bombers, respectively. The squad looks strong and is likely to make a big impact yet again in 2021.
Last season, Geelong finished in fourth place in the home and away table, missing out on third to Richmond by two points. Richmond would thwart them once again, of course, in the Grand Final in October. Geelong will be looking to avenge both outcomes in 2021.
The retirement of Gary Ablett at the end of last season caused some concern among Cats fans. But Geelong have sought to replace this important figure with the signing of Shaun Higgins from North Melbourne. The veteran player could be key as Geelong target a marked improvement on last year’s near misses.
There was one team that pushed Port Adelaide to the wire in last season’s home and away ladder. That team was, of course, Brisbane Lions. The Lions scored 1184 points in 2020’s 17-game season, only one behind Port Adelaide. With 14 wins and 3 losses apiece, it was the Lions’ defence that let them down, conceding 948 points – the worst record in the top 5. Brisbane’s defence would pull the rug from under them once again in the Finals, as they exited immediately to Richmond in the second Qualifying Final.
Bringing in Nakia Cockatoo from Geelong Cats should help Brisbane to bolster their options ahead of the new season, as should the signing of Joe Daniher from Essendon Bombers. Brisbane could be ones to watch this year – provided they can keep their shape at the back.
West Coast Eagles have had more than their fair share of media speculation over the last couple of years after Willie Rioli received a doping ban after an infraction in 2019. Rioli will be permitted to return to training with the Eagles on June 20th, ahead of a return to the field the following month. The forward will join Zac Langdon and Alex Witherden in the squad following acquisitions from GWS Giants and Brisbane Lions.
In 2020, West Coast tied with Geelong Cats on 48 points apiece after the home and away season, but they scored less and conceded more across the 17 games. Frailties at the front and at the back will need to be patched up if they are to do better in the coming season, but they remain promising outsiders.
The AFL promises a strong return in 2021
The AFL is back after much disruption last season, and there are more than a couple of teams who will be hoping to make their mark this year. Who would you pick as your top team?