The 2020 AFL Sydney season so far
Written by Michael Shilito
After the COVID-19 shutdown, footy found a way. And so we’re back. The season may look a little different, but the glory of winning a premiership remains the same.
There’s been plenty of star power around the Premier Division so far this year. With the cancellation of the 2020 NEAFL season, an influx of players who would have played that level have found new homes in the Premier Division. Many of these players are locally grown talent that have returned to their original senior clubs. Even former Hawthorn Hawks AFL Premiership player Will Langford has made his way back to Sydney, running out for UTS AFC in Round One.
As well, GIANTS and Swans Academy players who would normally have been playing as top-ups in the NEAFL on occasions are playing for their Premier Division clubs every week.
As always, there’s plenty of young talent coming through. Players have to train hard and perform strongly to keep their spots. Resulting in some spectacular footy being played so far in 2020.
Women’s Premier Division has expanded to 10 teams this year; with Manly, North Shore and Pennant Hills gaining promotion. Manly have hit the ground running, winning their first three games to go to the top of the ladder. The Wolves will have high hopes of doing what East Coast Eagles did last year and make it to the Grand Final in their first season.
Sydney Uni are also undefeated so far; while Southern Power, East Coast and Inner West Magpies complete the top five.
Pennant Hills scored their first Premier Division win in Round 2. While the other newcomers, North Shore, remain winless. However two of their losses were by single-figure margins, suggesting the Bombers’ first win isn’t too far away.
UTS AFC and UNSW-ES Bulldogs will be looking to string some wins together to make a run for the finals; while defending champions Macquarie Uni have some work to do after dropping their first three games this season.
In Men’s Premier Division, North Shore have made the front-running, conceding only six goals in their first three matches. But the toughest test for the Bombers is yet to come.
Last year’s Grand Finallists, UNSW-ES Bulldogs and Sydney Uni, are also undefeated so far this year. The Bulldogs are aiming for a premiership three-peat, while the Students are looking for a breakthrough flag after falling agonisingly short in the last three Grand Finals.
St George Dragons and Inner West Magpies are sitting in the top five, keenly looking for a chance to return to playoff action. Pennant Hills are only a game behind, and know how to hit their best form when the finals come around. We all remember how close they were to stealing last year’s Preliminary Final.
Camden Cats, in their third season in Premier Division, have sung their song once this year already. East Coast, Manly and UTS will be working hard to generate a winning streak; and in a shortened season they’ll be looking to generate some momentum soon.
Platinum Division has expanded to eight teams this year, with Randwick City Saints going up and abolishing the bye. And with two wins in their first three games, the Saints have shown they’re good enough to compete at this level.
Penrith Rams and Macquarie Uni are undefeated after the first three games. Both have been consistently strong performers since Platinum Division was established, and the dream of premiership silverware is getting stronger.
Defending champions Southern Power have dropped two of their first three games. It could be a tight battle for finals berths, with only a narrow percentage gap separating the Power from Parramatta Goannas, Balmain Tigers and South-West Sydney Magpies; while an under-manned Western Magic team is yet to salute in 2020.
In the other divisions we’ve seen the Newtown Breakaways continue their expansion by adding their first Men’s team; who are currently undefeated after three games. The North Shore Bombers continue to grow year on year, fielding a staggering 13 teams this season. And the Randwick City Saints have also expanded this season with the addition of a Women’s team.
We’re a third of the way through the regular season. Still plenty of time to come. Plenty of time for players and teams to make an impact, continue their progression and establish a claim to premiership glory in 2020.
It’s an unusual season. But the premierships are real.
Get on board with your club. There’s history to be made!!