June 25, 2024

Round 8 of the AFL season brings forth some of the game’s most storied rivalries, igniting anticipation among footy fans across the country. Kicking off the weekend is the long-awaited showdown between the two South Australian teams, taking place at Adelaide Oval on Thursday night and broadcasted nationally on free-to-air television.

The excitement continues on Friday with the age-old rivalry between Collingwood and Carlton at the historic MCG, adding another chapter to their 127-year history of fierce competition.

Saturday sees the Battle of the Bridge at the SCG, as the Sydney Derby unfolds between the Swans and the Giants. Recent remarks from GWS defender Sam Taylor about the Swans’ demeanor promise to add extra spice to an already intense matchup.

Next up is the clash between Geelong and Melbourne, two of the AFL’s most historic clubs, as they vie for a top-four position in the 2024 season at the MCG.

Closing out the weekend is the QClash, where the struggling Brisbane Lions seek redemption against the Gold Coast Suns, who are showing signs of improvement.

In addition to these five exciting matchups, there are four other games with significant implications for the season but may not garner as much attention.

This raises the question: Wouldn’t it be fantastic to have a weekend dedicated solely to rivalries? Let’s call it ‘Rivalry Round’.

The AFL briefly entertained the idea in 2010 but it faded away, much to the disappointment of footy enthusiasts. While there may be logistical challenges such as fixture planning, broadcast considerations, and financial viability, from a fan’s perspective, it would be a captivating concept.

The AFL is known for its adaptability and being the premier sporting competition in Australia. A Rivalry Round would not only cater to the interests of stakeholders but also enhance the league’s image as the nation’s favorite sport.

The anticipation for Round 8 of the 2024 AFL season is palpable due to these compelling fixtures. Just imagine the excitement if nine blockbuster matches were spread across a single weekend.

While there may be obstacles, Rivalry Round deserves a revival. Here’s a proposed lineup:

Thursday night: Port Adelaide vs Adelaide (Adelaide Oval) – The Showdown, a historic rivalry that has produced epic clashes since its inception in 1997.

Friday night: Geelong vs Melbourne (MCG) – A showdown between two of the oldest clubs in the league.

Saturday afternoon: Essendon vs Hawthorn (MCG) – A storied rivalry dating back to the 1980s, featuring memorable encounters and infamous incidents like the “Line in the Sand” match in 2004.

Sunday afternoon: St Kilda vs Richmond (Marvel Stadium) – While not considered traditional rivals, these two clubs have a long history, having faced off nearly 200 times. Memorable moments include the contentious Ian Stewart-Billy Barrott trade and the annual ‘Maddie’s Match’, which has become a significant event supporting a worthy cause.

Saturday Twilight: GWS vs Sydney (SCG/Engie Stadium) – This matchup between the Giants and the Swans has developed into a fierce rivalry since GWS joined the AFL in 2012. Despite Sydney holding a lead in their head-to-head encounters, the Giants have been competitive, especially in finals matches.

Saturday night: Brisbane vs Gold Coast (Gabba/People’s First Stadium) – The QClash, initiated by the AFL in 2011, is a significant rivalry for Queensland pride. With the Lions holding the advantage in their head-to-head battles, the clash between these two teams is eagerly anticipated by fans.

Sunday afternoon: Western Bulldogs vs North Melbourne (Marvel Stadium) – While not as historically significant as some other rivalries, this matchup between neighboring clubs offers an intriguing contest.

And of course, Collingwood vs Carlton (MCG) – A fixture steeped in history and tradition, this clash between two of the AFL’s most storied clubs is always eagerly anticipated by fans. Taking place in the traditional Sunday afternoon primetime slot, it promises to deliver another chapter in their fierce rivalry.

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