With most AFL clubs currently enjoying their well earned Christmas break, this seems like the most appropriate time to review what has been the most exciting AFL season to date. It was a season that had it all, and we will look at the five words that truly define season 2015.
From round 1, this season has been one in which tipsters have been scratching their heads. The unpredictability of this season is like nothing the AFL has ever seen before. After round 8, two months into the season, the ladder had to WA teams taking the first two spots, two NSW teams (including GWS, the expansion team) taking the next two spots, and the highest Victorian based club was Collingwood. Furthermore, it wasn’t until round 10 when the reigning Premiers Hawthorn eventually won two consecutive matches. This level of unpredictability continued throughout the length of the season, making it very intriguing for all who were involved.
It is no secret that the modern day Hawthorn side is among the best of all-time. They have made five Grand Finals in the last eight years, winning four of them including the much talked about three-peat from 2013-2015. They are professional, hungry, and have no indication of slowing down any time soon. They are at the helm of one of the greatest coaches in the modern era in Alastair Clarkson and it looks as though he will be at the club for a long time to come. We don’t know how long the success will last, we don’t know if the Hawks can still get better, but we do know that in 2015 they were unstoppable.
Like most years in any sporting code, in 2015 the AFL had its fair share of controversy. From the continuation of the Essendon doping saga to the countless debatable suspensions, but the most controversial topic on the lips of everyone in the AFL world was definitely the booing of Adam Goodes. It all started in Indigenous Round when Goodes celebrated a goal by doing an Indigenous War Dance to show pride of his Indigenous heritage. However, this started an immense amount of booing from away supporters every time Goodes touched the ball. I could go on and on about this topic, but I will leave it by stating that one of the greats of the game was forced to leave due to a despicable act of racists who are to afraid to admit it.
2015 has been a year of heartbreak for the entire football world, especially at the news that Adelaide coach Phil Walsh had been murdered. On 3 July, Australia woke up to the horrifying news that Phil Walsh had died in his South Australian home early in the morning. It was a piece of news that shocked the entire AFL world which even saw a match be cancelled and not replayed for the first time in AFL/VFL history. Despite being Walsh’s first year at the club, his impact was profound and he will forever be sorely missed by not only the Crows, but the entire AFL world.
Despite the immense amount of tragedy that faced many within the AFL world, the unity shown by players, supporters, and those who don’t even follow the AFL was incredible. During the Phil Walsh tragedy, the ‘circle’ made by the players following each game was the ultimate sign of respect for Phil, the Walsh family, and all those who were close to Phil. Another clear sign of unity was The Big Freeze at The G’ which has seen over $2 Million raised to help cure MND. It was an event that had an abundance of entertainment, heaps of laughs, but most importantly it had a great meaning behind it and brought the AFL world together yet again.
All up, it has been an incredible year of football and is undoubtedly the most exciting season the competition has seen to date. I think one thing all people within the AFL world can agree on is that we can’t wait for the off-season to be over and we are all ready for season 2016.