How the teams can prepare for the 2024 AFL season

It might seem like it’s still quite away off right now. But soon enough the whole of Australia will be engulfed in the excitement of the 2024 AFL season.

It’s scheduled to run all the way from 7 March up to 28 September with the 18 clubs paying 23 home and away matches over the 25 weeks that it runs.

One of the key changes to be introduced is going to be that the kick-off times for the Thursday and Friday night matches are being brought forward ten minutes from 7.40 to 7.30 eastern time following requests from fans.

And something that we’ll be seeing return following its success last year will be Gather Round. All 18 clubs will play in South Australia for round four of the season over the four days between 4 and 7 April.

A look back at last season

Last season saw Collingwood being crowned champions having beaten Brisban Lions 12.18 to 13.8 in the final, their sixteenth premiership win.

They’d started the season with a flyer, ending Geelong’s 16-game unbeaten streak and carried on in the same vein, eventually winning 18 of their 23 matches, one ahead of their Brisbane rivals.

Other notable events included St. Kilda celebrating their 150th anniversary with a top six finish, sadly not progressing beyond the first round in the finals.

The continued popularity of the sport was also underlined by some record crowds including the 95,179 fans who turned to see Collingwood v Essendon in round six and the 61,157 who watched the champions beat Fremantle 18.5 to 10.7 in round eighteen.

Kicking the season off

With the fixtures having been announced there are some enticing ones to look out for in the early rounds. Highlight of the opening one of the season must surely be the Brisbane Lions v Carlton.

Expect fans of last season’s runners up to raise the roof at The Gabba when their heroes emerge from the tunnel. Then round one will see the MCG come alive when Melbourne take on the Western Bulldogs for a Sunday game on 17 March.

These are just two of the games to get every Aussie Rules fan salivating at the prospect – and there are plenty more to anticipate.

Planning for the season

Every team will have their own individual plans for the season – and with 18 of them there’s not space to look at them all here. So, instead, here’s a quick summary of what last season’s top two need to do if they want to retain their dominance – and how the bottom two might be able to raise their game.


If you’re a footie fan who likes a flutter, Collingwood are as good a prospect as the most generous of online slots when it comes to backing them.

So for this season they’ll just be looking to keep on going like the juggernaut they were last season. Some of the key players may be getting past their prime now including Scott Pendlebury, Jeremy Howe and Jamie Elliot.

But hopefully they’ve spent the off season maintaining their fitness and building up their appetite for a last hurrah or two.

Brisbane Lions

It must have hurt to have come so close but fallen short last season, so the Lions will definitely be aiming to make amends in 2024.

The age of their players definitely won’t be an issue with the three 30 year-olds Lachie Neale, Joe Daniher and Charlie Cameron on the books, with an even younger squad below them.

New draftee Levi Ashcroft will be hoping to make a big impression and Tom Doedee and Will Ashcroft should be back and fit from injury to help the Lions to another year in the finals.

North Melbourne

The team had a truly wretched season, their fourth bottom-two finish on the trot. Controversy off the field dogged them too thanks to the Hawthorn racism allegations, ruled unfounded, levelled at head coach Alastair Clarkson.

This season they will be hoping to put it all behind them and notch up more than the three wins they achieved out of 23 games played. With players like Harry Sheezel and George Wardlaw they have the quality on paper. It’s just going to be a question of bringing it to life on the pitch.

West Coast Eagles

There’s no denying that multiple injuries did the Eagles no favours last season but hopefully they won’t suffer the same fate in 2024.

What they do need to do is have an influx of fresh new talent in the draft to join their 2022 arrivals Reuben Ginbey, Noah Long and Elijah Hewett. Get these firing on all cylinders and they should have a better season all round.

So here’s looking forward to March. It might be getting towards the end of the summer by then, but the action on the ovals all round the country promises to be hot, hot, hot.

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