AFL Round One 2019: Carlton v Richmond – Five Reasons to Watch

Who else is looking forward to footy’s return? If not here are five reasons you should tune in on Thursday night.

Overview

The 2019 AFL season opens once again with Carlton and Richmond locking horns at the MCG. Both clubs will be disappointed with their 2018 campaigns but realistically enter this season with wildly different expectations. So while on paper the result of this game would seem obvious, Round One has a happy knack of disregarding these assumptions.


Last Five Encounters

2018Rd 1Rich17.19 (121)Carl15.5 (95)MCG90,151
2017Rd 14Rich11.18 (84)Carl8.10 (58)MCG64,448
2017Rd 1Rich20.12 (132)Carl14.5 (89)MCG73,137
2016Rd 1Rich14.8 (92)Carl12.11 (83)MCG75,706
2015Rd 15Rich10.11 (71)Carl5.11 (41)MCG52,564

Carlton have not tasted victory against Richmond since the Elimination Final boilover back in 2013. The Tigers winning streak since that famous day is seven, and they’ve won the last five round one encounters between the two bitter rivals.


Five Reasons to Watch

1. It’s the first game of the season.

After five long barren football-less months, football’s back and this is your first chance to spend an evening taking in all its glory. Every team is undefeated and they each dream of what the next six months hold for them. Round One is a beautiful time, what kind of football fan misses the first game of the season?


2. Richmond’s response to their bitter 2018 finals exit

Right up until Collingwood spoiled the party in the Prelim Final, it seemed a fait accompli that the Tigers would end 2018 with back to back Premierships. All that changed in one night when they fell to succumbed to the relentless Magpies. How will the despair of glory lost manifest itself when confronted with their first opponent of the new campaign?


3. Dusty versus Cripps

While it is unlikely that they will play directly against each other, the chance to see two of the best five midfielders in the game, on opposite sides is a mouthwatering prospect. Arguably the most explosive players in the game, Martin will once again play a major role in the Tigers premiership hopes. Cripps, despite his tender years, has already been the general of Carlton’s midfield for some time. If you were in two minds about whether to watch this game or not, surely the possibility of seeing these two bulls fighting tooth and nail for the same Sherrin should have you tuning in.


4. Sam Walsh

This kid looks like he could well be everything Carlton fans hoped for and then some. While he has a bit of growing to do to fill out his frame, he looks ready to have an impact in his debut season. By no means the finished product, but who is at 18-years-old, plenty of good judges are eagerly anticipating what Walsh can become. Thursday night is his first step on that journey, and just how he goes at the top level is an intriguing proposition.


5. Tiger Tommy

Despite the fact that at the time of writing there is a big question mark on whether Tom Lynch will line up for the Tigers, either way it will be intriguing to see how the Tigers forward line functions with or without him. If he plays, the Tigers arguably will be armed with the best one-two key-forward punch in the competition. If he doesn’t, the spectre of what he could add when available will hang over what Richmond does produce up forward.


Prediction

Memories of GWS beating Sydney when 23-1 outsiders with the bookies is almost enough flimsy evidence for me to make an outlandish prediction. Almost, then I remember Carlton won two games last year and Richmond finished on top of the ladder. The Blues will be better this year but not good enough to get the points on this night. Richmond will win by 24 points.

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