They say a week is a long time in footy, but this past 12 months has felt nothing short of an eternity for football across the country.
It’s been exactly 382 days since the WAFL was stopped in its tracks on the eve of the 2020 campaign by COVID-19, thus
beginning the slogan of a ‘season like no other.’
The competition stopped then started but looked entirely different; 16-minute quarters, a nine-round season and a top four finals series. It was WAFL football, but not as we knew it.
Fortunately, unlike most other State Leagues, the WAFL was able to complete a season, with the undoubted highlight taking place in the last game of the year. 10,000 fans packed Fremantle Community Bank Oval to witness a fitting Grand Final between South Fremantle and Claremont.
The arm wrestle of a contest thrilled spectators and fans around the state, with the Bulldogs finishing three-point victors and deserved Premiers. We arrive at the beginning of the 2021 Optus WAFL Season with renewed optimism.
The competition returns to 20 rounds.
Quarters change back to 20 minutes plus time on.
The five best teams will battle it out in the WAFL Finals Series.
And the West Coast Eagles return to the competition.
If that isn’t enough, more than 700 games of AFL experience have made its way back to the WAFL, bringing even more talent to a competition brimming with excitement.
Premiership defender Lewis Jetta is back where it all began at Swan Districts, while fellow teammate Will Schofield becomes the enemy at Peel Thunder.
Matt Parker has made his way from St Kilda to the Bulldogs, while the Cam McCarthy show will roll on in Fremantle, just down the road on Parry St.
The Tigers collected a trio of homegrown players from both Fremantle and West Coast, as Perth build their squad further with Doulton Langlands (St Kilda) and Josh Smith (West Coast) joining at Mineral Resources Park.
East Fremantle had a busy offseason with the acquisition of Jonathon Marsh (St Kilda) and Josh Schoenfeld (Gold Coast), while East Perth and West Perth look to maintain their squads ahead of the new campaign.
Brandon Matera has become a Subiaco Lion and will pair up with his brother in the maroon for season 2021.
Coupled with the exciting player intake, the competition will become as accessible as it has ever been with up to five games a week being broadcast across TV, Radio and Live Stream.
Channel 7 will broadcast 20 games across the season, including the Optus WAFL Grand Final, Optus WAFLW Grand Final and Simply Energy WAFL Colts Grand Final.
The WAFL and The West Australian are live streaming up to four games a weekend across the WAFL Club Facebook pages and www.thewest.com.au.
SportFM continues their strong affinity with the WAFL to broadcast a ‘Game of the Round’ on the radio, while SEN will begin to cover games and broadcast across the Southwest and on digital.
We open the season with the simple phrase of ‘This is Home.’
The WAFL community stretches far beyond the West Australian borders. Once you join the WAFL, you’re family you’re a part of the story forever. We revere our history, are excited about the future, we protect our own and its place where family means everything.
So, no matter how far you travel or where you’ve been, the WAFL is always home.
Bring on season 2021!