Deemed as one of the biggest and most celebrated annual events on the Australian sporting landscape, the 2017 Australian Football League (AFL) marks the 121 st season of the elite Australian rules football competition. This year, 18 teams are competing in the league , the same teams in the last five years.
Competing teams include the Adelaide Crows, Brisbane Lions, Carlton Blues, Collingwood Victoria, Essendon Bombers, Fremantle Dockers, Geelong Cats, Gold Coast Suns, Greater Western Sydney, Hawthorn Hawks, Melbourne Demons, North Melbourne Kangaroos, Port Adelaide Power, Richmond Tigers, St Kilda Saints, Sydney Swans, West Coast Eagles and Western Bulldogs.
The league has a pre-season competition, also known as the "JLT Community Series", followed by a 23-round regular. Every year, the "home-and-away" season runs from March to September (during the Australian winter). Then top eight teams play off in a four-round finals series, concluding in the AFL Grand Final, which is held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
The winning team in the Grand Final is called the "premiers", and is presented the premiership cup.
The first AFL game began on March 23 and is scheduled to end on September 30, 2017.
Who do you think will win the 2017 AFL premiership?
Western Bulldogs, the reigning premiers, prevailed over the Sydney Swans by 22 points to pocket their second premiership title and their first after 62 years at the 2016 AFL Grand Final. Wester Bulldogs star Jason Johannisen was presented the Norm Smith Medal as the best player on the ground.
Geelong star Patrick Dangerfield bagged the Brownlow Medal, voted by the umpires as the best player in the league for the home-and-away season, while Josh Kennedy of the West Coast Eagles collected the Coleman Medal as the highest goal scorer in the competition.
Last year, 99,981 spectators packed the stands of the historic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) for the annual grand final of the AFL.
As one of Australia's largest sporting events, the AFL Grand Final has been a 'sell-out' for over two decades, and is widely known s one of the hardest competitions to secure tickets for, with only a small number available to the general public.
Make sure you book a reliable car hire in Melbourne
in advance to get the lowest rates so you can enjoy, join and catch the footy fever.
Did you know that the largest crowd at a AFL Grand Final was 121,696 in 1970? That year, Carlton won against Collingwood in what is recognised as one of the greatest AFL Grand Finals of all time!
Which AFL team this year do you think will be awarded the premiers? Make sure to let us know in the comments!