As noted above, the most significant difference from 2020 to 2021 has been Melbourne's application of pressure; they have risen from 17th last year to first this year. As a result, their transition defense has become the finest in the AFL.
The Demons' defense is built on protecting the rim-protector effectively. Jack Trengove is a big man who can protect the rim, while Clayton Oliver is a quick guard who can cover some ground when necessary. Both players are strong on their feet and don't shy away from contact.
Jack Viney is another key component of Melbourne's defense. He starts off as a ball-handler who can attack the basket at times, but also knows how to find open men on the perimeter. Once he gets into the mid-range area, however, he becomes even more effective because he can shoot over defenders or drive by them for scores.
Finally, we have Christian Salem. He plays the two forward positions but is most effective when given the opportunity to shoot from outside. His long-range shooting ability makes up for his lack of height (6'4") compared to most power forwards.
In conclusion, the Melbourne defense is great because it combines size, speed, and skill into one cohesive unit.
Here are the top five contenders for the 2020 Premiership: Richmond has won three premierships in four years and will try to seal their place in AFL history as one of the greatest teams of all time by winning a third in a row in 2021. They currently lead the competition and have shown no signs of slowing down since their elimination from the 2019 finals series.
The Tigers had an even better season last year, finishing with 10 wins from its last 12 games, including a qualifying final victory over Carlton. The only team to beat them during that run was Brisbane, which makes sense given they played each other twice. Tom Boyd is a worthy captain-elect after another stellar season, while Bryce Dalton could be a star midfielder in future years.
Richmond's great era might come to an end in 2022 when several key players will be entering contract periods, but until then they're still the team to beat.
The Blues had another strong season in 2019, finishing with eight wins from its last 10 games, including a preliminary final loss to Richmond. While it wasn't enough to make the playoffs, it's important to note Richmond also lost several big names from last year's side, so Chris Yarran and company should be able to repeat some of its success this year.
The AFL extended its lead over the NRL in 2020, with overall NRL TV viewership, comprising the NRL Regular Season, NRL Finals, NRL Grand Final, and showpiece NRL State of Origin, falling 208,000 (-3.5 percent) to 5,763,000. The AFL retained most of its audience share from 2019 (4.7% vs 4.6%) despite losing the Grand Final to the New Zealand All Blacks.
The NRL's decline has been particularly steep this year, as broadcasters Fox Sports and Channel 9 switch their attention to the NBA's season opener. The AFL has also had some difficult years without Bernie Banton, who played a role in promoting its popularity during his time as National Football League commentator for Channel 9. However, the league has recently appointed former NFL executive Brian Swanson as its new chief operating officer, indicating that it intends to return to its hard-nosed roots.
In terms of audience share, the AFL remains far ahead of the NRL, with 51.8% vs 7.8%. However, these figures do not take into account the millions more people will watch the NBA on Fox and FX than the NRL on Fox Sports and Nine.
Also worth mentioning is the fact that several high-profile players have announced their retirement from rugby league at various points in the past few years, which has reduced the number of matches being played.
The VFL was renamed the AFL around 30 years ago. There will be cities you recognize while selecting a team: Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne. But also consider these cities play important roles in other sports: Los Angeles has baseball and basketball, while Washington has football, hockey, and lacrosse.
Each club plays between 10 and 20 games per season (including finals), with the winner being determined by the best overall record. The league's top level is called "Division 1", and there are also two lower divisions called "Division 2" and "Division 3".
In addition to winning and losing records, the AFL awards prizes to its players. These include the Bremmery Medal for best and fairest player as well as the Jim 'Fizz' Watson Memorial Trophy for rookie of the year. The winners of these awards get to choose their own nicknames. For example, Peter Matera won the Bremmery Medal in 2009 and was named the "Sunsie".
There are several rules that need to be followed by all clubs to play in the league. Most importantly, they need to be Australian rules football teams. This means they must have nine players on the field at one time and they can only have six players from one family.
According to Roy Morgan Research, the Swans are the most popular AFL team in Australia in 2020, with 1.052 million supporters. The remarkable numbers outnumber the second most popular team, Collingwood, which has 726,000 fans. Third place goes to West Coast with 545,000 fans followed by Adelaide at 474,000 fans.
In 2016, The Swans were ranked the most popular football (soccer) team in Australia. It was revealed by research conducted by Roy Morgan that more than 1.5 million Australians follow the club from Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. Second place went to Central Coast Mariners with 940,000 fans followed by Western Sydney Wanderers with 390,000 fans.
In terms of actual attendances, it's hard to compare across leagues and years. However, according to the Australian Sports Commission, in 2017 the Swan City Bulldogs had the highest average attendance per match in the AFL with 14,179 fans attending each game. Second place went to Richmond with an average attendance of 12,928 fans per game.
Collingwood was found to have the highest average attendance per match in the VFL in 2017 with 10,617 fans turning up for each game played by the Magpies. Richmond was again listed as the league's most popular team with an average attendance of 10,617 fans per game.