Are you like me? An Aussie abroad who can’t stand to miss any of the Australian Football League (AFL) action. Well, it’s nearly here, the 2019 AFL Season.
We’ve been waiting six months since the West Coast Eagles came back to pull off a 5 point victory over the Collingwood Magpies in one of the greatest recent grand finals. List changes are done, trades have been made, draft picks have been shown off in the JLT Community Cup, now we’re ready for business with what will likely be a hugely one-sided clash between Carlton and Richmond to open the season. Nice thinking, AFL.
What to Lookout for in the 2019 AFL Season
Anyway, not too many pundits are backing the Eagles to go back to back, but with Gaff, Naitanui and Sheppard to return to the lineup, the premiership winning side should be strengthened further.
Collingwood and Richmond are tipped to maintain their positions to find themselves a spot in the big dance at the end of the season. The returning Dayne Beams for the Pies and Tom Lynch recruited to bolster the forward line of the Tigers leave no reason to believe they won’t find themselves playing deep in to September again.
Both South Australian sides underperformed last season. Hopefully, for Port Adelaide, 2017 recruits Jack Watts and Tom Rockliff can return to peak form and push the Power into contention. Adelaide will have some returning soldiers who were injured last year but a few of their stars are aging. So can they return to the heights of 2017?
Melbourne showed how capable they are and their younger side will have gained a lot from their finals experience last year. They have now had a taste of finals and with their solid spine are set up for good things again this season. Perhaps a smokey will come and surprise everyone this season.
Despite missing out on finals, North Melbourne showed that they should be a side to be feared. The young Bulldogs slipped quickly following their 2016 success but now a lot of their players are hitting their mid-20s. Maybe they will surprise everyone again and make a deep finals run from nowhere.
Unfortunately, for Carlton fans it looks like another tough season. They showed glimpses of promise at times but again a few injuries to star players, particularly co-captain Sam Docherty means it will probably be a tough slog again for the Blues.
How to Watch the 2019 AFL Season Abroad
Enough of me getting overly excited for the season.
For those of you with subscriptions to Kayo Sports or Foxtel Now there are ways to utilise your subscriptions overseas without having to buy a subscription to the AFL Live Pass or WatchAFL. Because sometimes you just want to watch the game in the comfort of your own home and not have to find an obscure sports bar that plays Australia's great game.
Why Not Just Buy the AFL Live Pass or WatchAFL?
There is no problem with buying the Live Pass or a subscription to WatchAFL, but if you already have a subscription to another service it can be a little pricey.
On top of that, the AFL Live Pass is restricted to mobile use only. Therefore, you only have a 7 inch screen to watch from which is not ideal, especially if more than one person wants to watch.
While WatchAFL is restricted to use outside of Australia. So if you're back home for a visit you might as well cancel your subscription, or use it through a VPN.
How To Make Use of Your Subscriptions and Watch AFL 2019 Overseas
The problem with streaming services such as WatchAFL, Kayo Sports and Foxtel Now is their use is geo-restricted to outside of Australia for WatchAFL and within Australia for the other two. There is a way to get around this and that is with the use of a VPN.
By using a VPN you can change the location of your IP address to Australia and avoid the region lockouts. Just follow three steps:
- Download VPN software
- Login and connect to any Australian server
- Watch AFL through whichever streaming service you are currently connected to
How Do VPNs Work and Which VPN Is Best?
VPNs simply provide a secure connection between your device and the providers server before connecting you to the internet. So, whichever server you connect to is essentially "where you are" to the internet. If you have subscriptions to streaming services all over the world you can connect to them no matter where you are.
ExpressVPN is more expensive, but is also more comprehensive. There are servers that can be connected to in almost every country all over the world, they have a 30 day risk free trial and 24/7 customer service.
NordVPN doesn’t have as many servers spread globally but it is a little cheaper. If you only plan on watching AFL, NordVPN will be fine, but if you are a big sports fan who wants to watch sports from all over the globe then ExpressVPN will probably be the correct choice for you.
The 2019 AFL Season
Here is a link to the fixtures for the 2019 AFL Season so you don’t miss a thing.
If you don’t plan on watching the whole season but want to watch only a few of the biggest matches of the season, I have provided them for you just below:
Thursday, March 21, 7.20pm AEDT
Carlton v Richmond, MCG (Season Opener)
Thursday, March 28, 7.20pm AEDT
Richmond v Collingwood, MCG
Saturday, April 6, 7.25pm AEDT
Collingwood v West Coast, MCG (Grand Final Rematch)
Saturday, April 13, 6.10pm AWST
West Coast v Fremantle, Optus Oval (Western Derby)
Monday, April 22, 3.20pm AEST
Hawthorn v Geelong, MCG (Easter Monday)
Thursday, April 25, 3.20pm AEST
Essendon v Collingwood, MCG (ANZAC Day Clash)
Saturday, May 11, 7.10pm ACST
Port Adelaide v Adelaide, Adelaide Oval (Showdown)
Monday, June 10, 3.20pm AEST
Collingwood v Melbourne, MCG (Queen’s Birthday Clash)
My completely unbiased prediction for the season is that my beloved Eagles will go back-to-back and hopefully this time I can watch the Grand Final in my own home with friends and not get up at 4am in Germany trying to find a bar to play it.
Share your thoughts on the season below. Can the Eagles go back-to-back or will one of the Tigers, Magpies or Demons reign supreme? What about the Brownlow?