The 2012 AFL season begins this Saturday night with a local derby between the Sydney Swans and the AFL’s newcomers the Greater Western Sydney Giants.
In what will be a stand alone AFL game this weekend, history will be made as the Giants play their first big league match following years of hard work and investment from a number of parties.
There will be plenty of feeling in the match as the Swans look to stamp their dominance of the code in a region where they have existed as the sole AFL team since the South Melbourne Football Club relocated to the harbour city in 1982.
GWS will be looking to prove they are no little brother and are not to be taken lightly in their first ever year in the spotlight.
They produced some respectable efforts in the pre-season NAB Cup which included victory over the Gold Coast Suns and close matches with the Western Bulldogs and Collingwood but they still experienced some frightful floggings of more than 70 points from Hawthorn and Richmond.
The Giants have received some bad news heading in to the much-hyped encounter with star recruit Tom Scully suffering a cheek fracture after colliding with team mate Israel Folau in last weekend’s practice match with Richmond.
High profile Rugby League recruit Folau has been given the green light to make his AFL debut after being cleared of two separate rough conduct charges by the AFL match review panel.
The Swans will head into the match as unbackable $1.01 favourites at bookmaker.com.au after enjoying a successful pre-season which was highlighted by quick ball movement and some excellent long kicking.
The rest of the first round in the 2012 AFL season will take place next weekend from Thursday March 29 through to Sunday April 1.
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AFL Draw – Round 1 2012
Saturday March 24 – 7:20pm – GWS V Sydney
Thursday March 29 – 7:45pm – Richmond V Carlton
Friday March 30 – 7:50pm – Hawthorn V Collingwood
Saturday March 31 – 1:45pm – Melbourne V Brisbane
Saturday March 31 – 3:45pm – Gold Coast V Adelaide
Saturday March 31 – 4:45pm – Fremantle V Geelong
Saturday March 31 – 7:45pm – North Melbourne V Essendon
Sunday April 1 – 1:10pm – Western Bulldogs V West Coast
Sunday April 1 – 4:10pm – Port Adelaide V St Kilda
Home teams listed first. All times listed are local time.