The beauty and the tyranny of playing a game with an oblong ball is that you never know how it’s gonna bounce.
Sometimes, it goes the way you want it to, leading to a magnificent goal or continuing a long thrilling run down the wing to set up a teammate.
Other times, however, it bounds away into nothing, causing absolute chaos in the process.
The whole of 2020 seemed like the former, like a Sherrin careening in ways that no one was ready for, leaving us all flummoxed. The experience of that year is much more complex than that analogy, but I think we can all agree that we were hoping for kinder metaphorical physics when this year dawned some 365 days or so ago.
There was no reason not to be optimistic for 2021. Vaccines starting to be rolled out, society was showing that it could be flexible in being as normal as possible during a pandemic, and it looked like we would be able to play footy again.
There was no football played in 2020. But there was a lot of momentum and optimism provided by the push our sport got because of increased exposure. New passion mixed with an itching to get back on the park made the league’s 24th full year one of the most anticipated campaigns yet.
Our collective hope was that, much like a perfectly weighted downward push to the turf while at full sprint, we’d bounce back.
And that’s exactly what happened. It was a memorable season, full of highlights and promise. This is the year that was 2021:
Credit to the Girls
AFLW came back in full force after the league’s fourth season was truncated due to the pandemic. The USAFL hosted its first ever AFLW Grand Final preview show, hosted by yours truly with former Bulldogs’ great Brad Johnson, current Bulldogs AFLW player Kirsty Lamb, and AFLW expert Gemma Bastiani.
The game that followed was a thrilling victory for the Brisbane Lions, one that had a little local history in it; the Lions’ Jess Weutschner, who played for the Boston Demons in 2015, became the first former USAFL player to win an AFLW premiership. And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer person.
It was a rough year for Colorado’s Dani Marshall, who only played in five of the Bulldogs’ matches before being delisted in June. That didn’t stop her from having a strong season for the Doggies VFLW outfit, as she kicked five goals and showed her ability as a defender in the process.[Read more…] about That Was the Season That Was 2021