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Seasons
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The 2021 AFL Season was the 125th installment of elite Aussie Rules football and the 32nd edition since the formation of the Australian Football League. The season commenced on Thursday 18th March and will finish on September 25th.

Overview[]

Following a COVID- disrupted 2020 season, the AFL only released fixtures in select allotments and towards the end of the season on the week leading to the said round. Outbreaks of COVID across New South Wales meant that no games were played in New South Wales from Round 15 onwards. In rounds 11-14 Victorian clubs were banned from entering other states bar New South Wales and as such most games were shifted to Sydney. Round 15 and 16 bought about a nation-wide lockdown, all interstate teams relocated to Victoria. In the second-half of the season, most Victorian and New South Wales matches were without crowds. For the second year running, No AFL finals were played in Victoria, equally the Grand Final will be hosted at Optus Stadium. This is the second year in a row the Grand Final will be hosted outside of Melbourne.

The rules around quarter lengths were reversed back to 20 minutes. The pre-finals bye was scrapped and replaced by a pre-grand final bye to help ensure the clubs involved could adhere to Perth's strict COVID quarantine system.

Nathan Buckley stepped down as Collingwood coach mid-way through the season. Robert Harvey took the reigns for the remainder of the season with a Craig McRae hired as the permanent coach at season's end. Hawthorn set up a succession plan which would see Sam Mitchell become Hawthorn coach for the 2023 season, replacing Alastair Clarkson. Alastair Clarkson stepped down as Hawthorn coach effective at the end of the 2021 season, ending the succession plan and allowing Sam Mitchell to take the job. David Teague was sacked as Carlton coach following the conclusion of the Home and Away season with Michael Voss signed as his replacement.

Collingwood slipped from 8th to 17th, their poorest season in recent history. Richmond went from premiers to 12th, becoming just the third team in AFL history to fail to make finals as the previous premiers. West Coast went from 5th to 9th and missed finals for the first time since 2014. Saint Kilda also went from 6th to 10th. Essendon rose from 14th to 8th and Sydney jumped from 16th to 6th. Melbourne went from 9th to premiers.

Final Ladder[]

Position Team Played Won Loss Draw Percentage (%) Points
1 Melbourne Demons (Premiers) 22 17 4 1 130.8 70
2 Port Adelaide Power 22 17 5 0 126.3 68
3 Geelong Cats 22 16 6 0 126.7 64
4 Brisbane Lions 22 15 7 0 133.3 60
5 Western Bulldogs 22 15 7 0 132.8 60
6 Sydney Swans 22 15 7 0 119.9 60
7 Greater Western Sydney Giants 22 11 10 1 99.7 46
8 Essendon Bombers 22 11 11 0 109.1 44
9 West Coast Eagles 22 10 12 0 93.2 40
10 Saint Kilda Saints 22 10 12 0 91.5 40
11 Fremantle Dockers 22 10 12 0 86.5 40
12 Richmond Tigers 22 9 12 1 97.9 38
13 Carlton Blues 22 8 14 0 88.5 32
14 Hawthorn Hawks 22 7 13 2 85.2 32
15 Adelaide Crows 22 7 15 0 82.0 28
16 Gold Coast Suns 22 7 15 0 76.8 28
17 Collingwood Magpies 22 6 16 0 85.6 24
18 North Melbourne Kangaroos 22 4 17 1 70.3 18

Finals Series[]

                                   
  Qualifying Final    
1  Melbourne Demons  
4  Brisbane Lions     Semi Final    
     Brisbane Lions    
Elimination Final        Western Bulldogs       Preliminary Final  
5  Western Bulldogs        Melbourne Demons  
8  Essendon Bombers          Geelong Cats     Grand Final  
         Melbourne Demons
  Elimination Final         Preliminary Final        Western Bulldogs
6  Sydney Swans          Port Adelaide Power  
7  GWS Giants     Semi Final          Western Bulldogs  
     Geelong Cats    
Qualifying Final        GWS Giants    
2  Port Adelaide Power  
3  Geelong Cats  
   
Key:       Losing team progressing       Winning team progressing
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