The opening week of AFL premiership week is all about who will win the first-round bye.
But who will emerge as the victor and who will be left behind?
Read more:Read moreThe AFL is in an uproar over the AFLPA’s decision to change the bye rules.
The AFL and the AFL Players Association have said they were forced to make the changes after the AFLN’s chief executive, John Grant, said the AFL wanted to put a “big focus” on its games in the early days of the competition.
But if we are going to be honest, it is really only going to come down to two people: who the AFL really wants to win the premiership.
And the two people who have already been declared winners are a little bit of a mystery.
The AFL’s new rules change will see each club win one round of the game if they win the final, regardless of the outcome of the previous round.
The rule is in place to ensure the AFL can put the best teams on the field at the right times.
If a team is in contention for a top-four spot in the competition and wins the final four games, they are guaranteed a spot in next year’s grand final, with the premiers’ first-ever match at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne.
The change is in effect from April 1.
In 2017, Essendon and Hawthorn had the best records at the end of the regular season and the last four games.
The Bombers had a bye week ahead of the grand final.
But the Bombers were beaten by Richmond in the final and lost by North Melbourne in round 18.
The next week, the Tigers beat Collingwood by just three points in round 13, with Hawthorn losing by eight to Geelong in round 15.
But both clubs were beaten in the next four games and the next five weeks, the Bombs were beaten at home by Geelong by eight points, and the Lions won by four points in Round 19 to finish the season.
This year, Essences loss to the Saints was its worst in 20 years, as it fell to the Bulldogs by three points.
It was also its worst result since 1999 when the Lions beat the Saints by a goal apiece in the last two games of the final.
The Eagles were also beaten by a score of three points to Adelaide in round 19.
The other team to win a game on the opening day of the finals, the Western Bulldogs, beat the St Kilda by seven points in the season’s opening round.
But the Bulldogs were knocked out of the tournament in round eight by the Hawks and the Tigers lost to the North Melbourne by four goals in the round 17.
The Bulldogs and Hawks had their best records in the first round, but were beaten out by Collingers North Melbourne and St Kildas North Melbourne.AAP/ABC