The Richmond Tigers Football Club in action
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Australian Rules Football season kicks off with rule changes for 2020 due to COVID-19

The 2020 Australian Rules Football campaign began Thursday the same way it ended 2019, with a win for the Richmond Tigers.

Sean Miller

Sean Miller

The world of sport has become a strange place in 2020, thanks to the COVID-19 virus.

But there are still pockets of sports around the globe, and Thursday night, one of the biggest leagues kicked off with no fans.

The 2020 Australian Rules Football campaign began Thursday the same way it ended 2019, with a win for the Richmond Tigers. Richmond comes into the new season as the betting favorite to win another AFL title, after the Tigers routed GWS 114-25 in front of over 100,000 fans at the MCG.

Richmond won the opening match Thursday, 16.9 (104) 12.9 (81) over Carlton, which opened the abbreviated season. Instead of 22 matches, each team will play 17, with flexibility built into the schedule for expected breaks due to the COVID-19 virus. Quarters will also be 16 minutes instead of 20.

Here are a few of the other changes posted on the official site:

As per the 2019 season, runners are permitted to enter the playing arena after a goal has been scored, however must be off, or making their way off the arena as the umpire commences their approach to bounce the ball to restart play.

Clubs will also be permitted to use a runner an additional two times per quarter for a maximum of ninety (90) seconds each time during live play.

Runners are not permitted to be on the ground at any time during the final three (3) minutes of each quarter (except after goals) and this applies irrespective of whether the additional two instances have been used or not.

So while so much is shut down, the AFL is going to give it a go in 2020. There will be challenges, but there is now something else for fans to watch, and to bet, to take their minds away from the gloom hanging over this year.

All lines from Parx Casino Sportsbook — Check Fubo.tv for channel listings

ODDS TO WIN AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Richmond +350

West Coast +650

Collingwood +700

GWS +750

Brisbane +1000

Geelong +1000

Western +1200

Hawthorn +1800

Essendon +2500

Melbourne +2500

St. Kilda +3000

Carlton +3300

North Melbourne +3500

Adelaide +4000

Fremantle +4000

Sydney +4000

Gold Coast +20000

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