The Watchables: Is Your Team Appointment Viewing In 2024?


The AFL is keen to give us more footy than ever in 2024, with initiatives like Gather Round and “Round Zero” providing the diehards with a ridiculous amount of action to sink their teeth into.

But let’s be real, as much as we’d all love to spend 20 hours a weekend absorbing every morsel of footy, life usually gets in the way.

Those of you with kids playing junior sports are basically resigned to the night slots, and even those of us not blessed by screaming and snot-nosed bundles of joy probably still have significant others who unfortunately require some amount of our attention.

So with limited hours to spend in front of the TV, or catching a sneaky second quarter on your phone, it’s absolutely crucial we spend our time wisely.

But what exactly is watchability? And what makes a team “watchable”? I suppose it’s all subjective, but for the sake of this column, I’m taking the following factors into account:

  • Overall aggression in team gameplan (scoring is fun!)
  • Quantity and calibre of superstar talent
  • Quantity and calibre of young future talent
  • How much is riding on their results? (is a coach on thin ice? etc.)
  • Revamped 22s following busy off seasons

So with all that in mind, I’ve tried to determine which teams are worth skipping that trip to the in-laws for, and which are in the firing line for the dreaded housework hour.

Read on for my full watchability rankings below:


  1. Collingwood

Drama, headlines and elite level footy, the reigning premiers are the hottest ticket in town. No matter how sick it makes you feel inside, you can’t deny Collingwood are must-see TV in 2024.


  1. Carlton

Rocketed up the ladder late last season all the way to the preliminary final. Stacked with talent across all positional lines, a hot start to the season would have the Blues bandwagon rocking on national levels.


  1. GWS Giants

Let’s be honest, Toby Greene is the only reason you need to tune into a GWS game. So long as he avoids the tribunal’s gaze, watching the Giants will be a blast.


  1. Adelaide

The Crows can hang points on anyone, and they may well have the best forward six in the competition this season. That, and Jordan Dawson is poetry in motion on the football field.


  1. Gold Coast Suns

Damien Hardwick has taken the reins and with that I fully expect to see refreshed outputs from guys like Jack Lukosius, Ben Ainsworth and plenty more. Plenty will scoff, but I’m rooting for that fairytale finals push for the Suns.


  1. Sydney

Plenty of questions around the Swans this season, which inevitably makes them a fun watch to find out how they’re answered. Will Logan McDonald provide a seamless shift following the retirement of generational star Lance Franklin? Is Brodie Grundy still among the elite rucks?


  1. Port Adelaide

Now that the Jason Horne-Francis national booing farce is (hopefully) behind us, I’m excited to see what the young star can produce in year three of his AFL career. Alongside Connor Rozee and Zak Butters, they form what, to me, is the best young midfield in the competition.


  1. Western Bulldogs

I made it clear in my debut Mongrel column that I’m down on the Bulldogs’ 2024 prospects, but personal pessimism aside, they still have loads of reasons to tune into their games. Marcus Bontempelli is the obvious one, but another year of progression for the three-pronged attack of Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, Sam Darcy and Aaron Naughton is a headline in itself.


  1. West Coast

The last thing I want to do is join the unrelenting media circus carrying on about Harley Reid, but hey, the show must go on. The most hyped number one draft pick of all time will undoubtedly be one of the season’s biggest storylines, immediately making West Coast a worthy watch (even if the rest of the club remains a basket case, which it does).


  1. Melbourne

Genuinely the hardest team to place on this list, and one I might have gotten wrong. Opted to have the Dees on the lower end of the spectrum here just because they feel like a known quantity at this point, but the Clayton Oliver questions, off-field drama and desperate need to re-prove themselves in September means they should probably be higher.


  1. Brisbane

They’d likely be a lot higher if young gun Will Ashcroft was healthy, but in terms of “watchability”, I just don’t think Brisbane will throw many curveballs at viewers. Their reliability works against them. We know they’ll win their home games, we know they’ll be a September factor. Rinse, repeat.


  1. North Melbourne

They’re still not going to be very good, but North Melbourne’s young guns make them appealing to the more studious footy fans. George Wardlaw, Harry Sheezel, Colby McKercher, Zane Duursma and the many more I can’t be bothered listing make North a fun watch despite the likelihood of lop-sided results against them.


  1. St. Kilda

It’s harsh for a team that made finals last year to be ranked 13th in watchability, but outside of maybe Mitch Owens, Max King and Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera, there aren’t many other “appointment viewing” stars on the Saints.


  1. Geelong

Feels criminal to have the team Jeremy Cameron plays for so low on this list, but much like the Lions, we kind of know who the Cats are. Personally, I don’t expect them to return to the top eight, and outside a couple young midfielders maybe finding more prominent roles, not too much has changed.


  1. Fremantle

Fair disclaimer, this is (somewhat sadly) my supported team, so I’ll be tuning into Freo games come hell or high water. However, from a national point of view, I understand how the neutral fan sees the Dockers as a bit of a yawn machine. A refreshed midfield mix and the continued development of a freakish Luke Jackson is certainly appetising, but they’re not much of a headline generator outside the West.


  1. Hawthorn

By the criteria I’m basing this column on, you can make a case the Hawks are a more interesting watch than many teams ranked above them. But while super impressive, Hawthorn’s youth still feels a year or two away from starting a genuine ascension.


  1. Richmond

Hard to see a bunch of reasons to get excited about the Tigers prospects in 2024. Dustin Martin and Shai Bolton remain among the AFL’s most watchable players, but as a team, I don’t expect them to make some rapid return to the ladder’s upper end.


  1. Essendon

Sorry Bombers, but, ya boring! Jake Stringer remains the most exciting player wearing the sash and while guys like Sam Draper and Mason Redman bring plenty of character, it’s still tough to get pumped about a Friday night with the Bombers on the telly.