The first round of the 2009 NAB Cup is halfway over. You can’t read too much into the results because to compare these to the regular season AFL results is like comparing apples and oranges. The rules are different and the teams are different as the coaches throw their squads around in an effort to blood their youngsters.

Collingwood were impressive in defeating the West Coast Eagles as were Richmond in getting the better of Fremantle but we’ll have to wait until the AFL Grand Final to see if these mean anything.

Looking with hindsight at last year’s NAB Cup and last year’s AFL ladder you can glean a few things. North Melbourne, Sydney and Collingwood were the only first round losers to make the eight. St Kilda and Adelaide contested the final and both ended up making the eight.

Brisbane face a quarter-final match-up with Essendon. They will be looking forward to playing in Melbourne as the AFL fixture doesn’t afford them that many opportunities to do so. The other quarter-final pairing which has already been set is Collingwood taking on Richmond. It’s a good chance to see these two traditional rivals clash as they don’t meet until the third last round of the season.

As far as AFL betting goes, Geelong are at 3.10 to take win the Grand Final while last year’s champions Hawthorn are at 4. The next in line are the Western Bulldogs at 14.50 which is a considerable jump and indicates how much those two are ahead of the rest of the field. On anyone else you are going to get some healthy AFL odds. Once were powerhouses Essendon is at 50 with the West Coast Eagles at 85.

The AFL season is a very long one and there is a lot of football to be played until the last Saturday in September. As always, it should be a fascinating ride.

David Wiseman is a professional sports writer who covers AFL and all Aussie sports for Betfair Australia. As well as the AFC season he is especially looking forward to the Ashes cricket.