After much coronavirus-related deliberation and meetings deep into Wednesday night, AFL Round 1 is forging ahead as scheduled – albeit in empty stadiums. The first AFL Best Bet on Ground for 2020 narrows its focus on GWS Giants’ meeting with Geelong Cats.

There’s a string of intriguing match-ups to get the premiership underway. But the most anticipated is undoubtedly the heavyweight showdown between the Giants and Cats on Saturday afternoon.

The marquee clash will entail an extra edge for punters with the Best Bet on Ground. Rival full forwards Jeremy Cameron ($7) and Tom Hawkins ($10) are the hot tips in the 1st Goal Scorer market – and the people have spoken, with nearly two-thirds of fans voting for Giants champion Cameron as the better bet.

Last year’s maiden AFL grand final appearance did not go according to plan for the Giants. But it was nevertheless a watershed campaign for the league’s youngest club and this ultra-talented squad looked primed to go one better in 2020.

The gritty Cats finished minor premiers last year before falling to Richmond in the prelim. Their roster is ageing but overflowing with some of the modern era’s finest exponents.

This encounter seems destined to go down the wire – and four of the last six Giants-Cats fixtures were decided by 13 points or less.

The Giants claimed just their second win over the Cats in Round 4 last season, coming from 21 points down at halftime to win a four-point thriller. Cameron and Hawkins both kicked three of their respective teams’ 11 goals, though it was Patrick Dangerfield who slotted the first of the match.

Sharpshooters coming off big 2019 seasons

Cameron claimed the Coleman Medal in 2019 with 67 goals (plus nine more in the finals). He kicked a bag of 3 or more on 16 occasions from 24 appearances – including in each of the first seven rounds. Cameron also kicked the first goal in the grand final.

Veteran Hawkins booted 52 goals in the 2019 regular season, with nine hauls of 3 or more.

Both superstar marksmen are sure to feature prominently as the Giants and Cats strive to open the wildest AFL season on record with a victory.