Much like George Pell after a sermon, the AFL’s JLT Community Series has snuck up on us by surprise (Finally, time for some topical humour). Gosh time flies, I remember when the pre-season used to be the Ansett Australia Cup, and then the Wizard Home Loans Cup, and then the NAB Cup.
Remember that time Carlton beat West Coast to win the 2005 Wizard Home Loans Cup? Boy, what a form reference that turned out to be.
First, some NEW RULES, In easy to understand language.
6/6/6 Starting positions- A rule introduced by Lucifer aka Gillon, this simply means traditional starting positions at every centre bounce. At least it’s not zones.
Kick ins- The man on the mark is now 10m from the top of the goalsquare, and players no longer have to kick to themselves when playing on.
In a similar defensive rule change designed to give players more room to clear the ball, the man on the mark will be brought back in line with the top of the goalsquare when defenders mark or receive a free kick within nine metres of their own goal.
Unfortunately I can’t translate that into English.
50m Penalties– Players who receive a 50m penalty can now play on while the distance is measured.
Umpire contact- After a spate of player on umpire violence last year, Umpires are now allowed to carry stun guns and restrain players who make contact with them. And then they have to pay a free kick for careless contact.
Runners: As teams began abusing the use of runners and waterboys in games, they can now only come on after goals, so that means you’ll never see them at Dockers games.
Ruck contests (Big one here)– Ruckman who take direct possession of the ball from a bounce, throw-up or boundary throw-in will no longer be regarded as having prior opportunity to dispose of the ball.
In layperson’s terms, Merry Christmas Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy!
Amazing, these multiple rule changes will make a very simple game to understand even more simple to understand.
Now to the actual games from Thursday to Monday!
Carlton vs Essendon at Ikon Park (6:40pm AEDT)
While No.1 pick Sam Walsh will get a game in front of TV cameras, Patty Cripps will have to settle back in to the brutal reality of having no midfield support, after a blissful Friday evening of AFLX where he was allowed to roam free and play forward, and experience the joy of winning games.
On the flip side, hey Dons fans, this guy is back!
West Coast vs Geelong at Leederville Oval (4:10pm AWST, 7:10 AEDT)
It’s great to see these JLT games being played in the regional centres of WA, like Leederville, located just 5 minutes outside of the Perth CBD.
Also, it’s great (And fitting) to see the Cats playing on a ground that Polly Farmer made his own back in the late 1960s. Look him up kids, he’s so good we named a freeway in Perth after him.
North Melbourne vs St Kilda at Avalon Airport Oval (1:10pm AEDT)
Losing Jack Steven, the boy from Lorne on the Great Ocean Road and a good friend of my cousin Lewis, is a real body blow for the Saints, as he will sit out the season to deal with mental health issues, and to top off the news, temperatures will hit around 36 degrees on Saturday afternoon in South-West Victoria.
Why is everything about the existence of the St Kilda Football Club filled with tragedy, misery, and sadness?
Adelaide vs Port Adelaide at Memorial Oval, Port Pirie (3:40pm ACDT)
The South Australian stalwarts take a trip up the Princes Highway for a pre-season Showdown, after both missed the finals for the first time since 2011.
The Camry Crows have gained a habit of doing weird crap on pre-season camps, from the Firewalking episode of 1992, to the Collective Minds talking stick business of 2018, which was so utterly stupid and hilarious it forced the Crows to do a press conference…. in June.
Speaking of which, here’s Nigel Smart getting his feet seared on said Firewalk.
GWS vs Sydney Swans at Blacktown ISP (7:10pm AEDT)
George Hewett will be put in witness protection just before the game to make sure Shane Mumford can’t finish off the job. Speaking of which, Mummy got his suspension downgraded to a fine.
Brisbane vs Hawthorn at Moreton Bay Sports Complex (12:40pm AEST, 1:40 AEDT)-
One day Hawthorn fans will find out who broke Tom Mitchell’s leg in a training drill in January 2019, and scapegoat them for the next several years. For the record, my money’s on some spud who will get delisted at the end of the season.
Richmond vs Melbourne at Deakin Reserve, Shepparton (4:40pm AEDT)-
This week the Tigers finally bit the bullet and removed George Pell as a Vice Patron. Did you know that Pell once signed with Richmond in the late ’50s and could have potentially played in several premierships in the 1960s, but instead he chose a life of crime and friendship with Coalition members. Shame.
Gold Coast vs Western Bulldogs at Great Barrier Reef Arena, Mackay (6:40pm AEST, 7:40 AEDT)–
Much like the Barrier Reef, the Suns are a man-made disaster, as the people of Mackay will once again experience on the weekend.
Fremantle vs Collingwood at HBF Arena, Joondalup (3:40pm AWST, 6:40 AEDT)
If you think I’ll be spending my public holiday Monday not driving up to Joondalup to watch this game, you’d be absolutely correct.
TL:DR for you folks north of the Murray River, It’s the Gayfl Pre-Season, so I apologise for making you read this.
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