Is there anything more satisfying than watching the team you love playing footy in February and early March before the official season starts? The risk of injuries to key players is enough to send waves of adrenaline rushing through my body. Don’t get me wrong, I loved watching my beloved Cats get thumped by the Gold Coast Suns in front of 67 people at Metricon Stadium a week or so ago but I was more relieved when they all jumped on the bus unscathed after the match had ended.
Herein lies the question, what is the validity of preseason games? Is it worth the risk of serious injuries to superstar players? Are losses, without injuries, more important than flogging an under strength side when key men are struck down with injuries? Ask Tim Taranto and the G.W.S Giants that one.
The Marsh Community Series is a fantastic way to promote the great game of Australian Rules football to areas of Australia that may never have an opportunity to host such names as Patrick Dangerfield, Dustin Martin, Scott Pendlebury and Will Gould, a rookie draftee from Glenelg. Who you ask? You know, that Sydney Swans bloke who ironed out GWS Giants’ Matt De Boer at Blacktown International Sportspark. Mind you, this rookie has already won a flag with the Glenelg Tigers in the SANFL at the tender age of 18 against arch rivals Port Adelaide Magpies. This kid can play! To all Sydney Swans supporters, don’t wallow in self pity just yet.
Should those teams who lost their preseason fixtures hit the panic button? Should those supporters whose teams won so convincingly race to upgrade their membership packages to ensure grand final tickets come the last Saturday of September? Do preseason wins equate to premature expectations? Do preseason losses mean another year of heartache?
I read that Collingwood Magpies player Chris Mayne had 31 possessions against the reigning premiers Richmond Tigers, which proves my point. When was the last time Chris Mayne, a half-forward, rack up 31 possies in an actual AFL game that was meaningful? The guy averages a tad over 14 possessions over his 220 odd game career.
Yes, preseason games are important for several reasons. It promotes our great game to more people in regional Australia. Young children get to meet their heroes. It gives young players the opportunity to experience playing against seasoned players in game like scenarios.
I pray to the Footy Gods above that we can all survive next week’s Marsh Community Series fixtures and prepare for the 2020 seasons that lies ahead. Injuries during preseason games are inevitable and unbelievably cruel but unfortunately it’s a part of preseason footy. Imagine if Nat Fyfe or Max Gawn suffer season ending injuries this week?
Next week, I’ll be giving my thoughts on reviving the AFL’s version of State of Origin. How good would it be to see The Big V versus South Australia, Western Australia and an Allies team in a four way series? The mind boggles at the thought. I’d much rather see this than the bastardised version of Gaelic Football called International Rules we’re accustomed to watching.
Until next time, may you spoil from behind!
Life Member of Nor-West Jets AFC. 2014 Golden Fist Winner for the Nor-West Jets AFC. Self-Proclaimed Fullback in the team of the century for Nor-West Jets AFC. Podcast Host of The Holidays Are Good.