We’re back! Round 2 approaches!
Now I know what a bear feels like!
It was the hibernation we had to have. You had to have, I had to have we all had to have. Stay inside to stem the tide. COVID 19 is it all just a dream? Fraid not!
But as we start to open our eyes and slowly start to wake from our slumber, we peer though the darkness and can see a little ray of sunshine off in the distance. Curious we inch forward, as we get closer the light gets brighter. That light my friends is the AFL!
IT’S BACK BABY!!
Gil (god love him) has announced that AFL will recommence on June 11. Take note June 11, put it in your calander June 11, Round 2 commences June 11 – Got it?
I for one was overjoyed to hear this news because if I have to watch one more minute of the POH show I may just puke. So, time to turn off the zoom meeting, put down the garden hoe and plonk yourself in front of the box.
The JR crew tried to fill the void with the online JR evolution game which was great during the hiatus but its now time to get ready for the real thing.
But it won’t be like we are used. There are several protocols that need to be followed.
· Before we even start every player, it seems must be tested every 24 hours.
· Footy can only be played in 3 states so hubs have been created. Kudos to the West and South Australian boys for checking in at the gold coast to allow a restart.
· You are restricted by who you can live with in your house/accom and who you associate with. This has become known as the bonk ban. Unfortunately, another major retailer Trojan has gone into liquidation following the announcement of this ban.
Once these are all met then we can restart but there are still so many questions.
Here are my top 5.
1. What is all the fuss over a shortened lead up to Rd 2?
I am hearing a lot of noise about players won’t have enough time to get fit and don’t have enough pre-season to be ready for round 2. What have they been doing for the last 8 weeks? Surely, they were training by themselves, eating right, be in tip top shape and be ready when footy comes back? Look at young Heens, looks like he could enter a Mr Universe contest at the moment.
Have they forgotten how to kick, mark and tackle? Don’t think so. Then if we go into running patterns and zones. This stuff is drilled into them every day. The guys have been around long enough that it is second nature. Mark my words they will be good to go when the ball is bounced.
2. Injured players?
If there is one good thing to come out of this shutdown is that just about every team will have pretty much a full list to choose from come game day.
In the backline we welcome back
· Bachar Houli
· Zac Williams to name just 2
· Callan Ward
· BBQ’s Treloar (though he did do himself a mischief recently)
· Ollie Wines
· Mitch Duncan
Missing – Lachie Hunter (silly boy)
· Big Maxy will be fully fit
· Buddy is back
· Jack Ziebell
· Jade Gresham
· Eddie Betts
So, no excuses – the boys are back and ready to go.
Weird though isn’t it? That some players who were injured round 1 and were going to miss 5-6 weeks of the season will play round 2 and not miss a game. Funny old season.
3. Hubs – how is this going to work?
This is probably the most perplex one of the lot.
Looks like the teams will play each other in the hubs and then fly in, fly out on the same day to play rival teams in other hubs. To prevent the spread the AFL has announced that the teams will be on the same flight in and out of the state. There is a bitter rivalry between most teams so are Sydney and GWS boys just going be best buds as they fly into Vic to play a Victorian team? Can’t quite see Buddy and Toby Green sitting next to each other and discussing politics or the music they are both into. As there is no other footy, they may have to train together as well. Fyfe onto the chest of JJK? Maybe not.
And what happens with the WA and SA boys? Do they not have to leave the gold coast at all as they made the sacrifice to move interstate to start the AFL again? All teams would come to them. Collingwood may have to travel further than Marvel – Eddie will be pi$$ed.
4. Game Day?
This brings us to game day. We already know there are going to be no crowds at least in the foreseeable future. Hopefully we can get some sort of crowd back for the grand final. Can you imagine a grand final without a crowd at night? This may be the stark reality.
Anyone who watched round 1 (I would think most of us) found it really eerie with no crowd noise and the sounds of silence when a goal was kicked. You could actually hear the crickets.
So, seven has been working hard so that when round 2 kicks off they are going to have fake crowd noise. This is all well and good when a goal has been kicked but what about the sigh when a player misses and kicks a point. The scream of ball when a player is tackled? The white maggot coming from over the fence when your team isn’t awarded a free kick. The Boos for the villains? How far will they go? Only time will tell.
Shorter quarters will mean impact players will be the biggest beneficiaries while the poor old accumulators will suffer.
There will probably be more injuries especially if there is less recovery time.
5. An AFL player tests positive?
I hope this don’t happen, but it would put the AFL in a world of hurt. You would at least have to quarantine the two teams, the one where the player tested positive and the opposition on the day. You probably wouldn’t need to quarantine anymore as the players are tested so often you would pick it up in a couple of days. But does this mean there is revamp of the fixture for days that doesn’t include these two teams and they just play multiple games once given the all clear. Or do they shut down the AFL again?
Wouldn’t want to be in your shoes Gil. You are fighting a loosing battle no matter which way you go.
So, it is time to dust off the old supercoach team from round 1 have a look back and see if there are any changes you need to make? I would prefer not to look back as the Bont, Dunks and McCrae had a game they would rather forget and I’m hoping they will be busting for redemption come round two. If not Hot Diggity Dog could be in for tough year.
Speaking of tough years what is going to happen with our rookies?
I have heard a number of coaches say once you are in, you’re in. With minimal changes each week. This means that the rookie sitting on the fringe of section is in no man’s land. With no reserves how do they show the coach they are ready for a game? The only way to do this would be on the training track. Honestly though it would have to be sublime training to force some out and you in. Another way to get in is via resting of one of the main players. But this might be short lived as you could be in one week and out the next when the main player returns. This could cause havoc with our teams and leave us with a player stuck on one game.
The only other way is to replace an injured player. So, based on this I think the mid pricer team has a leg up at the moment.
Well that’s it.
Don’t forget Rd 2 – June 11.
Can’t wait not long now.
Gone to my happy place be back in a few …….