To me the offseason period between the last draft and first practice match is like attending a one year olds birthday party, every day for about 8 weeks. These mind numbing days seem to bleed into the next, you constantly check your phone for some, nay any news even remotely associated with our great game of Aussie Rules. You find yourself discussing with anyone who is unfortunate enough to be around you, Instagram pictures of AFL players on holiday or hypothetical footy trips whilst hunched over the fold out draw for 2015 season like an Army General surveying a map.
It’s an uncomfortable feeling, like arriving to a party before your friends and not knowing anyone, or when a random dog sniffs at your crotch and there’s eye contact between the two of you.
Well that time is finished for the year, the preseason has started and although the games have about as much relevance as Matthew Lloyd condemning a player staging for a free kick in front of goal, all true footy fans are more excited than a greyhound trainer in a pet store closing down sale.
But this time of the year brings hope to all teams and supporters.
For the contenders it’s a chance to play a few promising youngsters while easing veteran champs into the long season ahead.
For teams who occupy the middle rungs of the ladder it’s an opportunity to build momentum to hopefully launch an assault for a spot in the finals.
Clubs that find themselves at the bottom of the table, this time of the year provides a crucial opportunity to generate excitement which can spark optimism for long lost fans to join up as members.
For Essendon it’s another chance to put themselves above the game, line the pockets of lawyers and give false hope to state based players and recently discarded AFL list cloggers.
Things to look out for:
Players who finished last year on a less than satisfactory note, I’m thinking of two Tigers players Tyrone” Round House “Vickery and Reece “Scull Punch “Conca as well as a former Blue turned Lion Mitch Robinson. These players need to prove to their teammates that a) they won’t cause amnesia to an opposition player if they dare turn their back on them and b) they don’t act all Mitch Robinson.
How some teams will deal with the loss of players in the offseason?
The Gold Coast Suns said goodbye to high profile league convert Karmichael Hunt, his move to Union mustn’t have been as lucrative as his AFL contract, I have heard he is running a Coke distribution business. Although Coke vending machines are profitable, selling carbonated beverages in an already crowded market will be tough, good luck Karmichael.
Always looking for a new challenge.
Who will make decisions they will regret?
Even the most rational people occasionally do things that in hindsight wish they could erase, a few years ago I went hunting with former Test fast bowler Glen McGrath. Sure I have a plethora of Ivory and a stuffed baboon that holds my TV remote now but mistakes were made.
Clubs can set standards, both good and bad early on in a season and an error like not deflating Lewis Jetta’s head shortly after the 2012 triumph has cost the Swans dearly the last two years.
So bring on the footy, it may just be preseason but it’s better than watching a group of socially disabled toss bags cook, renovate or groom Merv Hughes’s back hair.