Geelong football training Deakin University 20/12/2017 Patrick Dangerfield leaves training He did a bit of the warm up Dangerfield talks with training staff before leaving to go home Picture:Wayne Ludbey
AFLX might be fast and free-flowing but the prospect of a pre-Christmas trial of the new concept didn’t agree with Geelong champion Patrick Dangerfield.
He left the track early, ill, to rest while teammates trialled the game at Deakin University.
The Cats said Dangerfield was merely sick and nothing should be read into him holding his back as he left the ground and headed home, unable to display his skills in the new seven-a-side game that kicks off at Adelaide’s Hindmarsh Stadium on Thursday, February 15.
Geelong aims to send a strong 12-man squad to take on Adelaide, Collingwood, Fremantle, Port Adelaide and West Coast in the round-robin series to be played over three consecutive nights.
They wanted to give players, and fans, an early taste for the concept that is designed as an alternative to football for parts of and the rest of the world where AFL grounds are scarce.
Whether that squad includes the star-studded trio of Dangerfield, Joel Selwood and Gary Ablett remains to be seen but Cats’ vice-captain Harry Taylor reckons plenty of players will put their hands up to play the game.
“It’s a really exciting brand of footy because it showcases all of the great things we love about a normal game of AFL footy,” Taylor said.
“The free-flowing, high-scoring nature of the game is pretty appealing to us as players and I’m sure it will be to the fans that will be watching in February.”
Geelong coach Chris Scott is optimistic the idea can catch on and said the logic behind the idea was sound enough for the club to get behind it.
“We will play a pretty good team,” Scott said.
“I am not guaranteeing it is going to be a success but at the same time I can’t see why it won’t work at all levels of the game.”
Scott said it was important at this stage to trial the game so the club understood the physical demands the game would have on their players to ensure the right players were selected in February.
With the last-touch, out-of-bounds rule introduced and the ball kicked in after all scores, AFLX will be fast-paced and players will have nowhere to hide.
AFLX also includes a 10-point super goal for majors kicked from outside the 40-metre arcs and will be played on three consecutive nights in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney from February 15-17.