Dave Cardamone takes a look at the things we can expect to see as the JLT Community Series kicks off this week.
The Boys to take a back seat
Did anyone know the JLT Community Series was starting this week? It’s a new landscape in 2017, with the inaugural season of the AFLW – the women’s competition – which has delivered more exposure for our great game and given all footy fanatics an earlier than usual footy fix. There’s no doubt the ladies have brought a breath of fresh air to the media landscape including a humbling appreciation for their inaugural involvement. Surpassing all expectations, the football community needs to listen and learn from the ladies who will likely match the men for TV ratings over the weekend.
No heat no worries
The AFL would be counting its lucky stars this week as none of the women matches were affected by the extreme weather conditions that gripped the majority of the country, with three of the four matches played in Victoria over the weekend. Now with the JLT Community Series beginning this week, it looks like conditions across the country are going to be favourable for football. Then again, I’ve never trusted Jane Bunn, Livinia Nixon and the Bureau of Meteorology to forecast the weather so I wouldn’t believe my prediction either. Local juniors in Narrandera, Coffs Harbour and Broadbeach: be on standby this weekend for water-boy call ups.
Premiership momentum to continue
You know how they say patience is a virtue? Well the Western Bulldogs are living proof that in the end it really is worth the wait. A $3.6million operating year, $6.4million reduction in club debt, over $2million dollars in merchandise revenue and on the weekend they’ll probably get another packed crowd to VU Whitten Oval. There was talk about a third stadium not long ago. Forget Eddie’s Collingwood-focused idea – upgrade Whitten Oval. It would suit Essendon, Carlton, North Melbourne and Geelong as well as the traveling interstate teams too.
The fantasy talk begins
Check out Footy Prophet and SuperCoach Paige for a comprehensive preview and analysis of every game this weekend. Fantasy Coaches around the country are getting ready to banter with their colleagues and mates about the upcoming 2017 season, with some having started already! Who to look out for; the recruits that need to impress; guys coming back from injury – the wonderful world of fantasy football is back. Sidenote: look out for Sam Weideman this week who was taken at pick No. 9 by the Demons in the 2015 NAB AFL Draft.
Finally, a fresh start
The dawn of a new era, a page is turned and Essendon can now attack 2017 with real hunger and hope. The Bombers will fly up, up this year and anyone who underestimates their ability to match it with the best in the competition will be quickly humbled. Essendon fans will flock to Etihad on Thursday night to welcome back some of their stars, with the match practice no doubt required to get them all up to scratch for Round 1 against the Hawks. I’m going to call it now and I don’t care who knows it, Essendon to beat the Hawks by 19 points in Round 1.