A re-worked EJ Whitten Game will headline the AFL for the pre-finals bye weekend, with an AFLX style that is yet to be embraced by past participants.
The 2019 version of the charity match has been moved from Marvel Stadium across to AAMI Park officiated by AFLX rules and regulations.
Former Melbourne highlight player Shaun Smith took to social media to express his anger surrounding the changes.
“It no longer represents the spirit of the great man EJ Whitten,” Smith said.
“What a disgrace AFL!!!! EJ would be turning in his grave.”
Not sure if anyone knows this but the EJ Whitten game this year has change dramatically. As you know I've been involved…
For the 24th annual match, we’ll see a much faster and intensified format with an attempt to engage fans of all ages. Named ‘EJX’, the game will continue to raise awareness for men’s health in honour of Ted Whitten Senior.
Currently known as the ‘Celebration of Football’ week, the match will be played over four 15 minute periods, with 10-point super goals from outside the ‘launch zone’. While there’ll be ‘X-factor’ moments which will include various celebrity Power Players. The Power Players will enter the field at the 10-minute mark of each quarter and have the opportunity to score double-points.
Head of the EJ Whitten Foundation, Ted Whitten Jnr, has praised the AFL for evolving the game to garner more attention nation-wide.
“The EJ Whitten Legends Game is a fun and entertaining family footy spectacle that is designed to raise awareness and discussion around men’s health issues.”
“Too many men, like my father Ted, fail to engage with their health until it’s too late. The Legends Game is a platform to spread our important message: It’s Time To Test, to encourage men to get an annual health check,” said Whitten Jnr.
The EJ Whitten Foundation has raised over $13.5 million for men’s health awareness program and prostate cancer research and treatment.
The new-look format for the 2019 Legends Game is to be played on Friday, August 30 at AAMI Park.