Essendon champion and SEN Breakfast co-host, Tim Watson, believes it is time for the AFL for scrap the pre-season competition all together.
Watson said the first time fans see their team run out on to the field, should be round one of the regular season and the hype surrounding the beginning of footy season, should be reserved for the first home and away game.
“The first time you see them run out for the year is that first game, a meaningful game for four points,” he said on SEN on Wednesday morning.
“Just thinking about the excitement around the lead up to this pre-season game between Essendon and Collingwood, how great would that be if that was round one.”
Given the huge success of the AFLW compeition, the former Bombers’ skipper said this should now be the showpiece event on the pre-season calendar.
“Normally at the end of the tennis, we talk immediately about all the men’s footy, but all that space has been taken up by the women’s competition,” he added.
“In years to come that will be even greater emphasis on the women’s league and less about the blokes.”
Western Bulldogs captain Bob Murphy agreed with Watson’s sentiments, particularly given the amount of match simulation each club undergoes during pre-season training, which prepares the players for the regular season.
“I’d be okay with that because I think the way that clubs train now, that the little match simulation – its not quite a match practice – is so intense, I think we are getting closer,” Murphy said.
“I think it would have been knocked on the head a few years ago, whereas now, I think players would adapt fast.”