Sport

AFL great wants pre-season games scrapped

Sophie Casey of Collingwood dives over Tilly Lucas-Rodd of Carlton to reach the ball during their AFLW clash.
Sophie Casey of Collingwood dives over Tilly Lucas-Rodd of Carlton to reach the ball during their AFLW clash. JOE CASTRO

AFL: Essendon great Tim Watson believes now is the time to dump the pre-season competition.

With the arrival of AFL Women's, Watson said the first time fans see their team run out should be round one.

For several years there have been calls to scrap pre-season games, now known as the JLT Community Series.

Watson said the success of the AFLW would allow the AFL to reduce the toll taken on the men's 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.

"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.

"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.

"In years to come that will be even greater emphasis on the women's league and less about the blokes."

Watson received support from Western Bulldogs captain Bob Murphy who said match simulation was now a big part of clubs' pre-season training.

"I'd be okay with that because I think the way that clubs train now, that the little match simulation - it's not quite a match practice - is so intense, I think we are getting closer," he said.

"I think it would have been knocked on the head a few years ago, whereas now, I think players would adapt fast."

Topics:  afl preseason aflw jlt community series tim watson

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