AFL Pre-season notes provide a platform of information leading into a H&A season. There are three key areas to pay attention to throughout the summer.
Each year you will hear it directly from quite a few players that a full pre-season is vital to complete a successful season in the AFL. While completing each session isn’t necessary the most important part is remaining healthy and not being sidelined for a block of training. Missing 1-2 sessions through soreness isn’t overly noteworthy but sitting in the rehab group or missing through injury may negatively impact at some stage.
Being clued into player roles throughout pre-season training and pre-season games can be a direct indicator of a role during the AFL season. Keep in mind there is no guarantee it will transition perfectly into the H&A season with coaches opting to alter plans. Being mindful of key players missing from training/games which may also provide a false dawn. Coaches will definitely utilise pre-season training for developmental and growth purposes.
Understanding the playing style of each team is a critical part when forecasting season projections for each player. Teams that like to concede ground and defend inside their own D50 may be favourable for defenders in that team, midfielders that can cover the ground easily can also be favoured in that type of game style. Teams that excel at stoppages can provide countless scoring opportunities each game for strong inside midfielders. Teams that like to hold the ball for long periods of time though a mark/kick game are quite favourable for fantasy, defenders and midfielders are also often in a strong position to score well. Volatile player scoring can come from teams that like to play a fast brand of footy or a forward-half type game.
Understanding midfield comments made by a coach/player can be taken out of context. Coaches will often talk about a player and their midfield role for the upcoming season, this doesn’t necessarily equate to centre bounce usage and can at times just mean playing between the 50m arcs. Unless a coach/player specifically talks about the number of centre bounces increasing it is always wise to proceed with caution. Midfield splits with another position can also be distorted and certainly change as a season unfolds based on a number of reasons including team injuries/availability and the need to shuffle roles. The midfield comments will come thick and fast over summer from a variety of sources, keep your guard up.
As pre-season draws to a close practice matches against opposition teams will be played, keep in mind players missing and a shuffle of roles to cover which may be unusual and confusing for some. Always refer to where each player sits with a full list to choose from. Additionally, internal practice matches do require extra players at each position, remain vigilant on the over exposure from some on an unusual positional move in these games.
Article by @aflratingsPete
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