The Brisbane Lions have named a strong 14-man squad for Saturday’s AFLX tournament in Sydney that features a mix of established and emerging stars.
Veteran Daniel Rich headlines the squad and will be worth the price of admission alone with his super boot set to light up the modified format. With goals from outside 40 metres worth 10 points, Rich looms as a potent attacking option.
The experienced Rohan Bewick and versatile Tom Cutler feature alongside Rich.
Allen Christensen, Tom Bell and Mitch Robinson – who all suffered season-ending injuries in 2017 – have been named in the squad. The trio will be looking to use AFLX as a springboard to secure spots in the Lions' Round 1 team.
New draftee Zac Bailey will get his first chance to show off his incredible speed and skills on the big stage on Saturday. The Lions selected Bailey with Pick No.15 at the 2017 AFL Draft and he has been impressive during pre-season so far.
Agile midfielders Ben Keays and Rhys Mathieson have also been named, alongside emerging players Cedric Cox, Jacob Allison, Mitchell Hinge, Corey Lyons and Jake Barrett.
Ben Hudson, the Lions’ Ruck and Midfield Coach, will take the reins as AFLX Coach for the weekend.
Hudson said selection was reward for players’ efforts in pre-season.
“The players selected for our inaugural AFLX squad have trained well in the pre-season and their game suits the AFLX style of game,” Hudson said.
“We expect the players to make the most of the opportunity.”
- 1. Ben Keays
- 3. Allen Christensen
- 5. Mitch Robinson
- 7. Tom Bell
- 8. Rohan Bewick
- 10. Daniel Rich
- 19. Jacob Allison
- 20. Cedric Cox
- 26. Tom Cutler
- 33. Zac Bailey
- 36. Rhys Mathieson
- 39. Corey Lyons
- 42. Mitchell Hinge
- 43. Jake Barrett
The Lions play Richmond and GWS this Saturday, February 17, with a spot in the grand final up for grabs.
Times listed below are AEDT.
Following the game
7mate, Fox Footy and the AFL Live App will broadcast the tournament.
How is it different to AFL?
Who makes the Grand Final if multiple teams are on the same wins?
Wins, losses and draws will be tallied up throughout the tournament, with the two pool winners on each night playing off in the Grand Final. However, if there are multiple teams on the same wins, percentage will be the deciding factor.
What happens if scores are tied at the end of the Grand Final?
While draws can happen during pool games, you won't have to worry about coming back the following week to see the Grand Final again, if scores are level at the final siren. Time on will be added with the first team to score a point or a goal the premiers.
How long do games go for?
AFLX consists of two, 10-minute halves with a two-minute break. There will be a five-minute breather in between each game, with a 15-minute break before the Grand Final takes place.
How does each game start?
Each half is started with the umpiring throwing the ball up in the center. Two nominated ruckmen will compete, however they aren't allowed to run and jump at the ball, or wrestle with each other. Basically, it's more like a basketball-style tip-off with the two competing rucks to stand toe-to-toe. Each team will also need to have three players inside their forward and defensive 40m arcs before play starts. It's also worth noting that the traditional coin toss has been given the flick. Instead teams will start kicking towards the side of the ground that their interchange bench is on, before swapping for the second half. The pre-game tradition of running through a banner before a game with the club song blaring has also been scrapped.
Where will the coaches watch?
There will be no aerial view for the coaches when it comes to AFLX. The coach's box won't be in use come match day, instead they'll bark orders directly to their players on the interchange bench. Given the smaller size of the field, there won't be any runners either, so the coaches will have to do their own dirty work and deliver their messages straight to their charges.
Can players be reported?
Yes, they can. Just like the JLT Community Series, a player can be cited by the match review officer or the officiating umpire on match day. Any suspensions handed out, will be served during the home and away season.
Do AFLX games count towards life membership?
No. Just like the JLT series, AFLX games won't count towards a player's eligibility for life membership. Only premiership season games are taken into consideration, and the old format of the pre-season competition where there was a genuine prize or winner at the end of the series.
How many umpires are there?
There will be a total of six umpires for each game. Two field umpires, two boundary umpires (who essentially act as touch judges), and two goal umpires. There won't be any flags for the goal umpires to wave, due to the fast nature of the game. Be on the lookout as well for a new motion to signal a 'Zooper' goal, with the goal umpire to cross their arms above their heads to create an 'X'. As for what colour the umpires will be wearing, well that remains a mystery. One thing is for sure though, you won't be able to miss them with the whistleblowers set to don a very loud and bright uniform.