Footy's back this weekend. Yep, AFL. It's not quite the real stuff, but come Friday night the 2010 NAB Cup will have started and we can all think/talk/breathe footy again.
It is 139 days since Geelong defeated St Kilda in the 2009 AFL Grand Final after all. We've suffered long enough.
Today the AFL announced the following trial rules for the 2010 pre-season competition...
1. Boundary Umpires permitted to award free kicks for holding and high contact infringements at stoppages
2. Advantage Rule – Player, not Umpire, decides if there is an advantage
3. Holding the ball paid against a player who drags the ball underneath his opponent
They're pretty big changes but it's only for pre-season, and it will be fascinating to see how they go. Last year the rule to stop players rushing a behind was so popular it was introduced to the regular season straight away - maybe that will happen again (number 2 or 3 we could see happening but not number 1).
The 2010 NAB Cup Round 1 fixtures - to be played over two weekends - are as follows...
West Coast Vs Essendon (Subiaco Oval) Fri 12 Feb, 17:45 Adelaide Vs Port Adelaide (AAMI Stadium) Sat 13 Feb, 16:10 Hawthorn Vs Richmond (Aurora Stadium) Sat 13 Feb, 19:40 Western Bulldogs Vs Brisbane Lions (Manuka Oval) Sun 14 Feb, 16:40 St Kilda Vs Collingwood (Etihad Stadium) Fri 19 Feb, 19:40 Sydney Swans Vs Carlton (Blacktown) Sat 20 Feb, 19:40 Geelong Cats Vs North Melbourne (Etihad Stadium) Sun 21 Feb, 16:40 Fremantle Vs Melbourne (Subiaco Oval) Sun 21 Feb, 17:40
The NAB Cup Grand FInal is scheduled for Saturday 13 March, 19:40 to be broacast on Channel 10.