For whatever reason (money), be it idealism (it’s money), or stubbornness (again, money), or something else entirely (it’s money the reason is money), the AFL is blindly pushing forward with its incredibly terrible AFLX experiment in 2019, after its debut “season” drew low attendances, produced borderline unwatchable football, and attracted dizzyingly low TV audiences.
This year, however, the league has decided the rectangular oval hybrid version of Australian Rules Football that inexplicably replaces everything fun about football with a game so throughly branded I suspect even the player’s underwear has sponsors needs a revamp.
Where this year’s turn split all 18 AFL teams into pools of three and featured three single-day “tournaments” where clubs competed for three different half-baked X-shaped trophies, next year’s will feature just four teams and will see the radical concept of “casual racism” thrown into the mix.
The Herald Sun reports this morning that the 2019 AFLX competition will consist of 4 representative teams consisting of 10 players each, with lists to be drawn from a pool of 100 players “hand-picked” by the league.
One of the sides, to be captained by Eddie Betts, is to be an all-Indigenous side called, would you believe, “Team Skill.”
Another side, captained by Patrick Dangerfield, will be called “Team Speed.” You can’t help but think that the Indigenous side was originally supposed to have the Speed name until someone got tapped on the shoulder at the extreme last minute. Still, “Skill”. The kind of loose, go-to terminology you hear from fringe commentators to describe all Indigenous players because it’s word-substituted for “black” in their heads.
What the other two sides will be called is not yet known, but the mind boggles. Team Tall? Team Handball? Team Top Bloke But A Dog On The Piss? Pepsi Presents Team Four? Who bloody knows.
The one-day four-team AFLX tournament is scheduled for Friday, February 22nd at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium. Like this year, the tournament will feature a round-robin tournament, before an arbitrary Grand Final to determine an ultimate “winner.”
Really though, not even football is the real winner here.