Preview Round 1– GWS Giants vs Geelong, Saturday 21st March 2020, Giants Stadium, 7.25pm

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Land of the Giants

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Well, hasn’t the world changed since I first started thinking about this preview a few weeks ago?

Originally, I was going to say this may well be our last Round 1 game in Sydney for quite some time if reports about us playing a future “home” game in America to kick off the season were true.

Now, all that has been swept away for the time being (and hopefully forever) by the rapid advance of COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus.

In this fast-moving crisis, season 2020 might end up being cancelled, or at least seriously modified, with news overnight that the AFL may try to cram as many matches as possible in the first few weeks of the season to avoid the expected peak in new infections between May and July. Five-day turnarounds and shortened game times, as well changes to the interchange rules and player eligibility, are being considered.

I can’t see how it would work, to be honest. Five-day turnarounds would be a recipe for an injury plague. The players just couldn’t recover quickly enough, and even if game times were shortened as a pre-emptive measure, the integrity of the competition would be compromised.

For now, Round 1 is still on as scheduled, but none of us will be there to see it, as supporters have been banned from venues across the country. Empty stadiums will be a strange experiment in seeing what happens to home-ground effect in the absence of the home crowd. Without any help from passionate supporters who are a huge part of the game, the players and coaches will have to motivate themselves. Who can say how they'll respond?

We were in an unusual place anyway before all this happened. For the past few seasons, we’ve all been wondering if this would be the year when we made our first Grand Final. Did we really have the list to get there? What about the departure of any big names? Would that help or hinder? What about the draftees? At this time of year there’s always plenty of hype around new players, but only a few of them ever seem to go on with it.

Well, our maiden Grand Final came unexpectedly last year after constant disruption through injury and a thrilling finals series that saw us break a couple of important hoodoos along the way. We know we can get there; we just need to go one step further.

So, what to make of this pre-season? No-one ever reads that much into it, but there was something very promising about this particular crop of youngsters, who look the goods in a way that previous intakes have not. I’m thinking of Lachlan Ash and Academy product Tom Green. They performed very well and would be expected to debut at some point this season…under normal circumstances.

As things stand at the moment, we are hosting those hard-to-beat Cats on Saturday, a team we always struggle against. We’ve never beaten them in Sydney, and only twice in nine attempts, with the last win almost 12 months ago on their own turf. That was the game we lost Callan Ward, who still hasn’t fully recovered. We’ll also be without Tim Taranto for a while. But with the exception of Ward and Taranto, the list looks in great shape. The line-up will not be that much different to the Marsh series.

Another positive has been the arrival of NRL legend Cooper Cronk as a leadership guru. His perspective will only strengthen team mind-set and resolve. It might have had something to do with the no-nonsense approach to the Tigers game last week.

There’s a hell of a lot going on, but I think there’s cause for guarded optimism should the season manage to proceed.

So, let’s go Giants, let’s go. It's strange we won't be there to cheer you on, but hopefully you’ll hear us all from the comfort of our lounge rooms.
 
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Ichabod Noodle

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I don’t get to every single home game but I was at the first Sydney game for the NEAFL in 2011, the first home & away game in 2012, the first final, the first grand final, the first AFLW game - and I was really looking forward to being able to add the first AFLW/AFL double header to that list of firsts. ☹☹☹☹☹

#notfair
 

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Giant Strides

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Great writeup as usual LotG. This feels really strange - the whole family was looking forward to the first game of the season and feeling pretty bullish about our prospects. Now, I just don't know. Won't be the same not to be there at games, and wondering if games will even go ahead. The excitement is on hold until we see if round 1 actually goes ahead.
 

Danny88

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Look I want to be excited for this but with the way things are developing I just don’t see how we will manage to have games. I really want football back but think the panic merchants will put it off
 

GWS Goose

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You guys have matched up on us well since 2015 (2-1-3) and this is going to be a statement game.

Giants by 38 points.
Part of me thinks we could really dish up a huge win. The move to fast footy really suits us, I like the match ups.

But Im also reluctant to let myself think this, as Geelong as been such a good side for so long, with so many hard players and a great culture, they are are always very very hard to beat.
 

catscollector

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We don't have a side that is doing anything different though. Our game style is so predictable and nonthreatening. Unfortunately our time has come and gone. Club did not appear to learn anything after continual fortnightly losses last season (back half of the year). If this game was played last year, we could break even in ruck but Jacobs looks to have had a solid preseason and should have no worries beating Stanley and Ratugolea.

Only hope for Geelong is to jump you guys early but it's probably going to be the other way around as we try and comeback after every break.
 

dlanod

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Would you want to win the flag under these circumstances?
fu** yes.

You only get one chance a year to win it. I don't give a shit about precious w***ers going on about asterisks. I want to win it every year they award it, and if that means 17 rounds and no crowds, fu** it. I'll go to the 2021 season kickoff and celebrate then instead if I have to.
 

Danny88

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The 17 round season actually really helps us!
We miss our tough double ups against teams like the tigers and the dogs.

we also have less chances to hurt ourselves!

If the 17 games are player I reckon we are in with a real shout towards the pointy end
 

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Simmofreo

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The 17 round season actually really helps us!
We miss our tough double ups against teams like the tigers and the dogs.

we also have less chances to hurt ourselves!

If the 17 games are player I reckon we are in with a real shout towards the pointy end
Haha i laughed at "Less chance to hurt ourselves"... so true

On SM-G977B using BigFooty.com mobile app
 

dlanod

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Case in point: only AFL nerds remember that a team once won the premiership from last place, and there's never asterisks next to their record in the premiership counts.
 

Pres

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In positive news if Rd 1 gets called off in the next 24-48 hours I'm backing TT to be ready for Rd 1.

We'll have to resuscitate the Rd 1 Team thread. Williams, Ward, Taranto in. Flynn, Sproule, X to play in the NEAFL opener!
 

Ichabod Noodle

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Case in point: only AFL nerds remember that a team once won the premiership from last place, and there's never asterisks next to their record in the premiership counts.
Yep. 1916 - what a year

4 teams: 12 rounds

Carlton finish on top with 10 wins
Fitzroy finish distant wooden spooners with 2 wins and a draw

Fitzroy beat Collingwood in the semi-final
Carlton beat Richmond in the semi-final
Fitzroy then beat Carlton in the preliminary final
Fitzroy then beat Carlton again a week later in the Grand final

(Don’t quite understand the need for a prelim, but there you go)

And there are no asterisks next to Fitzroy in the history books - just their name on a trophy - thanks for coming.
 
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