JLT Community Series

2018 JLT Preseason Schedule Released
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by Johnson Leung reporting for AFANA in Melbourne

The AFL has released the schedule for the 2018 JLT Community Series, with several variations from previous years. One major change is that each club will only play two instead of three games during the period. Since the AFL preseason was revamped in 2014 with no ranking or overall winner, each AFL club was allocated three practice games during the period.

2016 Schedule Introduces Rest Week Before Finals
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by Johnson Leung reporting for AFANA from Melbourne

The 2016 AFL schedule was announced last week. The biggest change is the addition of a bye week between the end of Round 23 and the Finals. In Round 23 this year, Fremantle and North Melbourne controversially rested a total of 20 players so they could be refreshed for the Finals. AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan conceded the moves by the two clubs were unsatisfactory and "a drag on the integrity of our competition", thus the extra week off was introduced to ensure similar situations would not happen again. The League plans to showcase a range of events and awards during the bye week, which could include a women's game, the All-Australian Awards and Rising Star Awards.

Once again, traditional rivals Richmond and Carlton will kick off the season with a Thursday night clash at the MCG on March 24, the day before Good Friday. Five days later Hawthorn will begin their Premiership defense at the same venue, against a new-look Geelong side which will likely include recruits Patrick Dangerfield, Scott Selwood and Lachie Henderson. For the second year in a row, the Grand Final will be held in the first Saturday in October. Next year it falls on October 1.

Hird Drops Appeal As Essendon Signs Two More
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Essendon coach James Hird has decided not to appeal his case against ASADA, despite his strong belief that the original investigation was illegal. He said he made the decision not to appeal so he and the club could focus on a successful 2015. In a statement, Hird said he had been fighting "on principle" and still believes that the players and club staff were not afforded the rights they deserved by ASADA.

Essendon Recruits Replacement Players
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

By mid-February, Essendon had signed five former AFL players - Clinton Jones, James Magner, Mitch Clisby, Mitch Brown and Jared Petrenko - to fill out their list. Several see as it chance to relaunch their League careers. Ex-Bombers Kepler Bradley (who finished at Fremantle last year) and Cory Dell'Olio will also be sitting out the preseason as the pair were with Essendon in 2012. Bradley re-joined his original club West Perth in 2014 but has recently crossed over to Claremont. Dell'Olio joined South Fremantle after two seasons and 16 games with the Bombers. Two others whose seasons are in doubt are Peel Thunder's Leroy Jetta (93 games 2007-2014) and East Perth's co-captain Brendon Lee who joined the club as a rookie in 2011 but played just two games in 2012 before being delisted.

Essendon Contingency Plans
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

February 9 to 12, 2015
After a week of uncertainty and speculation, Essendon will field a team in the NAB Cup preseason games. It was rumored that the Bombers might boycott the preseason games, a “one in, all in” scenario. This boycott was for several potential reasons. The first was to protect the anonymity of the “supplements” players (provisionally suspended while the Tribunal considers its decision and ASADA's refusal to leave the suspensions backdated if the players took part in the NAB Challenge). The players involved wanted the suspensions backdated to when they last played in September of 2014.  As a result, they dropped their request to have the provisional suspensions lifted by the AFL Commission which has the power to do so. Bombers Dustin Fletcher and Jobe Watson are already at risk of losing part of the backdating due to the AFL allowing them to play in the International Rules Series late in 2014.

Heat Rules Under Fire
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

A number of AFL coaches have questioned the AFL's trial of limiting bench rotations during the NAB Cup series to 80 per game. Hawthorn Coach Alastair Clarkson said he and his staff were spending more time pre-game trying to prepare for various scenarios based on the rotation limit and more time

Week One NAB Cup Milestones
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Most Pre-season Games: Brent Harvey (NM) played his 38th pre-season match to put him second on the all-time list behind former teammate John Blakey (45, Fitzroy and NM). Following them are: Wayne Carey (36, NM and ADE), Glenn Archer (36, NM), Darren Milburn (35, GEEL), Robert Scott (34, GEEL and NM), Mick Martyn (34, NM), Anthony Stevens (34, NM), Shannon Grant (33, SYD and NM), Adam Simpson (33, NM) and Nick Stevens (33, PA and Carlton), Tyson Edwards (32, ADE), Chris Langford (32, HAW), Nigel Smart (32, ADEL)

Source: Patrick Keane, AFL Media Release

Expanded Bench Allowed In Heat
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

The first week of the NAB Cup was played in extremely hot weather as it is the height of summer "down under". Even with the roof closed at Etihad Stadium and the air-conditioning on, the temperature on the field soared into the 90's. After the game,

NAB Cup Sub Rule Out
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Between the end of the NAB Cup series and the start of Round One on March 24, the AFL held the season launch in Sydney. In between the festivities, League officials met with club captains and coaches to discuss the new rules which were tried out in the preseason. One rule which was high on the agenda was the two substitute-two interchange player rule.

2018 JLT Community Series Fixture
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