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“Can we play while they’re gone?” »: Footy great Jonathan Brown roasts AFL’s NRL ‘hijack’ plan

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AFL great Jonathan Brown has criticized the league’s “first round” concept for missing the point after the NRL showcase in Las Vegas had already passed.

News of the move was first announced in September after the NRL revealed it would kick off its season in the United States, at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

The only place to watch every AFL Round 1 game is Fox Footy, available on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial today >

This left the door open for the AFL to come and poach northern markets, which are traditionally rugby league territory.

“While you go on vacation, we rob your house” Jimmy Bartel, director of the GWS Giants said at the time.

The AFL then announced that it would begin with the opening round in an attempt to take control of Sydney.

After the NRL spent the summer clogging the airwaves with talk of Las Vegas, the AFL plotted to intervene under the noses of its rivals.

The AFL kicks off with four Round 1 games, with the Swans hosting the Demons at the SCG on Thursday, the Lions taking on the Blues at the Gabba on Friday and a double-header on Saturday with Damien Hardwick’s first match as Suns coach against his former club of the Tigers, and the Giants renewing hostilities with the Magpies at GIANTS Stadium.

The NRL will play the remaining six matches of its first round, with Saturday night’s Eels-Bulldogs match being the only one in Sydney, along with the Gold Coast-Dragons clash on Saturday night and Dolphins-Cowboys on Sunday afternoon, both played in Queensland. .

Talking about Fox Footy’s first episode of the year On the couchBrown had more than a few questions about the AFL’s latest plan to break into the heart of rugby league.

“All summer it’s been made clear we’re going to play the NRL when they’re in Vegas, we’re going to hijack their territory – when the cat’s not there, the mice will play,” Brown said.

“Well, the Vegas games were yesterday. And last time I looked we didn’t have any AFL games – round one is next week.

Nathan Buckley asked: “Did you want to start a week early?”

Brown continued: “I thought that was the whole point. Pitch availability may have been an issue that rugby league does not have to worry about as we rely on cricket pitches. But if we want to hijack this area, can we play them on the weekend while they’re away?

Bizarrely, the Friday night NRL game is the Melbourne Storm against the Penrith Panthers, meaning without the AFL in the city, this game will have the city to itself.

Garry Lyon laughed, adding: “While we’re away, I think the Melbourne storm is coming and the whole city of Melbourne is left to its own devices.” »

However, the concept is receiving support from punters, with all four clubs predicting sell-out crowds.

Lyon had a different view though, looking at how the AFL continues to start earlier and earlier.

In 2012, the season started on March 24, 2015, it was even April 2. This season will begin on March 7 with the opening round.

As the first round then brings together all 18 teams, the AFL standings will be somewhat skewed towards the first round teams, but participating teams will be granted byes between the second and sixth rounds to correct their extra play played, leading to the Anzac tour.

With the NRL at 27 rounds and the AFL at 24 plus the opening round and bye week before the final (the AFL played 23 rounds without a bye week in 2012), the only option is to stagger the start earlier.

But Lyon said, “Let’s go back to that, let’s go back to April 2.” »

Buckley added: “Do you think they went for round one, just so they wouldn’t have to say they had round 25? The numbers eventually go up, don’t they? »

There was some criticism last year regarding the first-round concept with the American expat from Collingwood. Mason Cox tweeting: “The first round of the NRL takes place in Las Vegas. AFL premiers head to…livestock showground.

The Giants then hit back – in what was probably the best round one promotion the AFL could have asked for.

AFL great Mick Malthouse tells Nine’s Today at the time, he did not understand the point of this approach.

“The AFL seems to be afraid that other codes will try to take over. There’s a place for everyone,” he said at the time.

“I’m still trying to figure out, when you look at the draw, what’s the point?

“I just think the season is very long, players are tired at the end of the year, we have more injuries at the start of the year.”

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