Well, this would have to be a first. A rookie player fresh out of the under 18’s competition, and on the morning of what could have been his first run for an AFL club, is stung by a stingray? Yep, this is exactly what happened to Western Bulldogs first year player Jarrad Grant during an early morning swim session at Port Melbourne! And, in case you are still yelling ‘Are You Shitting Me?’, it gets crazier. Grant was selected at pick five in the National Draft from…the Dandenong Stingrays!
How many times has a footballer missed a game after a run in with the mascot of a current or former club? Imagine if fellow rookies Callan Ward (Western Jets) or Guy O’Keefe (Geelong Falcons) suffered the same fate…
In non-animal-attack news; tonight sees the first of four quarter-finals in the NAP Cup and the weekend will allow us to see which teams are taking the preseason really seriously. Our tip is Fremantle; newish coach Mark Harvey has been waiting a long time to bust out some Sheedy-style mind game madness and he’s certainly getting in early.
So unless you were planning on checking out the latest DVD releases, here’s what to look forward to in footy tonight:
Telstra Dome, Melbourne – 7:40pm (local): Western Bulldogs v Essendon (Ch7)
The Bulldogs may have played in energy-sapping conditions last Friday in Darwin but it won’t really affect the players too much tonight. Snapping your fibula, on the other hand, might set you back a bit…and now taking a dip at Port Melbourne is fraught with danger too!
On a positive note, Robert Murphy and Wil Minson look set to put injury problems behind them. And no former greats have tried to sack any members of the current administration so far this week…that’s got to be a good thing.
The Essendon hype machine is starting to gain momentum after last week’s win on the Gold Coast, with string bean forward Scott Gumbleton the only downer on the night. Add to this the high membership and potential sponsorship boost, the Bombers look set for an improved season.
But it will take more than a handy win against a half-strength Brisbane before anybody should get too excited. But tonight will be a good chance to see if promising young’uns like Angus Monfries are ready for the big time. Plus the return of Scott Lucas will be fun too…the guy plays every match like a goal from outside fifty is worth nine points!