Every year pre-season is a hotly debated topic amongst AFL fans, with criticism ranging from format of games to organisation of matches.
Some believe there should be no pre-season and the regular season extended in its place, while others say representative matches should be played in its place. Meanwhile others say clubs should organise their own pre-season.
In reality, pre-season is a crucial time, not only for player development but also for getting match ready.
Clubs for one should be allowed to organise their own games, whether against AFL opposition or state league teams.
But there is joy in winning trophies, and competition, and this is why a pre-season tournament must be set up with legitimate claims to being serious.
It must be successful and there must be something to fight for, and in my opinion a draft pick could be the perfect reward.
While there could be other prizes for winning, such as cash, a draft pick with real value would make teams fight hard for it.
Some may still shrug it off, and that is their choice.
However, if a first or second round pick was on offer, then so is a promising player and a chance to secure more talent.
It could be a top ten or 20 pick, although top ten is likely to be worth more than pre-season performance, but a pick in the teens or twenties is arguably worth it.
A pick in the 15-25 range would be my idea for the winner, and even for the runner-up a pick somewhere between 30-40. Alternatively the prize could be a bonus pick after a teamís first pick in the draft.
For the tournament itself, it would be four rounds, plus a qualifying round to trim the field to 16, and be a straight out knockout, with teams knocked out able to organise their own pre-season games.
Ultimately teams will still decide whether the reward is worth it, and for most I would say it is. But an early grand final with a real prize that is more than just a trophy would kick off the season very nicely.
What do you think? Is a draft pick a suitable prize for a tournament, or is there something else which can achieve the same goal? What pick would be the right reward?
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