30/05/2024

Port Adelaide wins the 2001 Ansett Cup. Picture: portadelaidefc.com.au

With a love of consistent competition, is there a spot for the return of the knockout AFL pre-season competition?

How good is a bit of healthy men’s footy competition? Especially before the real season starts.

Take away the focus from the extremely displeased Grant Thomas and Lenny Hayes holding up the Wizard Cup, but the golden times in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Let’s flashback to 25 years ago to 1997. Carlton played Geelong in front of 77,000 people at the MCG for the final of the then-Ansett Cup.

Unfortunately, it went down to 24,000 at Marvel Stadium for Carlton and Brisbane in the final decider in 2013.

Yes, the football isn’t as serious and plenty of clubs will put out sides which could be largely non-competitive, but it’s still competition.

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Plus, as a part of those non-competitive sides, you get to see some of the stars of tomorrow busting their backsides to earn a spot.

I still have fond memories of Cameron Hitchcock taking hangers in the goal square at Football Park and Wade Thompson producing one of the great performances.

You get to see these players in a proper gameday atmosphere, not with a whole list on the bench.

As much as it isn’t important to some, it gives fans of fantasy football a good insight as to what they can expect from the rookies or the potential roles senior players can play.

Finally, it’s a bit of fun.

Who else remembers the absolute shenanigans when the nine-point Super Goal was introduced in 2003?

We saw some magnificent long bombs, some in absolute clutch moments.

Sure, we didn’t want that rule added in the home and away season, but it was good for the month of pre-season.

So why not bring back a bit more competitiveness? A bit of a financial incentive to the winning club and a trophy and a month more of men’s footy.

The more, the better.

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