New-look AFLX is exactly what game needs
ONE young man in the office said it best, unless it's State of Origin people are going to hate it.
The AFLX was introduced disastrously last year and has been bagged mercilessly since. Perhaps quite rightly.
But now the new format provides exactly what the AFL has been crying out for for years, an All-Star game.
You wonder how many of those hating AFLX will happily tune in to the NBA hit-and-giggle All-Star game later this month?
No, it's not State of Origin. Sadly, that is seemingly dead.
However, the new four-team format - outside the gimmicky nicknames and logos - can one day be a pre-season showpiece of the best our native game has to offer.
Forget international expansion. It's hated by traditionalists and is laughed at by outsiders.
AFLX should be used as an All-Star game, a one-day footy extravaganza.
Accept the different rules as a bit of fun and while you'd prefer the game was played on an oval, the square ground does add an different element.
Undoubtedly, this will be an unpopular point of view as social media isn't exactly forgiving of differing ideas.
Yet, given time and the right type of marketing and buy-in from players, this can become an important fixture on the AFL calendar.
After all that's exactly why State of Origin died, players and clubs didn't want to risk injury.
Last year, few if any big names turned out for AFLX.
Clubs didn't much care for it and the JLT Series is when we get to look at each club's youngsters and new faces.
AFLX should be when the big names step out and the format reduces the risk of serious injury.
And unlike the grand final, the game can easily be played across the country from year-to-year.
How good will it be to see the likes of Dustin Martin and Patrick Cripps teaming up in the midfield or Rory Laird charging through half-back and delivering to Jack Riewoldt?
There's no doubt this year is make or break for the idea and the AFL may finally have got it right.