The JLT Community Series fixture has come to a close after each team completed their three pre-season matches in a variety venues around the country.
While the pre-season competitions offer the first glimpse of new recruits, new tactics and often new rules, it is normally used as an experimental period for most clubs. This makes it very difficult to reach solid conclusions or make accurate predictions for the year ahead, frequently raising more questions than it answers.
Here at ASW, we'd like to share the five most pressing questions we can't stop discussing in the office.
How high can Essendon climb?
It's inevitable that Essendon will improve on their results last season, but with key players returning how high can they rise? Joe Daniher is expected to continue his progress towards becoming one of the elite forwards in the competition and with McDonald-Tipungwuti playing a key role in the pre-season matches, and the return of Watson and Heppell, this could be a finals-challenging rise. Plus, if it gets close, Mick Gatto can shoot the opposition key forwards in the neck.
What impact will Deledio have?
The big question at GSW that wasn't even addressed is how Deledio's arrival will boost their on-field performances. A calf injury saw him sidelined for the whole pre-season and he will continue to be sidelined for at least the first round of the season proper. This means that GWS will have to make do with the 62 other first-round draft picks on their roster to carry the side. Plus, the good form of their mature stars like Shaw, Mumford and Johnson is expected to continue from last year. Plus, they will also reap the benefits of the latest firmware update to their cyborg android rover FootBot3000 that the AFL has specially allowed the use of this season because, you know, they're an expansion club.
They'll be fine.
Will Jarryd Roughead's return lift the Hawks back to the top?
If you weren't a Hawthorn fan last year, chances are you enjoyed the fairytale finish to the Western Bulldogs' year, as well as welcoming a change from the consistent domination of the Hawks in the years previous. This year it's Hawthorn's opportunity for a fairytale with Jarryd Roughead's much publicised return and promotion to captain. Despite the joy most felt last year when Hawthorn fell short, Roughead's such a likable and genuine footballing personality that most people would find it hard not to wish him every success, and they may find themselves barracking for the Hawks every now and then, which may be painful. Probably more painful than cancer. Probably.
What the fuck is a JLT?
After four weeks of competition as well as advertising and official communications, ASW is no closer to knowing what a JLT is. It might be a car. We'll never know.
How will Jack Watts feature for the Demons?
Jack Watts only played one JLT Community Series match despite being fit throughout. While there was speculation that his omission was a form of punishment for poor application at training, others speculated that he may have missed the matches as a form of punishment for his hair making him look like a vampire rapist. One of those theories is correct.