Bathurst Giants Coach suggests AFLX summer time comp

Bathurst Giants coach Mark Kennedy is no stranger to trying to exploit an x-factor and even now, with the 2020 AFL Central West season on hold, he has one in mind.

But rather than that x-factor being a player or particular tactic, this time it is a way to try and maintain the interest in a sport he is clearly passionate about.

With the coronavirus pandemic casting doubt over the 2020 AFLCW league, Kennedy is proposing an AFLX summer series.

The Bathurst Giants women competed at a pre-season AFLX tournament and Kennedy liked what he saw.

“That was a really good format of the game, I actually really enjoyed watching it. On a soccer field it’s a bit bigger than across the park on an AFL field, it was challenging and quite a dynamic style of football,” he said.

“So maybe you could do some kind of a summer comp, an evening comp, 10-a-side using Proctor Park and the AFLX style of footy.

“If you did that then you could use the soccer fields during the summer.

“I’d love to see the guys get out there and have a go.

“Even if we talked to the Bushrangers and made it just a Bathurst thing, a style of AFLX over the summer just to get a bit of interest back in the footy leading into our season for 2021.”

At the moment all leagues Australia-wide, both senior and junior, have been suspended until at least May 31, with no training sessions permitted either.

It is no great surprise Kennedy misses being out on the paddock.

“I love my footy, you get out in the mornings, you’ve got the cooler temperatures, the grass is green and you get that smell of a bit of rain in the air and you think to yourself ‘It’s footy season’,” he said.

“Now it’s like ‘What am I doing sitting around the house?’. There’s not really much you can do, we’ve just got to try and get through this at the moment the best way we can and hopefully come out the other side.”

If the AFLCW season does go ahead in some format, it will be a case of a rebuilding year for the Giants given the changes to their squad.

But Kennedy is still keen to see how his younger players – like Bailey Brien – continue to develop and how some new Giants recruits perform in the league.

“Bailey Brien has been playing great footy and he was busting to get out there this year, I know that, and consolidate his good year last year,” the coach said.

“He’s going to university locally, so we’ll have him hopefully next year as well.

“Jacob Schneider, he came to the club and we had another young bloke, Jack O’Dwyer who came to the club and was going to play a few games for us.

“Jack had been playing for Sydney Uni, so he’s a good quality player. Jacob is from Wagga, he’s real handy and his partner was playing with the women’s side too, which was a great bonus for us.”

While it remains to be seen what happens, Kennedy’s AFLX idea could be on the agenda.

Article first published by Anya Whitelaw on the Western Advocate