THE excitement for footy season has slowly been building around communities and its finally coming into full swing.
Suspense is even growing at the Riv as the sports team is busily compiling videos, photos and stories ahead of the first round.
Not to mention the first footy tipping of the year getting under way (which already had us stumped — Richmond or Carlton?).
There’s only one place I’ll be tomorrow night and that is firmly in front of the television screen watching round one of the AFL before barracking the mighty Dogs to victory on Friday night.
And the women’s inaugural AFL season comes to a head on Saturday with the grand final between Brisbane Lions and Adelaide Crows.
Local clubs are getting more serious about their approach to the game with the first rounds only weeks away.
They are tightening down on membership fees and registrations, trainings have stepped up a notch from the general pre-season fitness routines, coaches are stressing over final team selections and players are putting in that final effort to secure their spot come game day.
Some sides have even managed to squeeze in a practice match, or two.
But what about the players who don’t make the cut?
At the end of the day there are only a certain number of spots up for grabs, not to mention the junior players knocking at the door for their chance to play up at a senior level.
It’s a problem faced by football and netball sides of trying to squeeze everyone into the same team — a struggle that begins well before the season starts and continues to prove difficult during the year.
I don’t envy the coaches who have the difficult task of not only deciding teams, but then having to turn away players not selected in the squad.
And the juggling act doesn’t end there.
Squads are then broken down into various sides and it’s up to the coaches and team managers to determine the players’ abilities based on trainings (and possibly one practice match) alone as to where they fit in the teams.
Players not selected are then left to choose whether to hedge their bets on another club or wait around in the hopes a place opens up in the squad.
Some find their place at the club in other ways; either as trainers or team managers or an extra hand on the committee, or try their hand at other sports such as women’s football, touch footy or soccer.
And by this stage, a lot of the outlying clubs have already finished their tryouts and are facing their own selection dilemmas.
Then there are the teams from smaller communities who are just scraping together enough bodies to make up a side.
It’s exhausting thinking about the effort which goes into preparing a team let alone bringing about on-field success — and round one is still two weeks away for many of the clubs.
This will be my first season back playing in three years and only time will tell how my body manages to hold up for the year.