Fremantle Dockers, coach Justin Longmuir, pre-season, Magic Round, ready, one match, intraclub, scratch match, season 2023 – 21Sports News %


Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir isn’t concerned players will have just one official pre-season match heading into the 2023 season, on the back of the AFL’s Magic Round announcement on Friday.

With the AFL committed to an extra game in Adelaide in the already packed footy schedule, a second pre-season match has been abandoned.

But Longmuir says as long as there’s “fairness” across the competition, he’s happy with the one-match preparation.

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“If that’s what we’ve got, then it has to be (enough to prepare for 2023),” he said on 6PR.

“And we need to make sure that we plan the pre-season accordingly.

“There’s things we can do to get match fit, whether it’s intraclubs and what not. We have to make sure we plan accordingly.


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“The number one thing I look for is fairness across the league.

“West Coast are only playing the one practice match, make sure everyone in Melbourne and the rest of the country only get the same amount. That’s all I’m after, fairness. Those are the rules and everyone sticks to them.”

Longmuir hoped his club would emulate the 2022 pre-season where the Eagles and Dockers faced off twice – once in a scratch match and again in an official capacity – due to Covid stopping scheduled clashes against Port Adelaide and Adelaide respectively.

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“We get plenty out of intraclubs. If it’s the same for everyone, we’ll have to work within those parameters,” he said.

“Our players will be ready come Round 1.”

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan on Friday said this year’s shortened pre-season showed one match was sufficient.

“This year they had one proper hit-out in venues and they just played it like a home-and-away game, belted into each other,” McLachlan said.

“People got suspended, people got injured, so we had CEOs and presidents on the back of that saying, ‘If you’re going to do it like that, why don’t you play it as a home-and-away game?’.”

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West Coast CEO Trevor Nisbett told The West Australian his preference had been for two pre-season matches, but understood why that had been reduced for 2023.

“With an additional game, it doesn’t make sense to have another fully blown game (pre-season),” he said

“We are on song with that.”

The AFL is yet to announce the match ups, timings and venues for both the pre-season and Magic Round.

But the AFL has confirmed it will be run between April 13 and April 16 as Round 5 of the competition.