Like it or hate it, the footy news cycle never ends.
Normally, players and coaches are all too obliging to create some headlines throughout the season with their comments and actions, and sometimes these can catch us off guard.
They may seem unlikely now, but footy is a funny game. So don’t be too surprised to see these headlines pop up on this site in the coming months.
Adelaide – Betts kicks goal from actual carpark
Against Carlton and with a handy 137-point lead in the shadows of three-quarter-time, Eddie Betts breaks new wondergoal ground by taking a set shot from the Adelaide Oval carpark, and nailing it.
Despite the protests from Blues players who claimed Betts probably used up his 30 seconds negotiating his way through the bar lines and out of the ground, the umpire allows the goal to stand.
Brisbane – Aker in the hot seat
After an especially poor start to the season, the Lions sack coach Justin Leppitsch. Naturally, the board immediately looks to the all-conquering three-peat team for a replacement, with only one man eagerly putting his hand up for the job.
Jason Akermanis takes over for the second half of the campaign and makes immediate changes, including a red-head-only policy for the senior team. In fairness, most fans don’t notice a change.
Carlton – Weitering becomes youngest AFL captain
Two rounds into the 2016 season, Blues skipper Marc Murphy decides the time has come to hand over the reins to the next generation.
In just his third game, number one draft pick Jacob Weitering mans – and wins – the coin toss as the Carlton skipper for the first time. Blues fans take this a sign of bright skies ahead.
Collingwood – McGuire continues push for finals tweaks
Having already pushed for the preseason challenge winner to earn a spot in the actual finals series, Eddie McGuire ups the ante by suggesting the club with the most members should also get a free finals spot.
After that proposal is knocked back, McGuire floats both a “most tattoos” wild card spot and a “most wins over Essendon on Anzac Day” position. Unsuccessful, Collingwood finishes 10th and pins its failed season on a round one venue change.
Essendon – Bombers win game
It will happen, make no mistake. If that Melbourne team from a few years back can pinch some points, so can an Essendon team with a spattering of premiership players, a premiership coach and a Brownlow Medallist.
It will probably be against Carlton, but you would have to expect some poor team will go into a match over-confident and come a cropper. Just imagine the scenes when it happens too.
Fremantle – Pav signs on til 2022
Hell bent on winning Fremantle its first flag, Matthew Pavlich commits to the club until his 40th birthday.
Aaron Sandilands, on the other hand, retires from the game to launch a Nike line of footy sneakers called “Air Sandis”. He is consequently embroiled in an ongoing Twitter beef with Kanye West.
Geelong – Kardinia Park renamed again
For the umpteenth time, Geelong’s home ground is renamed – but this time not due to sponsorship commitments.
Having ignited the Cats’ flag hopes in the opening months of the season, Geelong fans petition the club to name the ground after their star recruit, and from that Danger Field is born.
Gold Coast – Suns to erect Gazza statue in centre square
After a series of 40 possession, three-goal games for the Suns, Gary Ablett Jr is immortalised in the form of a bronze statue – but instead of placing on the outskirts of Carrara Stadium, the club sticks it just outside the centre circle.
The sight of a shimmering bald Gazza statue picking up the ruckman’s crumbs enthrals spectators for weeks, until Jaeger O’Meara trips over it in his comeback match, dislocating both shoulders.
GWS – Crowds flock as Giants win 12 in a row
An insanely talented group of young players all click at once at the start of the 2016 season, with the Giants making a perfect 12-0 start to the campaign. The crowds respond in kind, with weekly sellout crowds now a feature at Sydney Showgrounds.
However confusion abounds when many of the new Giants fans arrive seemingly wearing Swans guernseys painted charcoal and orange. Giants number 23 Heath Shaw quickly becomes the most popular player in the comp.
Hawthorn – Hawks to launch intraclub breakaway league
Bored with premiership after premiership, the Hawks decide the only way to truly test themselves is a series of 12-a-side intraclub matches.
The games, played at a quickly-revamped Waverley Park, are thrilling end-to-end encounters. The team Luke Hodge is on inevitably wins the inaugural premiership.
Melbourne – Hogan outfoxes umpire in heated verbal stoush
Unquestionably a superstar on the rise, Jesse Hogan finds himself frustrated at a perceived lack of respect from pundits who question his accuracy in front of goal. Having made up with ex-Demon David Schwarz, Hogan turned attentions to umpire Ray Chamberlain.
When Razor signalled “all clear” for Hogan’s fifth behind of the day, the young forward pointed out that his goalkicking accuracy percentage was far better than the infamous ump’s correct-free kick percentage. Despite the latter stat not existing, most agreed Hogan was right.
North Melbourne – Roos coach Scott becomes Emoji
Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, eager to ensure his social networking platform stays fresh, opts to redesign the series of Emojis available to respond to posts. After a short trip to Australia, Zuckerberg finds his answer.
North coach Brad Scott finds his rather emotive face plastered all over the world as his side stumbles in the middle part of the season, with Facebook utilising his frequent cartoonish looks of disgust, surprise, indignation and outrage to a wildly receptive audience.
Port Adelaide – Power apply for A-League licence
Encouraged by the Port fans’ pre-match spectacle, complete with raised scarves and droning chants, David Koch seeks to expand his empire into the round ball code.
But plans are quickly abandoned when those same fans get wind of them, outraged by the comparisons made to association football. A giant protest banner that reads “#NTUA” quickly makes the distinction clear.
Richmond – Tigers win final, league folds
In the cruellest twist of fate, Richmond’s finals charge is halted when the league makes a drastic decision to stop competition mid-September.
The Tigers edge a close elimination final against North Melbourne, prompting hysteric optimism at Punt Road, however the incredible popularity of the Hawthorn intraclub competition forces Gil McLachlan to follow the crowds and cancel the rest of the season.
St Kilda – Riewoldt to play every position in 2016
Unsatisfied with a mooted move to midfield, Saints skipper Nick Riewoldt sets out to start a match in every single position on the field in a bid to aid the development of his rising young team.
The midfield move is mildly successful, but the tireless veteran seriously impresses during a stint at centre half back. “This game is actually really easy,” Riewoldt remarks. “I don’t know what everyone is complaining about.”
Sydney – Ground move to thank for Buddy’s 150
Lance Franklin quickly announces to the AFL world he is back to his best, and eyes an incredible AFL goalkicking record – thanks largely to Sydney’s decision to use the SCG as its predominant home ground.
Swiftly realising he is capable of kicking goals from almost anywhere on the AFL’s shortest ground, Buddy racks up a bag of goals at home and, needing 15 to reach 150 in round 23 against Richmond, completes the historic task with time to spare.
West Coast – NicNat takes mark of the year, kicks goal of the year in same play
Nic Naitanui pulls off an incredible double, soaring over a pack of six players on half-back at Subi to take mark of the year, before immediately setting off on a barnstorming run, full of fend-offs and sidesteps, to kick goal of the year.
Despite the remarkable feat, many continue to claim the star ruckman is wildly overrated, pointing to the fact this was his only mark and goal of the match. Naitanui finishes the match with 71 hit outs to advantage in a 107-point West Coast win.
Western Bulldogs – Boyd plays match without reference to salary
For the first time since his move to the Dogs, rising key forward Tom Boyd plays a game without any fan or pundit mentioning the frankly obscene amount of money he is earning.
After a couple of consecutive quality matches as the Bulldogs continue to impress, fans are overheard remarking “good player, that Boyd” instead of the usual “I could work for 20 years and not as much as this lad, and he’s getting beaten by Zac Dawson”.