The newest Australian Rules Football experiment to hit the pre-season schedule will be played out this Friday night from Marvel Stadium in Melbourne. AFLX will unveil its new all-star team format, headlined by respective captains Patrick Dangerfield, Nat Fyfe, Eddie Betts and Jack Riewoldt.
You can check out the full format, rules and teams for Friday night's event, at our AFLX info page here, or read on as we preview the event and give our betting tips below.
Eddie Betts was in the enviable position of having the entire pool of Indigenous players in the AFL to himself on draft night. From that pool, he selected an exciting squad highlighted by himself, Bradley Hill, Chad Wingard, and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti. We saw in the initial version of AFLX last season that speed kills, and there is no doubt that Team Deadly possesses the most speed of any team in the comptition.
Where they could struggle, however, is their lack of size. Steven May and Joel Hamling are their only recognised big players, and no doubt one will have to play back and the other forward for the majority of the night, otherwise, the size of the likes of Tom Hawkins, Jeremy Cameron and Jack Riewoldt could have them in trouble.
Team Deadly starts at $3.50 in the betting market, equal second favourite along with Team Rampage.
Odds: $3.50 at Sportsbet
Led by Brownlow medalist Patrick Dangerfield, the Bolts have put together a fairly strong side with a good blend of experienced and youthful talent. Where the Bolts could really excell is their youngsters, who will no doubt be taking the compeititon a little more seriously than some of the older heads on opposing sides. Jaidyn Stephenson, Andrew McGrath, Jack Billings and Jack Steele will all see the opportunity to showcase their talents, which could give the Bolts a competitive edge.
The sheer size of both Tom Hawkins and Mark Blicavs will also be an advantage for the Bolts. the other three teams, where possible, have picked bigs that are still fairly mobile around the ground in the likes of Jeremy Cameron, Aliir Aliir and Tom McDonald, however, Hawkins should be too big for the majority of defenders lining up on him.
The Bolts, led by Dangerfield and vice captain Luke Hodge, start as the outsiders for AFLX 2019. At $4.50 to win the tournament, they could be good value.
Odds: $4.50 at Sportsbet
Versatility seems to be the name of the game for Jack Riewoldt's Rampage on Friday night. accompanied by vice captain Patrick Cripps, Riewoldt selected a bunch of medium sized players that should be able to cover a lot of territory in the 8v8 style game. Lachie Whitfield, Isaac Smith, Luke Breust, Easton Wood and Cripps himself display some of the blend of size and athleticism that the Rampage possess.
The Rampage also possess some line-breaking midfielders with explosive accerleration which could be key given that there should be more open space to move into in the 8v8 format. Dayne Zorko, Dylan Shiel and Shaun Higgins are all quick off the mark and elite ball users.
Team Rampage sit equal second in the betting markets at $3.50 and on paper we have them just in second place on the night.
Odds: $3.50 at Sportsbet
On paper, our pick for the 2019 AFLX tournament has to be Nat Fyfe's Flyers. Backed up by vice captain Marcus Bomtempelli, the Flyers easily have the most sheer star power of any side. Scott Pendlebury and Josh Kennedy (SYD) along with Fyfe and Bontempelli will make up one of the biggest midfields seen in any AFL game, preseason or otherwise, and the Flyers also possess stars at either end of the ground as well.
In defence, it will be All-Australians Alex Rance, Michael Hurley and Rory Laird leading the way alongside Sydney's Aliir Aliir. The forward line will be stacked with more All-Australians in Jeremy Cameron and Travis Boak alonside young stars Isaac Heeney and Lachie Hunter.
Hard to look past Fyfe's flyers on paper, which is all we have to go by in the lead up ot the 2019 AFLX. They have star power from top to bottom while speed is impotant in AFLX, I think the sheers size of their team could be troubling as there are bound to be 1on1 matchups all over the ground in the 8v8 format. Back the Flyers to win.
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