When Sydney and North Melbourne venture to Bruce Purser Reserve on Saturday to continue their NAB Cup campaigns, one could be forgiven for being totally and utterly confused.
Firstly, The NAB Cup has moved on from its first round tri-team format to a simpler equation: 20-minute quarters and one winner.
Secondly, Bruce Purser reserve is in Kellyville, an outer Sydney suburb. Understand? Good.
In Round 1 of the Nab Cup, North Melbourne fell to Richmond in their first game but bounced back to beat Hawthorn, while Sydney beat St. Kilda but lost to the Premiers, Geelong.
WHY YOU SHOULD TUNE IN
Two clubs, one game, one winner. A simple equation, a common equation, but one that seems so attractive after a fortnight of what seemed to be a competition for which team could score the least.
North Melbourne and their beefed up midfield will be relishing the chance to test themselves over 120 minutes: Led by Andrew Swallow, North will look to impose themselves on the contest with another pre-season sure to have injected yet more muscle into the likes of Jack Ziebell, Ben Cunnington and Shaun Atley.
Drew Petrie will once again be relied on to lead the forward line, while 2012 shapes up to be an integral year for utility Lachie Hansen – 5 years on the list for very little output, Hansen will want to start well now and continue on to prove his worth and potential.
Sydney, playing a home game in theory at Bruce, will be looking to build on what could only be considered a success of a 2011 campaign. John Longmire proved to be a refreshing, yet familiar, follow up to Premiership Coach Paul Roos and a number of players shone.
Folk from Sydney’s outer suburbs will be flocking to the gates to see Adam Goodes flaunt some of his evergreen talent, while Josh Kennedy could well make 2012 the year that he enters the world of the elite.
The idea that a player playing in the Rugby-centric states rings true here, because despite having a ‘good 2011’ in the eyes of most Melbourne based viewers, his season was, in reality, in the mix along with some of the competitions more highly-fancied inside midfielders.
Sam Reid is another to watch; at just 20 years of age he has set the league alight from centre half-forward – showing the likes of Jack Watts and Hansen that young talls can indeed shine when called upon.
It will be 21 degrees C and raining on Saturday, both sides are hardly renowned for their finesse, so expect both sides to run hard, dive in and scrap throughout the contest.
With Fox Footy not sending their cameras out to the Reserve, don’t expect to see this game without making an effort. You can either head out to Sydney’s suburbia, or you can hope that the AFL choose to broadcast a stream. Either way, the game starts at 3:40pm.
A tie. I just cannot split these two sides. If I had to go at a push, North Melbourne by under a goal – they’ll just be hungrier.