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AFL happy with NAB Challenge format

AAP  February 3, 2016 10:44 AM

AFL 2015 NAB Challenge - Carlton v Geelong

Cameron Guthrie in action against Carlton during the 2015 NAB Challenge

AFL CHIEF Gillon McLachlan says the pre-season competition has plenty to offer fans despite calls for it to be made more competitive. 

Collingwood boss Eddie McGuire has called for the winner of the NAB Challenge to be awarded a berth in the finals, describing the current format as "glorified practice matches".

McLachlan said he was confident no change was needed, pointing to strong crowds at pre-season games last year as proof fans were keen to get a first glimpse of new recruits.

"It's just as exciting but for different reasons," he told reporters in Adelaide on Tuesday.

"Every supporter at this time is undefeated. They get to look at their new players, new structures, their new coaching set-up and how they're going to go. It's a different proposition."

Late last month, McGuire stated nobody cared about the current NAB Challenge format, and clubs were mostly concerned with preserving their lists.

"The start of the season doesn't have much zing," McGuire said.

"It is just hit and giggle. You just want to get through without injuries."

McGuire’s idea included awarding a finals berth to the winner of the pre-season competition.

The NAB Challenge, which begins on February 18, will feature 27 matches played at 21 venues across the country.

Click here to see Geelong's NAB Challenge fixture

McLachlan said he was confident the Essendon supplements saga would not cast a shadow over the pre-season despite its impact on several teams.

"There are challenges every year," he said.

"I think people are able to deal with that Essendon issue and compartmentalise it. There's a lot of excitement out there."