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Cats take on AFLX

Jen Phelan - AFL Media  December 20, 2017 2:23 PM

Harry Taylor says AFLX definitely has a place in the game - Geelong Cats,AFLX

Harry Taylor says AFLX definitely has a place in the game

A SMALL taste of AFLX has been enough for Geelong swingman Harry Taylor to believe the concept has the potential to succeed on the international stage.

The Cats trialled the new version of the game, set to be unveiled in February, on Tuesday in a fast-paced round robin of three teams. 

The majority of their players took part, although Patrick Dangerfield was absent after falling ill during the warm up and leaving their Deakin University training base before the match simulation began.

The three teams, named after "captains" Jake Kolodjashnij (Kola's Super Kings), Sam Menegola (Mena's Maestros) and Zach Tuohy (Reggie's Knightriders), played each other across six four-minute stints on a rectangular soccer-style pitch.

Taylor, who lined up in defence but swung forward to kick a 10-point goal from outside the 40m arc, likened it to International Rules for its speed continuity, but with less players on the field.

"It's a really interesting concept, something that's a bit different," Taylor said. 

"It's a really exciting brand of footy because it showcases all of the great things we love about a normal game of AFL footy. 

"The free-flowing, high scoring nature of the game is pretty appealing to us as players and I'm sure it will be to the fans that will be watching in February.

"The Gaelic style of game is very appealing in Ireland, but there is certainly other places around the world where soccer is very big and perhaps this AFL style will appeal to those more soccer-orientated fans."

AFLX will involve teams of 10 players with seven on the field and three on the bench, and games will consist of two 10-minute halves with a two-minute half-time break. 

The 18 AFL clubs have been split into three pools, with the Cats to appear with Adelaide, Collingwood, Fremantle, Port Adelaide and West Coast at Hindmarsh Stadium on February 15.

Taylor said the game would best suit quick players who had solid skills below their knees and could break the lines while still being able to read the play.

Defender Jed Bews was a standout on Tuesday, while Jordan Murdoch's speed and tendency to take on the game were strong assets as the ball rebounded from end to end.

Forwards Wylie Buzza and Daniel Menzel also performed with their booming kicks making them solid contributors when it came to long goals, while Tuohy slotted a nice 10-pointer from the centre of the pitch that prompted him to break into an Irish jig.

Taylor predicted the game would be a high-scoring showpiece, with players keen to take advantage of the short field and bonus points on offer for long goals.

"I think the 10-point carrot will be really encouraging for guys, and really appealing to take a shot from out there," he said. 

"The guys in the game now can kick the ball really well from 40 or 50m out.

"If you miss, you only get the one [point], but I guess the prize of 10 is pretty high."

The Cats' draftees Tim Kelly, Gryan Miers and Lachlan Fogarty didn't take part in the trial, but the former two looked impressive in the brief match simulation warm up where they neatly and repeatedly delivered the ball inside 50 and hit targets.

Fellow draftee Charlie Constable wasn't present, with their third pick from last month's draft recovering from a tonsillectomy he had done on Monday.

Gary Ablett, Joel Selwood, Tom Hawkins, Scott Selwood and Nakia Cockatoo were among those who also didn't play, as part of their programs, and ran laps instead.

Dangerfield looked pale and slightly sore in the back when he left training early, but the club said he had arrived at the session feeling unwell and was sent home as a precaution.