AFL footy fans might feel as though this off-season has dragged on longer than necessary.
That is because a day has been added to February to accommodate the slight deficiency of the Roman calendar.
Southern hemisphere residents get an extra day of summer; while their northern hemisphere brethren get an extra dose of winter.
No one need wait for the bookies to post AFL markets, however, and a check with one revealed that the start of the Toyota 2020 AFL Premiership competition is just 29 days in the future.
It would be 28, if not for bloody Leap Day.
As was the case last year, the new season will honour Richmond Tigers versus Carlton Blues for the Thursday evening opener to the season.
Carlton are of course optimistic. They can look back on the 2019 game at MCG and take some comfort that they held the Tigers to fewer than 100 points. They can look forward to an almost-Grand-Final sized crowd.
Not much else to fuel optimism, but footy players seem naturally optimistic, especially ahead of a new season, but Carlton may actually have cause.
Caretaker coach David Teague did enough at the end of last season to receive the reins.
Once past the Richmond game, Carlton’s next five all appear winnable.
That might be a big ask for last season’s 16th ranked club, but 2019 might have been what an author might have had in mind if he or she borrowed from Charles Dickens and penned a novel about Carlton titled, “A Tale of Two Carltons.
After just two wins through the first 13 rounds of 2019, Carlton rebounded to win five of their final nine, even if the 68-point loss to Geelong on the final day of Carlton’s home-and-away season demonstrated that the Blues still have an uphill path facing them in 2020.
Carlton have lost their last nine encounters with Richmond, but that did not prevent defender Liam Jones from saying, “It’s always a competitive game and I feel like just late they tend to kick away or we miss some goals or some opportunities. I know we’ll be ready and raring to go.”The supporters will be behind us and we’ll be throwing everything we can at them.”
Carlton will probably throw Jones at Richmond spearhead Jack Riewoldt.
Richmond may throw Jones back.