Return of Lock may spice up preseason
Sparse crowds, missed kicks and old lollies not the only focal points
A SUBURBAN game of preseason AFL is usually a pretty tranquil affair.
The crowds are sparse and reserved at best.
Usually, a few players find out they should have retired the year before. Someone will invariably attempt a kick only to miss the ball completely and the lolly bags at the club canteen are sometimes leftovers from last year.
Not much can be drawn from what happens at these games.
But this weekend could tell us a lot about the Cairns Saints and South Cairns Cutters, with key defender Daniel Lock potentially taking the field for the first time since serving a nine-game suspension.
The ban dates back to a June game against the Saints where it is alleged Lock punched Saints midfielder Riley McCall.
During the game, McCall’s jaw was broken in three places.
As a result, he was forced to put on hold a new job as an apprentice plumber in the days following the incident to instead undergo major surgery and dental work.
Lock currently faces criminal charges over the alleged incident.
This week the Cutters will again play the Saints at Fretwell Park in a practice match at the very place where the alleged encounter occurred.
The Saints are expected to name McCall in their side.
Meanwhile Lock, who had planned to move to Brisbane last year, has instead opted to stay in the Far North serving as a playing assistant coach.
No-one can tell Lock not to play this weekend.
He has served a punishment issued by the league and his legal fate will be determined in due course.
He is also a decorated player, who has represented North Queensland and coached representative teams throughout his career. He is well liked by many in the football community, particularly his teammates, whom he has led to several grand final appearances where he has played with distinction.
Sport, after all, is all about confrontation and AFL is a physically confronting game.
This weekend at Fretwell Park, there should be plenty of bruising tackles, hard bumps, cheeky banter and aggressive, attacking play. A fresh air kick may even draw a chuckle or two from the patrons leaning over the fence.
But some confrontations should be avoided this week.
Because even though Lock can play, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he should just yet.
Here’s to another boring preseason game.
POTENTIAL RETURN: Cutters' Daniel Lock is due to play since serving a suspension.