The AFL NAB Challenge, newly named the JLT Community Series, is the traditional pre-season competition of the AFL and with new faces emerging and old rivalries still going strong, the 2017 edition shapes up to be an intriguing one.
The Western Bulldogs will enter the reigning champs, but there’s plenty of optimism among the league’s other teams, and you can watch every match live on a standard or HD TV, or stream the games to a mobile device with a Free trial.
2017 NAB Challenge Preview
The 2017 NAB Challenge will be played from 16 February (Thursday) until 12 March (Sunday), and include a total of twenty-seven matches. The clubs will use the games to test new strategies and formulate their final twenty-two for the proper premiership, as we saw last year with Geelong, who reached the penultimate week of the season.
The first game of the competition sees Collingwood take on Essendon. This will be a fascinating contest. For Collingwood, it really is make or break under coach Nathan Buckley. They have missed the finals the past three years and for a proud club full of tradition, that just simply isn’t good enough. The list does look strong and from all reports they have trained well during the pre season. The banned Bombers are back and expect them to be lining up here. How will they adapt to the pace and the extra brutality, because it definitely went up a notch or two last year, especially with the reduced interchange.
Another interesting match will be on Friday, February 17, when the greatest side of the modern era, four time champs, the Hawthorn Hawks, take on the Geelong Cats in Tassie at Aurora Stadium. Hawthorn traditionally uses the early part of the NAB Challenge to tweak their plans, and roll out the youngsters looking to impress Hawk’s coach Alastair Clarkson, a classic example being James Sicily. Geelong will look to take it a touch more seriously, as they did last year when they had most of their big guns on display.
NAB Challenge Week 4 Live TV Times
Thu 9 March: Suns v Bulldogs (5.50pm)
Thu 9 March: Eagles v Melbourne (8.40pm)
Fri 10 March: Giants v North Melbourne (5.50pm)
Fri 10 March: Fremantle v Carlton (8.40pm)
Sat 11 March: Richmond v Collingwood (1.10pm)
Sat 11 March: Adelaide v Brisbane (4.10pm)
Sun 12 March: Port Adelaide v Hawthorn (1.10pm)
Sun 12 March: Geelong v Essendon (4.10pm)
Sun 12 March: St Kilda v Swans (7.10pm)
Matches shown as Sydney time on Fox Footy, see the complete NAB Challenge schedule below. The 2017 NAB Challenge Free to Air not available in Australia.
AFL Live Streaming and a Free Trial
You won’t find the NAB Challenge on free to Air, but Fox Footy will provide complete Live coverage with no ad-breaks during play, to include watching the NAB Challenge online and match replays through-out the week so you can enjoy the excitement no matter your schedule, along with the entirety of the Women’s AFL (Feb 3 – March 25).
So if you’re a resident of Australia you may wish to consider Foxtel Play’s Free live TV offer, which will telecast this exciting 2017 AFL pre-season action and other popular sports online*, as well as offering live NAB Challenge streaming to eligible mobile devices (Fox Footy not available on PC or Mac) through Foxtel Go within minutes of getting started.
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2017 NAB Challenge Players to Watch
The star recruit from the off season last year was star midfielder Patrick Dangerfield, who returned home to Geelong after playing 154 games for the Adelaide Crows. He was a star in 2016 and he was a dominant Brownlow Medal winner. The hunger will be there after a disappointing end to the year, plus he is recently married and is living on the coast, so the off field elements of his life appear the right recipe for him to star in 2017, but don’t look for him or your other favourite players every week on Free to air AFL.
In terms of teams, Essendon are the obvious side that will be watched very closely during the 2017 AFL Season. Most of the squad was suspended for a year due to the 2012 supplements saga, so their side was a mix of cast offs and kids, so it’ll be very interesting to see how the banned players will fare against Collingwood. The result doesn’t necessarily matter, but you’d want to see them match it with them in terms of intensity and desire heading towards the 2017 season.
If you can’t be in front of your TV, you can stream the NAB Challenge live to a compatible mobile device, just check the below listings (Sydney Time) for your favourite teams.
NAB Challenge 2017 Week 2
Thursday February 23
St Kilda v Port Adelaide (7.40pm)
Friday February 24
Richmond v Adelaide Crows (7.40pm)
Saturday February 25
Melbourne v Carlton (2.05pm)
West Coast Eagles v Fremantle (6.40pm)
Sunday February 26
North Melbourne v Hawthorn (2.05pm)
Gold Coast Suns v Essendon (4.40pm)
NAB Challenge 2017 Week 3
Thursday March 2
Western Bulldogs v Brisbane Lions (7.40pm)
Friday March 3
GWS Giants v Sydney Swans (7.40pm)
Saturday March 4
Carlton v St Kilda (2.05pm)
Fremantle v Collingwood (4.40pm)
Sunday March 5
Adelaide Crows v Geelong Cats (2.05pm)
Port Adelaide v Richmond (4.40pm)
NAB Challenge 2017 Week 4
Thursday March 9
Gold Coast Suns v Western Bulldogs (5.50pm)
West Coast Eagles v Melbourne (8.40pm)
Friday March 10
GWS Giants v North Melbourne (5.50pm)
Fremantle v Carlton (8.40pm)
Saturday March 11
Richmond v Collingwood (1.10pm)
Adelaide Crows v Brisbane Lions (4.10pm)
Sunday March 12
Port Adelaide v Hawthorn (1.10pm)
Geelong Cats v Essendon (4.10pm)
St Kilda v Sydney Swans (7.10pm)