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NAB Challenge explained

Jason Porplyzia of the Crows marks the ball over Jared Rivers of the Cats during the 2013 NAB Cup round 02 match between the Geelong Cats and the Adelaide Crows at Simonds Stadium, Geelong. (Photo: Lachlan Cunningham/AFL Media)
Jason Porplyzia of the Crows marks the ball over Jared Rivers of the Cats during the 2013 NAB Cup round 02 match between the Geelong Cats and the Adelaide Crows at Simonds Stadium, Geelong. (Photo: Lachlan Cunningham/AFL Media)

Interchange rotations will be capped at 130 during the NAB Challenge in preparation for the introduction of a cap (of 120) in the 2014 AFL Premiership Season.

Clubs can select up to 26 players (six interchange and two substitutes) in the two NAB Challenge games, which will consist of four 20 minute quarters (plus time on). The substitutes can be reset after half-time. Adelaide’s first pre-season game is against Port Adelaide at Richmond Oval on Sunday, February 16. The match starts at 4:10pm. Tickets to the pre-season hit-out are available here.

Coach Brenton Sanderson has already revealed at least three new recruits will line up against the Power this week. Rookie-listed players are eligible to play in the pre-season competition. The squad to tackle Port will be named at midday on Friday.

The Crows averaged 144 rotations per game, including changes made at the quarter and three-quarter time breaks, in 2013. Coach Brenton Sanderson said it was important the Club adjusted to the in-season cap during the NAB Challenge.

“The interchange cap is definitely something that we’ll look at, but it’ll depend a bit on the weather. The forecast looks okay at the moment, but the AFL will adjust the cap and the length of the game if it’s too hot,” Sanderson said.

“We know we can get some hot days here in Adelaide, so hopefully it’s not 40 degrees on Sunday. We won’t be foolish with how we approach the cap depending on the heat.

“It shouldn’t be as much of an issue in our second game against Carlton, which is at night.”

The popular nine-point goal will again be a feature of the pre-season competition. All approved rule changes for the 2014 Premiership Season will also be in effect. For example, "a player electing to bump will be cited for rough conduct if contact comes via a head clash". Players will be instructed that a head clash should be reasonably foreseen when bumping.

Contact with the legs has also been addressed, with a free kick to be paid if a player makes forceful contact below the knees or acts in a manner likely to cause injury, even if contact does not occur. Also, changes have been made to discourage players from seeking to draw forceful high contact.

Adelaide will head to Etihad Stadium to play Carlton on Monday, February 24 in its second NAB Challenge game. The Crows will also play a trial game against GWS on Friday, March 7, but this is not part of the NAB Challenge series.

The NAB Challenge series kicks off on Wednesday night with Geelong meeting Collingwood. The pre-season competition will be distinctly different this year, with 18 games in 18 days slated for 13 venues around Australia, including several at regional venues. Each club will play two matches, with a minimum six-day break between games. All matches will be broadcast live on Fox Footy.

Click here for the 2014 NAB Challenge fixture

Unlike previous years, there will be no Grand Final to crown a pre-season a night series premier. That also means the Michael Tuck Medal, presented to the best player in the Grand Final since 1992, will not be awarded.