A couple of AFL coaches comments have confused me over the past week.
True, in the pre-season all coaches tend to talk more about the blokes that didn't play rather than those that did. Particularly if their team just lost by a big margin.
But as the NAB Challenge got started one losing coach spoke of "putting in a new defensive plan" but being hampered because of "personnel issues".
As explanations go, it was curious.
I know almost every coach in the pre-season would love to coach from a chaise lounge just to make crystal clear how relaxed he is and how unimportant the results are. But best not to suggest a bad loss came about by not picking the right people to work on something that's key to a successful regular season.
By his own admission, some of the blokes in his team - and some of the fit blokes left out - needed to be in the same side to both learn a new scheme and get it right for round one.
I know we live in an AFL age of monitored minutes and nuances so subtle they're almost impossible to see without an ultra violet light. But I think we all understand "it's just a practice game".
Yet if the old timer who said "familiarity breeds defence" was right, what we heard was an odd defence.