Disclaimer: I’m a West Coast Eagles fan, so figure that into your assessments when considering my objectivity. However, for the purposes of this prediction, I’m calling that the Eagles will be the best performed of all the expansion teams.
What if drugs in footy was just the tip of the iceberg? What if things in the next decade could get a whole lot worse? Here’s how it might look.
Live aerial streaming is used to detect and alert coaches when the current defensive and forward set-ups stray from pre-programmed set-ups.
In the finals series, the alerts are sent not only to the coaches box but directly to the players, as Harry Taylor dons a computer chip behind his ear. Accused of cheating, Geelong counter-accuses Hawthorn of using aerial streaming to capture snapshots of coaching notes.
As the AFL ramps up drug-testing, rumours abound of human bodies producing unusually high levels of adrenalin. At the end of the season, the mother of a star AFL player breaks ranks and reveals her son has been given electro-biotic stimulation of his adrenal cortex.
TV cameras catch Port Adelaide coaches downloading data directly from chips planted inside their players’ bodies. “The lactic acid build-up in Ollie Wines is too high. Give him a rest.”
Unfortunately, the data is being intercepted by an illegal gambling ring, which makes a killing betting on Travis Boak twanging his Achilles.
The Sydney Swans’ Alex Johnson returns from another knee reconstruction. As he dazzles with new-found speed, independent scans reveal his reconstructed knee is supported by implanted computer-calibrated spring activation.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan orders independent scanning of all players and finds Ty Vickery has computer-calibrated shoulder mechanics implanted to straighten his kicking action.
In a last-ditch effort to prevent the explosion of implanted software, McLachlan sets up metal-implant testing for all players. But while the implanted software industry is subdued, organic tissue transplanting is forging ahead.
Brisbane captain Dayne Beams makes a dramatic one-week recovery from another shoulder injury and pays credit to organic tissue transplanting. At the end of the season, new Essendon coach Francois Hirdier declares his entire team injured. Rumours circulate that the entire team is undergoing tissue transplanting.
As a reinvigorated Essendon team takes the AFL by storm, AFL crowds are down but marketing of organic tissue transplanting has gone through the roof. McLachlan speaks out about the pervasive damage to the sport being done by ‘bio-technology’ but the television stations are not listening.
Pseudo-scientific studies emerge to cast doubt over whether organic tissue transplanting really does enhance performance. At the end of the season, McLachlan is replaced as AFL CEO by the former CEO of Newbody, an organic tissue transplanting company.
Following years of conjecture, Dr Slam Dunk comes out. Dunk, one of Australia’s leading human tissue transplanters, declares that two Brownlow Medalists in the previous five years had in fact received tissue transplants directly from him: one to improve leg speed, the other to improve oxygen circulation.
Dunk speculates that all Brownlow Medalists in the previous five years have received tissue transplants. By this stage, spectators are getting tissue transplants to make their voices louder and their long distance eyesight keener.
Transplanted human tissue is becoming old-fashioned as genetically engineered tissue takes over. Emerging Carlton wingman Thomas Dale suffers multiple fractures in his leg after being landed on by a suspiciously beefed-up 130-kilogram Jeff Garlett.
He opts for the first complete leg transplant and records the first seven-metre high standing jump by an AFL footballer. He is soon stationed in the defensive goal square to intercept kicks coming in at post height.
Collingwood’s Dane Swan becomes the first AFL player to declare himself 100 per cent biotech, from neck to toe.
Every team is sponsored by a different biotech company and every player has at least some genetically engineered tissue transplants. AFL football shifts to a Formula One/America’s Cup-type sport where the competition is mainly to determine which team has the most advanced technology.
We live in a world where innovation is the new god but perhaps not everything that can be done should be done.