WHO would you rather be this week? Nat Fyfe or Pauline Hanson?
One, playing in a rebuilding side, captaining that side even, just had a major setback this week after some poor, split-second decision making; in a career of some highs this has been a low week.
And then there’s Nat Fyfe who has had much the same week in truth, so really, it’s a toss of the coin.
I think until young Nat has had a stint on Dancing with the Stars, we have to give it to Pauline, her soft lateral movements on that show where mesmerising. Balletic even.
Onto the real stuff.
1. Nat Fyfe. Doneski. All that money you’ve put on him I apologise, but I have a solution to get you out of it next. Mind you, whilst he was clean enough to win the 2015 Charlie, he was reported in the final rounds that year and was lucky to get off. The year before, he was the favourite and luckily Matt Priddis came from the clouds and avoided the ineligible winner scenario – he was reported three times that year; he ain’t no Bambi, he has priors.
2. So, you need a financial recoup? Don’t subscribe to Tom Mitchell or Jack Macrae in this new market. The former has basically stopped since Round Three, the other will barely poll 20 votes by year’s end since his Dogs aren’t much good. Your answer is Shaun Higgins. The Roos are winning, he has been their best player, he stands out as much as Ben Cunnington doesn’t, he has the most disposals and did I mention they are winning? I think he has at least two best ons to now, and even if he has picked up ones and twos in some but not all of their other wins he is at least on 10,11 votes. If the Roos pick up 13 wins and he averages two votes a win, that’s exactly how Priddis won the Brownlow in 2014 (polled 13 times for 26 votes). Cotchin will take votes off Martin, Cripps won’t play in enough wins, but Higgins has no-one to take votes off him in a side that will make finals. Sportsbet has him over $50… get on! Sell the house, don’t listen to your wife or husband’s concerns with that, they will thank you later. Do it. Cannot lose. All in. Take up a second job just to put more money on it.
3. Gotta be impressed with the Roos though. So, Shaun Higgins is supremely talented, not even sure old Footscray fans saw him as a full time midfielder but he is doing that with aplomb. They have been blessed with little injury so they are meshing as quickly and as well as any, they have the in form tall forward in the game in Ben Brown, and despite the love affair with Alex Rance, the in form key back in the game as well in Robbie Tarrant. If this column sees another mid-year All Australian with Rance over Tarrant, I am will join One Nation.
4. Let’s keep the Roos flavour going a little with Paul Ahern love. Top 10 pick in 2014 to the GWS, highly rated midfielder, did his knee and was on the outer and free to a good home basically. Did his knee again just before the trade period, Roos gave a fourth round pick a month knowing he was just starting his second of back to back twelve-month rehabs. And then finally on debut last weekend, three and a half years after being drafted, at his second club, monstered it, 29 touches, clean, agile, quick, might even sneak a Charlie vote for his work, great story.
5. And on unsung tales, of sorts, want to give a shout out to Jake Lloyd. Another 24 touches on the weekend, averaging 27 a game, averaged 26 last year, other than perhaps the Supercoach coaches out there, this a hell of a player going under the radar big time. Sydney too are underrated massively right now, it’s all about West Coast, Richmond and now Melbourne. Sydney are the only team to have beaten West Coast in Perth, so doing it again in the Spring won’t scare them, and I reckon the only side that scares Richmond in Melbourne are the Swans as well. Do not forget the Bloods, they are as good as anyone in this race.
6. And some more positivity, want to highlight Ryan Griffen who plays game 250 this week. Almost 32, but still playing well, 22 touches in the win Sunday, lead his team for inside 50s, such a talented player. 2013 was his best year, averaged almost 30 a game with six inside 50s but has had a tough trot since then, particularly when his former club imploded and he was the reluctant skipper at the time. Six votes from the Coaches on Sunday too, great performance. Well done Griff.
7. As for the South Adelaide product’s former club, what’ happening at half time for the Bulldogs? This year they have scored a combined 340 points in second halves, but let in 548. That’s a percentage of 62. But even the last three weeks, scored 38 combined, let in 153. Percentage of 25. Ouch.
8. Speaking of scoring, how about the Suns? Last three games, scored 77 points at the Gabba to Melbourne but thumped by 69, then scored 42 but lost by 40 in China and then scored 36 losing by 85 on the weekend. Other than maybe the Saints at home in Round 13 their next win might not be until Round 19 hosting Carlton. By then, could be 3 and 14, Tom Lynch will definitely want to walk, and this franchise is going backwards at a severe rate of knots despite how good Stuey ‘yes I’ll see a desert menu’ Dew is.
9. Top Eight. Anything from Geelong down to the Giants in contention for four spots. We definitely think North makes it, but two of the clubs outside at the moment, Adelaide and GWS, are still likely after all, so Geelong, Collingwood and Port, only one of those gets in perhaps? Then there’s the Clarko factor. We’ve got to Round 12 and its far from set in stone, this is good news people.
10.Oh yes, yep, its going to be Bon Jovi providing tunes at this year’s Grand Final. Knew that a couple weeks ago, why mention it now when other outlets have? Who knows, perhaps I’m just side-tracked in working out how I’m going to cope with joining One Nation given everyone just loves Rance over Tarrant this year. Has anyone seen a North game? Tarrant might be the most underrated defender since the huge orangutan in the first Planet of the Apes film. Great reach, always good for a spoil.
11.Right, Freo. What are the Dockers trying to achieve? Currently 13th, finished 14th last year, 16th in 2016, all after finishing 1st in 2015. This is one hell of a serious rebuild then. Won 8 games last year, on track to match that at worst, we concede. But the game style Sunday, very slow, very defensive, that’s back to basics stuff. Auskick kinda fundamentals. The white flag has been flown down Fremantle Oval, so even this massively invested column is “selling”.
12.Last time Freo didn’t have Ross Lyon, Fyfe was their best player already in only his second year, Pavlich was a gun still, but otherwise it was the Barlow, Broughton, Palmer, Clancee Pearce types running around. Geelong won their third flag in five that year and poor Mark Harvey just missed the finals so their coup to snare the Saints’ coach was on. So since then? Lyon got the Dockers to 14, 16, 16 and 17 wins the next four years, in the process narrowly losing a semi-final, making a Grand Final, going out in straight sets and then losing a home prelim. That prelim loss is the one that really stung it cost them a Derby Grand Final the next week to which they would have been warm favourites. So if Ross is really breaking this team down as much as Pauline is now in trying to rebuild her party by the next election, then at least he achieved as good a four year run without winning a flag as you’d like to see.
13.Speaking of that 2015 year, the Dockers lost that home prelim to Hawthorn, who then took on West Coast the week after. The Eagles were the better side of the two that year, they had beaten the Hawks by five goals only four weeks earlier in a Qualifying Final but they then choked big time in the big dance. However, 15 players from that Grand Final side are still playing, so when you think that they were good enough but just had a Barnaby Joyce performance on the day, no wonder they are looking immense this year. Plus, the additions of Redden, Duggan, Jetta, Barrass, Lycett, Rioli, Ryan, Waterman, Cole, are all making really positive, complimentary contributions. Good things the Eagles. Just confused about 2016 and 2017 then I guess.
14.Why is West Coast called West Coast? Why aren’t they Perth? Unless they plan on taking some home games to Broome or San Francisco, surely Perth is a bit more appropriate. Then again, still maintain the Western Bulldogs should still be called Footscray. You don’t see Essendon becoming the North-west-Calder-corridor-but-not-quite-as-far-down-as-Kensington-because-that-would-be-North-Melbourne-sorta Bombers.
15.Looking at Carlton’s last month, they defeated Essendon, then yes, had their pants pulled down by Melbourne, but have been as competitive in a rebuild as you’d want against Geelong and then Sydney up there. The last fortnight has been positive, got the bye this week but Freo at home first game back a chance to cash in and then build into the back half of the year.
16.Got to give some kudos to Tim Membrey, six straight on the weekend after weeks of being as accurate as a Commonwealth Bank internal integrity audit, much better. Good on him.
17.Couple on two Hawks, firstly Ryan Schoenmakers. Turns 28 in November, unrestricted free agent, 195cm and 93kg; a good size the lad. Can’t get into this Hawks side and probably won’t, and for someone who when finally swung forward after years as a back looked pretty handy he shows the promise of someone who could be tasty for a number of teams. Averaged eight marks a game in the 2015 finals series but hasn’t been favoured since. Much maligned yet surely could be offering valuable AFL service somewhere if it’s not to be at Waverley.
18. Then Jaeger O’Meara. Was a future Brownlow moral going by his first two years at the Suns. Cruelled by knee injuries that most clubs in pursuit, despite the talent, said would not be worth the risk securing. With his knee barely holding on he is now getting barely 20 touches a week for Hawthorn, but is this a case of him building back up to the 30-disposal monster that can dominate a game as we saw when he was a teenager, or has his injuries curtailed him to being a bit-player midfielder offering some impact but not much more? He was destined for a career of All-Australians, Brownlows, you name it, now he couldn’t be further from it.
19. Ollie Wines will be playing in Victoria next year. Bank it. Don’t know where exactly but he ain’t re-signing in Port Adelaide we can say as much. As we’ve sort of said before, if we had to put a club down, maybe St Kilda, maybe North, if I had to choose just one though I’d suggest perhaps Carlton to give Cripps a chop out.
20. State of Origin tonight at the MCG, a shame that it’s a Steeden being thrown around and not a Sherrin. Still maintain it should be conducted in the pre-season, same time as the JLT series, Vic, SA, WA, three games, we all know that chestnut, but if nothing else, we name an All-Australian side each year that doesn’t play anyone, we should in September also have dinners to name the State sides too. Dustin Martin should be known as a two-time All Australian but also perhaps a three-time Victorian representative. Might never play an actual game for Victoria, but to be chosen still as a Victorian player, such as Ted Whitten was on 29 occasions, should be a thing.