BOYCOTTS the apology to the Stolen Generation, and then votes no to same-sex marriage.

Hello world, let us introduce to you our incoming new PM!

Conservative, very conservative, Queenslander ex-policeman Peter Dutton is the man of the minute in Canberra, from surprising Malcolm Turnbull with a raucous showing in the first leadership spill on Tuesday, one where he hadn’t had any run up, to then working the phones and radio stations this morning looking to strike again on the top job, this time probably successfully, before the weekend.

This is the man most known to Victorians for identifying the health and safety risks in booking restaurants, namely that AB De Villiers or Mo Salah might follow you to said dinner plans and make you and your dinner party extremely uncomfortable, or something like that.

Maybe he is a xenophobic as they come? Or maybe he has shares in Uber Eats? Who knows. Either way, he’ll be in charge before you know it. How much do you miss John Howard now hey?…

1.    Let’s get the stuff in Canberra done and dusted. Let’s look at Keating and Hawke, the leadership spill of June 1991, Hawke won 66-44, yet six months later, the all important second vote, Keating got up 56-51. Second time round always favours the challenger, so in this case Dutton’s got this sewn up, case of when not if, seems like before the weekend.

2.    Onto footy. First time since 1941 both Melbourne and Richmond in the finals the same year, bizarre

3.    First week of finals machinations, you’d think Geelong beat Gold Coast and Collingwood defeat Fremantle. The live games that impact who finishes where: Sydney-Hawthorn and Melbourne-GWS. Winner of the Swans and Hawks Saturday night gets fourth and a Friday night Qualifying Final against Richmond, the loser hosts the loser of the Demons-Giants. Whoever wins that game at the MCG on Sunday probably hosts Geelong in the first week. If the Hawks beat the Swans and the Dees beat the Giants, we should probably get a Sydney Derby first week, however, if the Swans and Demons salute we’ll have three MCG tenants hosting finals in the first week, which might see an unlucky side cop an Etihad first final if the AFL commits to West Coast-Collingwood on the Thursday at Optus, which is 99% likely.

4.    Dayne Zorko – muppet. Refused to shake Touk Miller’s hand in the first Q Clash this season (“f$#@ off mate”), then whatever that was Saturday night at the siren (…. “f$#@ you”). The sledge is innocent enough as is, but getting really grubby on the final siren is just poor. Captain of the club now too given Beams stepped down, really average.

5.    The Power, will miss the finals even if they win Friday and bank their 13th win of the season. One of only four teams to defeat Richmond this year, you win 13 and beat the reigning premier/top dog, and miss, it’s a bit stiff first and foremost. Stuffed it against Freo a couple months back, but that was only nine points, then in the last month had the controversial three point loss in the Showdown and then where in front when the siren went the week after but lost that by four. Any one of those three losses goes their way, they play finals. But they didn’t. And they won’t.

6.    Matt Crouch, best player you never think about – averaging three touches less a game than Tom Mitchell, but because he is out of Melbourne and in a team not playing finals he is receiving much less the fanfare. Did have 37 in the Grand Final last year (have to go back to Simon Black in 2003 for more touches in a Granny), didn’t get a Norm Smith vote given a rampant Tigers win, but has put together a very impressive two years. Gun.

7.    Pies have won 14 games with a round to go after blooding the seventh debutant for the season on Saturday. That’s a very resilient list. Mind you, West Coast have blooded eight, but haven’t the injuries forcing them as such.

8.    Used 38 players so far the Pies, Blues and Suns used 39, Geelong though has cracked 40. St Kilda the most with 41, North Melbourne only the 31, their medical and conditioning program continues to be league’s best practice.

9.    Freo have two of the best clearance players in the league, Fyfe and Neale both top five in the league for averages per game, yet the Dockers are third last overall. How’s that happen? Awful year. Trash.

10. In the pursuit of defeating Richmond, the Giants and the Pies as two of the contenders, if they get fitter might really trouble them, so let’s see who is able to come back in time? For the GWS, Aidan Corr, Matt De Boer, Sam Taylor and Toby Greene are really the only likely ones that can come back into the team, I’m putting a line through Ryan Griffen. For the Pies, Jeremy Howe, Flynn Appleby and then maybe for the first final, Adam Treloar, but that’s about it. The significant portion of genuine talent injured at both clubs aren’t coming back, so the potential scenario of one of those challengers getting closer to their best 22 in time ain’t happening.

11. Brendan Goddard, 21 touches, seven marks, but in a eight-point game, another tackle free game, not good enough. Jay Clark suggests the Pies might want him next year as insurance down back, when he ain’t applying pressure and turning the ball over through tackling, not sure Frankston or Old Xavier would even consider him.

12. But a great career. Have whacked him of late but I agree with the Essendon list management, its time on a great career. 200 games with St Kilda, walk up life member and hall of famer there, and then 130 odd with Essendon which have been most meritorious. Joined as part of a Premiership tilt which crashed down soon thereafter, he then can be very proud of the club he leaves behind.

13. 2012 was the last time selectors chose two ruckmen in the All-Australian team, Nic Naitanui was first ruck and they put Dean Cox in a forward pocket. This year it would be cruel to leave out one of Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy, so surely, pick one as first ruck but a bench spot needs to go to the other? Gawn is first for hitouts per game, fifth for contested marks, whilst Grundy is third for hitouts he is also 11th for contested possessions and clearances, and 20th in the league for tackles.

14. Massive upside for the Demons, their best midfielder hasn’t even scratched the surface. Christian Petracca has only had one game of 26 disposals or more once this year, in fact in his career, and when he starts to have games in the 30s like a Martin or Dangerfield, he will be a top 5 player in the league. In the same conversation for talent as those two, is as powerful as those two, he doesn’t turn 23 until January where Martin and Dangerfield both won their Brownlows as 26-year-olds, so Dees fans, just as your team gets back into the finals, strap yourselves in.

15. Bledisloe Cup Saturday night. You know, the annual tradition of gold-coloured glasses blurring accurate foresight, ‘this year will be different’ is always bandied around before Bledisloe One, this year will be the year the Wallabies can get the trophy back. Alas, 38-13, not even close. And that was in Sydney, the return game this week is at Eden Park in Auckland, a place as homely and inviting as a cottage in the woods made of gingerbread and sugar. Pretty sure Hansel was a handy back rower in his day, Gretel excellent as an outside back. Trash.

16. Budweiser, a bag of five in a great win over the Giants. This column loves the career of the superstar Swan, who will soon overtake Matthew Lloyd into seventh all time for VFL/AFL goals. But when it comes to five goals in a game, in the modern era where big bags don’t exist anywhere near like they used to, Bud’s so phenomenal he kicks five or more on average every four games, 68 times from 289 games. For comparison, Josh Kennedy is at about 15%, Jeremy Cameron 12%, Jarryd Roughead at 9%. Insane.

17. Great fillip for the AFL with Optus Stadium this year, 22 games at Subiaco last year attracted 760k fans, with the Eagles-Demons game Sunday Optus ticked over 1 million for the season with one Dockers home game to come against the Pies this week. The strength of the game off the back of the Adelaide Oval redevelopment and the new Perth Stadium isn’t quite ‘the’ backbone of the game going forward but gee its close, especially as the respective State Governments paid for both completely. The strength of the game in SA and WA is immensely bankable.

18. North – going to finish a gutsy ninth or tenth, and look set to actually secure someone. Word is Andrew Gaff’s partner, a teacher over in Perth, is giving suggestions she’s more likely to hand in her notice with a move to Melbourne on the cards next year, and if that’s the case the Kangas are the box-seat Melbourne club to get her partner’s signature. Chuck in the fact Polec will certainly take the North offer and a trade will have to be then done, it could be two very significant additions to a Roos side doing a lot more good than bad. North? A classic, quintessential “buy”.

19. Freo, this column pumped them up pre-season but what have they got to show for themselves? Wins against Essendon, Adelaide, Port Adelaide, Bulldogs, St Kilda, Gold Coast and then Carlton twice. Very much still in the rebuild phase, lots of good kids though, so last weekend’s loss is ugly but still positives within 2018 for Lyon and Co.

20. If you have Fox Footy, please do catch On the Mark this evening for the story on the Beams brothers. If you reconcile the year he has had, moreover the journey he has taken since coming back to Queensland for family reasons, what he has endured and suffered through, with the football he has played for the Lions in 2018, certainly adds not only further perspective but also an extra bit of appreciation for the stellar season he has put together.


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