DID it easy. 

A Qualifying Final against the softest draw recipient in memory, into a Preliminary Final with a completely false minor premier, finishing with a Grand Final facing, well, you saw how competitive Saturday was.

All without Alex Rance, like it didn’t matter in the end.

Great side though, clearly the best team in this three-year period and two flags’ reward is nothing short of what they deserve.

So season 2019 done and dusted, Grand Final in the books, and now we trade.

1.       Firstly, some self-appeasement. Before you promote others you must be able to promote yourself. It was the night of August 13th, and we quote “Nat Fyfe, if you can get anything over $3 for the Brownlow, just remortgage the house, don’t be subtle”. Not only have we seen many readers cash in, but all the home loan re-financing in doing so has re-stimulated the economy. Brilliant.

2.       174 votes from 173 games now, that’s just insane. Two medals, and then the one he lost to Matt Priddis by a vote even though he lost a week through suspension. In a market that asks “does he win another Brownlow?” I’d happily flutter on ‘Yes’.

3.       Anyway, back to the gratuitous love bites in the mirror section of the column, many said the Giants might make this close, some even picked them. Utter trash. Last week we led with the Tigers by 5 goals plus, and the only reason we didn’t go higher was just to be nice. So for anyone who turned Fyfe winnings into Tigers 39+, well done; this isn’t just a shit hot read each week but looks after your hip pocket as well.

4.       And lastly in this real look at me section of the column, Marlion Pickett. We declared right back the mid-season draft he was a gun, a steal of a selection and would be in the Tigers’ best 22 by year’s end. Nailed that call right out of the screws, that’s four all day, out through extra cover, don’t bother running.

5.       And what a game he played whilst we’re on him, looked assured, looked like he deserved to be out there on such a stage, in such a team. In fact I know the backstory might over-elevate how one could have seen his game, but in that second term I thought he was influential as any, especially getting the ball inside 50 (led all Richmond players on the day pretty sure). I know Martin has a sexy stat line, but for making a real difference, it was Pickett who could have snared the Norm Smith easily for mine.

6.       I get the Martin BOG pick, and what a resume that is now, but the influence Pickett had in getting the ball inside 50, plus Riewoldt who hit the scoreboard just as much as Dusty, I don’t think it was as clear cut. Houli too has now had two great Grand Finals and been pipped for the Norm twice. Shouldn’t go unheralded that.

7.       Mind you, what if Jason Castagna kicks straight, is it his Norm? Seriously influential in the second, very, very noticeable indeed.

8.       Tigers were 9th at the end of Round 14. Without Rance a show of coming back. That’s just a super effort.

9.       And then the Giants, are they the second best team of the year? Probably not. West Coast? Ended up fifth and barely made it out of the second week? Collingwood? On paper, probably, but you don’t feel great about it. Sure, might have been the best opposition for Richmond on the day but it was always going to be a Tigers flag this year post bye, no-one else was going to defeat them Saturday more to the point

10.   And also on GWS, even with all those really poo years when they came into the comp fronting up with teams fresh out of the creche, that was the Giant’s lowest ever score. Incredible.

11.   Justin Longmuir gets the Freo job, yeah mad. I got nothing on that. Scotty Burns looks favourite for the Crows too. Excellent. Top notch. I too have nothing on that.

12.   Bold 2020 prediction, one that doesn’t involve the Tigers coz that’s just too easy? Carlton Collingwood Grand Final. We’re seeing a pattern of teams launching from the bottom six of the table, Richmond, Collingwood, then Brisbane this year – a very talented Carlton with a good trade period could be that next iteration. And we also tend to see a revengeful prelim final loser make amends the year after, could that be the Pies next year, to then set up an almighty Grand Final for the ages? Get around it.

13.   Trades. Now stay woke. We now have beyond saturated press on this stuff now, and most of it will be as relevant as the nutritional information on a maccas cheeseburger.

Firstly. Herald Sun reported “Essendon says Joe Daniher will be a Bomber next year”. The only quote they used from Essendon was “the facts are he’s contracted for next year”. That headline and that quote are by no means joined at the hip. Not even close. And secondly, today, “The Swan to set to push Reid out of Pies”, when Ben Reid has actually re-signed for 2020, and the ‘Swan’ in question is the untried Darcy Cameron, never played a game, not the reincarnation of Barry Round. So please, don’t say you haven’t been warned.

14.   That all said, lets see. Seems like Carlton ends up with Jack Martin, Eddie Betts, then one of Dan Butler or Tom Papley. I know it might not seem like much, but with a fit Sam Docherty returning, geez, bet against Carlton making the eight next year at your peril. I know, its Carlton, but you can’t say they’re not due.

15.   Tim Kelly, wants to go to West Coast, can they make it happen, probably not? Freo definitely can, so with the Cat this year actually out of contract, he might be destined for the draft if he doesn’t go Dockers. Could end up in purple after all.

16.   Sam Powell-Pepper and Orazio Fantasia, that ends up being some sort of swap deal for sure.

17.   After all that jazz, I reckon Joe Daniher stays. Story got ahead of everyone I reckon.

18.   Gold Coast, geez, how about that for a rescue package. And it is just that, a rescue. Top of the draft priority pick this year, middle first next year, end of first the year after. Plus they get Darwin as their zone and, when it comes to academy players, they can get them without clubs making bids for them. Massive package. Ludicrous. Here’s why, bear with, I’ll keep this as short as possible:

Last year, lost Tom Lynch, but got pick 3 for it in compo, got Izak Rankine, who I think is the most talented kid of last year’s lot. They also lost Steven May to Melbourne but got pack pick 6, Ben King. So yes, seeing their ex-skipper win a flag 12 months on stings but they’re not the first to see that happen, and they’ve already been really well compensated. We move on.

2017, lost Adam Saad for a second rounder, yeah sure, too lost Ablett back to Geelong after getting him for nothing in the first place, he did give that club a Brownlow. They also had pick 2 that year but spent it on getting Lachie Weller from Freo. Exactly! Their first pick was pick 19, Will Powell, yet Tim Kelly went five picks later.

Lastly, 2016, lost Dion Prestia but got pick 7 back, lost Jaeger O’Meara but got back 10. Went to the draft with 4, 7, 9 and 10, drafted Ainsworth, Scrimshaw (left last year for Hawthorn for squat all), Brodie and Bowes. Potatoes the lot of them. Meanwhile, Richmond got Shai Bolton at 29 and Jack Graham at 53.

Futhermore, in those same three trade periods, the Giants lost Jack Steele, Cam McCarthy, Paul Ahern, Will Hoskin-Elliott, Caleb Marchbank, Jarrod Pickett, Devon Smith, Nathan Wilson, Matthew Kennedy, Will Setterfield, Tom Scully, Dylon Shiel and Rory Lobb. The only player of note they’ve gotten back for losing so many has been Tim Taranto.

And just made a Grand Final.

So there’s three things here, one, its not a Suns issue, the Giants have lost heaps too and been just fine, sure, no-one of Tom Lynch’s quality, but it stacks up. Two, they don’t need more picks or access to picks, look at their track record, it hasn’t mattered any which way. And three, yes losing Lynch stings, but they’ve already been well compensated for that, its not as if they’re not getting back to the pointy end of the draft to restock.

Summing up, the Suns just need to stop making mistakes, or move. Whether they get picks, or go for Shaun Burgoyne, whether they get pick 1 or pick 50, whatever actions they take and decisions they make, they need to be good ones. Remember when retention wasn’t a Gold Coast issue but a Queensland footy issue, funny how that disappeared so quick it kinda makes you question how real a problem it was for Brisbane in the first place? Either Chris Fagan and Luke Hodge are in essence God and Jesus respectively, or it’s a non-issue. And then the Suns package today becomes a joke.

Either the Suns get out of this mess organically and its been a waste of time and way too much hot air, or guess what, they’re still desperately shit in three years post-package and Tassie is knocking on Gil’s door asking how much more than can do.

Anyway, where were we…

19.   Footy Show Grand Final on Wednesday rated as well in Melbourne as the Front Bar did the following night. Interesting. Watch Nine commit to something for next year, not sure what, maybe it’s the Sunday Footy Show boys or something else, but a prime time offering from Nine next year got rubber stamped essentially off those numbers. Will it work? Let’s wait and see.

20.   And for anyone who thinks rules have ruined AFL, that score review or any adjustments to the laws have made it too hard to stick with after all these years – you’ve got nothing on the Rugby World Cup. The great game of Rugby, that’s always being very hard to referee anyway with all the tackles and rucks, has become impossible and any true-blue Aussie watching the Wales game Sunday, would make any nay-sayer AFL sceptic send Steve Hocking a Christmas Card. There’s always someone worse off, I assure you.

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