Carlton took the piss with the after the siren “you’re kidding”, from a couple of “you’re kidding” umpiring calls, West Coast wins seven from seven, yet the panic for GWS and Collingwood has been dialled up to eleven..

1.       Downfield free kick, horrendous, placement of the free kick, horrendous, recipient of free kick selection, horrendous. Freo, stiff. A loss over a win doesn’t really matter for the Dockers, they’ll get a better draft pick than otherwise yet the early signs of the Longmuir-era is looking ok, but come on.

2.       The idea we use the ARC to test some of those contentious calls, how? What are we going to open up for scrutiny; what decisions would then be in scope for video review and what wouldn’t be? We going to pause a game to check if mark should be paid or was the kick touched? We’re going to stop a game and hold everything up to see if that last tackle was high or not? Our game is far too diverse to open up video replay adjudication to much more than score review only.

3.       Read a thing on the weekend that the Swans might have the best kids? Righto. And Tiger Airways has the best business class. But there is a couple we like, James Rowbottom particularly looks very likely, 20 touches last week against the Giants, has been getting 15+ for a month or two now, tough, talented, good find. Green shoots for the Bloods, it’s a bad year obviously but an encouraging one at the same time looking long-term.

4.       But where is Callum Mills at? A pick 3, looked to be as able as Isaac Heeney a year his senior. Yet his career thus far has been pigeoned to playing just as a small defender. Has offensive rebound and intercept parts to his game, but no mistaking he plays last line of defense. Just reckon at some point he needs to become a Rolls Royce midfielder for the Swannies, get him out from behind the ball and on the ball.

Mills earlier in the season in the Swans’ eleven-point win over North Melbourne

5.       Jason Gram, should he get a retrospective Norm Smith? Equal on votes with Paul Chapman in the 2009 Grand Final. Equal vote getters on Brownlow night each get a medal, why doesn’t Gram then for the Norm? I reckon he should.

Jason Gram gets one of his game-high 19 kicks away in the 2009 AFL Grand Final. He would finish with a game-high 30 touches and six inside 50s, polling nine Norm Smith votes, equal with eventual winner Paul Chapman.

6.       

we know that Alistair Clarkson historically… does not like playing the kids

Damien Barrett on Clarko yesterday. Not sure that’s fair, Damien. This year we’ve seen persistence with Will Day, Josh Morris, Harry Morrison, even Changkuoth Jiath played just his third game on the weekend just gone. Against West Coast Clarko played seven kids with less than 50 games experience. That’s not heaps but its pretty decent, at worst league average. The issue if anything is too many old timers at the other end. But even then, was as ruthless as we’ve seen moving on Mitchell, Lewis and probably to an extent Hodge.

Let’s be fair, they finished ninth last year, 11 and 11, with a healthy %, and probably earned the right to have a crack at top four this year. But this year is different, so unlike Barrett who can’t see the wood from the trees, I’ll back Clarko in to be smart enough to have the right offseason strategy given their 2020.

7.       So, Clarko, has next year and then the year after. You reckon Hawthorn will finish bottom six this year, and it’s 50-50 they test finals next year. My theory is that its all about setting up for Sam Mitchell as senior coach from 2023. Mitchell wasn’t brought back from West Coast, breaking a contract to do so, just for ‘development’. Might not be an official handover for some time, but there’s been at least a wink and a nudge take place me thinks.

8.       What that also means is Clarko will be available for a fresh challenge just around the time you’d suspect North would be ready to move on from Rhyce Shaw and welcome back a former 93-game player back to the club as the almighty saviour.

9.       GWS and Collingwood, both just haven’t got it going. At one point of the season have looked the pick of the bunch, but now both barely warrant top eight contention. The Giants last week were so awful they had their equal-lowest score ever, matching their Grand Final pittance of last year. Not really missing much in terms of personnel either, so excuses are minimal. Danger.

10.   Same with the Pies, sure there’s a couple big names out but not enough to cough up performances like the last few weeks. At times they’ve looked actually totally ok, but if their opponents are at another level they can’t keep up with, they just won’t be competitive. Mind you, feel like for either the Giants or Pies it could just be as easy as one good game or a couple nice back to back wins and who knows, this will be a chaotic, unpredictable, Queensland-based final series, so traditional home final trends and final ladder positions will be out the window.

11.   So yep, this will very much be a case of who can put together the best month, ala Doggies 2016, as opposed to the best teams usually prevailing. Are the Pies cooked, or just in a lull and can go again? What kind of mental and physical effects does playing this long on the road have, and could it upturn home and away form come finals? Will the Eagles go back to Queensland and stink? Or will it be different this time round? Have the Lions and Power peaked too early? In a normal yeah you’d say the Saints are no chance, but in this kind of pandemic mayhem, its just a couple sneaky wins and look out they’re up to pussy’s bow.

This will continually change, but right now, my Prelim final combatants, in no order, Port Adelaide, Brisbane, St Kilda and Richmond.

12.   Geelong playing nice footy, two really impressive wins. At this stage its hard to go knock them, have undone St Kilda and Port Adelaide who are right up there. Trust them in October though? Not so sure. Minor premiers last year remember. Exactly, you didn’t.

13.   West Coast will be this year’s 2019 Brisbane. False top four. Sure, you can only beat who is put in front of you, but nothing about them is that impressive, really. Any team that has Andrew Gaff have 30 easy twelve-metre kicks and a fowardline that thinks they’re Christmas without hard work is ripe for the picking in my book.

14.   Is the John Worsfold-Ben Rutten thing working? Was it almost better making it clean the start of this year, either making Rutten the official head coach and Woosha in the background, or Woosha should have cleaned his desk last October. Still think Essendon have another shot to give, they’ve shown some real good footy at times this season, but the gap between the Saints and Bombers on Sunday was evident.

Current Essendon coach, John Worsfold, left, 2021 Essendon coach, Ben Rutten, right (picture: afl.com.au)

15.   If you take a shopping trolley into the self-serve checkout, you’re not just a psychopath but you need the strap, dead set.

16.   Sainters, got a nice warm feeling about them. Don’t think they have the depth to handle too many new issues between now and October, but this team, playing like it is, with Hannebery back in as well, wins a final, minimum. Especially if Hunter Clark, a gem down back, can get more midfield minutes, he, alongside Jack Steele, just add those extra talented pieces to an emerging onball brigade. Zak Jones has also fit like hand into glove down at Moorabbin too.

17.   Ligue 1 without PSG is a bit of a pub league, but Lyon is no minnow club, have won as many league titles as PSG this century, and this will be their third Champions League semi-final this century too. But Man City, thought they could just roll a Carabao Cup line up and subsequent tactics out and no dice, pants pulled down 3-1. No-one smashes Real Madrid the week before and then that without a total lack of disrespect for their opponent and an abundance of hubrus.

And then, after what Bayern did to Barca, it’s the German champions’ title to lose. Then again, how good are Barca going, probably their worst season in some time. And Messi ain’t no mid 20’s phenom anymore.

Distraught City players on the weekend after totally shitting the bed against OL in the Champions League quarters (picture: The Telegraph)

18.   And we were just starting to think F1 was on the way back, then Lewis Hamilton’s win on Sunday was so shit, not just that he lead start to finish without even a hint of being pushed, but that the whole thing was just a two hour motorcade with nothing sporting about any of it. Hamilton’s career will look way better than it is because of a car that’s far, far superior, a car he remember, crucially, went to for cash, not because it was competitive at the time.

19.   Shout out to the Melbourne Storm. No Cameron Smith, no doubt the next Immortal who is still playing so well he is a relevant chance for the Dally M, no Cameron Munster, arguably the first or second pick for Queensland each season at five-eighth, yet touched up the reigning premier last week and now sit only half a game off first placed-Penrith, all the while based on the Sunshine Coast (the NRL doesn’t have teams in Hubs). Craig Bellamy is a freak.

20. Quick, rare political one from me to finish. How is it that something as institutional and national as the Aboriginal flag can be protected and owned by a non-Indigenous backed clothing company masquerading as the moral crusader for the Indigenous artist who originally designed it back in the 1970s? As a result no-one, at all, can use the Aboriginal flag in any way unless they come to a ‘commercial arrangement’ with said clothing company, who will tell you their actions were the rightful and only way to protect the design and work of said artist. This ‘non-Indigenous’ clothing company remember. How in 2020, where the idea of full bore reconciliation in this country is one considered both equally a priority and unfinished, is that flag copyrighted to the shit by a non-Indigenous clothing company, let alone copyrighted at all? I know we have bigger fish to fry, but resolving that one quickly would be some good PR, let alone bloody responsible government let me tell you.

The non-Indigenous founders of the clothing company who own the Aboriginal Flag copyright with Flag designer Harold Thomas. (picture SBS & Koori Mail)

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