It was Sir Douglas Nicholls Round, the Indigenous boys put on a show and footy saw packed houses in Darwin. And it’ll be a packed house tonight at the Tribunal where Tom Lynch’s case gets thrown out for lunacy, or he’ll cop a week or two for being a lunatic.
1. Some non footy to kick things off. Bayern crowned champions of Europe this morning, caps off another phenomenal season for the Bavarian giants, a continental treble. But most remarkable for mine is their Champions League journey, undefeated in the group stage, scoring 10 goals on Tottenham, then smashed Chelsea and Barcelona in the knockout stages; in three games, put in 15 goals. Overall, its eleven wins from eleven games, scoring 43 conceding only 8. Incredible.
2. For PSG, well so close yet so far. I think making it is finally an achievement in itself, a bit of the monkey off the back to at least get to a final. This club with its backing needs to win one asap and given you don’t foresee anyone in this financial climate affording Mbappe or Neymar anytime soon, there’s no reason to think they can’t be there and thereabouts next season.
3. Luka Doncic this morning. On a dodgy ankle too if you don’t mind, played out of his arse to get the Mavs into OT with the Clippers in game 4, then continued the insanity in OT with the game-winning three on the buzzer. This column told you he is the best player in the world, do you not believe me now? And remember, only 21 years old and today was just his fourth career playoff game. And he put up a 40-point triple double on Kawhi and PG. Taking the piss, Luka.
4. Alrighty, some footy. A positive one to start. Robert Muir. Some of us know him as Mad Dog, because of that Footy Show skit years and years ago. Either way, his full story, a long but very worthwhile one, is available on the ABC website, Russell Jackson hit it out of the park, great yarn (https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-08-23/persecution-of-robert-muir-story-football-doesnt-want-to-hear/12553554)
Its about an Indigenous man in a notoriously tough time to be one in the VFL, struggled without the support he deserved and his life has faced its difficulties particularly in later years. Hardly a dollar to his name, a bung shoulder and with severe demons. Off the back of the article a strong, remorseful response from St Kilda was followed by a GoFundMe which quickly found not just enough money for shoulder surgery but plenty leftover to not make up for the agony of yesteryear, but hopefully a smile for today and for tomorrow for someone who did it real tough.
5. Buddy Franklin, I suspect sadly we’re done. Sydney’s ruled him out of the rest of the year, shock horror, he can’t get his body right and the Swans have a month left of a bottom-four season. But, if you add together a completely lost season this year, with playing only once last year after Round 14, this is not good. He would turn 34 three months before next season starts. Sadly, despite the optimistic language, I can’t see it. He was ‘as good as he has ever been’ pre-season, and its been six months since and nothing. 300 games. 944 goals. What a champion.
6. Paddy McCartin is seemingly fit and ready to give footy another go in 2021:
He’s good, he feels like he is fully recovered and is training and wants to resume.
So he’s just got to be given an opportunity.
Garry Lyon on SEN last week. Obviously St Kilda, who drafted him first overall six years ago, would love him back but with Max King killing it, that seems unlikely. Honestly, and if it’s a biased call then fair enough, but objectively is there a better fit than Collingwood? Of the Melbourne-based teams, they are the only without a key forward at all, let alone one of promise under the age of 26. Sure, it’s a risk, but if, and “if”, McCartin’s health is at a level where its worth the risk, would you rather the Pies play the ex-Saint deep inside 50, or Mason Cox five years his senior? I’ll take the 6”4 kid outta Geelong.
7. Brisbane has a very compelling case for the Grand Final already, and I suspect it gets officially awarded the game this week or next. But another advantage, the promise that the spectacle would be a pseudo first step towards an Olympics opening ceremony in twelve years’ time. Seems the QLD government is keen to continue its Olympic-hosting aspirations, and look odds on to win that bid for 2032. So for the AFL to get some reflected energy in preparing for such an event, even on such a smaller scale, why not?
8. Alrighty, Tom Lynch. What’s the go? He is basically copping it for being a recidivist. None of these crimes in isolation are that bad, but he keeps doing it, or keeps getting caught, either way. It’s like someone who keeps getting done by the cops for going 5 k’s over the speed limit. Eventually you’ll lose your license. So tonight the Tigers’ spearhead might miss a week. Surely it’s not worth two. But surely he doesn’t walk away tonight with just a fine. Better chance of getting off altogether.
9. As for his teammate Dylan Grimes, second time he has been done now for staging. For he and others seemingly doing this a bit at the moment, how many more fines before this goes another level? What if Grimes stages again later in the year? What if Papley goes again? Do fines work? Not at this level. But I’d like to see the umpires be given the confidence to call this out during the game, that’ll stop it in no time.
10. As for the death threats stuff, disagree big time with the AFLPA strategy of calling it out. Nothing a gutless keyboard warrior loves more than knowing Grimes has reported his case of trolling and then makes it public. Sadly, the ignore and block method would be the only way this works. As for this regularity, watch it get worse now. Morons the AFLPA.
11. Didn’t the Dees get a reality check? Or was it the footy media sucked in by wins over Adelaide, North and a super lacklustre Collingwood? I don’t think the Dogs were that outstanding yet its an 80-52 scoreline. Have a nice draw the Demons but trust them to make the eight at your will. This is an average footy team.
12. Speaking of average, the Giants, geez should have probably won yesterday. Are they on the bounce back, or just that out of form they pissed on the good chance that presented itself? Tim Taranto was quiet but Josh Kelly and Lachie Whitfield showed something. Could go 3-1 or 4-0 the next month if we look at yesterday optimistically.
13. As for the winners, West Coast, I’ll keep saying it, ‘just going’. The Giants, who have been poor for ages now, were a chance or two away from snatching that yesterday. Since the Pies’ win they’ve notched up win after win but without convincing me. Yesterday was their final game in Perth for the season so now have to try and win this back in Queensland against better teams. Consider me unconvinced.
14. Lions-Saints yesterday, Grand Final preview? This column has a line through the Eagles, Port are still a wildcard despite their ladder position, Richmond are coming but again, three in four is so, so tough, and Geelong are notorious finals-flops. Why not?
15. Jack Steele, this column gave him a wrap and he goes and gets three Brownlow votes yesterday in the game of the round. All-Australian contention all of a sudden, in immense form. Don’t sweat on him, a genuine A-Grader. Remember where you read about him first. Hopefully here.
16. Speaking of immense form, couple Dockers who will also give All-Australian a nudge. Luke Ryan, he is a lock down back actually, stiff to miss my Top 50 a couple weeks back to be honest. I had Vlaustin at 33, you could make a case he is getting near that level. But then also Matt Taberner. If I was doing a Victorian State of Origin team this weekend, out of Taberner and Tom Lynch, I’d go the Docker over the Jeff Fenech impersonator. Second in the league for contested marks, fourth on the Coleman, blossoming outta sight right now.
17. And then rounding out the shoutouts, Trav Boak. Mark him down for best on again against Hawthorn. My number crunching says that with Lachie Neale missing the votes yesterday against the Saints, Boak is probably only four or five votes behind the Lion with four games to go. Some bookies have paid out on Neale already, but don’t discount the former Port skipper, he is having a hell of a season.
18. Loved the Irving Mosquito debut on the weekend. Dreamtime, at Darwin, the lad from Hall’s Creek, which is regional WA but closer to Darwin than Perth, like its proper remote remote. And he looked like he has been playing senior footy for years. Great stuff.
19. The Michael Gibbons shit, seriously? Ok, the Richmond stuff with the touching and the whacking in the team song, it wasn’t sexual assault but I understand that the Tigs needed to be smarter about it all. But then the Blues’ small forward apparently touched an Amazon cameraman on the bum last Friday and as that was too spotted he had to apologise. Probably the most insincere, fake, token apology of all time too. Fair dinkum.
20. And to finish, tennis, the US Open starts next week. No-one’s playing in it, because sure, prize money is good, but if you don’t need it, why be in the States right now? Defending champions Rafa Nadal and Bianca Andreescu withdrew, so has Federer, Kyrgios, Tsonga, Warwinka, Monfils, Ash Barty also. Now, Kei Nishikori has tested positive for the virus just before it kicks off, and his place in the tournament looks doubtful. Any money this won’t be the last time ‘rona plagues this shoddy excuse for a Grand Slam. Talk about ‘asterisks’, whoever wins this, especially on the men’s side, its tarnished.