When all was lost and it seemed a task too tall, few wondered what it would be like to get here. Now eight grateful teams can really think less about simply finishing their season, handling Hubs and dismissing the notion of home games on the road. October’s here and Finals means Finals, even in this wretched 2020.

1.       Firstly round ball though. We love the world game. But we don’t think much of how it’s governed in this country. And no further proof to validating our position by the FFA’s latest gaffe. Released new national jerseys for the men and women’s team. But the women’s team jersey, guess what sizes that doesn’t come in? Women’s. Who at the FFA and/or Nike failed to recognise that oversight, or worst still, noticed but thought better of it to be any sort of real problem? It’s not that tonnes of women were lining up at Rebel to buy one, but another example where any publicity isn’t always good publicity. Next the FFA might rescind all car parks for female employees; don’t want to run the risk of that stereotype being true hey fellas? Bloody hell…

2.       North delists 11. Firstly, why do you publicly delist so many and so early? I get they don’t want to run the risk of being stuck with players they no longer want, but any trade value any of the 11 had is gone, club’s won’t trade for any when they know they’re free as delisted free agents eventually. So that’s bad business. But also, if they’re lopping at least a dozen players off their list, where are they getting all the replacements from? Best case they’ll draft half a dozen, maybe get Aidan Corr in as free agent. And the other five to seven? They’re going to scrape the barrel of the draft or free agent options and inevitably replace players they don’t want with players not up for it. Great business North!

3.       How bad is the North list, or where they just playing badly? Kudos to James Brayshaw for this one, but in 2019, only last season, had five wins against teams in the top 8 at the time. Now this. Last week I questioned their youth, and rightfully so, but a full season with a fit and in-form Ziebell, Cunnington, Brown, Tarrant, Higgins, Polec, Goldstein, etc., shouldn’t be this bad. So they have list issues, but also, this team shouldn’t be this bad, and from that, how much do you write it off as a bad year in weird circumstances?

4.       Aidan Corr, how’s that? Told the Giants he was going to exercise his free agency options and was frog marched to the airport almost right away and that was that as a GWS player, before the last game of the year with finals still on the line. Like I get if you break up with someone you don’t follow it up with “you wanna hang out this weekend” but still, barely got told the club he was out and he was showing the flight attendant his boarding pass.

5.       Speaking of the Giants, bloody hell. I get teams who did good things falling away the year after, but not like this. Sure, they didn’t smash last year, they didn’t finish top four remember, had to win finals on the road second and third week. But this team, that talented, can’t be missing finals. Again, re-read the comments posted here last week from Brett Deledio three months ago. This team in a different system, or with a different mentality, it makes the finals easy this year. Top four, or sixth or whatever, but it makes it easy. Disaster.

6.       Jayden Hunt on Christian Petracca. Again, I have no issue with it, it’s dumb given Richmond’s crap, but I don’t feel like we need Hugh Riminton getting on Zoom again to say he has criminal laywers ready for Petracca should he want to take the assault further. But we now end up with Max Gawn, a man who yearns for nothing more than a beer and a dart, a simple bloke who just happens to be ace at footy, needing to issue the fakest of apologies on behalf of the players which all and sundry take as one, essential, but also two, good penance. Are we serious? Either ‘who cares, move on’, or dare I say it, get serious like Hugh and forget with all the fake bullshit which serves no purpose and progresses nothing.

7.       So Steele Sidebottom done for the year, makes sense. Aside from the logistics of a newborn and new mother essentially trapped in a fortnight’s quarantine within a hotel room, but what condition would he be in not being able to train with teammates, or even train properly solo, in that fourteen days. You’d pick him with massive question marks for that first final if you did, so you’d be hoping you win so he gets up for week two. Put it this way, if any of Ablett, Edwards or Hannebery had to do solo quarantine and not what they did instead, some of those would have been at risk making it back this season for sure.

8.       Scott Pendlebury breaks the record for games played tonight at Collingwood, that’s some going. But to also break the record for games captained, that’s some going too. Never won a Brownlow, but has won a Norm Smith, and his coach won seven All-Australians and six best and fairests, Pendles is only one behind on each. Phenomenal career with probably a season or two left, he’ll be 33 in January. Champion.

9.       Firstly, looks like Lachie Neale runs away with the Brownlow with 28-29 votes, which pro-rated to a normal 22 games is around 37, so well dominant. But geez, Jack Steele, will run him very close on the night, got him around 24-25. Only have him with maybe four or so best on grounds, but will vote in a lot of games, basically in about seven where he might not be best on but so close to he has to poll. Impressive season and then some.

10.   On the Saints, Dan Hannebery is a pivotal part of that Saints piece. Hill coming into the club, Steele finding another level, Zak Jones as well has been important. But Hannebery, with premiership and finals experience, even at 90%, there’ll be times in the finals series if it gets close and the Saints are on the cusp of progressing past peoples’ expectations he might just step up. Stand by.

11.   Jake Lloyd, has to be All-Australian in one of the best seasons by a small, rebounding defender you’ve never noticed or cared about. Number one in the league for kicks, third in the league for disposals, fourth in the league for rebound 50s, fifth in the league for total intercepts and sixth in the league for metres gained per game. That’s an elite year in a bad team. Well done Jake, well done.

12.   Been a bit of Carlton bashing, and I won’t go into all of it but the dumbest out there is they haven’t improved based on wins. They won seven games last year, seven games this year. Seven and seven, it’s the same, they’ve not done better. Morons. Seven out of 22 games last year, seven out of 17 this season. The simplest maths projects had they got the extra five games in they finish with nine wins. And nine is an improvement on seven. Utter ignorant and unintelligent morons. Especially when they get Zak Williams in, that’s a nice addition.

13.   Retirements a-plenty. Kade Simpson’s been a freak, heavily underrated, tell ya what, Ben Stratton and Paul Pupoplo were both critical to that team’s three-peat no question. Matty Kreuzer I feel for as he was a genuine star at the position, body let him down, and Justin Westhoff, the ex-Central District big man, rather unfancied but for body of work, in a lot of years when he was in bad teams, a tremendous career also.

14.   Quick devert to basketball; how’s LeBron James. When they announced the MVP, which went to Bucks’ forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, and revealed who got how many first-place votes in the ballots, it showed Giannis heavily outnumbered what LeBron got, which when questioned about it he replied

Pissed me off. That’s my true answer.

Don’t get me wrong, I dig the honesty. If I can take one gripe though, this was from a leader, on an individual award, as his team is halfway through trying to win a championship. Its basketball, it’s the NBA, its LeBron James so it won’t matter, but a little less about him and more about how he will help his team win, that’s what I’d prefer.

15.   And then, Doug Gottlieb, some sorta NBA media guy who cares where or how, but he questioned why Maria Taylor, former player and now properly good ESPN anchor, got a vote on All-NBA. Questioned her credentials and it came out a lot misogynistic. But, she did not select Anthony Davis for her first, second or third team, everyone else had him on the first team, he was clearly the best player of his position this year and even finished 6th in MVP voting. Her response?

if everyone would now like to take away my voter privileges because of a CLEAR mistake. Please feel free

Male, female, you know what, that was a bad “clear mistake”. If Doug was questioning that, I’m with him.

16.   Why are so many umpires in netball blokes? How did they get there, what’s their backstory? Is there a place we don’t know of where men smash netball and turn into umpires for everywhere else human beings live? Men dominate sport as is, surely we don’t have to intrude on jobs for women in a woman’s only sport. Few coaches too for that matter, again, what’s the timeline of events where it’s “yep, best person to coach our girls this year isn’t Joan, not Cathy, nor Louise, hand on heart it’s out of Ivan or Big Trev”.

17.   Why the Melbourne Storm is great – Cam Smith scores a try, and it takes him past coach Craig Bellamy for career tries scored, so Smith sends daggers up to the coaches box to rub it in and the legend fires back the best way he knows how, fantastic!

18.   Tour de France wrapped up, Richie Porte, only second Australian to podium (Cadel Evans when he won being the first), amazing achievement, had such a grind of a career so this is so, so fitting.

19.   21-year-old Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia wins though, becoming the youngest post-war winner, enormous. But hang on, Slovenian, 21-years old, best in the world. Um, Luka Doncic much? Slovenia on a bit of a roll.

20. And lastly, the best British footballer in the world right now has returned to Tottenham. Gareth Bale, maybe just past his peak yet still out-of-this-world, but geez, if Mourinho can get something out of him (when he returns from injury next month), all of a sudden that top four race in the EPL gets messy. Liverpool are still amazing, Man City aren’t dropping off, Chelsea look to be better, Man Utd are no mugs and even Arsenal has something going. The rest of the league stinks (sorry Everton) but anything between the top six teams this season is world-class, must-watch TV.

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