Ten clubs gone, eight clubs remain, the off-seasons already heating up and we’re full swing into award season. All the more reason to put on your best suit, get the clipboard and your briefcase, and head down to the Pink Flamingo, to survey what they’re doing, understand their covid protocols, and if there’s a drink card or three in it too, grouse.
1. First off, Rising Star, do you take Matt Rowell for four and bit games of elite, or do you take Caleb Serong for the full year. Chances are they’ll go Serong, but watch a judge or two go ‘fuck it, Rowell got maximum coaches votes three weeks in a row’ and give him the 10. Could be a weird count. Either way, Rankine, our boy, didn’t do enough we concede, hand in the air on that one.
2. Now the Bombers. Most alarming thing for me? They missed the finals, but haven’t had a first round pick since Andy McGrath in 2016, they’ve all been used on Devon Smith and Dylan Shiel, who came 8th and 10th respectively in the best and fairest. Jake Stringer didn’t crack the top 10 either. Not ideal.
3. Mind you, Jordan Ridley, barely played a full season and wins his first Crichton. Either it’s a positive to have such an emerging talent make such an impact, or a negative a kid barely out of junior footy was your club’s best player.
4. As for the rest of the Bombers, right, Saad, more likely than not to go, I still think Daniher stays but hey, media says he is gone just where to, and even Hooker and Hurley might wander off. School of thought says hey, flick some of this out, get the currency now and have a good go at the draft. Give Truck the kids that Woosha never really had.
“He will, if he gets an offer, have a look at it.”
Damo on Adam Saad. Groundbreaking. In other news, samples at Bakers Delight have been a big hit with customers.
6. Now back to North. So delisted 11. Now have told Higgins he can go, Polec as well, but have told Ben Brown he is definitely to find someone else to play for. That’s 14 blokes out. Lists are coming down slightly, but even so, they need to find what, 10 players? How good will the tenth one be you reckon?
7. Ben Brown, interesting, between 2017 and 2020, Tom Hawkins has kicked the most goals, with 206, Josh Kennedy, 192, Jeremy Cameron 191. Ben Brown? 196. As good as there’s been for scorecard impact. Elite. Knock his style or whatever but the proof’s in the pudding.
8. Where does he go? If Daniher goes I reckon the Bombers would be rude not to have a lucy at the big redhead, the Pies, yeah, clearly in the market to get some sort of forward in. Brisbane? Missing piece? Quite possibly. The pale skin up in Queensland could be an issue but, bit of a health and safety risk.
9. As for the Pies, talk today of Jack Gunston maybe. Why would Gunston want to go, who knows, but then talk of how Collingwood could accommodate a decent contract with ‘cap issues’. Firstly, Jordan De Goey isn’t getting the money North threw at him, Darcy Moore doesn’t appear, touch wood, to have other clubs pushing his price up. And then Dayne Beams, has two years left on a four-year deal, he will retire at the end of the year and the financial impact on the club will be pretty favourable as far as the cap’s concerned. So not with tonnes of room, but room to play with.
10. Zac Williams to Carlton I like. Zac Williams at a reported $900k is absurd. Mind you, this columnist was present at the 2019 Prelim Final, and a player for GWS who I thought was a nuggety backman, dash off half back, gets the oppositions best small forward, he dominated in the middle. He had 25 touches that day, six tackles, game high ten clearances and kicked a snag, and was just elite onball. So if that’s the midfielder Carlton’s getting, then write your own cheque.
11. List sizes down to 42 it seems. All that hot air months back about it coming down to barely over 20 and the world is ending and how bad is everything? Bloody hell. Do people need to make outlandish doomsday statements in order to satisfy their wives at night? Course not. These types don’t have wives.
12. And then the whole thing about the game will be in financial crisis, we’ll need to borrow a $600m loan. Now this column was on the money, pun intended, it was a line of credit, not a loan. The $600m figure too, that would be too high. And low and behold the figures have come in, the game will only be down $100m. Which is still plenty, but not sell the house, sell your wife, sell the kids.
13. Of that, $60m is from the clubs, which equates to ‘only’ just over $3m per club, which is a year for good clubs, three years for bad ones, and then $40m by the league, which for a business like that, in normal circumstances, needn’t be of any real concern. In summary? Play on.
14. How about big Eduardo McGuire at the Pink Flamingo. Non story. Yet the excuse he trotted out, not that he needed one, was that he was on a reconnaissance mission for the Victorian hospitality industry, bloody hell Ed. I mean points for effort, for slapstick, but come on now. Ballsy to go with it, but no-one’s buying it.
15. Quick one on ice hockey, NHL Stanley Cup finals on right now, between Tampa Bay and Dallas. Call me a traditionalist, but where did we go so wrong that the two best teams in ice hockey are from south Florida, and another from Texas? We gonna get the Winter Olympics in the Nevada desert next?
16. Back on footy, so Richmond are in the box seat, have the nicest pathway of the finals draw, get the best first week matchup, the kindest fall back should they lose but also the most desirable prelim scenario. But for mine, the most important piece of their puzzle? Noah Balta. Tell me he hasn’t got Brian Lake 2013 Grand Final in him? He is a dynamic point of difference down back. So what he has only played 26 games, Richmond were 11-2 with him in the team this year, he plays pretty much 100% game time, defeats his opponent and averages at least a mark a quarter. Major x-factor.
17. But aside from Richmond, really warming to Port. The Port backline reminds me of the Pies in 2018. Wasn’t littered with All-Australians but it was incredibly organised and even more so hard to score on. Port’s back six will take them far as is. But then, they’re one of two finals teams who will sleep in their own beds this finals series, which is huge. Geelong’s been in a hotel for three months coz of covid, Port Adelaide is living like it’s 2019 essentially. In finals and games of inches that matters.
Police say they were unaware of a swingers party held in Colac last month until days after the seedy event. Now questions remain over whether there is any link between the illegal gathering and a burst of coronavirus cases in the area…
Sounds like the police are putting 1 and 1 together and getting 2. Good on them.
19. Channel Seven and its commentators. Bruce can fly to Brisbane for the Grand Final from Adelaide, so that’s fine. But the rest in Melbourne need to do 14 days hard quarantine. So unless they want to call the prelim from their hotel room, this is going to require a sneaky exemption or something very clever if BT, Duck, Richo will be at the Grand Final in person.
20. And finally, Tasmania getting an NBL team, they’ve narrowed down the name to the final two options, the Tridents or the Jack Jumpers. Ants. Jack Jumpers are Ants. And that’s made the final two. Mind you, the names knocked out in the latest round of deliberations, Pride and Mountaineers. So hardly a Cox Plate field. Tridents is the number one seed and should prevail, but can you imagine the Jack Jumpers? 2020 keeps delivering.