Dave Cardamone takes a look at what to expect around the league on the eve of Round 17
In a week full of recognition and accolade for Luke Hodge, scrutiny and conjecture over Nathan Buckley’s coaching tenure a story that makes football irrelevant, putting life into perspective occurred on the weekend. Welcome back Jesse Hogan from everyone in the football community, it’s great to see you healthy and well considering the hardship you’ve gone through this year.
Derbies to have an effect on the 8.
Greater Western Sydney v Sydney, Fremantle v West Coast, the battles will be on from both sides of the Nullarbor and their results will have a significant effect on the eight. Wins to the Swans and Dockers will see a game separate eighth and ninth for the first time this season, remarkable to think about when you put it up against last season when we were at Round 10 when that occurred. Conversely a Giants and Eagles win will see the Swans slip back out of the eight and leave Dockers effectively out of the finals race, while a Sydney and West Coast win will begin to place pressure on the teams outside of the eight.
What’s all the fuss?
Is Jake Lever really worth all the hype? Yes he’s a quality player and would make a difference to a number of sides off half-back but is he really the type to be standing out among the crowd? Or is it just that Jason Johannisen’s deal took everyone by surprise and the media needs a quick replacement? Yes he’s exceptionally young at just 21 years of age but is he not currently playing with an exceptional amount of help around him? Laird, Smith, Talia to name a few. It makes his job a lot easier. With just the four games with more than 10 kicks, at an average of 16 disposals a game, the question marks are still out for mine on his place in the competition.
The Melbourne Football Club and Clayton Oliver should be congratulated for the way they handled the boundary line incident on the weekend. Yes the Carlton Football Club have called out the incident as well but with all the acknowledgements of wrongdoing from Melbourne, the supporter in question hasn’t had to face the music. No public face, no shame, the football community needs to be mindful that there are things we simply must not do at the football and the weekends incident reminded us of that.
Fixture keeps delivering
Nobody can remember an AFL season quite like it, it’s as if the writer keeps starting his book only to rip a page out and throw it away at the sight of his first sentence. The fact that this game is in Adelaide makes it the most likely predictable result of the round with Port Adelaide and North Melbourne facing off Saturday afternoon. The other eight games simply have more ingredients and substance for the writer to work with.