The Mongrel Scorecard – Volume One

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Well, that’s what I’m running with anyways.

The Sounding Board podcast does a weekly scorecard where the producer poses various statements, and the two hosts proceed to rate them out of 10 (1 being a harsh disagreement, 10 being in great support), and discuss their reasonings for each rating.

So without further ado, I present to you…


…The Mongrel Scorecard


A glaring lack of key position talent will further fuel the short-term agony that lies ahead for the Hawthorn Football Club, with their strong internal belief that gutting their playing list will fast-track the club’s next premiership window. 


Jimmy Day – 8

If truth be told, I’d rather be Hawthorn than West Coast, in the long run. Mitch Lewis has the tools to be a star, but he’s about as reliable as a weatherboard dunny in a tornado in terms of being on the park. In defence, they have skill, but haven’t found consistency. HB likes to say “Damn them …” about my Cats and their ability to compete … I’m expecting to be saying that about the Hawks in the next 2-3 years as they begin to run rampant!


Brett Hodgson – 8

It will be interesting to see how Sam Mitchell addresses this issue, but I feel this could be attacked via the midseason draft rather than the national draft. As there is some building blocks in play already, however, it appears the list profile for the defence is full of counter-attackers rather than stoppers. Hawthorn may also be wanting to play the “building card” via free agency and trade period, however, in the short term the growing pains will be there. They seemed to have some talent with Lewis and Koschitzke, but definitely need a bit more experience to aid them. The rebuild can truly get underway when they nab Harley Reid with pick 1 in the 2023 draft however


Tim Hunt – 6

The key to drafting and developing tall talent is being able to give them space to figure things out without the weight of expectation. The Hawks are a few years into their rebuild now and look to have settled on a few key pieces for the future – Mitch Lewis in the forward line, Denver Grainger-Barras in defence and Ned Reeves in the ruck – but are probably another season/draft away from feeling like the issues in these lines are settled. I’ve always felt the best way to start a rebuild is to prioritise key position talent first (easier said than done, obviously) purely because they take the longest to develop. The good news for the Hawks is that, once they have a few years under their belt, the improvement in key position players can be swift. Internally, I reckon the Hawks are relatively happy to cop one more year in the doldrums provided that these key position players (along with at least one or two of Jacob Koschitzke, Emerson Jeka and Josh Weddle) develop into something formidable.


Max Ford – 6

As a North fan still decidedly bitter over 2016, and to a lesser extent 2019, I’d love for this prediction to come true. But I’m not quite convinced. Mitch Lewis is a gun prospect, Jacob Koschitzke has shown quite a lot at times despite his haircut. As for the other end of the ground, Denver Grainger-Barras has plenty of talent, though admittedly looks like he could do with a ham sandwich, and mid-season pick James Blanck had glimpses last season. Then there’s Josh Weddle, who’s garnered significant praise over his pre-season. I think Hawthorn will definitely suffer from the rawness and the youth of these players this season, but that their progress will be relatively swift. It would take a bold man to accuse Sam Mitchell, one of the keenest football minds in the business, of a drastic error in judgment


HB Meyers – 7

I worry about my own team quite a bit. We’re putting a lot of faith in the Sam Mitchell plan, and when he states the nucleus of the next premiership side is in place, I genuinely wonder if he sees something in our young key position players that I don’t… which may make sense, because he is an AFL coach and I’m a bozo who runs a webpage.

Mitch Lewis has looked like a real avenue to goal, but after him, I am very concerned. Denver Grainger-Barras is young and I hope he is able to develop into a great key back, but I am not sold just yet. I really want to see Jacob Koschitzke take the step, but to date, I’ve found it is best not to pin your hopes on someone who cocks up the fundamentals as much as he gets them right. Good number one pick, this year, apparently…


Josh Eddy – 8

I’ve seen a bit of talk about this, and I think there’s something to it. With Tasmania’s entry looking probable, the worst timing for Hawthorn would be to bottom out while the new team has priority access to the draft. By taking the pain now, they can get in talent that can be developed into a tight squad, while also having youngsters with a couple of years experience that they can trade when the player movements start as the new side enters.

I’m very bullish on Weddle though, I like the look of him, and I think in a few years he’ll be something special. Lewis and Koschitzke are solid options as well, and at least one of them will have great trade value in the years to come.


The Doc – 6

Key position depth is probably not the worst of their issues. Particularly in the defensive half – they were beaten a fair bit in the second half of the year, but I thought there were a lot of bright spots: James Blanck looked like he could cut the mustard at the top level when he arrived mid-season, Grainger-Barras has been a slow burn, Sicily has battled well above his weight grade and been exceptional for the Hawks in this regard, Emerson Jeka has shown glimpses of talent and Sam Frost, for all his flaws with the ball in his hands, does still exist and he battles well in among the contest. I do worry about their forward half, because Mitch Lewis is going to be the man going forward, but who’s there to alleviate the stress of being double and triple-teamed? Time is running out on Jacob Koschitzke – I need to see more of this year, but that’s about all they have for tall forwards. They also do have two 190cm-plus draftees to build upon in Josh Weddle and Henry Hustwaite – the former reportedly been doing very well across the pre-season.


Trent Adam Shields – 7

The absence of Mitch Lewis leaves a glaring hole in the Hawks’ forward line. He averaged almost three goals per game last season and showed he was capable of beating multiple opponents in the air and on the ground, giving the forward line more shape and allowing the likes of Moore and Breust greater opportunity. The midfield has the bones of an elite unit in the coming years, but the selection of Will McCabe and probably another KPF are absolute priorities come November.


Matt Oman – 4

I guess it kind of depends how you view the word ‘worry’. I’ve had this discussion with my mates plenty of times. In short, I’m not worried at all. This was always going to happen when we won our three premierships. Sure, the rebuild could’ve been started sooner, but that’s ok. That team achieved the ultimate success for three straight seasons, so a little bit of pain right now is ok. Key position takes time, but the main pieces are there. Everything will be ok.


Matt Passmore – 6

I think there’s often a willingness to say ‘out with the old, in with the new’ when a team is coming off a few years. And I get the impression sometimes that this is a strategy used by a club to buy time and a coach to take the pressure off himself when he’s expecting a few tough years in the future. This is fine, of course, and necessary. BUT what it does is place all the eggs in one Sam Mitchell basket. If it works- great. But the draft is a lottery, and it doesn’t take much sniffing around to find plenty of failed rebuilds. My concern with Hawthorn would be them not having enough experience on the field to guide the new players coming through, and them not having enough quality to build a competition for spots; players being given chances may be good for their development in the short- term, but if there’s no competition for them to keep their spot, it’s a slippery slope towards many seasons of suffering.


If almost any other player besides Jack Ginnivan (with the exception of Toby Greene) was filmed without their knowledge, performing a questionably nefarious act within the confounds of a locked public toilet cubicle, there would be a far greater outcry from the general public and mainstream media at the perverse and criminal breach of privacy, than at the alleged act itself.  


Jimmy Day – 4

I understand the thought, but depending on political leanings, some think people should be filmed against their will if doing something that is in the public’s interest to know about, or something offensive. I don’t agree with that. And we should be able to enter a toilet and not be filmed (stranger danger anyone?) but hey, if you’re gonna do something dumb in the 21st century, do it away from technology – it’s your own fault! We’ve seen Dusty and JDG cop it when being filmed as well. Yes, some players cop it more than others but we shouldn’t be surprised about the narrative around drugs and that generating a response.


Brett Hodgson- 2

It’s a tough call, as only those mentioned players that have been caught out in these situations kind of already have a track record. The narrative might be that they “get picked on” yet we will never know until somebody that is perceived to be squeaky clean makes the same mistake. Patty Cripps showed that video evidence doesn’t mean much in the context of penalties- maybe he takes a chance.. who knows.

For all the fuss around these guys, especially Ginnivan- caught on the snort, at least he managed to stay on a list and keep doing what he loves to do at the highest level. A guy like Brayden Crossley gets cut immediately, so I feel that some get let off the hook in the general context of things. (Yes, I know Crossley was in-season) so it is similar, but different in that it was a failed test, rather than a social media “slip-up”


Tim Hunt – 5

I love Jack Ginnivan (he seemed to be settling into being an AFL version of Trae Young last season – a serious talent who’s happy playing the villain) so was incredibly disappointed when I heard he’d been caught using illicit drugs. The way that he was caught was admittedly dodgy, but this is the 21st century and we’re living in a digital age where everything we do is monitored. There was an old anti-speeding campaign in WA which had the tagline – “choose your speed, choose your consequences”. As much as I don’t like the way he was caught, he was doing something wrong – he knew it was wrong before he did it, and knew it was wrong after he did it. He chose his speed (phrasing) and along with it, chose his consequences. Now he has to live with it.


Josh Eddy – 3

I think most of us can tell the difference between someone dropping a turd in a pub toilet and three blokes going in there giggling, talking rapidly and sniffing like they’re trying to suction cup their face to the top of the toilet cistern.

‘Young, wealthy kid does drugs’ isn’t much of a story, but the salaciousness of the location and the fact that Ginnivan has profile means it’ll get clicks, so it gets published. If it was someone else with the same profile, say Grace Tame or Alexander Volkanovski, it’d be the same result. If someone with no profile (like me) did it, there wouldn’t be outrage at someone filming me in the toilet, but that their feed is being filled up with a sweaty nobody hoovering schneef in a pub shitter.


HB Meyers – 2

Disagree strongly on this one – people love to hang someone out to dry and will do so at the first opportunity, irrespective of who they are. If they have a profile, even a small one, the opportunity to kick them in the guts is rarely missed.

Currently, I reckon we live in a society where the “tall poppy syndrome” has never been worse, and it would not have mattered if it was Ginnivan, Josh Kelly, or Trent Cotchin that was caught in the predicament; people would have had the knives out, regardless. It’s pretty damning of us as a society.


The Doc – 2

Bailey Smith admitted to practically the same thing last year and was hung out to dry by the public last year – and that was in regards to an incident that happened approximately right after the 2021 Grand Final, which was a fair few months prior to the story getting out.  There’s a big nuance to this story to which I don’t like – drugs are a taboo subject in football and there shouldn’t be much tolerance for it, regardless of the player. If it was a lesser known player, he would’ve been shoved out the door quicker than you could say ‘bake ‘em away, toys.’. I love Jack Ginnivan and the antics he does on field, but the penalty he got for it was akin to a slap on the arse.


Trent Adam Shields – 8

There once was a kid named Jacky Ginnivan, everyone hated him just because it was cool-even. There have been countless drug-related incidents in the past decade, does anyone remember any of them for more than a week or two? He made a mistake, a bad one, but as he is public enemy number 1, the lowlife who also broke the law gets a societal high five.


Matt Oman – 3

Disagree. Remember when Shane Mumford was filmed doing essentially the same thing? I never heard anyone get all uppity about his private life being made public. Don’t want to be filmed doing something illegal? Then don’t do the illegal thing to begin with.


Matt Passmore – 2

I don’t think that’s the issue here. Yes, players deserve their privacy, but when they’re in public, they’re in public. And if you’re a footy player who’s going to be taking drugs in public, you have to assume someone is going to be taking a photo of it.


Kane Cornes lives rent-free in the heads of 99% of football fans who can’t quite grasp onto the fact that he is literally one of the best at what he does – writing outlandish opinion pieces at the expense of his own reputation, to achieve nothing more than selling papers and raking in views for his articles. Does this make what he does wholesome? Not a chance. Does it make what he does successful? You bet your back pocket it does. 


Jimmy Day – 10

Absolutely this! When the OG Footy Show was running, Sam Newman was loved for his outspoken nature, his controversial opinions, and for challenging the status quo. Yet these same fans dismiss Kane Cornes for it. Is it because he looks like a bobble head doll? Or he’s not Victorian? He may not always be right, and can be downright ridiculous, but it’s fun watching people lose their minds whenever Kane speaks his mind! We need more footy people speaking their mind than the personality-less interactions we often see.


Brett Hodgson- 9

I definitely agree with the first part in that he lives in everybody’s heads, however, can somebody be celebrated greatly for doing something so poorly? Continuing to acknowledge it just means that legitimacy and thoroughness goes out the window and gives rise to a new breed of flog.

For example: Is BT the best colour commentator due to his knack for asking rhetorical questions..?

Maybe the reason Clickbait Kane continually grabs headlines is due to the willingness to argue a point- even to a fault.

Guarantee that Kane cooks his steak well done, yet considers himself a chef.

Bring back the days where accountability meant something, and we stop listening to the village idiot.


Tim Hunt – 8

I heard an interview Kane Cornes gave once – I think it was last year on the podcast Full Credit (give it a listen, it’s a belter) – and he spoke about wanting to be the AFL version of Skip Bayless/Stephen A. Smith. He’s fully aware that he’s not a beloved figure, that almost everything he says and writes will be scrutinised and judged, hell he’s aware that he’ll probably (definitely) contradict himself several times a season. None of that matters though – all that does matter are the amount of clicks he generates, the amount of passion (be it anger or hatred) he elicits from the audience, the centrality of his opinions to the overall narrative of the AFL. And I’m fine with all of this, but what saddens me is the lack of genuine, intelligent and well considered debate about AFL in the mainstream media. It seems like it’s been pushed to the margins because it makes the general consumer of footy media think, not be constantly pissed off. There are publications (like The Mongrel Punt, of course) which are trying to do good work, but in a media climate that is increasingly chasing the ‘hate-buck’ – a trend capitalised on by Kane Cornes – it can be hard to rise above it.


Max Ford – 9

He’s a master of his craft, that’s for sure. We live in a world driven by outrage and reactionary behaviour, and all Cornes has done is capitalise on that. In my opinion you really have to applaud the man for his absolute prioritisation of drawing in fan engagement at all costs. Case in point; his recent comments on Jack Ginnivan and drugs in the sport. Despite the fact that these comments gave fans possibly the easiest opportunity to ridicule a media figure in all of human history, he still made them. Now if that’s not commitment to the cause, what is?


HB Meyers – 10

Bang on with this statement. Cornes has carved a niche in the media landscape that appeals to the worst in us. His takes are usually as blunt as the kitchen knife I refuse to replace or sharpen (because I am a stubborn idiot). But you know what – he is right a lot of the time and whilst others tip toe around subjects like the West Coast players being out of shape last year, he just tramples on in, says what he thinks, and I sit there nodding… because he is bloody well right!

Of course, when you go in with all guns blazing like he does, sometimes you hit an innocent bystander and that’s where the issues come to the fore. He strikes me as one who has made peace with that aspect of being an AFL media personality and will continue to do what makes him money and generates clicks for his employers. And people will eat it up because that is how we’re now conditioned to expect the media to behave.


Josh Eddy – 10

One of the big rules of the internet is Murphy’s Law, which says that people will respond much more often to correct or disagree than to help or support. Cornes is just the best one at doing this in AFL media.

Every day there are articles to promote and monetise outrage, from politics to social issues, Kane is just ahead of the curve in his industry.

Kane knows that he doesn’t have much currency as yesterday’s hero or as a former fireman, but as a button-pushing heel commentator he’s the best at what he does.


The Doc – 10

I will gladly admit that Kane Cornes lives in my head rent-free, but that’s the sort of personality that is lacking in the world of AFL/AFLW media. He’s the benchmark when it comes to stirring the pot with controversial opinions and his now professed love of JHF. The other day I was caught asking my partner, “When will this guy shut up?” (expletives left out – this is a family article… I think?) As much as people don’t want to admit it, football media has become more about garnering reactions than actual football opinion and Cornes is at the forefront of that aspect. And for the times I rant about it, I bloody respect it.


Trent Adam Shields – 10

Looks like I’m going out on the ledge on this one – but yeah, he might not be right all the time, but he is interesting and usually well researched. That in itself puts him ahead of 90% of his brethren.


Matt Oman – 9

People want those in the media to have a bit of personality and opinion, then get butthurt when that very same personality and opinion doesn’t gel with their own views. Kane might say some things that aren’t always correct, but isn’t that better than a constant fence sitter?


Matt Passmore – 6

He is very successful at his job, and as a shock jock he does it well. My issue with his outlandish statements is not so much that he makes them, it’s that he makes so many of them that it floods the footy media and actual reporting struggles to find a spot in the sunlight. Conjecture is fun, outlandish statements are fun, but mostly I just want to know who’s playing this week.


Essendon are teetering on the verge of the Jake Stringer trade becoming a bust, with the maligned forward’s injury woes and fitness queries shaping up to be yet another major ‘what could have been’ factor for the football club.


Jimmy Day – 3 (only because I disagree that it’s teetering on the verge), otherwise 10 (it’s already a bust)

You mean it’s not already a bust? The only way they can salvage anything is to go all in and make him skipper as well as the high school ambassador for the club. Aside from that, he’s a bust and another on the list of unfulfilled potential.


Brett Hodgson – 2

Maybe “the package” should be nicknamed “the tampon” as he is vital for one week then useless for three.. that ship has sailed, and like guys like Devon Smith and Dylan Shiel- Package has been somewhat flaccid since his arrival. There were red flags regarding his tank back in his Bulldog days as well, when he was the burst player then.


Tim Hunt – 2

Okay, I have a bit of a controversial opinion here; are we sure Jake Stringer is that good? Across his ten completed seasons, he’s kicked 40 or more goals only three times, and only once has he kicked beyond 50. He’s played 20 games or more in a season twice and has a below-average finals record. Compare that to players who are similarly sized – and similarly maligned – to him, like Jack Darling, and his record proves to be almost immeasurably inferior (Darling has kicked more than 40 goals in a season seven times, and played more than 20 games in a season ten times across a career that has lasted only two more years). The only season he’s played in red and black that has been at a level approaching elite was a season he was playing for a new contract – one that the Bombers hierarchy were silly enough to grant him. He’ll turn 29 on Anzac Day this year, and with one more year to run on his current deal, doesn’t appear to be playing a significant role in the Bombers next premiership thrust.


HB Meyers – 7

Hard to disagree after another injury-riddled preseason effort from Stringer that is seeing soft tissue injuries surface. On talent alone, this bloke could have been a top ten player in the game – evidence of that stems from the way he played in 2021; drifting between midfield and the forward line. He was a complete bull, smashing through packs in the midfield and generating a host of scoring opportunities, but following that season, he fell back into the habit of showing up out of shape and has performed as you’d expect as a result. Regular readers would be aware that I reckon he only gets up for contract years. The last three seasons inform that opinion. As I write this, I don’t see him as a possible bust – I see him as someone who is right on the edge of toppling over into the territory of being a wasted talent.


Josh Eddy – 8

I don’t think he’s a ‘bust’ just yet. He was a big enough talent to keep the supporters invested at the time. He’s just not a superstar or a ‘Good BlokeTM’ that can have a team built around him. To me, a busted trade means they came away worse off than if they didn’t do the trade, and as much as I’m no fan of Stringer, he’s been a net positive up until this point.


The Doc – 9

As a Dogs’ supporter… HAHAHAHAHAHAHA sucked in Essendon!!! There was probably a season and a half of good football from Jake before he was traded away from the club. Now to put the red, white and blue goggles away, it might be up there with one of the better list management decisions that the Dogs made. 2021 was a good season for the Package though, but whether that through rotten luck or a lack of commitment in rehab, we haven’t seen him at his full potential. We’re at that stage where it becomes a bit sad, because Stringer’s talent to grab the game by the scruff of the neck is up there with some of the elites.


Trent Adam Shields – 5

Jake Stringer is the least interesting player in the AFL – unless Kane Cornes is speaking about him. Not the type of personality you want to base your hopes of success on though, didn’t trade much for him and he’s been ok-ish in patches.


Matt Oman – 5

It’s already a bust. Stringer was traded for picks 25 and 30. Those turned into Noah Balta and Tom De Koning. Ask any Essendon fan who they’d rather have. Balta and TDK, or Stringer. Nuff said right there.


Matt Passmore – 10 

Absolutely this is a bust of a trade. I am not sure what they were expecting for Stringer, but he was set up to fail. As a high profile trade, he was expected to come in and perform as among the elite players in the game; yet he’s been, if I can quote Justin Langer, “mediocre with flashes of brilliance.’ I don’t think flashes of brilliance and some off-field issues are worth 2 decent picks.


North Melbourne’s boom recruit Harry Sheezel ought to start the season as a $1.01 favourite to become BT’s next linguistic love affair, with a surname synonymic to the name of a popular brand of Australian snack food, Sheezel is set to surpass the likes of Orazio Fantasia, Sam Lloyd, Ben McEvoy and Jake Stringer in Taylor’s curated commentary quips. 


Jimmy Day – 9

Bloody BT. Can he just stay on Triple M? He’s actually somewhat bearable there. On 7 though … train wreck! For Harry’s sake at least, he’ll be in the 7% of players whose name Brian gets right. I’m not looking forward to hearing “Jeez Sheez – el” for the next decade though (but I’m keen to watch the kid play)!


Brett Hodgson – 8

Cheezel will definitely be up there, along with the returning Mcdonald-Tipungwuti.. however, my pick for a favourite for Roamin Brian to fall in love with is Carlton draftee Jaxon Binns. Guarantee BT will throw out some rubbish regarding him.


Tim Hunt – 5

Yes, he probably will, though I’m not sure it will be this year – at least not on Channel 7. I’ve had a look through the fixtures and it seems like BT will only get to call Sheezel on TV twice by round 14 (where the AFL have stopped giving the time/day of the fixture). Of course, by this point in the season Sheezel may have stood out enough as a young talent to warrant the AFL ‘manufacturing’ a few favourable fixtures, so I’m certain if this is right, BT will almost eat his co-commentators trying to get a ‘funny’ line out.


HB Meyers – 8

BT is always looking for a gimmick to add more sizzle to his act, but he is not the only one that will try to coin a catchphrase off Sheezel’s name. You just know that Dwayne Russell is sitting back, staring at himself in the mirror as he practices linguistics with Sheezel’s name front and centre. “Sheezel… will be loved if he kicks this.” Bank on him using this one.

As for BT, I know he is maligned, but when he concentrates on the game, he adds personality to a call that can otherwise descend into some bloke stating the names of players as they touch the ball. I don’t mind that he jazzes it up a little and gets The Sheez’s name out there a little more as a result – North need some good marketing. I’ve liked what I have seen this preseason from Sheezel – I don’t think his will be a name people will need reminding of, but every little bit helps.


Josh Eddy – 9

I’m also wild about Harry. I fully intend to subject anyone watching the game with me to endless puns on his name, and if I can figure out how to make it come from a place of love and respect, probably his haircut, skin tone and faith too.


The Doc – 10

Tell BT to rack off – Harry is mine and Mr. Eddy’s. Before we take his name into account, his football at Sandy the last couple of years were more than enough to fall in love with him as a player and his efforts in North’s practice match against Richmond testify to his talents. He’s already got a plethora of nicknames among my colleagues at A3 that may give the late Richard Marsland a run for his money: Sheezy, Big Sheezer, the Cheezel, Mac and Sheez and Bee-Sheez are among the front-runners… we’ll get to that stage this year where we just call him the ‘yellow dairy food’ soon I’m sure! I can’t imagine a world where a man with such lyrical nonsense like Brian Taylor won’t have a field day calling this bloke kicking snags.


Trent Adam Shields – 0

Yuck, Brian Taylor.


Matt Oman – 2

You think you like it now. But when BT says it 58 million times in the first five minutes, you’ll want to walk into the ocean.


Matt Passmore- 10

I have one thing in common with BT and it’s an over-enthusiasm of interesting names, and I’m in love with this one. Hope the kid goes well.


Brisbane’s onfield talent will be the hottest topic come September, as Chris Fagan’s men storm into an elusive Grand Final on the back of masterful recruiting that culminated in the club landing numerous key components to their playing list, most notably Jack Gunston, Josh Dunkley, Conor McKenna, Will Ashcroft and Jaspa Fletcher. 


Jimmy Day – 5

I’m on the fence with the Lions. They’ve plugged some holes, but their KPP’s are all over the shop. The Lions won’t win a flag with Joe Daniher and Eric Hipwood as their main forwards. And if Marcus Adams spends long periods on the injury list, their backs won’t be able to hold up. While their recruits add some serious depth to the midfield and some other lines, they can’t win it with mediocre KPP’s. Sorry Lions fans.


Brett Hodgson – 9

I have Brisbane winning the minor premiership in my crystal ball, and they have a ton of riches that most clubs dream of having. They will have challengers, but I have a feeling that fans already have one hand on the premiership cup. “Masterful recruiting” might be giving them too much credit..


Tim Hunt – 3

Maybe I’m crazy, but I just don’t think Brisbane has what it takes. I think their backline is flaky and their forward line under-delivers. Harris Andrews struggled last year, but without Marcus Adams he seems their only genuine tall capable of stopping an opponent, while at the other end of the ground, Joe Daniher and Eric Hipwood could very well be dominant tall forwards, if they can both stay on the ground and kick straight. Admittedly their midfield is elite and will only get better this year following the addition of Josh Dunkley and yes, it’s quite possible that Jack Gunston makes their forward line more consistently dangerous, but when push comes to shove I don’t believe that they can either stop a forward line like Geelong or Richmond, or score enough against a backline like Melbourne or Fremantle.


Max Ford – 9

Yep. Brisbane were my tip for the flag even before the Dunkley trade. All the pieces are in place for a proper flag tilt. Perhaps the only real question mark about the Lions, aside from their so-near-yet-so-far track record of recent years, will revolve around the key defensive posts. With Marcus Adams sidelined, there will be a lot asked of Harris Andrews, Darcy Gardiner and Jack Payne, and one can imagine that that trio may struggle at times against opponents that boast strength and depth in the key forward stakes. But everything else about them is *chef’s kiss.* They have everything you could ask for (aside from appealing colours, of course)


HB Meyers – 4

I am worried about the Lions. I think their defensive talls are a real issue, particularly if Harris Andrews gets a niggle and ends up running on rails like he did early last season. They have stacked the midfield and forward half, so scoring won’t be an issue. They have excellent run off half-back, with Coleman, the great foot skills of Rich, and the potential that Conor McKenna could return to form… but without good key defenders to support Andrews, I think they could be scored heavily against. And if the defence doesn’t hold up, only a Malcolm Blight coached team can overcome it. I like Fages, but he is no Blighty.

So, whilst many believe the Lions will be right there at the pointy end in September, unless they get an “out of the box” effort from someone like Jackson Payne, I am not sure their defensive deficiencies will see them get past a Prelim.



Josh Eddy – 8

They have loads of AA-level talent, amplified by some good drafting and a bit of luck with father-son picks. They should be looking towards a flag. If not, then they end up in the Leon Cameron box of having a Ferrari sports car with the results of a Ferrari F1 car (Big potential, little actual success for those not into Formula 1).


The Doc – 8

It’s pretty obvious that the Lions have gone all in for this year. There’s not going to be much that stops Neale, Dunkley, McCluggage, Bailey and Lyons if they all mesh together in the middle. Ashcroft is already showing his worth at the club with his stoppage work and Jack Gunston is a dead certainty for 35-40 goals and probably more. They’re a very good offensive side, but their defence is the slight worry. Adams is out indefinitely, Andrews had a very patchy 2022 and the depth in their key defence isn’t great. Jack Payne is going to need to have the season of his life, and whoever the heck Darragh Joyce is – he’s gonna have to have a big one too.


Trent Adam Shields – 9

It’s now or never for the Lions. They have elite pieces all over the ground, if they can adequately put together a functional backline group and improve their goalkicking accuracy that elusive one day in September might feature maroon, blue and gold.


Matt Oman – 5

My trust in the Lions has fallen away with each September stumble. They’ve recruited well, but they’ve still got holes in major areas. But then again, you just never know come finals time. I don’t see them winning it this year, and I’m almost thinking they won’t even make the Grand Final, so this question becomes moot anyway.


Matt Passmore – 5

There’s something about Brisbane I don’t trust. They’re good, but they just keep finding ways of losing when they shouldn’t. I don’t think it’s ever been an issue of talent. I think it’s something else. Of course, now I’ve written them off, they’re almost guaranteed the flag this year.


The Father-Son selection isn’t the unique, sentimental exponent to our game that the AFL makes it out to be as much as it’s an inadvertent tool of inequality that further harrows a divide between the older and the newer clubs within the league. 


Jimmy Day – 1

I won’t hear a bad word about Father-Son selections. Yes, I hear the argument about the newer clubs, but they’ve also reaped the benefit of bulk top picks. This argument screams of insecure and insignificant clubs (especially the ones who have received massive assistance packages) trying to stay relevant and deflect the conversation away from their own player mismanagement and inability to keep players. Maybe, as a compromise, same round pick given up based on where the bid comes? More is paid these days for F/S selections, than used to be. The father has to play 100 games or it doesn’t count. There are parameters, but also the scope for there to be legacy in a family name at a club. Keep the F/S. If newer clubs had this access, we wouldn’t be having the conversation.


Brett Hodgson – 8

Having ironically written about this a few days ago, my argument is outlined (

The AFL has no leg to stand on when preaching “Legacy and History” when the product changes every single year. If we want an even competition then we need to make more of the talent available for everybody. With Tasmania on the verge of coming in, it’s even more vital now than ever. No other league that has a draft system has any sort of “legacy selection”, so what makes the AFL any different?


Tim Hunt – 1

Honestly, I just don’t care enough to get worked up about the father-son system. Does it unfairly help older clubs at the expense of those that haven’t had enough time in the league for their players to have children that might qualify for father-son recognition? Absolutely. Does it really matter? No, of course not. Aside from the last two years (with Will Ashcroft and Nick Daicos taken inside the first few picks), do you know how far back we have to go to find a father-son talent taken inside the first 10 picks? 2014 – Darcy Moore at pick 9. Before he was taken, there were three picks traded in the Trade Period and one – pick 3 which ended up being Angus Brayshaw – was a free agency compensation pick. Clubs put a fair amount of money into keeping past players involved – putting on clinics for father-son events, inviting past players to training/games and post-game functions and many other countless things that we as fans will never know about. There are far bigger problems in our game that we need to fix before anyone spends a second thinking about the father-son system.


HB Meyers – 10

I am a big fan of an uncompromised draft, but we are so far from that in our sport that it is ridiculous. Father/son picks are wonderful in theory, but when you take into account we have teams that have not been around long enough to reap the rewards of the system, it falls flat on its backside.

I know this attitude will one day see me become a hypocrite when I celebrate picking up a young star in the making with a bunch of later picks, but as someone who loves the game, it irks me that teams can manipulate the system to land one of the best kids in the nation by trading in picks that are more miss than hit later down the draft order. Now, I am off to yell at a cloud again.


Josh Eddy – 3

Father-Son picks do compromise the draft. We can all admit that. But if we’re honest, we can also admit that for the legendary players of our chosen clubs, it would be heartbreaking to see their kids playing for another team.

Having said that, I’d be OK with there being a maximum number of F-S picks on a list, or a maximum number in a rolling four-year period.

I’m just waiting for someone to game the system. Would JHF be eligible as a Father-Son for Port if Fabian Francis had officially adopted him?


The Doc – 1

Did Hodgey put you up to this one? It might be considered biased given the Dogs’ recent history with father/son players, but in an era where the game is slowly getting more americanised by idiots in the media (Josh Jenkins, this is you!), this is one of the rare nuances of this game that makes it what it is. And sure, some of Hodgey’s arguments are well valid. But I also am a firm believer in holding up the family name at the football club – assuming the kid would like to carry it on. I will say, the bidding system needs a slight tweak. The fact Brisbane got two kids in the top 12 through the Father/Son system and they’re not in a points deficit this year? Ridiculous.


Trent Adam Shields – 1

Make a small tweak so that clubs pay a fair price (minimum same round selection to where the player is originally picked) and you’ve got 99% less complaints.


Matt Oman – 2

I love the romanticism of the Father/Son rule. It’s all the other things around it that are the issue. Mid-season drafts, SPPs, academics. They are where the problems lie.


Matt Passmore – 10

The whole draft needs an overhaul. There’s no benefit in having a system that is designed to send the talent to the team who needs it the most, and then reserving much of the talent for various exceptions such as the F/S rule. Technically, I like the nostalgia of the F/S draft, but do we want to live in former days, or do we want a fair system in the present? We can’t have both the way it is.


Approaching his 33rd birthday in a month’s time, Geelong’s appointment of Patrick Dangerfield as captain was short-sighted and a step in the wrong direction for the club, with a more than capable captaincy option in Tom Stewart now left to dwell as an understudy for the next season or two.


Jimmy Day – 3

I’ll be honest that I was hoping for a left-field skipper for my Cats; that option being Tom Atkins. Atkins is a carbon copy of Selwood in terms of hardness and being a great club man. However, the selection of Dangerfield makes sense. He bleeds blue and white and loves the club. He gives 110% on the field and he has carried the club on his own back more than once. These things scream leadership. People forget that Stewart has only been in the AFL system for six years and is only three years younger than Danger – sure, that’s a potential extra three years playing – but I’d rather Stewie be able to play his game without the burden. Bring on the Danger era and then transitioning to a Max Holmes type in a few years!


Brett Hodgson – 8

As a club that has an affinity for “seasoned campaigners” the selection isn’t surprising, but with Danger’s age up there it does suggest a very short-term eye on things. It would make more sense for them to have appointed a younger captain with the old heads still around as mentors. Geelong have two very good prospects as future captains in my opinion in Tom Stewart and Tom Atkins (not to mention the raps on draftee Jhye Clarke) but the timing would have been perfect to anoint a player that has time on their side.


Tim Hunt – 2

To be honest, I don’t like Danger – though if he played for my team, I’d love him more than life itself! Such is the way of sporting fandom, I suppose. Call me a cynic, but I kinda figured Danger would be made captain after Selwood retired. It just seems like the natural way of things. But the truth is, Geelong are an experienced enough team that whoever holds the title ‘captain’ is rendered irrelevant. There are, like, two leaders per line who are better leaders than anyone else at most other clubs, so if I can be certain about one thing leading into the 2023 season, it’s that Geelong’s premiership defence will not be derailed by whoever has the ‘c’ next their name.


Max Ford – 5 

Have we completely ruled out the possibility that what would be beneficial for every other club wouldn’t be beneficial for Geelong? Whilst other teams scour U18 tournaments and lower leagues, Geelong thrive in their strategy of combing nursing homes and men’s sheds for talent. Thus, who better to represent them than someone on the wrong side of 30? If anything, it was cowardly not to give it to big Tommy Hawkins, who happens to be two years’ Danger’s senior


Josh Eddy – 2

The old saying that ‘Winner’s are grinners, and losers can please themselves’ fits here. Geelong have been a club in a strong position for a long time. They’ve missed finals only twice since 2004. They are the definition of longevity.

Sure, it’s probably a bit of a sentimental pick to give him the captaincy, but if we’re honest, if he speaks then other players will listen. What’s the point of having someone able to do that not have the captaincy? It’d just mean someone else is calling the toss while Danger is leading the team.


HB Meyers – 2

Warning… warning… Joel Selwood love fest incoming!!!

How do you follow an act like Joel Selwood? Looking at the Geelong list, Dangerfield is basically the only one qualified to do so after Geelong had the absolute pleasure of working under one of the best leaders I’ve ever seen in any sport. To thrust the captaincy on someone else would have been like having U2 opening for you and then you wander out there and play chopsticks on the keyboard. Selwood is a massive act to follow and they picked the guy best positioned to handle the pressure. A short-term call – yes, but a good one.


The Doc – 5

I had the Cats missing the finals completely this time last year and that call went arse-up by mid-season. In terms of setting up the next leader, this isn’t as bad of a call as it sounds. He has always had the habit to make it about himself over the career, but in terms of ‘lead by example’ players, you could certainly do worse than select him. Was Danger my first choice as new Geelong captain? No, I would’ve loved a guy like Tom Stewart to lead the club. I know some of the Mongrels were discussing a guy like Tom Atkins to be the next leader and he’s someone in a similar vein to Selwood in the manner that he attacks the contest and has never shirked one in his career. Knowing my luck, Danger will probably lead this team to back-to-back flags, and I guarantee no one outside of Geelong wants that.


Trent Adam Shields – 8

Look, to be honest I believe this was driven by Paddy’s ego and Chris Scott’s willingness to acquiesce to his star’s riders. However in saying that, they haven’t really made a false step in the past year or more down old Corio way, so while I personally think there were other more suitable candidates, the powers that be have well and truly proven their bona fides in regard to decision making.


Matt Oman – 7

I hadn’t considered it like that, but you’ve kind of convinced me. Did they give him the honour so he can add it to his list of achievements? Then again, more often than not, these things are voted on by the playing group, so if they picked Danger, good on him for making that impression. I still think Tom Stewart was the right way to go, because at 33, I’d be surprised if Danger has any more than two seasons left in the tank.


Matt Passmore – 5

I had one thought in mind with this selection, and it was “that’s the default choice.” I don’t think Dangerfield will make a great captain, nor will he make a poor one. I think Geelong just looked around and thought, “well, there’s no Selwood, so you’ll do” and went with the safest option. They’ve got good leaderships and structures, and Dangerfield will just be the figurehead on top of that. They’ll have a longer term plan to develop their next leader, I think.


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