The WInners and Losers of Round 16

Let’s jump into the simplest of The Mongrel articles, but the simplest of Mongrel writers.


It’s HB’s Winners and Losers of Round 16.





I’ve got to tip my hat to this bloke. Over the past two years, plenty have people have written him off, and truthfully, he has given them a fair bit of ammunition.

However, great players learn to adapt, and adapt he did against the Swans, working at stoppages to reduce the impact of Isaac Heeney, and pave the way for Freo to have their biggest win of the year.

Really, I could have picked three or four winners from Freo, but I’ve chosen to go with the old fella.



And now, I’ll go with the young fella.

JHF has copped criticism his whole career, and some of it has centred around whether he works hard enough when the ball is not in his direct vicinity.

Well, put that one to bed, people – the young bloke worked his backside off to get from contest to contest for Port in their tight win over the Saints.

There were points where he ran past two or three opponents to be an option for teammates, and his two goal assists amongst nine score involvements indicate that he is more than happy to do the work for his team.

Without him, Port lose this one, and Ken Hinkley would be right under the pump.



Who remembers when Sam Mitchell couldn’t coach?

Who remembers when the Hawks had gone backwards in 2024?

Pepperidge Farm remembers, and hell, I’ll even put my hand up and say he made a terrible error in the Port Adelaide game, as the Hawks were run over in the last quarter. That game aside, the Hawks have been spectacular over the last two months. He is guiding a ship full of potential, and we are now looking at a situation where, unbelievably, this team is in the mix for finals!

But first, they have to face the old enemy at Kardinia Park. Sign me up for that one!



There are times in a game where I reckon Ben Long has to remind himself he is not allowed to destroy someone on the field. It doesn’t mean he always listens to that little man who chatters in his ear to be careful, but he walks a fine line in terms of his aggression.

That said, his work against the Pies was wonderful on the weekend. Not only did he kick the big goal in the last quarter when the Suns needed it the most, but his physicality gave the Suns nobody else, aside from maybe Nick Holman, could.

His bump on Josh Daicos rattled the wingman, an dsent the message that this Suns team is no longer one to be trifled with.

Now, if only they could grab one road win!



When I say “the big two” in relation to Carlton, it is with the knowledge that you could pick from five players, but on this occasion, I am talking about the midfield duo that took the Blues from a small halftime margin, to a blow-out in the third.

Sam Walsh and Patrick Cripps dominated the Premiership Quarter, combining for 27 touches, six clearances, and two goals, as they lifted their team to another win. Yes, they had plenty of help, but these two were the catalyst for the assault.





You’re a star of the game, Chad – an elite running midfielder with a knack for knowing when to put the foot on the gas and when to hold up.

But when the ball is in dispute at half-back, that IS NOT the time to hold back. That is the exact time to drop the hammer and go flat stick for the footy. He was beaten on Friday night. Beaten in the middle, beaten around the ground, and beaten by players he is better than.

Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard, and if you’re looking for the reasons Sydney lost, I reckon you can find them in one passage of play when Luke Ryan went had at the footy, running at full pace, and Chad Warner tried to corral it, running at half-pace.

A superstar that doesn’t go hard is just another player, in my eyes, and Chad took a step toward that perception this week. Time to turn it around.



This season promised so much, but here we are at the end of Round 16, and the Saints are dropping games like Joe Ganino “accidentally” drops his pants at the City Baths.

Part of me thinks this is the way Ross saw this season playing out; almost as though he thought his team over-achieved last season. But there is another part of me that sees the hurt and disappointment of the Saints fans. They’re likely being told to be patient.

They’ve been told that before – ad nauseum.



Oh, they had a mare.

You know, I can cop poor umpiring – it’s not like I have a choice. But all you want is consistency. All you want is the same decision paid at one end as is paid at the other. And yet, we get the exact opposite.

I am not sure whether it is the plethora of umpires we now have, each with their own idea of what should and should not constitute a free kick, or whether it is mass confusion about the rules. What I do know is that I watched the Cats gifted advantage after advantage on Saturday night, and it just seems to me as though the Bombers tend to get screwed over more than others.



Is it considered bullying is I start calling him Max Princess? Because that’s how he’s playing. How about Max Court-Jester? A nice hyphened name… like he plays for Melbourne.

This bloke should be a monster by now. He should be taking over games, kicking bags, and breaking hearts. But the only hearts breaking are those of the St Kilda supporters who keep the faith, and watch this guy be led to the footy by the defender, and provide anaemic efforts when contesting the footy.

If I am sick of his crap, I can only imagine how you guys feel.



Yes, I  know… their inability to perform was as much indicative of the ineptitude of the midfield, but I am choosing to focus on the forwards, here. Get over it.

Through the first three quarters of the game, do you know how many marks inside 50 West Coast were able to take? Have a guess.


No marks inside 50 for 90 minutes of footy is a pathetic result, and it was only some grabs taken by Oscar Allen in what amounted to extended last-quarter junktime that bumped the number up to four for the game. Horrid performance.


There ya go – told ya it was simple. Feel free to add your own – I don’t see everything.


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