TEN THINGS I LEARNT AFTER ROUND NINE
1 - The Eagles will need to get better if they're serious about defending their premiership.
At three quarter time, the Eagles shouldn't have been in that game. Were it not for the inaccuracy in front of goal, the Demons were a five goal better side at that stage, but only led by 12 points. A bit of magic from Shuey, Yeo and Ryan using Gawn as a step ladder (much to Vardy's amusement!) and the game was over.
2 - Jaidyn Stephenson's barrel makes me wonder why we don't see it more often.
You only see it come out once every two years. I say we need to bring back the barrel. He was just over 50m out, but he might've struggled with a drop punt. So he launched one into the fifth row straight through the middle. Maybe Myers from the Bombers could've scored from 65m if he had this weapon in his armoury? Dane Rampe may have been needed after all.
3 - Charlie Cameron's goal celebrations are the best in the league.
This bloke is easily the happiest goalkicker going around. He looks like a cheeky kid who's just seen his teenage next door neighbour sunbathing topless through the fence after he scores a goal. Don't take my word for it. Check it out next time they play, because he pretty much kicks goals every week, and seems to be very happy at his new home.
4 - The Cats should be flag favourites, but somehow Collingwood is...
They're on top of the ladder with eight wins and have lost just one game by four points to another finals contender. Yet, the pundits have Collingwood as flag favourites despite them having issues shaking off two lower teams in Carlton and St Kilda in the last two weeks. I'm not saying the Pies shouldn't be up there. But surely the Cats should be favourites after the Pies have basically played two good final quarters in the last fortnight to get over the Saints and the Blues?
5 - Fremantle have averaged just 68.9 pts in the last eight weeks.
Carlton have averaged 73.2. The Dockers started the year in a blaze of glory scoring 140 points with a forward line that looked ominous. However, since then, they're averaging less than the bottom side in scoring, which makes you wonder if bringing over Jesse Hogan is truly working for them. I mean, sure, you need to get the ball to him as well!
6 - Lance Franklin has had the worst "minor hamstring strain" in history.
The club initially reported his injury as minor, yet here we are four weeks later and he's still not playing. Buddy seems to be the one player that nobody ever knows the full story with. You may recall the rumours about him surrounding the three strikes policy when he was at Hawthorn. And he was supposed to end up a Giant. Who knows what's going on with him and when he'll be back playing?
7 - Football cliché time! He may not be captain any more, but Travis Boak is the "spiritual leader" of Port Power.
How many times has this old line been trundled out? "He's not our captain, he's our spiritual leader." Another favourite of mine is "he's the barometer of the team" - whatever that means and I'm not sure if it's measured in hectopascals or degrees. Whatever the case, who would've thought at the age of 30 and in his 13th season, he'd be in career best form? Not me. How many guys in their 30's have won the Brownlow? There's some homework for the readers.
8 - Dusty is back!
The critics have shined the spotlight on Dustin Martin this year as many were saying he still hasn't recaptured his 2017 form. Until today that is. 37 disposals, two goals, and he actually laid three tackles as well, This means he was at his best again and with the Tigers at 6-3 with an extensive injury list and players coming back soon, I believe they're well poised for another flag tilt, especially when Dusty fires.
9 - The Giants had the bye this week.
I'm fairly certain that the Giants have had training sessions that were harder and tougher than the game they played against and insipid Blues outfit. From the outset you could see the massive disparity in both talent and commitment, as countless times in the first half the Giants were able to basically walk it into their goal unimpeded. I'm sure Brendon Bolton would've said that it does not represent what Carlton stand for under him, but his body of work fails to convince the fans, and the drums just got a whole lot louder once more at Ikon Park.
10 - Adelaide look fairly certain to get Pick 1 in 2020.
The club celebrating the most due to Carlton's woes is the Crows. They've all but sealed a number 1 pick regardless of where they finish, and the talk is there is someone equal to or better than Sam Walsh waiting in the wings
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