Category Archives: AFL

HANDOVER COMPLETE. OVER TO YOU BUCKS

Three elite football clubs were out on Gosch’s Paddock this morning under the beaming Melbourne sun, but only one held the interest of the media and onlookers.

It was a triangle of stars with the Melbourne Victory, Melbourne Football Club and on the main oval, Collingwood Football Club.

The entire Magpies list was on the park along with new head coach, Nathan Buckley. All eyes were on last year’s runners-up including a large media pack consisting of journos and several television cameras and photographers feverishly snapping away.

If the Demons and Victory wanted any attention, they clearly picked the wrong time to train.

The Magpies players were pushed hard during the session with many bent over sucking the big ones in after each drill. Heath Shaw and Alan Didak left the track earlier than the main group.

In his first media engagement as Collingwood head coach, Buckley said, in response to being asked how does it feel taking over, “It’s good. I think anyone that comes in to this job first up thinks you can conquer everything in a week, it’s not going to happen like that.” Bucks went on to say that there will be adjustments to the clubs game plan in 2012 and added, “You can’t afford to stand still, standing still is going backwards.”

Collingwood head away tomorrow to Arizona to undertake their annual altitude training exercise.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Round 24 review

The Good

1. Garry Jnr

After years of playing finals, Ablett finished his season on the weekend and he concluded on a very high note. The former cat was instrumental in keeping his young team in the game with 43 disposals and 13 disposals.

2. Big Bad Bustling Barry Hall 

Hall ‘hung up the boots’ after a sensational career playing 288 games and kicking 746 with time spent at St Kilda, Sydney and the Western Bulldogs. After being sacked by the Swans due to cheap shots to Staker and Rutten, the Dogs picked him up and he flourished with 130 goals in 38 games.

3. GEEEEElong!

The Cats went into the huddle after the first quarter against the ladder leaders on Friday night trailing by 19 points. What we were about to witness was near perfect footy.Geelongended the second period with a 10 goal to one romp; they dominated the tackle and disposal count and hunger for the ball. Several commentators said that Collingwood put the cue in the rack but the end result was 100 points! Cop out???

4. Matthew Boyd

He is an All-Australia certainty and showed 18,128 at Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Boyd finished his last game of the year with 35 possessions.

5. Boomer

After a week that wasn’t his finest, Brent Harvey showed his class and leadership with 31 touches and two goals. When the game was up for grabs in the final period Boomer was very good.

6. St Kilda

The Saints head into their clash against Sydney with confidence after kicking eight of the final ten majors for the match to record a come from behind victory against Carlton.

7. Luke Breust

Still in his first season at AFL level, Breust was dominant in a 13-minute burst in the premiership quarter kicking four goals. He finished with a career-high five for the match. The young Hawk has now slotted home 30 goals from 16 matches.

8. Gold Coast Suns

Although facing Hawthorn who were missing eight regular players including Hodge, Franklin, Lewis and Sewell, the Gold Coast were good and took it right up to the Hawks and gave their fans confidence for the 2012 season.

9. Gary Rohan

The young gun continues to shine for the Swans with three goals on the weekends versus the Lions.

The Bad

1. Daniel Jackson

Tiger Daniel Jackson had a brain freeze at the wrong time (14 minute mark last quarter) at the wrong place (in front of goal) resulting in a David Swallow goal and the Tigers downfall.

2.Melbourne in Adelaide

The Dees finished the season on a low and continued their horror run in South Australia.Melbournehave yet to win when travelling west since 2001 against the Crows.

3.Carlton

While St Kilda made the Good list, the Blues slipped and fall into the bad after letting an 18 point third quarter lead slip and allowed goal after goal after goal from the Saints in final period and a half. They also have a few injuries concerns going into the finals.

4. The bookies increase the odds for Bicks

Another loss, big loss I must add, on the weekend for Adelaidedidn’t help Mark Bickley’s chances on securing the coach’s gig next season. Scott Burns is still my tip as I wrote on 27 July on TheRoar http://www.theroar.com.au/2011/07/27/scott-burns-will-coach-the-adelaide-crows/.

5. Nick Riewoldt

The St Kilda captain struggled on Saturday night and left the game without kicking a major. Big concerns on the impact he will have in the finals especially when the game is on the line.

The Ugly

1. Good weekend overall so I won’t put anything in here…Port Adelaide won also so that limits what I can write.

It heats up now with first week of the finals. Below is the schedule:

Geelong v Hawthorn, MCG, Friday 7.45pm.

Collingwood v West Coast, MCG, Saturday 2.20pm.

St Kilda v Sydney, Etihad Stadium, Saturday 7.20pm.

Carlton v Essendon, MCG, Sunday 2.40pm.

Finals predictions can be read on Thursday night on www.camcallsthegame.com.

I will finish by congratulating the following players who have or will be retiring after the finals series:

Adelaide: Scott Stevens.

Brisbane: Jamie Charman.

Collingwood: Leigh Brown.

Essendon: Darcy Daniher and Mark Williams.

Fremantle: Roger Hayden and Byron Schammer.

Geelong: Marcus Drum and Cameron Mooney.

Gold Coast: Daniel Harris.

North Melbourne: Brady Rawlings.

Port Adelaide:Chad Cornes.

Sydney: Craig Bolton, Daniel Bradshaw and Tadhg Kennelly.

Western Bulldogs: Mitch Hahn, Barry Hall and Ben Hudson.

AFL preview: The final countdown

Collingwood v Geelong, MCG, Friday night

I was at the round 8 clash between these two current day powerhouses and witnessed a classic game, and it is expected we will see a similar affair tonight although both teams have nothing to play for, except only a win. Here is something to note however, if Geelong are to lose and the Hawks who travel to the Gold Coast win by a very large margin, the cats could slip to third position by percentage.

Although talk around is that both teams will try to get through unscathed, once the ball is bounced look forward to both teams playing hard for the points.

Prediction: Collingwood by 12.

Gold Coast v Hawthorn, Metricon Stadium, Saturday afternoon

Hodge, Buddy, Rioli, Lewis and Sewell amid other who are all staying in Melbourne while their teammates travel north. Sam Mitchell is the big inclusion. The burning question is can the Gold Coast get up at home after a long, long season?

Prediction: Hawthorn by 35.

Western Bulldogs v Fremantle, Etihad Stadium, Saturday afternoon

Fremantle defeated the dogs at home in round 5 by 7 points but that result will be reversed on Saturday at Etihad. Both clubs have been poor in 2011 and can’t wait for the year to end, especially Fremantle with their extensive injury list. This is a game of retirees and a coach looking to show why he should get the gig next year.

Will Barry kick 10?

Prediction: Western Bulldogs by 42.

Sydney v Brisbane, SCG, Saturday afternoon

Sydney was very good last week against the cats at Skilled Stadium playing with strong emotion.Brisbanecomes off a loss against West Coast and a bye in round 23. When half time ticks over and the swans are leading by several goals, it will only get worse for Brisbane as I suspect motivation levels will drop in Voss’ men.

Prediction:Sydney by 28.

Carlton v St Kilda, MCG, Saturday night

Only 3 points split these two finals contenders in round 7 with the blues triumphing. This is probably the game of the round in my eyes. Both teams will want to take confidence into the first round of finals and thus it is set for a tough contest.

Can Riewoldt stand up and deliver against a tougher competitor in Carlton? Will Dempster continue his good form and impede Judd’s dominance? Is Jamison fit enough to play on the saints key forwards?

While the blues are locked in, St Kilda can move on the ladder.  

Prediction:Carltonby 7.

West Coast v St Adelaide, Patersons Stadium, Saturday afternoon

This should be a training session for the eagles at home. Do I need to say more?

Prediction: West Coast by 39.

Port Adelaide v Melbourne, Adelaide Oval, Sunday afternoon

The only interesting element with this game is that it is the first-ever match to be played at Adelaide Oval.Melbournehas not won in Adelaide against the power or crows since 2001 – will the hoodoo continue? Port Power were good last week against the bombers until the final ten minutes when they let Essendon just walk in and kick goals uncontested, while Melbourne defeated the Gold Coast at the ‘G.

If there was ever a ‘who cares up’, this would be it.

Prediction: Port Adelaideby 3.

North Melbourne v Richmond, Etihad Stadium, Sunday afternoon

This should be a good game to end the regular season.

Richmond stormed home last week when they ventured into crow-land (they hadn’t beatenAdelaidesince 1999 over there), meanwhile the kangaroos were good for a mere one-quarter against St Kilda. The roos once again failed to deliver on the big stage when it counted.

Prediction:Richmond by 22.

The good, the bad and the ugly – AFL Round 23 wrap

The good

Collingwood midfield – The magpie key ball winners ran riot around Patersons Stadium on Friday night with Pendlebury, Swan, Beams, Didak and Thomas all had leather poisoning with 36, 35, 31, 31, and 28 respectively. Pendlebury’s 36 touches included 16 contested disposals, eight clearances and two goals. Swan was also super impressive with two first half goals. In his 10 games since returning from Arizona, Swan has averaged 35 possessions.

Swans win at Skilled – The came, the saw, the conquered, and at Skilled Stadium to top it off. The Sydney team playing with great emotion was far too good on the Cats turf and stopped Geelong from recording their 30th consecutive win at home. Goodes, McGlynn on Sellwood, and the big Mummy were very good with awesome pieces of play by young Gary Rohan.

Shut down players – Two big games that saw two players have great impacts on the match. Down the highway in Geelong, McGlynn was very good on Sellwood while Sean Dempster on Saturday night against the kangaroos played a superb shut down role on North skipper Brent Harvey.

Game winning tackle – Chris Masten’s tackle on Daniel Rich in the final period that resulted in a goal was massive and presented the win and a top four spot to the Eagles.

Kick to kick on the ‘G – The AFL allowed fans onto the MCG after the Melbourne v Gold Coast. It was a big welcome back that saw the famous sprint to the centre square. Please AFL, more of it!

Coleman in the bag – Buddy Franklin kicked five against the Western Bulldogs and all but engraved his name on the goal-kicking prize.

A terrific career comes to a close – Congratulations to Luke Power who announced his retirement to the Brisbane crowd on Saturday night. Power was a three-time premiership player with the Lions in a career spanning 282 games, including one game in the big V jumper.

Young Tigers – Martin (19 possessions) and stand-in Captain Cotchin (27 possessions and six clearances) were highly influential in the Richmond win. Cotchin is showing his strong leadership credentials each week and is stamped at being a great player in the future.

The bad

Shinboner spirit lost  – I’ll leave Brad Scott to sum it up, “Against a side that’s lower than us we need a much better performance than that and I’m confident we’ll get that, but it’s these games you play for, it’s these games you’re in the competition for and we’re not holding our end up.”

Mauled crows – Mark Bickley said after the game to the waiting media, “We’re not that good a side”. That was obvious in the second half with Richmond coming from behind to kick ten of the last 14 majors of the match.

Power surge faded – Ok, Port Adelaide put in a much, much better showing on Sunday afternoon but they couldn’t close the door on the Bombers. Essendon booted home seven goals in the final term with five of those coming in a ten minute burst.

The future of Mick – Give it a rest. It has become very boring – Leigh Matthew’s made a good point, how about we focus on the dominance of Collingwood rather than who is doing what in the coach’s box.

Unnecessary high hits  – Jack Ziebell of the Roos and Nick Lower from the Dockers will be having early season finishers after poor decision-making saw them both make high hits that were far from tough. Not needed guys; instead why not let the guy get the ball then tackle?

Hawkins and Nathan Ablett – These two are just not up to the standard of AFL. Hawkins hasn’t delivered despite big wraps on him. Having the Sherrin kicked to him by Gary Jnr, Sellwood, Bartel, Corey, Ling, etc, etc, etc, still isn’t enough. Trade bait or VFL prospect?

Unruly supporters – I was at the Saints v Kangaroos match and wow! Don’t some people just take passion to a new level that is border lining sickness?

The ugly

Umpiring – The level of adjudication on the weekend was poor and hopefully this is recognized by the Jeff Gieschen.

 Razor Ray Chamberlain – the name says it all; he was atrocious on Saturday night. The game isn’t about you Razor.

AFL selection panels need a rethink

Have we put AFL on too high of a pedestal? Everything recently seems to be played up for the salivating and waiting media who jump on any piece of information to gain that highly sought exclusive.

The present day practice of clubs to carry out is the formation of small committees with the aim of selecting their next head honcho to lead them to premiership success.

On that note, it is now my honour to introduce Melbourne, the Western Bulldogs and Adelaide.

Mike Sheehan made a good point in his employer’s paper this morning mentioning that the three abovementioned clubs have appointed selection panels to seek out their next coach; however none have solicited the services of an ex-coach. Sheehan does note that former Collingwood and Brisbane four-time premiership winning coach, Leigh Matthews, will provide counsel to the Crows when they boast a shortlist of three.

The one club for my part that plainly just do not get it is Melbourne. The Dees panel comprises two former players including club greater and Brownlow Medallist Jim Stynes and stand-in Director Garry Lyon. Some may come back at me with antipathy because I am not categorizingLyon’s coaching career with All-Australian team in the same esteem as an AFL coach of one of the 17 clubs. But that’s just how it is. Jason Akermanis was quoted as saying in the Herald Sun’s SuperFooty column that, “I’m a club legend but it doesn’t mean I know a thing about picking a good coach.”

The other element which stands-out is the inclusion of Cameron Schwab. I appreciate he is the CEO but I truly wonder if Melbourne is serious about this process or not? Only a few weeks ago Schwab was out the door and himself searching for a position.  How can an individual be involved in the identification and acquisition of a coach if the club had torn half way through his contract prior to a back flip that saw Dean Bailey sacked?

Here is a question I pose to the heads of the Dees, Dogs and Crows. What does this list have in common – Dennis Pagan, David Parkin, Leigh Matthews, Paul Roos, Terry Wallace, Robert Walls, and Grant Thomas? Answer – All coached at AFL level and several actually took their sides to finals and walked away with the premiership cup.

How about asking one or two of those named or one who I may have left off, to assist, employ their practical knowledge, and get serious for what is a highly important process. Be pragmatic, give the situation the attention it requires and then in the end assign the best and right person to lead the club.

I’ll conclude on this. The last time the Western Bulldog’s tasted glory was in 1954, Melbourne 1964, and Adelaide 1998. It might be time to rethink the panel setup.

AFL Round 23 Preview

Fremantle v Collingwood

@Patersons Stadium on Friday 8.30pm

The flag favourites are flying with only one loss for the year (against Geelong) and finals ahead, the other has lost it’s last five games and on the track of missing the top eight. Last week Brisbane pushed Collingwood to 18 points whereas the Dockers were pathetic against the Kangaroos losing by 98. Although Collingwood has lost its past five matches versus Fremantle at Subiaco, they will take home the four points; they are strong up forward, down back and have a dominant midfield. The game within a game here involves Dane Swan – he averages more possessions against the Dockers than any other club.

Verdict: Collingwood by 38.

Hawthorn v Western Bulldogs

@MCG on Saturday 2.10pm

Similar to the preview for the round’s opener, these two clubs have different outlooks – one to September, one to 2012. The last time the Hawks and Dogs met was round 10 at Etihad Stadium, a game where Hawthorn outclassed their opponent and dominated possession. In or soon to be in rebuild mode, the questions that the Dogs coaching staff will be asking is ‘who will play stop Hawthorn’s dynamic forwards including Coleman Medal favourite Buddy Franklin and game breaker Rioli?’

Verdict: Hawthorn by 26.

Geelong v Sydney

@Skilled Stadium on Saturday 2.10pm

Scarlett, Mackie, Milburn and potentially Tom Hawkins return after a week with their legs up on the couch with a bye. Sydney face AFL’s toughest test, that being defeating the Cats at Skilled Stadium. If Geelong is successful, it will be their 30th consecutive win at home. The hosts have beaten Sydney in their last four outings, one of which was played in Geelong and resulted in a 126-59 victory. The last time the Swans beat the Cats in down the highway was 11 years ago…when Tony Lockett booted through 6 majors.

Verdict: Geelong by 43.

St Kilda v North Melbourne

@Etihad Stadium on Saturday 7.10pm

The game of the round as 6th plays 9th on Saturday night in Melbourne. This contest presents us with two midfields who possess depth, Nick Riewoldt under significant pressure to perform and an injury cloud, and in-form and potential All-Australian Drew Petrie in the Kangaroos forward 50 who will face double to triple teaming. St Kilda has had the edge on Boomer’s chargers including five of the last 6 games. Over the last few weeks the media and coach’s spotlight has been on the poor delivery of the ball to Riewoldt – will that play a part on Saturday night? A question for the Kangaroos is can they beat the Saints if Petrie is subdued?

Verdict: St Kilda by 8.

Brisbane v West Coast

@GABBA on Saturday 7.10pm

These two haven’t met since round 19 last year and what a thrilling game it was with a Jonathan Brown goal with only seconds remaining on the clock. In that match, Brisbane and West Coast were playing to not be ‘awarded’ the wooden spoon. While the Eagles have gone on to better and brighter things, the Lions have remained near the bottom of the ladder. Brisbane performed well last week against Collingwood and again face a tough test this week at home. Playing at the GABBA gives Brisbane a show however West Coast is in superlative form with the last three wins over eight goals.

Verdict: West Coat by 25.

Adelaide v Richmond

@AAMI Stadium on Sunday 1.10pm

1999 – the last time Richmond travelled to Adelaide and went home with the win. Another stat to note is that the Tigers have a terrible track record against (13 losses from the last 15 contests. Stand-in coach Mark Bickley has his team performing at higher levels than earlier in the year and should hold off the tiger challenge. Just don’t expect Thompson to get another 51 disposals.

Verdict: Adelaide by 12.

Melbourne v Gold Coast

@MCG on Sunday 2.10pm

A long season has caught up with the leagues newest club and this week they travel south to Melbourne to face the Demons at the MCG. I will keep this short and sweet – if Melbourne can pick up where they left off last week against Richmond and bring that hunger for the ball, they will win well. However, if Ablett runs around and dominates the clearances and inside 50s, well the Suns may well close a shocking season for Melbourne.

Verdict: Melbourne by 38.

Essendon v Port Adelaide

@Etihad Stadium on Sunday 4.40pm

Has there ever been a less competitive team in the AFL than Port Adelaide in 2011? The last time these two clubs met was round 7, 2010, resulting in a Power 109-106 triumph.

Verdict: Essendon by 81.

AFL Round 22 good, bad and the ugly

The Good

Young guns come out blazing

A game within a game between two of the league’s newest. Jason Tutt from the Western Bulldogs and John Butcher (Port Adelaide) provided fans from both clubs something to look forward to in 2012. The pool cue was put into the rack after quarter time as a result of a Bulldogs 10.3 to 1.0 romp. ‘King Tutt’ as he is now known as, became the 7th player in history to kick three goals from his first three kicks. He finished with 26 disposals and four majors.

Up the other end Butcher was keeping Power supporter’s somewhat content with six goals. Butcher was an exciting factor up forward after going off the ground with a knock to the head early on forcing him off the ground.

Rising Star Award…Shuey or Heppell?

Young gun Luke Shuey showed off his awesome talent in the premiership quarter. Shuey racked up four clearances, five inside 50s and kicked a goal in a brilliant burst. His ability to get the ball and effective use it was the reason for the Eagles kicking clear of Essendon. On the other hand, Heppell played with poise and put his case forward for the award with 26 intelligent possessions.

The mighty flying Hawks

There was much to play for in the game of the round on Friday night. More than 52,000 at Etihad Stadium were front row to a tenacious Hawthorn outfit that were hungrier and more efficient with the Sherrin. The Hawks dominant midfield was extremely effective in stopping Brownlow favourite Chris Judd who played well below his best. The navy Blues increased the intensity in the final period and kept coming hard at the Hawks who were able to hold on by 12 points when the siren sounded.

Leather poisoning at Metricon   

No matter who your competitor is, getting 51 touches demands some attention. While this article and no doubted an abundance of other new sources will pay that attention to Scott Thompson, I can’t say the same about the Gold Coast on Saturday. In the 61 point victory, the Crow midfielder who is in All-Australian form had the ball on a string – he had 18 disposals in the first quarter, 10 in the second and 14 and nine in the third and fourth. Thompson was two touches shy of Diesel Williams’ record. My question is why Bluey McKenna didn’t put a young player on to quell Thompson; it would have been valuable to do so in allowing a midfielder to learn and test themselves.

The Baz and Boyd show

Barry should’ve announced his retirement in round one, the Dogs would that way won a few more games. Hall is in outstanding form and continued on where he left off last week with six goals. Captain Matthew Boyd is another who is able to hold his head high this year. Boyd kicked a career-best three goals to add to his 39 touches.

Trent Cotchin

When the game was up for grabs on Sunday afternoon it was Tiger midfielder Trent Cotchin who put his hand up. He led from the front and put through an important major which started the run for Richmond.

Andrew Swallow

The Kangaroos midfielder put on a show again Fremantle, picking up 30 touches and laying 8 tackles.

The Bad & the Ugly

Goal kicking

Although they got the four points, Sydney was atrocious in front of the big sticks kicking 23 behinds for the match. At one stage the Swans kicked 10 straight behinds.  

A Blue day

Carlton let slip a top four finish and double-chance opportunity with the loss to Hawthorn. As mentioned earlier, the Hawks wanted the ball more when it counted and in the end Carlton left their run too late.

Freo…no heave-ho!

I listened to Dockers Captain Matthew Pavlich on channel 7’s football show on Sunday morning and all I heard was excuse after excuse after excuse, although he said those aren’t excuses for their performance…huh? Fremantle were taken to school by the Kangaroos at Etihad Stadium and flew back not with a win, but a 98 point thrashing. Their effort was extremely poor they will most certainly feel the wrath of Mark Harvey on the training paddock this week. The loss takes Fremantle’s record at Etihad to 14 losses from the past 16 games at the stadium.

Cheap shots

It was a bad weekend for several players who in a weak effort took their eyes of the ball instead targeted their opponents illegally including using the elbow. Come on, that isn’t tough, that’s weak and uncalled for.

2011 All-Australian Team…agree or disagree?

With only a few weeks to go before the finals series commences, I have assembled what the All-Australian should look like; do you agree or disagree?

FB:

Dales Morris: Has been one of the shining lights for the Western Bulldogs this year; if it weren’t for him in many cases they would’ve suffered more defeats.

Matthew Scarlett: key forwards he has played on haven’t bothered the scorekeeper greatly this year as well as being ranked highly in disposal efficiency.

Heath Shaw: has been instrumental for the Pies this year from the back line. It is a great sight-seeing Shaw take a few bounces down the wing and deliver it nicely to the big forwards.

HB:

Jimmy Bartel: A marketing and tackling machine who continues to fly under the radar by continually beats his opponent.

Ben Reid: effective key back who can stop the big forwards; season highlights include 21 disposals and 10 marks against St Kilda on the weekend and 31 disposals with 11 marks and a goal vs. Hawthorn.

James Kelly: has stepped it up a gear this year; Kelly has been excellent in applying fierce pressure inside 50. Kelly is ranked 3rd in tackles per game and is averaging 24 disposals. Against highly ranked clubs, Kelly has produced quality. Against Collingwood he racked up 22 touches, 7 tackles and a goal; 11 tackles and 24 disposals vs. Hawthorn; and 24 possessions, 14 tackles and a goal when Geelong played West Coast in Perth.

C:

Matthew Boyd: gaining more than 30 possessions per game, 5.3 tackles and 2nd in total inside 50s; also, never stops running for his team.

Sam Mitchell: has dominated this year with contest possessions, a blonde diesel Williams?

Joel Sellwood: started the year off slow but has picked up and as we all know, he is one of the toughest players who puts his head over the ball at all times.

HF:

Dale Thomas: averaging 25.2 touches per week; applying fantastic tackling pressure and slotting through the goals.

Lance Franklin: Ranked 1st in goals per game.

Marc Murphy: one of the main challengers against Judd for Charlie.

FF:

Andrew Walker: versatile player who will win mark of the year; best season from him – winning the ball, kicking goals and making tackles.

Travis Cloke: Not only has he been in good kicking form, Cloke has stepped up his ability to apply pressure inside 50.

Garry Ablett Jnr: will be up there in the Charlie stakes.

Foll:

Dean Cox: best in the business and Leigh Matthews has stated possibly the best ruckman ever.

Chris Judd: about to become a triple Brownlow medallist.

Scott Pendlebury: Norm Smith medallist who has continued his scintillating form this year. Ranked 7th in disposals per game and in tackles, in addition to being positioned 12th in goal assist per game.

Int:

Adam Goodes

Drew Petrie

Jordan Lewis

Dane Swan

Coach:

John Worsfold

Hall rings the bell at right time

On Sunday, Chrisso on Triple Ms ‘The Rub’ called for Barry to rethink his decision to hang up the boots after the 2011 season.

Chrisso, my response which his on-air colleagues also said, he is in an individual purple patch and that Hall is getting out at the right time, it is his decision and he is throwing everything at each game he plays.

Hall has been in sensational form since he made his announcement to retire from elite football after a stellar career with St Kilda,Sydney including captaining the Swans to a premiership, and at present with the Western Bulldogs.

Since round 16, Hall has kicked 25 goals and 9 behinds; he has booted home 5 or more through the big sticks in his last four appearances.

On Saturday night against the Bombers that the Dogs went down 101-150, big bad bustling Barry notched up 15 disposals and 7 marks.

It has been an interrupted season for Hall who has missed 7 games due to injuries.

Commentators are too quick to comment, and it happens quite a bit, that a player should continue or think long and hard about his decision to retire from the game at elite level.

Hall said in his press conference and has mentioned several times since, that his body is struggling to keep coming up each week. Hall is in scintillating form and the Western Bulldogs could very much do with him next year, but what happens if he signs and continues, goes through pre-season and enters the 2012 season and breaks down?

Boxers seem to be the competitors that just don’t know when to retire and they finish their career on a low – Hall appreciates that his body is telling him to move on, his heart, passion and spirit within is demanding him to conclude on a high.

Hall made several heads turn and take note when the big forward, known for his toughness and at times aggression on the field, stated to the media that he wanted to be remembered as a Bulldog – although he held the premiership cup aloft with then Coach Paul Roos.

In your opinion, where has Barry Hall had the most impact; has his punch been harder with the Swans or at Whitten Oval? Hall has been a great character for the game and with a few weeks to go, what else he has in store for us we will have to wait.

Congratulations on an excellent and well-played career.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (AFL Round 21 review)

The Good

The Buddy and Cyril show: On Saturday afternoon, fans at the MCG witnessed Hawthorn kick 31 goals to Port Adelaide’s 5; 14 of those slotted by the two dynamic Hawks forwards – 8 to Buddy and a career best 6 by Rioli. The match was over by quarter time, a period that saw Rioli kicked four;Franklin turned the lights out on Port in the second quarter with three through the big sticks. 

The Blues Brothers: Judd (34 disposals), Murphy (31) and Gibbs with 29 possessions were a formidable trio for Carlton against Fremantle at Patersons Stadium. The three top class midfielders including two leading condensers for the Brownlow were unstoppable around the packs with the Blues take away 18 more clearances from stoppages for the game.  Judd produced another 3 votes appearance with 17 contest disposals from the 34 gained include 8 clearances, and a goal. Eddie Betts and Chris Yarran were other standout notables.

Bicks’ stocks grow: We have seen a change in how the Crows are attacking the ball and competing overall. Interim Coach Mark Bickley must be getting greater support each game he sits in the box too. Although his beloved Adelaide outfit went down on the weekend, they went down fighting against Geelong by 11 points. Competitiveness and spirit seem to be back.

Big Bad Bustling: Since round 16, Hall has kicked 25 goals and 9 behinds; he has booted home 5 or more through the big sticks in his last four appearances.

On Saturday night against the Bombers that the Dogs went down 101-150, big bad bustling Barry notched up 15 disposals and 7 marks. On Sunday, Chrisso on Triple Ms ‘The Rub’ called for Barry to rethink his decision to hang up the boots after the 2011 season. Chrisso, my response which his on-air colleagues also said, he is in an individual purple patch and that Hall is getting out at the right time, it is his decision and he is throwing everything at each game he plays.

Magpie backs: One reason why Collingwood have a dominant record over St Kilda is due to the face that Nick Riewoldt doesn’t apply scoreboard pressure when he lines up against the black and white. On Friday night, Chris Tarrant and Ben Reid were very good and beat Riewoldt fair and square several times. Talk around the football circles is that the Saints got a fair blast from Ross Lyon about delivery to his key forward. Excuses, poor skills or just outplayed???

Special mention: The Melbourne Storm also for recording most wins ever in a season for the club. This week they take on St George; big clash.

The Bad

Mauling an un-energetic Swan outfit: What a difference a week makes;Sydney was poor in their sub-par effort against the Tigers, losing by 43 points. Swans Coach John Longmire told the media conference that his side lacked the energy from the first bounce;Sydney had 6 inside 50 tackles for the game – a sign that the pressure simply was not there compared to last week’s thrilling match against Essendon. As Longmire said, “you would have thought Richmond was playing for a spot in the finals, not us”.

ABC TV: Not the AFL but VFL in this rant. What a great game it was on Saturday between the unbeaten Port Melbourne and Williamstown. With two minutes to go and only 5 points separating the two clubs, the ABC decided to pull the plug on the game and informed viewers that if they want to continue watch, they should log onto iView…? What a joke! I don’t even expect this from Channel 7 – at least they let you watch the end of the game minus the winner’s singing the song.

Softness in the game…oh and umpires: Chris Tarrant reported for a fair and legal bump; Davey from Essendon pushed over after kicking a goal or more like taking a dive, resulting in another free shot at goal. Ben Hudson on Sunday shouted ‘WHAT’ at the umpire paid a free kick against him (although he was the man in front yet somehow was called for having his arm around the Essendon players neck)…come on AFL, umpires shouldn’t be noticed and the game is a tough sport…let the players play!

Soccer or AFL?: It seems like the Bombers are learning from each other and are taking acting classes. Alwyn Davey dropped like he had been knocked out by Iron Mike Tyson, but the punch wasn’t a punch, it was a little shove from Bulldog Easton Wood. The Bomber deserved it with the way he was acting but was smart enough however to con the umpire into a free kick. The questions should be asked to Essendon, “Do you want to play AFL or EPL?”

The Ugly

Lack of Power: It has been going on so long now that I can’t think of words to describe the situation.

ABC TV: Not the AFL but VFL in this rant. What a great game it was on Saturday between the unbeaten Port Melbourne and Williamstown. With two minutes to go and only 5 points separating the two clubs, the ABC decided to pull the plug on the game and informed viewers that if they want to continue watch, they should log onto iView…? What a joke! I don’t even expect this from Channel 7 – at least they let you watch the end of the game minus the winner’s singing the song.