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Sliding Doors: round 20

Damian Barrett  August 4, 2017 7:00 AM

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IF Ryder and Hibberd were still at the Bombers ... THEN

If

you only lose one of Lever and McGovern at the end of the year ...

then ... as dire as that would be, it's probably an OK outcome given what appears to be going on right now.

If

it was roughly this time last year that Rocky started testing the open market ...

then ... we'd be expecting him to do so again pretty soon. Has been good in 2017, and has greater currency this time around.

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If

you're averaging 72 points a game and are scheduled to play against a team which averages 98 ...

then ... you're not winning, again. Unless you change your mindset. Surely it's time to be a bit more attacking.

If

you're getting all caught up in the Daniel Wells effect on this team (the Pies have had six wins and a draw from his nine appearances, and won just one of the nine games he's missed) ...

then ... fine, keep going with it, it's factual. But it's too little, too late to mean anything in 2017. And by the way, we reckon Ziebell will have something special planned for him on Saturday.

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If

Ryder and Hibberd were still at the Bombers ...

then ... we'd be looking at a top-four team right now. In ripping form throughout this season, those two. Adrian Dodoro got it right. The drugs program got in the way.

Paddy Ryder and Michael Hibberd enjoying a Gatorade shower in 2011. Picture: AFL Photos

If Connor Blakely went down badly with a shoulder problem in the first quarter ... then ... we have zero idea why he went back on. Out for the year. A really bad look, no matter what the medicos say.

If we were the Cats ... then ... we would have challenged the MRP finding. Fully agreed with the MRP finding, but Danger deserved a crack at keeping alive his Brownlow credentials. 

If we love one thing in the AFL ... then ... we love a journeyman. Daniel Currie. No.49 pick by Sydney in the 2006 draft. No games for the Swans. Managed four matches with North Melbourne in 2014, then four more for the Suns in 2016, and none after round nine. Recalled this week to play Freo in Perth. Extraordinary.

If your ins are Lids, Stevie J, Mummy and the next big thing Hopper ... then ... that's the good news. The bad news is Cameron is out again, and there's an injury cloud over Patton.

If the Hawks can beat the Swans on a Friday night at the MCG ... then ... they're more than capable of beating the Tigers on a Sunday at the same venue. Bring on 3.20pm Sunday. This could be one of the games of the year.

If

Jesse Hogan returns this year ...

then ... we'd be very surprised. A broken collarbone in round 19 normally means the season is done. But this young man's resilience on so many levels has already been on full display in 2017 that we're not writing him off.

If Ben Brown ever gets to start, and complete, a full pre-season of training ... then ... look out. Been in the AFL system four years, never done a pre-season. Overlooked in three drafts, he's now a genuine star, and deserves more recognition than he's got. Hope he wins the best and fairest. 

If

our man Ryder gets going in the Showdown ...

then ... the Power will win. Surprised there's still a debate about who gets the nod as 2017 All Australian ruck.

If Dusty's main Brownlow rival was eliminated by the MRP ... then ... Dusty himself can blow away seemingly the only challenger left, Hawk Tom Mitchell, with another best-on-ground performance against him on Sunday. Dusty – in a different sphere to nearly all others this season.

If

there's one team which has really disappointed us this season ...

then ... it is this one. We were fooled by the win against Richmond in round 16. We won't be fooled again.

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If McVeigh belted Langford last week for his annoying kisses ... then ... we wouldn't have been too harsh on him. Langford should have been at least referenced, and maybe even cited by the MRP, but he wasn't, so it's clearly OK for footballers to do that again this week.

If

you really want us to stop deriding your hardness and preparedness to hurt to win ...

then ... win this one against the Saints. We reckon you will. No excuses.

If we've become attuned to having the words "rested" and "managed" against the names of players at team selection ... then ... we may as well get our heads around "travelling emergency". Hadn't seen it before it appeared next to Bob on Thursday night. Reckon the term will take off now.


And by popular request ...

If

we've said it once before in this column this year ...

then

... we're going to have to say it again, given nothing has changed. We need to allow for umpire discretion in those moments when a player takes a mark in the same play in which a teammate is infringed upon. One day, a player will be robbed of mark of the year, if the free kick continues to trump the mark in the eyes of umpires.

Follow Damian Barrett on Twitter: @barrettdamian