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Sliding Doors: Before the finals

Damian Barrett  September 1, 2017 8:33 AM

AFL 2017 Media - Collingwood Press Conference 280817

IF your team finishes 13th, after 12th place last year, and 11th and eighth before that ... THEN

If

you're an expert in anatomy (we're not, but we googled a few things and asked around) ...

then ... you'll know the appendix in a human body has no known function. Except as a cause of distress for gun Crows players in 2017, and stress for their coach who is plotting a Grand Final path.

If

your team finishes last and you make the Virgin Australia All Australian team ...

then ... a massive well done to Dayne Zorko.



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If

your team finishes third last and you make the All Australian team ...

then ... a massive well done to Sam Docherty.

If

your team finishes 13th, after 12th place last year, and 11th and eighth before that ...

then ... you're extremely lucky to win a two-year extension as coach. And you're going to need a gun key backman if you're to get near finals in 2018.



If

Hooker and Hurley are fit ...

then ... the elimination final at the SCG is very winnable.

If you miss two years of football and then six weeks after your return your team rules you out of a WAFL finals campaign ... then ... our eyebrows are raised. As they so often are with matters relating to Harley Bennell.



If you're Joel Selwood and you've just been named an All Australian for a sixth time ... then ... we're scratching our head as to why you're not named captain for a fourth time. Yes, we're aware Joel's inclusion this year was via the interchange. But so what? 



If we were in charge of the Suns ... then ... we'd be saying this to Gary Ablett: "Gaz, we'll let you go to the Cats, provided they pay for your full wage, and that they also arrange for us to receive a $400,000 player for whom they will also pay for.' It'll happen, but negotiations are going to get downright ugly.



If we were adamant last week Stevie J plays every time he's able ... then ... we're wavering this week. But we're still backing him in to produce some trademark magic in the next month.

If we think we know Clarko ... then ... he wasn't at all worried about missing finals. Knew he couldn't do any real damage even if he got there, more than proved a point after a disastrous opening six rounds, players get the long break. Look out 2018.

If

you type "sporting disaster' into a search engine ...

then ... the round 23 Demons team pops up first. It's going to be a loooong off-season.



If you sometimes win when you lose ... then ... that's North this week. But not by design. Went to irresponsible financial levels with its pursuit of Dusty. Now desperate to land someone else with a profile. Roll up, roll up. 

If

a player was designed to rip apart a finals series ...

then ... it is Ryder in 2017. Capable of taking the Power a long way.



If someone has played everyone off a break this year ... then ... it is Ralph Carr. To keep Dusty, Richmond went to financial and tenure levels it swore it never would. Just as Collingwood did when Carr managed Trav Cloke's arrangements in 2012.



If

this club is to be brutally honest with itself ...

then ... season 2017 was simply wasted.

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If we have always acknowledged that one of the more difficult jobs in an AFL season is to fit 40 quality candidates into a 22-man All Australian team ... then ... we're also entitled to say Josh Kennedy in 2017 would have to be one of the more unlucky players to miss such an honour in the history of the game.



If

we were Adam Simpson ...

then ... we'd be rolling the dice with Nic Nat at the Adelaide Oval in the elimination final.



If the robust off-field power plays were covered over with a premiership in 2016 ... then

... the lack of success this year will bring such matters into greater focus. A few disgruntled people at Whitten Oval.

And by popular request ...

If

Simon Lethlean was a massive loss in the footy ops position ...

then

... Steve Hocking is a massive gain. Game again in good hands.

Follow Damian Barrett on Twitter: @barrettdamian