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Sliding Doors: round 21

IF we tired of one thing during the week ... THEN - AFL,Adelaide Crows,Brisbane Lions,Carlton Blues,Collingwood Magpies,Essendon Bombers,Fremantle Dockers,Geelong Cats,GWS Giants,Gold Coast Suns,Hawthorn Hawks,Port Adelaide Power,Richmond Tigers,Melbourne Demons,North Melbourne Kangaroos,Sydney Swans,St Kilda Saints,Western Bulldogs,West Coast Eagles,Sliding Doors,column
IF we tired of one thing during the week ... THEN

If

 all players were as honest as Jenkins ...

then

the AFL would be a better industry.

If

you keep finding the ball in outcome-determining moments in the dying seconds of games ...

then

you have a real 'it' factor. Rayner is guaranteed to be better for enduring those moments.

If

the margin was 105 points last week despite the opposition at stages having only 16 players on the field ...

then

season's end cannot come quick enough. And yet we peculiarly think you're a sneaky chance in Perth this weekend.

If

you go back to this time last year ... 

then

you'll remember the turmoil and doubt. There's still turmoil - on the injury list. But there's no doubt anywhere else.

If

the old 'we're still a mathematical chance' to make the finals is to apply ...

then

the Bombers must beat the Saints by 12-plus goals, as Richmond at the 'G, and Port in Adelaide await.

If

we've been critical of Ross The Boss lately ...

then

we need to give him a massive well-done after the Gaff hit on Brayshaw. Incredible restraint at three-quarter time when every fibre in his make-up would have been demanding vengeance. And, equally significant, great leadership, care and perspective in his post-match conference. 

If

Lethal has the best ever AFL crack at an opponent with his "if it bleeds, we can kill it" call on Essendon in 2001 ...

then

Chris Scott's less-specific but equally loaded post-match barb at Richmond last week might yet have similar explosive impact.

If

a lot of things about the Suns have left us perplexed in 2018 ...

then

No.1 on that list is why Jarryd Lyons has spent so much time in the NEAFL team. Back in the seniors this week. 

If

you've only managed 13 of a possible 19 matches ...

then

can you win a Brownlow? Probably not, given Mitchell's season. But no reason Kelly can't still poll heavily. Has been the reason the Giants have surged in the second half of the year. 

If

in the week of Cyril's retirement we wrote that we'd be prepared to part with some folding on him making a comeback ...

then

five weeks later we'd be prepared to increase the outlay (responsibly, of course). 

If

the Dees are the team we think they are ...

then

they will do a number on the Swans at the 'G on Sunday .

If

the AFL's trophy engraver had actually etched "Ben" into the Coleman Medal five weeks ago ...

then

we couldn't have blamed that person. But it might have to be erased. It could be Lance, Tom, Jack. Even Luke or Jesse. Brown needs another bag soon.

If

five weeks ago someone had predicted Powell-Pepper would be axed by round 21 ...

then

we would have argued heatedly. Massive fall in a short time. 

If

Jacob Townsend hadn't played a senior game in 2017 until being selected out of nowhere in round 22, and then staying in and playing a key role in a premiership ...

then

Ivan Soldo is better placed in 2018. Gets his first chance for the year a week earlier. 

If

this club in the remaining three games continues the insipid nature of its loss to Western Bulldogs last week ...

then

no matter how many public assurances that Richo is safe for 2019, he won't be. 

If

it took Bud kicking six and having one of his all-time great games to get a win against the Pies ...

then

that's a massive positive in a season where there haven't been many. But the negative is that the injury-depleted Pies very nearly won anyway. 

If

we tired of one thing during the week ...

then

it was being told by the perpetually outraged, wannabe-moral crusaders that we couldn't feel sympathy for Gaff. We do feel for him as he sets out to deal with his properly-sanctioned one moment of madness in an otherwise copybook career. 

If

you're judging him on Brownlow votes ...

then

he's a bust. One vote from 249 matches. But when it's Dale Morris, it just doesn't matter nor properly reflect the amazing impact he has had since working his way onto the Bulldogs' list as a rookie for the 2005 season. And quite possibly the best bloke to play AFL in that timeframe.

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If

we needed one more reminder about the self-inflicted erosion of Friday night footy in 2018 ...

then

we're going to get it in R21 with the woeful Saints in action. 

Twitter: @barrettdamian