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Sliding Doors: round 21

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 29: Levi Casboult of the Blues celebrates a goal during the 2017 AFL round 19 match between the Carlton Blues and the Geelong Cats at Etihad Stadium on July 29, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
IF big Levi is at the Blues next year ... THEN

If

2017 has taught us anything ...

then ... it is that most out-of-contract players won't be affected by scrutiny around their futures. A real credit to Lever and McGovern, who have both performed exceptionally in this premiership-favourite outfit.



If

you very suddenly go from being regular outsiders in games of footy to a pronounced favourite in this one ...

then ... that can play tricks with your mind. Should win against the Suns on exposed form, but we're not confident.

If

big Levi is at the Blues next year ...

then ... we'll be very surprised. He's rejected their offer. They're not budging.

If

there's one thing we really want to see ...

then ... it is the official naming of Josh Daicos in the Pies' 22. Come on, Bucks. Do it.



If

you're coming up against Sam Jacobs ...

then ... it's far from ideal that Bellcho is missing with a foot problem.

 

If you recall last year's Grand Final ... then ... you'll remember Hamling restricted an injured Buddy to one goal. If he can repeat that effort for the Dockers on Saturday, then this game may be closer than people expect.

Joel Hamling in action during the 2016 Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

If you get your reality check out of the way in round 20 (when the Swans toyed with them) ... then ... it's better than getting it in round 23 or later. But was it a reality check? Or simply reality? We initially feared the latter, but we now reckon you'll beat the Tigers and re-set for September. 

If we've heard it once this year ... then ... we've heard it a dozen times. The players love Dean Solomon. Let's see how much. Lions are very gettable..



If Mumford and Smith are big outs ... then ... Patton and Greene are massive ins. And they keep just responding through adversity, this mob. And the retiring Stevie J will love the Friday night stage.

If there's one thing we normally don't get too worked up about ... then ... it's the farewell game. But we do hope Gibson gets his body right for round 23. A Hawk great in a great era. Two best-and-fairests in premiership years puts him in the same sentence as Jason Dunstall.



If

you look at the fixture ...

then ... the Dees have arguably the 'easiest' final three games. Saints, Lions, Pies. Reckon they win all three and make finals.

If you kick one goal in a half of footy against a fellow lowly team under a roof ... then ... you've got some pretty big issues. 

If

he had one arm in a Virgin Australia AFL All Australian blazer this time last week, and the other poised to slide through the sleeve ...

then ... Paddy Ryder right now can only look on as Sam Jacobs gets measured up. There's still three games to go, though.



If the premiership dream wasn't real before last week's match against the Hawks ... then ... it is now. And will be in sharp focus if a win can be secured at the Cattery.



If

there's one team which has frustrated us more than any other in 2017 ...

then ... it is this one. We've so desperately wanted to embrace its credentials, only to be constantly let down. Last chance versus the Dees.

If there's a new Hayden Ballantyne in town ... then ... it's Tom Papley. Really starting to annoy opposition teams. Good on him! He's become crucial to the Swans after just 36 games.



If

the flat-trackers somehow lose this one to Carlton ...

then ... look out. Carnage.

If the Dogs are to beat the Giants ... then ... The Bont is going to have to kick five.


And by popular request ...

If

the AFL had a wish ...

then

... the Tigers would finish in second place. Imagine the hype, and resultant cash, attached to the Tigers playing a double-chance final at the MCG. Win or lose, there'd be at least one more Tigers final at the MCG after it.

Follow Damian Barrett on Twitter: @barrettdamian

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs