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Sliding Doors: round 22

IF Gill introduced the post-R23 bye to stop clubs resting players ... - 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 Gill introduced the post-R23 bye to stop clubs resting players ...

If

 this season has been a bust ...

then

at least there's one positive – Brodie Smith is back.

If

Fages reacted badly to Robertson's "I reckon they're soft" assessment of the Suns ...

then

we can only imagine what he'd do if he coached Jacksonville in the NFL, after cornerback Jalen Ramsey this week launched into opposition QBs. Flacco "sucks", Ryan is "overrated", Josh Allen is "trash", and Roethlisberger is "decent at best". We loved Robertson's words. Footy needs conflict, should be more of it. The QClash might finally have found relevance.

If

he looked gone two years ago ...

then

right now he looks like he's got two years left in him. Daisy has had a good 2018.

If

you stop for a moment and take a look at the Pies' back six for this game against Port ... 

then

you realise this club has done an extraordinary job of holding things together in injury adversity. Madgen and Langdon in the key posts, Murray, Greenwood, Crisp, Maynard around them.

If

Fantasia was fit ...

then

the Bombers would've been certainties against the Tigers. We're still tipping them anyway.

If

Fyfe is back ...

then

there's a reason to take an interest in the goings-on of the Dockers on the weekend. Fyfe, Walters, Neale, Mundy and Hill (occasionally), the only selling points to this boring, hard-to-watch team. 

If

Chris Scott has indeed "done the Ladder Predictor 500 times" ...

then

he'll know his Cats need to defeat Freo, and for Melbourne or Port to lose, if his side is to re-enter the eight going into the final round. 

If

Tom Lynch was angered by Bucks' public admission of a meeting ...

then

he needs to harden up. There's potential ramifications for every action a person makes. Lynch chose to meet Buckley. Deal with whatever potentially happens from that moment. 

If

Lobb actually gets his head around the fact that he can be a very, very good player – potentially an outstanding one – when playing as a ruckman ...

then

the Giants will keep winning, regardless of the mounting injuries to others. Lobb the key to what lies ahead for this club.  

If

McEvoy is back, fully fit ...

then

the Hawks won't be relinquishing their double chance. 

If

the Dees had locked down Isaac Heeney in last weekend's final quarter ...

then

they would have been a lock for the finals. They've now got a very stressful fortnight, Eagles in Perth this week and GWS in round 23. 

If

the Roos blew up their season in one quarter last weekend (they kicked two goals to the Dogs' eight in the third) ...

then

there's only thing left to do – ensure Brown wins the Coleman.

If

you've lost your past two matches in heartbreaking, dramatic fashion as well as your super-important full-forward for the rest of the season ...

then

there's one way to make season 2018 all OK again - a win this weekend against Collingwood at the 'G. 

If

there's such a thing as the best handball of the year ...

then

it was Higgins' awkward, bouncing one to Riewoldt last week, which resulted in his 10th goal. He just gets it, Higgins. Gets the theatre, the naughtiness, the unconventional, the moment.  

If

Goddard returning after nearly three years of injury was one of those selections which warmed the heart ...

then

Freeman getting axed immediately cooled it. 

If

Bud has had a very good fortnight ...

then

the reality check comes this week when Davis lines up on him. The modern day Carey-Jakovich battle. 

If

you keep looking at the ins on Thursday night when the teams are announced and there's still no Kennedy ...

then

at some stage that is going to kill your premiership hopes.  

If

this club thinks it has retrieved something out of the year with consecutive wins in the past two weeks ...

then

surely reality kicks in when analysis of its seven wins for the year sees that it has beaten teams currently occupying the bottom four places on the ladder, as well as three other teams outside the top eight. 

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If

Gill introduced the post-R23 bye to stop clubs – hello Freo and North – from resting up to 11 players, and thus causing integrity issues, from the final home and away game ...

then

that was a good initiative. But the Tigers are clearly a step ahead in 2018. Nankervis last week. Cotchin, Lambert, Astbury, Prestia this week. Glorious pre-finals rest for the key players. We'd be doing the same thing if we ran the Tigers. But when from here you can't miss a home qualifying final, is there real integrity from Richmond in this round 22 match against the Bombers? Nup.  

Twitter: @barrettdamian