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Sliding Doors: IF you reckon Clarko's been active in Trade Period before ... THEN

IF you reckon Clarko's been active in Trade Period before ... 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 you reckon Clarko's been active in Trade Period before ... THEN
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IN THIS week's Sliding Doors, made possible by ventraip australia, our chief football correspondent Damian Barrett puts the Crows, the AFL, Geelong's ruckmen, GWS, Carlton's trade targets, Ken Hinkley's treatement of Scott Lycett, and more in the Doors' spotlight.

What's Barrett saying about your club? What's he saying about the AFL? Check it out.

If

there is any backbone, any resolve, any self-respect, any sense of team, and any preparedness to dare ...

then

the Crows will at least challenge the Bulldogs in Ballarat on Sunday. But is there?

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If

you're sitting a game clear atop the ladder and you enter a match at $2.80 on bookmakers' boards ...

then

that is borderline disrespectful.



If

Coniglio, Jack Martin and Papley are added in the off-season ...

then

look out in 2020!

If

I was in charge of team selection for the match against Essendon ...

then

I wouldn't be risking Darcy Moore for his first game after a soft tissue injury since round 17. Save him for the first final. The X-factor to Grand Final hopes.

If

I was in charge of team selection for the match against Collingwood ...

then

I wouldn't be risking big Bellcho for his first game after a soft tissue injury since round 15. Save him for the first final. The X-factor to winning a final.

If

Ross The Boss simply had to go, and he simply did have to go ...

then

I'm still saddened, because with Ross being part of the game, the off-field stuff was always unpredictable, awkwardly entertaining and edgy in an otherwise very predictable, staid AFL world. 

If

it was a problem before the season started ...

then

it's arguably a bigger problem going into the final round. The ruck position. Stanley must be persevered with from here on in, though. 

If

the Suns get what they want, and what some at the AFL believe they need - the first two picks in the national draft (their own ladder-position pick as well as an AFL commission-granted priority selection) ...

then

there will be an outcry like we've never before seen from other clubs. 

Below: Noah Anderson and Matt Rowell, the potential top two picks in this year's draft. Picture: AFL Photos

If

injuries have been a legitimate excuse for some of the problems this season ...

then

injuries aren't a reason for the embarrassing, give-up-without-a-fight second halves of the past two matches, where not one single goal has been kicked in quarters three and four against both Hawthorn and Western Bulldogs.   

If

you reckon Clarko's been active in Trade Period before ...

then

you've seen nothing yet. Watch this space.    

If

you're familiar with the record books ...

then

you'll know the Demons didn't produce single-figure ladder positions for 10 consecutive seasons after 2006, then finished ninth in 2017 and fourth last year. Back to 17th this season. 2018 was a blue moon in the Demons' solar system.

If

you start 2-7 ...

then

finish at 10-12 (which will be the win-loss ratio in the event of an expected win over the Demons on Saturday), it's an OK season. But ultimately yet another wasted one with no guarantee that 2020 is going to be any better, given all the big-name recruit options will be going elsewhere, again.   

If

you recruit Lycett but axe him to make a point no outsider actually understood ...

then

bring him back for a dead-rubber R23 game … well, he should be looking to leave in Trade Period.    

If

I was in charge of team selection for the match against Brisbane ...

then

I wouldn't be risking Cotch, who has already missed 11 matches this year with hamstring problems, before the first week of finals. 


If

Rooey and Joey and Dal and BJ keep telling us how much they love Ross The Boss and want him to return as coach  ... 

then

you need to factor in the silent majority – some of them important people still significantly connected to this club - which doesn't love him. Ross chose to walk when it suited him, and that was OK. But that act, combined with the disastrous past four years at Freo, means he won't be brought back now.  

If

a key forward, in normal circumstances, hadn't played for eight weeks due to hamstring damage  ...

then

he'd normally be expected to simply ease his way back. But Bud isn't normal, and he's been ready to go for three weeks. In this celebration game for McVeigh (also an inclusion) and Jack, along with Grundy and Smith, Bud might bag eight.    

If

you haven't done the maths ...

then

an Eagles loss to the Hawks, and a Richmond win against Brisbane as well as a Collingwood defeat of Essendon would mean West Coast is playing an elimination final in week one.  

 

If

you remember the win-loss at the halfway point ... 

then

you'll recall it was 4-7. Amazing, gutsy, and to the seven other finalists, a seriously scary turnaround to go 7-10 since, including six of the past eight. Anything could happen from here.

If

it was already negotiated that Stephenson would have his 22-match ban conveniently reduced to 10 to allow availability for a finals series ...

then

it might be "legally" OK that he's been given approval to play for the Pies in the VFL on Saturday (after the AFL team plays the 10th of those matches on Friday), but it's just plain wrong on every other measure.   

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