STEPHEN Coniglio seems too loyal as a Giant to consider even taking the phone calls that will again come his way, but after the weekend it is inevitable that the clubs which made him massive, life-changing offers a year ago will be reaching out again before the 2020 Trade Period.
Carlton and Hawthorn, and others, pitched the deals throughout 2019. Those clubs' recruiters are now compelled to revisit the situation, as little has gone right for Coniglio since he signed a seven-year deal to stay with GWS, and his omission from Saturday's match against Melbourne was not just a shock, but an unnecessary humiliation.
That the Giants' match committee, clearly led by under-siege coach Leon Cameron, decided to wait until the second-last round of a season which has never been in sync to make the massive statement of axing its captain reeked of desperation.
And the fact it didn't result in snapping this lethargic team back into form has made matters worse for Cameron.
There were so many other actions which could have been taken by Cameron long before sacking his skipper with two matches remaining of 2020, including doing the same many matches ago to the horribly out-of-form and seemingly uninterested Jeremy Cameron.
Maybe the re-signed Coniglio was more disposable in 2020 than the out-of-contract and yet-to-commit Cameron. Maybe Leon Cameron will panic again and reinstate Coniglio for the final match against St Kilda.
The 2020 season has been a very ordinary one for most associated with the Giants. Axing Coniglio made it unnecessarily messier. Surely a first-year captain, particularly one as invested in people as Coniglio, should be protected by his organisation, not embarrassed.
A year after making the Grand Final, GWS now needs a series of miracles to even make the finals. The season debrief will be difficult for everyone, particularly the captain, whose phone will be ringing with subtle inquiries probably as soon as this week.
LADDER PREDICTOR Can your team make the eight?
Don't assume those calls won't be made. GWS clearly doesn't value everything about its captain as it once did. Carlton and Hawthorn have again had ordinary seasons. Fremantle might be interested again. The recruiters of those clubs need to know with certainty if Coniglio has been hurt sufficiently by the Giants this week to reconsider his big picture.
'Woosha' has overstayed his welcome
Very little has made sense at Essendon this year.
Coach John Worsfold and sidekick Ben Rutten have been unable to stop this season being another wasted one.
Just six wins and a draw have come from 16 matches, another horrible loss occurring on the weekend when Port Adelaide destroyed the Bombers by 50 points.
THINGS WE LEARNED The fight's gone out of the Bombers
Yet somehow the public words offered by Worsfold this year have been as ordinary as the side's form.
There have been ridiculous and regular promises that the Bombers are on the right course. There was a way too defensive, awkward and misplaced swipe at club great Matthew Lloyd. And then on the weekend there was the downright bizarre need to tell "Essendon people" that they must "understand that the competition challenges clubs now to work to the same rules – the same rules of the draft and the salary cap".
"No one team has any more right to be successful quicker than any other team, just because they're a big-name club."
Thanks, John. And I'm sure the "Essendon people" to whom you refer will be heartened by that, having not experienced a winning final since 2004.
Worsfold helped Essendon through some of the carnage created by its drugs program debacle. But he hasn't assisted the greater cause this year, and the club should respectfully publicly farewell him this week, allowing Rutten to do what he should have done for at least half this season – coach the Bombers one-out.
The caretakers who aren't taking care of business
Carlton and North Melbourne sacked coaches a week apart last year, Brendon Bolton and Brad Scott replaced initially by caretakers who became permanents in David Teague and Rhyce Shaw.
A season and a half later, both clubs have not improved. The Roos are on the verge of crisis.
Carlton's insipid first half against the bottom-of-the-ladder Adelaide on Sunday was in keeping with too many of its performances under Teague – it was the 17th time in the 27 matches he has coached where the Blues have conceded a 30-point run to their opponents.
Under Shaw in the back half of last season, North defeated five of the teams currently sitting among the top nine on the ladder. Since round two this year, it has won just one game – against the only team below it on the ladder.
THE LADDER Where is your team sitting?
North has had injuries to key players this season, but it actually contributed to some of those situations, particularly when it signed off on Ben Cunnington against the Bulldogs in round five when he could barely walk.
Shaw has no answers at the moment, but remember, he publicly volunteered at the start of the year, and again after wins in the opening two rounds, that his club was capable of not just making finals but potentially winning one or more.
They can barely win a quarter of footy these days. Hope Shaw gets some high-end support for 2021. The people who made the decision to sack Scott owe that to him, and not providing him with it in 2020 has set back him and the club a very, very long way.
Fairytale ending for 'Hollywood' Collingwood?
As of Sunday night/Monday morning, Collingwood is no certainty to make the finals.
It might need to win at least one of its remaining matches – Gold Coast this Monday and Port Adelaide next Monday – to be assured of such status.
These two are back on Monday. ?? pic.twitter.com/f55UmiwSXf— Collingwood FC (@CollingwoodFC) September 12, 2020
Season 2020 has been the usual Collingwood Hollywood story, with the usual unwanted headline offerings – from a couple of unusual types this time in Nathan Buckley and Steele Sidebottom, with breaches of COVID-19 regulations – intermingled with genuinely good football along with isolated and frustrating form lapses.
Since 2018, the Magpies have developed one of the competition's hardest styles. They went within two minutes of winning that year's premiership, fell four points short in a preliminary final last year. Which makes me believe, despite their need to enter this year's finals without a second chance, that they’re still going to be challenging for another Grand Final.
De Goey and Treloar are massive ins. Sidebottom, after a 14-day quarantine period in Queensland, is almost certain to be available for the first final. If Jeremy Howe can somehow fix his knee for a return in week two or three of finals, then there's no reason the Pies can't get on a finals roll. Do not write this team off just yet.