WITH the 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership season racing to a conclusion, Damian Barrett's Sliding Doors is really heating up.

So what's Damo saying about your club? What's he saying about the AFL? You can't say that, Damo, can you?

Oh, and be sure you tune in to AFL Daily as Nat and Damo put the spotlight on all the big issues. Check it out.

 

IF ...

Joel Selwood is still the maddest, toughest, bravest player going round ...

THEN ...

Rory Sloane might be closing on the title. And now he's deciding to play through serious damage to a tendon in his finger.

Adelaide captain Rory Sloane in action against St Kilda in R13, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

IF ..

prior to this season Linc McCarthy had compiled two very nice years with the Lions ...

THEN ...

he's exploded to new heights in 2021. He's tough, as polished as any player in the comp, and incredibly given his past injuries that saw him manage just 29 matches in five seasons as a Cat, has now played 55 of a possible 57 for Brisbane.

01:01 Mins
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Richest of kicks leads Lincoln towards the sticks

Daniel Rich delivers a trademark pass and Lincoln McCarthy is the eventual beneficiary, who punishes his ex-side superbly

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IF ...

the Blues and the Teague Train had a much needed win against the Crows last week ...

THEN ...

it nevertheless came in a manner unlikely to change the views of those in charge of the football department review. Eight goals in a 20-minute burst in the second term, four goals outside of that. The good can very good, but a lot of damage is being done during the down patches.

IF ...

two weeks have now elapsed since Bucks was exited ...

THEN ...

with each passing day that decision looks more and more politically based than football. A fractured and embattled board desperately clinging to its hold on power.

Mark Korda shakes Nathan Buckley's hand as Jett Buckley looks on following Collingwood's R13 win over Melbourne at the SCG on June 14, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

IF ...

Tom Stewart had a rare bout of rash behaviour in round 15 ...

THEN ...

being the usually ultimate team player that he is, he will respond favourably against the Bombers, where a big job awaits – Jakey Stringer.

00:54 Mins
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The Package delivers a beauty from long range

Jake Stringer takes advantage of the open 50 and kicks a brilliant long-range goal

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IF ...

the Dockers copped a raw deal this week when their home game against Carlton had to be transferred to the 'G ...

THEN ...

it wasn't actually as raw as the decision in 2013 to force them to play a qualifying final at the Cattery.

01:46 Mins
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Match Previews R16: Fremantle v Carlton

Sportsbet's Nathan Brown and Matthew Richardson preview the game between the Dockers and the Blues at the MCG

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IF ...

the season is nearing its pointy-end stage and the Cats are again yet to establish full trust in a ruckman ...

THEN ...

it's same old, same old. Ratugolea being managed out of Friday night 's game against Essendon, Stanley back in. Question marks everywhere.

00:53 Mins
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Returning Cat rises for crucial opener

Rhys Stanley claims the opening goal of the finals after clunking a terrific mark in the forward line

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IF ...

the Suns gave themselves a chance against the Tigers with an attacking gameplan ...

THEN ...

they nearly blew it with poor kicking, and not only at goal. But they hung tough throughout. There were a few good wins way back in 2014, but round 16, 2021 might have been this club's best.

IF ...

Tom Green was axed last weekend and immediately recalled ...

THEN ...

not sure what that process achieved, given he seemed to be flying in his second season, and the Giants clearly missed him in their loss to the Hawks.

00:58 Mins
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NAB AFL Rising Star: Tom Green lights up round nine

Watch the highlights and find out why Tom Green gets the NAB AFL Rising Star nom

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IF ...

the future is Will Day and Denver Grainger-Barras, who unfortunately will both miss with injury on Saturday night ...

THEN ...

the soon-to-be past comes in the form of Shaun Burgoyne, who reaches game No.400 against his old club Port Adelaide. As crucial as any Hawk in the glorious premiership dominance of 2013-15.

03:06 Mins
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Silk 400: The best of Burgoyne's superb career

Shaun Burgoyne becomes the fifth player in VFL/AFL history to notch the 400-game milestone

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IF ...

it's Trac and Clarrie getting all the Demons mentions in Brownlow conversations ...

THEN ...

I don't know why big Maxxy is being left out. Finished equal fourth in 2018, and is quite possibly compiling the best of his 11 AFL seasons, which has already seen him earn four All-Australian jackets.

00:40 Mins
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Gawn turns small forward in this crazy crumbing goal

Melbourne captain Max Gawn reads the spillage perfectly and snaps through an absolute ripper on his left

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IF ...

there has been definite improvement in the past seven weeks ...

THEN ...

a true audit of performance will come in the Sunday twilight fixture. The previous time the Roos played the Bulldogs was round three – the losing margin 128 points.

07:34 Mins
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Highlights: North Melbourne v Western Bulldogs

The Kangaroos and Bulldogs clash in round three

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IF ...

Zak Butters can get through a SANFL match on the weekend after a season ruined by ankle and knee injuries ...

THEN ...

the Power's premiership hopes will skyrocket. Still only 20 years of age, but an incredibly significant part of this team, among the five most important.

00:40 Mins
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Opening Power play smooth as Butters

Zak Butters gets Port Adelaide off to the perfect start with a beautiful crumb and dribble finish

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IF ...

I thought Damien Hardwick was sooking it up in May with his complaints about having to play at Marvel Stadium, and in having an in-game, on-camera crack at umpires at the Gabba ...

THEN ...

maybe it was actually an attempt at smoke-screening deeper Tigers problems. Thursday night's loss to the lowly Suns producing the loudest alarm bell yet that the dynasty is done.

IF ...

there are a few players at the Saints who deserve a change of fortune on the injury front ...

THEN ...

none more so than Dean Kent. Among the possible ins for Sunday's match against Collingwood, after returning through the VFL last weekend after a long layoff with concussion issues.

01:08 Mins
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Cheeky Saint with the no-look goal and glare

Dean Kent sprints away from James Aish and runs into the post but kicks it from the goal-line

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IF ...

round 15's match against the Power at Adelaide Oval Port ended in a 10-point loss ...

THEN ...

it was far from disastrous, and in fact underlined the Swans' quality. Should account for the at times pick-and-choose Eagles at the Cattery on Sunday.

IF ...

the stats from last weekend's loss to the Bulldogs revealed minus 15 in clearances and minus 30 in contested possessions  ...

THEN ...

almost certainly those areas will be the key focus against the Swans.

IF ...

Treloar damaged his ankle in round 10, was sent back out to play again only to be subbed out thereafter, and then had "successful" surgery ...

THEN ...

something, somewhere, has gone wrong, given there are now doubts about him returning in 2021.

Adam Treloar leaves Marvel Stadium after round 10, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

AND THIS ONE'S FOR THE AFL

IF ...

I understand the reasons behind the AFLPA pushing back on the AFL asking the Bulldogs to consider playing a second 2021 season match after a five-day break (one five-day break for each club had been signed off) ...

THEN ...

I still don’t agree with it. The season in its planned form is on a knife's edge.