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 ...

multiple wheels have fallen off the Crows car ...

THEN ...

Walker returning for a home match against the very disappointing, and now Tom Barrass-less, West Coast provides good opportunity to get at least one back on.

IF ..

Rayner's absence had been adequately covered for ...

THEN ...

another season-ending injury to another crucial forward, Hipwood, may be the tipping point for the Lions and their flag hopes. Time for big Joe to stand up.

00:42 Mins
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Hipwood subbed out with suspected ACL injury

Eric Hipwood has been taken out of the game after he was carried off following this innocuous incident

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IF ...

the Silvagni legend began at Carlton in 1958 with Serge, was re-started in 1985 with Stephen and continues today with the still-emerging Jack ...

THEN ...

it's an all-time VFL/AFL legendary football family. Serge's passing on Thursday is extremely emotional for family and friends. A win against the Blues' oldest and nastiest rivals, Collingwood, on Sunday would hopefully allow those grieving to spend a moment or two with a smile on the face.

04:19 Mins
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We salute Serge Silvagni: Looking back on a Carlton champion

Blues greats on Serge Silvagni ahead of his Carlton HOF entry in 2016

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IF ...

Mark Korda had spent as much time analysing the disastrous salary cap situation of Collingwood as he clearly has in writing and sending emails to members about his right to stay as president of the Magpies ...

THEN ...

this club may not have as many problems as it clearly does.

Mark Korda leaving Collingwood HQ after Nathan Buckley announces his resignation on June 9, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

IF ...

Heppell is back this weekend, Shiel and Francis possibly set to follow within a fortnight, and maybe McGrath very late in the home and away season ...

THEN ...

something special could still unfold.

Dyson Heppell in action during an Essendon training session at Hale School in Perth on June 1, 2021. Picture: Getty Images

IF ...

the Dockers weren’t familiar with the term "reality check" before Thursday night ...

THEN ...

after their match against Geelong they most certainly would be.

IF ...

Jez was the really, really big name recruit ...

THEN ...

Isaac has been the best one to this point. Possibly on his way to the Cats’ best and fairest after another excellent game, against the Dockers on Thursday night.

IF ...

momentum has belatedly come from wins in the past two matches against Richmond and GWS ...

THEN ...

more roadblocks loom with engagements against the Western Bulldogs, Melbourne and Brisbane. And no Greenwood for the remainder of the year, Day and Markov also out for round 18.

00:27 Mins
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Greenwood goes down clutching knee

Hugh Greenwood is subbed out of the match after this awkward landing in the contest

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IF ...

nothing has gone right for Stephen Coniglio since suffering a serious injury in 2019 ...

THEN ...

the law of averages says he's in for a period of favourable outcomes. Now that he's back, and more importantly, fit, should loom as the X-factor the Giants clearly haven’t had to this point of 2021.

IF ...

Jeff Kennett regularly gets all antsy when media choose not to believe every single word he says ...

THEN ...

there's a reason for that. Well, there is for me, anyway. Once bitten, forever shy.

Alastair Clarkson and Jeff Kennett at Hawthorn training in April, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

IF ...

Maxxy Gawn has responded to every single challenge he's faced in an extraordinary AFL career ...

THEN ...

there is no doubt he will do so, again, in his latest threat, that of being the game's best ruckman via Sean Darcy's surge. All-Australian jacket No.5 coming up.

IF ...

Jaidyn Stephenson has found his name and actions in more than a few explosive headlines in his four seasons in the AFL ...

THEN ...

he should have thought longer and harder about publicly volunteering some out-there views on COVID-19 on Wednesday night, at the precise time the AFL was again plunged into in a state of crisis as it dealt with the latest wave of the pandemic.

Kangaroo Jaidyn Stephenson celebrates a goal against West Coast in round 17, 2021. Picture: Getty Images

IF ...

Butters, Rozee and Motlop are the latest to be unavailable through injury and find themselves sidelined alongside Gray, Duursma, Fantasia and Rockliff ...

THEN ...

if it wasn't already, it's now going to be borderline impossible to mount a meaningful flag push from here.

00:50 Mins
Published on

Heartbreak for Butters after new injury

A devastated Zak Butters is forced out of the game after hurting himself in his return to footy

Published on

IF ...

the Tigers haven’t been immersed in this type of public siege since the post-2016 season review ...

THEN ...

one way to make it disappear, for a week at least anyway: beat the Lions under Friday night lights.

IF ...

at 5-8 and a week from hell on and off field going into the bye suggested a rudderless team ...

THEN ...

the three big wins post-bye – Richmond, Collingwood, Brisbane – was an indication of something more meaningful. Now, time to prove that is the case, in the final six games, beginning with a banged-up Power in round 18.

IF ...

Tom McCartin has become a key back almost by accident ...

THEN ...

so be it. Accidents happen. And in McCartin playing alongside the brilliant Dane Rampe, the Swans have a key back combo looming as the comp's best.

Swan Tom McCartin spoils a marking attempt from Bulldog Cody Weightman in round 17, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

IF ...

the Eagles don’t show some fight this weekend against Adelaide ...

THEN ...

they should consider doing as Carlton has done, and call for a footy department review. Losses occur in a season, but the manner in which the three in the past three matches – North Melbourne, Sydney, Western Bulldogs - have come has been genuinely worrying.

IF ...

Naughton and Dunkley are among the ins, even with Libba being one of the outs ...

THEN ...

even after last weekend's loss to the Swans, the Dogs look to be right back on track for their crack at the 2021 flag.

00:29 Mins
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Naughton gets horizontal with this incredible speccy

Aaron Naughton hauls in a spectacular mark with a slippery footy

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AND THIS ONE'S FOR THE AFL

IF ...

it's quality relationships with state governments and health officers, inside knowledge before time, an ability to predict the future, gut feel or a combination of all of the above ...

THEN ...

it doesn't matter. Whatever it is has allowed the AFL, for two seasons now, to get ahead of the COVID-19 curve. The current problem, though, looms as its most challenging. And a high degree of industry fatigue is now at play.