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 ...

the season began unexpectedly nicely with three wins from the first four matches ...

THEN ...

it is ending disastrously. Have lost five of past six, might not win again (Power, Dees, Roos to come), could still fall to the wooden spoon, and now the former captain has been ruled out of Saturday night's Showdown. Another mess of a season.

IF ..

the Lions have now twice lost three matches in a four-game sequence – rounds 1-4, and 17-20 – ...

THEN ...

that's a formline that suggests this team won’t be doing any damage in the finals. 

IF ...

this is to be the final phase of Eddie Betts' extraordinary career ...

THEN ...

the showman in him – even at 34 – will no doubt still produce some compelling scenes. Back for the game against Gold Coast on Saturday where a win would, extraordinarily, keep the Blues alive in finals possibilities.

04:57 Mins
Published on

The Deadliest: Eddie Betts highlights

Is Eddie the greatest Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander player? AFL.com.au/deadliest

Published on

IF ...

Josh Daicos has been in the AFL system for five seasons already ...

THEN ...

I still reckon he's got serious upside. Back for Sunday's match against the Hawks. Will clearly benefit from Robert Harvey's much-needed attacking focus.

IF ...

the 2015 season was Jake Stringer's best of his nine in the AFL ...

THEN ...

the 2021 season is his second-best. It won't have an All-Australian outcome, but it might result in a top-three best-and-fairest finish.

00:41 Mins
Published on

Stringer does it all himself in this stunner

Jake Stringer makes something out of nothing, following up his tackle with an outstanding kick on the run

Published on

IF ...

Nat Fyfe was 25 when he began captaining Fremantle, and will soon turn 30 ...

THEN ...

the next Dockers skipper has been unveiled – Andrew Brayshaw. Probably won’t be next year, as Brayshaw will only be 22, but his coming-of-age season in 2021 has proven he is top shelf footy and leadership talent.

IF ...

player agent with a difference, Ralph Carr, ensured one out-of-contract client – Tiger Shai Bolton – signed a fresh deal with his club this week ...

THEN ...

there's no guarantee he will do the same with another player in his stable, Cat Quinton Narkle. Axed again for the Cats for the Friday night lights game against GWS. Can't see him at the Cats in 2022.

IF ...

you'd forgotten or not even been aware that Jacob Townsend was a Sun in 2021 ...

THEN ...

you're not on your Pat Malone. Incredibly, the ex-Giant-Tiger-Don gets a game for a fourth AFL club this weekend. Only 29 players in the game's history have done that.

IF ...

Davis, Hopper, Hogan, Mumford and Green are the latest outs for GWS in a season again ruined by injuries ...

THEN ...

the finals place the Giants desperately craved won’t be attained. Not with a Friday night lights game against the Cats at GMHBA Stadium the next assignment.

IF ...

Clarko has produced extraordinary public moments on the past two Fridays – an unequivocal, emotional commitment to be coach for 2022 on the first of those Fridays and then an equally unequivocal, full-business commitment to exit at the end of 2021 on the latter Friday – ...

THEN ...

I wonder what this Friday has in store. Still can't believe he's coaching out the season, now that it is very clear the Hawks don’t want him and he doesn’t want to be there. Embarrassingly laughable how Jeff Kennett has steered this.

IF ...

there may have been mitigating circumstances ...

THEN ...

there was still no justifiable rationale for Jack Viney's sustained forearm/elbow on Sam Collins' jaw/neck. Lucky to escape with a two-week ban, not three.

00:19 Mins
Published on

WATCH: Viney sent to Tribunal for this incident

Melbourne's Jack Viney has been charged with serious misconduct after this incident with Gold Coast's Sam Collins

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IF ...

Zurhaar and Thomas are two of the four ins ...

THEN ...

the Roos are a sneaky chance against the once-mighty Richmond. These two are very nice players, and have had good seasons.

IF ...

Robbie Gray is back for the Power, which is on a six-wins-from-past-seven-games streak ...

THEN ...

the season is beginning to take beautiful shape. Premiership possibilities increase markedly with the return of the four-time All-Australian.

IF ...

on Thursday Shai Bolton re-committed for two more seasons and Maurice Rioli jnr was selected to make his AFL debut ...

THEN ...

Thursday was a super day for the Tigers in a season which unusually hasn’t had too many highs. Rioli might be the belated spark they need to make finals.

01:27 Mins
Published on

Tears flow as Maurice Rioli jnr is told he's making a Tiger debut

You will inspire: Watch as Damien Hardwick tells Maurice Rioli jnr he's in the team

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IF ...

Jack Billings' hamstring injury means he has played his final game as a Saint after eight seasons ...

THEN ...

that would be a good outcome for player and club. He needs a fresh start in 2022, it needs to plan a future without him.

IF ...

Buddy reaching the 1000-goal milestone this season has been a moment I've long awaited and wanted to come in 2021 ...

THEN ...

I'd nevertheless still give him a rest in round 21. The potential for a flag this year has become very real, and a rested Buddy – for a game against lowly St Kilda – would aid that cause.

IF ...

Eagles players are truly sorry for failing to perform in premiership captain Shannon Hurn's 300th match in last weekend's embarrassing loss to Collingwood ...

THEN ...

they will act their way out of it, not merely attempt to talk their way out of it, in Monday's match against Melbourne. This has been a disappointing football club for two seasons now.

IF ...

41 of 43 listed players have been used this season ...

THEN ...

that is simply extraordinary for a team sitting atop the ladder after 20 rounds. Only five have played all to date – Bont, Smith, Bruce, Dale and Macrae.

AND THIS ONE'S FOR THE AFL

IF ...

Victoria, again, is in a lockdown which at a minimum will stretch through to the night before the beginning of the second last round of the season ...

THEN ...

start the proper conversation about the Grand Final venue. Now. WA and SA governments about to enter a bidding war.