Taylor Walker spoke out during the week in relation to abusive messages he's received on social media. Photo: Getty Images
Players deserve better
I’ve lost my fair share of AFL multi's and I’ll be the first to admit that when I do, I tend to lash out against players to my housemates. But never, in a million years, would messaging a player on social media because of that lost bet cross my mind. Not once.
The quotes earlier this week from Callan Ward, Taylor Walker and Josh Bruce on the threatening and abusive messages they receive from fans were disturbing. That kind of hate is not something that anyone, even those in the public eye, should have to experience.
Yell at the television or radio as much as you want, but once the game is over, the players deserve respect. I’m no tech wizard but there needs to be a way to identify these people and make them accountable.
They’ve found the switch at Alberton
At the end of round eight we reported there’d been a ‘power outage’ at Alberton. Fortunately for Port Adelaide they’ve found the switch, the power is back on.
After a disastrous loss to St Kilda where the Power conceded five goals to none in the final quarter to lose by 29 points, Port Adelaide have flicked the switch. Since the loss they’ve smashed the Demons by 51 points, won an arm wrestle against the Bulldogs by 13 points, and the best win of the three came in round 11.
Port Adelaide defeated reigning premier Richmond by 21 points, in a display that showed us there’s no reason why Port Adelaide can’t go all the way in 2020. Their veterans stepped up in their biggest test yet against an in-form Richmond, showing us the Power is well and truly back on for the time being.
Ollie Wines was one of the Powers' best in their win over the Tigers on Saturday. Photo: Getty Images
Sam Weideman is showing signs
I was the first person to criticize Melbourne after they traded away Jesse Hogan at the end of 2018 because of Sam Weideman’s impressive finals series. There were some personal things going on with Hogan leading to him wanting to get home to Perth, but still the trade made no sense. 2019 was poor for Weideman but he was only 22, still with so much development to do.
Now, a year older and bigger, we’re seeing in season 2020 the signs of the key forward Dees fans want him to be. His attack on the footy and ability to crash packs has been superb, and that is all you can ask of a young forward. He’s top 10 in the AFL for contested marks with nearly two a game, and is averaging two goals from his six matches. He needs more time for development and another key forward to help him out, but the signs are there.
Don't forget about the Cats
Geelong’s 59-point belting of the high-flying Saints reminded everyone just how good they are when they put it all together. Tom Hawkins and Gary Rohan were standouts up front with nine goals between them, while Sam Menegola continued his good form with two goals and 26 touches.
The Cats now sit third on the ladder with a very healthy percentage of 130. With stars like Patrick Dangerfield, Harry Taylor, Joel Selwood, Gary Ablett and Tom Hawkins not getting any younger, 2020 shapes as the perfect premiership opportunity for a side which has underachieved over the last five years.
Gary Rohan and Tom Hawkins combined for nine goals in the Cats win over the Saints. Photo: Albert Perez/Getty Images/AFL Photos
Hawthorn … it’s time to unleash the Eyas
The Hawks sit in 15th position after round 11, in what has been an extremely disappointing year for a club that still felt it was in the premiership window, it’s time to unleash the Eyas … the young Hawks.
Hawthorn don’t have an abundance of strong young talent coming through the ranks on their current list, due to trading a number of draft picks to other clubs in recent years for established players. They have attempted to stay in the premiership race and avoid a complete bottom out rebuild this way, however now is the perfect time for the Hawks to play their youth. A key example is Will Day, since coming into the team he’s been arguably one of their best players, and bringing in youth can also lift the whole team.
It’s been a while since the Hawks have fielded an inexperienced team, but with Alistair Clarkson at the helm, it’s the perfect time to test this list and see what it’s capable of. You never know, there might just be a few diamonds in the rough amongst that Hawks list, waiting in the nest for their chance to fly.
Bright future ahead for the Dockers
Fremantle's win over Hawthorn would have instilled hope in even the most frustrated Dockers supporter. While in the past the side has relied on stars like Nat Fyfe, David Mundy and Michael Walters to get them over the line, it was the young brigade who really stood up on Monday night.
High draft picks Andrew Brayshaw and Adam Cerra recorded 33 and 26 disposals respectively, while 2019 draftee Caleb Serong continued to impress with 20 disposals of his own. Fyfe’s contribution shouldn’t go unmentioned though, with a “standard” 28 touches and one goal performance.
The Dockers are now 14th on the ladder and sit only two wins behind eighth-placed GWS. Given what 2020 has served up already, can we really rule them out of playing finals?
Cover Photo: Will Russell/AFL Photos