By Ollie Nash and Liam Melrose
Joe's return lifted the Bombers to a much needed win over Hawthorn. Photo: Getty Images
Joe Daniher getting back is good for footy
Seeing Joe Daniher on the field again for Essendon was a great sight for every footy fan. After just 11 games in 2018 and 2019 following an All-Australian and Best and Fairest year in 2017, it’s a feel good story to see him back on the park.
On top of getting through the game unscathed, he delivered with his performance. The big man kicked three goals, had 14 disposals and took 10 marks to lead the Bombers big second half comeback, keeping their finals hopes alive. Lots will be made about his future, either at Essendon or elsewhere, but let’s just enjoy watching him play again.
Blues blow huge opportunity
While Carlton can still technically make the eight suddenly it just got really difficult. The Blues led Collingwood by eight points at halftime on Sunday with the game in their hands. Before serving up a goalless second half, kicking just four behinds with the Pies running away winners by 24 points.
While most would call this season an improvement to date from Carlton, patience is wearing thin at Ikon Park from the Blues faithful, with fans expecting their club to return to finals.
With games to come against GWS, Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane they’re likely going to have to win at least three of those maybe even four if they’re going to scrape into the eight and return to September for the first time since 2013.
Jake Riccardi's and Jeremy Cameron's four goals each got the Giants season back on track. Photo: Getty Images
Beware of the sleeping Giant
It has been a disappointing season to date for GWS, however at times throughout the year they’ve reminded us of how good they can be when they’re at their best.
The Giants currently sit in ninth place on the ladder with four games remaining, they face Carlton, Adelaide, Melbourne and St Kilda to finish the season and you’d expect they start favorites in almost all of them.
Saturday’s 38-point win over Fremantle was a sign the Giants may be about to wake up, and if they can ride the wave of confidence gained from that win going into their final four games watch out.
The sleeping Giants may have just set their alarm for the perfect time.
The Queensland Tigers
Richmond are loving their time up north in 2020, with the Tigers yet to lose a game in Queensland this year. On Thursday night, they proved to us again that they’re going to be a feature at the business end of the year once again, with a strong win over West Coast.
The Tigers aren’t even at full strength, with Shane Edwards, Dion Prestia and David Astbury still to return to the lineup. While Dylan Grimes injured his hamstring against the Eagles, he is likely to return for the finals.
It looks as though Richmond may quietly be timing their run to perfection and if the finals series and Grand Final is played in Queensland, the Tigers will be well placed for an assault at their third premiership in four years.
The Demons were able to snatch victory from the Saints and set up their run home. Photo: Melbourne Football Club
Dees lives made a lot easier with key win
The Demons three-point win over St Kilda on Saturday night has set them up for an unexpected finals run. The win has made life a lot easier for them as they look towards their last four games. They currently sit in eighth spot on 28 points, the same as GWS and the Western Bulldogs who sit ninth and tenth, with only percentage separating the three teams.
Melbourne have a favourable run home though. Sydney in round 15, followed by Fremantle, then GWS and the Bombers to finish the year. All four games are winnable, but knowing the Dees’ up and down form, they are all losable as well. On paper they should win at least three of four however, and the victory on the weekend was a great stepping-stone to do so.
Jake Riccardi further proves state league players value
Mature-age players have quickly become some of the most valuable players in the AFL. Tim Kelly from the WAFL, Brody Mihocek from the VFL and Tim Noble from the SANFL are a few examples off the top of my head. Jake Riccardi from the Giants has quickly joined that group as well.
Drafted pick 51 from Werribee in last years’ draft, Riccardi has kicked six goals in his first two games, to go with 14 disposals and nearly 10 marks a match. It further proves how valuable these mature-age recruits are.
They come to the club ready-made, with experience under their belt and equipped to make an immediate impact. Gone are the days where state league players rarely received an opportunity. Now, they are some of the most sought after players in the country. Especially for teams challenging for the premiership like GWS, Collingwood and the like, these top up players are so much more valuable to them than draft picks.
Cover Photo: James Elsby/Getty Images/AFL Photos