Comments from Tony Armstrong and Eddie Betts were some of the most powerful about the issue of racism during the week. Picture: ABC
Odd decision, Footy Classified
I, like many others, saw Eddie McGuire making comments around Taylor Walker's apology video for his racist comments which in itself was not great. It's odd, to say the least, to see McGuire making comments as he himself has made racist comments of his own not too long ago and his club, Collingwood, has been accused of being a racist one under his reign as president. Considering the likes of Tony Armstrong and Eddie Betts, former teammates of Walker's, spoke amazingly about the issue of racism on Fox Footy and the ABC, I'm unsure why Footy Classified would see it fit for McGuire to discuss this issue. An Aboriginal man pouring out his soul onto our tv screens about the pain and hurt these comments cause versus a white man that has said racist comments of his own. I know which I'd be listening to in this scenario.
Upsets galore shaping the eight with crucial clashes to come
Going into round 21 it looked as though there were a few matches where you could tip the winner with ease. However, it was not to be. The GWS Giants upset the Cats in Geelong, the Saints defeated the Swans, the Bombers were too good for the Dogs and the Gold Coast Suns were too strong for the Blues. After Carlton lost to the Suns, we are down to five teams competing for the final two spots in the eight. Ninth through to 12th all sit on 36 points respectively with two matches remaining in the season, while the West Coast Eagles are just holding onto seventh, a game clear on 40 points. After the Giants upset the Cats they are now half-a-game clear ahead of ninth on 38 points. After Melbourne held on to defeat the Eagles on Monday night, it finds itself back on top of the ladder, however, the Cats, Bulldogs and Power are all just two points behind it. It doesn’t stop there either, in round 22 there are a number of crucial games that will shake up the ladder even more. Starting with Friday night’s clash between the Giants and Tigers. Separated by just two points, the Giants will just about lock up a finals birth with a win, while Richmond must win to keep its destiny in its own hands. The Cats take on the Saints on Saturday in Geelong with the Saints in similar circumstances to the Tigers, it is a must win. Meanwhile, the Cats need to win if they want a home qualifying final. To finish off round 22 the Dockers meet the Eagles in what is a must win game for Fremantle if they want to remain in the finals hunt, and West Coast need to win if they want to remain in the top eight.
David Teague is under scrutiny at Carlton following a disappointing 2021 season. Picture: AFL Photos
Is it a Teague or Carlton problem?
David Teague has some questions to answer as Carlton coach at the moment, there is no doubt. The inconsistency of performance from week-to-week is something that he, along with the players and other football staff, need to answer for. In saying that, overall, is the Blues form this season a Teague issue or a Carlton problem? This has been an issue at Carlton for a long time now. Since David Parkin ended his second tenure as coach in 2000, only one coach has had a winning record; Brett Ratten, who went 60-59 from 2007 to 2012. Wayne Brittain had a 39.13 per cent winning record, Dennis Pagan 24.04 per cent, Mick Malthouse 37.04 per cent, John Barker (interim coach) 23.08 per cent and Brendan Bolton 20.77 per cent. This has been a more than 20-year problem as a club and I don’t think Teague is all to blame. Does he have to wear some of it, of course. However, it’s only his second full season and he’s pulled them to an 8-12 record. Who was the last Carlton coach to win eight games in a season? Malthouse, in 2013, when the Blues won 11 games. Do changes need to be made in the football department? Probably. However, sacking a coach demoralises a group and could send the Blues a hell of a long way back instead of a few steps forward.
Where has that been all year Saints?
St Kilda supporters would have been thrilled with the way the Saints played against the Swans in round 21, its pressure was incredible and its efficiency going inside 50 was arguably the best it has been all year. However, at the same time the Saints would be equally frustrated at the fact they’ve shown how good they can be when they’re at their best, while at their worst they can lose a game by more than 100 points. Even if the Saints do scrape into the finals it has been a wasted year for St Kilda. Going into 2021 many had them making the jump into the top four, and midway through the season it looked as though finals were out of the question, however, thanks to the teams above them they remain in the mix. They’ve got the list and the talent to be one of the best teams in the competition when they’re at their best, can they build off their win against Sydney and take down the Cats in Geelong?
Peter Wright was in superb touch for Essendon at the weekend. Picture: AFL Photos
Is “Two-Meter Peter” the key to unlocking the perfect Bomber attack?
After Peter Wright booted seven majors as the Bombers flew past the Dogs by 13 points on Sunday, we all wondered how he struggled to get a game at the Gold Coast Suns. However, it seems as though it’s a classic case of a player needing a change of scenery. It has been a successful first year as a Bomber for Peter Wright and after his performance against the Western Bulldogs there’s no reason why he can’t be their number one forward target. If he is surrounded by Anthony McDonald Tipungwuti, Jake Stringer and Devon Smith as well as Harrison Jones when fit there is no reason why this Essendon forward line can’t perform. Many questions have been asked about the Essendon forward line, however, if Wright can continue to perform all they have to do is find the right pieces to put around him.
Suns inconsistency frustrating
Gold Coast currently sit on 28 points and two-and-a-half games outside the top eight. Its season has included wins over Sydney, Richmond, GWS and now Carlton. The frustrating part is that the Suns have lost games to Adelaide, Carlton, St Kilda, Fremantle and North Melbourne. The Suns could be playing finals footy in 2021 but their inconsistency lets them down. Their best is great. They apply pressure, hunt the ball and the opponent and they fight to stay in games. The Richmond and Carlton games stick in my mind. Both seemed like games where they might run away from the Suns but Gold Coast clawed its way back in and fought out a win. Other weeks, like against Melbourne in round 20 and the second-half against Brisbane in round 19, the Suns roll over. The difference between where the Suns are now and the finals isn’t that big and that’s the same for a lot of fringe sides. Consistent effort, intensity and pressure will take them there.
Cover Picture: Getty Images