Time on – round 23

WINNERS & LOSERS

Collingwood 20.12 (132) def. Fremantle 8.4 (52)

Hawthorn 16.17 (113) def. Western Bulldogs 10.7 (67)

Sydney Swans 15.9 (99) def. Geelong 12.14 (86)

St Kilda 19.21 (135) def. North Melbourne 10.10 (70)

West Coast Eagles 13.11 (89) def. Brisbane Lions 11.15 (81)

Richmond 17.19 (121) def. Adelaide 15.9 (99)

Melbourne 17.10 (112) def. Gold Coast Suns 12.10 (82)

Essendon 17.18 (120) def. 17.11 (113)

3 LIKES

1. Sydney’s historic win

The Sydney Swans were outstanding on the weekend, beating the Cats at the Skilled Stadium. The Cats’ 29-run winning streak at Skilled Stadium came to an end and the Swans 7-year hoo-doo at the venue was finally broken as well. The Swans’ pressure around the football was excellent and their performance was admirable and dedicated to the sad story of Jarrad McVeigh’s 1 month old daughter dying during the week.

2. Luke Power

Seven days ago, Luke Power said he was looking forward to 2012. Seven days later, he announced he was retiring. Clearly, he isn’t in the coach’s plans for the immediate future. Power, though, has departed with class. He put the club before himself and leaves a 3 time premiership player, plus a placing in the club’s famed Fab Four – Voss, Akermanis, Lappin and Black – and never looked at all shaky. The AFLPA president is likely to return to Victoria following an illustrious and successful career.

3. Trent Cotchin

The interim captaincy has not altered his game, and when he intercepted a kick-in and kicked the goal from 50m in the last quarter to send his team ahead 105-87, the question was asked: Should he replace Chris Newman as captain in 2012? The same debate rages with Joel Selwood and Jack Grimes at their respected clubs, and Cotchin has now finally joined them. Cotchin will captain the Tigers at some stage. But for now, let the kid play and continue to develop.

3 DISLIKES

1. Nick Lower

This bloke has been a rookie list success story but the former Port Adelaide listed player got what he deserved with a 3-match sanction from the Match Review Panel, following his big hit on Collingwood’s Dale Thomas. The hit, whichever way you look at it, was fierce and disgraceful. His hardness at the contest is admirable but knocking out the opposition for no apparent reason is stupid.

2. LARS surgery

Brent Staker faces another knee reconstruction, but this time 12 months out. The once highly-acclaimed LARS surgery, now appears to be on the outer. Port Adelaide’s David Rodan and Sydney’s Nick Malceski have twice undergone the LARS operation, and now Staker is up for his second. LARS is the short fix but comes with a risk. Carlton’s Matthew Kreuzer opted for the traditional full reconstruction last year and his comeback this year has been solid but will be back better than ever in 2012. The full reconstruction is the way to go.

3. North Melbourne

The Roos have talent but have a severe mental hurdle against the top teams, which was evident against the Saints on Saturday night. They’ve beaten just one team in the top eight, losing to both the Lions and the Tigers, which clearly tells us that they’re treading water. Brad Scott is the right man to take them forward but he needs to shake things up a bit now after his second year in charge comes to an abrupt end following next weekend’s clash with Richmond, where he must find out more about his list. The Roos need another key forward, need to seriously think about moving Lachie Hansen on and completely rejig their forward structure because the small forwards have struggled to produce all year. The defense is a big problem as well. I have serious doubts on the futures of Michael Firrito, Scott Thompson and even Nathan Grima. Brady Rawlings is gone and they need to put Hamish McIntosh up for trade and get draft picks. The beauty is this group is still young so they can draft more young, skilled talent to continue to build. The Roos won’t win a flag in the next two years, so they should be looking at a premiership window of 2014-2019.

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