Ben Reid and Nathan Brown celebrate Collingwood's thrilling win over West Coast on Saturday
Photo: Getty Images
Youth may yet save Vossy's bacon
Is it so unthinkable that Michael Voss earns a reprieve this season? It may have been three weeks ago, before the Lions upset the Eagles and demolished the Bulldogs, but not anymore. Brisbane is contemplating a third successive season in the bottom half of the competition but their form is trending upwards, and the likes of Tom Rockliff, Jack Redden, Pearce Hanley, Daniel Rich and Dayne Zorko could keep their coach in a job with the way they're playing. Brisbane are 5-7 and one game back from the eight. Another three or four wins (a tough but not impossible task for the Lions) and Voss will see out the remaining year of his contract.
North's veterans finally have some help
The 'no Harvey and Wells, no North' era might finally be ending after youngsters Shaun Atley and Ryan Bastinac added some much-needed run in the Roos' 32-point win over Adelaide. Like so many recent draftees at Arden St, Atley's breakout game has been a long time coming but his mix of speed and skill against the Crows was outstanding. Bastinac has flitted in and out of form; he needs to make this outing the first of many like it. Likewise, Robbie Tarrant finally delivered on the promise he offered for years with four goals as a key forward. Now, if Jack Ziebell and Ben Cunnington can deliver with some consistency, skipper Andrew Swallow might not have to do it all himself.
Not Collingwood. Not again
Hear those war drums beating in the near north? That's just Collingwood preparing to ruin what has been a terrific season by continuing to not lose. The Pies have now strung together nine on the trot since getting pantsed by Carlton and they show no signs of slowing down, much to everyone's chagrin. It's going to a joyless slog through the second half of the year if nobody steps to the Pies and cuts them down a peg or two. For now, the only solution is to pretend it isn't happening. Hey, how good do Adelaide look? Boy, Hawthorn are really turning it around. And let's not write off Essendon just yet!
Stick a fork in Fremantle
They're still level on points with eighth place but after a third loss at home it's destined to be another disappointing season for Fremantle. At best the Dockers can hope to pick up seven wins from their final 10 games (losing to Collingwood, West Coast and Adelaide) but a 13-9 record with a low percentage isn't going to cut it this year. There is a scramble going on below the top four as Hawthorn, Geelong, St Kilda, Carlton and Richmond vie for spots six through eight. Bookmark it - dropping points at home to Carlton, Adelaide and now Essendon will doom Fremantle to narrowly missing out on a fourth finals campaign.
The Giants are getting tired
GWS has been admirable in their debut season but like Gold Coast in 2011, it's going to be a long second half of the year for the expansion club. The Giants were good for a quarter against fellow cellar dwellers Melbourne but they battled badly after the first break. Young bodies and a game plan that has only had six months to bed down will inevitably take their toll in a torrid next five weeks - the Sydney derby, Collingwood and Adelaide at home, Fremantle and Hawthorn away. It's time for the club's old hands - Dean Brogan, Chad Cornes, James McDonald, Luke Power - to step up and carry the load.
- Rhyce Shaw has quietly claimed the mantle of footy's best beard. Jesse Crichton now owns the 'worst hair' title by a long, long way.
- Leroy Jetta got a lesson in tattle telling when Adam McPhee jumper-punched him in the chin without reprimand. "The boy who cried wolf," Cameron Ling sagely noted as an astonished Jetta asked where his free kick went.
- Dayne Beams is the game's next elite midfielder-in-waiting. Everyone other than Magpie fans will be hoping he slips out of Collingwood's grasp at the end of the year.
- Thankfully, Scully's reunion with his ex-teammates was relatively incident-free but the wads of fake cash being waved from the crowd were an inspired touch.
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