Alan Didak and his Collingwood teammates celebrate their crucial win over Sydney at ANZ Stadium
Photo: Getty Images
WHAT WE LEARNED: Chris Scott is the people's hero and Collingwood can win anywhere, any time...
Finishing fifth wouldn't faze the Magpies
Dane Swan's club-imposed suspension for drinking raised fears among the Collingwood faithful that the club had (arguably needlessly) put its own top-four hopes in jeopardy. But if any team can win the flag from outside the four it's the Pies, for the simple fact that they don't fear travel. And why should they? Collingwood are 4-0 away from Melbourne this year, and 14-1 over the past three seasons. Saturday's win over Sydney would have been remarkable if it had been unexpected, but the Pies have won 10 straight over the Swans now, including the last seven at ANZ Stadium. Collingwood should finish inside the four but they are every chance to get the week off even if they end up in Sydney or Adelaide in the first week. They're just too good on the road.
Chris Scott is a hero of the people
The Geelong coach spoke for frustrated fans everywhere when he gave the AFL's umpiring department a blast for apparently rejigging the interpretation of the 'deliberate out-of-bounds' rule for Friday night's clash with West Coast. Lovers of the game were aghast at the officiating, which completely overshadowed a terrific contest between two locked-in finalists. An average of 0.6 free kicks for deliberate out-of-bounds have been paid per game this year. By comparison, nine were paid on Friday night, and the frequency soon whipped the crowd into an ugly frenzy every time the ball went out of play. It was, from every angle, a terrible look for the league. Bravo to Scott, who was measured but clinical in his dissection of the unfolding farce even though Geelong had the better of the contentious decisions (6-3).
Brent Harvey could join the 400 club
The former Kangaroos skipper has played 342 games since making his debut in 1996. At 34, when most footballers are playing with their mates or having several joints replaced, Harvey is currently playing like a man 10 years his junior. North looked in strife during the third term against Essendon on Sunday, with two men down and the Bombers surging with a rampant Jobe Watson leading the charge. Enter Boomer with three goals in as many minutes to steady the Roos' ship. North eventually won by four goals but without Harvey's match-turning cameo it would have been a lot tighter. On current form, there is no reason he couldn't play long enough to join Michael Tuck and Kevin Bartlett in the league's most exclusive club.
Saints fans stared into the abyss
Our sympathies go out to those St Kilda supporters who spent most of Saturday's game imagining a season without Nick Riewoldt. That must have been a terrifying hour or two. Riewoldt looked to have sustained a serious knee injury in the first quarter after landing awkwardly in a marking contest, and the sight of the Saints skipper heading for hospital on crutches would have sent many supporters from tortured anguish into full-on despair. Thankfully the news was much more positive than the dreaded ACL tear, though Riewoldt may still be put in cotton wool until next season. It could be a hell of a lot worse, though, couldn't it?
- Tigers star Trent Cotchin is going to go very close to winning the Brownlow Medal.
- Congratulations to Gold Coast for finally getting their maiden win on home turf after going 0-16 since round 11, 2011. That abominable record ought to be standing for some time.
- Does anyone else get the feeling Carlton and St Kilda are just playing for pride at this point?
- Hawthorn kicked 24 goals without Lance Franklin, Jarryd Roughead and only a half of Cyril Rioli. It might have only been Port Adelaide, but that's a frightening prospect.
- Boom Vic Country midfielder Lachie Whitfield can start brushing up on his knowledge of Parramatta and its surrounds, as he is a certainty to be a Giant next year.
- For years, the knock on Dustin Fletcher has been the perception he doesn't take the opposition's best forward. On Sunday, Drew Petrie added precisely no goals to his tally of 23 in the past four weeks. Take a bow, Inspector Gadget.
- Geelong lost to West Coast, in Perth, by five points without James Kelly, Joel Corey, Paul Chapman or an effective ruckman. Watch their next run when fully fit.
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