As the Bulldogs watched their finals hopes fade away on Saturday, there was a cruel irony in front of them.
Also with the ‘Five Years of Mulligan’ theory to help explain Collingwood’s year.
The biggest issues from round 21 of the 2022 AFL season are analysed Talking points!
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Freo’s flagship-worthy record grows brutal metal
Saturday was bad for the Bulldogs in 2022. Their loss, combined with Richmond’s win, have them outsiders to make the eight (although Carlton’s loss to Brisbane will keep them alive).
But they might be fine in 2023 and beyond.
The irony wasn’t lost on the Fox Footy commentary team that Rory Lobb took over the game when he moved to the Kennels in free agency for around $1.5 million.
The Dockers’ key forward has always shown flashes in an inconsistent career – this is the first season he has reached the 30-goal mark – and his big four at Marvel Stadium have been at their absolute best.
“The first four kicks were goals, it looked like he could hit them from anywhere,” goalscorer Jason Dunstall told Fox’s Footy Three Quarters.
Melbourne great Gary Lyons added: “If you believe everything that’s been said, if the Western Bulldogs lose and Rory Lobb (Fremantle) leads them to victory, they’ll probably be wringing their hands because they think it’s him.” Heading to the Western Bulldogs.
“That’s what they say; He’s playing incredibly well.”
Some have questioned whether the Bulldogs will need Lobb, Aaron Naughton (three goals on Saturday), Josh Bruce, No. 1 Jamara Ugle-Hagan and father-son pro Sam Darcy to play for the team for the first time. – Leading eight marks and seven interceptions.
But as those interceptions suggested Darcy played in defence, the Bulldogs struggled to defend one-on-one for long periods, with Luke Beveridge being Ryan Gardner’s stan and defending back when asked.
So if Loeb is indeed coming aboard, that would add more long range weapons to their arsenal.
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Meanwhile for the Dockers, their win on the road is another example of their impressive off-field form in the 2022 season.
They are the only Victorian side to win more than one game in Victoria this season – and they have won five, plus that draw against Richmond.
Taking 22 premiership points from trips to footy home is a big reason the Dockers are legitimate flag contenders this season. After all, if you can win in Melbourne, you can win on the big day.
AFL’s biggest shockwave comes after ‘five years of good footy’ … with Mulligan
A few experts have tipped Collingwood’s pre-season to take part in the final series of this year. But Nathan Buckley did.
And the former manager is confident his Magpies are second in the table with two rounds to go, with the side’s 2022 promotion the result of an exciting five-year build-up.
The Magpies’ fate is in their own hands. They won two more home-and-away games and went from the bottom-two last year to the top-two this year – an easily impressive feat. Those final two games will be tough – Sydney at the SCG and Carlton at the MCG – but nothing, not even the prospect of watching The Exorcist in the dark, seems to scare this team.
While many outside the club have low expectations for the Magpies this year after finishing 17th in 2021, Buckley said it was important to remember the build-up and chart the changes over the past three years.
“I suggest – and I’m involved in the football club – but it’s been a good five years with a bad year last year,” Buckley told Fox Footy on Friday night.
“The core of this side is established and we’re seeing some young players come in and play big roles – and that’s great and exciting to see.
“This Collingwood side has exceeded my expectations. I thought they won 15 at the top end – and still have two more to go. What ‘Fly’ (McRae) has done has been amazing, but he’s built on a core of seniors who have been doing this for five or six years now.
The Magpies secured an impressive 11th straight win on Friday night – their first since 2011 – in another similarly close game.
“Yeah, this team has some confidence, doesn’t it?” coach Craig McRae told reporters when asked how the Pacers could win such tight games. We get ourselves into places where there are a few smiles on their faces at quarter past three – like “here we go again”.
“It was just our story. I wasn’t part of a team that put themselves in a situation where they thought, ‘Look, we’re going to get the job done.'”
The On The Couch team last week compared the profile of Collingwood’s 2022 squad to Richmond’s premiership side Inside 50 Points.
Brownlow Medalist Gerard Healy added to the comparison on Friday night.
“This could be a premiership built on pressure like Richmond did in 2017. They didn’t win all the stats, but they won the flag, so there’s a lot to like about this Collingwood side,” Healy told Fox Footy Live.
“They’re certainly in the conversation – you can’t win 11 in a row and win the Premier League twice last year and be a real chance.
“Collingwood and Sydney are under most favorites Geelong and Melbourne, but we know they can beat the top sides.”
Asked if he would reassess his message to the squad given the circumstances, McRae said: “We are in better times.” That’s our message all the time. We cannot get too far ahead of ourselves.
“You look at the stat sheet (after the Melbourne game) and there’s a lot of red in it, so we’re not naive and we’ve got a bit of work to do.
“We don’t know where our ceiling is – and that’s exciting. We’re in discovery mode… and that’s an exciting place to be.
‘More’: ‘All Duck No Dinner’ Leads to Foot Festival
Ed Langdon was something of a sitting duck during Friday night’s showdown between Collingwood and Melbourne when he was only momentarily swamped.
We don’t spend a lot of time dissecting Knifman’s game, especially one as consistent as Langdon’s. But all eyes were on Langdon after the former Freo man said on radio that Collingwood was “all duck and no dinner” and “one clever pony”.
It created one of the most memorable moments of the season – and added some spice to a game that rarely needed it.
Sitting second and third in the table, Melbourne and Collingwood were playing on a Friday night for the first time since 2007, so the stage was already set for a dynamite contest.
Collingwood coach Craig McRae played down Langdon’s comments before the game, telling Fox Footy’s Cat Loughnane that he had “duck for dinner last night”.
Pace assistant Brendan Bolton told Fox Sports News AFL tonight “Loved it,” Adam Yitz reiterated the Devils’ respect for Pace.
The 24 hours before the opening were like football fans. It was all anyone was saying. Those Comments and how good the game will be. The AFL even broke public expectations on the back of the comments.
and Brayden Maynard and co. We get one of the most memorable and electrifying moments of the season, with Langdon engulfed in a vicious gang – and the game itself doesn’t disappoint.
Former Saints and North Melbourne star Nick Dal Santo suggested it might have been a slip of the tongue after using similar language in a team meeting, but the three-time All-Australian said “we shouldn’t throw that away”.
“Our game needs more,” Dal Santo said. Fox Footy Live After the game.
“Our game is a fighting game. It’s the players who don’t talk much about that fighting.
“We have to embrace competition and rivalry. If someone has to comment like this, great. More.”
Melbourne’s media department, privately, was fuming after the comments were made. The beauty was so close to going down, everyone could enjoy the ride – even Ed, who had a pregame smile, was cheered on by Pace fans and turned in a strong performance in a 7-point loss.
“All duck no dinner” is prepared for the foot feast.
How does MCSTAY fit in with Pais?
With Collingwood in doubt as to whether to pursue Dan McStain, how does he fit into this Pacers’ forward line?
The Magpies have been heavily linked with the Lions free agent on a five-year deal worth $3 million as the club look to target another label for the striker.
But this Collingwood side is firing on all cylinders and a great win over Melbourne on Friday night saw them move up to second on the ladder.
Jamie Elliott and fourth baseman Ash Johnson have both scored four goals apiece, while Brody Mihocek, who has led the scoring in each of the last three seasons and is on track to do so again in 2022, has two goals.
“Mihocek, Elliott and Johnson look great – so where does Daniel McStay fit into all of this?” Demons great Gary Lyon takes off on Fox Footy.
Heck, if McStay is available to play for Collingwood next week, it’s hard to see him cracking into the 22, especially with star player Brodie Grundy and young gun Ollie Henry already out of the side.
McStay has scored 16 goals in as many games this year, going eight clean sheets, and 28 of his key forwards have made the comeback in 2021.
There’s a chance Collingwood could play McStain in defence, although it still raises questions about whether he’s worth $650,000 a season and salary cap pressure at a club just two years removed from going out of business.
“Like Josh Bruce, they believe he can help the front line. Jamara can help Ugle-Hagan get better matches…Daniel McStay is coming to Collingwood but it will be a bit of a juggling act with Ollie in particular. Henry is no longer in his side,” Herald Sun reporter John Ralph told Fox. He said on Footy.
To which Saints great Nick Riewoldt replied: “Josh Bruce is a brave, brave workhorse. Is it Daniel McStay?”
Triple premiership-winning Lions Jonathan Brown believes his former club see him as a “workhorse, out of line”.
“They like to hit it longer, put it on its head. Hipwood and Daniher will be more runners,” he said.