Footy greats call for brutal Giants demotion

Coniglio became the Giants’ captain in 2020 after turning his back on Victorian clubs and signing a seven-year deal to remain at the club, but his first year was marred by poor form that ultimately saw him dropped from the side in the back-end of the year.Watch the 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership Season. Every match of every round Live on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >With Coniglio currently on the sidelines for up to 10 weeks with syndesmosis, Greene starred in his first game as stand-in skipper, kicking five goals and willing his side over the line against Collingwood at the MCG.Speaking on Channel 9’s Footy Classified, Lloyd pushed for the 2016 All-Australian to be made permanent captain. “Some players thrive with the captaincy and some it’s like a noose around their neck,” Lloyd said.“I feel like Stephen Coniglio, it has never sat comfortably with Stephen, whereas Toby, he just rolls with it and I think he inspires the other players, whereas Stephen Coniglio maybe not so much. “I think they’ve got a massive decision to make and for me I would make it that Toby Greene is the Giants captain.”READ MORE: Bombshell report of player unrest at PiesLloyd believed the decision could help “get Stephen’s career back on track”, while Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes said there were plenty of examples where such a decision benefited teams.“Is it any different to (Luke) Hodge and (Sam) Mitchell or (Rory) Sloane and (Taylor) Walker?” Cornes asked.“Admit you got it wrong. (Tom) Jonas and (Ollie) Wines didn’t work at Port Adelaide. Ollie Wines isn’t captain anymore, Jonas is the captain. Admit it didn’t work and move on.”Footy Classified host Craig Hutchison said that, even with a seven-year contract, the Giants could still try and move Coniglio on depending on what the market value for his services is after a poor year.“It’s a lot of money tied up in one player that hasn’t worked as captain,” Hutchison said.“The currency isn’t what it was but it did cross my mind that kind of money tied up in one player.”How to find news on news.com.au

Kelly’s gang will bring their dark side to Sydney derby

GWS won its first match of the year on Saturday night, snapping a three-match losing streak with a 30-point defeat of Collingwood at the MCG despite missing significant star power.The result followed stinging criticism the Giants received in recent weeks, amplified when captain Stephen Coniglio, Phil Davis and Matt de Boer went down in an otherwise encouraging loss to Melbourne.Watch the 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership Season. Every match of every round Live on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >However, Kelly and co. felt they were close to a performance like what they produced against the Magpies, even with their least-experienced side since 2015.“The criticism after Round 2 (against Fremantle) was absolutely warranted,” Kelly told The Daily Telegraph.“We didn’t rock up with the intensity, the spark and the energy we want to play with, so we were really disappointed with that.AFL podcast Round 5“But from that, we learned what’s required from us, week in, week out, and in Round 1 and Round 3 there were patches of that from a lot of our young guys and our senior guys.”Kelly wants that momentum to continue in Saturday’s Sydney Derby XX against the Swans at the SCG, and he hasn’t set a ceiling on how far the Giants can go this year.A smile broke out as he discussed the clubs’ rivalry, which he first experienced as a spectator in Round 1, 2014, when the Giants knocked off the Swans at their fifth attempt.Kelly made his AFL debut the next round.“Ever since that game, I’ve really felt the energy in the contest and from the crowd that it’s a real occasion for Giants and Swans fans within NSW,” he said.“They’re definitely physical contests. Historically, both teams play a pretty contested brand and it’s always been pretty hard fought in the midfield and there are great match-ups all over the field.“You do want to win these games and take out the team across the bridge.”GWS will unveil a special charcoal jumper for the derby — after a similar version proved hugely popular in the pre-season — and the plan is to wear it only in matches against Sydney.“It’s really cool to have the derby jersey,” Kelly said.“There’s been a lot of hype around it and I think the fans got a little bit of a taste of it through social media and praccy matches and whatnot.”Kelly kicked a pair of goals in each of the past two games in a new high half-forward role, but hinted he might be set for a greater on-ball role this weekend.Either way, there is fascination as to whether the Giants can spoil Sydney’s perfect record.“They’ve been playing some outstanding football. They’re playing with energy and they’ve got a game style that’s suiting their team at the moment, so full credit to them,” he said.“Our challenge is to try and not make it five and zip.“We’re coming off a game where we thought we played some good football, but it’s another big test against the form team in the competition.”Cameron desperate for derby victoryAmong the niceties and bigger-picture talk of what Sydney Derby XX means to NSW football as a whole, Leon Cameron — if only for a moment — broke the theme.The Greater Western Sydney coach and his Sydney Swans counterpart, John Longmire, otherwise fended off reporters’ attempts on Tuesday to get to the bottom of this decade-long rivalry.Cameron not only wants to see 40,000 fans cram into the SCG on Saturday afternoon, but he wants this win badly — and not only because of his side’s 1-3 season record.“You’d be lying to say you don’t want bragging rights,” Cameron said.“That’s what a rivalry has to be. We’re only 10 years in and Sydney’s been here a lot longer than we have, and no doubt they would’ve built some rivalries with the Collingwoods and Hawthorns over the years in Grand Finals.“Clubs that have been around for a long time probably have three or four rivalries. We’ve built one with the Swans.“It took a little while, because it took us a while to come up to that part of it, but absolutely you want to win — it’s huge.”Longmire chuckled at the line of questioning, but said the Sydney Derby was no longer a “manufactured” rivalry after some “monumental contests” across the years.The Swans lead 12-7 after winning the first four clashes comfortably while the Giants established themselves, but it’s been back and forth since.Two of those were finals and Cameron’s men won both of those, and only one match was decided inside 10 points.This time, Sydney is unbeaten through four rounds, whereas GWS showed there was still a pulse in its season with an impressive victory over Collingwood on Saturday night after three straight losses.Longmire sees them at a very similar stage, with an army of young players emerging in each side by necessity.“There will be six or seven boys on each team who are going through their first derby,” Longmire said.“They’ve got the experience on both teams who have played in a number of them as well, and that mix in both teams adds up to a really interesting contest.“That thrill of playing in big games, in front of a good crowd never wanes, particularly when you’ve got a local team up here that’s what makes it exciting.”The coaches were flanked by two of their stars, Swans co-captain Luke Parker and Giants leadership group member Jacob Hopper.Parker said the fact the respective playing groups would sometimes bump into each other on Sydney’s streets added to the enjoyment, and physicality, once game day rolled around.Hopper also feels the added spice in this contest compared to other home and away matches.“They’re always big games and it’s got that feel to it,” Hopper said.“There’s definitely that little bit extra, which is always fun and why you play footy — for that bit of extra competitive spirit.”

Robbo: Start of the end for Bucks amid Pies’ mess?

His team is 1-3, injuries and poor form plague selection, their game style has been questioned, as has their work rate, commitment and personnel. That’s a fearful spectrum of issues at Round 5 as they travel west to play the Eagles, and for a coach in his final year of his contract.There’s a familiarity about the downfall of any coach.Watch the 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership Season. Every match of every round Live on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >Poor performance leads to losses, which leads to questions, which leads to opinions — which are fact or fiction — and then always there’s accusations of splintering and disenchantment among the players.At Collingwood, that’s already started.Fox Footy’s Tom Morris wrote on Monday: “Leaders such as Brodie Grundy and Jordan Roughead have been vocal in their frustrations internally.’’He might be wrong. He be might be right.Buckley wasn’t asked about those players in a press conference on Tuesday. Regardless, the Pies are in free fall. But it could change.Mason Cox could start marking the ball. Jordan De Goey could get fit and play to his reputation and money. Josh Daicos could play in the centre square. Scott Pendlebury could play half-forward. Brayden Maynard could play in the middle. The ruckman could connect to the midfield. The midfield could connect to the forwards and altogether the team could play consistently with an edge, which, in victory, is readily identifiable.And they could attack the 50m with more verve.St Kilda turned out around last week. In fact, the Saints turned it around in a half.So, why can’t Collingwood? Anything’s possible.If this season is not corrected, however, discussion turns from Buckley and his team to Buckley and the board.Hopefully by then, the Magpies board has a genuine leader, not two bulls supposedly fighting over the honour.Collingwood is in a self-inflicted mess — the trade period, the racism report, the presidential overthrow and now the realisation this team is not what it was hoped to be in 2021 — and it heaps pressure on everyone.A lot of the pressure will come on top of individuals such as new footy boss Graham Wright, leadership boss Nick Maxwell and football director Paul Licuria as they manage the transition — and brutalities — from contender’s spot to a seismic rebuild.And there’s the coach.The board will have to ask itself: Does Buckley deserve the opportunity to coach the rebuild or, after 10 years, and amid the whiff of change at Collingwood, has his time come to an end?If it’s the former, and their belief in Buckley is resolute, they could reappoint him now for another two years and get on with the job.They could still do that at the end of this year, but just like the troubled 2017 — before the Pies embarked on an overhaul of their game style for 2018 — it will be a season of destructive headlines.If it’s the latter, then Collingwood is in for a torturous five months, anyhow.And who would make that decision on Bucks?Wright, who’s been there for two months? Licuria as football director? Or either of the two bulls — Mark Korda or Peter Murphy — who, you never know, might’ve made up their minds already.And to make it even more murky, part of the reason why Buckley and his team find themselves in this position is because the board allowed so many top-end contracts to be signed in the first place.The spectre of Buckley’s manager, Craig Kelly, looms large over his future.If the season continues to splutter and speculation on Buckley is fuelled biweekly, Kelly won’t allow his star client and close friend to wither on the vine. He will have a plan, as Ned always does.What happens if the Pies are 1-6 or 3-10? Surely the new chairman will be speaking by then.In the meantime, Buckley has a game to win and a season to restore.Buckley said on Tuesday he would play kids when they were ready and not because the football world was demanding he plays kids. You have to agree with him.It means he will likely persevere with some of his out-of-form senior players.At Round 5, it’s already crossroads time for Collingwood and the coach.It was expected, but maybe not this early in the season.

Locked in: Star shirks rival offers to sign Dees deal

The new deal will tie Oliver to the club until the end of 2023 when the brilliant playmaker will qualify for restricted free agency after eight years with the Demons. Oliver, 23, has started the 2021 season in blistering form despite shouldering a heavy tag that has helped release superstar midfield teammate Christian Petracca. The dual best-and-fairest winner was identified as a potential target for Carlton among other rivals last year, but the hard-nut has made the big commitment only four rounds into the season. Watch the 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership Season. Every match of every round Live on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >Oliver said he was thrilled to lock-in the deal on the back of an excellent 4-0 start to the season. “It was an easy decision in the end because the boys are absolutely flying. I think we’ve taken a real team-first approach this season and it has really paid off for us so far,” Oliver told the Herald Sun. AFL podcast Round 5“What ‘Goody’ (coach Simon Goodwin) is driving is an unbelievable football club overall, everyone is really buying in and that is the staff, the coaches, and the younger and VFL boys as well. “We are trying to keep everyone together and if we do keep everyone together I think we can do something special. Certainly I was always staying at Melbourne.” Oliver said the Demons’ midfield brigade were thriving this year helping bump and block to create space for each other in the engine room.He lauded captain Max Gawn’s silver ruck service. “Obviously 2019-20 weren’t our best years, they were a bit up and down but we have matured as players and have been teammates for five or six years and we know off the field and it is easy playing for one another now,” he said. “I don’t think we have ever been selfish, I just think we have taken the selflessness to another level and playing team roles.” And in another signing for the club on Tuesday, Melbourne welcomed new major partner Beyond Bank, which will feature across the top of the back of the club jumper. Oliver, from Murray Bushrangers, has averaged 32 disposals (elite), 16 contested possessions (elite) and eight clearances (elite) across four games to help lead Melbourne to its best start to the season since 1994. He ranks No. 1 in the competition for contested possessions, No. 3 for total disposals and No. 5 for clearances, according to Champion Data. On Sunday against Geelong, Oliver wore a tight tag from Mark O’Connor but was prominent again racking up 34 possessions, 474m gained and a whopping 10 score involvements to earn another four AFL Coaches’ Association votes. Melbourne will look to chalk up its fifth-straight win against Hawthorn on Sunday before a blockbuster clash against reigning premier Richmond on Anzac Day eve in Round 6. Oliver’s signature is a huge coup for the club’s list management strategy which is desperate to keep its blue-chip engine room together for the prime parts of their careers. After two ordinary years, rivals were keeping a close eye on the Demons’ star ballwinners to see if either Oliver, Petracca, Jack Viney, Christian Salem or Angus Brayshaw could be prised out. But Viney turned down an offer from Geelong last year, Petracca last week shut down mooted interest from Collingwood, while Brayshaw remains locked in until the end of 2022. Captain Gawn signed a four-year extension on the eve of the season and electric goal kicker Kysaiah Pickett (2023) and versatile Luke Jackson (2022) have also agreed to new deals with the club. Oliver’s manager, Nick Gieschen from Connors’ Sports, the finalised the deal which makes one of the AFL’s clearance kings one of the highest-paid players at the club alongside Petracca and Gawn. List manager Tim Lamb said the club was delighted to shore-up the future of the one of the “premier midfielders in the competition”. “It is another great sign for our football program that a player of Clayton’s quality has signed on,” Lamb said. “We are confident he has significant improvement in him and his believe his best football is still to come.”Oliver’s early-season form puts him on an early path to secure his second All-Australian guernsey after making the squad playing every game for the Demons last year. He was previously All-Australian in 2018 when the Demons shot up the ladder under Goodwin to make the preliminary final. 

Why this version of Melbourne can win the flag

But the Demons’ defensive tightness, and the vital role of an unsung player, has Simon Goodwin’s side on track to have a serious tilt at a flag.The Demons’ impressive win over Geelong on Sunday has them as one of three unbeaten teams so far this season, along with the Western Bulldogs and Sydney.On this week’s episode of Pure Footy, stats gurus David King and Daniel Hoyne looked at just why the Demons were flying and whether they can keep this going.WATCH PURE FOOTY IN THE PLAYER ABOVE“We talk about what is sustainable and what isn’t sustainable and what the Dees are playing right now, it is a sustainable brand of footy,” Hoyne said.“And if we look at both ends of the ground, in that defensive formation there is a lot of talk about Lever and May and what they are doing.“They have only conceded a score from the best part of 31 per cent of the opposition inside 50s. If that continues for the rest of the season that will be the best percentage that Champion Data has ever recorded by a long way.”King said if they keep this going, then the Demons “win the flag”.Hoyne said this defensive solidarity at the Demons coincided with a big positional move.“The one player I do want to talk about in regards to this number is Adam Tomlinson,” he said. “He was traded in to play that wing role. Halfway through last year round 10 no coincidence he gets moved to play as a key position player.“Since he has gone and played as a key defender he has 19 one-on-one contests, he has lost one contest.” Also on this week’s episode the guys talked about Collingwood’s centre bounce woes, Brisbane’s poor ball use, stoppage scoring, the exciting Bombers and more.

Selection dilemmas: Pies considering huge change

Buckley confirmed that first-year midfielder Finlay Macrae would make his debut against West Coast on Friday night, but vowed not to rush in other inexperienced players before they earned their spots in the VFL.“‘Play the kids’ is a common refrain at the moment,” Buckley said.Watch the 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership Season. Every match of every round Live on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >SCROLL DOWN FOR THE SELECTION DILEMMAS AT EVERY CLUB“If I was sitting watching the footy with my grandpa back in the day he’d yell, ‘Just kick it’. Play the kids makes about as much sense as that. If they’re ready, they’ll play, and Finn’s deserved his opportunity, as Oli (Henry) did through the pre-season, as Beau McCreery did leading into last weekend.AFL podcast Round 5“We’re trying to reward good form and clearly our patchy form up top is providing opportunity for guys who are putting consistent form in underneath.”Buckley said clubs like Sydney were in a better position to play youth, especially this year.Collingwood had five picks in the top 31 selections in last year’s national draft, but four played no football in 2020 given the NAB League in Victoria was scrapped.“The Swans have an Academy that they’ve been running young players through for two or three years before they become of age and get drafted,” Buckley said.“We don’t have that luxury or capacity, so it is a little bit different.“If something’s not working, you can’t stick with it. But you also need something to go to and I think the expectation of just throwing young players in, especially when a lot of them haven’t played for 18 months (is not wise).”Collingwood is strongly considering moving key defender Darcy Moore into attack in coming weeks as it struggles to find a winning forward mix.The Magpies had 52 inside 50s to Great Western Sydney’s 48 last weekend, but took only six marks inside 50 and kicked only nine goals in a 30-point loss.“Darcy’s an elite, All-Australian key defender. So we understand the commentary about his Ariel possibilities forward but that’s still a maybe,” Buckley said.“We’ve got to make a decision on whether what we know is what we need or it’s something different.”Buckley acknowledged frustration from fans that the Magpies had not shown they were heading in the right direction from what they had shown on-field this year and admitted the side was lacking a competitive “edge”.However, he backed his playing group to respond, starting at the contest.“What the supporters want to see is what we want to see, which is the line between where you are now and where you are going and you want it to be tracking up,” Buckley said.“We can’t say that we’ve shown or displayed that in the first month. There’s no doubt that we’ve capable of playing better footy and we want to be playing better footy, so we can only resurrect with our actions.”ADELAIDEDoes the Adelaide coaching staff persist with Billy Frampton? The tall forward is now goalless in three games, and while Matthew Nicks and his coaching staff say they are pleased with Frampton’s efforts it may be a wise choice for him to find some form in the SANFL.Darcy Fogarty only had five kicks coming in for Rory Sloane, but did bag three goals, so should keep his spot. But there are some young Crows pushing their cases especially if Brodie Smith and Shane McAdam fail to recover from injuries. Josh Worrell again had a good game at SANFL level, Jackson Hately got 26 disposals while first round draft pick Luke Pedlar kicked three goals in his first competitive outing for the club.BRISBANEThe Lions came out of their Round 4 clash relatively unscathed and should field a similar team against Essendon this week. But after starting the season with a 1-3 win-loss record, the pre-season finals favourites have to find improvement soon. Forward Dan McStay will come into the mix this week after recovering from a pre-season knee injury. Brisbane’s x-factor Charlie Cameron copped some criticism following last week’s game against the Bulldogs and is hoped to shine at the Gabba on Saturday. CARLTONThe Blues will be without Jack Silvagni again this week after he hurt his shoulder in last weekend’s win over the Gold Coast Suns. Carlton is weighing up whether Silvagni will require surgery or not. Fellow forward Mitch McGovern will again be strongly considered at the selection table, after booting three goals in a VFL practice match against Box Hill last weekend. Midfielder Zac Williams is likely to return, after illness and calf tightness last week saw him miss the clash with the Suns.COLLINGWOODThe youth call for the struggling Pies is set to start with first-round draft pick Finlay Macrae to make the trip to Perth to take on the West Coast Eagles. Coach Nathan Buckley flagged changes after the disappointing loss to the GWS Giants given they were the oldest team in the AFL for the round and served up a sub-par performance. Macrae is the younger brother of Western Bulldogs star Jack and shows similar poise with the ball. Reef McInnes, another first-round pick from last year, has also shown promise in the VFL practice matches while Ollie Henry, who debuted in the season opener but hasn’t been seen since, is also in the selection mix. Back-up ruckman Darcy Cameron is also a chance given the Pies successfully used him in last year’s elimination final victory over the Eagles.Best and fairest winner Taylor Adams is set to miss 10 weeks with a knee injury but Jordan De Goey (shoulder) and Steele Sidebottom (thumb) have been cleared to play.Those in Buckley’s gun are underperforming forward Josh Thomas and veteran Chris Mayne while Will Hoskin-Elliott may have saved his bacon with an improved second half against the Giants.ESSENDONThe Bombers could get back Mason Redman for their clash with Brisbane at the Gabba on Saturday night. Redman was substituted out of Essendon’s Round 3 win over St Kilda and missed the loss to Sydney last Thursday. David Zaharakis could come into contention after being the medical sub against the Swans. Or might Matt Guelfi make way for Redman? Either way, Essendon’s encouraging performance would likely prompt coach Ben Rutten to make minimal changes.FREMANTLEDoes Justin Longmuir make the changes to try and claim a first win outside of Perth this year? Young tall Lloyd Meek will be one that might be sweating this week after a quiet game in the win over Hawthorn, especially with Rory Lobb close to a return from a knee injury.Griffin Logue should also seriously push for a return to the side after a hamstring injury.GEELONGPatrick Dangerfield and Gary Rohan will walk back in after serving their suspensions while Jeremy Cameron (hamstring) is likely to be available although unlikely to be risked against North Melbourne on Sunday. Brandon Parfitt was a late withdrawal with hip soreness on Sunday and was sorely missed. In a perfect world the Cats would regain Danger, Rohan, Cameron and Parfitt all in one hit this week. That means players will miss – perhaps Quinten Narkle and Zach Guthrie.GOLD COASTThe Suns’ casualty ward continues to grow with Sean Lemmens ruled out after being concussed last weekend. One option the Gold Coast have is experienced defender Jack Hombsch to counteract the Bulldogs trio of tall forwards that dominated Brisbane last week. Hombsch is yet to play this year but would be a handy replacement at a club hit hard by injuries. GWS GIANTSGreater Western Sydney will wait until Wednesday to make a call on whether veteran big man Shane Mumford backs up to face his old side Sydney.The 34-year-old won a game-high eight clearances in opposition to Collingwood’s dual All-Australian ruckman Brodie Grundy as the Giants won their first match of the season at the weekend.However, coach Leon Cameron has consistently stated that Mumford, who played in the Swans’ 2012 premiership team, was no longer capable of playing on a regular basis.Matt Flynn served as GWS’s No.1 ruckman in the opening three rounds — which were the first matches of his AFL career — before being rested to allow Mumford to renew hostilities with Grundy.With recruit Braydon Preuss not due back from his shoulder reconstruction until mid-year, the Giants’ other ruck option to take on Tom Hickey is untried Academy product Kieren Briggs.“It’ll be a really good discussion tomorrow,” Cameron said.“We were rapt with (Mumford’s) performance. We’ll see how he pulls up, but he can’t go back to-back-to-back … so we’ll make that call probably end-of-the-day tomorrow.”The Swans have their own selection calls to make, with star pair Isaac Heeney (broken hand) and Dane Rampe (broken finger on left hand) out for several weeks.Rampe played the past two matches with the injury before undergoing surgery on Monday afternoon.Co-captain Luke Parker said one of Lewis Melican or Kaiden Brand would replace Rampe in Sydney’s defence.Swans coach John Longmire also tipped midfielder James Rowbottom (knee) to push for selection after missing the past three games.HAWTHORN Jacob Koschitzke would be the obvious replacement for Mitch Lewis, with the Hawks accepting a one-week suspension for his strike against Fremantle. Daniel Howe suffered a collarbone injury so he will need to be replaced in the midfield. Shaun Burgoyne was the sun but didn’t get onto the ground so he will be fresh for this week. The Box Hill side had an excellent win so players including Ollie Hanrahan will be pushing for senior selection. MELBOURNEThe Demons are flying but will need to make at least one change for this week’s clash with Hawthorn after Steven May suffered a fractured eye socket against Geelong on Sunday. May will miss between two and four weeks with the injury, but his loss should not hurt too much against a Hawks side which doesn’t have dominant key forwards. Michael Hibberd had another solid game in defence in the VFL and could be considered for his first AFL game of the year. However, key forwards Ben Brown and Sam Weiderman will need more time in the reserves as they work their way back to fitness after injury. NORTH MELBOURNEAt least three changes at Arden St with vice-captain Luke McDonald (pectoral muscle), Cameron Zurhaar (concussion) and Ben Cunnington (suspension) all unavailable. Swingman Josh Walker, who missed the clash with Adelaide because of a hamstring issue, could return to play against his old club with strong outings in the VFL by ex-Magpie Atu Bosenavulagi and Tristan Xerri are also in the mix.PORT ADELAIDEThe question with Port Adelaide for its clash against Carlton is just how many changes will Ken Hinkley have to make? Zak Butters and Xavier Duursma are out for a while after both had to have surgery on injuries picked up against Richmond, while Connor Rozee, Orazio Fantasia and Tom Clurey will be battling knocks they suffered in the thrilling win over the Tigers. Todd Marshall is expected to be OK after withdrawing with an ankle injury before the game, especially with replacement Peter Ladhams having a quiet game against the Tigers.Sam Mayes was activated as the medical sub and is expected to come under consideration for a spot in the team, as should Miles Bergman after playing in the SANFL team on the weekend. Jackson Mead and Boyd Woodcock impressed in the reserves, while ruckman Sam Hayes continues to push for a debut. Prolific midfielder Tom Rockliff will be available after completing the AFL’s concussion protocols while Trent McKenzie has spent weeks in the SANFL.RICHMONDTigers coach Damien Hardwick said post-game on Friday that wingman/half-forward Hugo Ralphsmith probably would have played against the Power if not for a VFL suspension, while Patrick Naish was also close to being chosen. Two-time premiership player Kamdyn McIntosh should be available from concussion. Fellow flag winners Daniel Rioli and Josh Caddy are other options to come in. It will be interesting to see if last week’s debutants Will Martyn and Rhyan Mansell hold their spots. Hardwick hinted on Monday that at least one of their youngsters might make way.ST KILDAThe watch is on Rowan Marshall, who is likely to miss with a foot injury after his first game back. Is Paddy Ryder fit enough to replace him? The Saints will be desperately hoping so, while Nick Coffield has been struggling although there appears to be no obvious replacement.SYDNEY SWANSThe Swans will make at least two changes from last week’s win over Essendon, with stars Isaac Heeney (broken hand) and Dane Rampe (broken finger) set for multiple-week absences. Rampe’s unavailability might open the door for Lewis Melican to play his first game of the year. Melican was a strong performer in the club’s VFL practice match at the weekend. James Rowbottom (knee) has missed the past three matches with bone bruising, but could be available to face the Giants in the Sydney derby on Saturday. James Bell replaced Heeney as the medical sub last week, so could force his way into the 22, while Dylan Stephens, Will Hayward, Hayden McLean and Ryan Clarke are banging on the selection door.WESTERN BULLDOGSThe Dogs are in a purple patch and were happy with the form of Lewis Young, who came into the side and performed well as a replacement for Ryan Gardiner. But the VFL boys had the week off ahead of this week’s Round 1 clash so Mitch Wallis and Jamar Ugle-Hagan will have to wait to push their case for senior selection. The Dogs will need to reconfigure their side to replace Caleb Daniel, who is out for the week with suspension. WEST COASTThe injury problems continue to mount up for the Eagles with veteran Shannon Hurn injuring his hamstring in the loss to St Kilda. This does open the door for Alex Witherden to play his first game since coming to the club from Brisbane, especially after he had 27 disposals in the WAFL. Nathan Vardy and Xavier O’Neil didn’t get the chance to play in the WAFL after they travelled with the team to Melbourne so they will need to get some action this week.Brayden Ainsworth performed strongly at reserve level (37 disposals, 10 marks) and will be pushing for inclusion after the Eagles’ disappointing performance against the Saints.

Burning questions: Are young Sun, CJ SuperCoach premiums?

From high rookie breakevens and underpriced keepers to Josh Kelly’s role and first upgrades, here’s my take on the big issues ahead of Round 5.Is it too early to start upgrading?It’s never too early to improve your team. It’s just how you go about it. On the surface, some rookies look ready to trade but it is still very early and it may only take one score for the cash generation to tick over again.Take Swan Braeden Campbell for example. His breakeven of 71 is above his average of 63 – and that’s usually a sign his time as a cash cow is up.Especially with only one score of more than 56 in his first four matches.But that breakeven could fall dramatically in Round 6 if the 18-year-old can lift his output against the Giants, given it will be calculated without the 29-point score from Round 3.So, while there should be no rush to trade him out, if you have the cash to turn him into a premium, you are one step closer to that complete team.Campbell may still have money to make, depending on his next score, but he’s not a keeper so you won’t lose in the long run.Watch the 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership Season. Every match of every round Live on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >On the other hand, sure, Caleb Daniel to Jordan Ridley is an upgrade in scoring, but it doesn’t get you any closer to a complete team, full of premiums.It may be too early for many KFC SuperCoaches to upgrade to the top-line premiums, but, with the form of players like Hawks Changkuoth Jiath and Jarman Impey, you could get a top 6-8 scorer in their position at a very affordable price.If you think either can maintain it, then consider a very cheap upgrade from a rookie before another steep price rise.So it’s not too late for CJ?I don’t think so.After taking a game-high seven against the Dockers, the 21-year-old is the third-ranked player in the competition for intercept marks.And he’s just as good with the ball in hand going the other way, averaging an elite 19 effective disposals per game.Of all defenders to have played every match this season, there are nine averaging 100 KFC SuperCoach points or more – Jiath is one of them with an average of 104, on the back of three consecutive KFC SuperCoach tons.To maintain this position, he would have to hold his 100-point average every from here.Can he do it?He has multiple avenues of scoring, the Hawks like to give him the ball and it’s going to be down there a fair bit.But it’s hard to say for sure, given he’s only played 11 career games.Even if he fades, though, you would take a 95-point average at D6 for $399k.TRADE GUIDE: ALL THE BEST OPTIONS OPTIONS + ROOKIE REPORTWho are you eyeing for the first upgrade, Phantom?There are a number of runaway trains, Jordan Ridley and Jack Steele in particular, but they are getting expensive.But Clayton Oliver at less than $600k could be the one.He scored 130 against the Cats on Sunday, his third score of 120 or more for the year, but the Matt de Boer-affected 67 from Round 3 has resulted in another high breakeven of 161.So even a 115-point score in Round 5 will see Oliver’s price fall to $591.And after he blanketed young Fremantle star Andrew Brayshaw early last week, Hawk James Worpel might put some time into Oliver at the MCG on Sunday.Well, I’m hoping so anyway.What’s up with Josh Kelly?A very good question. Definitely not his scoring.He attended just six centre bounces against the Magpies, half that of Brett Daniels.Yes, Brett Daniels.But, unfortunately, for owners, it’s been the story of the year, with Kelly attending just 22 – the seventh-most at the club – in the opening four rounds.His position splits aren’t much better to look at.Wing: 18%Midfield: 25%Forward: 57%Kelly is handballing more than he’s kicking, a concern for someone with his foot skills, and his contested possession numbers are the lowest they’ve been since 2015.He’s posted scores of 98, 90, 100 and 90 as a result.But the 26-year-old, who has already lost $60k off his price tag, is someone I’d upgrade around, before reassessing his form – and role – because those numbers aren’t likely to be your biggest on-field concern.BIG CALL: THE PROS AND CONS OF TRADING CALEB DANIELIs it time we start taking Jack Bowes seriously?Yes. There will be some fallen stars on offer but there are also a number legitimate underpriced premiums to consider.And Bowes, at $503k, sits atop the list.With Jack Lukosius’ move further up the ground this year, the 23-year-old has starred in defence, posting scores of 146, 114, 95 and 107 to start the season.In the opening four rounds, of all general defenders, Bowes ranks first for disposals (29.8) and marks (8.5), second for KFC SuperCoach points (116) and fifth for metres gained (579). And he’s not only taking the kick-ins but playing on most of the time.In Round 4 against the Blues, the skilful right-footer played on from each of his seven kick-ins.After an impressive junior career in the midfield, Bowes showed glimpses in his first five years at the Suns, playing a variety of roles.But in his 2021 role, he’s now legitimate in KFC SuperCoach.What about Adam Cerra?The top 8-10 in the midfield is a lot tougher to crack than in defence, but Cerra should still be considered as a serious option at $495k.After averaging 101 from Round 9 onwards last year, following a move up the ground from defence, the classy 21-year-old has posted three scores of 120 or more to start the season.The other was a 56-point performance against the Blues in Round 3 in a match the young Dockers midfield – missing skipper Nat Fyfe - was well beaten.And it’s the all-round nature of his game which should ensure Cerra maintains his scoring. He only attended 11 centre bounces and recorded just one clearance in Round 5 but finished with 19 effective disposals, eight score involvements, seven marks and 468 metres gained – all stats he rates elite for across the year.Just the one clanger and six tackles against the Hawks helped, too.And Aaron Hall?Now this is where it gets interesting.And, no, let’s not go back to his blistering start to 2016, when he averaged 125 KFC SuperCoach points in the opening four rounds to lead the Brownlow.Let’s stay in 2021.In Round 2, Hall scored six KFC SuperCoach points as the medical sub.Fast forward two weeks, though, and the 30-year-old played on six times from his seven kick-ins, on his way to 33 disposals and 133 points against the Crows in Round 4.But because of that single figure score, despite the 81 points a week later, Hall’s price dropped to $388k following his standout showing.Luke McDonald is injured again so he’s not coming back to take footy away from him. I’d like to see a bit more, though, and, given his price, KFC SuperCoaches can afford to wait and see.OK, one more, Jake Stringer?$282k forward. 21 centre bounces in Round 4. Scores of 124 and 86. It all sounds too good to be true – and that’s never a good thing.Yes, with a breakeven of -45, his price will balloon this week but, given his history – an average of 71 or less in each of the past four seasons - it might be best to wait.If he is legitimate, then anything less than $400k could still be good buying.Lair Round 4Should we trade Caleb Daniel?No, I’d be holding. Read my full reasoning here.Could you please explain how to correctly loophole a captain?We’ve saved the best question until last.This one actually came from The Phantom’s call-out for podcast questions on Facebook. Suitably from a man named Tom Jones, because I was about to burn down the house on Saturday night when I realised Brodie Grundy was on my bench without the emergency tag. I’m not even really sure what happened but, as it has been pointed out by all my friends on social media, it was a rookie error.So if you are playing the captain’s loophole this week, double check you’ve done it right.

‘What a disgrace’: Uproar at AFL double standards

The news got worse for the Roos after suffering a 41-point loss to Adelaide on Sunday as Cunnington’s hit put him in danger of missing this weekend’s game against Geelong.Watch the 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership Season. Every match of every round Live on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >But the club is going to fight the charge after a backlash from footy fans questioning why Cunnington had anything to answer for in the first place.Former AFL star and AFLW coach Daniel Harford said on Twitter Cunnington should fight to clear his name, while ex-Western Bulldogs player Lindsay Gilbee wrote: “What a disgrace.”Making the matter even more confusing, Jarrod Harbrow of the Gold Coast escaped attention for a similar incident for bumping Carlton’s Michael Gibbons.Melbourne legend Garry Lyon could understand why Cunnington was cited, but not why Harbrow was deemed innocent.“We’re on board with the Cunnington one, we can buy that. He elects to bump, Rory has kicked the ball, there’s contact to the head he didn’t have to do it,” Lyon told Fox Footy’s On The Couch. “Gibbons ends up going off for a concussion test. The AFL tell us it was two players playing the ball therefore it’s an accident, which we know and accept can happen in footy. “I ask you boys, who was playing the ball most out of those two?”Brisbane icon Jonathan Brown was in no doubt Harbrow should have been dealt with more harshly. “The dead giveaway is the player’s eyes. When Harbrow’s eyes are not committed to the football that’s a dead giveaway of his intentions,” Brown said.“Whether he was trying to protect himself or bump, at the end of the day he hit him in the head so he should be culpable for that for that hit.”Reacting to Cunnington’s ban, AFL 360 co-host Mark Robinson said on Monday: “That’s not high. That’s a joke.“That’s not right. The other one with Harbrow (was worse).”Lyon said the AFL should overrule Christian in the case of Harbrow if it is serious about protecting players from concussion.“The AFL should appeal this,” Lyon said on SEN Breakfast this week. “They should come out this morning and say ‘Michael Christian is doing the best he can, but on this occasion we don’t agree with him, we will appeal this and send it to the Tribunal’.“He had an option, Jarrod Harbrow, he had an option to go the ball and he chose to bump and he hit Mick Gibbons in the head and it warranted a concussion test.“That is exactly what we’re trying to stamp out of the game and yet on this occasion the MRO, and maybe the parameters that didn’t allow them, but they have failed the system and the AFL should appeal it.”Essendon legend Tim Watson added: “The MRO, I don’t want to smash them in particular. But if we are saying that the head is sacrosanct and we’re doing everything we can to take the bump out of the game, we see another incident on the weekend where Jarrod Harbrow has bumped Mickey Gibbons in the head, he went off the ground, he had a concussion test … and then that’s not cited?“That is ridiculous.”How to find news on news.com.au

Wanted: An Eddie Betts for IT sector

Brenz Saunders, who runs Garu Infotech, which he believes to be South Australia’s only indigenous IT company, said the numbers of First Nations people in the tech sector were far too low.He said he had done an industry review to determine indigenous representation in the sector and “found it was closer to zero per cent than 1 per cent.“I saw it as quite a frightening reality check to not see any indigenous people in this space – to not have the opportunity to explore, create, develop and innovate and grow and continue to a very fast-growing industry,’’ he said.Mr Saunders said IT needed to be presented as an attractive and accessible in­dustry for indigenous people. “There’s an Eddie Betts in the football world,’’ he said. “Having an Eddie Betts in tech would be great in just making that space more attractive for people.’’Mr Saunders is a board member at Tauondi Aboriginal College and is hoping a new program will start to redress the imbalance.The Port Adelaide-based college is teaming up with career services provider Generation Australia to run a junior web developer program.The 12-week program started this week with three students, initially online but expected to move into a classroom at Tauondi soon.The college’s managing director Marius Liddle said the web developer program was a first for Tauondi which had focused on “community services, hospitality and business development ‘’.“Aboriginal students who are leaving school and looking for jobs, IT and tech hasn’t typically been a pathway to employment,’’ he said. The Adelaide Football Club is a community partner for the program and the club’s indigenous programs manager Jeremy Johncock said employment was key to improving opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.“It can literally change your life,’’ Mr Johncock said.

Why Neale’s numbers are dramatically down

The gun midfielder has struggled in the opening rounds of the competition - averaging 22 disposals a game compared to 27 last year in his Brownlow Medal season.Leading into this weekend’s clash with Essendon at the Gabba, Neale admitted he had been playing through a back complaint but said he was still fit enough to play.“It’s hard to put an exact percentage on (how my body is feeling),” Neale said.Watch the 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership Season. Every match of every round Live on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >“Not 100 per cent but good enough to play.“I’m playing and it’s improving every week.“I won’t go into too much detail but I’ve put my hand up to play the last few weeks and been able to get through the game.“Once you do that, you’re deemed fit.“I’m sure there’s guys carrying little things around the comp.”However, the Lions gun said he was not prepared to use that as an excuse for his performance so far this year.“I’m able to shelve that pretty quickly out on the field,” he said.“I have a responsibility to perform and try to win a game of footy with my teammates.“To be honest, the thing it is affecting the most is my ability to train consistently.“That’s been the most frustrating part but I’m able to play so that’s also an important thing.“It’s not getting worse.”

‘Cooked’ Dees president has no regrets over brutal roast

And while Bartlett admits he bruised some egos over his withering assessment of last year’s loss to Port Adelaide he says he had no regrets over calling out the playing group.Bartlett told the Herald Sun on Monday despite the unusual timing of his Round 4 exit he was simply “cooked” after a brutal COVID period had taken a toll.Vice-president Kate Roffey will take over, with Bartlett revealing he had even been in discussions about extending his tenure before a change of heart that coincided with the end of the AFLW season.AFL podcast Round 5He did not travel to Canberra for the Round 3 win over Greater Western Sydney and instead spent the night on the couch at home with some of his four sons.“We were having a couple of Furphys (beers) and halfway through the game Adam said to me, ‘Do you realise this is the first time we have done this since you have been president eight years ago?’,” Bartlett said.Watch the 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership Season. Every match of every round Live on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >“I literally started to tear up. My fiance Victoria and I were engaged in 2017 and it’s 2021 and we aren’t married yet. It had become all-consuming. It hit me then. This is the best time to leave. “The team is flying, we have people in all the right spots, we have the fourth-best balance sheet in the AFL and it’s bitten into my time with my sons and hobbies. “On so many levels, I just thought, ‘I am cooked’.”Bartlett said it had been a demanding role across the past 14 months.“With COVID, board meetings became weekly, I have got three businesses, four sons in their 20s and three of them with serious partners, my fiance Vicki and I had been thinking about when was the right time,” he said.“We had a really good person in Kate Roffey who I had brought onto the board and we need more women in administration and across the club and it just sent the right message at every level.”Bartlett said while board discussions remained confidential, he had gone out in his own time frame and was not pushed in any way.“In terms of boardroom discussions I never talk outside the boardroom but I chose the time, I chose to go,” he said.“It really requires so much of you and there will always be stuff swirl and rumours. “But I just kept saying, ‘Why not now?’ If you are done, you are done and people need to respect that.”After the club’s horror loss to Port Adelaide last year Bartlett told the Herald Sun in an extraordinary interview the Demons had been “disgraceful” and “insipid”, saying: “When you pull on a Melbourne jumper, we don’t give them out in Weeties packets”.He said of that self-described “rant”: “No regrets. One thing I will say is that I am a values-based leader. I tried to drive standards and Patrick Smith nicknamed me The Stickler.“No doubt I trod on toes but I have always tried to be respectful in the way I delivered standards and I don’t make apologies for stepping on people’s toes. “It’s about our club and I go really strong on that and if people don’t like it, it’s just tough luck. I will never apologise for that.“If you don’t stand for nothing, what do you stand for. So yeah, people can get a bit bruised and there were some rumblings on that, but I couldn’t care less. Toughen up.”