The six things we learned from Round 8


Geelong made a big statement on the big stage to kick off a massive round of footy.

There were plenty of close encounters and we still have a side yet to lose, and a side yet to win.

Here’s what we learned from Round 8:

Geelong’s recruits prove their worth

Geelong sent a statement to the competition with their 63-point win against Richmond.

The Cats kicked 13 goals to the Tigers’ two after half-time and it was their off-season recruits who may have had the biggest impact.

Chris Scott’s side were able to flip the result of last season’s Grand Final with Jeremy Cameron (six goals), Isaac Smith (two goals, 22 disposals) and Shaun Higgins (one goal, 23 disposals) adding class to an already strong Geelong outfit.

Richmond were simply blown off the park as everything clicked for the Cats, and it marks the second time Geelong has thrashed a premiership contender in recent weeks after they belted the Eagles by 97 points in Round 6.

You don’t win premierships in May, but the Cats will be hard to beat if they can reproduce similar efforts come finals time.

There’s a pulse at St Kilda and GWS

St Kilda and GWS are right in the finals hunt after they both stumbled out of the starting blocks.

Neither side has been convincing thus far in 2021, but all that matters in this middle period of the year is banking wins and both sides were able to do so in Round 8 … just.

The Saints continued their stunning run of tight wins over the Suns while the Giants just outlasted the Dons at home.

Neither side are near their best form at the moment, but both would be pleased to hold a 4-4 record after poor starts to their campaigns.

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Buckley goes back to basics

After shifting magnets around the whiteboard in recent weeks Nathan Buckley went back to what he knows works best for Collingwood.

They two key moves for the Magpies’ in their win over North Melbourne was to isolate Jordan De Goey deep inside 50 and let Darcy Moore return to his natural position of centre half back.

Both decisions paid off, with De Goey kicking 6.3 and Darcy Moore earning a career-high 28 disposals and 19 marks down back.

No one could fault Buckley for trying both De Goey and Moore in new positions in 2021 but Collingwood fans would be glad to see them in roles which allowed them to flourish in the first place.

Carlton still not quite ready

The Blues looked set for a season defining win when Harry McKay stretched the lead to 27 late in the third term against the Bulldogs.

Ultimately, it wasn’t to be as the Dogs turned it on in the final quarter to run away 16-point victors.

While many expected the result pre-game, a win would have solidified Carlton’s finals prospects as well as proving they have what it takes to beat a top-four side at their best.

The result is probably a fair one that signifies the gap between where a premiership contender sits and where David Teague’s side sits at this stage.

The Blues now have to recharge before taking on ladder-leading Melbourne next Sunday.

Dees pass maturity test

While it wasn’t overly convincing, Melbourne proved they can earn the four points without firing on all cylinders.

In a sign of a true premiership contender, Melbourne weathered the storm of a hungry Swans outfit and found another way to win.

Despite their highly-vaunted on-ball brigade, the Dees lost the centre clearance tally 17-4 as Sydney controlled the game from the middle.

This discrepancy meant the Demons were forced to start their attacks without field position as they relied on their back six to move the ball up the ground to score.

The Demons may have crumbled under similar pressure in recent seasons, but Saturday’s result proves this Melbourne group has a different mentality in 2021.

It’s a big week for North Melbourne

After failing to beat then 17th placed Collingwood, the Kangaroos remain winless in 2021.

Their current record of 0-8 has them firmly as the league’s worst side, and wins look like they’ll be few and far between this season.

They likely won’t enter any game as favourites this year, but one of their best chances to claim a win comes on Saturday when they face the now second bottom Hawks.

While many will be tipping Hawthorn, the Roos will be desperate to get the monkey off the back and earn David Noble his first win as head coach.

Expect them to come out firing next weekend knowing it could be their best shot at victory.





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Brisbane Lions rev engines with comfortable win over Fremantle Dockers


The Brisbane Lions were irresistible at times, sloppy at others but completed a victory over the Fremantle Dockers at the Gabba on Sunday night.

A five-goal opening term gave the Lions the advantage and they held control of the contest for the rest of the match as the ball-moving prowess of Daniel Rich (31 disposals), Jarryd Lions (30 disposals) and Zac Bailey and their potent forward line kept the scoreboard ticking over.

Charlie Cameron booted three goals for the Lions in their win over Fremantle.Credit:Getty Images

This wasn’t a sparkling display from the Lions but in a hectic, exhausting season there is value in a win where the team could work at a brisk pace plus have a few laughs while collecting the four points, and to do so without the injured Lachie Neale adds to the value.

Fremantle did cut the lead to 24 points late on but the result was an honest reflection of their current standing. They are a middle-of-the-road team with old stars, young talent and a very thin middle.

Nat Fyfe, David Mundy and Michael Walters are still among their best few players, while Caleb Serong, Sean Darcy, Tobe Watson and Andrew Brayshaw look to have promising futures.

Joe Daniher flies for a mark.

Joe Daniher flies for a mark.Credit:Getty Images

Outside of that group, James Aish, Matt Taberner, Michael Hastings and Nathan Wilson are all performing solidly, while most other positions in the side are up for grabs.

That inconsistency was reflected in this match as the Lions could stream quality players through every line on the field and the Dockers could only move when their old stars moved forward or their young stars could link together.

Lions defender Harris Andrews was too strong at the back, their midfield runners were powerful through the middle corridor or the wings and then Charlie Cameron and Eric Hipwood were causing trouble up forward.

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Central Victorian footy clubs push for LGBTQI+ inclusion to tackle rising mental illness


Mateship and inclusion.

These are two things footy offers, particularly in small towns when it comes to bringing communities together.

But a rise in mental illness among the LGBTQI+ community is leading two Central Victorian clubs and a community health service to accept the sporting codes’ faults.

Today the Kyneton and Eaglehawk football clubs are taking to the Kyneton Showground and netball courts with one thing in mind: to create a place for queer people to feel proud.

Alex Summerfield plays for Eaglehawk’s women’s football team and said she was sure there were men and women playing in Central Victorian clubs that were yet to come out as gay.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do in the men’s division and this is a great start,” Ms Summerfield said.

“It really does come down to some of those traditional values and morals that we’re trying to break down.

Eaglehawk’s Alex Summerfield says more needs to be done by league players to break down stigma and promote more inclusive attitudes.(

Supplied: Kyneton FNC

)

Ms Summerfield said she believed women were more open to talking about sexuality and gender issues than men, and more needed to be done to break down the stigma around gender and sexual diversity.

Mistreatment at the centre of problem

The 2019 Healthy Heart of Victoria Active Living Census found that people who identified as LGBTQI+ were less likely to participate in sport and activities.

Sunbury and Cobaw Community Health’s Country LGBTQI+ Inclusion Program co-ordinator Belinda Brain said the lower participation rate led to poorer health outcomes.

She said poorer health, including mental illness, was not because of a person’s gender or sexuality, but due to the discrimination and marginalisation many people in the LGBTQI+ community still faced.

After the majority of the nation voted ‘yes’ to legally allowing same-sex marriage, it paved the way for other facets of society to become more inclusive, and tackle areas where same-sex and gender-diverse people continue to feel unsafe or uncomfortable, such as on the sporting field.

It will be Central Victoria’s second Pride Cup after the nearby Castlemaine Football Netball Club held one in 2019.

Changing the game and attitudes

Kyneton Football Netball Club president Hayden Evans said holding the Pride Cup event was not just about changing traditional values and morals, it was about changing the traditional attitudes that many sporting clubs were founded on.

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Ms Summerfield said she didn’t know a team in the league that didn’t have a queer female player.

A study by Monash University found more than 80 per cent of people had witnessed or experienced homophobia in sport, and 87 per cent of gay males, and 75 per cent of lesbians were completely or partially in the closet while playing youth sports.

It’s these statistics that led Kyneton and Eaglehawk to tackle the stigma.

Ms Summerfield said the Pride Cup showed there were at least two clubs in the Bendigo region where young queer people could walk in and feel welcome.

In the federal electorate of Bendigo, 82.7 per cent of people participated in the same-sex marriage vote, with the remainder not responding.

Of those who voted, 68.7 per cent approved of same-sex marriage, while 31.3 per cent disapproved of it.

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AFL Jumper Clashes:


But in the VFL, club jumpers remained pretty much the same, week in, week out, year in, year out. The away team wore white shorts, and that was thought to be enough of a distinction. Only when the Brisbane Bears came into the league in 1987, their new colours and jumper design clashing with that of Hawthorn, did an away jumper become a thing in the league. And it wasn’t until the mid-to-late ’90s, as commercially-minded clubs began trialling experimental pre-season jumpers, that clash and away uniforms edged towards ubiquity.

KEEPING THE EYEBALLS HAPPY

Even then, it wasn’t until the 2000s – as the AFL broadcast rights’ worth escalated exponentially – that pressure on clubs to wear clash jumpers ramped up.

“I only recall it was driven by TV broadcasters much more than AFL,” says former Essendon and Melbourne chief executive Peter Jackson.

“It was always implied, at least in part,” said ex-Adelaide and Carlton chief Steven Trigg, when asked if it was the broadcasters pushing the matter.

It is worth noting that players don’t tend to mention jumper clashes. Essendon great Dustin Fletcher, who played through the clash jumper evolution across 400 games, was unperturbed.

“I never had a problem with jumper clash. I honestly think players don’t really have a problem with it. More gets talked about by media and supporters,” Fletcher said.

Among the first clubs to take a dramatic turn was St Kilda, who having already tinkered with their jumper design in the back half of the ’90s upped the ante dramatically in 2001, wearing a predominantly yellow jumper, initially as a one-off for a Pura milk sponsorship before adopting it as their regular clash uniform for games against fellow dark-coloured sides Essendon, Collingwood, Fremantle and Carlton.

“We probably saw it as a marketing opportunity as much as anything,” recalls Rod Butters, Saints president at the time.

“We didn’t have a rusted-on attachment, unlike some other clubs. We took the view this was progression and common sense. Outside of that, there were just so many other bigger issues to deal with.

“[Chief executive] Brian Waldron just waltzed into the boardroom one day and said ‘this is our clash jumper,’ we said ‘yeah good, fine.’

“When you’ve won one premiership in 140 years, you’ve got bigger fish to fry. That was our view, so no big deal.”

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE

More and more clubs implemented away and clash uniforms, but spot fires bobbed up. In 2007, the Brisbane Lions decided to wear their away jumper in a home game against Adelaide to avoid a clash, but called on the league at the time to ensure the Crows initiated a light-coloured away jumper for the future.

Later that season Geelong coach Mark Thompson lamented a jumper clash between his side and Collingwood, also calling for change. And yet as recently as the 2019 finals there was trouble again when the clubs met, with then Pies president Eddie McGuire alleging that the Cats reneged on a deal to always wear white shorts against Collingwood no matter who was notionally the home side.

Richmond had joined the party late in the 2000s, adding yellow side panels to their traditional jumper in a bid to avoid clashes against a handful of clubs. But when pitted against Port Adelaide in an elimination final in 2014, it was the higher-ranked Power asked to wear a clash uniform because according to the AFL, the Tigers’ jumper wasn’t sufficiently different to Port’s home one. A compromise was ultimately reached, with the Power wearing their prison bar jumper from the SANFL in a crushing Adelaide Oval win.

THE GRANDEST TEST

After that kerfuffle, the Tigers stepped it up a notch, changing to an almost all-yellow clash jumper, the inverse of their traditional one.

“We were comfortable with it. It wasn’t without precedent throughout the world in global sport,” Tigers chief executive Brendon Gale recalled during the week.

But a key tension point was reached three years later when the Tigers qualified for their first grand final in 35 years, but as the second-ranked side, below Adelaide, meaning Richmond were asked to wear their clash uniform.

“And we thought ’gee, is the Richmond traditional jumper and the Adelaide traditional jumper, are they that similar? What science do you use? What criteria do you use?” said Gale.

“We decided you’ve got to pick your fights, this is not one worth having. We just decided to embrace it, and we did. And I’m glad we did, because that jumper is part of history and in terms of merchandise sales after the event – clearly it was a lot to do with breaking the premiership drought – it sold very well.

“And the justification for the AFL and the grand final is it’s the biggest event of the year, it’s the biggest TV event, not just domestically but huge interest globally, and we want to do everything that we can to make it as easy as we can for viewers to differentiate between the teams.”

If that Richmond jumper carries with it a halo, the opposite can also tend to occur. Just ask Trigg, reflecting on his time at the Blues.

“With the best of intentions we put the team out in a grey outfit as the away or clash strip,” Trigg said.

“It wasn’t received well, but I honestly believe that if we were winning games in that strip, it would have been a beauty. But because we were battling at the time, I think by association the grey one got shot down very quickly.”

RULES FOR SOME?

Even now there is confusion as to what does and does not constitute a clash. When Essendon hosted Carlton last weekend, the Blues, as the away team, still wore their predominantly navy home jumper, with white shorts deemed to be enough of a difference between them and the Dons for the AFL. But when Fremantle play away against the Bombers, they wear their largely white away jumper over their purple home jumper. Collingwood have barely deviated from black and white stripes in a home and away game, these days willing only to allow a predominantly white back for their clash uniform.

“I don’t really know whether it’s consistently applied or not. I don’t really care. I’ve got more important things to worry about,” said Gale.

“We know when we wear it, prior to each year, the games are designated as clash jumper games. I guess what’s unclear is the basis on which they make that assessment. Is there an empirical basis or is there just a secret herbs and spices? I don’t see a clash when Richmond plays Adelaide, but the AFL does, and that’s the part that’s probably less understood. At the end of the day, we just get on with it.”

Trigg, no longer working in the league, agreed that it was sometimes hard to figure out the league’s policy.

“In the old days as it were, black shorts and white shorts was the distinction. These days it doesn’t seem to be enough. And I think it’s probably fair. As much distinction as you can get, I don’t think anybody argues with that. Sometimes you can raise your eyebrows as to what gets through and what doesn’t,” he said.

Port Adelaide premiership captain Warren Tredrea, these days a newsreader with Nine and radio broadcaster with FiveAA, said the AFL had missed a commercial opportunity to help bolster the club’s coffers by not allowing Port to wear the prison bars jumper.

Moreover he was irked by what he perceived as favouritism towards bigger clubs like Collingwood, for whom Tredrea’s father Gary played.

“I still think both teams should have a home and away that are totally different,” Tredrea said.

“They need to make rules across the board. The AFL need to take some control of the situation.

“I think there are absolutely double standards.

“You’ve only got to go back to Anzac Day. Two wonderful guernseys created in isolation, but they almost look the same!

“Gill McLachlan said he was the CEO for the fans when he first came in, and this is a situation where they just won’t rule.”

The AFL declined to comment for this story.

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Hawthorn Hawks vs West Coast Eagles Tips, Odds and Teams – AFL 2021


MCG will play host to Sunday”s
Round 8 AFL game between Hawthorn Hawks and
West Coast Eagles. The game kicks off at 1:10 pm with West Coast Eagles heading into the game as favourites with the bookmakers. Continue reading for our in-depth preview of the Hawthorn Hawks vs.
West Coast Eagles
game and give you our free tips and bets.

When: Sunday May 9, 2021 at 1:10 pm

Where: MCG

Bet 💰: Bet On This Match HERE

Hawthorn Hawks vs West Coast Eagles Odds

Hawthorn Hawks vs West Coast Eagles Preview

Where do we start on this game? Hawthorn are a sub-par team at the moment but West Coast are no good outside of Perth.

Even with the Eagles injuries at the moment they should be too good for Hawthorn but at their current quote I’m happy to stay out of this one.

I’d be looking at the total match points market later this week, I can’t see Hawthorn allowing the Eagles to kick a big score here so play the unders maybe.



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Jordan De Goey boots six to lead Magpies to breakthrough win


Sensing the shift Pendlebury’s teammates lifted their tackling pressure and they re-established a margin with the final four goals of the third quarter which was enough to help them to an 18-point win.

It was a timely response from the Magpies, who had been under pressure all week, with list manager Ned Guy announcing his resignation during the week and supporters and players frustrated.

Steele Sidebottom gets a kick away ion his 250th match.Credit:Getty Images

North Melbourne were good in patches but could not keep up with Collingwood when they lifted their tackling pressure, however they will rue their lapse late in the second quarter.

Former Magpie Jaidyn Stephenson was the Kangaroos’ best player in the first half, kicking their first goal when John Noble – whose dad David became the third person to coach against his son in AFL history – was penalised for deliberately rushing a behind.

Noble made amends, taking the chance to show his dad what he was capable of with an excellent performance in defence, his efforts in the final quarter as North Melbourne kept coming critical to keeping them at bay.

While the deliberate rushed behind call was correct, a deliberate out of bounds paid in the second quarter was curious to say the least, with North penalised when Cameron Zurhaar’s shot for goal skewed off the side of the boot and dribbled out of bounds in the opposite forward pocket.

Kangaroos’ fans were again left furious when a free kick was paid against their skipper Jack Ziebell when he attempted to smother Darcy Cameron’s kick off the ground in the goalsquare early in the final quarter and was penalised for a below the knees infringement, mystifying the crowd.

The Magpies will be relieved by the win but may have to face Sydney next week without key defender Jordan Roughead who went off the ground with a suspected concussion, while Nathan Murphy was subbed out of the game with concussion after a head clash with North Melbourne’s Thomas.

BEST:
North Melbourne
Stephenson, Cunnington, Thomas, Goldstein
Collingwood DeGoey, Moore, Noble, Crisp, Maynard, Sidebottom, Poulter

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Score, result, match report, stats, analysis, video, news


Geelong has roared back into premiership contention with a stunning come-from-behind 63-point win over Richmond at the MCG.

There were eerie similarities to the sides’ recent finals meetings all night, with the Tigers (4-4) bringing immense pressure early, before the Cats (5-3) flipped the script with a huge second half.

After being 19 points down in the second term, last year’s runners-up never looked troubled, with Jeremy Cameron (six goals), Gary Rohan (five) and Tom Hawkins (four) taking advantage of faster ball movement and a Richmond back six seriously missing Dylan Grimes. In the end, it was an 82-point turnaround.

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The loss means the Tigers have gone 0-3 in the three Grand Final rematches in their current dynastic era.

Their only highlight was a likely Mark of the Year winner from Shai Bolton in the first quarter.

Bolton’s exquisite aerial grab! | 00:39

QUARTER-BY-QUARTER MATCH REPORT

Geelong pulled a trademark late change, replacing ruckman Rhys Stanley with Esava Ratugolea, for the latter’s first game this year. The subs were Patrick Naish (Richmond) and Quinton Narkle (Geelong).

Tom Lynch gave Richmond the opening goal of the night, while Dustin Martin had four disposals in the opening six minutes. Shai Bolton then stunned fans with the likely Mark of the Year, soaring over Mark Blicavs – and kicking a goal from the grab.

The Cats finally got some reward for territory dominance when Shaun Higgins, in his first game back from injury, gave them their first goal with five minutes left in the term.

After a Jack Riewoldt goal, the Tigers led 4.3 (27) to 1.3 (9) at quarter-time.

In his 150th game, Gary Rohan goalled to begin the second term, as his Cats started to overcome some early nerves when placed under the Tigers’ trademark pressure.

Goals to the Cats’ big three forwards of Jeremy Cameron, Tom Hawkins and Rohan then cut the margin back to four points. They were moving the ball faster, with four of five coming from chains that started in the defensive 50.

The only man who could stop them was Jake Aarts, who kicked three goals in the second term, the last sparked by a fantastic piece of speedy play from Daniel Rioli.

A late Cameron goal put Geelong down 6.4 (40) to 7.7 (49) at halftime; he had 12 disposals, two majors and a game-high six score involvements in the first half.

Brad Close got the Cats closer with the opening goal of the third term as Sam Simpson came off the ground with what the club called a “lower body” injury, while Luke Dahlhaus required treatment on his back and sternum after a heavy hit.

Cameron’s third goal of the night gave Geelong their first lead, with James Brayshaw on Seven saying the Tigers looked “rattled” after they dropped several simple marks.

The Cats’ big forwards then got on a roll. Rohan and Cameron both added their fourth goals of the night as part of a six-goal unanswered run.

In his first game back at the MCG since the 2019 Grand Final, Cameron added a fifth to send the Cats into three-quarter-time up 14.8 (92) to 8.9 (57) – a 54-point turnaround in the space of two quarters.

Making matters worse for the Tigers was an ankle injury to Shane Edwards.

Rohan’s fifth goal extended the margin out to 42 points early in the final term, before Bolton finally snapped the unanswered run, but the Cats continued their dominance to run away with a huge win.

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THE 3-2-1 — What we learned, via David Zita

3) JEZZA IS AS BIG A RECRUIT AS WE THOUGHT HE WAS (AND SO ARE THE OTHER TWO)

On the surface, three first round picks is a massive amount to pay for one player, regardless of what comes back the other way.

Friday night was the ultimate audit of whether the investment was worthwhile – it was.

Jeremy Cameron was simply brilliant against Richmond on a ground where the premiers are decided – and a ground he hadn‘t played on since the 2019 Grand Final.

If anyone knows about thriving on the big stage, it‘s Brisbane Lions legend Jonathan Brown, and he was one who mentioned pre-game just how well suited Cameron should be to the wide expanses of the MCG.

“This is where they should be the most effective because there‘s more room to move here,” Brown said on Fox Footy of Cameron’s combination with Tom Hawkins and Gary Rohan.

“I‘m looking forward to that dynamic tonight on a ground the Cats have had trouble with against the Tigers in the past.”

Tomahawk’s picture perfect goal | 00:35

They had no trouble on Friday night, with Cameron, Gary Rohan and Tom Hawkins combining to kick 15 goals.

Joining Cameron in proving their worth as recruits were Shaun Higgins and Isaac Smith.

Higgins finished with 23 touches and a goal with brilliant composure around the ball when the pressure was on, while Smith‘s run was instrumental throughout the match.

All three kicked goals and all three emphasised how monumental they could prove in Geelong’s premiership tilt.

2) THE TIGERS NEED DYLAN GRIMES

Dustin Martin’s absence hurt last week, but the Tigers were able to get the job done against the Western Bulldogs in ominous fashion.

On Friday night against Geelong, however, they were without Dylan Grimes due to a concussion concern – and for once in their brilliant run in recent years were unable to cover for the loss of a key player.

On several occasions, what seemed to be a regulation Richmond mark in defence was instead a fumble that invited the Cats into the contest and saw them kick several out-the-back goals – Grimes‘ absence was surely one of the factors in such a rare sight.

“They‘ve been so brilliant and so dominant for so long Richmond – I don’t think I can remember seeing them this wobbly in the back half,” James Brayshaw noted on Channel 7.

“I know the Cats’ pressure has been extreme but some of the dropped marks, fumbles et cetera is so unlike Richmond.”

Thankfully for Richmond, Grimes isn‘t set to miss much longer than this week, but it was a game that underscored just how important he has been.

1) THE DOMINO EFFECT IS REAL AT THE CATTERY

Not only was Jeremy Cameron instrumental in the win, kicking six goals, but he roamed freely up the ground to rack up the footy and draw attention away from Rohan, who looks like the biggest winner out of the Cats’ new arrival.

In the three games they‘ve all played together so far, Rohan has kicked three goals, two goals and on Friday night five goals.

The domino effect is a well-worn adage in footy, but Rohan‘s performance is proof Cameron’s arrival is monumental in more than just pure individual numbers.

Speaking post-game, Rohan himself admitted the absence of Dylan Grimes was helpful from a Geelong point of view, but his performances in recent weeks has to be a massively positive sign for Chris Scott.

Re-live Richmond vs Geelong in our live blog below!

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Lance Franklin, Dane Rampe back but Jones dropped ahead of MCG clash


Sydney superstar Lance Franklin will make an earlier than expected return, while co-captain Dane Rampe is also back from injury to face unbeaten Melbourne on Saturday night.

Franklin has missed the past fortnight because of bone bruising on his knee and had been expected to miss more than a month. But the veteran forward made the trip to Melbourne with his teammates on Thursday and has been named to face the league-leading Demons at the MCG.

Lance Franklin at a Swans training session on Friday. He will be back in action on Saturday against Melbourne.Credit:Getty Images

Swans chief executive Tom Harley said Franklin, 34, had done all that was required to complete an early recall.

“Clearly there’s a management element with all of our players but this was a contact, unpreventable type of injury,” Harley said.

“He’s done a power of work, as [Swans coach] John [Longmire] said on Monday, and he’s fully preparing to play.”

Dane Rampe will return for the Swans.

Dane Rampe will return for the Swans. Credit:Getty Images

Rampe has recovered from finger surgery last month, ensuring the Swans’ defence has greater flexibility, while Nick Blakey was also one of four inclusions. However, they have lost star forward Isaac Heeney to a jarred ankle he hurt against Geelong last week.

In good news, assistant coaches Don Pyke, Jarrad McVeigh and Dean Cox were allowed to board a Sydney-Melbourne flight on Friday to fulfil their roles. They had not been able to make the trip on Thursday as they had been to a cafe near the club’s training base which had been deemed a hot-spot location by NSW health officials.

The Demons have opted to overlook out-of-contract big man Sam Weideman, preferring to recall Harrison Petty to replace the injured Adam Tomlinson, who will miss the rest of the season because of a torn ACL.

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Cats confirm eyebrow raising late change for Grand Final rematch


Despite only naming their team 24 hours ago, Geelong has swung a late change with ruckman Rhys Stanley going out for Esava Ratugolea.

Adding to the confusion, Cats assistant coach Nigel Lappin has confirmed that Stanley was simply dropped.

The ruckman was of course named in the team on Thursday night.

Stanley struggled in last week’s loss to Sydney, with Swans ruckman Tom Hickey getting the better of him.

“Yes (Stanley) has (been dropped),” Lappin confirmed on AFL Nation.

“Rhys was far from at his best last week. That happens time to time with some players.”

“Rhys has been as disappointed as anyone. He’s worked hard at his game this week.

“With Esava tonight we’ve got a young, fit, healthy guy who’s really excited about getting his opportunity out there tonight. He’s played pretty well against the Tigers in the past and we wanted to give him the opportunity tonight.”

Ratugolea being named to play was not a surprise. AFL Media’s Mitch Cleary reported on Wednesday that the key forward would get his shot in the ruck this week.

The team sheets on Thursday night appeared to prove that report wrong. Evidently it was proven right.

Geelong under coach Chris Scott have developed a reputation for swinging late changes, including with their ruck position in the past.

Stanley was dropped in the hours leading up to a Qualifying Final clash with Collingwood in 2019.







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Richmond Tigers v Geelong Cats; round eight; results, new, fixtures, odds, tipping, teams, draw;


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