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Jump Ball’s 2018 AFL season eve ramblings

Jacob Townsend of the Tigers reacts after kicking a goal. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)
Roar Guru
21st March, 2018
1

Are these rare insights or the ravings of a madman? Only a season will tell.

Potential post-Round 1 Armageddon narrative
There is only one real ‘danger game’ this weekend and it just happens to involve a club in St Kilda that is set on a hair trigger for disappointment.

Shorn of the generational Nick Riewoldt and the club’s last links with its oh-so-close golden era, this season’s Saints loom as a rebuilt house that its owners are not too keen on.

Seemingly lacking out-and-out star power and with a dearth in senior leadership, St Kilda is confronting the very real prospect of mid-table purgatory for the foreseeable future.

That Saints football boss, Simon Lethlean declared on season’s eve that the club would be aggressively hunting talent was not exactly a ringing endorsement of the current roster.

A Round 1 loss at home to the reenergised, Hawthorn-infused Lions and you can bet there will be crows circling Moorabbin.

A thumping Saints win and you know what I said about a madman.

Bulldogs bite
Whatever happened to those flag-contented endearing Doggies, and what will the calm after the storm look like at the Western Oval?

If it wasn’t the very public and unbecoming battle of egos between club benefactor, Susan Alberti and current president, Peter Gordon, it was Luke Beveridge’s alleged feud with the media.

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Throw in the unsavoury Jake Stringer exit and the nagging feeling Tom Liberatore is destined to follow him out the door, and who knows where the Bulldogs are.

Then just when you thought it was all over, the alleged (and subsequently denied) trade bombshell dropped this week.

If that’s not enough, there’s also the small matter of Tom Boyd’s salary cap-munching $1m per year salary with four years to run that somehow gets lost amidst his 2016 finals heroics.

Most will obviously argue his instrumental role in clinching a drought-breaking premiership for the Dogs is a cure-all.

Yet, a four-game ruck cameo (albeit in the furnace of September) viewed through the lens of an otherwise very pedestrian initial three-year spell (without making light of his recent depression struggles) falls a long way short of the marquee key forward the Dogs signed up for, unless there is a dramatic uptick starting this season.

Hawkeye
The 2018 edition Hawks are the (seemingly) dead horror movie baddie that the camera pans to at the end of the film and you dread seeing wink.

Each time you find yourself dismissing them something stops you, most likely those last four premierships on the shelf at Glenferrie Oval, Clarkson still punching holes in walls, and the likes of Jarryd Roughead and Cyril Rioli running around in that (ghastly) brown and gold.

But they really are done right?

Non-believer

I still can’t believe:

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• The Tigers won the premiership.
• That it took so long for the Cats to manipulate Gary Ablett Jr’s return.
• The Tigers won the premiership.
• The one club (Demons) that couldn’t be seen to dodge a hardcore pre-season camp dodged a hardcore pre-season camp and did it in about the most public fashion possible.
• The Tigers won the premiership.
• GWS hasn’t made a grand final.
• The Tigers won the premiership.
• Doc Reid is still the Bombers’ doctor.
• The Tigers won the premiership.
• The Hawks gave Ty Vickery a three-year deal.
• The Tigers won the premiership.
• That Wayne Carey is blithely grinning at us through our TV screens at prime time.
• The Tigers won the premiership.
• How Jack Watts is feeling about playing in teal.
• The Tigers won the premiership.
• Jake Stringer’s haircut.
• The Tigers won the premiership.