The AFL made another huge fixturing blunder in not scheduling the Geelong-Richmond game in prime-time.
With the rolling fixture, there was no excuse - the Sydney-St Kilda snoozefest should have been the Saturday twilight game, followed by the Cats-Tigers encounter.
The MCG classic turned out to be probably the best game this season and warranted a much bigger TV audience than it received with the 4.35pm start on Fox Footy. The twilight time slot proved attractive for Geelong fans making their way along the Princes Highway, but the crowd of just under 60,000 might have been even bigger with a later start on a cold but clear night.
Super Saturday provided a clearer picture of where most finals contenders stood.
The Cats moved to second after defeating Richmond and their encounter against Melbourne in round 17 will provide some indication, although they are likely to be without triple All-Australian defender Tom Stewart. But, importantly, that game is at GMHBA Stadium and not at the MCG, which is where Geelong has fallen short in most finals in the past decade and needs to be at its best in September.
Richmond lost no friends with its gallant display after losing midfielder Dion Prestia early due to the incident involving Stewart. But the Tigers relinquished their spot in the top eight to the Western Bulldogs after they thrashed Hawthorn.
Fremantle capitulated on the road against a ruthless Carlton, which remained in contention for a top-four spot despite a horrific run of injuries. The Dockers were missing several key players, including Michael Walters, Blake Acres and Sam Switkowski and their much-vaunted defence held up well under extreme pressure, but the greatest worry for coach Justin Longmuir was the sub-par performances of captain Nat Fyfe and fellow veteran David Mundy, who struggled against the speedy, busy Blues midfield.
Carlton is on track to play in the finals for the first time since 2013 after producing its most consistent performance for the season. In what should be an enthralling Friday night match, the Blues meet the desperate Saints, who have lost their past three games but should regain experienced ruckman Paddy Ryder.
After being humiliated in its first game at the MCG since the opening round of 2020, Brisbane should definitely request more games at football's headquarters.
If the Lions are going to be genuine contenders deep in September, they must do much better at the home of football, where they have not won since round 21, 2014.
When the Brisbane Lions were created as a result of the merger between Fitzroy and the Brisbane Bears, they were guaranteed a minimum of six games in Melbourne.
But this year, they are scheduled to play only four during the home and away season. - two at the MCG and two at Marvel Stadium.
Any lingering doubts about Melbourne's premiership credentials were dispelled by its thrashing of the Lions with injured skipper Max Gawn watching from the sidelines.
The Demons are the team to beat with eight home and away rounds to go, but their greatest rival remains a subject of discussion and debate.
Jordan De Goey should have realised his mere presence in Bali would attract attention and been advised to be as discreet as possible, instead of allowing his actions to be captured on social media and inevitably released.
While De Goey's salacious activities provoked hysterical reactions from outraged commentators and former players, what has been conveniently overlooked by many is that the woman involved here was a willing participant and has since backed him.
The AFL supported Collingwood's penalty of a suspended fine, but the League's reaction in preaching from its woke handbook was out of kilter for an incident involving a young man and woman having fun in a nightclub and not breaking any laws.
De Goey has let himself and the Magpies down with his lewd gestures, and as a senior player, he should set a better example to younger teammates such as Jack Ginnivan and Isaac Quaynor, who also found themselves in an unrelated spot of bother after details of their social media post leaked out.
Collingwood and De Goey's management should take some responsibility for the unholy mess and subsequent public relations disaster.
While coach Craig McRae backed the decision to allow him to go on the mid-season jaunt, hindsight says otherwise.
At 26, he should be considered mature and smart enough to be given such liberties, but the truth is the renowned party boy has lessons to learn.
De Goey's boozy antics in Bali is the latest off-field misstep and is likely to hurt his hip pocket.
A lucrative contract deal is off the table as Collingwood weighs up its options with the midfielder/forward becoming a free agent at the end of this season.
As gifted as he is, the Magpie is going down a self-destructive path.
He should heed the advice of former player Brendan Fevola, whose off-field indiscretions proved costly during a controversial career with the Carlton and Brisbane clubs.
These days, the former full-forward, who has turned his life around as a breakfast radio host, has urged De Goey not to follow his example.
Has Howard got it right?
Email: email@example.com; Twitter: @hpkotton59
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