FEARLESS 2021 Round 1: RIP the bump – The bump is dead

Hi all,  and we’re back…sorry for the lateness but been a busy weekend.


Patrick Dangerfield said he felt like he was on trial for murder, such was the media spotlight on his bump.

At the end of the day, he chose to bump. Now he has a three week holiday care of the Match Review Panel. Done and dusted. Coaches will definitely try to eliminate that from players, despite some naively saying the bump is still alive.


The increased awareness of CTE in concussions and the revelation of sub-concussions has now put the AFL into semi-damage control. CTE is Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or the degeneration of the brain due to repeated head traumas. AFL Past Players Danny Frawley and Graham Polly Farmer have had these revealed in autopsies. Shane Tuck never had a concussion playing football but had plenty of sub concussions, not clinically diagnosed concussion, but more a bump, blow or jolt to the head. Shane’s autopsy revealed as such.


So the AFL starts to view the game differently…as the cynics might say, due to the financial ramifications of these advances in medical knowledge. Dare I say it, but if Will Smith can play the doctor that discovered the link between these head knocks and damage in American Football, then this was always on the cards.


Now the duty of care changes and the impact on a player who didn’t see it coming is taken into higher consideration. Adelaide’s Jake Kelly might have started  snowball effect, whether he knows it too. Nat Fyfe, likewise, but that’s round 2…


However you cut it, the risk of the bump is now far outweighing the reward. The coaches will act accordingly. If they don’t, then the MRO will continue to come down hard on offending players, regardless of their standing in the game.



2021 FEARLESS Round 1: The Crowds return to the MCG and Marvel after 537 days…


Thursday 18th March was a night I don’t think I’ll forget for a while. As I strolled out the Richmond train station, people were returning again, like those restored Avengers in Endgame. Added to that, Carlton was competitive for 4 quarters against a Reigning Premier in Richmond who had just unfurled not one but two flags. Some things don’t change, however, and his name is Dusty! Tigers by 4 goals. Dusty everywhere…


The Adam Treloar Cup took place at the G on Friday Night. Dogs v Pies result of 2020 turned on its head with the gold flowing locks of Bailey Smith leading the Bulldogs to a solid 16pt win in perfect night footy conditions. Pendles and a few others tried to change the Pies’ fortunes but reality states their forward line struggled. The Bulldogs didn’t much extend their lead beyond qtr time, but never looked in too much doubt.


Freo’s defensive matchsticks in Hamling and Pearce lined up against the Demons for varying % of the game, only to succumb to injury both yet again. Ouch…footy’s unfair sometimes. At the other end Demon defenders May and Lever held sway, repelling Freo’s attacks and ensuring that the Demons started off the season on a winning note. Not bad, given a lack of attacking Demons. Melbourne winners at the G by 22pts.


Hard to say that the Cats dissed their opposition on Saturday evening, but the Crows certainly exposed their hooped counterparts. Led by the big Texan and a collective gang tackling mentality, the Crows buried the hoodoo of 2020’s wooden spoon with a solid four quarter effort against the Grand Finalists. Frampton came alive to assist Tex’s 5, with another 2. Rory Laird and Lachie Sholl led the Crows mids, home by 12pts.


Ben Rutten’s coaching tenure was off to a flyer when the Dons led the Hawks by 39pts midway through the 2nd qtr. That the Hawks won by a point, probably indicated that Clarko had a few tricks up his sleeve, like Dylan Moore with 3. Tim O’Brien’s winner a fair effort, given his career output, a tough mark for someone carrying the famed 23 jumper. 8 goals to 1.4 by the Hawks in the 3rd…did someone say KFC?


Meanwhile at the Gabba the clash of the relocated Victorian teams to other parts of Australia didn’t quite pan out as the pundits thought. The Swans’ new recruits looked the goods in McDonald, Gulden and Campbell, reducing the Lions roar to a whimper. The Preliminary Finalists of 2020, the Lions looked out of sorts. Sydney, however, looked ready make a statement! Swans easy…and now the Buddy returns..


North started well against Port Adelaide, only to wilt in the second qtr as the Power rattled on 8 goals. Whilst Stephenson enjoyed some Roos midfield time, Port’s prolific midfield led by Boak and ably assisted by recruits Aliir in the back half and Fantasia up forward set the tone for a 9 goal win. Port’s window is now open. September dreaming or attempted burglary…time just may tell. North coach Noble was upbeat.


A sodden Western Sydney saw the Saints steal a vital opening away win against the Rooty Hill Water Rats. Dan Butler coiff suffered due to the wet, a process known as mulletification. Otherwise solid efforts from Saints leaders Steele and Membery made the most of the novice ruck contest between Flynn (GWS) and Hunter (Saints). The Giants had their chances but the Saints grabbed momentum when it was on the line.


Matt Rowell returned to the AFL arena as the Gold Coast took on the West Coast in the State of McGowan. Rowell also became the first medical sub to leave the field due to pale skin and red hair on a 33 degree day. Trim Tim Kelly (gee that’s harsh by the WA media) led the Eagles to overcome a gallant Suns outfit by 4 goals. The Eagles looking to atone for a disappointing 2020 finals campaign. Suns now on the improve.



The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in the coming weeks. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order right now HERE


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