Round 20 Talking Points, analysis, highlights, reaction, results, Luke Jackson trade, Sean Darcy, Jack Ginnivan

While there was ample attention — again — on Jack Ginnivan, another high free at the same time at a different game split Fox Footy pundits.

Plus the possible trade domino effect at Fremantle, Collingwood’s shrewd drafting and the “real deal” contender with “weapons on every line”.

The big issues from Round 20 of the 2022 AFL season analysed in Talking Points!

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‘NOT OPEN SEASON ON THE HEAD’: LEGENDS SQUARE OFF OVER FREE KICK DEBATE

AFL legends David King and Dermott Brereton have gone head-to-head with differing opinions over a non-high free kick call to Toby Greene during GWS’ clash with Sydney.

In the first quarter of the SCG match Greene gathered the ball in the forward pocket and was taken high by Paddy McCartin after the Giants star appeared to slightly lower his body into the tackle as the umpire called play on.

It comes after the league recently confirmed a crackdown on high interpretations for players who duck or shrug into a tackle, with umpires even instructed to pay holding the ball when there’s prior opportunity.

Collingwood young gun Jack Ginnivan has largely been at the centre of the debate, which raged on during the Pies’ win over Port Adelaide, for his capacity to draw free kicks.

But it was the play involving Greene and McCartin that saw King and Brereton engage in a fiery debate on Fox Footy.

Was Greene taken high? Legends disagree! | 01:47

Brereton believes Greene retreated to accentuating contact because McCartin was charging at him and he had no other options, while King argued he would’ve been taken high regardless, leading to the two greats squaring off.

King suggested the new high contact interpretation shouldn’t mean it’s “open season the head”, like when Ginnivan was tackled high by Essendon’s Mason Redman last week — an incident the AFL conceded Ginnivan should’ve received a free kick for.

Read the fill exchange between Brereton and King below.

Brereton: “I will defend Toby Greene until the ends of the footballing world, but this is not a free kick, because Toby enters this situation, thinking, ‘I’m either going to get tackled with no prior (opportunity), or I can get a free kick. I am going to make sure I get caught around the neck here, I have contributed wholeheartedly to getting head-high contact here’.”

King: “He’s (McCartin) coming in high. McCartin’s arm is already too high to stick this tackle.”

Brereton: “No, it’s not.”

King: “Yes it is. His bicep there is already above Greene’s shoulder. That tackle is going high every day of the week.”

Brereton: “His (McCartin) hand is across his chest because he’s bending into it, look how low he is.”

King: “He’s (McCartin) got to get lower than that to tackle.”

Brereton: “That vision there, you see how low Toby’s bottom is off the ground, he’s inches off the ground. There’s no need for him to go to ground, and therefore it’s contributing him to getting head high.”

King: “The tackler has a responsibility to go low, it’s not open season on the head.”

Brereton: “It never has been.”

King: “Well we’re making it like that … ”

Brereton: “No we’re not, I disagree we are, it’s not open season. You’ve still got a responsibility to not do anything stupid. But if you aim up the tackle where the chest was a millisecond before that player goes into his exit strategy, that is your opportunity to stand up in the tackle.”

Why? Preuss FLATTENS Rowbottom | 00:23

DOCKERS FACE DARCY DILEMMA AMID JACKSON DEAL

With Luke Jackson officially putting off contract talks with Melbourne until the end of the season, a trade to Fremantle seems more and more inevitable with each passing week.

If, as expected, Jackson heads home to Perth and Rory Lobb heads to Victoria, a fascinating question remains: What about Sean Darcy?

While just 20 years of age with a lot of development to go, Jackson’s best football so far in his career has been when played as a predominant ruckman, with the former pick No. 3’s most recent ‘breakout’ game coming in the absence of Max Gawn against the Brisbane Lions in round 15.

Jackson was injured the following week and Gawn returned to the side, with Jackson’s returns as a predominant forward since then more modest.

He’d averaged 11.3 disposals between rounds 17 and 19, two clearances and 4.7 score involvements, hardly numbers that would warrant the sort of money Fremantle is reportedly prepared to fork out for him.

Melksham snatches Freo jersey from fan! | 00:32

The issue for the Dockers is that they’ve already got a star ruckman in Darcy. He’s 24 years of age and injury has prevented him from consistently showing his best, but at his peak he is arguably one of the top two rucks in the competition.

With Jackson a likely arrival on a contract far more lucrative than his own, Darcy would have to be wondering if the Dockers don’t value him as much as his potential new teammate.

AFL 360 co-host Gerard Whateley is one such pundit who sees opportunity for rival clubs in Darcy, who is contracted until 2024.

“If I was a third club, I would be all over Darcy, trying to disrupt all of that,” he said on SEN’s Crunch Time.

“(I’d be saying), ‘mate, what do you think’s going to happen next year? They’re going to pay him $1.2 million, which is half a million more than you’re earning and you’re going to have to share your time. You might be about to become the All-Australian ruckman. Come and play with us and you can play 85 per cent in the ruck’.

Busy off-season looms for the Dockers | 00:56

“I would be all over him if I was another club.”

Co-host Kane Cornes is of the belief Jackson is a ruckman, not a forward. Darcy is in the same bracket.

Two does not go into one, so Justin Longmuir is going to have a headache heading into next year should things unfold as expected this trade period.

PIES NAILING MID-SEASON PICKS

Collingwood has been lauded for its bargain recruiting helping drive the club’s resurgence and current 10-game winning streak, and it deserves particular praise for its mid-season drafting over the last three years.

The crux of the Pies’ list hasn’t necessarily been built on early picks, but shrewd late selections and value trades, contributing to a rise no one saw coming in 2022.

Starting with the inaugural 2019 mid-season draft, Collingwood picked up John Noble (25 years old), who’s developed into a reliable contributor in the club’s sturdy back six and one of the best overall talents to come out of the mid-season draft.

Noble’s 63 AFL games are the most of any player to come out of the mid-year pool.

Then in 2021 the Pies added Ash Johnson (24) and Aiden Begg (19), the former who’s impressed in recent weeks with six goals from three games to provide another forward marking target the club has long cried out for to help Brody Mihocek.

Then in this year’s mid-season draft Collingwood recruited Josh Carmichael (22), who’s instantly competed for a spot in a top-four side and impressed when he’s got an opportunity including kicking two goals in the fourth quarter of last week’s after-the-siren win over Essendon after coming on as the medical sub.

While none of the quartet are necessarily top-line stars, it’s helped round out a Magpies list that 12 months ago, most would’ve acknowledged looked to be in a dire state, but suddenly boasts solid depth.

Collingwood has no doubt recruited a little differently to other clubs, and the variety of mechanisms these days allows teams to be more creative.

It begs the question of whether the Magpies have used the mid-season draft better than any other side.

Pies pip Port to the points at the MCG | 02:20

Essendon could well be its biggest challenger, using it to bring Will Snelling, Sam Durham and Massimo D’Ambrosio into its mix.

Meanwhile individual success stories to come out of the mid-season draft include Richmond’s Marlion Pickett, Hawthorn’s Jai Newcombe,Western Bulldogs’ Ryan Gardner and West Coast’s Connor West.

But the Pies may well have used it as effectively as any side over the three-year period as a genuine tool to build their list and recruit players capable of making an impact.

The AFL’s mid-season draft first ran from 1990-1993 before being brought back in 2019.

MOST BEWILDERING ASPECT TO COSTLY CARLTON LOSS

With a pivotal clash against Brisbane looming, Carlton coach Michael Voss must quickly figure out why his charges couldn’t match Adelaide’s intensity and desire in a desperately disappointing showing on Saturday night.

Otherwise the Blues’ largely promising season could embarrassingly all be for nothing.

The Blues had an opportunity to guarantee a finals berth with a win at Adelaide Oval, but instead were outworked by the hungry Crows in a 29-point loss that kept them winless at the ground after six attempts.

As Lions great Jonathan Brown pointed out on Fox Footy’s Best On Ground, the Crows had been in promising form over recent weeks and were due to claim a scalp. That came on Saturday night.

So with their finals spot still far from secured, the Blues had a chance to defy any doubters and prove how desperately they wanted to break their top-eight drought. Instead, Carlton fans went to bed on Saturday night fearing the unlikely, yet possible, prospect of another year not featuring in September.

Four-time Power best and fairest winner Kane Cornes labelled it a “bitterly disappointing loss” for Carlton, pointing to its inability to stick tackles against the Crows.

“You’ve got the coach who’s one of the toughest players to ever play the game and they’ve relied on toughness all year to get them into the position they’re in – and then they go to Adelaide against the youngest team in the competition and they serve up more missed tackles than I think I’ve ever seen in a game of football,” Cornes told Channel 9’s The Sunday Footy Show.

“There was 20 to 30 missed tackles … This is embarrassing against the youngest team in the competition.

“They’re going sit through a review on Monday and say: ‘How can we miss tackles like that and give Adelaide second and third opportunities?’

“It is physically a really disappointing performance from a Carlton side who we have admired their toughness this year.”

Speaking to reporters post-game, Voss said the Crows “just had a greater desire than us”.

Crows surprise Blues at Adelaide Oval | 01:31

“There’s not too many games this year where we’ve walked away and lost the ground ball number that we did, there’s not too many games where we’ve been on the negative side of contested possession,” he said.

“That effort, workrate, outnumber and winning contests … that’s got to be the cornerstone of your game every time you play.

“We just didn’t get any flow on the game.”

While they still have 12 wins for the season – traditionally enough victories to secure a finals spot, but not this year – the Blues will need one more win to guarantee a September spot. But if they can’t beat any of the Lions, Demons or Magpies, they’d be in legitimate danger of missing the eight altogether.

That’s a remarkable prospect considering the Blues have been in the top eight in every week since Round 1 this season.

‘REAL DEAL’ CONTENDER WITH ‘WEAPONS ON EVERY LINE’

Geelong is the new favourite, Melbourne remains a genuine threat, Brisbane is primed to challenge again and surprise packet Collingwood has the AFL world in a spin after 10 consecutive wins.

But the Sydney Swans are coming – hard and fast. The evidence is banking up and is now too hard to ignore: They are a legitimate flag fancy in 2022.

The Swans have now won four games on the trot and seven of their past nine matches to leapfrog Fremantle and move into fourth spot on the AFL ladder.

John Longmire’s men have become a genuine offensive threat, averaging 100.1 points from their past six games.

Super Swans clobber sub-par Giants | 01:02

Isaac Heeney and Tom Papley are in tremendous touch forward of centre, Errol Gulden and Chad Warner are hitting the scoreboard and Lance Franklin has continued to be a reliable contributor.

Their defensive group is well organised and disciplined, while their on-ball brigade is starting to win more contested possession and clearance counts.

There’s also a hard edge to the Swans without the ball, applying relentless pressure that has caught so many opposition sides off-guard.

And, therefore, dual premiership Kangaroo David King is convinced.

“Underestimate the Swans at your own peril. They are the real deal,” King told Fox Footy on Saturday.

“They’ve got weapons on every line, they’ve got star-factor players across every line that separate games.

“What Nick Blakey’s doing down back, what the McCartin’s are doing down back – they make it impossible to play against – Dane Rampe’s new role where they’re not asking as much of him and he’s been able to lock away the opposition’s best small forward.

“Then you step forward of centre and players like Errol Gulden and Chad Warner now delivering those balls inside 50. There’s a point of difference with their forwarded line. It’s the most effective forward 50 in the competition over the last six weeks at turning an entry into a score – and when you look at some of the names down there you wouldn’t think that, but that’s the reality.

“They want for nothing. This is just about management and health now.”

Super Swans clobber sub-par Giants | 01:02

Dual All-Australian Leigh Montagna said the Swans had become a more reliable, four-quarter team.

“Their profile suggests they are building and can win the premiership, from what I’ve seen now,” Montagna told Fox Footy.

“They’ll be able to play in a preliminary final and can go on from there.

“I think their inconsistencies from earlier in the season where they were doing it for maybe two quarters or three quarters, well we’re now seeing they’re able to sustain it for four quarters.

“With the confidence they’ve got at the back-end of the season, anything’s possible.

“They’ve got a perfect balance of star power and role players. You’ve got Heeney, Papley and Blakey, but then there’s guys like Ryan Clarke and James Rowbottom, Justin McInerney and Ollie Florent playing roles across wing and half-back and doing what they need to do. It’s a really nice blend.”

Collingwood sits above the Swans on the ladder with an extra win, but Sydney has a superior percentage, meaning Longmire’s troops could pounce on any slip-up by either team. Coincidentally, the Swans and Magpies will face off in Round 22, with the winner surely favoured to finish inside the top four.

Watch out.

— with NCA Newswire

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