Round 22 will likely be the week Jarryd Roughead gets a farewell game, should Alastair Clarkson choose to re-call the Hawks veteran. Picture: Luke Hemer/Getty Images.
Round 22 will likely be the week Jarryd Roughead gets a farewell game, should Alastair Clarkson choose to re-call the Hawks veteran. Picture: Luke Hemer/Getty Images.

Why Round 22 will be the best of the season

Welcome to footy's wondrous weekend.

If last week was like drinking battery acid, Round 22 looks champagne on paper.

 

 

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Granted, the world's most prolific used car salesman would struggle to get you excited about Friday night's Melbourne-Sydney affair, but after that - like The Beatles - the hits keep coming.

The caretakers facing off, teams under the pump, the fight for top spot, the fight for top four and the fight for the top eight - virtually every game has huge ramifications.

So, faced with the sort of drama you can't get on Netflix, we've sought to rank the storylines the only way we know how - by popcorn.

 

Essendon needs a win against Fremantle to start planning for finals. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images.
Essendon needs a win against Fremantle to start planning for finals. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images.

 

ESSENDON

When you're coming off a 104-point belting in which you've conceded 21 unanswered goals you become the subject of morbid fascination.

When you've also kicked eight goals in your last six quarters of football, your coach is under the pump and you've got a road trip to Perth to face Fremantle, how can we not be interested?

Then there's the fact Dockers coach Ross Lyon has stoked the fire before he's even flown back west.

Speaking to SEN from Melbourne airport on Monday morning, Lyon said: "I feel like I've never coached better … some Melbourne teams haven't won a final for 15 years."

(5 popcorns)

 

THE BATTLE FOR TOP SPOT

Geelong has its mojo back after restricting North Melbourne to the lowest score in its history.

The Brisbane Lions are on an eight-match winning streak.

The game is a sellout and we are all strapped in to witness a battle for top spot between the Cats and Lions - a match-up unthinkable two months ago.

The Gabba has again become the Gabbatoir and isn't it great?

(5 popcorns)

 

THE BATTLE FOR TOP FOUR

West Coast this week pack their bags for Melbourne and a date with Richmond knowing a win will catapult it to second on the ladder.

Beat Hawthorn at home the following week and they get two home games in September.

The stakes are enormous for Adam Simpson's mob.

The Tigers, meanwhile, need a win to keep Collingwood at bay in the fight for fourth.

(4 popcorns)

 

West Coast has a formidable record at the MCG, but Richmond rarely loses there. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images.
West Coast has a formidable record at the MCG, but Richmond rarely loses there. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images.

 

AND FOR TOP EIGHT

This time last year Collingwood were fifth with a similarly lengthy injury list and snuck into the top four with reinforcements arriving in the nick of time.

If history is to repeat the Pies need to beat Adelaide, who is in the fight of its life to make the top eight.

Rory Sloane shapes as a huge selection call in a huge game.

(4 popcorns)

 

AND FOR TOP EIGHT II

Port Adelaide may have been the AFL's rollercoaster this season, but Kenny's mob have come good.

Yet the Power are one of up to seven teams fighting for two finals spots, which means there's no room for those familiar slip-ups now.

(4 popcorns)

 

 

Western Bulldogs can further stake a finals claim when they take on top-eight side GWS.
Western Bulldogs can further stake a finals claim when they take on top-eight side GWS.

 

 

WHO LET THE DOGS OUT?

Who could ever forget that 2016 preliminary final at the Sydney Showgrounds when the Dogs stunned GWS to make their first Grand Final in 54 years?

Bevo's boys go back to the scene of one of their finest moments, albeit not with the same amount of chips on the table, but still with plenty on the line.

A win will go a long way towards them returning to September action for the first time since and snuffing out what has been an ongoing criticism of the club.

(4 popcorns)

 

THE CARETAKERS

We've had the Teague Train, but are we now witnessing the Ratten Rocket?

The Saints have seemingly taken flight with Brett Ratten and like David Teague at the Blues, the interim coach is amassing a groundswell of support.

"I'm a massive advocate for him. I've certainly got my fingers crossed and hoping that he stays on next year. The boys love him," Dan Hannebery told SEN.

Teague and Ratten lock magnet boards on Saturday arvo, where only one can keep the romance alive.

(3 popcorns)

 

 

Round 22 will likely be the week Jarryd Roughead gets a farewell game, should Alastair Clarkson choose to re-call the Hawks veteran. Picture: Luke Hemer/Getty Images.
Round 22 will likely be the week Jarryd Roughead gets a farewell game, should Alastair Clarkson choose to re-call the Hawks veteran. Picture: Luke Hemer/Getty Images.

 

ROUGHY FAREWELL

Whether Hawthorn star Jarryd Roughead gets one has taken on a life of its own.

If he does, it will go a long way to bringing a dull Sunday 4.40pm MCG meeting with the lowly Gold Coast Suns to life.

That, and the fact the Hawks are still a mathematical chance to play finals.

(3 popcorns)

 

FRIDAY NIGHT

Melbourne (17th) have been dubbed irrelevant and Sydney (15th) are playing the kids.

And it's happening on Friday night prime time.

Talk about all dressed up and nowhere to go.

(1 popcorn)

News Corp Australia


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