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BEST IN SHOW by Whispering Jack


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I am writing this knowing that the AFL has deemed that the opening round of competition will proceed but fully believing that it should not. 

The world is going through cataclysmic change as a result of the overwhelming spread of the Covid-19 virus and I agree that a distraction like sport would be good for the public. However, while the physical threat to the population is bad enough, there are other  issues to be addressed including the mental health of the community and the effects on the economy, business and leisure which are profound. Then there is the effect on the sport itself.

While many activities are being postponed and cancelled to permit the isolation of participants and thereby minimise the possibility of contracting or passing on illness to the vulnerable in the community, the AFL has forged onwards with a business as usual approach, albeit without the crowds that often give the game what we describe as “atmosphere”. 

But can we really claim that the show must go on when the health and well being of our elite sporting persons - the players - is at stake? Compare us with the American National Basketball Association which cancelled its season last week when the first player tested positive. Yesterday, it was revealed that one of the game’s superstars Kevin Durant is among four Brooklyn Nets players to have tested positive for the coronavirus. Will we only follow suit when inevitably one of ours is found to be infected? And what then will be the effect on our national game?

The AFL has deemed that the show must go on and so it seems it will. Over in Perth where it’s always a difficult place for visiting sides to win, I expect Melbourne to make a good fist of things. I’m expecting the team to be much fitter than this time last year. We should see a great midfield battle with the team at close to full strength there, a stronger defence than the one the club could muster last year, but perhaps still not enough up forward to beat the Eagles on their home turf. 

And despite the fact that the affirmation of that home crowd in favour of West Coast will be missing, they remain one of the competition’s frontrunners and, by the end of the day, they’ll be the best in show.

West Coast by 13 points

TEAMS

WEST COAST EAGLES

B Jetta McGovern Duggan
HB Gaff Yeo Brander
C Sheppard Barrass Hurn
HF Redden Darling Sheed
F Ryan Kennedy Cripps
FOLL Naitanui Kelly Shuey
I/C Ah Chee Hickey Nelson Petruccelle
EMG Hutchings Schofield Waterman Williams

MELBOURNE 

B N Jetta S May J Lever
HB O McDonald J Harmes M Hibberd
C E Langdon C Oliver A Tomlinson 
HF A Neal-Bullen B Fritsch J Viney
F C Spargo T McDonald A Brayshaw 
FOLL M Gawn C Petracca J Melksham 
I/C T Bedford M Brown J Lockhart K Pickett
EMG M Hore L Jackson T Sparrow S Weideman 

Melbourne Football Club: Injury List: Round 1

Kyle Dunkley (heel) — available 
Sam Weideman (ankle) — available
Nathan Jones (Achilles) — test
Braydon Preuss (knee) — test
Joel Smith (quad) — test
Mitch Hannan (groin) — 6 weeks
Harry Petty (groin) — 6 weeks
Aaron vandenBerg (foot) — 3 months
Kade Chandler (finger) — TBC
Harley Bennell (calf) — indefinite
Kade Kolodjashnij (head) — indefinite
Aaron Nietschke (knee) — season 

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