1) Should Dustin Fletcher play on? The question came up after a poor game against the Bulldogs and being left out of the team that beat Port Adelaide. I think he should play on next year, his form generally this year has been good, his game against Collingwood the previous week could not be faulted and I think you will find at the end of the year, in the previous game against the Bulldogs he will probably be in the umpire’s votes. If he plays on next year he will get to 400 games which is a significant milestone and even worth putting him on the list as a mature age rookie to try and get him over the line next year.
2) Should James Hird return to the coaches box once his suspension has been served? I think he should be able to return to the club, but he should stay away from the coaches box until the club has completed the 2014 campaign. Leave the match day coaching to Bomber and his assistants, but get involved behind closed doors as he will need to be across the list as soon as the season has been completed to prepare for the draft etc.
There has also been discussions about the Father/Son rule and the northern states academies. With regard to the Father/Son rule I think it should remain as it is as it is a great part of our game that a player has the option to play for his father’s ex-team in certain circumstances. I actually think there should be a brother/brother rule, particularly with regard to twins. I thought it was harsh when the Selwood twins ended up in Brisbane and Perth respectively, not only for them, but their parents as well. Then Joel ends up at Geelong! There is also the Brown twins, where Nathan ended up at Collingwood and Mitchell at West Coast, again harsh for them and their parents. Who do you barrack for?
With the northern states academies, I think if they have put the time and energy into preparing the players and that was the basis on which the academies were set up, then I don’t think there should be an issue. Having said that, perhaps the academies should be run by both clubs in that state, ie. Sydney and GWS and whichever team has first choice in the draft has the right of first refusal for that player.
Anyhow we have an interesting season panning out with five or six clubs vying for three or four spots in the final eight which should maintain the interest for those positions right until the end of the season.
Have a great weekend!