Heroes & Villains, R12: Is Tom Lynch really worth the big bucks?

The first of three mid-season bye weeks has come and gone and despite only seven games being played, there have been enough talking points for nine.

The Gold Coast Suns put in a horrid performance which drew into question the endeavour of their star full-forward and captain, Tom Lynch, while St Kilda's deplorable first quarter (and subsequent effort) in the Pride Game means the blowtorch will be firmly on coach Alan Richardson this week.

Richmond's unusually poor interstate record continued while the Queen's birthday clash lived up to the hype despite the scoreline, as Collingwood announced themselves as a genuine top four chance with a dominant win.

Heroes & Villains, Round 12.


The AFL's coaches: To all 18 senior coaches, take a bow.

Ahead of the Queen's birthday clash at the MCG, all club head coaches including Melbourne's Simon Goodwin and Collingwood's Nathan Buckley, dressed up and took the plunge down the slide and into icy water all to help Neale Daniher's quest to raise awareness and funds to fight motor neurone disease.

2018 was the fourth edition of the Big Freeze and each year it continues to grow as the football community and the general public come together.

Thousands of fans made sure they were in their seats well before the opening bounce to watch the entertainment, cheering as each coach made their way down the slippery slide.

There was Stuart Dew as a Gold Coast lifeguard, Alan Richardson impersonating AFL 360's Mark Robinson and Damien Hardwick publicly declaring his love for 'Mrs Hardwick'. Identical twins Chris and Brad Scott swapped polo shirts just to confuse everyone that little bit, Alastair Clarkson 'dressed' as Sydney's John Longmire while Port's Ken Hinkley rocked an epic panda suit.

But the star performer had to be the Bulldogs' Luke Beveridge who surfed his way down the slide and into the ice. Top work!

Ollie and Chad: After having just two disposals and almost no impact in the first quarter on Friday night, Ollie Wines burst to life to finish a clear best-on-ground as the Power scored a crucial win over reigning premier Richmond to jump inside the top eight.

The 23-year-old was a beast in a low-scoring scrap at Adelaide Oval, racking up 29 disposals (16 contested) as well as laying a game high 12 tackles. Wines also had seven clearances and 10 inside 50s in what was his best game for the season and one that is all but certain to land him the three Brownlow Medal votes.

Joining Wines in the engine room of the Power midfield was Chad Wingard, who last week admitted he had to lift after an underwhelming first half of 2018. The former All-Australian was the only player on the ground to crack the 30 disposal barrier and, like Wines, had seven clearances to go along with eight tackles.

If the Power really are contenders in season 2018, Wines and Wingard must maintain their stellar form.

Geelong's retro round: Whatever happened to Heritage Round? Remember the brief, six-year period between 2003 and 2008 where all (at that time) 16 teams wore weird and wacky uniforms from days gone by?

This mini tradition may have stopped around the turn of the decade, but on Saturday, Geelong magnificently orchestrated their own "#RetroRound" at GMHBA Stadium, leaving us pondering whether it should make a full time return.

The collared jumpers complete with an 80s-style Geelong logo were magnificent touches, while supporters were encourage to blow the dust off their retro footy gear and take it along to the game.

Wouldn't it be great to see the Blues rock the old monogram, Sydney in a South Melbourne get-up, West Coast in that ochre abomination from 2000, and the Giants in... well, a slightly different guernsey?

Oh, and special mention to Cats star Patrick Dangerfield, who really embraced the occasion by growing his own retro moustache to flawlessly complete the look.


LED advertising boards: Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, however... and it's shame on the AFL.

For the second time this season, the LED advertising boards at footy stadiums have been drawn into the spotlight after players came away injured as a result of cannoning into the sharp, plastic LED housings.

At a crunch time in North Melbourne's 37-point loss to Geelong, Kangaroos captain Jack Ziebell had to come from the ground after cutting both of his knees on the advertising boards at GMHBA Stadium, spending valuable time on the bench as the game slipped away.

Amazingly, this isn't the first time these advertising boards have been involved in injuries. Earlier in the year against the Eagles, two Cats were left bloodied and requiring stitches after colliding with the Optus Stadium signage. Zach Tuohy and Mark Blicavs were both forced from the ground as a result, with Blicavs requiring more than a dozen stitches on his arm.

North coach Brad Scott was understandably fuming in his post-match press conference, and it's only a matter of time before a player accidentally slides into the board head-first on a rainy day, or as a result of a contest tight on the boundary line.

The injuries sustained so far have been relatively minor and thankfully the AFL has said it will be taking action ahead of Round 13.

Tom Lynch: All that needs to be said about the Gold Coast Suns and their pitiful performance at Spotless Stadium on Saturday has already been said but it's time for their skipper to come under the blowtorch.

With his co-captain Steven May out with an ankle injury, and following a 85-point home loss to Geelong the week before, the Suns needed to make a statement against a GWS side which had been hit with the injury stick.

Lynch, the sole captain for the day, could manage just eight touches, two marks and didn't hit the scoreboard in a performance and effort which perfectly mirrored the Suns' overall performance in Sydney.

Not only did Lynch -- one of the most talked about free agents on the market -- look like a man who didn't want to be on the Gold Coast in 2019, he has also harmed his own chances of securing a lucrative contract come the end of the year.

In fact, taking out the Round 2 match against Carlton where he kicked eight goals, Lynch has kicked just seven goals from six matches. It's hardly a ringing endorsement for a potential $1.2 million contract.

Admittedly, Lynch wasn't the only Sun who failed to impact the match or the season so far. In the last month of football the Suns are averaging just 35 points per game and have lost 20 consecutive quarters. They've also failed to boot a goal in the last quarter of their past three matches.

Michael Walters: Michael Walters is one of Fremantle's most dynamic and important midfielders, but he will regret one passage of play late in the Dockers' three-point win over Adelaide.

With the game all but sewn up, Walters inexcusably gut-punched Crow Jake Kelly, giving away a free kick and a 50m penalty but crucially also costing him a week on the sidelines.

The suspension of Walters could have massive ramifications; while Fremantle are more unlikely than likely to make finals, a loss this week could well and truly end their hopes of playing in September.

Sure, they only play Carlton in Round 13, but the crucial element to this clash is that it will be played in Melbourne. Fremantle's record on the road is deplorable; they've lost all five of their matches outside of Western Australia this year.

The 18th-placed Carlton will no doubt think they're in with a sniff now that Walters will miss, while a much-needed win on the road could be just the tonic for Ross Lyon's men, who could be thereabouts come crunch time with another victory.