Three takeaways from round thirteen

Fremantle’s Michael Walters (left) celebrates a goal with Bradley Hill on Saturday. (Photo by: Will Russell/AFL Photos)

Fremantle are sneaking under the radar

Sitting at 7-5 and sixth on the AFL ladder the Dockers are well placed to attack the second half of the season and secure a finals berth.

It’s a remarkable rise from their 14thplaced finish in 2018, and they’ve done so despite losing key players to injury in Alex Pearce and Matt Taberner for the rest of the season and Rory Lobb who is set to return within the month.

Michael Walters has been a matchwinner, and he continues to play in career best form that has him amongst the elite in the competition, coming off of 25 disposals and six goals against Port Adelaide on Saturday.

Dockers coach Ross Lyon has his side performing strongly, yet their impressive season isn’t making a huge amount of noise, especially with the premiership defence of rivals the West Coast Eagles remaining under the main spotlight when people talk about the two Perth teams.

The Dockers are giving us every reason to believe they are the real deal in 2019 and five more home games at Optus stadium before the end of the season should help them secure a top eight finish.

Star recruit Jesse Hogan found form over the weekend kicking three goals and they take on his struggling former team Melbourne this week.

The AFL has to amend their crowd control saga quickly

It was an awfully ugly look that saw security (crowd behavioural officers) marching up and down the aisles of Marvel Stadium, looking to apprehend the latest perpetrator of unacceptable crowd behaviour.

An even more ridiculous look from the weekend saw a security guard attempt to intervene a Jack Ziebell and Heath Shaw on-field scuffle on Sunday game between North Melbourne and GWS, until the umpire rightfully told him to stay away.

The AFL’s recent crackdown on crowd control has the right intention behind it, but drawing the line as to what is acceptable and what is not is where the boundaries become blurred.

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan addressed the media on Tuesday stating that he was devastated that fans are feeling like they can’t enjoy themselves at the footy, and that they (the AFL) would ‘get the balance right’ between acceptable crowd behaviour measures and ensuring the football is a safe environment for supporting fans.

The most difficult thing for fans is that no one really knows where the line is, and being kicked out of the football could be left up to a ‘behavioural officer’s’ interpretation as to what is acceptable and what isn’t.

Providing a safer environment for fans at the football is imperative but go too far and people may feel more comfortable watching their team at home, where they don’t have to look over their shoulder every minute for security.

Richmond are struggling.. but don’t write them off yet

Following a loss to the Crows last Thursday, many have already put a line through Richmond’s premiership hopes in 2019, with injuries to star players and a decline in form putting the Tigers on the back foot as we enter the second half of the season.

Injuries to captain Trent Cotchin, Shane Edwards, David Astbury, Kane Lambert, Jayden Short and Jack Ross have hampered the Tigers in recent weeks, co-captain Jack Riewoldt is still battling a knee injury whilst star defender Alex Rance remains out for the season with an ACL injury.

It’s an injury list that would derail any premiership contenders campaign, the Tigers currently sit in eighth spot on the ladder as they enter the bye round this weekend.

The Tigers will welcome back some of these players in weeks to come, and whilst a top four spot is beyond reach and finals still no guarantee, there is still upside for the Tigers in the back half of this season if they have some more luck with injury – they are due.

Dustin Martin is one of the games superstars, and when healthy their best football is still capable of matching it with the stronger sides in the competition.

If they do find some form before finals and manage to snatch a spot in September they are a danger, and are still a side more than capable of going on a run in the finals.

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