Joe Daniher yet to deliver for Brisbane Lions, Jack Macrae is the underrated Western Bulldog


Yes, he drew more focus this finals series as the only key target once Hipwood and then McStay went out, but that is little excuse for such a pallid performance. There have been plenty of occasions when Tom Hawkins has been the only key target for Geelong and he has still had an impact.

Daniher is a likeable fellow and athletically gifted, but he has to find a way to narrow the gulf between his best – which is the equal of the best forwards – and his worst, which renders him irrelevant. Were it not for the fact he is so big, you would not notice he was out there.

In contrast to Daniher, his fellow forward Charlie Cameron emerges from the finals with his standing only enhanced. Now it could be argued there is a cause and effect there, that while Daniher did not get much of the ball he helped create moments for Cameron by bringing the ball to ground. That’s possibly true, but it felt like Cameron’s impact came when he was targeted inside 50, not Daniher.

Good week for Macrae

Jackson Macrae might be most highly rated player who remains underrated. And he is that, despite being named All-Australian for three years in a row.

Ranking underrated players is admittedly a uniquely silly thing we do – people talked so often of Kade Simpson being underrated that he became highly rated for it – but Macrae is better than has been popularly recognised. Well, at least until Saturday night when his performance made the football world appreciate just how unerringly excellent he is.

Partly the underrating happens because he plays at the Bulldogs. Partly it happens because he plays next to Marcus Bontempelli, who has become the best player in the league and casts shade on those around him.

Jack Macrae is underrated despite being named All-Australian for the last three years.

Jack Macrae is underrated despite being named All-Australian for the last three years.Credit:AFL Photos

Partly it is because he isn’t eye-catching in the way his extravagantly hirsute teammates Bailey Smith and Aaron Naughton are. He also doesn’t have Homer Simpson tattooed on body parts and a Groucho Marx moustache like pack burrower Tom Liberatore. Macrae’s hair looks more accountant than barista.

And yet, he delivers weekly with the reliability of a Toyota. He amasses possessions – he averaged 33 touches a game this year, is a big body and an excellent kick. He doesn’t do anything badly. Maybe he is a poor cook, or can’t do origami. It would be his only weakness.

Toby and Joel

As of Friday night, Joel Selwood and Toby Greene had done the same thing this season – fended off a player with a forearm that got the would-be tackler in the throat.

Greene got two matches. Selwood got nothing.

Joel Selwood was cleared for his fend-off of Josh Kelly.

Joel Selwood was cleared for his fend-off of Josh Kelly.Credit:AFL Photos

Same action, different outcome with the match review officer. But it was also true that it was the same action and a different outcome for the “victims” involved. Patrick Dangerfield had to be subbed out of the game and spent the night in hospital. Josh Kelly played on without apparent ill effects.

So a difference in penalty from the same action is understandable and not unreasonable, but the gulf in the difference between penalties is not reasonable. Two matches out versus nothing at all is too big a gap.

Both incidents had the potential for serious injury and in Dangerfield’s case sufficient injury to miss half a game.

Greene’s punishment still seems too high for an accidental act, but that is what the algorithm of the punishment formula delivers.

Squeaky bum time

Special mention to Taylor Duryea for his last-minute contest on Saturday night. As former Tigers defender Will Thursfield tweeted, this was about the last place any defender would want to be – one-out with Cameron in the last minute of a semi-final with the Lions a point down and in a foot race for a loose ball.

Taylor Duryea and Charlie Cameron go one-on-one in the final seconds of Saturday night’s semi-final.

Taylor Duryea and Charlie Cameron go one-on-one in the final seconds of Saturday night’s semi-final.Credit:AFL Photos

Sir Alex Ferguson had a term for that sort of last-minute tension. Duryea did well to keep goal side of Cameron and not let him past. He also got lucky with the ball bouncing sideways away from Cameron and ricocheting off Duryea’s leg over the boundary. It looked accidental and rightly was not paid as a free kick.

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