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Talking Points: Round 12B

Player of the week: Luke Hodge (149). Hodge racked up his fairly massive score two Fridays ago, in the first match of round 12 against the Blues, and it ended up being the highest of the round. From memory, he scored something like 60 points in the last quarter, showing a dead-rubber dedication that Ricky Ponting would be proud of.

Honourable mentions: Brad Sewell (143), Gary Ablett (139), Domenic Cassissi (133)

Biggest disappointment: Brendan Fevola (38). The biggest dud also came in the first game of the round, as Fev struggled against a smooth Hawks midfield machine. He’s now down to $237k, and will drop further since his breakeven is 102.

Other points of interest:

Barry Hall was very lucky not to end up with a Fev-like score this week; his total of 66 included around 40 points in the last quarter. It’s hard to judge where Hall is at – I can’t question his endeavour, but he’s spilling easy marks… all the time… Then again, the Swans midfield wasn’t in great touch on Saturday night.

– The good news is that if you’re willing to jump, there are several good replacements for Hall. Scott Lucas is cheap, Jonathan Brown is cheap, and Nathan G Brown looks in sharp nick, scoring a classy 88 in his first game back from injury.

– Other Tigers also had a good night in the win over Melbourne – Jake King scored his sixth +80 in a row, while Matthew Richardson top-scored with 128 (a great effort considering he kicked twice as many behinds as goals). Graeme Polak scored 117 – his second ton in a row, and third in the past four games – but Kane Johnson had a dud match, scoring just 60.

– For the Dees, it wasn’t as pretty. Jeff White knocked up 124 – nudging out Cox as the highest-scoring ruck for the round – but Cameron Bruce scored just 79, and James McDonald only 73. Brad Green registered 62, while hard nuts Brock McLean and Nathan Jones fared worst of all, scoring 50 and 48 respectively. Byron Pickett had a lowly 40 on his return to AFL, and Adem Yze had 17, which was affected by an injury that should keep him sidelined for a few weeks. One bright spark was Paul Johnson, who looked ok in gathering 74, his highest score ever. Johnson has good agility for a big bloke, and is one I’m thinking about for Dream Team 2008.

– Surprisingly, the Magpies’ midfield had a bad night (similar to the Demons) but ended up winning… Dane Swan scored 65, which means his price will slump and he’ll be in hot demand, while Scott Burns scored 66 and Tarkyn Lockyer scored 72. Josh Fraser scored 40, while Brett Kirk cleaned up with 116 and Adam Goodes ran back into some form, scoring 93 – his second-best score this season.

– The rumble in the West produced some big scores – Justin Koschitzke registered 113, his highest since round 17, 2005. Another to score well (relatively…) was Raphael Clarke, who racked up 77 – his highest since round 5, 2005. His brother Xavier scored just 38. Daniel Kerr and Matt Priddis both enjoyed more opportunity through Judd’

– Other points of interest were highlighted last week

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