x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

A dramatic weekend on and off field

Richmond down the Dockers in a pulsating clash at Subiaco but Ben Cousins' off-field antics dominate the headlines once again.

It's a funny old game, isn't it? Richmond kick eight straight goals in its third quarter to grab a 15-point lead from Fremantle at the last break on Saturday at Subiaco. The injury-riddled Dockers kick back to lead by five points deep into the last quarter before Mitch Morton, accused by his coach Terry "Plough" Wallace two weeks ago of having "cost me my job", boots one through at the 29th minute to see the Tigers home.

Plough then takes his wife to a nice restaurant in East Perth to celebrate his 500th game as player and coach, and his continued role as breadwinner. Not enough drama for you? You haven't heard the big news yet. In the Richmond dressing room before the game, Ben Cousins, a rehabilitating drug addict, flipped his finger at a camera. The media is abuzz with the news and the AFL boss Andrew Demetriou has demanded an explanation.

Now, call one a little old-fashioned, but focusing on a player for raising a finger that perhaps some TV coverage of the ceiling would be nice is not really what football coverage is all about. Especially not after a game that went down to the wire, and where 34 goals were kicked by 24 players. So tuck it away, Ben. And let's bring back the shirt-front so we've got something worth discussing. In lesser news, St Kilda and Geelong are still without a loss after 10 games; the Saints beating Melbourne by 37 points on Saturday and the Cats belting Essendon by 64 points yesterday.

The reigning premier Hawthorn lost their fifth match for the season, by 27 points to Adelaide yesterday. The Western Bulldogs keep third spot after an unanswered 13-goal run in the first half saw off the Sydney Swans. And Brisbane fills out the top four after their three-goal win over North Melbourne. pstafford@thenational.ae