price tags – Michmutters

Premier League, Chelsea transfers, rumor mill, transfer flops, Fernando Torres, Timo Werner, number nine jersey curse, Romelu Lukaku

Heavy spenders Chelsea have already been busy during the transfer window, and are almost certainly not finished despite spending €186.59m ($A270m) so far.

According to reports, the club are reportedly prepared to sign both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona, ​​as well as Wesley Fofana from Leicester.

Chelsea have already signed Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly, Gabriel Slonina, Carney Chukwuemeka and Marc Cucurella in their squad overhaul.

World-class striker Aubameyang, a former club captain of London rivals Arsenal, would represent the latest in a long line of superstar strikers to have joined Stamford Bridge – although many have struggled to make their mark.

Indeed, Chelsea’s number nine jersey has been worn by so many flops in recent years that coach Thomas Tuchel revealed that no-one will wear the number this season.

“It’s cursed, it’s cursed, people tell me it’s cursed … nobody wants to touch the No 9,” he said.

But it’s not just the number nine jersey that has been a curse at Chelsea. Dating back to the end of the last century, many of Chelsea’s big-name attacking signings have failed to make their mark.

Here are some of the great Blues flops of the modern era.

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Transfer fee: £10m ($17m AUD) from Blackburn in 1999

Playing record: One goal in 28 Premier League games

Chelsea reached deep into their pockets to lure Sutton to Stamford Bridge from relegation stricken Blackburn, for what was then a club record fee.

The striker had signed from the Rovers, where he starred alongside Premier League icon Alan Shearer, after they placed second-last in the 1998-99 season.

Haaland scores twice in EPL debut! | 01:07

But the former England international had a forgettable debut campaign with the Blues, scoring just one goal from his 28 Premier League appearances.

Sutton’s sole contribution on the scoresheet came in a 5-0 thrashing of English giants Manchester United, which was a highlight in an otherwise quiet tenure in London.

His season went from bad to worse when he failed to make Chelsea’s bench for the 2000 FA Cup Final against Aston Villa, which the Blues won 1-0.

Sutton was a one season flop at Chelsea, though, after securing a transfer to Scottish giants Celtic.


Transfer fees: €22.5m ($32m AUD) from Parma in 2003

Playing record: 10 goals from 38 games

Mutu began his Chelsea career in fine form, scoring four goals from his first three appearances for the giants of English football.

Playing in front of new fans for the first time, the Romanian scored the winning goal on his club debut against Leicester City.

But drama ensued as his relationship with Jose Mourinho reportedly reached its boiling point, with Mutu facing backlash from his manager after he claimed to be injured.

Chelsea later fired the striker after he tested positive for cocaine use in 2004, and was suspended for seven months.

Although he was not at the London club anymore, Mutu failed another anti-doping test in January of 2010, as reported by the Guardian.

Mutu, who also wore the number seven jersey at Chelsea, was handed a nine-month ban for that incident.

Boyle sends Hibs into Bedlam with a goal! | 01:24


Transfer fees: €43.9m ($63m AUD) from Milan in 2006

Playing record: Nine goals from 48 Premier League games

Chelsea splashed the cash once again to sign Ukrainian Andriy Shevchenko, who became the biggest signing in English football at the time.

Shevchenko, who was 30-year-old when he moved to London from Milan, was handed the number seven jersey under decorated coach Jose Mourinho.

But he failed to live up to the hype, scoring just 14 goals from 51 games during his first season with the famous London club.

Andriy Shevchenko had a forgettable spell with Chelsea.
Andriy Shevchenko had a forgettable spell with Chelsea.Source: AP

Shevchenko was loaned out to AC Milan, the club he’d signed from, during the 2008/09 season after failing to hit his stride at Stamford Bridge.

As reported by The Guardian, manager Carlo Ancelotti believed that Shevchenko was the fourth best striker at the club, just three years after he secured his record transfer.

Shevchenko was left out of Chelsea’s squad for the 2009/10 Champions League, and later returned to Dynamo Kyiv.


Transfer fees: £50m ($85m AUD) from Liverpool in 2011

Playing record: 20 goals in 110 Premier League games for Chelsea

Fernando Torres rose to footballing stardom during a successful stint at Liverpool, where he truly embodied the phrase ‘human highlight reel’.

Torres had already made his name in Spain, after being handed the Atletico Madrid captaincy at just 19 years of age.

The Spaniard left Madrid for Liverpool, although he’d return to the club at the back end of his career, and quickly proved himself to be one of the most exciting players in England.

Fernando Torres struggled to find some form after completing his move to Stamford Bridge. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

But drama struck early in 2011, as Torres completed a sensational transfer to Premier League rivals Chelsea.

The Blues again broke the British transfer record for a reported fee of £50 million, as the striker completed a mid-season move sent shockwaves throughout the league.

Hollywood couldn’t have scripted it better, though, as Torres made his club debut for Chelsea after Liverpool.

The Blues lost that 1-0 and maybe it was a sign of things to come, as Torres went on to score just 20 goals in 110 Premier League appearances for Chelsea.

But while he failed to fire, these big money moves are all about making an impact when it counts, and Torres did that in the biggest competition that world football has to offer.

While he was far from an overwhelming success at Stamford Bridge, Torres did score a game sealing goal against Barcelona in a Champions League semi-final.

Chelsea went on to win their first ever Champions League crown in the 2011-12 campaign, beating German powerhouse Bayern Munich 4-3 on penalties.


Transfer fee: £11m ($18m AUD) from Basel in 2014

Playing record: Two goals from 13 games

Mohamed Salah has cemented his legacy as a Premier League legend after a stellar career with Liverpool, but his career in England wasn’t always so successful.

The ‘Egyptian King’ made just 19 appearances for Chelsea, before he was loaned out to Fiorentina just 13-months after moving to London.

Klopp laments ‘really bad’ Liverpool | 03:00

Salah’s two best Premier League games in Blue came in a 6-0 win over rivals Arsenal, where he scored, as well as a promising showing against Stoke.

Salah was later loaned out to Roma, before securing a permanent move to the Italian capital soon after.

But the scintillating winger really took his career to the next Liverpool after he secured a well-known transfer to Liverpool.

Not only has Salah tasted success in both the Champions League and Premier League with the Merseyside club, but he’s widely considered to be one of the best footballers on the planet.

In fact he’s become so popular, the Economist revealed that more than one million Egyptians spoiled their ballots by trying to vote for Salah during the presidential election in 2018.

With many noteworthy individual accolades on the football field to speak of as well, Salah is certainly another gem that Chelsea failed to cherish when they had the chance.


Transfer fees: Around £60m ($103m AUD) from Real Madrid in 2017

Playing record: 24 goals from about 72 games

After impressive spells with European giants Juventus and Real Madrid, Morata was brought into the club as a replacement for Diego Costa.

Costa, who won two Premier League titles and scored 59 goals for Chelsea, returned to Atletico Madrid after being told he was free to look elsewhere.

Morata was another striker who had the weight of the world on his shoulders when he moved to Stamford Bridge, due to the hype surrounding his arrival.

But the Spaniard failed to make an impression on the scoresheet, scoring just 15 goals in his 48 games.

After initially signing for the club on a five year deal, Morata was eventually loaned out to Atletico Madrid on an 18-month deal.

Atletico signed him on a permanent deal later, although he was loaned out to Juventus soon after in September, 2020.


Transfer fees: €60m ($87m AUD) from RB Leipzig in 2020

playing record 23 goals in 89 appearances

Werner was one of the hottest properties on the football transfer market as European giants came looking to sign the star striker after an incredible spell at RB Leipzig.

During his four years at the German club, Werner scored 90 goals and had 40 assists from 156 competitive games.

Liverpool were also believed to be in the hunt for his signature, before he completed an expensive move to Chelsea on a five-year deal.

But the German quickly fell out of favor at Chelsea, having scored just 23 goals in 89 appearances.

With Chelsea reportedly looking to sign some strikers in the ongoing transfer window, the 26-year-old left the club and returned to RB Leipzig.


Transfer fees: £97.5m ($167m AUD) from Inter Milan in 2021

Playing record: 15 goals in all competitions from 44 games

Belgian Romelu Lukaku may have had a fairly expensive price tag to his name last year, but that didn’t stop Chelsea from making another mind-blowing investment in their future.

Once again, the Blues broke their transfer record to sign the striker from Italian giants Inter Milan.

Romelu Lukaku was a marquee signing for Chelsea, but he failed to make his mark on the scoresheet. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

With their Champions League glory still fresh in the minds of football fans, Chelsea managed to lure the powerful striker back to Stamford Bridge on an incredible transfer.

Despite their European success, Chelsea had come fourth in the Premier League the year before, but this signing was widely considered to be a difference maker.

Many believed that Lukaku could fire for the Blues after a previous stint at the club earlier in his career, before more well-known and successful stints with the likes of Everton and Manchester United.

But it was a disastrous return to the Premier League for Lukaku, who scored just eight goals before completing a loan move back to Inter Milan – and leaving the number nine jersey vacant.



Kmart budget dupe for $1900 vintage Italian Murano lamp

Excited shoppers are racing to Kmart to get their hands on a table lamp that looks identical to its $1900 designer dupe.

TikTok was sent into a frenzy after a shopper posted a video of her buying the Amelie table lamp, which costs just $35.

People in the comments were quick to point out the lamp’s likeness to the highly sought-after vintage Murano lamp, which can be sold for upwards of $1900 on collector sites.

These original Italian made lamps were popular in the 1970s and are harder to come by in modern times, hence their hefty price tag.

The originals are made of glass in Venice with a soda-lime metal and are usually elaborately decorated, with various glass-forming techniques, as well as gilding, enamel, or engraving.

“The infamous Kmart light and it lives up to the hype,” TikTok user Shani Dayna captioned her video.

In the short clip, she excitedly unboxes the lamp and decides to put in a colour-changing light globe to create a unique ambience.

“I have one too! It’s such a vibe,” commented one. “It’s a replica of the vintage Murano ones.”

“Oh my god I’m running to Kmart to get this tomorrow,” another commented. “It’s so pretty! I need.”

This is not the first time Kmart has whipped up a frenzy by selling dupes for expensive items.

An influencer excited her followers earlier this year when she discovered a cheap puffer jacket that was a “perfect dupe” of a $400 version.

Melbourne woman Georgia Clay shared the stylish outerwear with her 40.2k followers on the platform, with many remarking the $40 piece was a perfect dupe for the likes of those from the North Face, at just 10 per cent of the cost.

The style – which launched as part of the retailer’s Autumn/Winter collection – “has quickly become a popular choice among customers”, a Kmart spokeswoman told

Cooks across the country were also excited after getting their hands on a budget version of the iconic Le Creuset cast iron pot.

The pot, which is available in different colours, sent Aussies into a frenzy online – as did the $30 price tag, considering similar Le Creuset casserole dishes can set you back up to $450.

Read related topics:KmartTikTok



Op shopper calls out exorbitant prices in Australian second hand stores

An Australian TikTok identity and op-shop lover has called out second hand stores across the country for bumping up their prices as an op-shopping trend gains popularity.

Melbourne based influencer Jaclyn has raised awareness through her platform about prices skyrocketing in her local thrift stores, saying she is “over” the price tags on recycled goods.

She said the rise in prices, especially for brands like Shein and Zara, is turning people towards fast fashion retailers instead of them supporting recycled clothing outlets.

Thrift stores, unlike vintage stores, have their pieces donated to them, and shouldn’t be charging as much, according to Jaclyn.

“Is anyone else getting completely over Australian thrift store prices these days?” she asked her audience.

“They just charge an arm and a leg for absolutely anything.”

She said she has grown up shopping at thrift stores and has continued the trend into her adulthood.

“I used to like the thrill of the hunt and finding a really special piece for a bargain price, but it seems that it’s getting kind of impossible to do that now,’ she said.

She called out thrift stores for taking advantage of people, particularly younger shoppers, now that “thrifting is quite a popular thing to do”.

She said if she wanted to spend that kind of money, she’d rather visit a vintage store instead.

Thrifting, or op-shopping, has become popular in recent years as a way for young people to find cheap, recycled clothing.

Shoppers are able to find unique pieces, without feeling like they’re leaving an environmental footprint by shopping at fast fashion retailers.



Here’s why Trivago CEO believes travel will be even more expensive

Aussies are keener than ever to hop on a plane and escape what has been a pretty rough past few years.

Almost 57 per cent of Aussies are planning a getaway in the next 12 months which is up 49 per cent from December, according to Finder’s Consumer Sentiment Tracker.

However, travel at the moment comes with a heftier than usual price tag.

KAYAK’s data shows the average return economy international flight price in Australia based on flight searches in July (between July 1-18) was approximately $1761 – an increase of about 14 per cent compared to the same period in May (between May 1-18) .

Meanwhile, the consumer price index (CPI) July report shows plane tickets have soared 27.7 per cent on a year-over-year (YoY) basis.

And sadly it is a tendency likely to stick around for a bit longer, according to Angus Kidman, travel expert at Finder.

“Sale fares are definitely higher than they were pre-pandemic. Tiger used to regularly offer $9 domestic fares,” Mr Kidman said.

“We won’t see that again. Jetstar has offered a handful of $22 fares this year, but only outside of peak periods and for a tiny number of seats.”

He said Virgin’s floor in sales is now generally $49, and for Qantas it’s rare to see any sub-$100 flights.

“I don’t expect we’ll see much change to that in 2022. The arrival of new competitor Bonza may create a little price pressure, but many of its routes are regional and I’m expecting that it will be charging well over $100 for a seat most of the time.”

‘On the rise’

Trivago (TRVG) CEO Axel Hefer believes “costs will continue to go up”, attributing it to staffing shortages and labor costs.

“You see a fundamental shortage of people in travel and hospitality, and the reason is that a lot of companies have actually reduced their staffing during the pandemic,” Mr Hefer told Yahoo Finance.

“[Companies] are now struggling in very tight labor markets to staff up again. So they will have to pay up, and that cost will be passed on.”

Flight cancellations

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics quantified that 88,161 flights have been canceled so far this year, with many being attributed to staffing issues.

Virgin Australia, Qantas, and Air New Zealand were all named among the global airlines with the current highest cancellation rates, while Singapore Airlines was noted as the carrier with the lowest cancellation figure.

The new data, compiled by aviation analytics company Cirium, looked at flight data from 19 major airlines in the three months to July 26 which revealed Virgin Australia to have one of the highest cancellation rates at 5.9 per cent.

Air New Zealand and Qantas were also named in the top five airlines with high cancellation rates, at 3.7 and 3.3 per cent respectively.

Singapore Airlines, which remains the top international carrier in Australia, was dubbed the most reliable airline, with a 0.8 per cent cancellation rate.

Notably, of all 19 studied carriers, Virgin boasts the smallest international network, possibly skewing the data, according to Australian Aviation.

Australia’s worst month for flying

Australian airlines recorded their “worst ever” month in June for flight delays and cancellations with a total of 5.8 per cent of all flights canceled – nearly three times more than the long-term cancellation average.

There were 63 per cent of all flights arriving on time in June, with 61.9 per cent departing on schedule, the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE) report found.

BITRE said these figures mark “the worst” the industry has seen since records began in November 2003.

The report looked at delays and cancellations across all major Australian airports in the month of June.

The severe disruption was fueled by staffing shortages, staff sicknesses, mid-year school holiday travel surges and severe weather events, including flash flooding throughout NSW.

Qantas recorded the highest percentage of cancellations at 8.1 per cent during the month, followed by QantasLink, Virgin Australia, Jetstar, Virgin Australia Regional Airlines and Rex Airlines.

Qantas recorded just over half of their airlines arrived on time in June, at 59 per cent, while Virgin achieved the highest level of on time departures among the major domestic airlines at 60 per cent.

A Qantas spokesperson told NCA NewsWire the flight delays and cancellations were not the kind of performance that they were delivering pre-Covid.

“A rise in Covid and other illnesses among airline crew as well as the tight labor market led to flight disruptions for all domestic airlines in June,” they said.

“We had rostered additional crew on standby which helped lessen the impact of Covid-related crew absences and meant 85 per cent of our domestic flights for the month departed within an hour of schedule.”

“Flight cancellations in July were lower than they were in June, call center wait times are now better than they were pre-Covid and our mishandled bag rates are close to what they were before the pandemic.”



Wesley Fofana to Chelsea, Manchester United, Barcelona, ​​Frenkie de Jong contract, Arsenal, Chelsea, record transfer, defender

Barcelona have reportedly threatened legal action over Frenkie de Jong’s contract, after the Spanish giants claimed to have found evidence of criminality on “the parties who signed” the upgraded deal.

According to The Athletic’s David Ornstein, the Catalan club is hoping to either sell the Dutch star or revert the deal back to what it was before to help solve their financial woes.

De Jong has been heavily linked with a transfer to Manchester United, although Chelsea recently emerged as a potential suitor for his services.

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Meanwhile, striker Timo Werner is close to finalizing his death with RB Leipzig after arriving in Germany for his medical.

The 26-year-old rose to footballing stardom during his first stint with the club, and became one of the biggest names on the transfer market before being snatched up by Chelsea two years ago.

While Chelsea may lose Werner, the Blues are heavily linked with another emerging star who they could sign on a world record fee.

Here’s all the news and gossip in the latest edition of our Rumor Mill!


Barcelona’s financial woes are in dire need of a solution recruit after La Liga rejected their attempt to register new players, including star Robert Lewandowski.

Frenkie de Jong has been linked with two of the biggest clubs in England, with a transfer shaping up as a potential solution to their money drama.

But the de Jong saga at Barcelona has reached a dramatic new twist with the club reportedly threatening legal action over the stars renewed deal.

Barcelona's Dutch midfielder Frenkie De Jong reacts during the 57th Joan Gamper Trophy friendly football match between FC Barcelona and Club Universidad Nacional Pumas at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on August 7, 2022. (Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP)
Barcelona’s Dutch midfielder Frenkie De Jong reacts during the 57th Joan Gamper Trophy friendly football match between FC Barcelona and Club Universidad Nacional Pumas at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on August 7, 2022. (Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP)Source: AFP

De Jong signed a two-year contract extension with the club on October 20, 2020, which kept him at the club for longer but reduced his salary in the short-term.

It’s believed the Netherlands international is owed €18 million ($26m AUD) in deferred wages, which the club is hoping to annul.

David Ornstein has reported that the deal presented by the club’s previous board involved alleged “criminality” and provides “grounds for legal action against those involved”.

Previously, Barcelona president Joan Laporta had insisted that he wants de Jong to remain at the club.

“Frenkie’s our player and we want him to stay at Barcelona, ​​he wants to stay too,” Laporta said.

“With him and his teammates, we have a very powerful midfield. He has offers, but we want him to stay.”


Manchester United had identified midfielder Fabian Ruiz as a possible alternative to de Jong and it appears the deal is progressing, as Erik ten Hag looks to complete his fourth signing.

Ten Hag booed after United’s horror loss | 01:18

Guardian revealed an agreement has been reached between Juventus and Manchester United for £15 million ($26 million AUD).

Rabiot has had a decorated playing career so far, having won Ligue 1 with Paris Saint-Germain on five occasions, and he’s also a Serie A winner.


Chelsea striker Timo Werner is on the cusp of returning to RB Leipzig, after arriving in Germany for his medical.

Tim Werner.Source: AFP

Werner had an underwhelming spell at the Blues, but is set to return to the club where he really made his name in world football.

The 26-year-old scored 90 goals and had 40 assists in his 156 games for RB Leipzig, before leaving in 2020.


Leicester defender Wesley Fofana could be wearing another navy jersey this season, as Chelsea prepare to launch a world record bid this week.

Football Londonunderstand that the Blues will attempt to sign their second center back of the English summer, after announcing Kalidou Koulibaly.

It’s believed that Fofana is pushing for a move away from the Foxes, even though coach Brendan Rodgers has insisted that he’s not for sale. According to the report, Chelsea are preparing a bid that would smash the world record for the highest fee paid for a defender — currently the 87 million euros ($A127m) Manchester United paid for Harry Maguire in 2019.


Barcelona will not sell Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Memphis Depay, as both players continued to be linked with transfers away from the Camp Nou.

Football insider Fabrizio Romano has said that no discussions have been held between Chelsea and Barcelona over Aubameyang, although he is on their “list”.

BARCELONA, SPAIN – AUGUST 07: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team’s fifth goal during the Joan Gamper Trophy match between FC Barcelona and Pumas UNAM at Spotify Camp Nou on August 07, 2022 in Barcelona, ​​Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

The former Arsenal captain could be set for a sensational return to England with London rivals Chelsea, although he’s happy in Spain.

Meanwhile, Depay is reportedly negotiating a free agency with Juventus interested in acquiring his services.


Bologna director Marco di Vaio has made it quite clear that the Italian club want to retain striker Marko Arnautovic, amid rumors of an offer from Manchester United.

The Red Devils reportedly had a bid for the 33-year-old striker rejected.

“Man United on Arnautovic? We’re proud of Man United’s interest for Marko bur we are not planning to sell him,” di Vaio said.

“We want to keep him at Bologna as president said, he’s a key part of our project – there’s not even a price tag.”



Fake engagement rings the new trend for brides

As weddings make a comeback post-Covid and cost-of-living pressures bite, couples are getting savvy about that all-important thing – the engagement ring.

Before the pandemic, many women set their sights on the idea of ​​the perfect ring, typically a big rock with an expensive price tag.

However, as couples look to break social norms and rein in spending, they are seeking an alternative.

Fake rings are making a comeback not just for fashion purposes but also to symbolize the promise of marriage as more people propose with them.

Jewelery company Sterling Forever posted a reel to Instagram explaining why more men and women are now proposing with fake rings.

The video outlined how more couples were jumping on the trend to avoid mistakes such as sizing issues and the receiver not liking the ring, as returning or exchanging it can be costly and difficult.

The reel concluded with the idea that once engaged, couples could go out and buy the perfect ring together.

While it may seem controversial, particularly for some unsatisfied receivers who were proposed to with a fake engagement ring, there’s plenty of support for the practice.

“I think this (idea) is so much better but honestly the fake ring could be like a ring pop or even a paper ring with a love note hidden in it, much cheaper and super cute,” one commenter said in response to the post .

Another replied: “I’d rather have a ‘fake’ and then we can save the money for something more important,”

And a third responded: “Why buy me an expensive engagement ring and an expensive wedding ring? Y’all see them (petrol) prices and the price for bread, just give me one ring.”

Other viewers of the video came up with their own suggestions as to why women may prefer fake rings over the real deal, including for practicality, for not losing an expensive ring and to avoid feeling guilty after a proposal “accident”.

“I feel like people also do it in case they lose it at the proposal sites, lots of them being at beaches or hiking spots,” one Instagram user suggested.

While the trend may be more popular now, some commenters said their parents used a similar approach in the past for personal reasons.

“My dad got my mom a garnet ring. It’s her favorite de ella and her birthstone de ella, with ‘will you marry me’ and the date engraved. They went shopping for her ring de ella together and I think it’s pretty. I always wanted to inherit it,” one young woman commented.

“My dad proposed to my mum with a minnie mouse ring so she wouldn’t feel pressured and I think it’s the cutest thing,” said another.

But not everyone saw the convenient nature of the fake ring trend, with some saying it goes against the purpose of an engagement ring as a symbol of everlasting commitment.

“If she doesn’t like the ring, she isn’t the one,” one commenter said.

“That’s stupid, a real man should know what his wife likes and what kind of jewelery she wears,” posted another.

“There’s no such thing as a fake engagement ring, there is only a fake stone,” a third said.

But a fake engagement ring isn’t necessarily a sign of lesser commitment, as some proposers purchase a ‘promise ring’ or cheaper alternative, with the goal of buying a better one that meets their partner’s wishes later on. Other fake rings are homemade.

No matter the ring choice, couples who have already jumped on the buying a ring together trend said the experience is one they highly recommend.

“Choosing the engagement ring together is a whole amazing experience and shows a very high level of commitment, that’s what me and my fiance did,” one commenter said.

Another said: “My fiance and I shopped for my ring together and it was the best thing ever. We fell in love with (the) ring together.”



Round 21 analysis, highlights, Talking Points, reaction, results, storylines, Rory Lobb trade, Collingwood 2021 mulligan

As the Bulldogs watched their final hopes fade on Saturday, there was a cruel irony in front of them.

Plus the ‘five years with a mulligan’ theory that helps explain Collingwood’s year.

The big issues from Round 21 of the 2022 AFL season analyzed in Talking Points!

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Saturday was bad for the Bulldogs in 2022; their loss, combined with Richmond’s win, has them outsiders to make the eight (though Carlton’s loss to Brisbane keeps them alive).

But it might’ve been good for them in 2023 and beyond.

The irony wasn’t lost on Fox Footy’s commentary team as Rory Lobb, reportedly on his way to the Kennel in free agency on a deal of around $1.5 million over three years, dominated the game.

The Dockers key forward has always shown flashes amid an inconsistent career – this is the first season where he’s reached the 30 goal mark – his four big majors at Marvel Stadium showed him at his absolute best.

Best three kicks at goal since Plugger | 00:58

“First four kicks were goals, it looked like he could kick them from everywhere,” goalkicking legend Jason Dunstall said at three-quarter-time on Fox Footy.

Melbourne great Garry Lyon added: “If you believe everything that’s been said, the Western Bulldogs whilst they’d be shattered if they lose and Rory Lobb leads them (Fremantle) to victory, they might be rubbing their hands together, given many think he’s heading to the Western Bulldogs.

“That’s what they’re saying; he’s playing unbelievably well.”

Some have questioned whether the Bulldogs need Lobb, given they’ve got Aaron Naughton (three goals on Saturday), Josh Bruce, No.1 pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan and father-son prodigy Sam Darcy, who made a strong debut with a team -leading eight marks and seven intercepts.

But as those intercepts suggest Darcy played in defense, where the Bulldogs desperately need tall help – while Luke Beveridge remains a Ryan Gardner stan and defends his backs when questioned, they’ve long struggled to defend one-on-ones.

So if Lobb truly is coming on board, that just adds more tall weapons to their armory.

More magnets to spin for the AFL’s most prolific magnet-spinner can’t hurt, surely?

Meanwhile for the Dockers, their win on the road was yet another example of their terrific away record in the 2022 season.

They’re the only non-Victorian team to win more than one game in Victoria this season – and they’ve won five, plus that draw against Richmond.

Taking 22 premiership points from trips to the home of footy is a big reason the Dockers are current flag contenders this season. After all, if they can win in Melbourne, they can win on the biggest day of all.

Buckley on 2018 Crows: ‘It’s harrowing’ | 06:33


Few experts pre-season tipped Collingwood to feature in this year’s finals series. Nathan Buckley, however, did.

And while the former coach didn’t expect his Magpies to be sitting second on the ladder with two rounds to go, he’s of the firm belief the side’s 2022 surge is a result of an exciting five-year build.

The Magpies’ destiny is in their own hands. Win two more home and away games and they’ll jump from the bottom-two last year to the top-two this year – a simply remarkable feat. Those last two games will be tough – Sydney at the SCG and Carlton at the MCG – but it seems nothing, not even the prospect of watching The Exorcist in the dark, scares this team.

While many outside the club had low expectations for the Magpies this year after a 17th-placed finish in 2021, Buckley said it was important to remember the build and list turnover in the previous three years.

“I’m going to suggest – and I’ve been involved in the footy club – but this is five years of good footy with a bad year last year,” Buckley told Fox Footy on Friday night.

“The nucleus of this side is established and we’re seeing some young players come in and play really big roles – and it’s brilliant and it’s exciting to see.

“This Collingwood side has exceeded my expectations. I thought they were 15 wins at the top end – and they’ve still got two more to go. What ‘Fly’ (McRae) has done has been amazing, but it’s been built off the nucleus of a senior core that have been there for five or six years doing this now.”

Maynard BUZZING after big hit and win | 00:47

The Magpies on Friday night claimed a remarkable 11th straight win – the first time they’ve achieved the feat since 2011 – in another tantalizingly close game.

Asked how the Pies keep winning such tight games, coach Craig McRae told reporters: “Yeah, this group’s got some belief hasn’t it? We just get ourselves into positions where at three quarter-time, there’s a few smiles on their faces – like, ‘here we go again’.

“It’s just been our story. I haven’t been part of a team like it that gets themselves in a situation that they just think: ‘Here we go, we’ll get the job done.’”

The On The Couch team last week compared the profile of Collingwood’s 2022 team to the Richmond premiership side of 2017. Like the Tigers, the Pies aren’t a strong clearance team, but are among the top-four clubs for interceptions, pressure and opposition score per inside 50.

Brownlow Medalist Gerard Healy added to the comparison on Friday night.

“This could be a premiership built on pressure, like Richmond in 2017,” Healy told Fox Footy Live. “They didn’t win all the stats, but they won the flag, so there’s a lot to like about this Collingwood side.

“They are certainly in the conversation – you can’t win 11 in a row and beat last year’s premiers twice and not be a genuine chance.

“Collingwood and Sydney sit underneath most people’s favorites of Geelong and Melbourne, but we do know they are capable of beating the top sides.”

Asked if he’d reassess his message to his playing group considering the circumstances, McRae said: “We’re living in the moment of getting better. That’s always been our message. We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves.

“You look at the stats sheet (after the Melbourne game) and there’s a lot of red in it, so we’re not naive and we’ve got a little work to do.

“We don’t know where our ceiling is at – and that’s exciting. We’re in discovery mode… and that’s an exciting place to live.”

Consider comments heard! | 00:26


Ed Langdon was something of a sitting duck when he was swamped only moments into Friday night’s epic between Collingwood and Melbourne.

We wouldn’t normally put so much time into dissecting a wingman’s game, particularly one as consistent as Langdon. But after the former Freo man spoke on radio about Collingwood being “all duck and no dinner” and a “one trick pony”, all eyes were on Langdon.

It created one of the most memorable moments of the season – and added some spice to a game that barely needed it.

Sitting second and third on the table respectively, Melbourne and Collingwood were playing on a Friday night for the first time since 2007, so the stage was already set for a dynamite contest.

Collingwood coach Craig McRae made light of Langdon’s comments pre-game, telling Fox Footy’s Kath Loughnan he had “duck for dinner last night”.

Feet assistant Brendon Bolton told Fox Sports News’ AFL Tonight he “loved it”, while Adem Yze reiterated the respect the Demons have for the Pies.

Kennedy chaired off in charming scenes | 01:23

The 24 hours prior to the opening bounce were gripping as a football lover. All that anyone was talking about were those comments and how good the game was going to be. The AFL even bumped up their crowd estimates off the back of the comments.

And when Brayden Maynard and co. engulfed Langdon in a brutal gang tackle, we got one of the most memorable and electric moments of the season — and the game itself didn’t disappoint either.

Ex-Saints and North Melbourne star Nick Dal Santo suggested it might have been a slip of the tongue after similar language was used in a team meeting, but the triple All-Australian noted “we shouldn’t be knocking that down”.

“Our game needs more of that,” Dal Santo told Fox Footy Live after the game.

“Our game is a combative game. The people who least speak about that combativeness is the players.”

“We need to embrace the rivalry and the competitiveness. If someone is to put out a comment like that, brilliant. More of it.”

The Melbourne media department, privately, would’ve been scrambling after the comments were made. The beauty of it was being so close to bounce-down, everyone could just enjoy the ride — even Ed, who had a smile pre-game, got booed by Pies fans and performed solidly in the 7-point loss.

“All duck no dinner” made for a footy feast.

Ban likely for Cripps after heavy bump | 02:00


Amid doubts already over whether Collingwood should be pursuing Dan McStay, just how does he fit into this Pies forward line?

The Magpies have been heavily linked to the Lions free agent on a five-year deal worth $3 million as the club looks to add another marking target in attack.

But this is a Collingwood side already firing on all cylinders, with Friday night’s epic win over Melbourne seeing it climb into second place on the ladder.

Jamie Elliott and fourth-gamer Ash Johnson were both instrumental with four goals apiece, while Brody Mihocek, who’s led the goalkicking in each of the last three seasons and is on track to do so again in 2022, chipped in two goals.

“Mihocek, Elliott and Johnson look so good — so where does Daniel McStay fit into all this?” Demons great Garry Lyon posed on Fox Footy.

Heck, if McStay was available to play for Collingwood next week, it’s hard to see him cracking into the 22, especially with star ruckman Brodie Grundy and young gun Ollie Henry already out of the side.

McStay has booted 16 goals from as many games this year and been held goalless on eight occasions, while the key forward’s 28 majors in 2021 mark his best-ever return.

Franklin kicks four in big Swans win | 02:29

There’s a possibility that Collingwood could look to play McStay in defence, although it still raises questions of whether he’s worth the $650,000-a-season price tag and at a club that’s only two years removed from a trade exodus due to salary cap pressure.

“They believe he can help the forward line like Josh Bruce has been able to help Jamarra Ugle-Hagan get better match-ups… Daniel McStay is coming to Collingwood, but it’s going to be some kind of juggling act, especially with Ollie Henry not in the side right now,” Herald Sun reporter Jon Ralph said on Fox Footy.

To which Saints great Nick Riewoldt responded: “Josh Bruce is a brave, brave workhorse. Is that Daniel McStay?”

Triple-premiership winning Lion Jonathan Brown believes his former club see him as the “workhorse, down-the-line guy.”

“They like to kick it long to him, put it on his head. Hipwood and Daniher tend to be more the runners,” he said.



2022 Kia Cerato GT turbo hatch review

Want an interesting hatchback without the cost – and compromise – of a high-performance hot hatch? Kia’s Cerato GT could be the car for you.


Performance and equipment are central to the appeal of Kia’s Cerato GT, the most expensive model in Kia’s small-car range.

Priced from $37,990 drive-away, it’s about $10,000 more than the entry-level Cerato.

But the GT justifies its expense with a more powerful engine, sportier suspension, a handful of cosmetic touches and a long list of standard features such as leather seats and an eight-speaker JBL stereo.

Kia’s seven-year, unlimited kilometer warranty is similarly generous. But capped price servicing for the Cerato GT is a little dear at about $470 per year, while the turbo motor’s 6.8L/100km fuel use is thirsty for a car this size.


Geared toward customers looking for a fully-loaded machine with a sporty side, the Cerato GT isn’t particularly plush.

Riding on 18-inch wheels with suspension both lower and firmer than regular models, it also has a throaty exhaust note and high-performance rubber that creates more road noise than everyday tires.

It’s not a limousine. But it is more luxurious than many other cars this size, thanks to features such as heated and cooled sports seats, dual-zone climate control, a sunroof and more.

There’s no stress operating the 10.25-inch infotainment screen with wireless charging and smartphone mirroring – you drop your phone in the right place and the car will automatically top up its battery while displaying key features on the central screen.


It shouldn’t come as a surprise to see that this car is stuffed to the gills with safety gear – active cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, lane keeping assistance and more.

There are clever touches you won’t find in most small cars, such as a safe exit warning system that watches out for traffic when passengers open their doors. There are also safety benefits in bigger brakes, tauter suspension and top-tier Michelin tires that deliver sharper reactions in emergency situations.


Powered by a 1.6-liter turbo engine, the Cerato GT has impressive 150kW and 265Nm peaks that deliver above-average acceleration. A flat-bottomed wheel with shift paddles linked to its seven-speed dual-clutch automatic steering transmission hints at sporty intent.

We call this sort of car a “warm hatch”, one with more muscle and better reflexes than most cars in this class, but not the uncompromising focus (and $50,000 price tag) of proper performance cars. Kia chose to fit firm shock absorbers to the Cerato, resulting in impressive poise when pressing on – and a harsher-than-expected ride on bumpy roads.

Proper hot hatches such as the VW Golf GTI and Hyundai i30 N have sophisticated multi-mode electronic suspension that allows drivers to choose suspension settings ranging from mild to wild, but Cerato owners have to live with a bumpy ride on every journey.


Mazda3 G25 SP, from about $35,900
drive away

Gorgeous looks, impressive dynamics and a 2.5-liter engine combine in an attractive package.

Hyundai i30 N-Line Premium, from about $38,400 drive-away

Same turbo engine and generous kit as the Kia, but a less sporty disposition.

Ford Fiesta ST, from about $37,500
drive away

Smaller than the Cerato but thrilling handling and a charming engine.


four stars

Well-equipped and fun to drive, the Kia Cerato GT is a great option for folks looking for a sporty drive without breaking the bank.


PRICE $37,990 drive away

ENGINE 1.6-litre 4-cyl turbo, 150kW and 265Nm

WARRANTY/SERVICE 7-year/unlimited km, about $3300 for 7 years

SAFETY Six airbags, auto emergency braking, active cruise control, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert

THIRST 6.8L/100km

BOOT 428 liters

SPARE space saver



Married At First Sight star outraged over $27 meal in Auckland

A furious Married At First Sight star has slammed a New Zealand cafe for their “tiny” salad that set him back $27.

Former MAFS contestant Samuel Levi took to Instagram to share a photo of a salad that he was served at an unnamed Auckland restaurant.

The 29-year-old described the “small” meal as a “piece of s**t” and slammed the salad’s $27 NZD [$24 AUD] price tag as “daylight robbery.”

“Paid $27 for this tiny and small piece of s**t salad… blood hell Auckland” he wrote.

“This is damn rough and day light robbery.”

Samuel not to name the restaurant where he got the meal, but instead decided just the general location.

“I won’t tag the place directly, but I’ll put the location of the place below where not to go and visit while in Auckland” he said, followed by an eyeroll and facepalm emoji.

The salad consisted of some greens, cherry tomatoes, avocado, parmesan cheese and some large bits of toasted bread on the side.

With the cost of living soaring in recent months, the price of produced has skyrocketed – causing many restaurants in Australia and New Zealand to adjust their prices.

In New Zealand, the inflation rate from March to June 2022 increased 1.7 per cent, and the inflation rate year on year is 7.3 per cent, compared to 6.9 per cent for the previous quarter.

Earlier this week, honeymooners in Greece were left shocked after getting stuck with an $850 bill for a “quick snack”.

Lindsay Breen and her husband Alex, both 30, were left in shock after being surprised by the outrageous bill at DK Oyster in Mykonos.

The couple, who hail from Toronto, Canada, was exploring the picturesque town when they decided to pop into one of the local restaurants.

“We went to the oyster bar for a bite to eat and a drink,” Lindsay explained.

“They immediately said ‘do you want oysters?’ They were very presumptuous. We said yes and he said ‘a dozen?’ so we said yes because a dozen is a typical order.

“My husband ordered a beer and I asked for a cocktail menu and he came back with the beer but I had to ask again for a cocktail menu and he started rhyming off different kinds of alcohol he had, vodka, gin but I asked for a menu.”

After finishing their snack and “comically large drinks,” the couple was ready to pay and continue with their day.

“When we were ready to leave, I went to the washroom and they had my husband go into a back room to pay which is sketchy,” Lindsay remembered.

“They gave him the bill which was over 400 euros. He was shocked and asked for a breakdown. They had a computer screen that they turned to him and it was all in Greek but we don’t speak Greek.”

Although he was completely shocked by the large bill, Alex paid without any issues after he got a “sketchy vibe” and “didn’t want to get himself in a bad situation.”

“He definitely felt intimidated and he’s the friendliest guy so even if the bill was double he probably would have paid it to avoid any problems,” Lindsay admitted.

“It was pretty crazy. I’m glad in hindsight that we didn’t cause an argument or refuse to pay because it could have ended up worse for us. They know when you’re tourists they take advantage.”



Volkswagen Polo review: drive impressions, prices, specification

Hatchbacks used to be the default option for city drivers, but the compact SUV has put a huge dent in the market.

Volkswagen’s Polo is one of few remaining choices for buyers.


The days of the sub-$20,000 hatchback are long gone.

The price of admission into Volkswagen’s new Polo is about $29,400 for the manual 70 TSI Life variant, while our 85 TSI Style test car will set buyers back more than $35,000. That’s a fair chunk of change and is more than many hatchbacks and SUVs a full size bigger.

Our test car has flash 16-inch alloy wheels, LED head and tail lights and an in-vogue LED illuminated grille strip.

It’s aimed at younger drivers, so connectivity is front and center.

An eight-inch touchscreen and a fully digital instrument display with crisp readouts and hi-res satnav is standard, as are Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, several USB-C charging points and a wireless device charger. A $1900 Sound and Tech pack adds a Beats stereo and wireless smartphone connectivity among other items.

VW backs its cars with an industry standard five year/unlimited km warranty and capped price servicing will cost $2200 over five years.


Despite its small size the Polo has plenty of room for long-limbed drivers.

Manually adjustable cloth wrapped seats are firm but supportive and a movable steering wheel makes it easy to find the right driving position.

The cabin is a mix of hard wearing plastic surfaces and premium glossy inserts. There are easy to use climate controls in the center dash and essential functions can be managed via steering wheel-mounted buttons.

Rear-seat legroom is above average for its class and there are two USB-C charging points. Disappointingly at this price point, there are no rear airconditioning vents.

The Polo has firm suspension that can crash over larger bumps but it does a decent job of managing pockmarked city streets. It’s quiet, too, keeping most of the outside noise at bay.


The Style grade comes with seven airbags including a center airbag to prevent head clashes during an accident.

The Polo will automatically brake if it detects a potential collision with a car, pedestrian or cyclist.

An array of sensors will warn you if a car is in your blind spot and sound an alarm if a car is approaching from the side as you reverse.

Radar cruise control and lane-keep assist make highway cruising a cinch.


The 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine proves that good things come in small packages.

It makes just 85kW of power but ample torque delivered early in the rev range means plenty of oomph off the mark.

VW has persisted with a seven-speed dual-clutch auto that can feel a little jerky at lower speeds and can hesitate on takeoff.

Once up to speed, it’s a hoot to drive thanks to quick, accurate steering and excellent body control through corners.

It feels agile in traffic and stable on the open road. Its compact size means it’s adept at tackling tight car parks and inner city streets.

VW claims it’ll drink 5.4L/100km of more expensive premium unleaded petrol, and it’ll do close to that figure in the real world.


Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo, priced at $37,990 drive-away

A hatch that shares its underpinnings with the Polo, but with a bigger engine and price tag.

Toyota Yaris ZR Hybrid, from about $36,000 drive-away

Smaller inside, but benefits from amazing fuel economy and low-cost servicing.

Mazda2 GT, priced from about $30,100 drive-away

Once a class leader that now feels too small inside and underpowered. Packed with safety kit, though and much cheaper.


three and a half stars

Price will scare buyers away, but it’s a classy little hatchback that boasts some impressive tech features and crisp drive experience.


PRICE About $35,500 drive away

ENGINE 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol, 85kW and 200Nm

WARRANTY/SERVICING Five years/unlimited km, $2200 over five years

SAFETY Seven airbags, auto emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-keep assist, blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, radar cruise control and driver fatigue detection.

THIRST 5.4L/100km

SPARE Temporary

LUGGAGE 351 liters