regular season – Michmutters

Stadium stoush continues as Souths slam stalling government

South Sydney coach Jason Demetriou has implored the NSW government to allow the Rabbitohs to move to the new Sydney Football Stadium next season as the club waits in limbo without a home ground locked in for 2023.

As revealed in The Daily Telegraph, Souths chief executive Blake Solly said the club had “bucket loads of uncertainty” because a potential move to Moore Park hasn’t been approved by the state government.

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Blake Solly is unimpressed with the stadium standoff. Picture: Lyndon MechielsenSource: News Corp Australia

The Rabbitohs have called the Olympic precinct home since 2006 but are keen to return to Allianz Stadium, which is on the same light rail line as their juniors club in Kingsford.

But the government has yet to approve the move, which means the Rabbitohs can’t sell memberships or corporate packages for 2023 because their fans don’t know which ground they’d be committing to.

“We’re a big club that deserves to be playing in big stadiums,” Demetriou said, joking that they’d gladly play at Redfern Oval if they had to.

“They’ve just built an $800m stadium in our backyard, so I think it makes common sense to me that we’re playing there.

“It’s a stadium that’s built in the heartland of South Sydney.

“It’s down the road from our junior leagues club, so there’s a real opportunity for us to spend some time there and venture into the ground from there and for our members to meet the players post-game.

“All that sort of stuff makes everything easier and that’s why we’re really excited and hopeful of getting in there.

“It’s in our area, so it’d be great to have us playing there and I’m sure our fans and our members and our supporters would love to have a venue closer to home. I know the players would be excited as well.”

The Rabbitohs will officially open the stadium in round 25 when they take on the Roosters in a game that could decide eighth spot on the ladder.

The lack of certainty around their future has had no impact on the playing group yet, but Demetriou says it could if things are left to fester.

The new stadium would be much more convenient for Rabbitohs fans. Picture: Sam RuttynSource: News Corp Australia

“We’ve got that much going on in terms of playing footy,” he said.

“It’s a distraction if we’re getting too caught up in it, but we have no control over it. I don’t as a coach, and I know the players don’t as players.

“But they’re excited about playing there in round 25 and there’s a genuine excitement to play there. I think sharing it with the Roosters and having 20 games a year would be outstanding, not just for clubs, but for the NRL as well.”

It’s a distraction the Bunnies could do without as they prepare for a brutal four-week stretch leading into the finals.

The Rabbitohs play western Sydney heavyweights Parramatta and Penrith and then finish the regular season with games against the second-placed Cowboys and the Roosters in a grudge game to open Allianz Stadium.

It’s a tough stretch but at least they go into Friday’s game at CommBank Stadium knowing they have the wood on Parramatta after five-straight wins over the Eels.

“The last time we played them we were coming off an ordinary performance so we were pretty motivated for that game,” the coach said.

“That’s our challenge tomorrow night – to bring that same motivation off the back of some good performances.

“We’re going in the right direction but we’re playing some bigger teams now that can score points. Parramatta is as good as anyone at scoring points and they are dangerous right across the park, so it’ll be a good test for our defence.”



NBA 2022 news: Ben Simmons leaves Brooklyn Nets group chat, Kevin Durant

Ben Simmons has been savagely exposed for leaving his teammates hanging during a crucial NBA playoff contest.

Simmons was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in the middle of the 2021/22 season in a blockbuster trade that landed the Philadelphia 76ers James Harden.

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After having not suited up throughout the regular season, Simmons’ return to the hardwood gained momentum in the lead up to the playoffs.

The Athletic reported his return had been earmarked for the Nets in Game 4 of their first round series against the Boston Celtics.

Down 3-0, the Nets were on the brink of elimination and a Ben Simmons injection could have delivered the spark they required.

Prior to the do-or-die contest, Simmons pulled out due to back soreness that eventually required surgery. He did not sit on the bench alongside his teammates for the game which the Celtics won 116-112.

But now a new damning report has shown Simmons’ withdrawal went a step further. NBA analyst Ric Bucher spilled the beans, exposing Simmons’ bizarre snub.

“They’re having a team chat before game four, thinking he’s going to play against the Celtics, and from what I’m told, Ben just left the chat,” Bucher told Colin Cowherd on The Herd.

“They asked him, ‘Are you going to play?’ Ben left the chat. Like he didn’t even answer the question. He just left the chat.”

The damning report sent basketball social media into a spin with many rocked by the unbelievable move from the Aussie.

Podcaster Mike Golic Jr wrote: “Not sure anyone involved ever recovers and I’m only kind of joking.”

ESPN’s Sarah Spain wrote: “WELP”.

Barstool Sports’ Dan Greenberg wrote: “I’m sorry what”.

The news comes on the same day Kevin Durant’s bombshell trade demands came to light, with the superstar putting an ultimatum on team owner Joe Tsai.

The 26-year-old required surgery in May on his lower back after withdrawing from that crucial playoff clash with the Celtics.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Simmons needed back surgery after experiencing “pain soreness” the day before the Nets were eventually eliminated.

“Brooklyn Nets swingman Ben Simmons will require three to four months of rehabilitation after undergoing back surgery, but is expected to be fully recovered to return to the court well ahead of pre-season training camp in September, sources told ESPN on Wednesday,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski wrote.

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AFL: Lions star Lachie Neale lifting at business end of season

Lions ruckman Oscar McInerney has hailed the form of teammate Lachie Neale as Brisbane’s top-four hopes go on the line in the final two rounds of the regular season.

Currently in fifth spot on the AFL ladder but on the same points as third-placed Melbourne and fourth-placed Sydney, the Lions can guarantee themselves a top-four berth by beating St Kilda and the Demons in the next fortnight.

It’s a task easier said the done, but the form of star midfielder Neale will aid Brisbane’s top-four bid.

He was superb in the Lions’ weekend win over Carlton, with an all-round effort of 32 disposals, nine clearances and one goal moving him alongside Gold Coast Suns star Touk Miller at the top of the AFL Coaches Association’s MVP award.

Neale is also favored to win a second Brownlow Medal, having won the award for the first time in 2020.

“He’s gone up a level,” McInerney said in comparing Neale’s form from two years ago to now.

“We couldn’t be proud of that. He’s a phenomenal player.

“He’s the last guy out on the track, he’s always working on his touch, (doing) weights, he’s getting stronger, he’s fitter, he’s an incredible athlete, he’s got an incredible mindset… that’s a great role model for all our young players coming through.”

McInerney’s own form has been good but he is playing his performances down, claiming he just wants to keep things “nice and simple” for the likes on Neale and other Brisbane teammates.

“As long as I’m just jumping hard and creating a contest, we’ve got so many magical players like Lachie at the feet, they just do the rest,” McInerney.

“He (Neale) is just so clean. He just doesn’t fumble but that comes from the work behind the scenes.”

The Lions are attempting on producing a four-quarter performance when they head to Marvel Stadium for Friday night’s clash against the Saints.

Despite beating the Blues by 33 points at the Gabba last Sunday, Brisbane had a 57-point three-quarter lead which Carlton at one stage reduced to less than three goals in the final term before the hosts steadied to seal the victory.

“We’re still improving at this time of year, and I think that’s a really valuable thing for our team,” McInerney said.

“Obviously we need to cement that and go for longer periods, but it’s really pleasing and positive signs that we’re able to continue to improve.”

The versatile Callum Ah Chee will miss Friday’s match due to the AFL’s concussion protocols.

Defender Marcus Adams also didn’t train with the Brisbane team on Tuesday as he recovers from a sternum injury he suffered against Carlton.

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Dylan Edwards Dally M contender, Penrith Panthers star backed as chance to win, leaderboard, points

Penrith fullback Dylan Edwards has been nominated as a shock contender to win this year’s Dally M award after another Herculean effort for the Panthers.

Edwards battled through a shoulder problem to deliver a man-of-the-match performance in Penrith’s 26-6 win over Canberra on Saturday night.

The 26-year-old continues to prove himself as one of the NRL’s toughest players — battling through a serious ankle injury in Penrith’s run to last year’s premiership.

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Dylan Edwards receives treatment during the win over the Raiders.Source: Getty Images

“Penrith, they’ve got some wonderful players but I don’t know whether they’ve got a more consistent player or a braver player than their fullback Dylan Edwards, what a player he is,” NRL great Laurie Daley said on Sky Racing’s Big Sports Breakfast.

Daily Telegraph reporter Phil Rothfield echoed those sentiments and predicted Edwards was a legitimate contender for this year’s Dally M award, especially with Nathan Cleary set to miss the rest of the regular season due to suspension.

“Well you know he played through the finals no media publicity, nothing was heard about until after the game basically with a really serious ankle injury, couldn’t train, was in a moon boot all week, he’s a really, really tough dude and he just got needled game after game,” Rothfield said.

“Again he took a heavy knock the other night and just played outstanding.

“I looked up the Dally M leaderboard when it closed and he was running eighth, in equal eighth with Daly Cherry-Evans and he was only six points behind Ben Hunt.

“I think he might be a bolter’s chance to actually win the award.


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“I think he’s a good thing to finish in the top 3 and apart from him being subject to terrific play, picking up points every week, he no longer has, for the rest of the year, Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai in the side, competing with him for points each week.”

Rothfield said Edwards was only a “cigarette paper” behind the likes of James Tedesco, Latrell Mitchell and Tom Trbojevic in the echelon of the game’s premier fullbacks

“He’s improved out of sight in the last two years and I’m really happy for him because while he may lack a few of the skills of the boys I’ve just mentioned he’s toughness and his effort plays are up there with any player in the competition.”



Penrith Panthers, Parramatta Eels, Nathan Cleary, Jarome Luai, Mitchell Moses, Cam Smith

NRL legend Cameron Smith believes Nathan Cleary’s lengthy ban leading into finals will provide “a blessing in disguise” for the Panthers.

Cleary flipped Penrith’s season on its head when he was sent off for a dangerous lifting tackle on Eels playmaker Dylan Brown last Friday.

The New South Wales Origin star copped a five-match suspension and won’t return for the competition leaders before the finals.

Five-eighth Jarome Luai is also out set for a lengthy stint on the sidelines, after suffering an MCL injury against the Sharks.

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Without the two experienced playmakers leading the team around the park, the Panthers will have to rely on some relatively inexperienced combinations until the finals.

Penrith have turned Jaeman Salmon and Sean O’Sullivan for Saturday’s clash with Canberra, with the Panthers currently six competition points clear of second with five games to play.

But Smith said the break for the duo can become a positive for the reigning NRL premiers.

“I think it can work in their favour,” Smith said on SEN’s The Captain’s Run on Thursday.

“I actually think that giving this football side an opportunity side to play a month or five weeks without Cleary in particular and Jerome Luai, their two main men, it’s their go-to men in attack, I actually think when they return they’ll both be fresh.


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“Nathan Cleary, he’s going to have fresh legs, he’s going to be fresh mentality. He hasn’t had to get up for games for five weeks.

“You could see as soon as he made that tackle he knew he’d let the team down, and the club and the fans. He’s going to come out in that final series and think ‘I’ve got to repay this footy club and my fans for missing five weeks’.

“This footy side can benefit so much from these two guys not being there and guys like Api Koroisau and Isaah Yeo… they’re going to have to shoulder more responsibility now with the way the football team plays.

“I just think they’re going to be a stronger footy side again.”

Penrith have one hand on the minor premiership just over a month out from finals, but they could quickly lose that grip with a couple of losses on the bounce.

The Cowboys are their closest rivals in the race for pole position, but the Sharks are also an outside chance – but are four games back and they have a significantly worse points difference.

Open your eyes! Roosters Scold Walker | 00:31

North Queensland host the Panthers in the final round of the regular season, and although it’s unlikely, it’s possible that the two teams clash with the minor premiership on the line.

It’s potentially a season defining a few weeks for the Panthers, who are looking to defend their NRL crown.

“Let’s just say the top four doesn’t change, they take on Melbourne. If they finish first, they’ll be taking on the Storm,” he added.

“The biggest difference this year is they’ll play their first game at home. They’ll be playing at Penrith.

“Whereas last year and I know it was a neutral ground for the Sydney sides, but they played the Rabbitohs up in Townsville and got beaten. They’re a different footy side at home.

“They’ve lost one game there in a thousand years.”

Parramatta are another side who will be without a key player for a majority of their remaining regular season games.

Star playmaker Mitchell Moses has been ruled out with a finger injury, and will spend at least a couple of weeks watching on from the sidelines.

The Eels could potentially drop out of the top eight if they have a bad month, with the Raiders just four-point behind them.

“(Moses) He’s leading the competition for try assists. He’s got 20 try assists, so now with him out, plus his goal kicking, so now they need to find someone to produce points for them.

“They’re going to have to find some points somewhere. Whether Gutho stands up a little bit more, I think Jake Arthur may be playing in the halves this week.

“These remaining five games are crucial.”



Cronulla Sharks, Will Kennedy injury, Tevita Tatola tackle that has left the Sharks seeing

Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon says the match review committee has become “difficult to understand” after he lost fullback Will Kennedy to a serious injury as a result of a hip-drop tackle that went uncharged.

Kennedy isn’t expected back until the final round of the regular season after he was forced to undergo ankle surgery following an ugly tackle by South Sydney’s Tevita Tatola in the 63rd minute of last week’s pulsating golden point battle.

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The incident has attracted very little interest during a week where Brisbane’s Patrick Carrigan was banned for four matches for fracturing Jackson Hastings’ fibula in a shocking tackle just hours after the Kennedy injury.

The Sharks sent an email to the NRL asking why Tatola hadn’t been charged, but the response they got left a lot to be desired just a week after Sharks lock Dale Finucane was suspended for two games for an accidental head clash.

“It’s getting difficult to understand,” Fitzgibbon said, confident that Kennedy may return ahead of schedule.

William Kennedy was the victim of an ugly tackle. Picture: Robert Cianflone/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

“No one actually intends to do it. They are unfortunate and they are happening more than normal.

“But we lose a good player who’s an important part of our team for an extended period, and there was no charge.

“I didn’t understand the explanation, but it is what it is. The same goes for Dale with the head clash. We’ve got to move on.

“Kade (Dykes) gets an opportunity, which is really exciting. When things like that happen, you really don’t want to get stuck and dwell on what you can’t control. All I can control is the team that’s going to play this weekend.”

There is a silver lining to all of this, with Dykes set to make his NRL debut on Saturday in front of a packed house on Old Boys’ Day.

It’s a huge moment for the local junior who will become a third-generation Shark and will follow in the footsteps of dad, Adam, and grandfather, John.

Dykes has been in red-hot form in reserve grade, scoring eight tries and setting up another nine in his 13 games this season where he’s split time between fullback and in the halves.

Lachie Miller and his teammates celebrate a stunning try. Picture: NRL PhotosSource: Supplied

He’s been playing so well that he’s even pipped former sevens star Lachie Miller, who scored a slashing try on debut for Cronulla back in round 11.

“His form for Newtown has gotten to a point where (picking) him was undeniable,” Fitzgibbon said.

“We had a couple of weeks where we were rotating between him and Lachie Miller. Both really were pressing for selection. He’s got really good balance and speed and footwork so hopefully we can see some of his best attributes from him tomorrow.

“It was a hard decision based on Lachie’s debut.

“If you have a rewards system based on NSW Cup, training, performance etc, then Kade got to a point where it warranted an opportunity.

“I will say Lachie has been performing well and has been pressing for selection as well, so Lachie has some utility value and I do see Lachie playing again for us soon.

“It was difficult in that regard but also really exciting for Kade because he earned the opportunity.”

The hype around Dykes is already building, but his coach is confident the 20-year-old will handle it days after he signed a contract extension to keep him at the club until 2024.

“Young players who are exceptionally talented have a confidence about them so the hype doesn’t affect them too much,” Fitzgibbon said.

“Kade is a confident kid and really confident in his ability, so when you see the way that they mingle with the other players and the way that they train (you’re not worried).

“This is Kade’s first season against has men and he’s been one of the strongest performers in the competition.”



Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson reacts to Sam Walker copping spray from teammates

Roosters coach Trent Robinson has welcomed and applauded a heated on-field exchange between two of his senior forwards and young halfback Sam Walker during his side’s comfortable 34-16 win over Brisbane at the SCG on Thursday night.

Immediately after Angus Crichton scored the Roosters’ third try early in the first half, prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves turned and pointed at Walker, admonishing him for a previous play that hadn’t worked out.

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Sydney Roosters Press Conference | 08:18

Victor Radley also joined in, looking at the No.7 and tapping at his head as if to say “think about it”.

Walker took his medicine without complaint, going on to play a key role in an important win that keeps the Roosters well and truly in the finals race.

Robinson was more than happy to see his players criticizing each other’s performance on the run.

“Jared’s coached as many players as I have, so that’s his role (on the field),” Robinson said.

“We care about the way that we play the game and we feel like we can get better.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson likes his players ‘coaching each other’. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

“These guys are coaching each other to go ‘Come on. We want more. Come on, let’s get beyond that. Don’t do that. Let’s get better’.

“We’ve got more in us and the coach isn’t going to decide that, it’s those guys on the field nailing it.

“Our best is yet to come because of what we’re talking about with Jared.

“Jared wants more and Teddy (James Tedesco) talked about it after the game to the team (saying) ‘I like some of the stuff but I want more’.

“But we feel like we’ve worked hard enough this year and tried different things that it’s time to play better.”

The Roosters will finish round 21 in seventh or eighth, just hanging inside the top eight but still a chance at a coveted top-four finish.

They play North Queensland, Wests Tigers, Melbourne and South Sydney over the final month of the regular season.

Nat Butcher celebrates after scoring a try against Brisbane. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Tedesco said: “It’s so tight. There’s probably 10 teams within four points, so for us it’s about winning every week and just getting better.

“I feel we made a statement (against Brisbane) but we’re still chasing that 80-minute performance.

“We’ll learn our lesson from tonight and look forward to next week.”



AFL: Mabior Chol makes most of opportunity given to him by Gold Coast Suns

Mabior Chol continues to make the most of the chance given to him by a Gold Coast Suns side whose slim AFL finals hopes could rest on the boot of the former Richmond forward.

With three rounds of the regular season remaining, the Suns remain a mathematical chance of playing finals football for the first time in the club’s history.

It’s a tall order and the Suns will need other results to go their way, but with Chol in stellar form, it’s not yet impossible.

Having joined the Suns this year from the Tigers, where the regular top-flight football was craved wasn’t forthcoming, Chol has rewarded Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew for believing in him.

The 25-year-old, 200cm giant has kicked 43 goals this season, including a career-best single-game haul of five in the Suns’ three-point weekend win over the West Coast Eagles.

“I’ve been seeking an opportunity for a very long time to show what I can do at the highest level,” Chol said ahead of the Suns’ trip to Tasmania for Saturday’s clash against Hawthorn in Launceston.

“I knew coming up here I wasn’t just going to walk straight in. I knew I was going to have to work hard and earn my position.

“There’s been a lot of hard work since the start of the pre-season and it’s just been an exciting season … I knew what I was capable of doing.”

As did Dew, who said Chol was a “real leader” who gave the Suns “great energy”.

“He’s a real thinker of the game,” the Gold Coast mentor said.

“He sees the game really well, he can understand what’s happening, patterns of play, so when he comes to the bench, he’s really aware of how the game’s going.

“The more he gets confidence to voice that to the greater group he’s going to improve his leadership.
“We’re excited by not only what he’s done, but what’s to eat.”

Chol said the Suns weren’t looking ahead to the finals but instead on the immediate task of beating the Hawks for a second time this season after disposing of them by 67 points in Darwin in May.

“We’re just focusing on each game, each week – we’re not trying to look too far ahead. It’s been exciting,” he said.

The Suns are hopeful another former Tiger, Brandon Ellis, overcomes a shoulder problem to play this weekend after he was a late withdrawal from the team that beat the Eagles.

Dew said of Ellis: “We anticipate he’ll be on the plane to Tassie.”



NRL 2022: Penrith’s big call on Cleary replacement

The Panthers have turned to Sean O’Sullivan and Jaeman Salmon in the halves as the defending premiers try to navigate the rest of the regular season without stars Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai.

Cleary will miss the rest of the regular season after he was sent off and banned for five matches for an ugly spear tackle on Parramatta’s Dylan Brown, while Luai continues to recover from a knee injury.

O’Sullivan has shown he can fill in for the rep stars when required, but it’s a huge call bringing in Salmon, given he hasn’t started a game at five-eighth since 2019 when he played seven games for the Eels in the No .6 jumper.

Coach Ivan Cleary could yet spring a late change with rookie Kurt Falls named in the reserves for Saturday’s trip to take on the resurgent Raiders.

In a boost for the Panthers, center Stephen Crichton returns from his sickening head clash with Cronulla’s Dale Finucane which required emergency plastic surgery to repair an ear.

Canberra winger Jordan Rapana is back from suspension and replaces Albert Hopoate on the right wing as the Raiders try to keep their top-eight hopes alive.

The Broncos have named Kobe Hetherington at lock in place of the suspended Patrick Carrigan for Thursday’s blockbuster against the Roosters.

Brisbane’s hopes of returning to the top four have been helped with winger Selwyn Cobbo back for his first game since he was knocked out early in the State of Origin decider.

Lindsay Collins was also knocked out in that game and he’ll miss Thursday’s match after he suffered another head knock against the Sea Eagles last week. Teammate Egan Butcher is also missing through suspension, which means Matt Lodge will start.

The Storm welcome back Brandon Smith after his three-game ban for verbally abusing referee Adam Gee. He’ll start from the bench while mid-season recruit David Nofoaluma starts on the wing to bolster their weakened backline.

That backline has taken more damage with Nick Meaney (shoulder) and Justin Olam (Covid) both sidelined for Friday’s match against the Titans, but there is a chance rep winger Xavier Coates returns for his first game since the State of Origin opener when he hurt his ankle.

Toby Sexton has been “rested” which means AJ Brimson moves to the halves with Jayden Campbell set to start at fullback against the team he made his NRL debut against last year.

Six members of the “Sea Eagles seven” have been included in this week’s squad, but Josh Aloiai will miss Friday’s crucial clash with Parramatta because of injury.

Josh Schuster has been named in the No.18 jersey.

The Eels have called on Jake Arthur to replace the injured Mitch Moses for the rest of the regular season as he nurses a broken finger. It’ll be the young half’s first game since he was booed by some Parramatta fans in Round 19.

There will be a very special debut at Shark Park on Saturday night with Kade Dykes set to make his NRL debut at fullback.

The 20-year-old will become a third-generation Shark after his dad Adam and grandfather John both represented the club.

Dykes comes in for Will Kennedy, who will miss the rest of the regular season with a serious ankle injury.

Dragons coach Anthony Griffin has stuck with the same 17 who scored just one try against North Queensland last week, which has their final hopes on life support.

The Cowboys have suffered a setback with try-scoring machine Kyle Feldt ruled out for two weeks with a hamstring injury. His place has been taken by speedster Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow.

Meanwhile, Newcastle prop David Klemmer has been stood down by the club for an on-field incident during the Knights’ clash with the Bulldogs. He is ineligible to play until he responds to the club-imposed sanction.



AFL: Brisbane Lions searching for end-of-season form

Lions forward Eric Hipwood insists Brisbane can win the AFL premiership from anywhere in the top eight, saying form – rather than ladder position – was the key heading into next month’s finals series.

Brisbane has dropped to fifth spot after their seven-point weekend loss to Richmond at the MCG.

With three rounds of the regular season remaining, the Lions should still make the top four if they can beat Carlton, St Kilda and Melbourne this month.

But if Brisbane has to settle for a spot in the bottom half of the top eight, Hipwood believes his side can still win the flag, provided form and consistency is found in the next three weeks.

Under the current finals system, the Western Bulldogs are the only team to clinch the premiership from outside the top four, having won the flag in 2016 after finishing seventh on the ladder.

“That’s what you strive for at the start of the season, to get that double chance (by finishing in the top four), but you’ve seen teams win the grand final from outside the top four,” Hipwood said.

“We’d like (a top-four spot), but we just want to be competitive come the end of the season.”

Hipwood was adamant Brisbane would find form before the finals, saying there were “positives” to take from the loss to the Tigers, who fought back from 42 points down to win and keep alive their hopes of playing football finals this season.

“It was disappointing that we did lose, but we’re still optimistic. We had a lot of opportunities to win the game and we just couldn’t ice it,” Hipwood said.

“We played some really good footy, especially in that first half.”

“What hasn’t been spoken about enough is that Richmond are a bloody good team.

“They’re certainly up there with the best and they brought that on the weekend. I don’t think the ladder position (ninth) represents where they’re at.”

Despite Brisbane’s loss, the towering Hipwood had his best game since returning in round nine after 10 months on the sidelines following a knee reconstruction.

He kicked four goals and grabbed six marks in an encouraging sign with the finals approaching.

“I’ve been quite inconsistent and I’m quick to identify that myself but I am building,” Hipwood said.

“I didn’t really have any practice games or anything like that prior to coming (back) into the AFL.

“I’m getting better week-in, week-out – that’s all that really matters.”

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