Our experts debate all the hot topics and burning questions ahead of Round 8.
Was Robbie Gray's after-the-siren kick the best since 2000?
Niall Seewang: If we're judging it by pure degree of difficulty of the shot itself, then I think it is. Hard up against the boundary line on the 'wrong side' for a right footer, it was an incredibly difficult kick which never looked in doubt. But if we're assessing context as well as the kick itself, then surely Luke Shuey's extra-time goal in the 2017 elimination final win over Port Adelaide takes the cake. I also loved the absurdity of Karmichael Hunt's match-winner against Richmond in 2012.
Jake Michaels: Tom Hawkins says hello. I'm not sure I've ever seen a better after-the-siren goal than Tomahawk against Hawthorn in 2012. Outside 50, primetime footy and the two best sides of the era makes it an iconic moment. Having said that, Gray is right up there. The degree of difficulty in his kick was extraordinary and adding to the pressure was the fact Port had fluffed a number of golden match-winning chances. I'll give Gray the two votes.
Matt Walsh: In terms of difficulty, Gray's is right up there. On the 'wrong' side for a right footer, on the boundary, already walking in as the siren goes... it's a tough kick! Even he may only kick that two times out of ten. If it's not the best, it's close behind Justin Longmuir's massive mark and goal, and Ash McGrath's 'miracle on grass' finish in his 200th game if you don't mind!
Jesse Robinson: No question it was probably the toughest kick after the siren to win the match in a while, but think of the drama behind Sam Lloyd against Sydney, or Luke Shuey against Port Adelaide. Gray's kick was good, but not the best we've seen.
Is 'Clarko' the man to rebuild the Hawks?
NS: Ever heard of a term 'credits in the bank?' Well, it's fair to say Alastair Clarkson has a bank vault of credits to his name. There's no denying the Hawks are in a world of pain at the moment and the immediate future looks bleak when assessing the talent (or lack thereof) on the Hawthorn list. But the four-time premiership coach is a renowned tactician, who helped establish the Hawks as a powerhouse when he took on the job in 2005 - it would be a brave man to bet against him doing so again.
JM: Maybe, maybe not. I don't doubt Clarkson's ability to coach the Hawks out of their funk, but I do find it amazing that everyone is so quick to label him a master coach when things are going well, yet the blame is placed on the players when things are going poorly. No other coach is treated like this! Anyway, if Clarkson is to rebuild the Hawks he's going to have to do something he hasn't done in years: invest in the draft.
MW: Regardless of if he is or not, Clarkson, the president and list managers will need to be singing from the same hymnbook. Hopefully for Hawthorn's sake, that's one that invests in the draft and allows for a three-to-five year list build. If Clarkson or the front office can't agree on the best path forward, they're better off parting ways. This no-man's land the club is currently stuck in is not sustainable.
JR: Until Hawthorn start to suffer the misery of Carlton and Melbourne in recent times, or Adelaide post-2017, I think Clarko should get all the time he likes to see out his career at the Hawks. They've been so good for so long, and despite their lack of top draft picks, have some terrific young talent to work with. There's plenty of great coaches waiting in the wings, but there is no strong case to replace Clarko with one of them.
Should Monday night football be a permanent timeslot?
NS: I don't like it. I prefer each round to conclude on a Sunday evening, which gives us all time to digest the weekend's action on Monday before turning our attention to the next round of games. With a match on Monday night, I feel the transition from one round to the next is too fast. We all know all fixture rulebooks are being thrown out the window in 2020 but once (hopefully) we all return to normality, I'd like to return to Thursday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday football.
JM: If it's out of Monday night and Thursday night, I would take the Thursday night game every single time. To me, Monday night football feels almost like an afterthought, particularly when you don't have a mouth-watering contest (Cough. Adelaide vs. St Kilda. Cough.) The AFL should use Monday night games sparingly and look to make Thursday night a regular part of the football fixture.
MW: I don't hate it as much as Jake or Niall, but I agree having footy from Thursday through until Monday night is a lot. Perhaps bringing back Monday night football for a couple of weeks in the year (as used to be the case with Thursdays) is the way to go. Footy is better than no footy, right?
JR: While it's fun to have an extra night of footy, Thursday through Sunday feels like the right amount of time. Footy has always been about the weekend and something about Monday night footy loses part of what makes it great. There's always exceptions for occasions such as Anzac Day and Queens Birthday, but I think we'll see in this new rolling fixture of footy everyday that we'd prefer it on weekends.
Will the premiership cup leave Victoria this year?
NS: My premiership tip is Collingwood and I'm sticking to that - the Magpies boast easily the stingiest defence in the league and their midfield is insanely powerful. So on that basis, the cup stays in Victoria. However, the odds might be against me as I think there are more non-Victorian sides capable of winning the flag than there are Victorian teams (Brisbane, Port Adelaide, West Coast and GWS vs. Collingwood and Richmond).
JM: A quick look at the AFL ladder might have you thinking Port Adelaide or Brisbane is the best team in the competition, but I still think Richmond and Collingwood are the ones to beat in September (or whenever we play finals in 2020!). I'd even, controversially, take a healthy Geelong over these two. The premiership cup is definitely staying in Victoria.
MW: Might need to leave Victoria given the Grand Final -- and therefore trophy presentation -- will be in another state. As for whether it'll stay outside of Victoria? It's still too early to tell.
JR: If there is anyone that can steal the cup away from Richmond or Collingwood, it's Brisbane without a doubt. A "home state" advantage, exciting and effective play and some finals experience from last year. It would be no surprise to see Dayne Zorko lift the cup, and keep it in Brisbane this year.