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The Five: Round 17

Marc McGowan, AFL Media  July 15, 2017 11:11 PM

Highlights R17: Sloane Concussed Adelaide star Rory Sloane turns down assistance despite a heavy knock

1. Is Vince in strife?
Melbourne's Bernie Vince was in the news all week ahead of his latest clash with his old club and Rory Sloane, but he will remain there for another couple of days for a very different reason. To start with, there was a stray Vince elbow off the ball to Eddie Betts' head late in the first quarter that went unsighted by the umpires. He didn't escape the umpire's gaze after a second incident early in the next term, being placed on report. Richard Douglas had eyes only for the ball, while Vince charged in from the other direction and collected the Crow high. Vince immediately remonstrated when he heard the umpire's whistle, but it might be the Betts one that he should be most concerned with.

2. Dazed in Darwin
Rory Sloane's night came to a premature end in the third quarter after his head slammed into the turf in a strong tackle from Demon Dean Kent. Sloane had baulked one opponent but failed to notice Kent and paid the price. The Crows rushed the stretcher out, only for Sloane to shakily get to his feet as trainers surrounded him. Sloane stubbornly tried to shake the incredulous trainers off, then jogged towards the middle of the ground trying to stay on the field. But teammates Eddie Betts and Taylor Walker intervened to finally convince him to depart and he took no further part.

3. Sloane v Vince Mark II
The inevitable midfield match-up between Vince and Sloane dominated the pre-match headlines, with Adelaide promising to better support its star player. Vince kept Sloane to only 11 touches in round eight and went to his old clubmate from the first bounce in the return bout. Unfortunately for Sloane he was again unable to outplay Vince, who kept him to four first-half possessions and only eight before leaving the ground in the third term, after his head hit the ground hard in a Dean Kent tackle. But Don Pyke's mid-week words about his side being about more than just Sloane proved on the mark – the Crouch boys were again prominent, Hugh Greenwood made a strong return, Charlie Cameron's speed and class were important and Richard Douglas was typically efficient.

4. Blistering foot race
It was dubbed the 'real' AFL Grand Final sprint, when then-Swan Lewis Jetta burst out of defence – ball in hand – with Hawk Cyril Rioli hot on his heels in the 2012 decider at the MCG. Fast-forward five years and there was a contender to that foot race in the form of Adelaide speedster Charlie Cameron and Demons dasher Jayden Hunt. Cameron received the ball in the middle of TIO Stadium in the opening term and put on the afterburners, only for Hunt to, ahem, hunt him down and force the Crow to put a dribbling kick inside 50. Making it more enjoyable was the fact Cameron discussed the possibility of it happening in the NT News on match eve, saying: "It will be speed versus speed. He's a good player, so I'll have to be on top of my game." Cameron added to his highlight reel with a huge, Joe Daniher-like mark over Max Gawn in the final minute of the contest.

5. Top End sell-out
A sell-out crowd of 12,104 at Darwin's TIO Stadium might not seem a big deal. But there is more than meets the eye with that number, especially when only 8163 turned up to watch Melbourne play Fremantle last year. What must be factored in is that Darwin's population is barely 140,000, so some basic sums paint a clearer picture of the achievement. It was a big night for Northern Territory football, with the match broadcast nationally on Channel 7, and the playing surface wouldn't have looked out of place on a billiard table. The murmurings at the ground were about the potential of a second Top End match being worked into the AFL fixture for 2019 – after the current deal expires – along with the one in Alice Springs. Watch this space.