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Could Danger become a permanent forward?

Bruised, Battered..Brilliant After sustaining an injury early, Patrick Dangerfield's five-goal performance was a match-winning one
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 15: Patrick Dangerfield of the Cats and Luke Hodge of the Hawks playing his 300th game share a laugh as they are matched up on each other during the 2017 AFL round 17 match between the Geelong Cats and the Hawthorn Hawks at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 15, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
Patrick Dangerfield celebrates one of his five goals

SATURDAY at the MCG was endlessly entertaining, and in the end it was a vitally important win for the Cats in their bid for a top-two finish and all the benefits that follow.

But it might also have been a window into what is to come – one exciting and one potentially problematic.

To the good stuff first, and of course it is Patrick Dangerfield, who on one leg and barely leaving the 50-metre arc, singlehandedly delivered Geelong the win.

He has dominated games and monstered teams for years now, especially since joining the Cats at the start of last season, but nobody in the Cats rooms could remember putting a team to the sword in a fashion quite like he did the Hawks.

He kicked 5.6 and as teammate Daniel Menzel told this column, "he could have kicked 10."

Dangerfield may yet pay a price for his heroics. He played full-forward after hurting his foot in the opening term and how sore it is in the first part of this week will determine whether he returns to Adelaide to face the Crows in a monstrous Friday night clash.

And while nobody is advocating a positional change for Dangerfield any time soon, it is a scary thought that in two or three seasons he could play primarily out of the forward line and kick 80 goals a season.

In shape and style, he certainly resembles Gary Ablett snr, one of the greatest of all, who fashioned for himself a fantastic final few seasons while playing as a permanent forward.

Dangerfield gave us a glimpse of that on Saturday and it was wonderful. Certainly, it threw the Hawthorn backline – admittedly quite inexperienced – totally out of whack.

What made Dangerfield's performance all the more impressive is that he doesn't train with the Geelong forwards all that often. He leads the competition for inside 50s and clearly his strength is getting the ball to the forwards rather than being one. As Menzel explained, "We need him at training kicking the ball to us so we know what to expect on game day."

Champs are gone, but famous rivalry lives on

Some premature obituaries were being written for the Geelong-Hawthorn rivalry after the Easter Monday massacre when the Hawks lost by 86 points.

The lustre was restored on Saturday in a game that sits nicely among the pantheon of the many great games between the two clubs over the last decade.

A feature of the rivalry are the enormous crowds, and irrespective of how the clubs are faring, the people come. There were more than 70,000 fans at the MCG for this one, a great figure, although boosted a bit by Hawk champion Luke Hodge's 300th game.

Every game between the two clubs since 2008 has been at the MCG, regardless of who the home club is. But if the Cats have their way, they'll play all 11 home games at the 35,000 capacity Simonds Stadium next year, including the Hawthorn game if need be.

Now, with the 'six-six-six' fixturing model, there is no guarantee the two clubs will play twice next year. The Cats will finish in the top six for certain and the Hawks quite possibly in the bottom six (keep that in mind for your futures betting in 2018) which means they quite likely will only play once next year.

Presumably they'll play for certain on Easter Monday at the MCG as the Hawks' home game, but the AFL and the Cats might need a hard conversation about any return clash.

How would it go down if 30,000 people were locked out of the best rivalry in Victorian football?

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs