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Talking Points: Round 13

Cats v Tigers highlights (R13) The Cats and Tigers clash in round 13
Lincoln McCarthy finished the game on the bench - Geelong Cats
Lincoln McCarthy finished the game on the bench
Rioli magic returns to the 'G

The band is officially back together. Damien Hardwick relished the prospect of seeing Daniel Rioli return this week alongside small forwards Jason Castagna and Dan Butler and they delivered in spades. Rioli picked up 12 disposals, laid eight tackles and provided the match-sealing goal after a brilliant string of efforts on the members' wing late in the final term. The 21-year-old beat Zach Guthrie one-on-one, kept the ball alive and pushed it forward to Jack Riewoldt. He then followed up his work with a crunching tackle on Mitch Duncan to win a free kick for holding the ball and coolly slotted the set shot to ice the game.

McCarthy's wretched injury run

Returning after hamstring soreness last week, Lincoln McCarthy succumbed to the same injury late in the third term. Taken from the field, he failed to return in the final term. It caps a horrid spate of setbacks for the 24-year-old small forward. The South Australian played his first AFL match in round 11 against Gold Coast after missing more than a year with foot and quad injuries. Speaking after that match, McCarthy said he was just focused on getting to the bye unscathed. 

Death, taxes and … 

Geelong continued its habit of late changes when James Parsons replaced Wylie Buzza pre-game. Parsons' second consecutive reprieve was Geelong's 12th late swap of the season, seven more than any other club. Buzza's omission due to the forecast rain saw Geelong experiment with its ruck division. Tom Hawkins was forced to assist Rhys Stanley at times, while Sam Menegola even had to try his hand against Toby Nankervis. It had no bearing on the clearance count, the 16th-ranked Geelong beating 17th-ranked Tigers 44-33, including 17-6 from centre bounces. 

Free kick bonanza 

After Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge questioned the trial of four umpires on Thursday night, the spotlight went onto the same group of officials who backed up three days later. Nick Foot, Brett Rosebury, Simon Meredith and Jacob Mollison combined for 53 free kicks, four more than they paid in Adelaide. It saw the competition average rise to 47.5 across the six matches for the weekend, up from 43 paid across round 12. Two 50-metre penalties in the second term left fans bemused with Kamdyn McIntosh and Tom Stewart's protected zone infringements resulting in direct goals. 

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