Jade Gresham's injury-enforced absence in the past two seasons would have been a source of great frustration for his coach Brett Ratten.
Ratten is acutely aware of Gresham's sublime ability, as he displayed during St Kilda's win over Geelong.
The midfielder/forward played a key role in turning the game in the Saints' favour, collecting 12 of his 30 disposals and four of his eight clearances in a dazzling third quarter.
While St Kilda does not possess the big-bodied midfielders who can break open games, the classy playmaker is so important to the Saints.
Gresham was restricted to only 14 games in 2020-21 because of back and achilles injuries, but he is moving freely this season and has not missed a match.
He has a wonderful understanding with Paddy Ryder, who provides the midfield with many opportunities with his superb ruckwork.
St Kilda is far more potent with Ryder and fellow ruckman Rowan Marshall working in tandem.
As well as their excellent work at stoppages and around the ground, they provide another forward option to young spearhead Max King. With probable wins against Adelaide and North Melbourne to come before the bye, the Saints should be in a strong position at the halfway mark of the season, although the long-term loss of skipper Jack Steele with a right shoulder injury is a huge blow.
Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell's patience with his protege James Worpel must be wearing thin after another underwhelming performance against Richmond.
With Brownlow medallist Tom Mitchell being managed and another young midfielder Josh Ward on the sidelines, the game against the Tigers represented the perfect opportunity for the former Geelong Falcon to show his wares.
But apart from a superb 50m goal to keep the game alive in the dying minutes, Worpel was unable to exert much influence, finishing with only 12 disposals.
Sam Mitchell was in charge of the Hawks' midfield in 2019 when Worpel stepped up in the absence of Tom Mitchell to become the Hawks' youngest best and fairest winner since Leigh Matthews in 1971.
Worpel shares the jumper number (5) that Sam Mitchell wore as a champion midfielder in the club's glory years under Alastair Clarkson, but he has struggled to recapture the form and consistency since his breakout second season.
This year Worpel has been a turnover king with poor kicking efficiency, and below average effective disposals and tackles. Relegated to the medical sub in round five against Geelong, he should be dropped to regain confidence in the VFL.
It wasn't the fairytale ending for Leon Cameron against Carlton, but he departed Greater Western Sydney with a sense of pride and achievement.
While critics point to the lack of silverware with a list loaded with talented players, Cameron played a key role in the challenging task of helping build an AFL club in NRL heartland.
In 193 games as senior coach, his winning record was an impressive 52.3 per cent and, importantly, the Giants have won at least one final in five of the past six seasons.
The only fair comparison is with the other expansion club Gold Coast - the Suns have been in the competition one season longer than the Giants and are yet to compete in the finals.
Cameron, who turns 50 in September, is a considerate, decent man who hopefully will not be lost to the game.
The former Bulldog and Tiger defender/winger who has never forgotten his roots in Warrnambool should not be ruled out for another senior role and would be an asset as an assistant coach or in a football-related position, but for now he deserves a break.
Andrew Symonds played with pride and passion while enjoying plenty of success for Australia and Queensland in all forms of the game.
As Australian cricket came to terms with another sad passing before his time, Symonds will be remembered as a hard-hitting batsman, brilliant fielder and handy bowler. The two-time World Cup winner nicknamed 'Roy' was always entertaining and achieved most of his accolades with the white ball, but his record in the Test arena, including two centuries, should not be overlooked.
After his playing career, he moved seamlessly into the commentary box with a relaxed style befitting his easy-going manner, yet was never afraid to express his opinions stridently.
If you're an Australian cricketer, the ultimate honour is to represent your country and that should override any other commitments in the game, including the lucrative Indian Premier League.
While it is hard to resist the increasing rewards of playing in the IPL with wages set to rise considerably as a result of a new TV rights deal, any suggestion that Cricket Australia pay players to take a holiday rather than play in the Indian competition is ridiculous.
Next year Australia faces a gruelling schedule, including tours to India, England and South Africa and the one-day international World Cup in India before another domestic summer of Tests and other matches.
The best chance for players to take a break would be during the IPL in April-May, but they should need no reminder that representing your country comes with sacrifice.
Has Howard got it right?
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @hpkotton59
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