Darcy Moore warms up before pulling out injured.
Darcy Moore warms up before pulling out injured.

Barometer: all eyes on Moore’s hamstring

WITH just five weeks until finals, teams in finals contention are looking to settle their best line-up.

Elsewhere, clubs outside finals contention are looking to test their young talent.


Collingwood will be hoping Darcy Moore is passed fit for its blockbuster against Richmond, with the Tigers getting a clean bill of health after their big win over St Kilda.

Meanwhile, Essendon's finals hopes have been dealt a major blow with Shaun McKernan suffering a serious hamstring win over Fremantle. Joe Daniher's return would be a huge boost.



Lachie Murphy (nose) test

Tom Doedee (concussion) test

Brad Crouch (groin) season

Harry Dear (knee) 1 week

Richard Douglas (ankle) 1 week

Jackson Edwards (ankle) 2 weeks

David Mackay (ribs) 2 weeks

Andrew McPherson (hamstring) season

Reilly O'Brien (shoulder) season

ON THE BLOCK: Lachlan Murphy and Tom Doedee both sat out the last quarter against Brisbane under the concussion protocol and will be further assessed during the week.

ON THE CUSP: Captain Taylor Walker will return from suspension. All-Australian defender Brodie Smith has returned from a knee reconstruction in the SANFL, but may need another week to be ready.

JESPER FJELDSTAD'S FORECAST: Adelaide is finding ways to win and getting better by the week. The Crows are also at home this week and Melbourne is finding ways to lose. Adelaide in a fairly close one to keep its season alive.


Rhys Mathieson collides with Tom Doedee.
Rhys Mathieson collides with Tom Doedee.




Luke Hodge (calf) test

Harris Andrews (concussion) test

Charlie Cameron (ankle) season

Matt Eagles (abdominal) season

Marco Paparone (hamstring) test

Jack Payne (shin) season

ON THE BLOCK: Another strong showing from the Lions but it came up short against Adelaide on Saturday night. A clean bill of health from the game but a few Lions might be looking over their shoulder. Youngsters Cedric Cox and Jake Barrett could only muster seven disposals each. Josh Walker has been too good to drop but Chris Fagan will need to shuffle the deck as Harris Andrews returns.

ON THE CUSP: As mentioned above, Harris Andrews is set to return from his horror concussion and brain bleed and it couldn't come at a better time for Brisbane as they travel to Geelong this week. Luke Hodge is also set to return after missing a fortnight with a calf injury. Tom Bell's big body around the contest could come in handy against the Cats and he's got some form in the NEAFL after 33 disposals in the draw with GWS. Ryan Bastinac collected 21 touches and two goals.

BEN HIGGINS' FORECAST: There's a real air of positivity around Brisbane at the moment but a poor showing against Geelong could all but wipe that out. The Lions head to GMHBA Stadium with nothing to lose but we doubt Chris Fagan will be telling his players that.




Dale Thomas (lacerated knee) test

Zac Fisher (lower leg) season

Liam Jones (knee) season

David Cuningham (hamstring) 4 weeks

Jesse Glass-McCasker (knee) 3 weeks

Sam Docherty (knee) season

Sam Kerridge (groin) test

Matthew Kreuzer (heart) test

Harrison Macreadie (hamstring) test

Andrew Phillips (hamstring) season

Lachie Plowman (knee) season

Alex Silvagni (Achilles) season

Tom Williamson (back) season

ON THE BLOCK: The Blues will have to replace Liam Jones, who has injured his medial ligament, and Zac Fisher, who broke his leg after a collision with Hawthorn's Daniel Howe. Sam Rowe is likely to come in for Jones, with Matthew Kreuzer also likely to be passed fit despite an elevated heartrate that saw him miss the heavy loss to Hawthorn. Matthew Lobbe was more than honest in his Carlton debut, with 13 possessions, 37 hitouts and nine hitouts to advantage.

ON THE CUSP: Cam O'Shea was the best of eight Blues that played in the Northern Blues outfit, with the Blues injury list getting longer by the week. He had 19 possessions, with Darcy Lang and Jarrod Garlett also running around in the VFL, Ciaran Byrne is working into form after three months out with a quad injury.

JON RALPH'S FORECAST: The Blues have a rare winnable game, taking on Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium on Saturday night. With Rowe and Kreuzer back in the side they would still fancy their chances of a win despite a single-victory season. The only option is to keep battling away with the second half against Hawthorn at least showing they had some fight after a goalless first quarter.




Steele Sidebottom (jaw) test

Flynn Appleby (hamstring) 2 weeks

Tim Broomhead (broken leg) season

Lynden Dunn (knee) season

Tyson Goldsack (knee) 8 weeks

Kayle Kirby (heart) season

Darcy Moore (hamstring) test

Ben Reid (knees/calf) 2 weeks

Adam Treloar (hamstring) 6 weeks

Daniel Wells (foot) season

Rupert Wills (hamstring) test

ON THE BLOCK: Nathan Buckley labelled the win against North Melbourne his side's best team performance, so you'd be stiff to get dropped then. Late inclusion Josh Daicos, who was omitted but reinstated when Darcy Moore was a late withdrawal, played a ripper game and can't be sent back to the twos.

ON THE CUSP: Lots of success in the VFL for the Magpies with James Aish, Jarryd Blair, Jamie Elliott and Alex Fasolo all playing full games. Defender Adam Oxley was also reportedly pretty good. With the clash against Richmond looming, the Magpies played it safe with Darcy Moore but expect him to return for the MCG blockbuster.

ELIZA SEWELL'S FORECAST: It's the game of the season and if the Magpies play with the same pressure they produced against the Kangaroos, they're well placed to take it up to the Tigers.


Shaun McKernan is helped off by trainers after injuring his hamstring.
Shaun McKernan is helped off by trainers after injuring his hamstring.




Shaun McKernan (hamstring) TBC

Patrick Ambrose (hamstring) season

Josh Begley (knee) season

Joe Daniher (groin) indefinite

Martin Gleeson (ankle) 3 weeks

Mason Redman (ankle) 3 weeks

Jake Stringer (calf) 1 week

ON THE BLOCK: Shaun McKernan has been added to an injury list that has several talls, including Joe Daniher, and is unlikely to return for the rest of the season after the goalkicker limped off with a "bad" hamstring injury on Saturday night. Bombers coach John Worsfold said it wouldn't be "one straight swap" for McKernan going in to Friday's clash with Sydney, which now looms as a winnable affair to keep Essendon's finals chances alive. Defender Matt Dea butchered the ball horribly as Essendon nearly shot itself in the foot against the Dockers but he wasn't the only offender.

ON THE CUSP: Jake Stringer could make an early return for the Bombers must-win clash against Sydney on Friday after recovering quicker than expected from a calf injury which was supposed to sideline him for a month. He looms as a potential replacement for McKernan but James Stewart has been delivering in the VFL after being sent back to work on some things. And the push to get Aaron Francis in to the team is growing momentum and putting him in the Bombers defence could aid their finals push.

RUSSELL GOULD'S FORECAST: The Bombers know they have to keep winning but they do remain just a single game, and a fair whack of percentage, out of the eight. Sydney look extremely gettable this Friday night at Etihad where Essendon clearly plays its best football. A victory would take the season tally to 11 wins and the rollercoaster nature of other results every round means nothing is beyond possible. It's an uphill battle, but if the Bombers can keep getting 30 or more shots at goal, they are in the fight up to their ears.




Sean Darcy (groin) test

Hayden Ballantyne (ankle) test

Connor Blakely (knee) season

Andrew Brayshaw (groin) test

Nat Fyfe (hamstring) 3 weeks

Griffin Logue (ankle) season

Ryan Nyhuis (suspended) 2 weeks

Aaron Sandilands (calf) test

Lee Spurr (knee) season

Matt Taberner (foot) 1 week

ON THE BLOCK: How much longer will Fremantle persist with Cam McCarthy, who has had two quiet weeks in the Dockers' forward half? Scott Jones struggled to contain Tom Bellchambers in the loss to Essendon and could be squeezed out depending on the club's first-choice ruck availability.

ON THE CUSP: Aaron Sandilands and late withdrawal Sean Darcy are both in the frame to face Hawthorn on Sunday. Troubled recruit Harley Bennell is also shaping as a big chance to play just his third senior game since the end of 2015 after another strong showing in the WAFL.

CHRIS ROBINSON'S FORECAST: Aside from a couple of hiccups, the 13th-placed Dockers have largely showed encouraging signs at home this season. Ross Lyon's side has a chance to match last year's win tally of eight, but faces a tough test against bogey side Hawthorn. The Dockers have won just once in their past 11 starts against the Hawks.




Aaron Black (knee) season

Nakia Cockatoo (knee) 8 weeks

Cory Gregson (foot) season

Esava Ratugolea (ankle) season

Harry Taylor (foot) 1 week

ON THE BLOCK: Superb effort from the Cats to get over the Demons. But the win doesn't mean Chris Scott won't make changes. A couple of young small forwards are looking weary, so Jamaine Jones or Quinton Narkle could have a spell. Cam Guthrie and Dan Menzel haven't been in great form but need more footy under their belts. Jordan Cunico just returned and should get another crack.

ON THE CUSP: The Cats' depth, vaunted in recent weeks, is again being tested by some untimely injuries. Zac Smith played well in the VFL loss but he looks up against it with Rhys Stanley in good touch. Charlie Constable is very much in the frame to make his AFL debut and could be next man in. Jackson Thurlow and Ryan Abbott are also knocking on the door. A curly one for the Cats is: where does Harry Taylor fit once available?

BEN BROAD'S FORECAST: Massive win for Geelong on Saturday night. But beware ... this week's home clash looms as a huge stumbling block. Not only will the Cats go in warm favourites, the Lions are playing some super footy - and Luke Hodge should return on a ground he patrolled with authority as a 17-year-old. Expect the Cats to make a couple of changes and try to fine-tune their game before a crack at the Tigers.




Ben Ainsworth (leg) test

Jack Bowes (quad) test

Sam Day (shoulder) season

Aaron Hall (pectoral) season

Josh Jaska (wrist) season

Tom Lynch (knee) season

Darcy MacPherson (broken leg) 4 weeks

Tom Nicholls (shoulder) 4 weeks

Harrison Wigg (ankle) season

Mackenzie Willis (knee) season

ON THE BLOCK: What a win for the Suns. The upset of the last decade, according to Jonathan Brown on Fox Footy. You'd feel unlucky to be dropped after a win like that. A nominal clean bill of health but Nick Holman did have his shoulder strapped after a heavy knock and while he played out the game, he could earn a rest after an outstanding return to the AFL with Gold Coast.

ON THE CUSP: If ever Michael Barlow was going to get an AFL recall, it would be this week. The veteran midfielder collected 50 disposals in the NEAFL win over Sydney. Brayden Fiorini wasn't far behind with 42 touches, 13 tackles and a couple of goals to boot. Ben Ainsworth and Jack Bowes face fitness tests and would slot back into the team if given the all clear.

BEN HIGGINS' FORECAST: The key now is to not suffer a big letdown after a big win. Gold Coast has a second straight win in sight as it hosts bottom-placed Carlton at Metricon Stadium. It's important for the Suns to finish the season strongly and disposing of the awful Blues is an important step.



Sam Taylor (corked leg) test

Matt de Boer (ankle) 2 weeks

Jonathon Patton (knee) season

Harry Perryman (hamstring) 2 weeks

Tom Scully (ankle) season

Will Setterfield (knee) season

Lachie Tiziani (knee) season

Zac Williams (Achilles) season

ON THE BLOCK: Another week, another crucial win for the Giants and Leon Cameron would be loath to change a winning combination. However, Zac Langdon struggled to make an impact with six disposals, two tackles and a goal. Brent Daniels has had a few weeks in the AFL now but could be sent back to the NEAFL after nine disposals and three tackles.

ON THE CUSP: Sam Taylor should return after being a late withdrawal on Sunday. After being named as an emergency top draft pick Aiden Bonar collected 22 disposals, seven clearances and two goals in a NEAFL draw with Brisbane to further press his claims for an AFL debut. Rookie-listed forward Zach Sproule had a day out with four goals, nine marks and 18 touches.

BEN HIGGINS' FORECAST: Unlike the last two years when the Giants' have fallen in the preliminary final, the team is starting to find its best form at the business end of the season. Much like the Bulldogs and Tigers before them. This week is a chance to boost their meagre percentage as they host St Kilda at Spotless Stadium. The Giants sit in sixth but with a percentage of 112, the lowest of the top nine teams.



Jaeger O'Meara (hip) test

Grant Birchall (knee) test

Shaun Burgoyne (hamstring) test

Will Langford (finger) test

Ben McEvoy (cheekbone) 4 weeks

Marc Pittonet (ankle) test

James Sicily (wrist) 5 weeks

ON THE BLOCK: A walk in the park for the Hawks but Alastair Clarkson isn't the time of coach to go around back-patting, especially with a spot in the finals on the line in the next month. Every Hawk reached double figures disposals in the convincing win over Carlton, making anyone dropped extremely unlucky.

ON THE CUSP: Jaeger O'Meara is a certainty to come back in after being a late withdrawal on Sunday with a hip complaint. If fit, of course. Making life easier for the current 22, and potentially harder for Hawthorn's coaching staff, Box Hill had the bye in the VFL on the weekend. Shaun Burgoyne (hamstring) and Grant Birchall (knee) are listed as tests this week but given their extended time out of the game - especially Birchall - they could be forced to return via the reserves.

BEN HIGGINS' FORECAST: After finding top gear against the Blues, the Hawks face a tricky trip to Perth and a clash against Fremantle. While on paper the Dockers shouldn't pose any difficulty, nothing can be taken for granted and if Aaron Sandilands and Harley Bennell return, it could be a danger game.




Jayden Hunt (ankle) 1 week

Jake Lever (knee) season

Corey Maynard (hip) season

Billy Stretch (toe) season

Jack Viney (toe) 3 weeks

ON THE BLOCK: no changes for the Dees, who came within a whisker of upsetting the Cats in Geelong. Dom Tyson held up his end of the bargain, having earned a recall to face Geelong. Jay Kennedy-Harris showed glimpses of his best.

ON THE CUSP: Utility Cameron Pedersen the pick the Melbourne-listed Casey Scorpions, while Tim Smith and Sam Weideman (two goals) put in promising performances. Michael Hibberd will need at least another week to get back from a quadriceps injury.

GILBERT GARDINER'S FORECAST: Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin's measured persona could be tested next week unless the Demons can go to Adelaide and get the chocolates. The time for admirable losses is over, the coach said as much after going down to the Cats, now is the time for Melbourne to step up and be counted. They got it down last year in the corresponding game, no reason why history can't repeat.




Scott Thompson (nose) test

Alex Morgan (calf) TBC

Sam Durdin (broken leg) season

Taylor Garner (hamstring) 3 weeks

Billy Hartung (hamstring) 3 weeks

Ben Jacobs (concussion) test

Ed Vickers-Willis (knee) season

Jarrad Waite (calf) 3 weeks

Declan Watson (knee) 2 weeks

Mason Wood (hamstring) 1 weeks

Cam Zurhaar (ankle) 8 weeks

ON THE BLOCK: The Roos will need to replace Alex Morgan (calf) after he was a casualty in last Saturday's loss to Collingwood. While the rest of the North Melbourne rooms looked like "a casualty ward", according to coach Brad Scott, those who suffered a series of blood issues including Jack Ziebell, Scott Thompson and Todd Goldstein should be fine to take on West Coast on Sunday. Scott has issued a statement to his younger players that if they are tired, they need to let him know and he will replace them with players performing in the VFL.

ON THE CUSP: North Melbourne remains hopeful important tagger Ben Jacobs can soon overcome concussion-type symptoms that have plagued him for almost two months. He has been getting through the club's last training session, but hasn't pulled up well enough following that. Scott says the club won't take a risk on Jacobs, but feel they were getting on top of his issues.

GLENN McFARLANE'S FORECAST: Three losses from the past five games has pushed North Melbourne out of the top eight and on the cusp of missing out on a finals appearance. The loss to Sydney a fortnight ago was acceptable; the thrashing at the hands of Collingwood wasn't. They were out-tackled and out-hunted by the relentless Magpies, unable to withstand the pressure applied to them. It doesn't get any easier for them against West Coast this week, though the match is at least in Hobart, where the Roos have won their past four games.


Scott Thompson heavily strapped. Picture: Michael Klein
Scott Thompson heavily strapped. Picture: Michael Klein




Steven Motlop (illness) test

Joe Atley (back) season

Matthew Broadbent (foot) season

Willem Drew (heel) season

Joel Garner (shoulder) season

Hamish Hartlett (knee) season

Sam Hayes (knee) season

Tom Jonas (knee) 2 weeks

Todd Marshall (ankle) test

Trent McKenzie (quad) indefinite

Jake Neade (knee) indefinite

Paddy Ryder (hip flexor) test

ON THE BLOCK: Jack Trengove is the obvious one to make way for Motlop but it might not be the only change after consecutive losses at the Power. Jasper Pittard turned the footy over a bit so could lose his spot to Riley Bonner and Port's small forwards including Amon and Sam Gray didn't offer much on the weekend so could be in trouble this week.

ON THE CUSP: Steven Motlop was a late withdrawal - even after Port's team meeting on Sunday afternoon - when he fell ill so should come straight in to play the Bulldogs. Todd Marshall will have his ankle tested after missing his SANFL game on the weekend with injury and could boost the Power. Jimmy Toumpas had 32 disposals in the reserves but hard to see

who he replaces in the senior side. Tom Jonas is still at least a week away but ruckman Paddy Ryder could be an outside chance.

REECE HOMFRAY'S FORECAST: Expect Motlop to come straight in for the trip to Ballarat to play the Dogs. Every game is a must win to shore up a finals spot because after the Dogs it's a Showdown which will be huge. Port will potentially get Tom Jonas and Paddy Ryder back for that but this week they need to arrest a slide that had them staring at a top four finish and now fighting just to make finals.




Bachar Houli (groin) test

Nathan Broad (cheekbone) 2 weeks

Dan Butler (ankle) 2 weeks

Mabior Chol (foot) 3 weeks

Reece Conca (ankle) 4 weeks

Nathan Drummond (hamstring) 1 weeks

Jack Graham (shoulder) 2 weeks

ON THE BLOCK: It was hard to pick a weak link in the Richmond artillery against the Saints on Friday night in what was arguably the side's sharpest and most complete team performance of the season and there were no injuries out of the game in another positive.

ON THE CUSP: Rebounding defender Bachar Houli (groin soreness) missed the win over the Saints but is said to be fine to return this week, although coach Damien Hardwick suggested post-game that could be through the VFL given the club's selection squeeze. Liam Baker continued to push for an AFL debut with three goals in the VFL while Anthony Miles (36 disposals), Sam Lloyd (29 disposals, two goals) and Jacob Townsend (24 disposals, one goal) also shone.

CHRIS CAVANAGH'S FORECAST: The Tigers are as well placed as they could be in their push to defend last year's premiership and looked as sharp as they had all season in a dominant first half against the Saints on Friday night. But a bigger challenge awaits at the MCG this Saturday, the stage set for a bumper clash with fellow top-four outfit Collingwood. Richmond is gunning for a record 18th straight win at the MCG in that match and a 21st straight victory in Melbourne and heads in having beaten the Magpies in five of their past six matches.




Logan Austin (groin) test

Nathan Brown (hamstring) test

Josh Bruce (leg) season

Ben Long (foot) test

Jack Lonie (hamstring) test

Paddy McCartin (foot) indefinite

Darren Minchington (hip) test

Dylan Roberton (heart) season

Koby Stevens (concussion) season

Jimmy Webster (groin) 1 week

Nathan Wright (knee) 1 week

ON THE BLOCK: There were only a handful of Saints who could hold their heads high after Friday night's loss to Richmond, which could lead to a few changes. But it's all about regaining some respect and building for next year for the Saints right now.

ON THE CUSP: Could we finally see Nathan Freeman make his AFL debut? In his sixth game back from a shoulder injury, the out-of-contract midfielder racked up 30 disposals for Sandringham in another shining performance on Sunday. Blake Acres (36 disposals) was also among the best in the VFL as he continued his comeback from a groin injury.

CHRIS CAVANAGH'S FORECAST: St Kilda has been better since the bye but Friday night's loss to Richmond was one to forget, with little going right in a horror first half. No doubt coach Alan Richardson will put it on his leaders to step up and lead the side to a hopefully positive end to a disappointing year and give it something to build on in 2019. That starts with an away clash with Greater Western Sydney on Saturday. While they will be rank outsiders, the Saints will be hoping they can go one better on the draw the sides shared at Etihad Stadium in Round 5.


Nathan Freeman in action for Sandringham. Picture: Lawrence Pinder
Nathan Freeman in action for Sandringham. Picture: Lawrence Pinder




Gary Rohan (broken hand) TBC

Dan Hannebery (calf) 2 weeks

Matthew Ling (toe) season

Jarrad McVeigh (collarbone) 3 weeks

Lewis Melican (hamstring) 6 weeks

Callum Mills (foot) season

Sam Reid (Achilles) 4 weeks

James Rose (shoulder) 2 weeks

Sam Naismith (knee) season

ON THE BLOCK: After jumping out to a 29-point quarter-time lead, the Swans forgot to show up for the next two quarters and paid dearly with a hugely embarrassing loss to Gold Coast. While John Longmire isn't one to make knee-jerk reactions, there'll be a few nervous Swans this week. Darcy Cameron had a shocker in the AFL debut, collecting three disposals, and failing to hit the scoreboard. Robbie Fox could also find himself back in the NEAFL.

ON THE CUSP: Bad news for Gary Rohan after he broke his hand in the NEAFL, leaving him racing the clock to be fit for finals. Veteran defender Heath Grundy was solid with 24 disposals. However, the big mover was Jordan Dawson. The one-game midfielder had an astonishing 29 disposals, 23 tackles, seven marks and three goals in the Swans' loss.

BEN HIGGINS' FORECAST: Look out, Essendon. Not only are the Swans looking to bounce back after their most disappointing performance of the season, they are almost unbeatable on the road this year. In fact, the majority of Sydney's losses have come at the SCG. With a top-four place still up for grabs, the Swans can't afford any more slip ups.




Eric Mackenzie (toe) season

Nic Naitanui (knee) season

Josh Rotham (concussion) test

ON THE BLOCK: Skipper Shannon Hurn faces a nervous wait to see if he'll cop a ban for his bump on Mitch Honeychurch, but appears more likely than unlikely to be cleared. Dom Sheed failed to have much of an impact after being recalled against the Bulldogs, finishing with just 10 touches and one tackle.

ON THE CUSP: Tom Barrass was in East Perth's best at WAFL level, but is likely to only earn a senior berth if Adam Simpson opts to swap out veteran Will Schofield. Brayden Ainsworth also impressed in the twos and remains knocking on the door for a recall.

CHRIS ROBINSON'S FORECAST: A top eight spot is locked in, and Simpson has now set his sights on the double chance. A win over North Melbourne in Hobart would go a long way to locking down that top-four chance, and with a hat-trick of victories under their belt, the Eagles will arguably start narrow favourites.




Mitch Honeychurch (concussion) TBC

Luke Dahlhaus (ankle) TBC

Marcus Bontempelli (appendix) test

Tom Campbell (foot) 1 weeks

Bailey Dale (foot) season

Tory Dickson (hamstring) 1 week

Lin Jong (collarbone) 2 weeks

Tom Liberatore (knee) season

Liam Picken (concussion) season

Jack Redpath (knee) season

Matt Suckling (Achilles) 3 weeks

Bailey Williams (foot) 3 weeks

Easton Wood (hamstring) 5 weeks

Lukas Webb (neck) season

ON THE BLOCK: Luke Dahlhaus' season could be over if his ankle injury is worst-case scenario. It's another bitter injury pill to swallow for the Dogs with the free agent starting to show some solid form. Mitch Honeychurch would be in major doubt for next week after being stretchered off following a collision with Shannon Hurn. Aaron Naughton had just three handballs for the day but expect the Dogs to persist. Questions must start to be asked of Jackson Trengove's production after arriving as a high-priced free agent.

ON THE CUSP: Ruckman Tim English showed he's ready for an AFL call-up in Footscray's VFL loss to Williamstown and is expected to replace either Tom Boyd or Jordan Roughead against Port Adelaide. With the season well and truly over, Fergus Greene should be handed his AFL debut after being named an emergency on the weekend and another strong showing in the reserves.

BEN HIGGINS' FORECAST: The Bulldogs haven't got much to play for in the final five weeks of the year and will look to assess its young talent and which fringe players deserve another chance in 2019. Port Adelaide beat the Dogs in Ballarat last year, so will hold no fears travelling to Mars Stadium on Sunday, keen to bounce back from a disappointing loss to GWS.



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Todd Goldstein with a cut under his eye.
Todd Goldstein with a cut under his eye.

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