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Lions Turn Early Shootout To Rout Against Tired Demons

Lions first to the ball (AFANA)

A cool Thursday night greeted the visiting Lions, and they were a little slow out of the box. Melbourne's Alex Neal-Bullen got the scoring underway when he snapped on the outside of his boot from 40 meters out early in the first quarter. The Demons playing their fourth match in 20 days. The Lions quickly remembered their Fitzroy roots though, adjusted to the conditions and Hipwood evened the ledger at the Punt Rd end. Big Joe Daniher missed his first set shot, but with the aid of a 50-meter penalty a few minutes later he kicked the Lion's second. Bailey Fritsch marked strongly just inside the 50-meter arc for the Demons and kicked his first for the night. And already halfway through the quarter it looked like this could be a shootout.

Hipwood managed to lose May for a second time on the lead and from 25 meters straight in front kept up his end of the bargain and likewise Daniher was again able to beat Lever on the lead and kick his goal from 40 meters out giving the Lions a 14 point lead at quarter time.   Brisbane winning the bulk of the center clearances and delivering the ball well to their big men up forward.

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Wounded Dockers Control Lions

Serong marks (file photo / AFANA)

The Fremantle Dockers overwhelmed the Brisbane Lions to register a gutsy win against the shocked Brisbane Lions. The win comes at a cost of three injuries to the Dockers but fueled their self-belief as their undermanned team held off the Lions. The Lions started with a hot opening quarter and appeared determined to atone for their shock loss to Carlton in Brisbane. Forwards Eric Hipwood and Joe Daniher were mobile and flying for Brisbane early. Hipwood had a mark and goal within three minutes of the opening bounce. Their midfielders Josh Dunkley, Hugh McCluggage, Jarrod Berry, and Cam Rayner kept the ball alive with repeated entries into the Brisbane forward line. The flustered Dockers fumbled the ball early and brain fades gave away two easy goals to Brisbane, to send shivers through the partisan home crowd.

When Zac Bailey booted their fourth goal after a turnover from yet another wayward Docker kick, it looked very much a game between last year's second-best team against last year's fourteenth placed team. Alex Pearce and Luke Ryan became a steadying factor in the Dockers' defense and the Docker midfielders Caleb Serong, Andrew Brayshaw, and Nat Fyfe lifted their work rates to shut down the feed to the Brisbane forward line. Even though the midfield battle had evened, the Dockers continued to butcher their attacking entries through poor kicking. After twenty-seven minutes of inept play, the Dockers made a tentative foray from defense which resulted in Bailey Banfield gathering a ball in a pack and kicking truly. Two minutes later a perfect stoppage tap from Luke Jackson found Sam Switkowski who kicked the Dockers' second goal on the siren.

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Four Clubs Drop Players and Prepare for Draft

Kayne Turner (file photo/AFANA)

Just after the trade period, several clubs delisted more players due the acquisitions during the trade period and to make more room on their lists for the upcoming draft. Hawthorn, North Melbourne, Brisbane, and Sydney cleared roster spots for new talent. 

Hawthorn delisted Lachlan Bramble, Fergus Greene, and Ned Long. Bramble, 25 years old, was selected in the 2021 preseason SSP and played 30 games. Long, 20 years old, was picked up in the 2021 rookie draft and played five games. Greene was drafted by the Bulldogs in 2016 and played five games before joining Hawthorn as a delisted free agent in 2022. He played 11 games.

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More Retirements and Delistings Plus Trade Notes

Nakia Cockatoo (file photo)

Daniel Howe, 27, has retired while Carlton has delisted Josh Honey, Sam Philp and Lochie O’Brien. Brisbane small forward Nakia Cockatoo retired. Gold Coast has delisted Brodie McLaughlin and Jed Anderson while Charlie Constable has decided to retire to pursue other opportunities away from football. Plus, we have some trade notes in this report. 

Howe was originally drafted by Hawthorn as a midfielder and defender. He played 96 games for the Hawks before being delisted at the end of 2021. He was drafted as a rookie by North Melbourne inn 2022 and played 10 games for the Kangaroos. North Melbourne general manager Todd Viney said, “Dan has only been at the club for one season, but he’s had a significant impact on the group in his time here. He brought a professional attitude to his training and preparation, and gave his all in every game he played, whether at AFL or VFL level."

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Retirements, Delistings, and Trades: Brisbane, Adelaide, Geelong

Rich Tackles (File photo/AFANA)

Three clubs made roster changes as the AFL season winds down. Geelong delisted three and Adelaide is facing a trade situation with Shane McAdam. For Brisbane stalwart Daniel Rich, this season will be the last. 

Daniel Rich, 33, was drafted in 2008 and soon established himself as an excellent defender. Rich has spent the latter part of the season in the VFL after battling injuries. Ahead of the finals, he has played 375 games but is under no illusion he will be selected. In making the announcement he said, “It’s been a pretty crazy journey with plenty of ups and downs, I have met so many amazing people and close friends  ... and I love this Club.

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Late August Delistings and Retirements

Menengola clears (file photo)

At the end of August, the Western Bulldogs delisted Mitch Hannan. Essendon delisted Alistair Lord, Rhett Montgomerie, and Cian McBride. Geelong player Sam Menegola retired. Brisbane defender Marcus Adams also retired. Hawthorn forward Tyler Brockman wants to go back to Western Australia. 

Geelong midfielder Sam Menegola retired after Round 24. He was originally drafted by Hawthorn in 2011 as a rookie but was delisted at the end of the year. The Dockers selected him as a rookie 2012 but he never debuted for them either and was delisted after three seasons. He played in the WAFL in 2015 and was eventually drafted by the Cats t the end of 2015. He played 117 games and kicked 83 goals for the Cats. His 2023 season was marred by injuries. He said, “The time I have had at Geelong has had an immeasurable impact on our lives. I have enjoyed successes, faced challenges, learnt lessons, and developed relationships that will stay with me for a long time. I have had a chance to fulfil a lifelong dream ... ".

General Manager Simon Lloyd said,

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Lions Survive in a Thriller

Neale and Serong (file photo)

The Brisbane Lions triumphed in a tight and enthralling game against the Fremantle Dockers, where the lead changed hands ten times. The Lions were fighting for a shot at the top two position after losing two of their past three matches. The win keeps them in the frame for two valuable home finals. The Dockers had the slimmest of mathematical chances of making the top eight and played with confidence after their victory in Geelong last week. It was a game where both teams played a similar game style: pressure around the ball and either careful buildups in attack, or quick transferences from defence to attack. The difference was Brisbane had an edge in the air, taking more marks (catches) than the Dockers, and the Dockers used handball and pace to run the ball into attack.

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Hawthorn Investigation Ends

Alastair Clarkson (file photo)

The AFL has dismissed the independent panel which was formed to investigate the racism allegations against Hawthorn, former coach Alastair Clarkson, former assistant coach Chris Fagan, and welfare officer Jason Burt. The conclusion, called "imperfect" by AFL CEO Gil McLachlan, was that none of the three had anything to answer for.

All three have denied the allegations since the outset. The complainants, who initially supported the probe, no longer wish to take part in the independent investigation and they won't pursue any further legal action against the AFL. Although the panel has been disbanded, it does not preclude the league bringing future charges against the club. McLachlan said the AFL would move as quickly as possible to finalize whether any charges would be levelled against Hawthorn.

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Clarkson Takes Leave From North

Clarkson at Hawthorn (file photo)

Alastair Clarkson has temporarily stepped down from his coaching role at North Melbourne. There were unconfirmed reports that he was acting erratically in the lead up to his decision. The final straw was a withering half-time address to the North players during the Round Nine match against Port Adelaide. Reportedly, even a chair was thrown against a wall.

During a recent conference, Clarkson was very critical of his former club Hawthorn and the AFL over the racism investigations and the lack of progress being made. He called for Hawthorn to be investigated for the club's "shameful" handling of its report and said that reputations had been "scarred" as a result of the long-running process. He said the game was a "victim" of the ongoing independent investigation, which was commissioned by the AFL in October.

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Tasmania Gets Their AFL Wish

Jack Riewoldt Kicks (file photo)

The day after Andrew Dillon was announced as the next league CEO, all 18 club presidents voted to approve the 19th AFL license for Tasmania. The Tasmanian government recently authorized funding for a new stadium in Hobart. With that in place, the focus can be on all the logistics of setting up the team. Tasmania has been pushing for a license for years. Hawthorn and the Kangaroos have played "home" games in Tasmania for many years and it has proved moderately successful with some ups and downs over the years.

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