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2024 AFL Hall of Fame

Dane Swan defends (file photo/AFANA)

Just days after the conclusion to Round 14, the AFL held their annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Former Hawthorn great Jason Dunstall was elevated to legend status and six past players were inducted. The six new inductees are Michael Graham, Chris McDermott, Ralph Robertson (deceased), Ray Schofield (deceased), Dane Swan, and Kelvin Templeton. AFL chairman Richard Goyder said, "I'm pleased to be able to celebrate tonight and recognize the tremendous achievements of the 2024 inductees and further congratulate Jason Dunstall on his elevation to Legend Status. For all our Hall of Fame members and new Legend, their contribution to football is outstanding and each person alongside their family and friends should be immensely proud." Goyder also announced the retirement of former Carlton coach David Parkin as a selector with his role to be filled by former Essendon great Simon Madden. The Hall of Fame selection panel also had a recommendation endorsed by the AFL Commission that a deceased Legend would be elevated in 2025. Below are the profiles the honorees:

Legend Elevation

Jason Dunstall

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Accurate Swans Punish Offline Dockers

Florent kicks (file photo/AFANA)

The Sydney Swans strengthened their position at the top of the ladder with an eight-goal victory over the inaccurate Fremantle Dockers. The Dockers matched Sydney in the midfield with good clearance work but were inefficient in attack. At the other end Sydney were ruthless and kicked accurately to punish any Docker turnovers. The pressure applied by both teams was strong with tackling from both sides a feature of the match. Sydney's Brodie Grundy dominated in the ruck, but the Dockers got first use of the ball through the strong clearance work of Andrew Brayshaw, Luke Jackson, and Caleb Sorong. As the game progressed Chad Warner, Errol Gulden, and James Rowbottom became more involved in play to cement the early good work of the Sydney forwards.

The game started with four forward entries by the Dockers for just two behinds (worth a point each).  After ten minutes of the Dockers dominating the midfield, Sydney broke through to launch an attack through with a snapped goal by Logan McDonald. Five minutes later Will Hayward booted the Swans second goal when the Docker defenders were caught out of position. Sydney's pressure on the ball then generated a forward-half intercept and Jake Lloyd goaled. The Dockers booted their first goal after an intercept in their own forward half and some fancy footwork by defender Brandon Walker, who kicked truly.

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AFANA's Who's Hot and Who's Not

Welcome to AFANA’s new column where we look around the league to check in on which players are dominating and who is struggling as the new season starts to take shape. With all teams heading to sunny South Australia for the AFL’s second iteration of “gather round”, these are the names you want to keep an eye on as they are currently the difference makers for your favorite teams.

HOT:

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2024 Rule Changes

Maynard Gets His kick Away

The AFL has announced the annual rule changes for the 2024 season, primarily focusing on player protection. The new rule interpretations cover smothering kicks and run-down tackles, both of which can risk player injury. Two incidents in 2023 led to these changes. Collingwood defender Brayden Maynard leaped into the air to attempt a smother against Demon Angus Brayshaw. Maynard collided with Brayshaw who suffered a concussion as a result of the collision. Maynard faced the tribunal but avoided suspension. Maynard’s exoneration was applauded by some sections of the football community who argued he had done nothing wrong, but the AFL flagged a review. The new rule states in part, "If a player leaves the ground in an attempt to smother, it will be deemed careless conduct at a minimum, “unless the player has taken all reasonable steps to avoid that high contact and/or minimize the force of that high contact (for example, by adopting a body position that minimizes the force of the high contact. The incident can be viewed on YouTube

While the AFL doesn’t want to end the run-down tackle,

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Power and Bulldogs Delist Players Plus Lycett Retires

Scott Lycett Contests Mark (file photo/AFANA)

The past week provided yet more delistings and retirements. The Western Bulldogs delisted Hayden Crozier and Roarke Smith. Port Adelaide delisted Orazio Fantasia, Sam Hayes, and Jake Pasini while Scott Lycett has retired. Sam Naismith has found his way back into the AFL at Richmond.

Lycett, a former Port Adelaide SANFL player, was drafted by West Coast in 2010 and played 75 games for the Eagles, including the 2018 premiership. At the end of 2018, he moved to Port as a free agent and played a further 71 games. Port Coach Ken Hinkley said, "Scott has been an outstanding contributor for two clubs ... He was an incredible workhorse for our club during the last five seasons and was totally focused on putting his teammates first. As a former Port Adelaide junior, Scott was Port Adelaide through and through.

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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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Footy World Mourns Ron Barassi

Ron Barassi (file photo/AFANA)

The semi-finals weekend was bittersweet, not only for the teams which were eliminated but for the sad news of the passing of the legendary great Ron Barassi. Ron Barassi was 87 and suffered complications from a fall. Tributes from the AFL and the four clubs with which he was involved poured in. His story is well-chronicled, from the time he went to live with Melbourne coach Norm Smith after his father was killed in World War II to his recruitment to the Melbourne Demons, his shock move to Carlton, and his coaching career at Carton, North Melbourne, and Sydney. He was actually retired when he was coaxed to take over at the Swans after their move from Melbourne to Sydney. He coached the Swans from 1993 through 1995 (59 games). He was a board member for seven more seasons.

Sydney chairman Andrew Pridham said the AFL has lost a pioneer, "The Sydney Swans are saddened by the passing of one of the game's all-time greats, Ron Barassi. Ron was a wonderful person and had a huge influence on the Swans, for which we are forever grateful ... ".

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Farewells to Four More

Jonas Pressures Watts (file photo)

Ahead of Round 24, four more players announced their retirements. Tom Jonas, Tom Hickey, Josh Bruce, and Jonathon Ceglar all indicated that their AFL careers were ending.

Port Adelaide captain Tom Jonas will retire at the end of the season. He has been in and out of the team this season. Jonas, 32, said in a club statement, “It’s been a fair roller coaster but for me there have been so many more ups than downs. You reflect on moments that maybe at the time were tough and challenging, exhausting or sad, but ultimately, they’re what makes you appreciate the good times and they’re what make you galvanize relationships and friendships with everyone that you spend time with along the way. The good thing about this for me is that the final chapter hasn’t been written ... For me it was about removing any distraction from the team with what we’ve got to look forward to in the month ahead (i.e., finals) ... ".

Coach Ken Hinkley, who has coached Jonas in 11 of his 13 seasons, said, “Tom has always given his all, whether that is on the field or off it ... He’s had to create his own path right from the start with enormous challenges along the way. While this season he has not always been first choice at selection, the way he has handled himself is the perfect example of his team-first attitude ... ".

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Concussion Claims Swan

McCartin vs Blues (Densham/AFANA)

Sydney's Paddy McCartin last played in early April due to concussion issues. He has been forced to retire after consulting with an independent AFL medical concussion panel. McCartin, 27, has suffered over a dozen concussions in his career and his playing days were thought to be over when he left St Kilda at the end of 2019 after playing 35 games. He spent some time in Sydney's VFL team before being added to the senior list in 2022. He managed just 28 games for the Swans in two seasons.

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Swans Still in the Race

Parker Kicks (file photo)

The Sydney Swans kept their finals flame flickering with a victory over the Fremantle Dockers at Optus Stadium. The game was won by their stronger bodied midfielders setting up a four goal lead in the first quarter, which the Dockers couldn't to bridge. The Dockers fielded with the most inexperienced team in the competition, with only five players who have played more than 100 games. In total games played, the Sydney team had more than two thousand more games of experience and it was their experienced players who did what needed to be done to keep the Dockers from getting back into the game.

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