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Essendon Penalized For Work Safety Breaches
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

With the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) hearings set to begin soon, Essendon has been hit from another front, this time in the form of work safety violations in relation to the supplements program. The club is facing two charges which basically state that the club failed to provide and maintain a working environment and a system of work for employees that was safe and without health risks. WorkSafe Victoria (the Australian equivalent of OSHA), also investigated the AFL but could not verify any breaches "to the standard required".

Coaching Appointments
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Former West Coast premiership player Don Pyke is the new Adelaide coach. Pyke, 46, played 132 games for the Eagles between 1989 and 1996. He played in the 1992 and 1994 Premierships and won the Eagles' Best and Fairest award in 1993. His career was cut short due to a shoulder injury but he did play for Claremont in the WAFL after his AFL retirement. Pyke began his coaching career at Claremont and was there for two years before becoming an assistant with the Eagles 2001-2004. He then became an assistant with the Crows under Neil Craig 2005-06 before making a move to working in the oil and gas industry and serving as a coaching consultant to Claremont and Fremantle. He returned to West Coast as an assistant in 2014.

Three Way Trades
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

During the trade period, there were several deals involving three clubs exchanging draft selections which they acquired in trades with other clubs as well as player movement. Below are the deals involving the players trade.

A three club deal was done in which Collingwood, North Melbourne and Brisbane traded players and draft selections. The final outcome saw Brisbane's James Aish move to Collingwood and North's Ryan Bastinac move to Brisbane. Collingwood traded their round two selection (currently number 26) and 2016 on-traded round two selection to the Brisbane Lions for Aish. Bastinac played 121 games while Aish played 32 games.

2016 Schedule Introduces Rest Week Before Finals
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by Johnson Leung reporting for AFANA from Melbourne

The 2016 AFL schedule was announced last week. The biggest change is the addition of a bye week between the end of Round 23 and the Finals. In Round 23 this year, Fremantle and North Melbourne controversially rested a total of 20 players so they could be refreshed for the Finals. AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan conceded the moves by the two clubs were unsatisfactory and "a drag on the integrity of our competition", thus the extra week off was introduced to ensure similar situations would not happen again. The League plans to showcase a range of events and awards during the bye week, which could include a women's game, the All-Australian Awards and Rising Star Awards.

Once again, traditional rivals Richmond and Carlton will kick off the season with a Thursday night clash at the MCG on March 24, the day before Good Friday. Five days later Hawthorn will begin their Premiership defense at the same venue, against a new-look Geelong side which will likely include recruits Patrick Dangerfield, Scott Selwood and Lachie Henderson. For the second year in a row, the Grand Final will be held in the first Saturday in October. Next year it falls on October 1.

AFL Drug Policy Revamped
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

The AFL's illicit drug policy has had its critics over the years, with many believing that players should be "named and shamed" and punished after just one "strike" rather than waiting until a third positive test. Many also believe that AFL clubs should be notified of the player's name after the first positive test.

That has now changed with the League reviewing the existing policy and instituting changes which will see players named publicly, fined and suspended for four matches if they record a second positive test. After a first strike, the player name will still remain anonymous but there will be a $5000 suspended fine. A third strike will incur a 12 match suspension.

Player Trades
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Mid-October was a busy time for all clubs with the free agency and trade periods commencing. Everything was concluded on the afternoon of October 22.

Under a new rule, the AFL has allowed clubs to trade future draft picks. Each club is allowed to trade just one first round selection and no more than two of these over a four year period. The AFL also created a valuation points system to determine compensation selections for clubs who lose players due to free agency.

Hawks Create History with Third Consecutive Premiership
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Janet Linn reporting for AFANA from Australia

Captain Hodge and defender Josh Gibson share the love with the fans after defeating West Coast eagles in the AFL Grand Final. Photo by Kim Densham for AFANA.While it was the hottest Grand Final in history with the mercury hitting 31.3 degrees Celsius (88.3 Fahrenheit), the much anticipated “close contest” between Hawthorn and the West Coast did not bring the heat many anticipated and - in the case of West Coast supporters - hoped for. In the end, this Grand Final was not a replay of “David and Goliath”. The Hawks entered the match favorites and they won nearly everything - the coin toss, all the important game statistics, the Premiership Cup, the Norm Smith Medal and the full-blown respect of the Australian football public. The Hawks' players were never challenged in a master class performance of Aussie Rules football. Alastair Clarkson and his coaching staff cemented a well-earned place in history as the Hawks won the “three-peat”, back to back Premierships in 2013 (defeating Fremantle), 2014 (dominating over Sydney) and now in 2015. No doubt West Coast fans are wondering what happened and how their break out season ended so lamely.

2015 Premiers - The Hawthorn Hawks!
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  Congratulations to the Hawthorn Hawks!

Victorious four time premiership players, Luke Hodge leads his team of champions down the players race to sing the song. Photo by Kim Densham for AFANA. Winners of the 2015 AFL Grand Final

West Coast    1.5 3.8  5.9  8.13  61
Hawthorn      5.0 9.3 14.5 16.11 107

Norm Smith Medalist: Cyril Rioli
Attendance: 98,632
A full match report is here and photos are here.

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AFL Standings

 W  L  D %   Pts
Dockers  17  5  0  118.73 68
Eagles  16  5  1  148.22 66
Hawks  16  6  0  158.40 64
Swans  16  6  0  127.12  64

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