Australian Football League News

No Essendon Saga in 2017? Guess Again!
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Just when everyone thought the Essendon supplements saga was done and dusted, it has reared its dubious head once again. Ironically, it has been just about exactly four years since the Bombers came out and "self-reported" with a request that the AFL investigate the 2012 supplements program. Now, Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper has obtained audio recordings of a crisis meeting which was held in August of 2013. Present at that meeting were chairman Paul Little (chairman), Jame Hird (coach), Mark Thompson (asst coach) and Danny Corcoran (football manager). The meeting was held to discuss the charges laid against the 34 players. The quartet are furious, believing the AFL had betrayed them and gone back on their word that the players would not be charged. In expletive-riddled conversations, all four express their anger at the league.

No Fond Memories of Fitzpatrick For Some
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 by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

While many will remember Mike Fitzpatrick fondly for all the positives he accomplished during his time as chairman, there are some who are not so happy. At the announcement of his retirement from the AFL Commission, Fitzpatrick said of the Essendon saga, "I think it was a really difficult issue, what happened was difficult, it should never have happened. But I am totally comfortable with the way we dealt with it ... I felt – as different events unfolded – the commission and the AFL dealt with them as they came, dealt with them under their processes ... ".

AFL Chairman Fitzpatrick Retires
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago 

After over 20 years of service with the AFL Commission, Mike Fitzpatrick has announced his retirement. He has been Commission chairman for over 10 years and a member of the Commission since 2003 after an illustrious career with Carlton. He said with the Western Bulldogs' premiership, the introduction of the AFLW and the early purchase of Etihad Stadium, it was the right time to step aside. He said the highlight and greatest achievement of his tenure was the six-year $2.5 billion broadcast deal signed last year, "The size of it and the scale of it and what it does for the code is a great achievement."

Blues Historic Win in First AFLW Match
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Troy Thompson reporting for AFANA from Melbourne, Australia

It was the kind of evening that Melbournians love to go out and watch sport. A comfortable 73 degrees at the start of the match and it drew the crowd that this historic occasion deserved. Before the match started it became clear that the ground was going to fill to capacity as numbers continued to stream in as the match got underway. They were here to see the debut match of the AFL Women's League.

Princes Park just north of the city has a long footy history and particularly the local Carlton supporters relished the chance to relive over a century of matches against their arch nemesis Carlton. It seemed to matter little that it was women playing in their club's colors as professionals for the first time.

James Hird In Hospital
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago 

On the night of January 3, former Essendon coach James Hird was rushed to a hospital in suburban Melbourne to be treated for a drug overdose. He was later transferred to another facility for treatment. Whether or not the overdose was deliberate or accidental is unknown. The hospital to which he was taken would not reveal anything regarding the incident or Hird's condition due to patient confidentiality rules. A spokesperson for Ambulance Victoria also refused to comment.

2016 Rookie Draft
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Shortly after the AFL Draft, the Rookie Draft was held. As with the AFL Draft, it is club by club and the selection number is first, followed by the player name, club or origin, height, weight and position.

Dank Appeal Tossed
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 by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Stephen Dank's appeal against his lifetime ban from international sports was set for November 21. However, the day before the hearing he emailed his former attorney that he would be unable to attend due to a family member being seriously ill in the hospital. He, in turn, notified lawyers for the AFL and ASADA and requested an adjournment. After 45 minutes of deliberation, board chairman Peter O'Callaghan announced the rescheduling of the hearing for December 1, contingent on Dank providing evidence from the hospital concerned and attending physician by November 26. This went against the request by the attorneys that the appeal be immediately dismissed due to their skepticism regarding Dank's latest excuse.

2016 AFL Draft: Club by Club
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

The 2016 AFL Draft was held on November 25. Below is the list of players selected by each club with a brief profile. The information regarding each player is as follows: the draft selection number, player name, club of origin, height and weight, position.

Jobe Watson Loses 2012 Brownlow Medal
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

 The AFL Commission was scheduled to meet on November 15 to discuss, among other things, whether or not to strip Jobe Watson of his 2012 Brownlow Medal. However, about a week before the meeting Watson decided to return the medal himself. He said he had "mixed emotions" regarding his decision. Now the Commission will decide whether or not to award the medal retrospectively to the two runners-up in Sam Mitchell and Dustin Martin. 

Groundbreaking 2017 Schedule
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by Johnson Leung reporting for AFANA from Melbourne

Next year's AFL schedule, released in Melbourne on October 27, will set many firsts: first ever Good Friday game, first ever regular season game to be held in China, first ever Friday night game in Canberra (and for GWS), and first ever regular season game to be played in Ballarat in western Victoria. North Melbourne has been campaigning for Good Friday Football for nearly 30 years, before the club's wish is finally granted with a game against defending Premiers Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium in Round 4 next year. AFL General Manager of Clubs and Operations Travis Auld says the game would start at 4.20 PM AEST (2.20 AM US EDT) to ensure it does not conflict with major religious services on the day. The League is already in talks with the Royal Children's Hospital and broadcasters Channel Seven and Fox Footy about how the game could help promote the Good Friday Appeal, which is the annual fundraiser for the hospital and broadcast all day on Seven in Melbourne.

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