Gillon McLachlan

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.

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.

Footy World Reacts To Essendon Verdict
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 by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

THE REACTIONS

Needless to say, almost everyone was shocked at the decision by the Court for Arbitration of Sport (CAS)- not so much the verdict itself but rather the severity. The 34 past and present players, their families, friends and supporters are devastated. The AFL, AFLPA and Essendon have all excepted the verdict and are and will be the ramifications.

AFL Sued Over Essendon Saga
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Melbourne lawyer Jackson Taylor has filed a lawsuit against the AFL, claiming its conduct was misleading and deceptive in the handling of the Essendon supplements saga. The legal papers name chairman Mike Fitzpatrick and CEO Gillon McLachlan in the suit. Allegations include the AFL misleading the public on the results of the joint investigation and their own responsibility regarding player health and safety. The suit names former AFL boss Andrew Demetriou as well. Added to the claim of deceptive practices, Taylor's allegations include Demetriou and McLachlan tipping off Essendon and telling the club they had to come forward to "self-report" after the Australian Crime Commission's report on corruption in sports.

Record Domestic Broadcast Deal for AFL
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by Johnson Leung reporting for AFANA from Melbourne

Channel Seven, Foxtel and Telstra have retained Australian domestic TV rights for the AFL for six years, from 2017 to 2022, for a record breaking A$2.508 billion (US$1.84 billion), double the value of the 2012-2016 deal at A$1.253 billion. The AFL initially sought a broadcast deal that could last for 5-10 years and bring in as much as A$3 billion for the period. The League had repeatedly stated it was keen to conclude a new agreement by the end of 2015, even though it postponed talks for several months

Gold Coast Drug Underbelly Exposed
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by Lachlan Hellyer reporting for AFANA from Toronto

Photographs of Gold Coast Suns star Harley Bennell allegedly using illicit drugs in a Launceston (Tasmania) hotel room have been leaked to the press. Another Gold Coast Suns player confirmed to the club he was with Bennell on the night, though no photographs of him have been circulated, and his identity is not currently known.Harley Bennell looks upfield for a team mate earlier this season in an AFL match. This development comes in light of allegations made by disgraced former teammate of Bennell’s, Karmichael Hunt, that as many as 12 Gold Coast Suns footballers joined him for an end of season cocaine binge in 2014. The names of the players implicated by Hunt have not been made public. The images of Bennell, reportedly taken in March 2013, are a stark reminder that the AFL’s fight against illicit drug use is more serious than they may have been prepared to admit. The formative years of the Gold Coast Football Club will be forever tainted by its association with Karmichael Hunt. That is not to say that a Gold Coast player who took cocaine or any illicit substance is not entirely responsible for his actions. We are all just prisoners here of our own device, as the great Don Henley once sang.

Adelaide Coach Murdered in Domestic Dispute
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by Johnson Leung reporting for AFANA in Melbourne assisted by AFANA staff in Australia, Canada, and the USA

The Aussie Rules community is mourning the tragic death of Adelaide coach Phil Walsh at just 55. Police and ambulance crews were sent to Walsh's home at Somerton Park, a seaside suburb 7 mi southwest of Adelaide city center, just after 2 AM Friday Adelaide time (12.30 PM Thursday US EDT) following reports of family dispute. They found Walsh with multiple stab wounds to his body. Paramedics treated him on the scene, but he could not be revived. Walsh's wife of 28 years, Meredith, was admitted to Flinders Medical Center with leg wounds and discharged the following day. Fans remember Phil WalshWalsh's son Cy, 26, was arrested by police a short time later outside a school friend's house at Glenelg East (1 mi north from Somerton Park), where he had been regularly staying. Cy was sent to the same hospital for psychiatric assessment and was charged with murder at a bedside hearing in Friday afternoon. He has since been moved to James Nash House, a secure mental health facility, and will remain in custody until a court hearing on September 15. We have details of the impact to US TV coverage toward the end of this article.

WADA Appeals: It Ain't Over Yet Folks
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

On the morning of Tuesday May 12, the Australian Rules Football world woke up to the surprising - but not totally unexpected - news that the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) has decided to appeal the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) verdicts in the Essendon Bombers' supplements case. The world body will take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which is based in Lausanne, Switzerland (with courts also located in Sydney and in New York). A statement released by WADA Director-General David Howman said "After a thorough examination of the evidence ... WADA has decided to lodge its independent right of appeal ... As with all pending cases, and adhering to the proper and normal respect for the integrity of the legal process, WADA will refrain from commenting further ... until a decision has been made by CAS."

TV Coverage Returns to ESPN and TSN
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Begins with Round 19 for USA and Canada

For the first time since 1997, the Australian Football League will be on an ESPN network in North America.  Following the demise of the sport on Setanta, the AFL has struck a deal for live coverage on ESPN360, limited coverage on ESPN2, and for Canada, on TSN and TSN2.  AFANA worked closely

Grand Final Entertainers and Presenters Announced
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Powderfinger to rock the MCG

(Ed. note:  The match day timeline is here).

The AFL has revealed the pre-match entertainers and award presenters at the 2008 Grand Final pre-match entertainment at the MCG on September 27. Brisbane band Powderfinger will headline the pre-match entertainment at the MCG, and then join Pete Murray for the post-match entertainment in front of 4300 corporate guests at Centre Square, the corporate hospitality village located on Punt Road Oval.

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