Adam Simpson

Another Raft of Retirements
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

At the conclusion of Round 23, four more players announced that 2017 would be their last season: veteran Cat defenders Andrew Mackie and Tom Lonergan, Kangaroo Lachie Hansen and Kangaroo veteran turned West Coast rookie Drew Petrie. The Cats and Eagles still have a finals campaign to navigate in September.A few days later, Saint stalwart Leigh Montagna also announced his retirement.

Three More To Bow Out
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Round 9 AFANA AFL Power Poll
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by Boris Kilpatrick, special to AFANA from Australia

There are some big movers in the AFANA power poll this week as upset wins continue across the league. In what looks to be the most even competition in years, predicting the top eight is becoming somewhat of a wild guess.

1.    Greater Western Sydney Giants (Last Week - 1)
For the second week in a row, the injury riddled Giants found a way to win despite being outplayed for most of the game by a Richmond team that seems to consistently find unique ways to lose. With plenty of talent to return to their list, the Giants will be hard to beat as the season progresses.

Relentless Eagles Send Message East
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by Chris Kowald, reporting for AFANA from Perth, Australia

Natanui Wins the First Bounce in the Round 1 Eagles vs Lions match in Australian Football. Photo  by David Woodley for AFANAWest Coast Eagles sent a powerful message east. From the first bounce, when Nick Naitanui flew over opposing ruckman, Stefan Martin, it was clear that the Eagles would not be dispensing Easter cheer. Brisbane though were not to be denied, Tom Rockliff was back to his best, as he showed his young charges how to draw first blood, with a goal at the three–minute mark. The Eagles responded a minute later by kicking long into the forward line.

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.

Eagles Run Down Plucky Roos
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 Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA from Australia

The West Coast Eagles overcame an early scare to finally dispose of a determined North Melbourne outfit at Domain Stadium in the second Preliminary Final. Despite going into the game as rank underdogs, it was the Kangaroos who made the early running by winning the contested ball and using the ball much better than their favored opponents. The Eagles could only manage two minor scores in the first quarter as their highly vaunted attack was starved of opportunities by a fired up North Melbourne.

Eagles Stun Hawks and Advance to Preliminary Final
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Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium, Perth

Hawthorn succumbed to the fierce pressure of the West Coast Eagles in the Second Qualifying final at Domain Stadium. Normally the composed Hawks show silky smooth skills and rarely panic with the ball. All their usual composure went out the window as this game unfolded and the Eagles took the Hawks apart.Callum Sinclair and Nic Naitanui celebrate a win over the Hawks. Photo by David Woodley for AFANA.

It started as a battle of the defenses with both sides up against tough opposition as they tried to advance the ball. Hawthorn was kicking with the aid of a monster wind in the first quarter but could only manage two goals.

Eagles Tune Up For Finals
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Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium, Perth

American Jason Holmes battles with Nic Naitanui of the Eagles during a Round 21, 2015 matchup. Photo by Dave Woodley for AFANA. The West Coast Eagles secured second position on the Premiership Ladder (AFL standings) with a double chance and home Finals after an old-fashioned belting of St Kilda at Domain Stadium in Round 23, the final round of the regular season. The Saints looked set to recover after absorbing a couple of opening round barrages with West Coast scoring four goals before the Saints had even heard the last echoes of the opening siren. The Saints' players put plenty of pressure on the Eagles’ ball carriers and pegged back a couple of goals to make a reasonable fist of the first quarter. In fact, St Kilda had plenty of the ball but couldn’t find a way to put more scoreboard pressure on the Eagles.

Eagles Upset Dockers In Derby 42
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Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium, Perth

For the first time in history the Western Derby was played with the two Western Australian teams in first and second positions on the Ladder. Chris Masten and Nick Suban have a major disagreement during the Fremantle vs West Coast game. Suban has alleged he was bitten by Masten. Photo by David Woodley/AFANA.Fremantle sits on top with the West Coast Eagles just behind. Businesses across the entire state were adorned with the club colors of one side or the other, sometimes both. When the dust settled, the Eagles had won the honors thanks to a fast start out of the blocks kicking the first six goals in a row. The Dockers found themselves on the ropes and the only thing they could do was come out swinging.

Unfortunately for their fans, who packed Domain Stadium at their home game, they couldn’t land any telling blows and struggled to get scores on the board all the way through the first half of the game. In fact only David Mundy and Michael Walters scored goals early in what was a poor performance from the top team. In contrast the Eagles had eight separate goal kickers at the same point,

Hawks Target Threepeat
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Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium, Perth

Hawthorn overcame a sluggish start to stamp their claim for a "threepeat" (three consecutive AFL premierships) when they came from behind to take down a determined West Coast Eagles. West Coast went into the game without in-form ruckman Nic Naitanui who had flown to Fiji after his mother’s death.

Hawthorn players sing their club song after beating the Eagles in Perth. Photo by David Woodley/AFANA.The Eagles got out of the blocks early, scoring the first two goals with the aid of a howling wind. They also hit the post twice and had these shots scored goals their lead may have been unassailable for the Hawks. Hawthorn had their chances too but were sluggish early and the windy conditions at their end played havoc with the skills of even their best forwards. Luke Breust’s goal from deep in the pocket and from a very acute angle showcased the Hawks’ exceptional scoring talent in general play. A third "poster" from the Eagles had them in the lead at the quarter time change but they had not closed the door on the Hawks.

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