Ben Cunnington

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.

Dockers Catch Exhausted Kangaroos
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Chris Kowald reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium, Perth.

With just 41 seconds remaining on the clock, the Fremantle Dockers snatched a win from the luckless North Melbourne Kangaroos. The Roos have now surrendered leads three times in the first five games, having lost narrowly to Geelong by one point, the Western Bulldogs by three points and now Fremantle by five points. Conversely, The Dockers have come from behind in three consecutive games to win thrillers.

Kangaroos Celebrate Harvey Milestone in Style
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Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

In a scrappy contest in front of just over 40,000 fans at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night, North Melbourne helped to celebrate Brent Harvey’s games record with a 23 point victory over St Kilda. Boomer Harvey is chaired off the field by Michale Firrito and Drew Petrie in Aussie rules match. Photo by Kim Densham for AFANA.Harvey’s 427th VFL/AFL game broke the record held by Hawthorn’s Michael Tuck, and with seemingly plenty left in the tank it would take a brave man to suggest he cannot reach the amazing milestone of 450 league games if he decides to play on next season.

Kangaroos Remain Undefeated
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Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

North Melbourne has survived a spirited comeback by St Kilda to take a seven point victory at Etihad Stadium and remain undefeated after seven rounds of the AFL season. Despite holding a four goal buffer well into the final quarter, the Kangaroos were almost run down by a determined Saints unit that tied the scores late in the match.  A Todd Goldstein free kick gave North Melbourne a slender lead that they were able to maintain under intense pressure. A goal on the siren by Mason Wood sealed the win for the Kangaroos who remain atop of the AFL table over the Geelong Cats and the Sydney Swans.

Club Awards
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Sydney midfielder Luke Parker has won his first Bob Skilton medal as the Swans' best and fairest. Parker polled in all but three games to finish on 758 votes, ahead of Josh Kennedy (709) and Lance Franklin (688). Parker, 21, is the youngest winner since Michael O'Loughlin in 1998. He also won the Paul Kelly Players’ Player Award, which is voted on by the playing group. Parker led the club in 2014 for tackles, averaging six per game, and was among the leaders for the season in disposals, contested possessions and goals. Coach Longmire praised Parker as a great competitor, saying the win - after just 82 games - was a great achievement. “When you look at the players behind him - Kennedy and Franklin - you quickly get an understanding of how good a season he has had, and how highly we think of him as a player. Luke was taken as quite a late draft pick, but he really is testament to where hard work can get you, and we value that really highly."

Crows Steal Victory In Thriller
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Jamie Kloeden reporting for AFANA from Adelaide, Australia

After a heart breaking after the siren loss to the West Coast Eagles last round, the North Melbourne Kangaroos were hoping that a home game, back under the roof at Etihad Stadium, against the traveling Adelaide Crows might be enough to get the confidence back up for a push towards the Top Eight. An indifferent start to the season had the Crows in a very similar position on the Ladder so many of the experts predicted a tight tussle with much on the line for both sides. And a tight tussle was certainly what played out with many touting this contest as the game of the season thus far.

Nic Nat Steals Show
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Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Patersons Stadium, Perth

Nic Naitanui’s towering mark and goal after the siren gave the West Coast Eagles an unlikely come from behind win against North Melbourne in their Round 8 Friday night clash at Patersons Stadium. The Eagles kicked the last three goals to pinch the win after a dour struggle. In a free flowing game that looked over for them with minutes to play, Naitanui's miracle pack mark saved the day for West Coast and robbed the deserving Kangaroos of a win on the road.

Round 20 Milestones
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Damien Hardwick (RICH) qualified for AFL Life Membership in Round 20 with his 300th league game as a player and coach. He debuted with Essendon in 1994 and played 153 games with the Bombers before crossing to Port Adelaide where he played 54 games. Hardwick has the distinction of being a Premiership player with both clubs, won the Best and Fairest at Essendon in 1998 and was named All-Australian in 2000. He played 13 pre-season games with Essendon and five with Port, four International Rules games, and has coached Richmond in 63 games.

Unbeaten Eagles
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Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Patersons Stadium, Perth

West Coast remains the only unbeaten team at the end of Round 6 after overcoming a gutsy challenge from a determined North Melbourne side. Just before the game it was announced that Eagles’ excitement machine Nic Naitanui had withdrawn and this sent a ripple of unease through supporters. He was replaced by second gamer, Scott Lycett. Kangaroos ruckman Todd Goldstein was also missing so each team would be exposed in the ruck competitions. In a first for the Eagles, Jacob Brennan (son of club great and Premiership player and vice-captain Michael Brennan) was playing his making his debut, the first father/son combination in Eagles’ history.

Round 17 Tribunal
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The match day report against Brisbane's Brent Staker for striking Geelong's Darren Milburn was assessed by the MRP. The panel ruled that Staker's initial contact during an attempted tackle was to Milburn's back and his hand was open at all times. They therefore ruled that it was not a striking motion and dismissed the charge.

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