Brett Deledio

AFANA AFL Power Poll Round 22
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By Boris Kilpatrick, special to AFANA from Australia

There is just one minor round of the AFL season to go. In what has been an incredible season to date, we still do not know which eight teams will play in the finals, and amazingly, which teams will get the all-important double chance.

The only team guaranteed to finish top two is the Adelaide Crows, who maintain the top spot on the AFANA power poll despite a narrow loss to the rampaging Sydney Swans in Adelaide on Friday night. Speaking of the Swans, the Sydneysiders became the first team in history to make the finals after starting the season 0-6. To top it off, the Swans are a chance to move into fourth place next weekend, boosting their chances for a ride all the way to the premiership.
Where does this leave the other 16 teams as we head into the round 23? Let’s take a look. 

1.    Adelaide Crows (Last time - 1)

AFANA AFL Power Poll Round 20
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By Boris Kilpatrick, special to AFANA from Australia

There are just three rounds of the regular season remaining, and the make up of the final eight remains on a knife edge. A big win by the Adelaide Crows over crosstown rivals Port Adelaide has put the Crows six points clear at the top of the table, setting them up for two home finals and Premiership favoritism. The other big stories to come from round 19 were the Greater Western Sydney Giants back on track and looking primed for a big run into September, the Geelong Cats are stumbling, and the Richmond Tigers look to have confirmed an unlikely finals spot just a year after being in crisis.

1.    Adelaide Crows (Last time - 1)
The Crows have established themselves as clear premiership favorites after demolishing fellow finals aspirants and crosstown foes the Port Power by 84 points at Adelaide Oval on Sunday afternoon.

2.    Greater Western Sydney Giants (3)

Hawks Fliy West In Trade Week
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

The Trade period in mid-October was a very busy time for most clubs. Perhaps the two biggest were Hawks Sam Mitchell and Jordan Lewis heading to West Coast and Melbourne respectively. Perhaps the biggest disappointment was Bryce Gibbs unable to return home to Adelaide. Gibbs, still with three years remaining on a five year deal, had requested a trade home for family reasons. However, with the Blues demanding more than what Adelaide was willing to give up, a deal could not be struck. Below are all the trades in order as they happened.

Tigers Dream Finish
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Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

To kick the game winning goal after the final siren is every Australian footballer’s dream.Richmond celebrates stunning win. Photo by Kim Densham for AFANA. It’s the equivalent of the walk-off home run in baseball, the three-point winning buzzer-beater in basketball and the overtime goal in the NHL. On Saturday night, Richmond’s Sam Lloyd lived that very dream. In a see-sawing battle at the MCG in front of a small but rabid crowd of 36,014, Lloyd saved Richmond’s flailing season, possibly the job of its coach Damien Hardwick, and certainly gave its loyal fan base a healthy dose of joy in a season that has delivered mostly just heartache. A live audience on Fox Sports 1 watched across the US.

Tigers Stun Hawks With Intent
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Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA from Australia

Just days after one of Australia’s largest online betting sites paid out on Hawthorn winning the 2015 Premiership - more than two months before the Grand Final is to be played - the raging favorites have been upset by Richmond in front of a massive MCG crowd. Shaun Burgoyne of the Hawthorn Hawks handballs as Trent Cotchin of the Richmond Tigers approaches in a round 18 AFL match.Over 66,000 fans were treated to an intense contest that saw the Tigers put Round 17’s last gasp loss to first placed Fremantle behind them with a stirring win over the reigning Premiers in Hawthorn.

Tigers Shock Dockers
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Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA from Australia

Riewoldt Marks for Richmond on way to win over DockersThe Fremantle Dockers entered Friday night’s home clash with visiting Richmond, searching for what would be a club record tenth win in as many games to start the season. Despite a close call with Adelaide in round nine, no team had been able to penetrate the vaunted Fremantle defense well enough to end the winning streak in 2015. Richmond went into the game on a roll of its own, having chalked up three wins in a row against quality opposition after an indifferent 2-4 start to the season. While the Tigers had not beaten Fremantle in Western Australia since 2009, they could take some solace in the fact their away record has been solid over the past few seasons.

Tigers Claw Victory Over Magpies
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Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick Reporting for AFANA from the Melbourne Cricket Ground

A beautiful Melbourne afternoon greeted fans of Collingwood and Richmond as they headed in droves towards the mecca of Australian sport, the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Under enormous pressure after three losses in a row and with a tough draw ahead, Richmond coach Damien Hardwick was in desperate need of a win to avoid another week of speculation about his tenure at the helm of the Tigers. The late withdrawal of small forward Shane Edwards, arguably the Tigers' best player of the season to date, was a cruel blow to Hardwick and Tiger fans prior to game time. Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley would have been feeling confident of victory with the Magpies holding a winning streak against the Tigers that went back as far as Round 19 in 2007.

Port Powers Into Semi Final
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Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting from Adelaide Oval for AFANA

On a warm, blustery Adelaide Sunday afternoon, footy fans descended on Adelaide Oval hoping to witness a tantalising contest. The visitors, Richmond, were on a roll, having won nine games in a row to somehow steal a spot in the Final Eight. An incredible number of Richmond fans had made the journey from Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and even as far as Europe. There must have been 10,000 rabid Tiger fans in full voice prior to the game. They would be quickly silenced once the game was underway. Port Adelaide, having stumbled somewhat after an incredible start to the season that saw them top of the table, had regained their mojo. More importantly, they had regained their two key back men in Alipate Carlisle and Jackson Trengove.

Tigers Dream Run Continues
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Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

Richmond players faced St Kilda at the MCG in the final game of Round 22, knowing their fate was well and truly in their own hands. Riding the wave of an incredible seven game winning streak that included on the road wins against the West Coast Eagles and Adelaide Crows, the Tigers had to beat the Saints to keep their slim Finals' chances alive. After Round 14, Richmond held a 3-10 win-loss record, placing them 16th on the AFL premiership ladder. Fast forward to Sunday, and as the Tigers ran out onto the hallowed turf of the MCG, a win would send them to 11-10 and into the Top Eight with one round to play.

Tigers Down Giants For Five In A Row
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Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

Richmond headed home to the MCG to take on the Greater Western Sydney Giants with a four game winning streak at stake. A win against the Giants would keep the Tigers’ slim Finals' chance alive, while any slip up would end their season with regard to post-season action. The Giants came into the game showing improved form, narrowly failing to beat premiership contenders Geelong in the previous round. Richmond coach Damien Hardwick would have been looking for a fast start, knowing that the wet conditions from the West Coast game may produce some weary Tigers as the game wore on. His opposite number Leon Cameron would have been looking for quick delivery into young GWS “twin towers” Jonathon Patton and Tom Boyd, hoping to use the height advantage of the young forwards.

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