Gary Ablett Jr

Round 3 AFANA AFL Power Poll
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by Boris Kilpatrick, special to AFANA from Australia

1.    Adelaide Crows (Last Week - 2)
The Crows take top spot on the Power poll after a stirring win in “The Showdown” against crosstown rivals Port Adelaide. Despite trailing early, the classy Crows posted their third win in as many games, the 17-point win keeping them on the top of the AFL ladder.

2.    Greater Western Sydney Giants (3)
The Giants are starting to roll, and they might take some stopping. A 42-point drubbing of the Kangaroos – with a whopping 71 entries inside the 50 meter arc – will have teams scrambling for a plan on how to stop Leon Cameron’s young juggernaut.

Eagles Subdue Suns
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Chris Kowald reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium Perth, Australia

The Gold Coast Suns’ last visit to Domain Stadium was early in the season when they defeated the Dockers. Their trip west this time was much tougher. The injury depleted Suns knew they were in for a tough game and West Coast were at full strength. An Aboriginal Dancer leaves the ground after performing during indigenous round. Photo by David Woodley for AFANA.The pregame featured celebrations of the aboriginal tradition of Dreamtime as it was Indigenous Week in the AFL.

Suns Rise in the West
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by Chris Kowald, reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium Perth, Australia

The Gold Coast Suns seared a stunning victory into the aging skin of the Fremantle Dockers and won for the first time at Domain Stadium. Gary Ablett handballs clear of the pack Round 2, 2016. Photo by David Woodley for AFANA.In what captain Gary Ablett described as his young team's greatest win, the Suns withstood the Dockers' early pressure to win the game with a powerful second quarter. The much anticipated battle between Ablett and reigning Brownlow medalist Nat Fyfe became a minor consideration.

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.

New Committee To Empower Players
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

After a recent survey and discussions between the AFLPA and players, a "Players and the Game Committee" will be formed to allow players a greater voice on the game and its future. The committee will consist of eight players - one from each state and four from Melbourne based clubs - who have strong and respected voices within the AFL industry and well-developed views on the game.

Coaching Appointments
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Just weeks after his resignation as the Western Bulldogs' senior coach, Brendan McCartney was appointed development and strategy coach with the Melbourne Demons. He joins Brett Allison, Brad Miller and newly appointed full-time Casey coach Justin Plapp, in Melbourne’s development team for 2015. He will remain in that role until assistant coach Simon Goodwin takes over from Paul Roos in 2017 as senior coach, at which time he will move into a mentor and management role.

In making the announcement, football operations manager Josh Mahoney said the club was delighted to have McCartney on board. “He has a proven record and reputation in developing players and his appointment adds valued experience to our development program ... Simon has previously worked with Brendan ... at Essendon and identified him as the ideal candidate ... to assist his transition into senior coaching."

Peers Vote Docker Fyfe Best
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Fremantle midfielder Nat Fyfe has won the Leigh Matthews Trophy as the AFL Players' Association MVP. The award is decided with players from all clubs nominating three teammates. Each club then tallies the votes for their players. Out of that, the field is narrowed to 54 players. Players then award votes on a 3-2-1 basis for the 54 nominees. Fyfe just edged out Gary Ablett in one of the closest counts in the history of the award.

Suns Shine In War of Attrition
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Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

A solid crowd of around 24,000 filtered into a sunny Metricon Stadium in anticipation of an excellent game of football between the up and coming Gold Coast Suns and the visiting Collingwood Magpies. With positions tight for a Top Eight finish, a Gold Coast win would set them up with a real chance to play Finals for the first time in their short history, while Collingwood was looking to consolidate a Top Eight spot and possibly challenge those in the Top Four.

Hot Suns Burn Tigers
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Brook "Boris" Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

Richmond headed north to take on the Gold Coast Suns at a steamy Metricon Stadium in a tough game to predict. The Tigers had enjoyed a solid campaign in 2013 making the Top Eight, while the Suns are a team on the march, full of excellent young talent and led by the competition’s best player in Gary Ablett junior. The Tigers were without their usual Ablett “minder” in Daniel Jackson who remains out of action with a hamstring complaint, while young gun Harley Bennell sat out for the Suns. With a 2-1 edge in wins over Richmond to date, the Suns were confident of getting the season off to a solid start on their home turf.

Grand Final Milestones
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA

Shaun Burgoyne (HAW, traded from PA) became the 29th player in League history to win a Premiership with two different clubs after the Hawks won the Grand Final. Most recent players to reach this milestone are Darren Jolly (SYD and COL), Stuart Dew (PA and HAW), Cameron Mooney (NM and GEEL), Jason Ball (WCE and SYD), Byron Pickett (NM and PA), Damian Hardwick (ESS and PA), Gavin Wanganeen (ESS and PA), Martin Pike (NM and BRIS) and Blake Caracella (ESS and BRIS).

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