Harley Bennell

AFL Drug Policy Revamped
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

The AFL's illicit drug policy has had its critics over the years, with many believing that players should be "named and shamed" and punished after just one "strike" rather than waiting until a third positive test. Many also believe that AFL clubs should be notified of the player's name after the first positive test.

That has now changed with the League reviewing the existing policy and instituting changes which will see players named publicly, fined and suspended for four matches if they record a second positive test. After a first strike, the player name will still remain anonymous but there will be a $5000 suspended fine. A third strike will incur a 12 match suspension.

Player Trades
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Mid-October was a busy time for all clubs with the free agency and trade periods commencing. Everything was concluded on the afternoon of October 22.

Under a new rule, the AFL has allowed clubs to trade future draft picks. Each club is allowed to trade just one first round selection and no more than two of these over a four year period. The AFL also created a valuation points system to determine compensation selections for clubs who lose players due to free agency.

Player Moves Around AFL
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

After the Round 23 game, Gold Coast's Harley Bennell was involved in an undisclosed incident which saw him issued with a "public nuisance" notice.Harley Bennell looks upfield for a teammate during a Round 7, 2015 match. Photo by David Woodley for AFANA. It was the final straw for the Suns who have announced that he will be traded. Bennell has had a number of off-field issues, not the least of which was the publication of photographs of him apparently indulging in illicit drugs. The pictures were from a 2013 trip but were only published in the newspapers in June this year.

After this latest incident, a series of meetings were held between club officials, coaching staff, the leadership group and Bennell's management. CEO Travis Auld issued a statement confirming the decision to dump Bennell was unanimous.

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.

Eagles Deliver Football Lesson to Gold Coast
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Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium, Perth

With a twelve goal burst in the third quarter, the West Coast Eagles delivered the highest score in any quarter in the club’s history and put the stranglehold on a one-sided Round 7 game against the Gold Coast Suns at Domain Stadium. The game was played in wet conditions and it wasn’t long before the Eagles put their winning stamp on the game.

Club Champion Awards
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Shane Mumford has won the 2014 Kevin Sheedy Medal in his first season with the Giants. The former Sydney premiership ruckman was presented with the medal by its namesake, inaugural coach Kevin Sheedy who has remained at the club as a coaching director. Mumford, 28, crossed from the Swans at the end of 2013 and took out the club champion award despite missing five games through injury. He polled in 13 of the 17 games he played to finish with 81 votes. Co-captain Callan Ward and small forward Devon Smith were equal runners-up on 72 votes. Midfielder Adam Treloar finished fourth on 62 votes and vice-captain Heath Shaw fifth with 56 votes.

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.

Round 22 Milestones
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Most Games, Indigenous Player: Shaun Burgoyne (HAW) will play his 240th game in Round 22, putting him equal with his brother Peter in tenth place for most games by an Indigenous player. Ahead of them are Andrew McLeod (340 games, ADE), Adam Goodes (331 games, SYD), Michael O’Loughlin (303, SYD), Gavin Wanganeen (300 games, ESS and PA), Darryl White (268 games, BRIS), Chris Johnson (264 games, FITZ and BRIS), Peter Matera (253 games, WCE), Nicky Winmar (251 games, StK and WB) and Jeff Farmer (249 games, MELB and FRE).

100 consecutive games: Jack Riewoldt (RICH) has played 99 consecutive games for Richmond since Round 10, 2009. His current streak of consecutive games is behind only Brett Deledio (135 consecutive games for Richmond since Round 18, 2007) and Josh Kennedy (102 consecutive games for Hawthorn and the Sydney Swans since Round 14, 2009).

Crows Finish In Top Two
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G Michael reporting for AFANA from Adelaide, South Australia

A brilliant performance by Patrick Dangerfield saw the Crows blitz Gold Coast by a whopping 91 points in Round 23. With support from Scott Thompson, the young Crow took the game apart in the second half to amass 36 possessions for the game whilst also scoring two goals. As both Dangerfield and Thompson firm among the favorites for the Brownlow Medal, the Crows secured a Top Two position for the season, returning to the Finals for the first time since 2009 and ending the home and away with an equal club record of 17 wins for the season.

Suns Eclipse Tigers
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Brook "Boris" Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

Tropical Cairns greeted a Richmond outfit with a genuine chance to lift themselves into the Top Eight with a win over a much improved Gold Coat Suns. A solid showing in Round 15 against reigning Premiers Geelong gave the Suns renewed hope that their first win of the season was just around the corner. The Tigers' hierarchy was anxious for a win in Cairns having lost the equivalent “home” game in 2011, giving rise to criticism of the three year package brokered by the Tigers to assist in funding a depleted football department. Gold Coast fans would have been well pleased to learn that in-form Tiger ruckman Ivan Maric was a late withdrawal due to groin soreness.

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