Luke Parker

Cats Sink Swans Season
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Brook "Boris" Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

Geelong pulled off one of the upsets of the season in smashing the much fancied Sydney Swans by 59 points at the MCG on Friday night. The Cats turned around a disappointing loss to Richmond just a week before in dominating the Swans from the outset.

AFANA Finals Power Poll and Predictions
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By Boris Kilpatrick, special to AFANA from Australia

Just eight teams remain. In one of the tightest finishes in AFL history, the final regular season round had footy fans reaching for their calculators until the last few minutes of the final game of the year between the Adelaide Crows and the West Coast Eagles. Incredibly, the 29 point Eagles victory was enough to see them through to the final eight, while Melbourne, sitting a game and percentage inside the final eight prior to the round, saw their finals dreams shattered on the back of a shock loss to Collingwood and the Eagles win.

The AFANA AFL 2016 Finals Preview
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Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

So, who wins it all? In what looks to be the most open finals series for some time, you could mount a solid argument for six teams that could potentially take out the 2016 premiership. Read on for my take on who can win the Aussie rules championship in 2016 and why – and my pick for the two teams that will meet in the biggest AFL match of the year on October 1st.

I’ll start in reverse order of regular season finish, from eighth to top spot.

Giants Take Sydney Crown
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Brook "Boris" Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

Just 100 games into their existence, the Greater Western Sydney Giants are living up to their name – and the rest of the AFL competition must be seriously concerned. In the battle for Sydney supremacy at Spotless Stadium on Sunday, the Giants dismantled perennial finals contenders the Sydney Swans, ruining the Swans chance to go top of the ladder and giving them plenty to think about as the AFL moves into the second half of the regular season.

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.

Lance Franklin Out Indefinitely
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Shortly after Round 23 concluded, the Swans announced that Lance Franklin was suffering from, and being treated for, an undisclosed mental health issue.Buddy Franklin pounces on David Hale and forces the spill during Round 8, 2015. Photo by Kim Densham for AFANA. It was also reported that Franklin had suffered a minor epileptic seizure at a cafe on the Friday morning before Sydney's match against Gold Coast. He was taken to a hospital, treated and released. Although hospital doctors recommended he not play that weekend, Sydney's medical staff cleared him to play.

Who Makes the Top Eight?
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Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

While preparations for Grand Final parties around the globe continue to take shape, the final three rounds of the AFL season will bring fans plenty of excitement. There will be heartbreak for some, as eleven teams remain in Finals' contention with only eight spots up for grabs. The top five - Fremantle, West Coast, Hawthorn, the Western Bulldogs and the Sydney Swans - have all but locked up a place in the post-season, but there is a traffic jam of teams vying for positions six through eight. What better time to run the slide rule over the remaining rounds and see if we can work out who makes the major round – and who is left to pick up the pieces?

Tigers Upset Swans in Thriller
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Janet Linn reporting for AFANA from Australia

In a Round 13 game played in two distinct halves of football, the Richmond Tigers pulled off a three goal victory over 2014 Grand Finalists the Sydney Swans in a down-to-the-wire thriller at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Lance Franklin of the Sydney SwansThe Swans had won their last six games and looked set to run the listless Tigers into the ground before the Tigers found their mojo in the third quarter and produced a scintillating seven goal quarter.

Even before the ball was bounced to start the first quarter, the Swans were showing signs they meant business with Lance (Buddy) Franklin and his opponent Alex Rance

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.

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."

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