Steve Johnson

AFL Trades, Delistings and Retirements
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 by Lisa Albergo reporting from AFANA from Chicago

On October 6, the two-week free agency/trade period began, as well as several clubs delisting players to make places available for newcomers. The biggest news ahead of this period was Gary Ablett requesting a trade back to Geelong despite a year left on his contract with the Suns. Others to request trades have been: Port's Jarman Impey designating Hawthorn his preferred choice, Giants Nathan Wilson and Devon Smith, Adelaide's Jake Lever and Charlie Cameron. The Bulldogs were also seeking to trade Jake Stringer, whose inconsistent form has seen fall out of favor. Melbourne was also seeking to trade Jack Watts, who was bitterly disappointed at not being able to remain with the club.

Round 8 AFANA AFL Power Poll
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by Boris Kilpatrick, special to AFANA from Australia

The Power Poll returns after a few weeks hiatus as Boris was on assignment for another media outlet.

1.    Greater Western Sydney Giants (Last Time - 2)
Some might point to a narrow victory at home over Collingwood and say the Giants were lucky. Deeper examination shows a team that played two players short for most of the game and three players short for the final quarter who found a way to win. A long injury list hasn’t stopped the Giants from winning. Expect a lot more.

Finals Tragics
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

To paraphrase the introduction to old TV show The Naked City, there are many stories in finals history, these are a few. Every player and team strive for the ultimate prize of a premiership. Over the years, there have been many players whose teams get to the Finals or a Grand Final, but they are absent either through injury, poor form, suspension or simply being excluded from selection. These are some of those stories. [Ed. note: A "tragic" is someone for whom luck does not fall on their side and in this case, a perhaps once in a career opportunity is missed.]

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 Crush Power in Capital
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Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA from Canberra

The Greater Western Sydney Giants have destroyed finals aspirants Port Power in a dominant display at Manuka Oval on Sunday afternoon in Canberra.

In downing the Power by a whopping 86 points the Giants set a number of club records including registering their highest score and biggest winning margin in their short history.

Geelong Era Nears End
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Cats player Steve Johnson fires out a handpass under pressure during Round 17, 2008. Photo by Derrick den Hollander for AFANA.The Cats missed the Final Eight for the first time since 2006. With that and the departures of Steve Johnson, James Kelly and Mathew Stokes, one of the greatest eras in Geelong history is nearing an end. All three players are still considering careers elsewhere. Johnson said ahead of his last game that playing for the Cats and enjoying all the success alongside so many great teammates had been a dream come true. He went on to thank everyone at the club, teammates and staff alike as well as the supporters who stuck close even through the hard times. He believes the club is heading in the right direction and will have more success in the future.

Holmes Makes Debut in Saints and Cats Draw
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Janet Linn reporting for AFANA from Australia

An energetic and committed St Kilda has stayed the course to force a drawn game against Geelong in Round 21. While players say they never enjoy a tied game, this one had enormous ramifications with the Cats’ Finals chances dealt a heavy blow. Jason Holmes debuts for the St Kilda Saints. Photo by Kim Densham for AFANA.For American fans, the most newsworthy facet of the game was the impressive debut of James Holmes from Chicago and the first American-born and raised AFL player. (Read more about Holmes at http://www.afana.com/drupal5/news/2015/08/21/chicago_native_set_debut_saints-7811).

In an entertaining first quarter, St Kilda threw down the gauntlet and ran all over Geelong for the first ten minutes, kicking the first four goals before the Cats could take a breath.

West Coast Eagles Defeat Geelong in Romp
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Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium, Perth

Despite some atrocious kicking on goal, the West Coast Eagles overran a determined Geelong Cats in Round 9. It was a close game until the fourth quarter when West Coast players finally found their kicking radar and took the Cats apart. The game was evenly matched for much of the first half with Geelong getting out to an early lead with a couple of quick goals. One was a gift when the West Coast runner ran too close to Tom Hawkins giving away a 50 meter penalty right in front of goals. Steve Johnson slotted a clever goal from the left pocket and Jordan Murdoch was lively in Geelong’s forward line kicking two of his own. The Eagles' Josh Kennedy kicked two in the first quarter to keep the game even.

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.

No Fear Hawks
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Janet Linn, reporting for AFANA from Melbourne, Australia

A traditional rivalry began the 2014 Finals series with Hawthorn and Geelong meeting in the First Qualifying Final at the MCG. This was a match up that promised everything and, in front of almost 75,000 excited fans, it delivered on that promise early with a torrid opening quarter of hard physical contests, wayward kicks, nervous fumbles and both teams taking the game on at full throttle.

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