Hawthorn Hawks

Young Bomber Named Rookie Of The Year
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Not since 2002, when Nick Riewoldt (drafted in 2000) won the Rising Star Award*, has a Number One draft pick been the winner. Now, Essendon's prized frist selection from 2016 joins Riewoldt in the unique double. He was named and presented with the award on Sept. 1 after an impressive debut season. McGrath, 19, earned his nomination in Round Four against Adelaide. He had 28 disposals, laid four tackles and had five scoring involvements. McGrath becomes the second Essendon player to win the award, following Dyson Heppell's win in 2011.

Concussion Grounds Young Hawk Fitzpatrick
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Hawthorn's Jack Fitzpatrick suffered a concussion in Round Eight and has not played since. Fitzpatrick, 26, was advised by doctors not to play any more contact sport and has been forced to retire after just 26 games since being drafted in 2009.

Three More Veterans Bow Out
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by Lisa Albergp reporting for AFANA from Chicago

 In mid-August, three more veterans announced they would be retiring at the end of the year - Bulldog Robert Murphy, Hawk Josh Gibson and Cat turned Bomber James Kelly. Murphy joins teammate and fellow 300-gamer Matthew Boyd in retiring.

Hungry Hawks Demolish Dockers
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The Hawthorn Hawks showed they still have the appetite to participate in this year’s finals by dominating the Fremantle Dockers in the final quarter at the Dockers’ home ground. Fremantle competed solidly but could not overcome the Hawk dominance in the air as the big Hawks out-marked the home side.

Hawthorn started each center bounce by positioning two extra players on the defensive side of the center square.

Two Veterans Call Time
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Jobe Watson Loses 2012 Brownlow Medal
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

 The AFL Commission was scheduled to meet on November 15 to discuss, among other things, whether or not to strip Jobe Watson of his 2012 Brownlow Medal. However, about a week before the meeting Watson decided to return the medal himself. He said he had "mixed emotions" regarding his decision. Now the Commission will decide whether or not to award the medal retrospectively to the two runners-up in Sam Mitchell and Dustin Martin. 

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.

Eagles Knock Hawks From Top Spot
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Chris Kowald reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium Perth, Australia.

The clash between the Eagles and the Hawks at Domain Stadium was always going to be a game when one side suffered a setback. The Hawks were on top of the competition and needed to win to stay there. The Eagles were hoping to earn a highly valued home final. Something had to give.

What's Next For Essendon and AFL
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

THE FALLOUT

For the immediate present, the two biggest issues facing Essendon are replacing the suspended players and whether or not Jobe Watson keeps his 2012 Brownlow Medal. The league has already put provisions in place for replacement players for Essendon as well as Melbourne, Port Adelaide, St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs. For the latter four, they can upgrade rookies to their a rookie to their respective senior lists to replace the suspended players.

Of course, it is a bit more complicated for Essendon. However, the AFL had held meetings with Essendon and the AFLPA and came up with several resolutions:

Hawks Create History with Third Consecutive Premiership
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Janet Linn reporting for AFANA from Australia

Captain Hodge and defender Josh Gibson share the love with the fans after defeating West Coast eagles in the AFL Grand Final. Photo by Kim Densham for AFANA.While it was the hottest Grand Final in history with the mercury hitting 31.3 degrees Celsius (88.3 Fahrenheit), the much anticipated “close contest” between Hawthorn and the West Coast did not bring the heat many anticipated and - in the case of West Coast supporters - hoped for. In the end, this Grand Final was not a replay of “David and Goliath”. The Hawks entered the match favorites and they won nearly everything - the coin toss, all the important game statistics, the Premiership Cup, the Norm Smith Medal and the full-blown respect of the Australian football public. The Hawks' players were never challenged in a master class performance of Aussie Rules football. Alastair Clarkson and his coaching staff cemented a well-earned place in history as the Hawks won the “three-peat”, back to back Premierships in 2013 (defeating Fremantle), 2014 (dominating over Sydney) and now in 2015. No doubt West Coast fans are wondering what happened and how their break out season ended so lamely.

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