North Melbourne Kangaroos

Crows Crush Kangaroos
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Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting from Adelaide Oval for AFANA

A slick Adelaide Crows unit has sent North Melbourne packing for season 2016 with a dominant second half blitz at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night. Livewire Crows forward Eddie Betts stole the show kicking six goals to snuff out any chance of a North Melbourne challenge, a result in keeping with two teams at the opposite end of the form line.

No More Grand Final Replays
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

In the 120 years of Australian Rules Football, there have been only three tied Grand Finals and five tied Finals matches. In most cases, there was always a replay. Up until the introduction of interstate teams, a replay the following week was not an issue with all the teams based in the state of Victoria, Geelong is about a one hour drive to and from Melbourne. However, in 1990 when a Qualifying Final between Collingwood and West Coast ended with scores level, it meant the Eagles would have to return to Perth after the game and then travel back Melbourne the following week for the replay. Needless to say, Collingwood won the replay.

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.

Kangaroos Celebrate Harvey Milestone in Style
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Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

In a scrappy contest in front of just over 40,000 fans at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night, North Melbourne helped to celebrate Brent Harvey’s games record with a 23 point victory over St Kilda. Boomer Harvey is chaired off the field by Michale Firrito and Drew Petrie in Aussie rules match. Photo by Kim Densham for AFANA.Harvey’s 427th VFL/AFL game broke the record held by Hawthorn’s Michael Tuck, and with seemingly plenty left in the tank it would take a brave man to suggest he cannot reach the amazing milestone of 450 league games if he decides to play on next season.

Roos Bruised by High Rolling Eagles
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Chris Kowald reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium Perth, Australia

The West Coast Eagles showed steely resolve to stare down the North Melbourne Kangaroos to claim their first top eight scalp of the season. With only eight teams making the postseason, and the difficulty in making a postseason run going up with every spot down the standings, this match was crucial to both clubs. In AFL action, Lindsay Thomas flies high to give away a free kick. Photo by David Woodley for AFANA.The high stakes of this game included a bonus that the winner could go as high as fifth spot on the ladder and be virtually guaranteed a finals appearance in September. The losing team would be left vulnerable to the pack of the tightly bunched teams around them and teams outside the top eight.

Kangaroos Remain Undefeated
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Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

North Melbourne has survived a spirited comeback by St Kilda to take a seven point victory at Etihad Stadium and remain undefeated after seven rounds of the AFL season. Despite holding a four goal buffer well into the final quarter, the Kangaroos were almost run down by a determined Saints unit that tied the scores late in the match.  A Todd Goldstein free kick gave North Melbourne a slender lead that they were able to maintain under intense pressure. A goal on the siren by Mason Wood sealed the win for the Kangaroos who remain atop of the AFL table over the Geelong Cats and the Sydney Swans.

Eagles Run Down Plucky Roos
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 Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA from Australia

The West Coast Eagles overcame an early scare to finally dispose of a determined North Melbourne outfit at Domain Stadium in the second Preliminary Final. Despite going into the game as rank underdogs, it was the Kangaroos who made the early running by winning the contested ball and using the ball much better than their favored opponents. The Eagles could only manage two minor scores in the first quarter as their highly vaunted attack was starved of opportunities by a fired up North Melbourne.

Kangaroos Make Second Consecutive Preliminary Final
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Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Perth

North Melbourne earned a rare distinction in its dissection of the Sydney Swans at ANZ Stadium in the first Semi-Final. The Kangaroos are the only team in League history to make a Preliminary Final from eighth position after making Sydney look all at sea as they ran over them by more than four goals. Sydney never fired a shot in a scrappy and congested game that got away from them and saw some poor decision making by their coach.

Kangaroos Snatch Finals Dream from Tigers
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Janet Linn reporting for AFANA from the MCG, Melbourne

When the legion of Richmond fans who packed the MCG for the first Elimination Final on Sunday saw the North Melbourne fan club banner – one side of which read “Tigers Don’t Win Finals” - they let out a ringing chorus of “boos”. Lyndsey Thomas of North Melbourne kicks a goal after being subbed on. Photo by Kim Densham for AFANA.They then no doubt dismissed the thought that Richmond could possibly be defeated in its third Elimination Final in a row and sat back in their seats ready for glory, so much better prepared were the Tigers this year, having finished fifth on the Ladder, only one game short of the Top Four.

Concussion Claims Kangaroo Adams
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Just as Round 19 was underway, and amid the Adam Goodes controversy, Kangaroo player Leigh Adams quietly announced his retirement from football. Adams, nicknamed "Patch", has suffered a few head knocks and concussions over the course of his career and consulted North Melbourne medical staff as well as several specialists before making his decision. Adams, 27, took the medical advice and decided his health must take priority.Leigh Adams of the North Melbourne Kangaroos (AFL) in 2008.

Adams, who was known for his fierce attack on the ball and a willingness to throw himself into contests, suffered a concussion late in 2014 and missed that Finals series.

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