AFL Over The Top on Fines

Posted on: 7/18 at 2:43pm ET

AFL coaches want league to explain

Good D'Day Footy Fans -

Coaches Concerned Over Censure
The senior members of the AFL Coaches Association met last week to formulate a response to the AFL over its policy of fining them for criticizing the Tribunal.
Association president Peter Schwab, vice-president Neale Daniher, Kevin Sheedy and chief executive Peter Allen will then seek a meeting with AFL officials to present their statement.
Peter
Allen said the association was concerned about the AFL's current policy of fining coaches, which he said was currently "running rampant".
However, the AFL continues to support its stance and did so in a letter to all coaches. AFL Operations manager said it was important that the tribunal was afforded some protection.
The letter to the coaches said: "The tribunal must be and must be seen to be free from influence; the league needs to attract quality people to the tribunal and that aim may be compromised if the tribunal is publicly attacked by coaches; the tribunal is not in a position to publicly respond to criticisms from coaches and is not protected by laws such as contempt of court; and the AFL does not want tribunal members suing coaches or officials for defamation."
Anderson reiterated what he has been saying all season - that the proper forum for coaches airing their concerns was through his office.
But the coaches are still speaking out, especially Brisbane Coach Leigh Matthews.
Matthews said that Andrew Demetriou, when he was operations manager, had addressed an association meeting last year and promised the coaches the AFL would lighten up
on public comment. He has now accused the AFL of doing a back flip on that leniency.
Bomber Coach Kevin Sheedy backed Matthews, saying it was difficult for AFL coaches to strike a balance between promoting the game and going too far.
Sheedy said, "I think most of the coaches are out on a limb at the moment with some of the comments. You promote the game as much as you can and then get hauled over the coals when something (nice) isn't said about them."
And Sheedy could not resist a quick tongue-in-cheek swipe at Matthews over the Lions' extra room in the salary cap, saying how Leigh gets an extra $600,000 and then "..bags the boss".
Matthews, in his post-match press conference last weekend lashed out at the AFL for fining fellow coaches Mick Malthouse and Grant Thomas. He accused the AFL of being in danger of becoming a dictatorship, labeling its treatment of the pair as ridiculous.
He agreed with Sheedy's comment which pointed out the conflict of the AFL wanting people to publicize the game but then fining them when they say something the AFL does not like.
He believes fines should be a last resort with the first option being a rational discussion.
He sees no logic behind the reason why Tribunal decisions should not be debated.
Matthews perfectly understands the reasoning behind not having a go at the umpires because of the impact on recruiting at grass roots level, but cannot see why the tribunal escapes constructive and considered criticism.
And despite the public outcry over recent tribunal decisions and the announcement of an independent review to take place, Matthews stressed that he was a fan of the current system and that the issue was ‘should you be able to comment on the system?’
Andrew Demetriou hit back at Matthews' comments, saying his comparison of the AFL to a dictatorship was a "...stupid choice of words".

GENERAL NEWS
U18 Vics vs The Rest
Many of the young hopefuls who just took part in the U-18 championships will have one more chance to show their wares to recruiting scouts during Grand Final Week. Former Swan and current QLD junior development officer Mark Browning suggested an all-star game. The game will be between a Victorian all-star lineup and a side made up of players from all the other states.
While the match will take place two days before the GF, should it succeed this year, there is a push for the Victoria v All-Stars game to be played on GF Day as a curtain-raiser along with the TAC Cup, as early as 2005. Currently, the U18 grand final is the only curtain-raiser on the day.
The Big V will be worn by a team composed of both metropolitan and country players, drawing mostly on players whose teams are out of the TAC Cup finals - players from the grand final clubs obviously would not be available for selection.
AFL development manager Kevin Sheehan confirmed the match was devised primarily as a means to allow players from the developing states - plus the Northern Territory and Tasmania - a chance to showcase their skills alongside the best Victorian players and enhance their draft prospects.
The match would feature many of the players who are invited to the draft camp in October, prior to the trading period, and would thus assist clubs in formulating their trading strategies as well.
Sheehan said the match would also add a dimension to grand final week.
The match has been strongly backed by AFL clubs and their recruiting departments.
Sheehan pointed out that the match would assist AFL clubs in assessing players from the developing states alongside the elite Victorians. During the national under-18 championships, Tasmania, Queensland, NSW-ACT and the Northern Territory play in division two and do not play against the traditional powerhouse states - Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.
For instance, the highly rated young NT player, Richard Tambling - touted as an early draft choice - would be given an opportunity to play against many of the better Victorians.
The match is logistically viable because the grand finals in all the states involved are finished by preliminary final weekend.
Sheehan said it was also possible that the concept might eventually be extended to include SA and WA players, via an "east versus west" game.

NOTE: There are some names to remember come draft time and next season.
NT speedster Richard Tambling impressed everyone with one coach saying the kid was faster than Demon dynamo Aaron Davey
Vic Country player Brett Deledio is described as having pace, poise, a great kick, and creative player. An opposition coach said his size makes it difficult for other teams to match up on him.
His teammate John Meesen is an excellent ruckman. Several of the U18 coaches agreed that Meesen was probably the best ruckman in the U18 games.
Many believe that either Deledio or Tambling will be the #1 draft choice.

New Turf For Telstra
Telstra Dome chief Ian Collins has been negotiating with a new turf company that plans to supply half of the stadium's surface for the 2005 football season.
The Pakenham-based Evergreen Turf is believed to have been growing grass proposed for Telstra Dome since 2003, with Collins and his team determined not to rely on one turf supplier in future.
Evergreen is understood to have approached Collins about a year ago at the height of the stadium's surface controversy suggesting that the grass covering the arena was too young and should be given an extra 12 months in which to grow.
Evergreen is also believed to have pointed out to Telstra Dome chiefs that the only true solution to the stadium's grass-growing problem was to replace the turf more often.
Over the past three weeks, Collins has spent an estimated $1.12 million re-laying two-thirds of the playing arena with grass supplied by HG Turf, the stadium's turf supplier since the end of 2000.
HG Turf will cease to oversee the management of the ground and its surface when its contract expires at the end of this year.
Telstra Dome also will experiment next month with a synthetic surface outside the boundary line. A small portion of the outer circumference of the ground will be relaid in early August with a new synthetic substance supplied in conjunction by the United States-based Motz Group and HG Turf.
While there has been significantly less criticism of the Telstra Dome surface this year, the controversy has not altogether disappeared, with Collingwood Coach Mick Malthouse subtly making his negative views known after last week's match against Geelong.
Cat Cameron Ling was more blatant on Channel Ten in his criticism of the slippery ground and its unforgiving base.
Collins denied that HG Turf would be the second grass supplier to be dismissed from the Docklands stadium in its short history. It is understood that while stadium managers are reasonably happy with the HG product, they believe the company faces a conflict of interest by supplying and also managing the turf.
While HG Turf's contract to manage the grass ends in December, Telstra Dome orders turf from the company's farm 18 months in advance. The last official order was placed in November 2003.
But Collins said it would be fair to speculate that he would be relying on more than one turf company in future, with the management of the arena's surface to be taken in-house.
StrathAyr was the stadium's founding turf supplier in its first AFL season, 2000, but was axed by Collins almost four years ago. That company is unlikely to return as Collins searches for new grass suppliers.
The AFL hosted a turf seminar at Telstra Dome with the managers of all 12 AFL venues attending. Submissions were put forward from various experts, along with Rob Kerr, chief executive of the AFL Players Association.
At that meeting, Kerr released the results of a 2003 AFLPA survey rated the Dome surface the worst in the league.
In a player ranking taken over last season that rated nine key AFL venues, one-quarter of the footballers surveyed rated two of the three main areas of Telstra Dome as poor.
The survey figures were released to the AFL and the curators of every AFL playing and training venue.
Rob Kerr emphasized that the association has recognized that the surface has improved this year.
Kerr pointed out that the controversial criticism of the Telstra Dome surface last June had led to the formation of a special subcommittee and a review of the turf replacement schedule and a series of other initiatives, including the withdrawal of all special events between Christmas 2003 and the start of the 2004 season.
Optus Oval, incidentally, received a massive thumbs-up from the players - its highest good rating was 77 per cent while its lowest poor rating was 4.3 per cent. Skilled Stadium at Geelong received a similarly positive response although the most popular ground was Adelaide's AAMI Stadium.
Kerr said that most clubs participated in the survey that rated each ground's centre, centre half-forward and half-forward flank areas. The possible ratings were good, satisfactory or poor.
While the MCG's highest good rating was only 49 per cent, its worst performed area - the centre - received only a 7 per cent poor vote from the players compared with Telstra Dome's worst poor rating of 26 per cent.
AAMI Stadium and Perth's Subiaco finished narrowly ahead of the Gabba with the highest good ratings, although the players were critical of both the Gabba's and particularly the SCG's centre wicket areas.

The Next Generation
Several sons of former players have been given permission to train with the clubs their dads played for. They are:
Will Fitzpatrick (Carey Grammar), son of Mike Fitzpatrick, with Carlton.
Luke Blackwell (Swan Districts Colts), son of Wayne Blackwell, with Carlton
Mitchell Morton (Claremont), son of Noel Morton, with West Coast
NOTE: There is no record of Noel Morton at West Coast, so in this case, Noel probably played for a WAFL club. Because the Eagles (and Dockers) are relative newcomers to the AFL, sons of WAFL players are allowed to be drafted by West Coast or Fremantle. Ditto for SA with sons of SANFL players allowed at Port or the Crows under the father/son rule. Also, while fathers had to have played 100 games or more at older clubs, the requisite for SA, WA, and Brisbane is only 50 games. 100 games applies to Sydney as it was one of the original 1897 VFL clubs as South Melbourne - Lisa

TRIBUNAL
Hawk Luke Hodge and Eagle Drew Banfield were both reported by AFL Investigations Officer Rick Lewis for wrestling each other.

Geelong fullback Matthew Scarlett was cleared of kneeing Magpie Alan Didak.
Scarlett pleaded not guilty to the video report of making unnecessary and unreasonable contact with his knee to the back of Didak. After 20 minutes of deliberation the tribunal issued nothing more than a grave warning, having found the force of Scarlett's contact was not significant enough to warrant a guilty finding.
Collis lamented that Didak, who suffered from a broken jaw and concussion in a subsequent and unrelated incident, had suffered from amnesia and could not remember his clash with Scarlett.
A letter written by Magpies doctor Paul Blackman said Didak had suffered back pain as a result of contact, but added that he was able to play out the quarter.
Scarlett's defence was helped significantly by the evidence of umpire Matthew James, who was officiating at the time of the clash but did not see the incident.
The tribunal also accepted evidence presented by Geelong's club doctor Jeanne McGivern that the point of contact in the lower back was a place where even minor contact could cause considerable pain and not necessarily reflective of the force Scarlett used to contact the sensitive area.
Scarlett said he had been surprised by Didak's pained reaction to the incident, and said he had no other option than to contact his back after the pair were initially entangled in a contest for the ball.

Eagle Drew Banfield was cleared of a wrestling charge while Hawthorn's Luke Hodge accepted the automatic $1200 fine for his part in the incident.
Hodge was found to be the sole perpetrator of the indiscretion after he dragged and held Banfield to the ground.
Banfield pleaded not guilty and argued successfully that he had not engaged in wrestling.
Hodge admitted to holding on to Banfield's jumper to prevent him from running to the ball.

Brisbane was hoping a guilty plea would lessen the penalty against star forward Jonathan Brown, but his poor Tribunal record proved costly as he was suspended for 4 weeks for striking Bulldog Chris Grant.
It was Brown's third suspension for striking in 12 matches and he has now been sidelined for a total of nine matches due to suspension this year. Brown was found guilty of striking Rhyce Shaw after last year's grand final, and striking Darren Hulme in round eight this season. It was also his 4th suspension since his 2000 debut.
Grant suffered from dizziness, vomiting, headaches, disorientation and amnesia as a result of the blow by Brown's right hand to his head. The Bulldog had both arms outstretched above his head and took a mark before the powerful Lion made the ungainly attempt to hit his arms.
Grant did not attend the hearing because he had no recollection of the incident, but the tribunal was presented with a damning letter from club doctor Gary Zimmerman.
Zimmerman attended to Grant on the day, and said he was 'totally unaware of who the Western Bulldogs were playing and where we were playing' after being assisted from the field.
Brown provided a frank account of his actions and said after the hearing that he had expected to receive a three match ban.
He said he had been caught out of position after a Lions kick into the forward line went astray and he made the subsequent attempt to contest the ball.
Brown testified that he desperately wanted to spoil by hitting Grant's outstretched arms and admitted he got to the contest late and that his attempt was clumsy.
Chairman Brian Collis noted in handing down the suspension that the "only thing" that saved Brown from a more severe penalty was that his act was deemed to be on the lesser end of the scale.

MILESTONES
300 games: Alastair Lynch (BRIS) became the 43rd player in the history of the game, and the only active player, to reach 300 games. A full list of players to have reached this milestone is listed on page 496 of AFL 2004. He is the first Tasmanian to reach 300 games.
100 games: Cameron Bruce (MELB), Matthew Pavlich (FRE), Adam Ramanauskas (ESS),
Tyson Stenglein (ADE)
50 games coached: Paul Roos (SYD)
50 games: Jason Blake (StK), Michael Doughty (ADE), Andrew Krakouer (RICH)
150 club games: Shannon Grant (KANG)

TEAM NEWS
COLLINGWOOD
Alan Kennedy, president of the Australian Journalists Association, criticized president Eddie McGuire last week and accused him of having conflicting interests as a journalist/reporter and club president.
The latest in a string of criticisms comes after McGuire admitted he erred by not revealing the drunken hotel incident involving Magpie players on The Footy Show.
Kennedy dubbed McGuire a leader of performing clowns on The Footy Show, rather than the serious journalist he regularly claimed to be. McGuire is a member of the Australian Journalists Association section of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance.
But Kennedy said McGuire's membership would be more appropriately aligned to the actors and performers side of the union rather than with the serious journalists.
He also described the Footy Show as entertainment rather than serious journalism.

BRISBANE
Injury Update:
Brad Scott, strained quad muscle, 1 week
Jared Brennan, dislocated shoulder in the reserves 2 weeks ago, surgery, season
Daniel Merrett, glandular fever pre-Christmas, still on closely monitored program, indefinite
Clark Keating, rotator cuff (shoulder) injury, 2 weeks
Troy Selwood, has recovered from groin injury, played first reserves game this week
Aaron Shattock, stress fracture of the foot, 6 weeks
Beau McDonald, knee, season

ADELAIDE
Wayne Carey has taken up a coaching role with the Crows for the rest of the season.
Carey's role is part-time, only 8-10 hours per week plus sitting in the coaches' box on match days. But he is working with assistant coach Darren Jarman. The pair work together on the forward line set-ups, movement, and defensive action.
Interim senior coach Neil Craig said it didn't really hit home that he had two of the game's best forwards on his team until he saw them sitting side by side at a recent team meeting.

Injury Update:
James Begley, adductor, 1 week
Brad Dabrowski, groin, 1 week
Mark Stevens, groin, 1 week
Brett Burton, hamstring, 2 weeks
Ben Hart, hamstring, indefinite
Jacob Schuback, shoulder, season

WEST COAST
Travis Gaspar returned to Melbourne last week to consult specialists there and in Sydney regarding the foot injury which has restricted him to just 10 games this year. He returned to Perth with the information for the club's medical staff. Surgery may be required. While he was cleared of any structural damage after feeling pain in the foot, he continues to suffer discomfort and is on modified training.

Injury Update:
Michael Gardiner, knee, season
Michael Embley, broken pelvis, season
Adam Selwood, groin, indefinite
Mark Nicoski, shoulder, 3-4 weeks
Andrew Embley, knee, 1-2 weeks
Travis Gaspar, foot, 1-2 weeks

Daniel Chick (bruised foot) returned this week.

ST KILDA
The AFL handed out a suspended $5000 fine for his comments after the Tribunal hearing which saw Luke Penny, Fraser Gehrig, and Brent Guerra all suspended, although Penny was cleared on appeal.
The club was sanctioned several days after Thomas made his remarks while the league sent a "please explain letter" to Thomas. Thomas responded to the letter, but the league deemed his comments to be a breach of the rules.

Injury Update:
Penny, hamstring, 2-3 weeks
Justin Koschitzke, elbow, 6 weeks
Matt Maguire, OP, 4-6 weeks
Leigh Fisher, hamstring tendonopathy, indefinite
Max Hudghton, broken finger
Troy Schwarze, hamstring, 3 weeks

Hudghton broke his ring finger in the dying stages of last week's game when it got tangled in a guernsey. X-rays the following day revealed a break severe enough to require surgery.
The injury is another blow in an interrupted year for Hudghton, who missed most of the pre-season Wizard Cup and the first five games of the season with a serious shoulder injury. He has held his spot in the side since resuming in the thrilling Round 6 win over Brisbane

PORT ADELAIDE
Gsvin Wanganeen will miss this week and possibly the next two with a hamstring strain.

CARLTON
Carlton is the latest club to become embroiled in police investigation over an attack on a female by players.
The case of a 19 year old woman allegedly attacked in 1999 by several players after the Grand Final has been reopened after AFL boss Andrew Demetriou urged women who had been assaulted by players to come forward. The girl's father wrote to Demetriou.
The players involved at the time are no longer at the club. A statement released by the club last week emphasized that the charges had been investigated at the time but no charges were laid. The club is cooperating with police in the new investigation.

Young forward Cameron Croad has quit the Blues to "concentrate on other interests."
Croad has had two shoulder reconstructions in his two years with the Blues and was plagued by knee injuries this year.
Croad, who did not play a senior game for the Blues, was drafted with the 60th selection at the 2002 National Draft. He was recruited from the Oakleigh Chargers and is the younger brother of Hawk defender Trent Croad.

Injury Update:
Anthony Franchina, broken thumb, 2 weeks
Darren Hulme, groin, 4 weeks
Setanta O'hAilpin right foot stress reaction, 2-3 weeks
Kade Simpson, broken left hand, 6-8 weeks
Trent Sporn, broken right collarbone, season
Simon Wiggins, right AC joint, season
Glen Bowyer Rolled Ankle 1 week

Welcomed back Brendan Fevola (suspension) and Lance Whitnall this week. Whitnall was not expected to return for several weeks from a foot injury, but he has recovered more quickly than expected.

GEELONG
Has joined forces with a local home construction company, JG King Homes, for a fundraising project with a difference, with local community groups to come out as
the big winners.
The company approached the Geelong to be involved in a community project that would result in a financial return for the club, with the club directing a percentage of the profits towards its community relations program, including local junior football clubs, schools and
charities.
JG King will build a new home on a parcel of land selected by Geelong and the home will be auctioned off upon completion next year.

In a new policy aimed at avoiding distractions during the team's push for a finals berth, the club will hold off offering contracts to veteran players Ben Graham, Peter Riccardi, and Brenton Sanderson until the end of the season.
Full forward Kent Kingsley and Cameron Mooney are also among the players with whom the club will not open negotiations until the season is done.
CEO Brian Cook said the club had a policy of signing up its younger players first, then dealing with the more experienced players; of the younger brigade, all but promising forward Andrew Mackie have been secured and Mackie is close to a new deal.
Riccardi and Graham are both on the veterans' list this season, meaning only half of their wages count under the salary cap. Geelong pays less than 100 per cent of the salary cap because of its commitment to keeping a rein on spending.

The Cats are also close to signing a new lease which will commit them to Skilled Stadium for the next 40 years and to a minimum of seven home games a season.
Cook said the club was well advanced in negotiations with the Geelong Council and hoped to have the new lease up and running by May 2005.
The new lease will cost Geelong about $600,000 next season, with the rent rising according to the consumer price index. The council has pledged about $6 million to the re-development of the ground, which will have a capacity of slightly more than 27,000.

Coach Mark Thompson has warned star fullback Matthew Scarlett he is skating on thin ice after two lucky escapes at the AFL Tribunal this season.
Scarlett was also lucky to be cleared of a striking charge in a round-one incident.
He clashed with St Kilda star forward Nick Riewoldt, leaving him short of breath after a blow to the throat. In that case, Scarlett conceded he pushed Riewoldt, but thought he got the Saint in the upper chest. The case was thrown out because of inconclusive video evidence.
Thompson said he did not think there was much in the Didak case, but said it was safer for players to stay out of trouble completely, especially with all the controversy surrounding the Tribunal of late.

Injury update:
Brent Moloney, finger tendon surgery, season (?)
James Kelly, fractured tibia, season
Will Slade, OP, season

WESTERN BULLDOGS
Injury Update:
Daniel Giansiracusa, shoulder, season
Will Minson, punctured lung, 2-3

SYDNEY
Nick Malceski & Jason Saddington, left knee ACL reconstruction, season
Jarrad Sundqvist, right knee ACL reconstruction, season
Lewis Roberts-Thomson, left achilles partial tear, 2-5 weeks

ESSENDON
Adam McPhee signed a new 2 year contract last week.

Kepler Bradley, after an impressive 17-possession game last week, was selected for his 4th game this week. Bradley, originally from WA, had a chance to play in front of family and friends.

Injury Update:
Courtney Johns, hip, season
Damien Cupido, knee, 1 week
James Davies, foot, 2-4 weeks
Aaron Henneman, lacerated kidney, 4-6 weeks
James Hird, broken rib, 3-4 weeks
Scott Lucas, hamstring, 2 weeks

FREMANTLE
Matthew Carr has been diagnosed with a broken leg and is in danger of missing the rest of the season.
Carr, a late withdrawal from the side last weekend, had a plate inserted in his leg last week after scans found he had a broken fibula.
The 25-year-old midfielder/tagger, initially picked up from East Fremantle by Collingwood in the 1995 National AFL Draft, has played 103 games of AFL football - 28 with St Kilda between 1998 and 2000, and the balance with Fremantle after being traded home for Craig Callaghan.
Star CHB Luke McPharlin is likely to miss six weeks with a broken collarbone.

Dylan Smith has been elevated to the seniors from the rookie list after the club placed Ryley Dunn on the long term injury list due to a broken collarbone suffered in May in the WAFL.
Due to the specific nature of the injury, it has failed to heal within the initial assessed time period and he requires further sustained treatment.
Dylan Smith was the Kangaroos 1st round draft selection at the 2000 National Draft and played 11 games for the Kangaroos until he was delisted at the end of the 2003 season. He has been in outstanding form for Peel Thunder in the WAFL, but was playing for East Fremantle when he sustained the injury.

RICHMOND
Coach Danny Frawley became the first coach to receive counseling from the AFL Coaches Association as he prepares for life after football.
Frawley was invited, along with outgoing Adelaide coach Gary Ayres, to a breakfast meeting with association chief Peter Allen and a series of mentors, including sacked coaches Stan Alves (St Kilda) and Robert Shaw (Fitzroy & Adelaide)
Ayres was a late withdrawal because of private commitments and remained in Adelaide. But Frawley was understood to have been invigorated by the advice and support he received from the group.
The coaches' association has embarked on a new program of counseling sacked coaches - in both a financial and emotional sense.
Allen said the was the "first step as an association in offering some tangible support to coaches like Danny Frawley and Gary Ayres". Coaches have become increasingly concerned about security of tenure and the availability of help for colleagues who have contracts terminated.
Shaw, now an assistant at Essendon, welcomed the association's initiative to provide an official support network other than family and friends.

Could soon welcome back Mark Coughlan, who has been out of the side since Round 5 with what medical staff described as ‘pubic instability’ - a combination of lower stomach and groin problems.
Coughlan played for Coburg this weekend with the aim of returning to the seniors for Round 17 provided he pulled up well.

HAWTHORN
Coach Peter Schwab has conceded he could be dismissed at the end of the season. Although keen to stay next year, Schwab said he had to accept that the club's poor on-field showing this season could result in his contract - which has another year to run - being terminated.
Schwab was matter of fact about the club's situation, saying no one should escape scrutiny because of the team's poor performance and that he, as coach, is rightfully under the most pressure.
Schwab appeared set for the scrap-heap midway through last season, until a late revival almost put the Hawks into the finals, prompting the club to offer him a two year extension.
If given the green light to continue, Schwab said former Geelong and Adelaide coach Gary Ayres could return to Hawthorn as an assistant coach. Schwab said Gary could offer plenty as an assistant if a spot opened up.
Football operations manager John Hook said Schwab's comments indicated how the entire football department at Hawthorn was feeling. He said changes had to be made with a full evaluation of everyone.
Hook said Schwab was of impeccable character and would always put the club before his own personal gain.

More injury woes as scans revealed that Danny Jacobs broke his leg in last week's game and will probably miss the rest of the season.

Campbell Brown (suspension) and Chance Bateman (hamstring) returned to the side this week

GENERAL SILLINESS
1930's Carlton player John Wrout hated wet, heavy conditions and hated when the ball got too bogged down with mud and wet. So much so that he would sneak a pin onto the field and puncture the ball so the umpire would have to bring out the dry spare.

Outspoken Lion Jason Akermanis last week commented that he thought some of the Collingwood players looked a bit overweight after he saw newspaper photos of one of their beach recovery sessions.
Coach Leigh Matthews, at a later press conference, defended his star, saying Akers was paid big money to speak out in the media and joked that he probably was paid more for his media work than the reporters present at the PC.

The AFL Record this year has a new feature - a small sidebar on one page in which they select the best quotes of the week, gathered from various sources.
When St. Kilda faced Hawthorn in Round 13, brothers Luke (StK) and Matt (Haw) were on opposite sides. The Record selected a quote someone got from Luke's and Matt's mum in the lead up to the match. She had this to say: "I've said to the boys, "Look, I hope you're going to be really nice to each other and hug and say nice things to each other and be careful and make sure you don't hurt each other".
Yep, typical mum.

ESPN head honcho George Badenheimer was recently interviewed in a Colorado newspaper as part of the celebrations for the station's 25th anniversary. One question he was asked was if anyone had any idea in the beginning of the impact the struggling station would end up having on the world. His reply was that not until the mid-80's did they realize they might have a winner.
George started in the station's mailroom and was working there when ESPN televised the footy. He said no one knew the rules and the station put up a graphic on the air telling viewers to send a postcard if they wanted a copy of the rules. The station received 65,000 requests.

On to the scores



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