Another For History Books

Posted on: 9/26 at 5:40pm ET

Only 6 Months To 2005

G'Day Footy Fans -

A Grand Game
The final scores tell only part of the tale as it was anyone's game until the winners broke clear in the final term. The losing side could not put its usual game plan into motion with the opposition matiching up all over the ground. The pressure from both sides was intense, but the winners were able to force more turnovers and capitilized at almost every opportunity. The losing side had plenty of scoring chances but, unlike most of the season, missed too many crucial shots.
It's another year come and gone, but both sides will be in the thick of the action next year.


Brownlow Flies West
First we've got a Grand Final featuring two interstate sides and another interstate Brownlow winner with Eagle Chris Judd in a runaway win with 30 votes.
Judd is the first Eagle to win the prestigious award. The closest the Eagles got previously was Craig Turley finishing second to Jim Stynes in 1991 and Peter Matera also coming in second in 1994 behind Greg Williams.
Judd drew away late in the voting to rack up 30 votes and win by seven from Adelaide captain Mark Ricciuto (23), with Port Adelaide defender Chad Cornes on 22 for the third interstate trifecta in four years.
Judd said he was "honored and humbled" to win the award. He said he did not expect to poll as well as did, believing Port's Warren Tredrea to win it.
Judd and Ricciuto staged a dramatic battle, the Crow polling heavily from rounds nine through to 16, when he captured a share of the lead after being awarded the three votes, although Adelaide lost to Fremantle. Judd and Ricciuto were then tied on 21 votes.
The deadlock was not broken until round 19, when Judd was awarded one vote for his 19 disposals against Brisbane Lions at the Gabba, and from then on he was never headed.
In round 20, Ricciuto scored two votes against Richmond to wrest back the lead, but Judd quickly snatched it back with three votes against Carlton in the same round.
Judd polled nine votes in the last four matches of the year to blow away the rest of the competition, after polling in the opening four games.
At just 21 - he celebrated his birthday less than a 2 weeks ago - Judd, who was recruited from the Sandringham Dragons, is the youngest winner of the medal since 20-year-old Gavin Wanganeen won while playing for Essendon in 1993.
Judd polled in 13 games and was awarded seven best-on-ground performances.
Ricciuto, who had shared the medal with Nathan Buckley and Adam Goodes last year, polled in 10 games despite the fact that the Crows won just eight games for the season.
The surprise packet of the night was Sydney's Brett Kirk. The tagger, who made it into the All-Australian team for the first time this season, finished equal fourth with 20 votes.
Western Bulldog Scott West was the highest placed Victorian, sharing fourth with Kirk.
Tredrea's hopes of becoming the first Port Adelaide player to win the medal were dashed early. He polled in the opening three games but not again for the next two months and watched on as Cornes grabbed three best on grounds in the same time. Tredrea finished with 15 votes.
Despite late votes, St Kilda's Nick Riewoldt - who had been heavily backed - was another to watch teammates take votes. Riewoldt finished with 17 votes, but lost votes to Nick Dal Santo (12), Aussie Jones (11) and Lenny Hayes (10).
For the first month of the season, Judd and Tredrea were neck and neck, the Power forward grabbing votes against Essendon, West Coast and Hawthorn in the opening weeks but then surprisingly failing to gain votes in the next seven games.
Most notably he did not poll a vote in the round-seven loss to Adelaide, even though he kicked seven goals.
Cornes opened the season with a single vote against Essendon but was then awarded four best-on-ground performances, against Hawthorn in round three, the Western Bulldogs in round five, Collingwood in round six and Richmond in round nine.
Brisbane's Simon Black (18), Nigel Lappin and Luke Power (both 17) also polled well. In all, seven of the first nine players were from non-Victorian clubs.
Judd has played only three seasons of AFL football, and had not polled a vote until last year.
Judd was accompanied to the count by parents Andrew and Lisa and partner Rebecca Twigley.

30: Chris Judd (WC)
23: Mark Ricciuto (Adel)
20: Chad Cornes (Port), Brett Kirk (Syd), Scott West (WB)
18: Simon Black (Bris)
17: Nick Riewoldt (StK)
15: Luke Power (Bris), Jeff White (Melb)
14: Nigel Lappin (Bris), Adem Yze (Melb)
13: Paul Hasleby (Fre), James Bartel* (Geel)
12: Ben Johnson (Coll), Adam McPhee (Ess), Byron Schammer (Frem), Cameron Ling (Geel), Warren Tredrea (Port), Nick Dal-Santo (St K)
11: Jason Akermanis (Bris), Austinn Jones (St K), Barry Hall (Syd)
10: Michael Voss (Bris), Matthew Lloyd (Ess), Adam Simpson (Kang), David Neitz (Melb), Matthew Richardson (Rich), Lenny Hayes* (St K), Jude Bolton (Syd), Chad Fletcher (WC), Daniel Kerr (WC)

AFLPA Awards
Nick Riewoldt has been voted by his peers as the league’s “Most Valuable Player”.
Riewoldt won the Leigh Matthews trophy at the AFL Players’ Association MVP Awards last week.
The MVP award recognizes versatility, the ability to play under pressure, skill and
courage, leadership, respect for all players and value to a team.
Riewoldt received 118 votes, ahead of Chris Judd on 115, followed by Warren Tredrea
and Nigel Lappin. A total of 583 players voted for this year’s Awards.
Riewoldt’s 2004 season included taking a league high 226 marks and kicking 60 goals.
Michael Voss, winner of last years MVP, was adjudged Best Captain for the 4th
consecutive year, ahead of James Hird and Mark Ricciuto.
Two other awards, also determined by the players, were announced.
Carlton’s David Teague won the Robert Rose Most Courageous player award, while
Melbourne’s Aaron Davey won Best First Year Player.
In his first year with the Blues, Teague was viewed as the competition’s Most
Courageous player, followed by the Kangaroos Leigh Colbert.
The Demon’s Aaron Davey enjoyed an excellent debut, coming off the rookie list to head
an impressive field of first-year players. Sydney’s Paul Bevan finished second.
In other presentations, Daniel Wells won the Marn Grook Award, for the best emerging
indigenous player, following on from winning the best first year player award in 2003.
Michael Wilson was awarded the Education and Training Excellence honor, sponsored
by Computer Power.
Wilson has previously completed a Bachelor of Science Degree, and is currently a
second year Bachelor of Physiotherapy student at the University of South Australia. On
the Dean’s Merit List for honors in 2002 and 2003, Michael received the Golden Key
International Honor Society award for scholastic achievement and excellence in 2003.
Michael Davis of The Australian won the Grant Hattam Trophy for the best piece of
football journalism from a player’s perspective.
His profile of James Hird, entitled, “His Fragile Brilliance”, impressed the judges with its
quality of writing. Looking at Hird’s infamous run with injury and his ability to bounce
back, Davis artfully wrote of the qualities that make James Hird a stand out figure, such
as leadership, strong work ethic and his relationship with family and team.

The top 5 vote getters:
Leigh Matthews Trophy (MVP): Nick Riewoldt 118; Chris Judd 115; Warren Tredrea 67;
Nigel Lappin 51; James Hird 29

Most Courageous Player: David Teague 146; Leigh Colbert 103; Michael Voss 76; James Hird 67; Brett Voss/Leo Barry 39

Best Captain Award: Michael Voss 237; James Hird 126; Mark Ricciuto 66; Lenny Hayes 23; Stuart Maxfield 20

Best First Year Player: Aaron Davey 303; Paul Bevan 66; Brett Ebert 47; Adam Cooney 34;
Matthew Ball 26

Demon Mom Football Woman of the Year
Edna Daniher, mother of 11 including four famous footballing sons, has been named the AFL Football Woman of the Year.
The award was announced at the annual Essendon Women’s Network Great Grand Final Comedy Debate last week.
Edna was honored for her commitment to the game of Australian Rules Football and the support she provided her sons Neale, Terry, Anthony and Chris.
Edna lives in NSW and has devoted more than 50 years to local club Ungarie in the Northern Riverina League as well as grassroots football in general.

Past winners of the award:
1998: Irene Chatfield - Western Bulldogs
1999: Caroline Wilson - Age
2000: Jill Lindsay - AFL
2001:Katrina Pressley - AFL umpires
2002:Beverely O’Connor - Melbourne and Beverly Knight - Essendon
2003: Jenny Williams - Port Adelaide

Medal Presenters Announced
Former AFL commission chairman John Kennedy and Carlton champion Wayne Harmes will be among the presenters at this year's GF.
Hawthorn legend Kennedy will present the Jock McHale medal to the winning coach while Harmes will present the Norm Smith medal to the best player on the ground.
It is 25 years since Harmes won the very first Norm Smith medal.
Port and Fitzroy champions will present the premiership cup and medals.
Should Port win through, the club's inaugural coach John Cahill will hand the cup to Mark Williams and give the players their medals.
If the Brisbane Lions make it a fourth straight premiership, Fitzroy legend Bernie Quinlan will have the privilege.

AFL Windfall For Poor Clubs
The AFL's debt-ridden Victorian clubs are set to receive a multimillion-dollar long-term lifeline beyond 2006 in a historic attempt by the competition to rebuild its poorest teams.
The AFL Commission will hold a two-day conference in November at which it will move to restructure the competitive balance fund, which could enable annual assistance to clubs to double from $5 million to $10 million. And in further good news, the AFL is expected to exceed its projected 2004 profit of $1 million, which should ensure each club receives a $100,000 bonus on top of its annual AFL dividend.
A newly-named business development fund will draw on revenue from the next round of broadcast rights money, which the AFL believes will at least equal current deal which ends at the end of next year.
The commission met last week to approve a total of $4 million from the competitive balance fund to be forwarded at the start of November to the Bulldogs ($1.5 million), Melbourne ($1.5 million) and the Kangaroos ($1 million).
The remaining $1 million will be pushed into the 2005-2006 fund, lifting it to an available $6 million. The Demons also received a further $1.5 million retrospectively.
While chairman Ron Evans and his team would not officially approve requests from Melbourne and the Kangaroos for guaranteed long-term assistance, it is believed that the two-day meeting in November will not only further guarantee the survival of a 16-club competition, but move to strengthen the poorer clubs over the long term by allocating the extra millions for debt repayment and business development.
With the Bulldogs, Melbourne, and the Kangaroos all expected to reach big decisions over the coming months regarding new training facilities, the commission believes that all three clubs will require continuing big AFL assistance and must be helped to repay their massive debts more quickly than the current financial assistance allows.
All 16 clubs were advised of the financial assistance package at meeting between the league and club officials.
The November meeting also will consider fast-tracking the removal of salary-cap concessions to Sydney and the Lions, or at least announce the removal of Brisbane's retention money beyond 2006 and reduction of Sydney's concession.

Historic Scrapbook Donated
A scrapbook compiled by Henry Harrison, one of the founders of Australian Rules football, will be donated to the Melbourne Cricket Club.
The scrapbook includes reports of a meeting in 1866 to formulate the first Australian football rules which were written down by Henry's cousin and footy's co-founder Tom Wills.
Harrison captained Richmond, Melbourne, and Geelong a 13-season career which ended in 1872.
The scrapbook is being donated by Harrison's great nephew Lawton Wills Cooke, also a descendant of Wills.

U-16 Scholarship
The 2004 Allan Schwab AFL Life Members Award recipient is Mitchell Thorp, who represented Tasmania in the AFL Under 16 Championships this year.
The award, presented to an outstanding AFL prospect to assist his education over the next 12 months, was presented to Mitchell at the AFL Life Members Annual Dinner earlier this month.
The award, valued at $3000, is designed to assist a prospective AFL player with his
education expenses.
Mitchell was outstanding in the National Championship held in Adelaide, playing as a key forward/ruckman. At 16 years-of-age, standing 192cm and weighing 84kg, Mitchell performed exceptionally against the Northern Territory kicking six goals (22 kicks, six marks, five handballs) in a best on ground performance that capped off a great
week. Mitchell was also runner-up in the McLean Medal for Best and Fairest in the Championships Division 2.
The award winner is selected by Kevin Sheehan, the AFL Talent Manager and AFL Life Member David Cloke. They consider performance at the national games, overall potential, and a player's individual circumstances.
In recent years winners of the Award include Kangaroos Shannon Grant, Brady Rawlings and Daniel Wells, Collingwood's Josh Fraser, Richard Cole and Chris Tarrant as well as Hawthorn's Luke Hodge, and Eagle David Wirrpunda.

Footy Figures Up Again
The AFL last week released figures to show that the game is again on the rise.
Close to 500,000 club memberships were purchased, an increase of 7.6 per cent on 2003.
Match attendances were boosted by 0.6 per cent in 2004, with the 2004 season being the third-most watched in AFL history. St Kilda (27 per cent), Fremantle (23 per cent) and Carlton (21 per cent) experienced the largest increase in crowd support for the season.
Television ratings were also up 2.8% from last year - not including the last 3 rounds due to the Olympics.
Round 6, which featured the Saints vs Brisbane, the first Western Derby, and Port vs Collingwood had the highest TV ratings for the year with 4 of the 5 free-to-air broadcasts consistently enjoying higher ratings than 2003.
Auskick participation is has also steadily increased over the years.

The AFL also released umpiring statistics, which indicated that their performance overall was the same as last year.
According to AFL figures, there was a decisional accuracy of 85 per cent, an average error rate per match per umpire of 1.7, eight goal umpiring errors for the entire season and bouncing accuracy of 87 per cent.

AFL Defends Cap
Andrew Demetriou has again justified the salary cap allowance for Brisbane, saying it was not the reason for the Lions' success.
With Brisbane Lions on the verge of a historic fourth premiership, AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou has defended the club's salary-cap concessions, saying they were not the reason for the Lions' extraordinary success.
He praised the Lions for their recruiting, coaching, and list management, medical staff and rehabilitation programs.
He said it was a disservice to Brisbane to say that more money guaranteed success.
He said if money was the key to success, other clubs that had operated above the salary cap would have won premierships, using Sydney as an example.
He also pointed out the fact that despite Carlton's salary cap breaches two years ago, they still finished last.
The review of the concessions, along with Operation Manager Adrian Anderson's review of the Tribunal, will go to the AFL Commission for endorsement in November.
Brisbane and Sydney will have $480,000 and $360,000 concessions, with the results of the review to affect the clubs beyond 2006.

200 games: Chris Scott (BRIS)
Most Finals, Player: Martin Pike (BRIS) played his 27th final, taking him into the top 10 in the history of the game. The leaders are Michael Tuck (39 finals with Hawthorn), Gordon Coventry (31 with Collingwood), Leigh Matthews (29 with Hawthorn), Bruce Doull (29 with Carlton), Wayne Schimmelbusch (29 with North Melbourne), Bill Hutchison (28 with Essendon), Chris Mew (28 with Hawthorn), Gary Ayres (28 with Hawthorn), Harry Collier (27 with Collingwood), Dick Reynolds (27 with Essendon) and Kevin Bartlett (27 with Richmond).

Premierships with Different Clubs -- Gavin Wanganeen, Byron Pickett, Damien Hardwick. Should Port Adelaide win this week, Wanganeen, Pickett and Hardwick would become the 22nd, 23rd and 24th player respectively in history to play in a premiership with two different clubs.


Adrian Fletcher has been appointed an assistant coach.
Fletcher was with Geelong in 2004 as an assistant to Mark Thompson but was a development coach with the Magpies the two years before that while playing VFL football for Williamstown.
He was an integral part of the 2003 Williamstown premiership team.
Fletcher played for 231 games for Geelong, St Kilda, Brisbane and Fremantle between 1989 and 2001. He won Fremantle’s best and fairest in 1999 and captained the club in 2000 and 2001.
He replaces Michael Broadbridge, who heads back to Western Australia to work with Fremantle and joins Bradley Gotch, Gavin Brown, and Guy McKenna on the coaching panel.

South Adelaide has gained the services of former Magpie/Eagle half-forward Brent Tuckey. Tuckey has signed up for a two-year stint at Noarlunga.
The 194cm, 94kg Tuckey starred with North Ballarat last year after two years at West Perth, including the 2002 premiership.
He was selected in the WAFL Team of the Year in 2002-03 and played at half-forward when the SANFL trounced the WAFL by 60 points in Fremantle last year.
Drafted to Collingwood from Ballarat under-18s as an 18-year-old in 1998, Tuckey, 25, played 19 AFL matches with the Magpies before joining West Coast (three games) in 2002.
Tuckey played in the VFL team that beat the WAFL in Perth and was named in the VFL Team of the Year.

Justin Leppitsch has a simple answer to the club's controversial salary cap retention allowance - pay an annual bonus to every player who has had to move interstate after being drafted.
Leppitsch suggested that a living-away-from-home allowance of perhaps $40,000 be paid from a central AFL pool to each relocated player to help combat the "go home" factor.
It should be applicable to every club equally, he suggested, so as to remove the belief that the Lions have an unfair advantage because of what this year is a 9 per cent salary cap allowance.
Leppitsch was not sure if the suggestion would appease Collingwood president Eddie McGuire, joking that he didn't know if anything would keep Eddie quiet.
Leppitsch also pointed out other pay structure inequalities - such as the veterans' allowance - with not all clubs being able to take advantage of it in any given year as well as Sydney's extra allowance under the salary cap.
Leppitsch, who has been with Brisbane for 12 years, said that allowance did not exist when he first arrived at the club, that he was paid very little, and that opportunities to return to Melbourne had existed.

The Brisbane Lions last week took a swipe at some sections of the Melbourne media over the apparent lack of respect for their Fitzroy heritage ahead of what has been labeled by most as the first all non-Victorian grand final.
Leading the charge were former Victorians Chris Scott and Chris Johnson, who played for Fitzroy and is the last remaining player on Brisbane's list who was selected as part of the merger deal.
Scott spent his first 17 years in Melbourne before being drafted by the then Brisbane Bears in 1993.
Both feel that fans faithful to the old Fitzroy are being slighted by the media, who are forgetting that the Lions are striving to retain Fitzroy's heritage and history within its own culture.
The headline saying it would be a 'nightmare' grand final with no Victorian involvement really struck a nerve with Chris Johnson.
Johnson said he often ran into Fitzroy supporters when he visits the area and that a lot of them travel to Brisbane to watch the Lions play.
Lions captain Michael Voss reinforced the view after seeing the long queues in Melbourne for grand final tickets. He said with so many Fitzroy supporters now embracing the Lions and new young fans jumping on the bandwagon, playing at the MCG felt very much like home for the Lions.
Current Lion and 2000 Essendon premiership player Blake Caracella was surprised by the extent of the Lions support in the 2001 grand final while still with the Bombers, when the Lions won their first flag. He said the roar from Brisbane fans was just as loud as that from Bomber supporters.
One of the main nagging points for the Lions is that they are often referred to out of Melbourne as 'Brisbane' when their preference is for the 'Brisbane Lions' or simply the 'Lions'.

Alastair Lynch now sits equal fifth on the list of all-time finals goalkickers with a career finals total of 65 alongside Carlton champion Stephen Kernahan. Coach Leigh Matthews is next in the pecking order, seven goals ahead of Lynch.

Luke Power needs just one goal to bring up his 150th career goal.

Troy Simmonds is currently fielding offers from several Victorian clubs, including the Kangaroos and Richmond.
He started at Melbourne and was traded to Fremantle at the end of 2000.

Defender Mark McVeigh has signed a new 2 year deal, despite speculation that he might want to join his brother Jarrad at Sydney.


Months of behind-the-scenes negotiations last week culminated in the announcement that the Bulldogs will receive $20 million to redevelop the Whitten Oval. The Coalition is putting in $8 million, the Victorian Government $3 million, and the AFL $3.5 million.
The rest of the money will come from the five local governments linked to the western region (a total $2 million) with the remainder to be raised by the club. It is believed the AFL could place a levy on Bulldog home games at Telstra Dome to help raise the funds.
With some of the worst facilities in the AFL, the Bulldogs' new enhanced partnership with its community will allow it to compete with the multimillion-dollar developments boasted by AFL Victorian powerhouses Essendon and Collingwood.
The redevelopment is due to begin next year with completion expected in 2007.
The revamped facilities will become the heart of the western suburban football community, incorporating health, leisure and social services.
The Bulldogs are understood to have joined forces with the Howard Government and received the funding on the grounds that the new facilities would tackle such issues as obesity, a shortage of child care and specialist medical facilities in the region, along with a series of youth and other social and sporting services.
The redevelopment has been the brainchild of CEO Campbell Rose.
Since 2002 the Bulldogs have been relying on seven-figure annual handouts from the AFL.
Already the club has received $2.5 million and in November the league will forward a further $1.5 million to the Bulldogs which, before taking the AFL money into account, will lose more than $2.2 million this year.

Having missed out on the senior coaching job at Hawthorn, Donald McDonald is returning to Arden Street, where he will be an assistant to Dean Laidley.
McDonald held the senior post at Hawthorn for five weeks after Peter Schwab was replaced, but was overlooked for the permanent position.
McDonald played 155 games as a ruckman/forward for North Melbourne 1982-92.
His decision ends a five-year association with the Hawks, during which time he coached the club's VFL affiliate Box Hill Hawks to its first flag. McDonald also took Werribee to its first and only flag in 1993 and was responsible for Hawthorn's forwards and opposition research for the past two seasons.
The Kangaroos described McDonald's position as a 'senior role on the coaching committee', which became vacant following the departure of Brian Royal.

Former premiership player Darren Crocker has come home, accepting a position as an assistant to coach Dean Laidley.
Crocker, who played 165 games in 12 seasons at North Melbourne, was an assistant coach at Richmond from 2000 to 2004, after a year at Port Melbourne. He replaces Anthony Allen, an assistant with the club the last two years.

The Kangaroos are hoping to reach a ground-sharing agreement with Carlton at Optus Oval over the coming months.

The Demons hope to be on the move soon as they want to leave the cramped confined of the Junction Oval. They are hoping to relocate near the MCG and share the Olympic Park precinct with Collingwood.

Hawthorn veterans Mark Graham, Luke McCabe, Kris Barlow, and Rayden Tallis officially announced their retirements last week, while Adrian Cox and Lance Picioane were delisted.
Graham, 30, a Life Member of the Hawks, played 223 matches after arriving at Glenferrie Oval as a 16-year-old from Berwick.
McCabe, 28, played 138 senior matches since debuting in 1995, and is interested in pursuing a player development coach role at AFL level.
Barlow, 31, recruited from Vermont in the 1998 draft, played a career 102 games and booted 74 goals since 1999.
Tallis, a hardworking midfielder, announced his retirement last month and played his farewell match against Richmond in Round 21. A veteran of 163 AFL games, Tallis, 29, was drafted by Hawthorn from Eastern Ranges in the 1993 National Draft.
Cox, 24, was recruited from Heyfield via Gippsland U18s, going on to play eight senior games in 2004 to take his total AFL games to 54.
Picioane, 24, played 10 games for the Hawks in 2004 for a total of 62 AFL games. He was originally drafted by Adelaide in 1997 but traded to Hawthorn at the end of 1999.

Brad Ottens, who was asked by the club to take a significant pay cut, has told the club he wants to be traded. Football manager Greg Miller, who had previously been confident of retaining Ottens, said the Tigers were "genuinely disappointed" with Ottens' decision to leave, and vowed that any team that wanted him would have to pay heavily.
The Sydney Swans, with up to a $1 million buffer under their salary-cap restriction, spoke to Ottens and Geelong is also interested. The Cats seem to be the frontrunner with Ottens already saying that is his preferred destination so he can remain in Victoria near his family.
New Coach Terry Wallace spoke to Ottens soon after his appointment and told the ruckman he was an important part of his plans for Richmond.
He is seeking at least three years on his new contract and is certain to command at least $400,000 from Geelong, which would not pay him as much as the Swans.
In the statement, Ottens cited his wish for a "new environment" as paramount. Miller said Richmond, which has selections one, four and 20 in the national draft, would be looking for more early draft choices as well as a ready-made big man to trade in order to fill the void left by Ottens.
Miller said the Tigers also reserved the right to re-sign Ottens or take him in the preseason draft should a "suitable offer" not be forthcoming.
Ottens also alluded to the substantial pay cut the Tigers had requested he take from his 2004 contract. In the statement, his management company said Ottens had been willing to accept a reduction, but the proposed cut was "above what he thought reasonable and indicated the club had lost faith in him".
Ottens has been severely restricted by injury over the past two seasons.
Richmond has launched a bid for Fremantle's uncontracted ruckman-forward Troy Simmonds.

The Stay At Optus Group went to court this week in an effort to force the EGM which the club has refused.
Lawyers for Carlton argued that the petition was not valid because of flawed procedures in collecting the signatures and "clumsy" writing of the petition. They also questioned the validity of the petition because many signatures were on pages not headed with the petition resolutions.
Lawyers for the group said the group had fulfilled statutory requirements to force a meeting by presenting a petition of 110 signatures from voting club members and the club was wrong in recognizing only 72 of the signatures as valid.
But Carlton attorney, Leslie Glick, said that under the circumstances, there was no obligation to agree to a meeting and that the plaintiffs had not "crossed their Ts or dotted their Is" in taking their court action.
Glick also argued that the petition resolutions to keep Carlton's home games at Optus Oval were "incompetent and inadmissible" because the AFL had ultimate control over the scheduling of games. The club had entered agreements with the AFL and Telstra Dome - which were presented to the court on the condition of confidentiality.
Justice Mandie then asked if the group's legal action was an "exercise in futility" because the club had signed agreements and nearly 81 per cent of the 8902 members who recently replied to the poll of 19,000 had voted for the board's recommendations.
But Gratton's lawyer insisted that the Carlton board should not be able to sign off on contracts in an uncertain environment.
He said the collection points the group set up at the Round 19 match against Essendon at the MCG, where many of the signatures were collected, made it "obvious" to people what they were signing.
No decision was rendered and the hearing will continue at a future date to be set by the court.

Carlton has announced that they will use the father/son rule to select 17-year-old Swan Districts midfielder, Luke Blackwell.
Luke is the son of former Carlton player Wayne Blackwell, who played 110 games for Carlton between 1984 and 1990.
Luke represented WA in the National Under 18 Championships in Melbourne in July but missed the final of the Championships to attend the funeral of a friend who collapsed and died in a high school match in early July. Following the Championships he played with the Swan Districts Reserves before playing the last three games of the season in the WAFL. He then played both senior finals matches for Swan Districts including a best on ground performance in the losing preliminary final.
Luke will be Carlton's third round selection in the 2004 National Draft in November, selection 41 overall. He is 178cm, 75kg and will turn 18 in November.
The early announcement by Carlton allows Luke time to prepare for relocation to Melbourne in time to join the club for training in early November.
Mike Fitzpatrick's son Will is also eligible for the draft and had some training sessions with the club. He has been invited to be a part of the Carlton program through a development season with Carlton's VFL affiliate, the Northern Bullants, in 2005.

Nostalgia from the greatest moment in St Kilda's history will fall under the hammer next week, as the 1966 grand final guernsey worn by triple-Brownlow medallist Ian Stewart is auctioned in Sydney.
The guernsey, bearing the No. 5, is expected to fetch $4000-6000.
After the historic grand final, in which the Saints beat Collingwood by one point for the only premiership in the club's history, the two teams traded guernseys. Stewart's jumper was eventually returned to the club and passed on to legendary cricket official Hans Ebeling, a St Kilda supporter. For years, it has been held by 80-year-old Patricia Ebeling, of Caulfield North, whose husband was Ebeling's nephew.
The auction is also expected to include Don Bradman's Baggy Green cap worn in the 1946-47 Ashes series and Mark Waugh's personal collection.

Defender Leo Barry had ankle surgery last week to tighten up an over-stretched ligament. Barry carried the injury through the second half of the season.
Barry will be on crutches for eight weeks and won't start running until January.
Ben Mathews re-injured the same ankle on which he had surgery last year. He suffered a broken bone in the ankle in the St. Kilda game two weeks ago and will be in a cast for 6 weeks and then on crutches for another 6 weeks to avoid surgery.
Jude Bolton suffered a small tendon tear in his finger and is wearing a finger splint to avoid the need for surgery.
Adam Goodes required a knee arthroscope last week to clean up some joint surface damage.
Defender Jason Saddington - who has been sidelined since round 10 following a left knee reconstruction - is due to start running next week and will be participating in full preseason conditioning training but only start football training a week before Christmas.
Nick Malceski and Jarrad Sundqvist - also coming back from knee reconstructions - have started their running and conditioning programs and should be ready to commence full preseason training in November.

Lion fullback Mal Michael has a saying that Justin Leppitsch thinks is quite clever, and it couldn't be more appropriate than this week. "Midfielders win awards; defenders win premierships," it goes, and the Lion duo had a laugh about it again when Chris Judd, West Coast's blue-chip midfielder, won the Brownlow Medal.
Leppitsch eked out a grand total of two votes on Monday night for a career total of 20, and has long since reconciled himself to the fact that he won't win many media awards so long as he plies his trade in defence.

Ahead of the Grand Final this week, he said he did not dwell on whether or not he would line up on Port's Warren Tredrea. He also said he didn't watch any videotape of Tredrea, saying he'd seen enough of the Port star.

What's the key to beating Tredrea? "Praying hard!" was Leppa's response.

Another one from the Footy Show earlier this year. Eddie McGuire certainly knows a good marketing opportunity when it comes along, and so it was when M&M launched their "black & white" promotion. Out came a huge clear, plastic canister filled with the black and white candy, as well as a guy in a big foam M&M costume and wearing black and white striped footy shorts. But it was not just a random number in the canister. It was filled with exact number of candies as there were Collingwood members, must a tick over 40,000. Until Trevor got an evil glint in eye and a devilish grin on his face. After tossing a few pieces of his own around the set, he exchanged a few words with Ed, confirming the number in the canister, opened it up, and with Eddie pleading with him not to, dumped a bowl of more M&Ms on top, ruining the count.
Then Sam and panelist Nathan Buckley picked up the canister and tried to pour the lot into Mr. M&M's "mouth", with most of the candies ending up all over the floor of the set. While the poor guy is getting mugged by Sam, Eddie grabs the empty canister and starts picking up the candy, one by one, and counting "1-2-3.." as he puts them back in the container.
Cut back to Mr. M&M, who has now been tackled to the floor by panelist Jason Akermanis. Akers, just for good measure, gets in a few punches on the foam costume before Eddie comes over and pushes him off.
To top it all off, a representative from the candy company was in the audience.

Gary Ablett, Jr, who prefers to stay out of the spotlight, made an appearance on a midseason Footy Show with teammate Kane Tenace. Sam Newman asked Gary what had prompted him to drop in on the show on this particular occasion. Gary replied that Eddie McGuire had promised him two backstage passes to the Justin Timberlake concert the following Saturday.

On to the big game

B: Michael Wilson, Darryl Wakelin, Matthew Bishop
HB:Adam Kingsley, Chad Cornes, Brett Montgomery
C: Kane Cornes, Roger James, Domenic Cassisi
HF: Byron Pickett, Warren Tredrea, Stuart Dew
F: Gavin Wanganeen, Shaun Burgoyne, Jarrad Schofield
Foll: Dean Brogan, Josh Carr, Peter Burgoyne
I/C: Damien Hardwick, Brendon Lade, Josh Mahoney, Toby Thurstans
Em: Stuart Cochrane, Brett Ebert, Damon White
No Change

B: Chris Johnson, Mal Michael, Martin Pike
HB: Robbie Copeland, Justin Leppitsch, Chris Scott
C: Brad Scott, Michael Voss, Jason Akermanis
HF: Luke Power, Jonathan Brown, Tim Notting
F: Craig McRae, Alastair Lynch, Daniel Bradshaw
FOLL: Clark Keating, Simon Black, Nigel Lappin
I/C: Darryl White, Richard Hadley, Dylan McLaren, Blake Caracella
EMG: Ash McGrath, Joel Macdonald, Anthony Corrie
IN: Darryl White
OUT: Shaun Hart (facial fractures)

PA 4.5 6.6 12.8 17.11 (113)
BRIS 2.2 6.7 9.9 10.13 (73)
GOALS: PA - Wanganeen 4, Pickett 3, Thurstans 3, Lade, S. Burgoyne, Carr, Tredrea, Mahoney, Dew, Kingsley; BRIS - Notting 3, Akermanis 3, Bradshaw 3, Keating
BEST: PA - Pickett, K. Cornes, P. Burgoyne, Carr, James, Thurstans, Wanganeen;
BRIS - Michael, Notting, Akermanis, Power, Bradshaw


INJURY: BRIS - Lynch (quadricep)

REPORTS: BRIS - Black reported for striking Hardwick; Lynch and G Wanganeen (PA) for wrestling

UMPIRES: Allen, James, McInerney

PREMIERSHIP CUP PRESENTER: John Cahill, inaugural Port Coach

ATTENDANCE: 77,671 at the MCG

Port made its intentions clear from the beginning, with a few "how do you do's" footy-style. It started before the first bounce, with a number of players dishing out some very aggressive shoves, bumps, and hits.
And it continued when the ball was bounced with both sides going in hard at the ball and each other. After several minutes of uncompromising play, Brisbane moved the ball forward, getting it to Bradshaw. But his shot was off target. The Lions swooped again, but again they failed to kick a goal.
Then Port, putting plenty of pressure on the Brisbane runners, began to assert themselves.
Josh Carr stole the footy off Nigel Lappin, ran inside 50 and kicked Port's first goal. Minutes later, Shaun Burgoyne found Lade 40 meters out. Shaun's brother Peter got into the action to deliver the ball to a leading Tredrea. Outside 50 and on the boundary line proved no problem and Port was 13 points up. It could have been worse for the Lions, but Port missed several shots.
But the Lions were not going to go down without a fight. Keating combined with Lappin to get the ball to Akermanis, who delivered one of his trademark goals, 50 meters out and on an angle. Akermanis bobbed up again, winning a free kick and didn't waste it.
Port pegged that one back when Pickett, who never stopped running, recovered a loose ball and ran into an open goal to give Port a 15 point lead at 1/4 time.
The aggression resurfaced late in the term with Lynch and Wakelin scrapping in the goalsquare while Brown and Carr also got in a few punches.
It was the most action Lynch would see for the day, spending much of the 2nd term on the bench and unable to have any influence when he did return to the field.
The second term began much the same way, with the Lions throwing everything at Port, but Port standing firm and giving as good as they got. Hardwick crunched Black and Lappin, giving Brisbane a free kick. But Akermanis came in to fly the flag for his teammates, but with a bit too much force. A push in the face to Hardwick reversed the free, allowing Port to send the ball forward to a waiting Pickett.
The Lions got it back with a strong pack mark to Keating 30 meters out. Bradshaw marked and goaled before Akermanis atoned for the error of his ways minutes later with another great goal from a tight angle on the boundary.
Scores were level late in the term before Notting and Thurstans traded goals. The Lions had plenty of opportunity to bury Port but crucial misses saw them just a point in front at 1/2 time.
The 3rd term opened with White giving away a free and subsequent goal to Thurstans to give Port a 5 point lead. Port scored another point before a goal to Notting leveled the scores again. Another goal to Notting a few minutes later gave Brisbane the lead. But it was shortlived as a Voss high tackle on Pickett resulted in another goal to again level the scores. It was nip and tuck for the remainder of the term with goals Bradshaw and Mahoney
keeping the scores even. Mahoney to Pickett to Wanganeen 40 meters out and Port led by a goal. A Lade tap found Shaun Burgoyne who ran into an open goal to extend Port's lead.
Then Chris Scott and Chrisson both missed recovering the ball from a pack, Wanganeen scooped it up and ran into an open goal to put Port 17 points clear at 3/4 time.
Wanganeen did it again early in the final term as Port kept the pressure on and forced Brisbane into uncharacteristic errors. Chris Scott dropped a mark close to goal, blowing a golden opportunity to restore some momentum for the Lions. The ball came to the middle where a Shaun Burgoyne tackle dispossessed Johnson. Wanganeen was there to recover it and made no mistake from point blank range. Three minutes later, he did it again after receiving a handball from Montgomery and found the sticks from 45 meters.
The Lions got one back when Akermanis recovered an attempted Schofield mark and got it to Bradshaw 50 meters out. It would be the only goal Brisbane would kick for the term as Port, sensing victory, clamped down to completely dominate the remainder of the term.
First it was Thurstans from meters. The Lions kept scrapping, trying to get back into the game, but the best they could do was hold Port off for 10 minutes before Dew and Kingsley put an end to Brisbane's shot at history and put their side into the premiership books.
For Port, Kane Cornes restricted Black, James had the better of Voss, Peter Burgoyne kept Power from having any impact, and Wakelin never gave Lynch any space.
For Brisbane, Brown seemed to be hampered by his knee injury, Michael worked hard against Lade and Tredrea, and Voss was below his best.
In the Brisbane rooms afterward, Alistair Lynch announced his retirement.

Football media personalities Dwayne Russell and Robert Walls rated the performances of the players in the Melbourne Age.

Michael Wilson:
Unobtrusive but unbending, tapered down his attacking style to ensure Craig McRae had no impact whatsoever. Kept McRae goalless, then watched Voss when he was sent forward. Made Voss look mortal too. Rating: 8

Darryl Wakelin: Kept Lynch stat-free, to the stage the Lion champion tried to knock him out to break free, but Wakelin - still with steel plates in his cheek - epitomized his team's toughness by standing toe to toe. Lynch was dragged, then came back on but faced the same story: no touches. Perfect. Rating: 10

Matthew Bishop: Looked like being outplayed to a costly extent by Bradshaw, but never gave in or was afraid to attack the ball and gathered a game-turning possession along the boundary that set up a third quarter Wanganeen goal. Rating: 6

Brett Montgomery: Unwavering, tough-positioning performance at half-back. Kept Martin Pike quiet, then obliterated Blake Caracella before quelling Tim Notting, who threatened to steal the game. Takes heart medication daily to play but without fanfare. Just gets the job done. You beauty. Rating: 8

Chad Cornes: Kept the competition's most dangerous one-man wrecking crew, Jonathan Brown, to a quiet, six-mark afternoon. Determined and focused, was always there when needed and Brown’s failure to kick any goals was paramount. Rating: 8

Adam Kingsley: Started on the bench and was used sparingly but when asked, put his head over the ball to ensure that any interchange would not weaken Port's intensity or momentum. Rating: 5

Kane Cornes: Confirmed his status as one of the game's great midfielders by blowing away superstar Simon Black with his tagging, while outpossessing Black as well. Picked a perfect time to show the world he lives in no one's shadow. Rating: 9

Roger James: Was the key element to Port Adelaide's midfield. Had battles with Voss, Lappin and Power at various stages and won them all. Brilliant, tough, inspiring and hopefully underrated no more. Rating: 8

Domenic Cassisi: Became a critical piece in Port Adelaide's jigsaw after half-time by shutting down the dangerous Akermanis at half-back. Worried Akermanis into the crucial turnover that led to Mahoney's third-quarter goal to level the scores. Rating: 7

Byron Pickett: Took everyone on with inspiring attacking runs, and his two first-half goals were crucial. His second half was just as brilliant. Called a punch-drunk thug, living off his old hits and memories in a grossly unfair attack last year, and proved his true calibre on the grandest stage. Rating: 10

Warren Tredrea: Not dominant, but fought on like a captain and centre half-forward must to drive his team to victory. His battle with Mal Michael at half-forward and then close to goal was a standout contest between two champions. Rating: 7

Stuart Dew: Began on the bench but made the most of limited opportunities. Always looked dangerous and capable of turning the contest Port's way, before kicking the premiership-sealing goal in the last quarter. Rating: 6

Gavin Wanganeen: Proved he is one of the game's finest champions by standing up on the biggest stage with a scintillating four-goal carve-up of Chris Scott. His last five quarters of football drove the Power to its flag. Immortalized himself. Rating: 10

Shaun Burgoyne: Played well from a back pocket early, but Akermanis, with three opportunist's goals, threatened to make the Port defender pay dearly for every minor lapse. Shifted forward and kicked the critical third-term, time-on goal that put Port 12 points up.
Rating: 7

Jarrad Schofield: Started on the bench and had limited game time but did not flinch when it was his turn to put his head over the ball. Refused to let slip the momentum created by the resting player he replaced. Rating: 5

Dean Brogan: Matched Clark Keating with every step and refused to let the Lions' September specialist have a dominant influence. Stood tall and tough under every contest.
Rating: 8

Josh Carr: Kicked the first goal of the game after stealing the ball from Nigel Lappin to make a statement almost as emphatic as his tackle on Leppitsch in the second term. Did not let Lappin get any easy or decisive possessions. Rating: 8

Peter Burgoyne: Too slippery for Copeland, who could not shut him down. His impact at stoppages was decisive and was the leading possession winner on the ground, despite going head-to-head with the best midfielder in the competition. Rating: 9

Josh Mahoney: Could not reproduce this year’s fairy tale form and spent extended periods on the bench. Kicked a crucial third-term goal to level the scores. Rating: 5

Damien Hardwick: Knocked down before the first bounce and targeted by the Lion pack before he could target anyone himself. Played brilliant football early before tiring. Finished his career in fairy tale style. Rating: 7

Brendon Lade: Started at full-forward and his goal 11 minutes into the match, when Port needed to make a statement, was crucial. Gave Dean Brogan valuable second-half rests in the ruck. Rating: 7

Toby Thurstans: His goal against the flow before half-time to reduce the margin to one point was essential. Kicked the first goal after half time, but his most crucial goal, late in the third term, gave Port a 27-point lead. His most valuable game. Rating: 8

Chris Johnson: One of his worst performances for the year. Fumbled, kicked out of bounds and paid the price for zoning off opponents as Port's pinpoint kicking caught him out.
Rating: 3

Mal Michael: Had control over Lade and Tredrea. Time and again got his fist on the ball to cause valuable spoils. His dashes out of defence were inspirational. Rating: 7

Martin Pike: One to forget. Started on a wing on Montgomery but couldn’t get into the action. Benched for long periods in the middle of the game. Rating: 2

Robert Copeland: Spent time on most of Port’s small forwards - Mahoney, Pickett and Dew. These forwards kept him in a state of confusion. Courageous attacks on the ball but gave little drive. Rating: 3

Justin Leppitsch: Started on Tredrea, moved onto Lade and even went to full-forward to start the final quarter. Couldn’t give his customary drive and took just two marks. Rating: 4

Chris Scott: Like his brother, did it hard. Played on Wanganeen and found the going tough in the second half when the game opened up and Wanganeen made the most of his opportunities, kicking four goals. Rating: 3

Jason Akermanis: Brilliant with three first-half goals from limited opportunities. Thrown into the midfield in the second half, where he got 13 disposals but no goals. Rating: 6

Michael Voss: Only had the seven kicks. Couldn’t break free and had a lot of his 11 handballs pressured. Not one of his best performances. Rating: 5

Brad Scott: Started on Byron Pickett but gave him too much space and couldn’t contain him. Rating: 3

Tim Notting: Started on the bench but had a real impact when he came on by kicking three goals during the second and third quarters. Rating: 6

Jonathan Brown: It didn't work playing unfit. Covered half the ground he normally covers and got caught up in some rough stuff once more. Rating: 3

Luke Power: Had to contend with Hardwick and Cassisi and struggled to have an early impact. Won plenty of clearances in the second quarter to help give his team the lead. Ran out of legs in the end to have just three touches in the final quarter. Rating: 6

Craig McRae: His final game for his beloved Lions. Missed two golden opportunities to goal in the second quarter and had no impact on the game. Rating: 3

Alastair Lynch: Off late in the first quarter with a thigh strain. Did not touch the ball, but kept Wakelin on his toes with a few haymakers that missed. Only stat for the game was giving away a free kick. Rating: 1

Daniel Bradshaw: The only Lion marking forward to kick goals (three). Eleven marks was a top effort, and he beat both his opponents, Bishop and Wakelin. Rating: 7

Clark Keating: Toiled admirably in the ruck in the first half but tired as Brogan ran him ragged. Won the hit-outs. Rating: 6

Simon Black: Last year, Black got close to 40 possessions. Not this year. His direct opponent, Kane Cornes, took the honors, restricting Black to just 15 touches and a season-low three clearances. Rating: 3

Nigel Lappin: Slow start but got going in the second quarter. Once again had the most disposals for his team, but lost control of his opponent, P. Burgoyne, in the last quarter.
Rating: 7

Dylan McLaren: Had around 35 minutes’ game time but did it hard. Not mobile enough to run with Brogan and Lade and fumbled under pressure. Rating: 2

Richard Hadley: Had game time when Voss was rested but couldn’t find the ball after three kicks in the first quarter. Just the one clearance would disappoint. Rating: 2

Blake Caracella: Limited game time but had no impact when on the ground. Looked as if he was carrying an injury. Rating: 2

Darryl White: A real risk to play him, after missing a month of football. Beaten by Thurstans. Played from behind and had just the one touch in the second half. Rating: 2

And that's it for now. I'll be back in a few weeks time with the draft news and the international rules series match reports.

And I've been waiting for years for a chance to say this: Carlton may not have made the finals, but at lease we beat Collingwood - twice!! Hah!



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