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Cats Smash Swans and Lift 2022 Premiership Cup

MCG (file photo)

It was a cool but sunny spring day at the MCG which saw 100,042 spectators pack the MCG to watch the Geelong versus Sydney Grand Final for the 2022 premiership. With all the pre-match entertainment and the Australian National Anthem out of the way, the two sides went to battle. From the start it was Geelong who dominated the center clearances and the contested ball. Tom Hawkins was the first to score when he got on the end of a Zach Tuohy pass in the pocket, but his kicked drifted wide for a behind. His continual signature work in the ruck brought the first two goals of the game as he used his body to gain position and snap the ball through the goals on both sides of the goal mouth.  

Despite the Cat's early dominance, it looked like some balance had been restored when will Hayward kicked the first for the Swans. But it looked anything but balanced as Geelong kicked the next three goals one to Blicavs and two in a row to Isaac Smith.  While the Swans desperately tried to find a chain of possession, they were continually out marked across the ground. When Close kicked Geelong's sixth goal late in the quarter, it was not just the score but the Cat's dominance in every area that suggested this game may already be won. If not for four behinds in the last six minutes of the quarter,, there would have been no doubt.

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2022 Premiers - The Geelong Cats!

 Congratulations to the Geelong Cats!

Winners of the 2022 AFL Grand Final

Geelong Cats:  6.5 9.8 15.11 20.13 (133)
Sydney Swans:  1.0 4.2  4.3   8.4   (52)

Norm Smith Medalist: Isaac Smith
Attendance:  100,024 at the MCG in Melbourne
A full match report will be available soon.

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Racism Scandal Explodes at Hawthorn

Alastair Clarkson (front) (file photo)

Newly appointed North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson and Brisbane Coach Chris Fagan have become embroiled in very serious allegations stemming from their time together at Hawthorn. It began with an external review commissioned by the club to better understand the indigenous people, referred to as First Nations players, and their experiences at the club. The review led to the allegations being made and the club referring everything to the AFL Integrity Unit. Several of the involved players were interviewed and their stories - and those of their partners, paint a completely different picture of the "family club". The story was made public by the ABC which brought to light the treatment of the young players at the hands of the coaches and club officials.

Three players and their partners told their stories but had their names changed for the publication. The players were told to part ways with their partners, even though the women were pregnant, were forced to move out of their homes. Their partners were told to terminate unborn children. The players had the SIM cards removed from their phones to further separate them from family. Essentially, they were told football came first and that was to be their primary focus. In many cases, they were bullied into choosing the club and those involved had no compassion for the players or their families.

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More Departures from AFL Rosters

Luke Brown Gets the Ball

Just days after the Preliminary Finals concluded, there were a number of retirements and delistings. Players from several clubs including Adelaide, Brisbane, Collingwood, Fremantle, and Geelong were released or had veterans choose to retire. The exodus including three players surnamed Brown but only two of them were related.

Adelaide defender Luke Brown, 29, has retired after 189 games in 11 seasons. Brown was prelisted by GWS from his SANFL club Norwood ahead of the 2011 draft before being traded to Adelaide. He established himself as a very reliable defender, often lining up against the opposition's most dangerous forwards.

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Swans Defeat Collingwood in One Point Thriller

The Swans are going to the Grand Final

The Sydney Swans survived a stirring comeback by Collingwood to claim a one point victory in an epic Preliminary final overnight at a sold-out Sydney Cricket Ground. In front of 45,608 screaming fans, Sydney looked to have the game comfortably in its keeping when it went out to a six goal lead when Logan McDonald kicked a goal early in the third term. Collingwood however, as it has all season, refused to go away, kicking three of the next four goals to remain within striking distance heading into the final stanza. 

The Magpies resurgence coincided with an injury to the most potent forward on the ground in Sam Reid, the Sydney forward suffering a groin injury that sent him to the bench for the rest of the game - and potentially missing next weekend’s Grand Final against a red hot Geelong.

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Clinical Cats Tame Lions to Advance to Grand Final

Cats line up (file photo)

A wet evening in Melbourne led up to tonight's Preliminary Final at the MCG with a spot in the Grand Final on the line. A respectable crowd of 77,677 rolled into the MCG. Much more than the 30,000 currently able to fit into the Cats home at Kardinia Park.  While the travel down the M1 to Melbourne might be a slight inconvenience to Geelong club and its fans, the interstate trip from Brisbane definitely makes them the away team. The Lions brought back Joe Daniher (returning after missing last week for the birth of his child), and Oscar McInerney into the team after missing due to concussion previously. Darcy Fort and Tom Fullarton were omitted. 

The first quarter was an "arm wrestle". The first 20 minutes saw the traditional feeling out period with one goal to each team, Dangerfield in the first minute and McCarthy in the eleventh minute. The Cats kicked the next two goal's through Stengle and Dangerfield, Hawkins almost added another but his set shot went just right of the post.  Ah Chee broke the run of play when he kicked the Lions second but the lead again extended out to 14 points when Holmes kicked Geelong's fourth just before the quarter time siren. 

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Seven and Foxtel Retain AFL Domestic Broadcast Rights to 2031

Delany, McLachlan, and Warburton

In the biggest media deal in Australian sporting history, the AFL announced on 6th of September that Channel Seven and Foxtel have retained the Australian domestic broadcast rights to men's and women's competitions for a further seven years, fending off strong challenges from rival channels Nine and 10. The new deal, which expires at the end of 2031 season, is worth a total of A$4.5 billion (US$3.08 billion) at an average of A$643 million per year, a large increase on the A$473 million per year figure for the two-year contract extension Seven and Foxtel signed with the League in 2020, at the height of COVID pandemic. The previous rights deal from 2017 and 2022, also with Seven and Foxtel, was worth A$2.5 billion. [Ed. note: This new deal does not immediately affect coverage in the US and Canada which are covered by pre-existing contracts extending beyond this season. The current AFL deal with Fox Sports US has a mutual renewal option for the 2023 season.]

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Lions Roar Into Preliminary Final

Ah Chee Celebrates (Densham/AFANA)

A pleasant Friday evening welcomed the 62,162 crowd to the MCG for tonight's Second Semi Final.  Before the first bounce the official business for the night got underway. With all players, official and match day staff lined up on the ground, the Welcome To Country, a minute's silence was observed for Queen Elizabeth II following her death this morning and the lowering of the stadium lights, God Save the King was played. Delta Goodrem sung Advance Australia Fair accompanied by guitar in the minutes leading up to the start of the match. Just to top it off a little bit of ACDC's Thunderstruck rolled up to the bounce.

Big forward Joe Daniher was a late out today, for family reasons. His loss up forward would mean all the focus was on Hipwood and less options up forward for the Lions who had three goals kicked by the big man in the previous game. The Demons dominated early and led the Brisbane to the ball and in all the statistical categories. Ed Langdon, unguarded in the pocket, kicked the first goal of match after five and half minutes, from 35 meters out with the set shot. Melbourne had more early chances as they had the ball in their forward half for most of the first quarter. The usual suspects in the middle for Melbourne led the way with Oliver and Petracca up and about early.

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Retirements and Delistings Roll On

Callum Sinclair marks (file photo)

Sydney, Carlton, and North Melbourne saw more players move on. North Melbourne delisted Kyron Hayden, Matt McGuinness, and Patrick Walker. Hayden was drafted in 2017 and debuted in 2019. He played 17 games as a defender. In early 2020, injuries curtailed his season. He managed five games in 2022. McGuinness was an Academy selection in 2019 and Walker was selected in the 2020 rookie draft. Both played 17 games in the VFL in 2022. Neither managed any senior games.

Just after the conclusion of the season proper, Sydney ruckman Callum Sinclair and defender Colin O'Riordan announced their retirements. Sinclair, 32, was originally drafted by West Coast in 2012 and has played a total of 118 games. General Manager Charlie Gardiner said, "Callum has been a real warrior for us. He has played some really good senior football with us ... but in recent times his work with our VFL squad has been enormous. He has played a selfless role for the team and been a terrific leader amongst our developing players. Cal is a hugely popular player ... ".

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Dockers Stop Hot Dogs

Mundy plays last game at Optus

A weekend of enthralling finals football culminated in a stunning elimination final comeback by the Fremantle Dockers, to knock the Western Bulldogs out of the 2022 competition. The Bulldogs, who played in last year's Grand Final, were left stunned by one of the greatest comebacks seen in a modern final. The Dockers pulled themselves off the canvas and delivered a knockout in front of a record 58,982 parochial fans.

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