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AFL Ignores Past Players

The X-Men, a group composed of past players to look after other past players, are angered at the AFL's attitude toward the medical needs of former players. Since Commissioner Bill Kelty met with X-Men representatives over a month ago and promised to help, they now say that the AFL has ignored them and referred them to the AFLPA. The group wants a $10 million investment fund set up to help pay for the football related medical needs of former players.  And they could take legal action if the AFL doesn't respond. All attempts to contact the AFL - and Kelty - have been met with silence - according to group president Ron O' Dwyer a former Carlton/Collingwood player.

The group also wrote the 16 clubs, but they too referred them back to the AFLPA, which has stated that its $2 million assistance fund would be exhausted within a matter of months due to the number of claims. 

Brendon Gale plans to have the AFLPA work with the X-Men to set up support networks for past players. Another option being considered is the creation of a hardship fund, which would cover private health insurance premiums.

O' Dwyer said while his group did not wish to "kick the AFL when it's down" following the report suggesting Australian football was the most dangerous sport in the country, past players had "exhausted all avenues of doing this quietly". He said there were others who felt too ashamed, embarrassed, or isolated to ask for help.

Wayne Schwass, only recently retired himself, said a number of former players and administrators who have fallen on hard times, were once household names. And former Blue Greg Williams, who is not affected said he knows others who are struggling. According to

O'Dwyer, it is not just physical problems & financial problems, but addictions, depression, and mental health issues as well.


Source: Melbourne Age & The Australian




Two For Toyota

Toyota has signed on to be the a major sponsor of the AFL for another two years. Toyota has been a sponsor since 2004. The deal was officially concluded on the hood of a Toyota Aurion V6 in the middle of Telstra Dome ahead of the Carlton/Bulldog game on Sunday. In addition to the two-year extension, there is also the option of a three-year extension after that.

As well as sponsoring the Mark and Goal of The Year, Toyota also contributes about $250,000 a year to grass roots footy programs.  


Source: Patrick Keane, AFL Media Release


Future Stars

Inside Football took a look at some of the outstanding players from the recently concluded U-18 tournament. While Tom Hawkins, Bryce, Gibbs, and James Sellar were mentioned in previous reports, there are few a other names which should be remembered come draft day. As well IF's assessment of their performances and comparisons to current AFL stars, each was commented upon by St. Kilda recruiting manager John Beveridge, respected in the industry as not only one of the most astute judges of obvious talent, but also for having a keen eye for untapped talent and potential, and a big reason the Saints have one of the most talented lists in the comp. Without further ado, here are some of tomorrow's stars with their AFL comparisons in parentheses:


Tom Hurley, SA - Sturt (Hawk Sam Mitchell): slightly built midfielder who captained SA and racked up 83 disposals in 3 games, saving his best for the match against Vic Metro in which he had 34 possessions and 8 marks. Loves to contest for the ball. Was named an All-Australian after the games.

Beveridge says he plays with a lot of character.


Lindsay Thomas, SA - Port Adelaide Magpies (PA's Danyle Pearce): Lightly built indigenous player who was promoted to the Port seniors shortly before the tournament. Had 18 disposals and kicked 2 goals in the first game against Vic Metro and did well against WA. Has speed, goal sense, and is a smart ball user. Also won SA's U-17 best and fairest.

Beveridge described him as having lovely skills.


Daniel Connors, Vic Country (Crow Brent Reilly & Saint Nick Dal Santo): Running & creative halfback who averaged 23 disposals in the TAC Cup and 20 in the tournament to win All-Australian honors. Can take a big grab as well.

Beveridge said he has a lot of flair and energy and loves to run, get the ball, then get it back.


Bachar Houli, Vic Metro - Western Jets (Adem Yze): Despite an interrupted preseason, has had a blistering year in the TAC Cup. Plays mainly midfield, but has a raking left foot and can play forward to take a rest. Had 20 possessions and 2 goals in the win over WA and was best on ground with 25 disposals against SA. Not a bad effort considering he played only 4 games this year in the TAC. Was a clear-cut favorite for the Morrish Medal (TAC equivalent to Brownlow) last year before suffering a season ending lower back fracture. After he came back, he then fell off a bike and badly damaged an Achilles tendon. Then missed a number of games early this season with an ankle injury sustained when an opponent fell across his leg.

Has also worked on improving his kicking on his non-preferred right foot. Is a devout Muslim.

Beveridge says: "...finds the footy...has shown a great sense for goal. Has trimmed down a bit from last year".


Mitchell Brown, Vic Country - North Ballarat (Demon Brad Miller): can play a variety of positions, but starred when swung forward early against WA. Loves a contest as evidenced when he had to leave the ground under the blood rule, but came back to inspire the team. Was given the big task of minding Vic Metro star Tom Hawkins in the final game.

Beveridge says: "....a big, strong lad who can take a good grab....has good versatility so he can play at either end".


Jarryd Allen, Vic Metro (Hawk Danny Jacobs): Defender who stood out on a rain-sodden ground to mark strongly when others dropped the easiest of marks in tough conditions. Can also play ruck and is a good decision maker. Won All-Australian selection.

Beveridge says: "He has an uncanny ability to read the ball and...take the mark uncontested. Excellent overhead".


Shaun Grigg, Vic Country (Eagle Chad Fletcher): Bigger than Fletcher, has averaged 25 disposals a game in the past 2 TAC seasons. Can run all day and averaged 28 possessions a game in the tournament and used the ball well. Won All-Australian honors.

Beveridge says: Another accumulator of the ball who has improved a lot from last year".


Matthew Leuenberger, WA - Colts (Dean Cox): There is a saying in football, especially come draft time, that ruckmen don't grow on trees. So AFL scouts must be drooling at the prospect of a 202 cm ruckman who has great mobility for his size. Has been the best ruckman in the WA Colts this season.

Beveridge says: "....can take a really good grab as he is excellent overhead".


Gary Moss, WA (Hawk Rick Ladson): Showed great leadership as captain of the WA side and earned All-Australian selection, averaging 25 disposals a game. Nearly got his side over the line against Vic Metro with his great ball winning ability out of the center and precision disposal. Has footy smarts, and is tough, courageous, and works hard when not in possession. Has played senior WAFL footy and it showed with his "big game" efforts in the tournament.

Beveridge says: "A player with excellent skills and lovely hands.....showed excellent on field leadership....".


Source: Inside Football


AFL - Fashion Police

The issue was brought up several years ago, but this time the AFL has issued an edict to clubs and players that $5000 fines will be meted out to players who chop off the tops of their socks. The AFL would also like to all players wear their socks pulled up. Bulldogs Scott West and Daniel Giansiracusa have already been handed $2500 suspended fines, while teammate Matthew Robbins escaped penalty when he showed that his socks had merely been rolled and tucked into his boots.  

St Kilda's property steward received a "please explain" letter last week over Nick Dal Santo's shortened socks, but Dal Santo, like Robbins, merely had his socks rolled and tucked. Adelaide's Andrew McLeod and Tiger Nathan Brown stopped cutting their socks several years ago after being warned by the AFL. 

The new policy has come about partly due to Andrew Demetriou being impressed by how sharp World Cup soccer players looked with their socks pulled up. However, most soccer players do it more out of necessity than fashion sense because of their shinguards. In footy, few players other than ruckmen wear shinguards.

Several clubs have already responded, saying the fines are excessive compared to those for more serious things such as wrestling, melees, and obscene gestures. A first offense for wrestling or an obscene gesture attracts a $1200 fine. Players involved in a melee are fined just $2000 for a first offense.  

AFLPA general manager Matt Finnis said players were already angry at the AFL and its penchant for issuing fines. League representatives will visit change rooms before and during games to ensure adherence to the new dress code.


And Demetriou has issued a stern warning that, unlike last year, lounge suits and open-necked shirts would not be allowed on Brownlow night. It's black-tie formal or no entry. 


Source: Melbourne Age


Charges Laid:

Nathan Lovett-Murray (ESS), striking Docker Matthew Carr: intentional conduct (3), medium impact (2), behind play (1), and high contact (2), equaling 8 points, 425 demerits, a Level 3 offense, and a 4 game suspension. He has 93.75 residual demerits, bringing the total to 518.75 for a 5 game suspension. He entered an early plea, reducing the penalty 25% to 389.06 demerits and a 3 game suspension.


Simon Wiggins (CARL), fined $4400 for a second offense of making negligent contact with umpire Martin Ellis. He accepted, reducing the fine 25% to $3300.


Daniel Kerr (WCE), striking Hawk Sam Mitchell: intentional conduct (3), medium impact (2), in play (0), and body contact (1), equaling 6 points, 225 demerits, and a Level 3 offense. He has a previous record of a 1 game suspension within the past 3 years, which does not increase his penalty, but he does have 56.25 residual demerits which increases the penalty to 210.94 demerits and a 2 game suspension. The residual demerits do not allow him to accept an early plea, so the penalty stands as is.

Kerr took his case to the Tribunal and successfully had the intentional classification downgraded to reckless. Kerr and player advocate Paul Fitzpatrick argued that the hit on Hawk Sam Mitchell, which appeared to connect with his groin, was an element of 'gamesmanship'. Kerr said he approached a limping Mitchell with the intention of tapping the sore spot on Mitchell's thigh in an attempt to annoy him, but missed and accidentally hit him in the groin. Fitzpatrick then argued that the tribunal could not find him guilty of intentionally striking because Kerr missed the part of the body he was aiming at.

AFL attorney Will Houghton argued that Kerr had gone toward Mitchell with a clenched fist with the intention of making contact, but the jury ruled in Kerr's favor, resulting in the 210.94 demerits being reduced to 135.75 demerits and just a one game suspension.   


After the decision was announced, former AFL Investigations Officer Rick Lewis blasted the system, saying it was flawed and that lawyers should be banned from the proceedings. Lewis believes that Kerr was clearly guilty of striking Mitchell in the groin and labeled the one week suspension as "ridiculous".

Lewis was quoted in the Age, ""How do you get one week for hitting someone in the nuts?... It was a three-week offence. He hit him in the goolies. Isn't it the act of striking? Isn't that the reportable offense?" There's such a fine line between what's intentional, what's reckless and what's negligent that it would be easy to argue down. The system is flawed and if anyone can manipulate the system, it'll be a good lawyer". Lewis also suggested that the AFL go back to the old system.


Stuart Dew (PA), striking Tiger Dean Polo: intentional conduct (3), medium impact (2), behind play (1), and high contact (2), equaling 8 points, 425 demerits, a Level 5 offense, and a 4 game suspension.

He has a clean record over the past 5 years, reducing the penalty 25% to 318.75 demerits for a 3 game suspension. An early plea would have reduced the penalty a further 25% to 239.05 demerits and a 2 game suspension.

Dew took his case to the Tribunal and successfully had the behind play classification downgraded to in play. Player advocate Mark Griffen argued that the incident took place "within a close proximity to the ball" and that Dew was in a position to receive the ball when he slung Polo to the ground. The jury concurred and knocked off one activation point, which reduced his demerits to a 1 game suspension.


Michael Wilson (PA), rough conduct against Tiger Chris Hyde: negligent conduct (1), medium impact (2), in play (0), and high contact (2), equaling 5 points, 125 demerits, a Level 2 offense, and a 1 game suspension. His good record over the past 5 years, reducing the penalty 25% to 93.75 demerits. An early plea would have reduced the penalty a further 25% to 70.31 demerits and a reprimand with the demerits held over toward his future record.

Griffen also represented Michael Wilson, who had his case thrown out by the Tribunal jury. 

The defense argument was that Wilson was committed to tackling Hyde, who suddenly disposed of the ball, forcing Wilson to abort the intended tackle. Video footage was introduced which showed that contact between the two players was at chest and shoulder level rather than high, and the charge was thrown out. 


The MRP threw out the match day report against Kangaroo Nathan Thompson for charging Bulldog Dale Morris. The MRP ruled that both players were making a legitimate attempt to mark the ball and that contact was unavoidable in the circumstances.


Source:, Melbourne Age, & Patrick Keane, AFL Media Release



Automatic AFL Life Membership: Nathan Buckley (COL) qualified for automatic AFL Life Membership with his 300th official match since his debut in 1992, comprising 267 premiership games, 24 preseason games, four state of origin games and four international rules games 

200 games: Joel Smith (HAW)

100 games: Kris Massie & Graham Johncock (ADE)

50 games: Charlie Gardiner (GEEL), Mark McGough (StK) 

50 club games: David Teague (CARL), Jason Torney (ADE)


Source: Patrick Keane, AFL Media Release


Forward Daniel Bradshaw, with his haul of 8 goals last week, has joined Jonathan Brown at the top of the club’s goalkicking list. Both have kicked 35 goals for the season through Round 14. Bradshaw won the club goalkicking for the first time last season, while Brown has never won the title. Bradshaw’s season best is 56 goals in 2000, while Brown is just four short of his best season haul of 39 goals, in 2004. 


Josh Drummond and Rhan Hooper replaced hamstring victims Jason Roe and Ben Fixter this week.  


Injury Update:
Recently elevated rookie Colm Begley faces up to a month on the sidelines after straining a thigh at training last week. Jed Adcock (quad) resumed in the QAFL this week. 


Mitch Clark, OP, indefinite
Chris Johnson, OP, 4-6 weeks
Ash McGrath, hamstring tear, 5 weeks
Richard Hadley, Anthony Corrie, Joel Macdonald, Pat Garner, knee reconstruction, season
Jonathan Brown, hip fracture, 2-3 weeks
Chris Scott, hip, long term injury list, indefinite
Beau McDonald, hamstring tear, 2-4 weeks

Nigel Lappin, ankle, placed on long term injury list prior to Round 7, 2-3 weeks
Colm Begley, thigh strain, 3-4 weeks
Lenny Clark, corked thigh, 3-4 weeks 

10 Years Ago  
The Kangaroos were still known as North Melbourne when the ‘new’ Brisbane Lions met them at the MCG in Round 19. The two sides had already met at the Gabba in Round 4, with the Lions posting a handsome 26-point win, built around the work of Justin Leppitsch’s five goals at full forward and the efforts of Danny Dickfos efforts in defense. However, it was a different story second time around as the eventual premiers steamrolled an injury stricken Lions by 57 points.
Wayne Carey’s presence made a difference this time, although it was more the efforts of the previous year’s Fitzroy best and fairest winner Martin Pike, Peter Bell (29 possessions) and John Longmire that sunk the Lions. For the Lions, Darryl White was best and Andrew Gowers, playing his first game in 4 months due to back problems, tried hard. 


Source: & Julie Rackstraw, Club Media Release  



Justin Koschitzke lined up for his first game last week since fracturing his skull. He played for VFL club Casey Scorpions (formerly Springvale) and got through with nothing more than a bit of general soreness from a lack of match fitness after such a long stint on the sidelines. He was with Springvale again this week, but put a scare into the Saint camp when he collided with an umpire after a crooked bounce. He came out of it with a mild concussion, split lip, and chipped tooth, but is OK. Saint assistant coach Matt Rendell believed Kosi could return as soon as next week until this latest setback. Because Kosi went down in the first term, he may need another week in the VFL simply to gain more match fitness. The coaching staff had planned to have him play at least 3 terms. Adding to his woes is the prospect of facing the VFL Tribunal for making negligent contact with an umpire. 


Injury Update:

Aaron Hamill, knee arthroscope, 2-3 weeks 

Lenny Hayes, knee reconstruction, season

Fergus Watts, fractured ankle, 2 weeks 


Source:, Melbourne Age & Georgie Fidge, Club Media Release



The worst was confirmed last week when scans showed it was more than just another hamstring strain for midfielder Peter Burgoyne. He is out for the season after having surgery to repair a ruptured tendon in his right hamstring. Burgoyne missed a month with hamstring problems and only returned two weeks ago, then hobbled off the ground halfway through the first term last week.


Tom Logan was elevated from the rookie list to the seniors as a replacement for the retired Gavin Wanganeen. Logan, 21, has been in good form in the SANFL for Glenelg, playing 12 games this year and collecting more than 20 touches in 11 of those games.

Logan spent 2004-2005 with the Brisbane Lions and played 3 games last year and was delisted at the end of the season. Youngsters Elijah Ware and Alipate Carlile were named as emergencies. 

Injury Update: 

Matthew Bishop, pectoral muscle, 2-3 weeks

Peter Burgoyne, hamstring tendon rupture, season

Dom Cassisi, ankle, 1 week

Chad Cornes, ribs/lung, 2 weeks

Fabian Deluca, broken hand, 4 weeks

Josh Francou, knee ongoing assessment


Source:; Hitaf Rasheed & Daniel Bryant, Club Media Release



Paul Williams, who announced several weeks ago that this would be his final season, has been forced to retire now due to a shoulder injury. He broke his collarbone in Round 4 last year and played out the season with a pin in the shoulder. The pin broke several weeks ago, but Williams kept playing, despite increasing pain and weakness. Scans revealed that the bone has refractured and there was no other option but surgery. Williams said that while it was disappointing, he had no regrets.

Under AFL rules, Williams will be placed on the long term injury list for the remainder of the season to allow another player to take his place, then he will be officially delisted at the end of the year.

Coach Paul Roos said in a media release, “As I said a few weeks back, Paul has been an outstanding servant to AFL and I really feel for him in that he won't have the chance to be seen off the way he should be as a player. But in saying that, we as a Club will make sure he is given the send off he deserves as such a great player, and I’m sure all the fans would also love the opportunity to show Paul what he has meant to them.”

Since his 1991 debut with Collingwood, Williams has played 306 games - 189 for Collingwood and 117 for the Swans since 2001. He has a career goal tally of 306.


19 year old Simon Phillips, the smallest player on Sydney's list debuted this week, replacing the out of form Nick Davis. Phillips - just 173 cm and 65 kg was elevated from the rookie list to replace Paul Williams. 

Coach Paul Roos described Phillips as a very quick, fit, and hard working small forward who has been playing very well in the Sydney reserves. Roos likened Phillips to Demon Aaron Davey, Bomber Andrew Lovett, and Saint Stephen Milne - 3 very quick goalsneaks.


Davis was dropped because he missed several training sessions due to niggling injuries. He felt that Davis would struggle on the vast expanse of the Subiaco Oval. However, Davis, whom Roos said understood why he was being dropped, later publicly criticized the decision, calling it a slap in the face and claimed he was being made a scapegoat for last week's loss.. Roos hit back, saying Davis' comments was a serious breach of trust and will have a serious chat with Davis when the side returns from Perth.

Davis later said that while he had no regrets about what he said, he would turn out for the reserves and work on getting himself right for a recall to the seniors.


Injury Update:
Earl Shaw, shoulder, 1 week 
Paul Chambers, thumb, 1-2 weeks 
Jarred Moore, thumb, 3 weeks


Source: Melbourne Age & Stephen Brassel, Club Media Release  



Paul Wheatley, who injured a hamstring in Round 5 and has since been unable to break into the side, finally returned to action this week and Brad Miller (hip flexor) also returned. 

Injury Update:

Matthew Bate, hamstring, 1 week
Paul Johnson, shoulder reconstruction, season

Brad Miller, hip, 1 week

Source: & Leigh Newton, Club Media Release


Several controversial decisions during last week's game has spurred Coach Alastair Clarkson to call for 4 boundary umpires to be introduced into the season. Clarkson pointed to a mark taken by Eagle forward Quinten Lynch late in the final term and a passage of play along the wing that occurred shortly before Lynch's mark, as prime examples as to why he believes four boundary umpires are needed. Clarkson believes the ball was out of bounds and cited the speed of the game as the reason the boundary umpire, whom he reckons was 100 meters away, missed it.

Clarkson was quoted as saying: "They (the AFL) give all consideration to four goals umpires or extra field umpires … but the one area of the game they keep stuffing up is poor decisions, when the poor old boundary ump is starting in the forward pocket and you can't look straight down the line - the bloody boundary line curves and you can't tell when you're so far away from the ball. If you had four boundary umps, you could have one looking at it from one end and one looking from behind....but I don't know why they haven't given that more consideration." Clarkson sympathized with the boundary umpires, whom he said have been "left in the lurch".with everything else changing - the pace of the game, the rules, etc. 

However, the AFL again stated the cost of adding extra umpires prevented them from doing so, although it something which the league has discussed at times.


During the trip west last week, Bomber Coach Kevin Sheedy made it no secret that he was eyeballing players who come out of contract at season's end and one player the Bombers had their sights set on was Hawk young gun Lance Franklin, whose contract was due to expire at the end of the season. However, any hope the Bombers may have had was snuffed out with Franklin agreeing to a new 2 year contract.

Franklin's manager, Wayne Loxley, said Essendon was only one of several clubs expressing interest in Franklin, but Franklin was always keen on remaining at Hawthorn. Franklin said he decided to do the deal now to avoid any speculation that he was looking elsewhere.


Young defender Zac Dawson and Matthew Ball came in for injured duo Tim Clarke and Joel Smith. 

Injury Update:

Shane Crawford, shin, 1-2 weeks

Danny Jacobs, hamstring tear, season

Beau Muston, knee, indefinite

Joel Smith, hamstring, 1-2 weeks

Tim Clarke, foot injury at training, 2-3 weeks


Membership: 28,003 for 2006


Source:, Melbourne Age, & Kristi High, Club Media Release



While it might be a few years before the sons of Steve Silvagni and Greg Williams are eligible to pull on the navy blue, there is another Silvagni catching the eye at VFL Level and could be turning out for the Blues as soon as next season. Alex Silvagni, 18, the son of Serge Silvagni's first cousin Eric, is making a name for himself in the Casey Scorpions back line and will be available in this year's national draft. Serge Silvagni is the father of former ace defender Steve Silvagni, which makes Alex & Steve second cousins.

Alex played just his 4th senior game last week against Carlton's VFL affiliate Northern Bullants and was given the task of minding former Kangaroo/Blue Digby Morrell who has become a very dangerous forward for the Bullants.  

Silvagni began the match well, but the experienced Morrell took control of the contest in the second half and finished with four goals. Young Alex said he enjoyed the experience despite Morrell running him ragged.  

Casey football manager Lachlan Buszard believes that Silvagni has all the right ingredients for success, saying Silvagni is a good reader of the play, throws himself into contests, and has excellent second, third, and even fourth efforts. Other attributes, according to Buszard are his spoiling ability, his size, and pace over the first 10-15 meters.

Unfortunately, his efforts were not enough to stop the Bullants who won by 8 goals with Carlton senior players Ian Prendergast and David Teague putting in solid performances.


Carlton recruit Jason Saddington, who has been battling a knee injury all season and has played just 6 games this year after crossing from Sydney, is out for the season. The knee has not recovered on its own and he required a knee scope.  


Brad Fisher (shoulder) returned for his first game since Round 7.


Source: & Melbourne Age



James Kelly was best afield for the VFL Cats last week and could earn a recall sooner than expected while Steve Johnson also made a successful return from a knee injury, kicking three goals in limited game time.


Peter Riccardi finally overcame his calf injury to line up this week for game #286. At the start of the season, Coach Mark Thompson said he would do everything he could to help Riccardi make it to 300 career games, Now that is an impossibility. Even if Riccardi could play all the remaining games this year (7), and the Cats play 3 finals plus the Grand Final, it would leave Riccardi sitting on 197 games which means he would have to play on next season - which is unlikely.





The Kangaroos have abandoned Manuka Oval in in Canberra in favor of a 3 year, 10 game package on the Gold Coast, effective next season. Club president Geoff Walsh said it was a very difficult decision for the board to make and that the club was sad at leaving Canberra, while chairman Graham Duff said it meant at least an extra million dollars had they stayed in Canberra.

Other considerations by all interested parties were the ever-increasing population and interest in footy in the SE region of Queensland, the AFLQ's desire to push deeper into the market, the AFL's desire for more games in the area, and the Kangaroos' capacity to further expand its marketing and support base by branching out into a second market.

Andrew Demetriou said it was an opportunity to " the momentum needed to really accelerate the growth of football in south-east Queensland". He believes having more AFL games there will do just that. The Gold Coast region has recorded strong growth in participation in recent years with over 7300 active participants taking part in all levels of football from Auskick to seniors. 

Demetriou said the AFL had committed significant resources for clubs playing in both markets, including financial support, and would continue to do so. He said the AFL remained committed to games in Canberra and would provide ongoing support for games to continue in the national capital. The departure of the Kangaroos opens the door for other clubs to move into the market and the AFL will work with the ACT Government to ensure games at Manuka. The Bulldogs and Melbourne have already expressed interest in a NSW venture. 

The games are expected to be played mostly on Saturday nights, with the club hoping for crowds similar to those who turned out at Manuka Oval.


Glenn Archer required arthroscopic surgery to clean up his shoulder and is hoping to avoid a full reconstruction before the end of the season so he can return for a farewell game in Round 22 should he decide to hang up the boots afterward. Even he admitted that a shoulder reconstruction would certainly end his stellar career. Should he avoid a full reco, he could yet decide to play on for one more season. 

Big forward Sav Rocca showed some good form with VFL side North Ballarat, kicking 8 goals in the win over Bendigo and is hoping to play at least 4 more games for the Kangaroos to reach the 100 game mark for the club after playing 100+ games for Collingwood. He realizes it is a week-to-week proposition as the club focuses on selecting younger players ahead of him, but remains hopeful.


Membership: Final 2006 tally is 24,624.

Injury Update: 
Tim Hutchison, groin, indefinite
Glenn Archer, dislocated shoulder, on going assessment, 4-6 weeks

Replaced the injured Glenn Archer with Joel Perry this week

Source:, Melbourne Age, Inside Football, & Matt Harrington, Club Media Release, & Patrick Keane, AFL Media Release 



Changes at clubs, even during the season isn't new,. However, some changes at Richmond could come as the result of a questionnaire devised by Coach Terry Wallace and answered by the players. The results of the survey were then taken to club president Gary March, with March endorsing the players' requests.

Some of the requests from the players were: a full-time development coach to work with the younger players and be a liaison between the seniors and VFL affiliate Coburg to help the younger players to become better acclimatized and not feel "lost in the process" between Coburg and the seniors.

The senior players also commented on training and medical facilities and said they want to see more of Wallace at training sessions, despite the presence of the assistant coaches.

Wallace, based on the player comments, will spend the next month reviewing the entire football operation and has already asked for extra recruiting facilities - involving part-time interstate experts and improved technology to examine junior footballers.

All of this will be discussed at the next board meeting.


Injury Update:

Will Thursfield & Mark Coughlan, knee reconstruction, season 

Chris Newman, broken leg, season

Brent Hartigan, foot, 6 weeks


Source: Glynis Smalley, Club Media Release 



It is little wonder the Bombers are doing poorly on the field. As of this week, 14 of their 39 players were on the injury list, with Nathan Lovett-Murray sitting out due to suspension. After making the selections for the side to take on the Saints, there were only 5 fit players, including rookies, left over. OF those 5, Richard Cole, Tristan Cartledge, and Sam Lonergan were named as the emergencies, leaving only draftee Austin Lucy and rookie Matthew Firman.

In the selected side is debutant Ben Jolley while the walking wounded include Dustin Fletcher, Courtney Johns, Angus Monfries (replaced by Jolley), Dean Solomon, Chris Heffernan, and Jay Nash - as well as the long term casualties (see Injury List below).

So desperate are the Bombers that Cole is lining up for his first game after battling a series of hamstring and soft tissue injuries all year. Cole is also on thin ice at Essendon with Coach Kevin Sheedy telling him to get himself fit (after crossing from Collingwood overweight) and improve his dedication to training.

Jolley, who spent last year with the Bendigo Bombers in the VFL and previously captained Vic Metro in the 2004 under-18 championships, becomes the fourth Essendon youngster to make his debut this season after Paddy Ryder, Courtenay Dempsey and Andrew Lee.


Talented duo Angus Monfries and Henry Slattery have both signed new 2 year contracts with the club. Monfries was drafted in 2004 and debuted last season and played 12 games. He has continued to develop as a small forward/midfielder and has been compared to former champ Mark Mercuri. And he is being touted as a future leader of the club. he has been one bright spot so far in an otherwise disappointing season for the Bombers.

Slattery, also drafted in 2004, played 4 games last year and 6 this season as a defender or midfielder.

Injury Update:
Courtenay Dempsey, groin, 1 week
Jason Laycock, knee, 5 weeks
James Hird, strained calf, 3 weeks
Tim O’Keefe, shoulder, 5 weeks
Jay Neagle, leg, 2 weeks
Dean Rioli, knee, 3 weeks
Jason Winderlich, fracture fibula, 5 weeks
Heath Hocking, foot, season
Lachlan McKinnon & Aaron Henneman, shoulder reconstruction, season
Matthew Lloyd, hamstring, season

Adam Ramanauskas, cancer, indefinite


Source: Melbourne Age & Emma Robinson, Club Media Release



The Pies regained Leon Davis (corked thigh) this week.  Defender Simon Prestigiacomo (dislocated shoulder) was named to the side this week, but was a late withdrawal.






Some weeks back, there was a story about 8 year old Rory Matthews, who, for lack of human mates with whom to practice his footy, found training companions in several farm animals including an orphaned baby alpaca named "Chicky". Rory's story received widespread newspaper and television coverage. As a result, Rory was a guest of the Eagles at the MCG last week, got to meet the players, and was presented with a fully autographed Eagle guernsey.
Rory, an only child who plays for a local Under 9 team, has been training with his animals at The Childrens' Animal Farm in Tarneit. and is bottleraising Chicky, whom he says loves the game and has helped him learn how to tackle for the ball. 


The Eagles named veteran Drew Banfield, Rowan Jones, and Brett Jones to replace the suspended Daniel Kerr, and injured pair Mark Nicoski (ankle) and Daniel Chick (calf). Both Rowan and Brett missed last year's GF due to injury. 


Injury Update:

Brad Smith, knee, season

Damien Adkins, broken leg, season 

Dean Cox, broken collarbone, 5 weeks 

Matthew Spangher, groin, 2 weeks

Mark Nicoski, fractured ankle, 6-8 weeks


Source: Najida Matthews, The Childrens' Animal Farm,,, & Gary Stocks, Club Media Release



There has been a frightening trend recently of teenagers carrying knives, especially in Melbourne's suburbs. In an effort to stem this tide, the Bulldogs teamed up with community groups, the AFL, and local businesses in offering incentives for teens to turn in their weapons - no questions asked - at a Knife Exchange held in Footscray.

Others behind the initiative are Open Family, Sims Group, Huzzard Byfield, Security Victoria, AAHitech Printers, Sun Theatre and the Melbourne Tigers. There is a long term hope of spreading a Knife Exchange program across Melbourne.

The exchange took place on Sunday with a pre-exchange function held on Saturday. In attendance were Bulldog captain Luke Darcy and CEO Campbell Rose, Basketball Manager Warrick Giddey and player Darryl McDonald from the Melbourne Tigers, Les Twentyman from Open Family (recently named Victorian of the Year), Clark Forbes, 3AW Program Director and chairman of the exchange committee, Bob Falconer from Stopline and representatives from Victoria Police.

The collected knives will be taken to a smelter and melted down for a sculpture by artist Christopher Trotter, who has done a number of footy related art works in the past.


Loris Bertolacci, former Geelong conditioning coach, has joined the Bulldogs and will focus on finding an explanation for the unusually high number of serious knee injuries.He will act as a consultant in an effort to see if there was anything which could have been done to avoid the injuries.

Bertolacci, left Geelong under controversial circumstances in April, is still pursuing a claim against the Cats for a contract payout to cover the 18 months remaining on it when he left.  

The club changed its fitness and conditioning coach at the end of last year when Justin Cordy accepted a position with Cricket Australia. The club has no issues with current fitness coach Aaron Kellett, but are keen to discover if there is a reason why they account for more than 1/3 of the 14 knee reconstructions this year.  


Dylan Addison and Damien McCormack were both selected to make their debuts this week. Addison, a speedy midfielder/forward, was named to the interchange bench while McCormack, a utility who was drafted in 2004 but played in the VFL all last season, was named in a forward pocket. Both have been emergencies over the past several weeks.

Also back in the side this week was ruckman Will Minson (broken leg).


Injury Update: 

Luke Darcy, Robert Murphy, Tim Walsh, Adam Morgan, & Mitch Hahn, knee, season
Shaun Higgins, elbow, 3-5 weeks
Tom Williams, foot, 2 weeks

Source:, Shaun Anderson, Club Media Release, & AFL 2005 & AFL 2006



Injury Update:

Chad Gibson, hamstring, 1 week

Ben Hart, broken arm, 1 week

Chris Knights, quad, on going assessment

Nathan Van Berlow, broken collarbone, 2 weeks

Ben Hudson, knee, 2 weeks


Jason Porplyzia, a late withdrawal last week due to a hip injury, returned this week, replacing Hayden Skipworth. 


Source: & David Burtenshaw, Club Media Release



Paul Medhurst (calf) and Heath Black (hip strain) remained sidelined, but Luke McPharlin (ankle) and Luke Webster (migraine) returned this week while Graham Polak and Jarrad Schofield were recalled from the WAFL.





From Inside Football's humor page, the Back Pocket:


What he said: "He's straight-lined the ball today as good as I've seen him" and "Strong dukey stuff in the air..." - Brian Taylor during a match call on Triple M Radio


What he meant" Who knows, but it sounds good.


And another Ray White home loan ad heard on Triple M: This time Brian Taylor is talking to a mum who needs to sell her home for a bigger place because she has 11 children and another on the way. When asked, she informs Brian Taylor that she is a Richmond supporter who is aiding the cause by having enough kids to give the Tigers a whole new team


Crow Brett Burton is known as the Birdman for his high flying marks, but it wasn't always so. Small for his age when he was a young tacker, he played in a forward pocket and was encouraged not to jump, but to stay at ground level and be a crumber. But he felt hindered by it as he practiced on his own by climbing trees and jumping off.  He describes the aerial acrobatics as the fun side of footy. 

He's also working on an honors degree in sports science and joked that Coach Neil Craig, who also has a sports science degree, is a good "homework checker" whom Burton has pumped for information.


The story of the "Plugger piglet" is now the stuff of legend and the full story has finally been revealed. For those unfamiliar with the story, Sydney fans released a piglet with the #4 painted on its side onto the SCG in Round 18, 1993 to taunt then Saint Tony Lockett who was quite hefty. The ironic part was that Lockett wasn't playing that day due to injury.

Scott Watters had joined the Swans from West Coast that year, and the side had just taken a 92 point pounding from Hawthorn. He and several teammates were drowning their sorrows in a Melbourne pub and began discussing how to stop Lockett when they played the Saints the following week.  A Sydney supporter who had overheard their conversation then approached the players and said he knew how they could stop Lockett.

He introduced himself as Joe, a pig farmer and suggested the piglet idea to put Lockett off his game. The boys scoffed at the idea at first, but then began to toss it around and invited Joe to sit with them and they all exchanged phone numbers.

Several days later, everyone pretty much had forgotten about it until Joe called Watters to tell him he had the pig and needed a place to keep it until the game the following Saturday. Another Sydney player (unnamed), who knew a bit about the care and feeding of pigs, was given the job.

Watters isn't sure what transpired on the day but believes that several fans met in the car park, stashed the piglet in a training bag, and managed to get it past an elderly security guard. Nor does he have any idea who the actual culprits were who released the piglet onto the MCG. What he does remember is standing in the middle of the ground about halfway through the 2nd term and wondering why the umpire had blown the whistle until he looked toward a forward pocket and saw the pig scampering around the ground. It took several minutes before a Sydney player laid a "tackle" to capture the frightened critter. While Watters has never spoken to Lockett about the incident, others have, and Lockett considered it a compliment. Oh, and whoever painted Lockett's nickname, Plugger, on the side of the pig, misspelled it as "Pluga"


Source: Melbourne Age


And this one. A little inconsequential poll at had this question posted: Which underdog is more likely to stage an upset? 

A)  Essendon over St Kilda

B) Hawthorn over Adelaide

NOTE: Whoever came up with this one must have been delusional and should have included a 3rd option: C) none of the above - Lisa


On to the scores: 

MELB   1.4   5.9   8.12    9.16 (70)
RICH   1.2   2.3    3.8    7.10 (52)
GOALS: MELB - Robertson 4, Davey, Dunn, Rivers, 
Sylvia, Ward; RICH - Richardson 2, Simmonds 2, 
Pettifer, Schulz, Kellaway
BEST: MELB - Robertson, McDonald, Whelan, Godfrey, 
Green, Holland, Rivers, Pickett, Wheatley; RICH - Deledio, 
Kellaway, Johnson, Polo, Richardson

INJURY: MELB - Holland (corked thigh); RICH - Deledio 
(corked thigh)

CHANGES:- MELB - McLean (quad) replaced in selected side by
Simon Godfrey

UMPIRES: Vozzo, Stevic, Allen

CROWD: 60,086 at the MCG

Both sides began the game with a loose man in defense, but the Demons had control for much of the match as they constantly pressured and harassed the Tigers into skill errors and forcing turnovers. The Demons were also guilty of errors, but nowhere near as bad as the Tigers. White earned a free kick at the opening bounce, but the scoring effort by Davey was out on the full. Minutes later, a Kellaway turnover led to Dunn kicking the first of Melbourne's goals. Simmonds' shot was spoiled and punched through for a point. Wayward kicking for goal permeated the opening term as Pickett could manage just a point and then Rivers hit the post after intercepting the kick-in, despite being awarded a 50 meter penalty. The Tigers finally registered their first goal halfway through the term through Pettifer, then employed a defensive flood in an attempt to stifle the Demon run after Bruce kicked a point. Both sides preferred to chip the ball around rather than kick long and risk a turnover and this contributed to the clanger count. Even the normally reliable Joel Bowden and Kane Johnson were not immune and free kicks to Johnstone and Tivendale brought more behinds. Gaspar finished off the term with another turnover after being awarded a 50 meter penalty against Neitz. And the Demons led by 2 points at 1/4 time.
Schulz put a temporary halt to the Tigers' poor play when awarded a 50 meter penalty after a mark. The resultant goal gave the Tigers the lead, but Rivers scooted forward to regain the lead for Melbourne a minute later. Richardson, who barely got the near the ball and was pushing far afield for his rare kicks, bombed one in long but just missed from outside 50. The first Demon highlight came from the mercurial Davey who first overran a Neitz, then got the ball when he picked off Joel Bowden's errant shocker of a handball and threaded a goal. Robertson followed that with a point after taking the first of his numerous marks, but just missed from 30 meters and a tight angle. A few minutes later, he was in the back lines where he took a defensive mark across halfback. While the Demons, then the Tigers turned the ball over to each other, Robertson made his way back into the Demon attack where he took a ride over the hapless Joel Bowden for another mark of the year contender and converted. The Demons continued to pepper the goals but continued to spray the shots with Green missing one and then hitting the post after Rivers missed. Another Tiger attack was then foiled and Ward took off from defense for a 6 bounce run down wing, then found Sylvia 40 meters out and the Demons were out to a 23 point lead. Godfrey's poster made the margin 24 points at 1/2 time.

Robertson goaled again 5 minutes into the 3rd term and was soon followed by Ward after another Gaspar clanger. Richardson found himself on the bench for a spell as he was having little influence on proceedings. Few Tigers were exerting any influence as Wheatley fisted through Pettifer's shot and Deledio missed after marking 30 meters out. When Robertson put on another aerial show in the goal square and goaled, the Demons were out to a 39 point lead. More points to Neitz and Robertson help hope alive for the Tigers who had even more hope when Kellaway slotted Richmond's 3rd goal. It was the first Tiger goal since the start of the second term. They were still a chance when Dunn kicked successive points only to leave the Demons 40 points clear at 3/4 time.

That hope continued in early in the final term, when Hyde was awarded a 50 meter penalty, then Simmonds found himself right on the goal line after being slung to the ground for another 50. Then Ward, in a bizarre moment, lost his bearings, unleashing long 70 meter bomb - in the wrong direction. Lucky for him, Rivers in a position to spoil and White's free kick gave Robertson another screamer and goal, this time using Gaspar as a stepladder. Robertson was at it again minutes later, taking one from Neitz, but hit the post. The Tigers finally found a bit of run through Tivendale, Matthew White, and Brown, who found Richardson for a rare Tiger goal. Richardson bobbed up again after Robertson missed and the Tigers had a sniff. But the Demons took over again to dictate the tempo and a flurry of points from both sides retained the status quo. The Tigers gave one last gasp when Simmonds marked and goaled after the siren to add respectability to the scoreboard.  

For Melbourne, Robertson stole the show as he gave Joel Bowden a game he'd rather forget on his way to 18 kicks and 15 marks, 6 of which were contested. Neitz provided a presence but was restricted to just 8 kicks, 3 marks, and 0.1. In the middle, Godfrey (24/10) kept Tuck to just 11 touches while McDonald (25/9) got under Richmond's guard. Johnstone (13/4) and Johnson (14/5) just about broke even, with Johnson marginally better as he was one of the few Tigers who didn't fall into a skills lapse. Pickett (15/10) was his usual bustling self across half forward with Wheatley (17/9) and Yze (20/4) chiming in. Davey (13 kicks, 9 marks) and Green (19/9) hummed along the wings. Whelan (23/11) on Brown, Rivers (16/6), and Holland on (12/4) on Richardson had an easy day at the office as the ball spent more time at the other end. White (14 hitouts, 14/6) was more than handy in the ruck and around the ground.

For the Tigers, Patrick Bowden (23/11) Kellaway (17/11), and Raines (16/6) battled against the odds in defense, and while Joel Bowden (31/8) racked up possessions, many were ineffective. Youngster Foley (21/6) did well in the middle when he came off the bench, while Polo (14/7) restricted the dangerous Bruce.  

STK    2.4    4.6    7.7     11.8  (74)
ESS    4.5    6.8    8.10    10.11 (71)
GOALS: STK - Milne 3, Gehrig 3, Riewoldt 2, Voss, 
Gram, Ackland; ESS - Lovett 3, Lucas 2, Reynolds 2, 
J. Johnson, Watson, Peverill
BEST: STK -  Riewoldt, Harvey, Milne, Goddard, S. 
Fisher, Gram; ESS - J. Johnson, Peverill, Lovett, 
Stanton, Camporeale, Lucas

CHANGES: STK - Baker replaced in selected side by Thompson; ESS - Ryder (hamstring) replaced in selected side by Lonergan

REPORTS: ESS - McPhee for striking Harvey

UMPIRES: Kennedy, Nicholls, Hendrie

CROWD: 33,082 at the MCG


Despite the wet, heavy conditions and the youth and inexperience of the Essendon side, the Bombers looked impressive in the early going and seemed to have all the run and all the options. They had the first 6 scoring shots of the game with Reynolds and Jason Johnson posting quick goals. It was only some wayward kicking which prevented them from having a bigger lead than just 16 points before Gehrig dodged around Solomon to goal on the run midway through the term. Several minutes later, McPhee's crude spoil on Harvey saw the former get reported and the latter off the ground to get patched up. Voss earned the 50 meters for it and goaled to get the Saints within less than a kick, but the Bombers came back with goals to Reynolds and Watson to lead by 13 points at 1/4 time.

The 2nd term was a low-scoring affair in the wet with neither able to gain a clear advantage, but it was Lucas who dominated as he scored all but one point for Essendon while Gehrig and Gram each booted goals on either side of Lucas' 2 to keep in touch and leave the Bombers with just a 14 point lead at 1/2 time.

Milne and Ackland got two for the Saints to start the 3rd term and have the Saints within easy striking distance, but Lovett got them back on his own, one being a spectacular banana kick when hemmed in tight on the boundary line. Milne's goal late in the term cut the Bomber lead to 9 points at 3/4 time.

The margin again was back to less than a kick when Riewoldt opened the final term scoring. It was t*t-for-tat with Peverill and Milne each adding a goal before Riewoldt marked and goaled to grab the lead for the Saints. Lovett again restored Essendon's lead with another great snap from the boundary midway through the term. But a strong mark and goal to Gehrig in the goalsquare 2 minutes later stole it back for the at the Saints who then defended strongly to lock the game down and hand the Bombers their 14th straight loss. 

For the Saints, Harvey (25/8), Peckett (26/13), and the ever-improving Goddard (19/4) led the midfield charge with Ball (19) lending great support. Sam Fisher (27/7)and Gram (19) rebounded well from defense while Maguire (16) kept Lucas to minimal damage. While Gehrig (9 kicks, 3 marks) was contained, Riewoldt (23/15) was unstoppable and had Milne buzzing (11 kicks) dangerously at ground level.

For Essendon, Jason Johnson (41/8) defied the conditions to constantly feed the ball out of packs with Camporeale (36/5) putting in his best game since crossing from Carlton. Peverill (34/7) restricted Dal Santo before the Saint was moved onto Johnson. Stanton (33/7) and Dyson (26) also found plenty of the ball courtesy of Hille (23 hitouts) while Lucas (17/10) and Lovett (24/6) were best in attack.

This match also saw Coach Grant Thomas become the club's equal second longest serving coach alongside Stan Alves with 115 games each and  just behind Allen Jeans.  

ADE    2.3    5.6    10.9    16.13 (109)
HAW    2.3    4.5     8.6     11.7 (73)
GOALS: ADE - Burton 7, Thompson 3, Goodwin 2, McGregor, Johncock, 
Edwards, Bode; HAW - Franklin 3, Campbell 2, Ladson 2, Dixon 2,
Williams, Roughead
BEST: ADE - Burton, Johncock, Goodwin, Thompson, McLeod, Edwards, 
Massie, Reilly; HAW - Mitchell, Hodge, Ladson, Ball, Birchall, 
Sewell, Brown, Campbell

INJURY: ADE - Hentschel (corked thigh), Mattner (ankle), Ricciuto 
(cut head); HAW - Everitt (leg), Ladson (heavy knock)

CHANGES: HAW - Vandenberg (flu) replaced in the selected side by Ries

UMPIRES: Quigley, Kamolins, Ellis

CROWD: 37,446 at AAMI Stadium 

In the lead up to the game, Coach Neil Craig said the expected rain, wind, and wet conditions would be no excuse for the Crows to lose this game. He got his wish on both counts although the rain held off until late in the game, but the Crows had to start the match kicking into a blustery wind. And the Hawks also had their own ideas as they came out and tackled hard to put plenty of pressure on the Crows, closing up their space, and forcing them into uncharacteristic errors and turnovers. After a defensive free to Mitchell saw the Hawks get their first score, a point to Franklin, the Crows raced the ball to the other end where Burton provided one of his many highlights with an amazing mid air soccer kick the opening goal. But it was soon answered by a less spectacular effort from Campbell. Shortly after, the Crows lost a bit of scoring power when Hentschel hobbled off with a corked thigh. Porplyzia then sprayed a shot into the wind before Williams' goal gave the Hawks a narrow lead. The wind, the Hawk defense, and the Crows' inability to break the Hawk flood kept the scoring to a minimum and it wasn't until late in the term that the Crows got another chance. It nearly went begging, however, when Mattner's kick slewed off his boot. But Porplyzia recovered the ball and found Thompson who leveled the scores. A point to McGregor was sandwiched between two to Everitt and Campbell, leaving the Hawks 2 points up at 1/4 time.

Several more points started the 2nd term before Dixon and Burton traded goals. Campbell chimed in for one to steal the lead but another to Burton leveled the scores and his point a minute later combined with a goal to Goodwin on the siren gave the Crows a 7 point lead at 1/2 time. 

Burton stretched that lead early in the 3rd term, but Ladson replied for the Hawks. Biglands then earned a free in the center and was gifted a 50 meter penalty when the  ball wasn't returned properly. But the goalsquare scramble which followed resulted in just a point to Thompson. The Hawks then surged in a brief rally with goals to Williams and Ladson giving them a narrow 2 point lead. But Adelaide stepped on the gas to slam home 4 goals in 8 minutes before Franklin goaled late in the term to trim Adelaide's lead to just 15 points at 3/4 time. 

The Crows broke the game open with 5 unanswered goals and controlled much of the final term. But the Hawks would not go down without a fight and found enough late in the term to claw their way back with 4 goals of their own - two of them to the previously quiet Dixon. Bode put the result beyond doubt with one final goal.

For the Crows, Reilly (26/8), Shirley (20/8), Goodwin (38/9), and Thompson (38/9) held sway through the center, while McLeod (24) and Johncock (28/7) gave plenty of dash from defense and Stevens dominated at center half back. Burton was the star up forward with 14 kicks and 8 marks while Massie (22/6) and Edwards were busy across half forward.

For the Hawks, Campbell (24 hitouts, 11/4) filled in admirably in the ruck when Everitt (13 hitouts) left the ground briefly with a minor injury. Hodge (25), Mitchell (26), Ladson (24/6), and Ball (24) were excellent in the middle and won a number of stoppages while Birchall (17/6), Brown (15/6), and Sewell (14/6) battled hard in defense.  

Adelaide has now won 8 of 10 games against the Hawks at AAMI Stadium and the Hawks have won just 4 of their past 18 at the ground, including their 2-6 record against Port Adelaide.    

WCE     3.1    3.3    6.11    9.13 (67)
SYD     6.3    8.5     8.8    9.11 (65)
GOALS: WCE - Selwood, Lynch 2, Judd, Banfield, Waters, Hunter, 
Stenglein; SYD - Hall 4, Goodes 2, O'Keefe, Vogels, Dempster
BEST: WCE - Selwood, Judd, Stenglein, Wirrpanda, Cousins, B 
Jones; SYD - Goodes, Hall, Buchanan, Kirk, J. Bolton, Barry

INJURY: WCE - Fletcher (left hamstring); SYD  - Bevan (concussion)

CHANGES: WCE - Glass (knee) replaced in selected side by Hurn 

UMPIRES: James, McLaren, Schmitt

CROWD: 40,688 at Subiaco Oval


Darren Glass was supposed to have the job on Barry Hall, but when he withdrew the task fell to Hunter and it almost made the difference with Hall giving Hunter a torrid time. But the Eagles again pulled off yet one more great escape. 

Sydney came out with all guns blazing early and slammed through four of the opening five goals to open up a 19 point lead before a great snap from Judd, who was opposed to Goodes for much of the match, settled the Eagles. But Hall was quick to reply and when Goodes rammed one home after a Selwood goal, the Swans were out to a 20 point lead at 1/4 time. Sydney's dominance continued in the second term as they controlled the midfield and the defense was standing firm. But the Eagle defense was also showing some steel and it wasn't until halfway through the term that Goodes finally managed a goal for Sydney. It was almost 10 minutes more before Hall popped one through to put Sydney 32 points up at 1/2 time.

Selwood was the lone shining light for the Eagles with 14 first-half possessions, but he lacked support as the Swans did what they do best in choking the life out of the opposition midfields and then rebounding strongly. Goodes was having the better of Judd, picking up 15 touches while holding Judd to just 8 disposals.  

The Eagles kicked into gear in the 3rd term and started to build some momentum with Judd leading the way. Lynch snagged a goal after Staker missed the first of a number of shots as the Eagles failed to bury the Swans with wayward kicking. Selwood got a goal for the Eagles, who then proceeded to kick 5 straight points before Lynch marked and goaled late in the term to slash the goalless Sydney's lead to just 9 points at 3/4 time. During that time, Sydney was not without its chances, but Hall missed from 50, O'Loughlin's sprayed shot was out on the full, and McVeigh hit the post.

The first half the final term was tense with both sides going in hard and furious with Brett Jones and then Jude Bolton both kicking points. Jolly spoiled another Eagle attempt as he punched the ball through. Then the Eagles suffered another blow when Fletcher was forced off with what later was confirmed to be a torn hamstring. Judd was swung forward, with Coach Worsfold hoping Goodes would follow but the move failed as Goodes remained in the center to exert some influence. But it was all for naught as neither side could crack the other until Hall marked and goaled halfway through the term to give Sydney a 14 point lead. The midfield battle raged on and was only halted after a head on collision between Embley and Bevan, with Bevan having to be stretchered off. Shortly after play resumed, Waters soccered through a goal, then Hunter marked and goaled to close the margin to just 2 points. The Eagles increased the pressure, forcing the Swans into hurried play resulting in turnovers, ball ups, throw ins. At one throw-in, Jolly shanked a kick straight to Judd. He kicked to Staker who found Stenglein 40 meters out. With time running out, Stenglein let loose a drop punt which just slipped past a lunging Craig Bolton to give the Eagles a 3 point lead. The Swans had one last chance, but Jude Bolton's hurried shot from 25m went wide as time ran out. 

The Swans have not defeated the Eagles at Subiaco in five years.

For the Eagles, Judd (26) led the way, with Cousins (19) and Selwood (22) giving support. Wirrpanda (25) was again excellent launching attacks from defense while Hunter (18/7) did well against Hall, and Brett Jones (16) blanketed O'Loughlin and Stenglein gave plenty of second efforts.

For Sydney, Goodes was superb (22/10), while Kirk (23/6) burrowed in to feed the ball out to Buchanan (17) and Jude Bolton (18/7). Leo Barry (16/9) marshaled the defense.   

BRIS    2.3     5.5     7.9    12.13 (85)
KANG    4.4    7.12    8.16    11.18 (84)
GOALS: BRIS -  Akermanis 3, Bradshaw 2, Rischitelli 2, Charman, 
Moody, Pask, Sherman, Voss; KANG - Thompson 3, Harding 2, Harvey 2, 
Wells 2, Green, Schwarze
BEST: BRIS -  Akermanis, Moody, Drummond, Sherman Rischitelli, Voss; 
KANG - B. Rawlings, Thompson, Petrie, Makepeace, Sinclair, Pratt 

INJURY: BRIS - Brennan (ankle)


UMPIRES: Margetts, Grun, Ryan

CROWD: 22,947 at Telstra Dome


Buoyed by the scrappy win over the Bulldogs last week, the Roos were switched on from the get-go and it wasn't long before Wells swooped on the ball and ran inside 50 for a goal. Showing plenty of dash and providing support for one another, the Kangas were clearly on top of the Lions but were just 2 points in front when Charman snapped Brisbane's first. Thompson continued his good form as he led and marked strongly. He worked his way in between two opponents to take a great overhead grab from a Simpson kick for his first goal. Bradshaw did the same at the other end in quick reply, but Thompson led up the ground to mark outside 50 and boom the ball home. Wells added another to give the Kangaroos a 13 point lead at 1/4 time. And it could have been more if they'd kicked straight.

Thompson was again in the thick of the action as the 2nd term got underway when he found Green. When Harvey swooped on a loose ball and goaled, the Roos were out to a 27 point lead. But Brisbane fought back with Rischitelli getting the end of several chains of handballs and kicks to boot 2 in succession. Rischitelli was in the thick of it again with a rapid handball to Scott Harding, who dished off to Voss, who slammed through a goal to cut the margin to 9 points. But shortly after, Rischitelli was crunched and out of the game with a shoulder injury. The Roos managed to wrest back control of the ball with Schwarze booting one from outside 50. The Kangaroos then developed a serious case of the yips as the next 5 shots either missed or hit the post, leaving themselves just 19 points clear at 1/2 time.

The 3rd term was more befitting of 12th vs 13th as a litany of skill errors, turnovers, and missed opportunities marred the play. Akermanis, who barely got near the ball in the first half thanks to the efforts of Harvey, he was shifted forward with almost immediate results as he posted the first goal of the term. Harding managed one for the Kangaroos before Voss delivered to Akermanis on a wing. Akers kept the ball in with some deft boundary line footwork to deliver to Hooper. Pask got on the end of it and his set shot goal to put the Lions within 13 points at 3/4 time.

They appeared to have the momentum heading into the final term, but the Kangaroos had other ideas as Thompson extended the lead. But it looked like the Lions of old when they blasted home 3 successive goals to be within striking distance. A goal and point from Akermanis midway through the term leveled the scores and they remained that way with goals to Harvey and Moody. Akermanis booted another to put the Lions in front. Grant tried with less than two minutes remaining but hit the post and the Lions clung on. 

For the Lions, it was the old and new with Voss (28/8), Stiller (22/6), and Moody (22/6) out of the middle while Akermanis (19/6) cutting loose after moving forward. Drummond was excellent in defense, while Bradshaw (8 kicks, 6 marks) provided a presence in attack although contained by Petrie.

For the Kangaroos, Simpson (26/11), Sinclair (22/8), Harris (22/9), and Wells (22) despite the attentions of Sherman worked hard through the midfield, while Makepeace battled in defense. Thompson (11 kicks, 10 marks) led the Roo attack. 

FRE     3.4    9.5     14.7    18.11 (119)
COL     3.6    7.9    10.13    15.14 (104)
GOALS: FRE -  Farmer 6, Pavlich 4, Crowley 2, Murphy 2, Headland 2, 
Drum, M. Carr; COL - Didak 3, Tarrant 3, Rocca 2, Buckley 2, Burns, 
Thomas, Pendlebury, Swan, Fraser
BEST: FRE - Farmer, Pavlich, J. Carr, Mundy, Bell, Johnson, Drum, 
Crowley; COL - Swan, H. Shaw, Pendlebury, Buckley, Johnson

CHANGES: FRE - Longmuir (knee) replaced in selected side by Webster; 

COL - Prestigiacomo (shoulder) & Rusling replaced in selected side by Fanning, J. Cloke


UMPIRES: McBurney, Rosebury, Pannell

CROWD: 30,373 at the MCG


In an unusual set up, Collingwood started the out of form Tarrant on a wing and had Jason Cloke pitted against Pavlich instead of ace defender Clement. The move backfired as young Marcus Drum tagged Clement out of the game, limiting Collingwood's rebound. And Tarrant soon moved forward.

The opening term was relatively even, though the Dockers had two goals on the board before Buckley nailed one for the Pies. Farmer replied with his second for the term soon after only to have Burns slip forward for the Pies. A late Tarrant goal had the Pies in front by 2 points at 1/4 time.

When Thomas booted the opening goal of the 2nd term, it looked like the Pies were set to break the game open. But the Dockers, with Pavlich and Farmer doing most of the damage up forward, kicked the next 4 goals to shoot out to a handy lead. Goals to Rocca and Pendlebury reeled them in momentarily. Rocca bobbed up for another, but it was sandwiched between goals to Farmer and Headland, leaving the Dockers 8 points clear at 1/2 time. One of Farmer's goals in the term was befitting his nickname "The Wiz" as he easily dodged a Magpie standing the mark, ran forward and cooly slotted the goal on the run.

Swan and Didak goaled early in the 3rd term to give Collingwood a 4 point lead but the Dockers took over from there with Pavlich and Headland providing the spark. Freo booted 4 straight goals - two to Pavlich - to hit the front. Fraser got one back for the Pies, but Headland finished off the term to give Freo a 3 goal lead at 3/4 time.

It was goal for goal early in the final term as the Pies tried to fight back. While they managed to outscore the Dockers 5 goals to 4, it wasn't enough.

For the Dockers, Sandilands (29 hitouts, 19/6) dominated the ruck and was an extra tall option around the ground, while Bell (38/10) and Josh Carr (28/8) dominated the midfield. Mundy (25/8) gave plenty of run out of defense with Drum (15/4) and Johnson (11 kicks, 5 marks) kept the Pie attack in check.

For the Pies, Johnson (20/5)  took up the slack from a quiet Clement in defense as did Heath Shaw (19/4), while Buckley (19/6) and Pendlebury (23/6) gave their all in the middle but lacked support. While Tarrant (11 kicks, 8 marks) and Rocca (7/2) were reasonably contained, Didak (17/6) appeared to struggle with a calf injury, leaving Swan (25/10) to shoulder much of the burden across half forward with Thomas giving some support.

This was the third successive season the Dockers have beaten Collingwood in Melbourne and their 4th win overall from the past 5 games, including a 112-point win at Subiaco.

The Dockers will need to win a minimum of four of their last seven matches, and possibly five, to reach the finals for only the second time in their history but they have the draw to do it with five of their last seven games to be played in Perth, while one of their two remaining away games against 15th placed Carlton. 

WB      4.3    7.6    10.10    16.14 (110)
CARL    3.2    7.5    10.10    11.14 (80)
GOALS: WB - Giansiracusa 3, Robbins 3, Johnson 3, Cooney 2, Smith 2, 
Grant, S.West, Minson; CARL - Betts 2, Bentick, Blackwell, Fevola, 
French, Simpson, Kennedy, Whitnall, Scotland, S. O'hAilpin 
BEST: WB - Johnson, Gilbee, Cross, Giansiracusa, West, McMahon, Ray, 
Morris; CARL - Stevens, Carrazzo, Whitnall, Scotland, Simpson, Bentick
INJURY: WB - Montgomery (calf); Giansiracusa (hamstring)

CHANGES: Carlton: Russell (ill) replaced in selected side by S. O'hAilpin


UMPIRES: Sully, Wenn, Avon

CROWD: 26,418 at Telstra Dome


The Bulldogs made their intentions clear when Giansiracusa grabbed a goal to start the game. While the Blues were competitive and did all they could to match the run of the Dogs, they lacked the polish of their opponents. And the Dog defense was just to solid as they constantly repelled and spoiled Carlton's attack. The Blues let themselves down as well, with McGrath and Simpson both hitting the post while Smith and Robbins both marked and goaled before French finally put the Blues on the board midway through the term. With Fevola, Fisher, and Sentanta O'hAilpin struggling in attack, Whitnall was shifted from center half back to the forward line where he contributed the next goal. The Blues had another chance when Bentick earned a free n the middle, but Scotland's kick was picked off by Hargrave and Johnson goaled. Bentick made the most of another free minutes later, getting the ball to Fisher and Fevola led out to mark and goal from 45 meters, leaving the Blues just 7 points down at 1/4 time.  

West closed that gap with a goal to start the 2nd term, but when Betts and Blackwell goaled, the Blues had the lead for the first time midway through the term. Johnson and Giansiracusa restored the Bulldog lead but the Blues again fired one more shot through Kennedy to trail by just a point at 1/2 time.

Giansiracusa and Cooney gave the Dogs a 2 goal buffer to start the 3rd term, but the Blues persisted with two in two minutes to Simpson and Scotland and Carlton was back in front. Robbins and Betts traded goals to level the scores at 3/4 time. 

The irrepressible Johnson set up Cooney for the first goal of the final term when he flew over both ruckmen at a throw in to take possession and fire it off to an unmarked Cooney. Two minutes later, Minson intercepted a French handball and goaled. Johnson was out in the center at the next bounce and earned a free with a strong tackle and kicked long to a waiting Robbins. When he popped through a gem from 50 after taking a Ray pass and dodging around Walker the Dogs were out to a 22 point lead. Goals to Smith and Grant ensured the final result, with O'hAilpin the only goalkicker for the Blues.

For the Dogs, Ray (24/8), West (26/4), and Cross (28/5) found plenty of the ball in the middle, while Gilbee (24) and McMahon (19/7) constantly ran the ball out of defense. Johnson (17 kicks, 5 marks) was unstoppable at center half forward, while Boyd (16/6) and Robbins (10/4) were also dangerous.

For the Blues, Stevens  (32/6), Carrazzo (31/13), Houlihan (26/9), Bentick (25/7),and Simpson (22/6) worked hard to match the run of the Dogs, while Scotland (29/6) tried hard across half back and Whitnall (16/7) did well at both ends. Fevola was restricted to just 7 kicks and 5 marks for a meager return of 1.2 and Deluca managed just 3 points. 

GEEL    1.1   4.5    6.7    9.14 (68)
PA      2.4   3.5    5.9    8.10 (58)
GOALS: GEEL - Ottens 3, Chapman 2, Stokes 2, Ling, Mooney: PA - Motlop 2, 
Tredrea, Mahoney, Walsh, S Burgoyne, Ebert, Thomas
BEST: GEEL - Milburn, Bartel, Enright, Ottens, Harley, Stokes, Chapman; 
PA - Lade, K. Cornes, Salopek, Pearce, Motlop, S. Burgoyne

INJURY: PA - Brogan (ankle)


REPORTS: Mooney for striking Mahoney

UMPIRES: Donlon, Nicholls, Goldspink

CROWD: 19,149 at Skilled Stadium


Both sides came out prepared to indulge in physical contests and favoring defensive, accountable football rather than skill and scoring. And it was Geelong who absorbed the pressure better than Port, with Bartel, Milburn, and Enright reveling in it. The scrap started early with Scarlett conceding a 50 meter penalty to hand Tredrea the first goal. Ottens roved a pack to snap one for the Cats, but Mahoney replied late in the term, and it was only some wayward kicking which prevented Port from being further ahead than just 9 points at 1/4 time.

The already undermanned Port lost Brogan early in the second term, again leaving Lade to shoulder the ruck contests on his own, but it didn't daunt Port, who extended its advantage through Walsh, before Scarlett and Harley tightened up the defense to repel further Port attacks. Ottens then threaded another goal from a tight angle to keep the Cats in touch. From there the game degenerated into even more of a scrap as the scoring dried up and the clanger count mounted It led to frustration from both sides, culminating in the fiery Mooney's report. It was the Cats who settled, however, with Ling and Chapman goaling to give the Cats a 3 point lead at 1/2 time.

Scores were level when Motlop goaled early in the 3rd as the pressure continued from both sides. The Cats were back in front when Mooney marked and goaled, but it was t*t-for-tat when Burgoyne smothered Ling's kick, which Motlop soccered through for Port. Shaun Burgoyne marked from outside 50 and kicked long after the siren to give Port a 4 point lead at 3/4 time.

Ebert edged that out to ten points with the first of the final term, but a piece of Gary Ablett magic set-up Chapman immediately afterward. Stokes, one of the smallest players on the ground, launched himself skyward and converted to give the lead back to the Cats and Ottens followed suit soon after. When Stokes crumbed another goal, the Cats were up by 14

points. Both sides peppered the goals late in the term but it was Thomas who booted one last goal to settle the final margin.

For Geelong, Bartel (26/11) and Enright (24) were key in the midfield, while Scarlett (15/6), Milburn (25/8),  and Harley (17/8) controlled the backline. Ottens (13 hitouts, 10/6) supported King (10 hitouts, 12/9) in the ruck when not resting in a forward pocket while Chapman (16/6) and Stokes (16/6) were lively in attack. Ablett (14/5) was busy but couldn't capitalize.

For Port, Lade (22 hitouts, 20/11) was again a stalwart while Kane Cornes (34/11), Salopek (26/13), and Pearce (26/5) drove the midfield. Motlop (16/11) and Shaun Burgoyne (22/8) fired in attack where Tredrea struggled, and Chaplin (23/12) held down center half back with aplomb.


        W     L      FOR     AGST     %       PTS
ADE     13    2     1655      980   168.88    52  
WCE     12    3     1449     1269   114.18    48  
MELB    11    4     1504     1290   116.59    44  
WB      10    5     1619     1416   114.34    40  
StK      9    6     1368     1180   115.93    36  
COL      9    6     1606     1405   114.31    36  
SYD      8    7     1413     1217   116.11    32  
FRE      8    7     1294     1417    91.32    32  

RICH     8    7     1236     1429    86.49    32  
GEEL     7    8     1392     1343   103.65    28  
BRIS     6    9     1341     1440    93.12    24  
PA       6    9     1377     1514    90.95    24  
KANG     5   10     1258     1482    84.89    20  
HAW      5   10     1213     1535    79.02    20  
CARL     2   13     1176     1585    74.2      8  
ESS      1   14    1265      1664    76.02     4  

Brendan Fevola (CARL)    55 
Barry Hall (SYD)         48 
Matthew Pavlich (FRE)    44 
Brad Johnson (WB)        43 
Anthony Rocca (COL)      42 
Nick Riewoldt (StK)      41 
Nathan Thompson (KANG)   40 
Mark Williams (HAW)      39 
David Neitz (MELB)       39 
Fraser Gehrig (StK)      38 
Source:, Melbourne Age, & author notes from live broadcasts

Hawk Grant Birchall is the Round 14 Rising Star nominee.
A tall left-footer from Tasmania, who plays mainly on a wing but is versatile enough to also play as a running halfback, debuted in Round 1, has played 9 games, and has adapted well to the pace of AFL football. His composure and awareness to deliver the ball effectively in heavy traffic is a highlight of his game. 

Grant’s 23 possessions against St Kilda in Round 13 was a highlight in what was otherwise a frustrating day for the Hawks. Last week, his good form continued against the Eagles. Matched up against Brent Staker, Birchall had 9 kicks, 9 handballs, took six marks and was named as one of the best on ground.  
A graduate of the 2004 AIS-AFL Academy intake, Grant represented Tasmania in the 2005  U-18 championships, winning the Harrison Medal as the best Division Two player and was named All-Australian. He was Hawthorn’s third selection in the 2005 Draft (14th overall) and is the second Hawk this year to win a nomination, behind Clinton Young in Round 12.
Source: Michelle Clyne, AFL Media Release


Chicago took on the powerful Dallas Magpies on Saturday, July 16. It was quite warm, even at Chicago's lakefront home ground. There was an intermittent breeze, but it was of little comfort in the 90+ degree heat. Dallas peppered the goals early for little reward, but finally kicked a couple of goals in the term. Chicago, from there on, played a lot of catchup, but managed to stay in touch enough to trail by 1 point at 1/4 time. Both sides had plenty of scoring shots in the 2nd term, but it was Dallas who was the more accurate as they kicked 4 goals to 1 to scoot out to a 15 point lead at 1/2 time. Dallas jumped out to an even bigger lead in the 3rd term, but Chicago kept pace, but again some inaccuracy looked like it could prove costly with Dallas kicking 4 goals straight. Chicago's inaccuracy was proving costly, as they could have snatched the lead, but a wayward 5.4 left them 5 points in arrears at 3/4 time. The final term was tight and tense, with Dallas still threatening with a goal apiece keeping them in front. They scored another point before Chicago finally stole back a 1 point lead late in the term. It was only when Warrick marked on the boundary about 20 meters out and floated through a high kick that Chicago was assured the win with just a minute remaining. The final scores were: 

Chicago    2.3    3.8    8.12    11.13 (79)
Dallas     2.4    6.5    10.5     11.6 (72) 

And that's it for this week.



Article last changed on Saturday, May 23, 2009 - 6:19 PM EDT

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