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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

The first two match scores are two exhibition games which were played. This year it was Essendon's turn to take on a team of Indigenous All-Stars in mid-February. A week later, it was the annual clash between Collingwood and Sydney in Sydney.

ESS         5.0 7.4 10.6 14.9 (93)
ALL STARS   1.2 4.2 5.6 6.7 (43)

GOALS: ESS - Lucas 4, Johns 3, Hird 2, Davey, Houli, Jetta, Monfries, Stanton; ALL-STARS - Krakouer 2, McLeod 2, Davey, Motlop
BEST: ESS - Fletcher, Lucas, Watson, McVeigh, Hislop, McPhee, Cole; ALL-STARS - McLeod, Egan, Pearce, Krakouer, White
UMPIRES: Margetts, Stevic, Grun, Chamberlain
CROWD: 13,119 TIO Stadium, Darwin

Essendon belied its 2006 15th place finish with a stunning upset over the previously undefeated All-Stars. The Bombers got off to a flying start with goals to Johns, Lucas, and Monfries before Aaron Davey finally slotted through the only first term goal for the All-Stars while the Bombers added two more to lead by 22 points at 1/4 time.

The Bombers dominated the second term, with Johns and Lucas exposing a lack of height in the All-Star defense and giving Docker Grover and Bomber teammate Lovett-Murray the runaround. The All-Stars did manage to outscore the Bombers 3 goals to two for the term, but still trailed by 20 points at 1/2 time.

The Bombers held sway through out the third term with 3 goals to one to lead by 30 points at 3/4 time and kicked another four goals to the All-Stars' one in the final term to run out comfortable winners.

It was Essendon's first win since Round 17 last year and Coach Kevin Sheedy was quite pleased with the performance of his side. All-Star coach Michael McLean said too many turnovers cost his side but admitted Essendon had also outplayed his team.

For the Bombers, Fletcher was a standout in defense with his spoiling and rebounding runs and was ably assisted by Mal Michael, while new Bomber Alwyn Davey, showed older brother Aaron isn't the only one in the family with talent. Young Tasmanian recruit showed great courage and run as did McPhee. Others to impress were ex-Magpie Richard Cole and second year players Sam Lonergan and Heath Hocking. McVeigh and Watson were prolific ballwinners through the middle. Lachlan McKinnon did well in the ruck while Bachar Houli kicked a goal with his first kick and then had a go in defense.

SYD    4.1   6.3   9.4   10.6 (66)
COL    2.3   3.6   6.7    7.9 (51)

GOALS: SYD - Richards 5, Schneider, Mathews, White, Dempster, Currie; COL - Cloke 3, Cook, Dick, Burns, Reid

BEST: SYD - Richards, Mathews, C. Bolton, Laidlaw, Schneider, Dempster, White, Bevan, Malceski, Davis; COL - Cloke, Clarke, Davis, Cook, Bryan, R. Shaw, O'Brien, Brown, Reid, Johnson, O'Brien, Rusling, Dick

INJURY: SYD - Schneider (hamstring), Moore (ankle)

CROWD: 9,560 at North Sydney Oval, Sydney

Both sides used the game to give a number of new players a run, but it was the Swans who grabbed the early advantage through experienced trio Richards, McVeigh, and Schneider. Especially Richards, who blasted through four goals in the first 15 minutes. The Pies grabbed two in the second half of the term through a stronger looking Cloke with Cox on wing and O'Brien across half back looking handy as the Swans went to 1/4 time with a 10 point lead.

The Swans increased the lead early in the second term when Schneider converted from a tight angle after taking possession of a well placed kick on the run from Barlow. Bryan had a chance to close the gap for the Pies after a great mark, but missed from 15 meters (16 yds) straight in front. The Swans made no such mistake as Mathews took full advantage of a 50 meter (55 yds) penalty to goal from point blank range. Cook finally put one on the board for the Pies, who trailed by 15 points at 1/2 time.

Cloke and Dick goaled inside the opening minutes of the third term to peg back Sydney's lead, but the Swans replied with one to new recruit White. A 50 meter (55 yds) penalty handed Burns a goal for the Pies, but any momentum it may have generated was snuffed out with two goals to the Swans First it was Dempster bombing in a long one, then Richards threaded the proverbial eye of the proverbial needle to restore the 15 point lead at 3/4 time.

There were only two goals in the final term, both coming from new draftees. First it was Magpie young gun Reid, then Swan Currie booted one to ensure Sydney's win.

Now for the NAB Cup scores:

PA   0.1.9   1.5.13   2.8.14    2.9.17 (89)
ADE  1.3.0   1.6.2    2.7.6     2.10.8 (86)

NINE-POINT GOALS: PA - S. Burgoyne, Logan; ADE - Bock, Welsh

SIX-POINT GOALS: PA - Ebert 2, Rodan, Lade, Salopek, Logan, Pearce, Thomson, Bentley; ADE - Griffin 2, Edwards 2, Welsh 2, Bock 2, Stevens, Hudson

BEST: PA - K. Cornes, Salopek, Wilson, P. Burgoyne, Brogan, Logan, Ebert, Chaplin, S. Burgoyne; ADE - Knights, Welsh, Bassett, Hudson, Bock, Torney, Edwards, Shirley

INJURY: PA - S. Burgoyne (hip); ADE - Meesen (knee)
Meesen will miss at least six weeks with a medial ligament strain

UMPIRES: Vozzo, Wenn, Fila, Dey

CROWD: 16,355 at AAMI Stadium

Goals to Crow debutant Jonathan Griffin and Nathan Bock had Adelaide out an early advantage. Inaccuracy in windy conditions was proving costly for Port as they could manage just one goal for the term and Bock's supergoal gave the Crows a 12 point lead at 1/4 time.

Two goals in as many minutes to Edwards extended Adelaide's lead to 21 points before Port hit back with two goals of their own, including a magical supergoal to Shaun Burgoyne. Port suddenly has some momentum and Logan's late goal gave Port a five point lead at 1/2 time.

The Crows regained the lead early in the third term with a supergoal to Welsh but Port again hit back, regaining the lead with a goal to Pearce. Logan was then awarded a supergoal via a 50 meter (55 yards) after being interfered with, kicking the supergoal from point blank range, giving Port a 14 point lead at 3/4 time.

They were still 17 points up midway through the final term when the Crows mounted a spirited fightback. Two quick goals had the Crows within 4 points late in the term. The Crows had one last chance to pinch the game through Doughty but his kick on the run drifted wide for only a point, giving Port a three point win.

For Port, the center square combo of ruckman Brogan and midfielders Peter and Shaun Burgoyne, and Kane Cornes, was brilliant.

For the Crows, Hudson was good in the ruck and around the ground. Newcomers Darren Pfeiffer, Andrew McIntyre and Rhys Archard were good in patches. Meesen also played well before being injured.

Simon Goodwin was a late withdrawal due to a calf complaint.

KANG   0.6.10   0.9.11   1.13.14  1.15.18 (117)
COL    1.1.1    1.1.3    1.4.5     1.8.9 (66)


SIX POINT GOALS: KANG - Sinclair, Thomas 4, Thompson, Jones 2, Grant 2, Harvey, Campbell 2, Riggio, Edwards; COL - Medhurst, David, Pendlebury, Burns, Rusling, R. Shaw. Dick, Egan

BEST: KANG - Sinclair, Corey Jones, Simpson, Wells; COL - Pendlebury, Burns, Johnson, H. Shaw, R. Shaw, Wakelin

INJURY: COL - O'Brien (partially collapsed lung)

UMPIRES: Head, Avon, McInerney, Armstrong

CROWD: 11,341 at Carrara

The Kangaroos went into this game at near full strength while Collingwood was missing Nathan Buckley, Anthony Rocca, Paul Licuria, Brodie Holland and Alan Didak. And it showed as the Kangaroos took control early and Pies never really got going. Sinclair had the Roos on the board after the first five minutes of play. Then the diminutive Aboriginal debutant Lindsay Thomas took a spectacular mark and capped it off with a supergoal. It wasn't until midway through the term that the Pies goaled, with a nine-pointer from Cloke> Medhurst added the Pies' only other goal for the term from a free kick, giving the Kangas a 30 point lead at 1/4 time. In that term, it was the experience of Simpson, Rawlings, and Wells which shone through while the Pies displayed some shocking skill level with several turnovers resulting in Kangaroo goals.

The Kangaroos extended their lead early in the second term with a goal to Thomas, but he was subsequently dragged by Coach Laidley for gesturing to the crowd. It didn't stop the Roos. Corey Jones kicked one on the run, then rookie Matthew Campbell executed a stunning one-handed pickup and snap midway through the term. The Roos added a third goal for the term, holding the Pies to just two points and took a 47 point lead into 1/2 time.

Collingwood finally managed two goals early in the third term when Davis marked in the goalsquare and Pendlebury booted one shortly after. Any chance of a Magpie rally was snuffed out when the Kangaroos piled on three goals in succession. The Kangaroos led by a massive 63 points at 3/4 time.

Collingwood managed three consolation goals early in the final term, but it was not enough to threaten the dominant Kangaroos.

WB    1.3.6   1.4.13   1.7.15   1.12.16 (97)
SYD   0.2.0   0.3.3    0.6.3    1.9.7 (70)


SIX POINT GOALS: WB - Lynch 3, Robbins 2, Johnson 2, McDougall, Baird, Griffen, Harbrow, Higgins; SYD - White 3, Kirk 1, Richards 2, Rowe, Davis, Currie

BEST: WB - Griffen, Gilbee, Cross, Lynch, McMahon, Power, McDougall, Robbins. SYD - Kirk, Mathews, Goodes, Schmidt, Richards, White, Malceski.

REPORTS: WB - Ray for charging Bevan

INJURY: WB - Wight (cork), Johnson (cork); SYD - Malceski (shin)

UMPIRES: Kennedy, Kamolins, Grun

CROWD: 5557 at Manuka Oval

The Swans, despite two Grand Final appearances and a premiership, have been notoriously slow starters over the past few seasons and this match followed the norm. Assistant coach John Longmire called the shots from the coaching box while Coach Paul Roos monitored proceedings from the bench and addressed the midfielders at the breaks.

The Swans started with Goodes and Kirk on the bench and the Dogs took advantage with plenty of early running in steamy conditions. It was less than two minutes before Johnson posted the Dogs' first goal, but Kirk got the Swans on the board soon after. The Dogs then slammed through three goals - a clever snap from former Eagle McDougall, a booming supergoal from Harris, and Lynch on the siren - to lead by 21 points at 1/4 time.

The Dogs could have blown the game open,but for a number of sprayed shots on goal while White kept the Swans in the contest with a strong mark and goal from 45 meters (48 yds). Then Craig Bolton fumbled in the goal square, allowing Baird to soccer through another goal, giving the Dogs a 23 point lead at 1/2 time.

Higgins goaled to extend the Dogs' lead before the Swans kicked three of their own. But the Dogs added two more to seal the win, despite a nine-pointer from Kirk.

For the Dogs, Lynch was impressive up forward while Akermanis looked good despite close tagging attention from young Swan Jack. Griffen was his usual dashing self through the middle while Gilbee again provided plenty of run out of defense.

CARL   1.3.2   1.6.7   1.8.12   1.10.14 (83)
ESS    0.1.5   0.4.6   1.6.12    1.9.16 (79)


SIX POINT GOALS: CARL - Fevola 5, Houlihan, Stevens, Lappin, Whitnall, Kennedy; ESS - Monfries 3, Lloyd 2, Davey, Hille, Winderlich, Bradley

BEST: CARL - Carrazzo, Waite, Stevens, Fevola, Houlihan, Walker, Whitnall; ESS - Monfries, Lovett, Lovett-Murray, Watson, Houli

UMPIRES: Ryan, Keating, McBurney

CROWD: 28,568 at Telstra Dome

Inaccuracy in front of goal and some undisciplined play by Essendon gave the Blues the start they needed. McVeigh shoved Betts in the face, conceding a 50 meter (55 yards) penalty and nine-point goal. A further three to Essendon's one handed the Blues an 11 point lead at 1/4 time.

The second term was Carlton's turn to waste chances in front of goal, but three goals apiece to both sides was enough to keep the Blues in front by 22 points at 1/2 time.

The third term was pretty even with the two sides going goal for goal, but both again missed a number of shots which could have pressed their advantage even further. Again, the evenness of the term allowed the Blues to sty in front by two goals at 3/4 time.

Although Essendon outscored Carlton in the final term, it was not enough to overtake a spirited Blues outfit.

For Carlton, Gibbs was impressive with his poise and cleverness on the halfback line. He was matched up against Houli, who was equally impressive for the Bombers with some clever play and smart decision making.

Others who looked good were Waite on Lucas, O'hAilpin on Lloyd, Kennedy, and Walker for Carlton and Ryder, Monfries, and Davey for Essendon.

BRIS   0.1.0   0.3.4   0.5.5   0.7.10 (52)
STK    1.4.1   1.5.1   1.5.6   1.5.6 (45)


SIX POINT GOALS: BRIS - Sherman 2, Kiel, Copeland, Harding, Patfull, Tyler; STK - Brooks 2, Milne, Allen, Montagna

BEST: BRIS - Copeland, Rischitelli, Adcock, Sherman; STK - Thompson, Montagna, Ferguson, Gram

INJURY: BRIS - Adcock (ankle)

UNPIRES: Sully, M. Nicholls, Ellis, Jeffery

CROWD: 6,380 at Cazaly Stadium

Thirty minutes before match time, it began to rain. And the rain continued to pelt down in driving sheets throughout. However, as Coach Ross Lyon struggled to follow the action through his binoculars, the Saints were unfazed by the conditions as a supergoal to Goddard and two to Brooks gave the young Saints a 28 point lead at 1/4 time.

The Saints held the Lions at bay in the second term to hang on to their 28 point lead at 1/2 time, but Brisbane - like the Lions of old - roared back into action in the second half. They held the Saints goalless in the third term and completely scoreless in the final term while adding four goals of their own.

HAW   0.3.4   0.4.8   2.6.13   3.11.17 (110)
MELB  0.2.5   0.7.6   2.8.13   2.9.14 (86)

NINE POINT GOALS: HAW - McGlynn, Muston, Lewis; MELB - Green, Johnson

SIX POINT GOALS: HAW - Franklin 5, Williams 2, Roughead 2, McGlynn, Young; MELB - Neitz 2, Robertson 2, Green, Johnson, Bruce, Brown, Dunn

BEST: HAW - Franklin, Hodge, Birchall, Crawford, Bateman, Lewis, Taylor; MELB - Bruce, Green, Brown, McDonald, Jamar, C. Johnson, Ward, Bell, Jones

INJURY: HAW - Ladson (ankle)

CHANGES: MELB - Holland (flu) replaced by Neaves

CROWD: 14,000 (est.) at Telstra Dome

The Demons went into this game without Jeff White, Travis Johnstone, Brock McLean, Byron Pickett, Aaron Davey, and Matthew Whelan. But it didn't stop them from asserting themselves early to lead by five points at 1/4 time.

They dominated the young Hawks in the second term, booting five goals to one, setting up what a comfortable 16 point lead at 1/2 time.

Melbourne added another goal and several points to lead by 24 points midway through the third term and looked set to win by a handy margin when they led by two goals at 3/4 time.

Enter Lance "Buddy" Franklin, who has already established a reputation as a gamebreaker. Benefiting from excellent midfield delivery, Franklin threaded through three classy goals to give the Hawks a six point lead. The Demons could manage only one more goal for the term while the Hawks added two with Franklin putting through his fourth on the run.

FRE   1.0.2   2.4.4    2.8.8    4.11.10 (112)
WCE   0.2.6   0.2.10   0.4.13   0.10.15 (75)

NINE POINT GOALS: FRE - Pavlich, Drum, Campbell, Headland

SIX POINT GOALS: FRE - Browne 2, Crowley 2, Pavlich 2, Sandilands, Murphy, Longmuir, Solomon, Farmer;
WCE - McKinley 2, C. Jones 2, Armstrong, Cousins, Staker, LeCras, Lynch, Rosa

BEST: FRE - Walker, Sandilands, Pavlich, J. Carr, Browne, Crowley, Hayden, McPharlin; WCE - Cousins, Rosa, Priddis, B. Jones, Hurn, McKinley

UMPIRES: Hendry, Margetts, McBurney, McLaren

CROWD: 39,027 at Subiaco Oval

West Coast had the better start with goals to Armstrong and Cousins, but a nine-pointer to Pavlich midway through the term kept the Dockers in touch. The Eagles should have been more than seven points in front at 1/4 time, but their kicking was appalling with six straight behinds.

A fortuitous bounce gifted Drum Fremantle's second nine-pointer early in the second term. A goal to Crowley and two to Browne had the Dockers 20 points in front as West Coast's kicking continued to let them down. After booting their 10th consecutive point, Sandilands goaled to give the Dockers a 24 point lead at 1/2 time.

The Docker lead was out to 34 points early in the third term before the Eagles finally broke their run of 12 points with a goal to McKinley midway through the term. But the Dockers hit back with a goal to Solomon and kicked a further 3 goals to hold a 37 point lead at 3/4 time.

The Dockers made it a 42 point lead early in the final term before the Eagles finally rallied to add four consecutive goals, narrowing the margin to 19 points. But supergoals to Campbell and Headland quashed any hope of a comeback from the Eagles.

For the Dockers, Walker (24 possessions), Headland (23), and Josh Carr (20) were influential while the Eagles had the usual stellar service from Cousins (26). Youngsters Rosa and Priddis also impressed.

GEEL   1.6.2   2.11.3   3.16.8   3.17.10 (139)
RICH   0.2.0   0.6.0    0.10.0   1.14.3 (96

NINE POINT GOALS: GEEL - Bartel, Prismall, Enright;
RICH - Tivendale

SIX POINT GOALS: GEEL - Ottens 4, Mooney 4, Gardiner 2, G. Ablett 2, Byrnes, N Ablett, Stokes, Prismall, Milburn; RICH - Deledio 3, Brown 3, Richardson 2, Tuck 2, Pettifer, Meyer, Foley, Hyde

BEST: Geelong: Ling, Ottens, G. Ablett, Byrnes, Selwood, Wojcinski, Enright, Mooney, Kelly, Stokes; RICH - Foley, J. Bowden, Brown, Howat, Deledio

INJURY: GEEL - Milburn (cut head); RICH - Richardson (hamstring), Krakouer (knee)
Richardson will miss at least one week

CHANGES: RICH - Johnson (calf soreness) replaced by Jackson

UMPIRES: Allen, Nicholls, Ryan, Lee-Archer

CROWD: 12,000 at Skilled Stadium

The Tigers were missing Johnson, Troy Simmonds, Patrick Bowden, Kent Kingsley, Jay Schulz and long-term casualty Mark Coughlan. The lack of talls forced the Tigers to use Tuck as backup ruckman to Knobel.

After last year's poor showing, Coach Mark Thompson promised better for 2007 and the Cats made good on that promise in this game. The Cats ran faster, were more direct with the ball, and had a rejuvenated Ottens dominating the goal square. He kicked four of Geelong's six first term goals while the Tigers could manage only two. Bartel added a nine-pointer, leaving the Cats 35 points clear at 1/4 time.

With Ablett and Ling gathering plenty of the ball in the middle and Mooney lurking dangerously up forward alongside Ottens, the Cats kept piling on the goals. Although the Tigers put up a bit of a fight with four goals. But the Cats booted five and a supergoal from Prismall gave them a massive 51 point lead at time. And the Tigers suffered another blow with Richardson limping off with a hamstring injury just before the siren.

Geelong's dominance continued in the third term with another five goals to 4 and another supergoal to Enright and they went into 3/4 time with a 71 point lead.

The Tigers came back in the final term, restricting the Cats to just one goal while adding four plus their only nine-pointer to make the final margin a less embarrassing 43 points.

As the first term got underway, there was another story developing outside the ground when more fans than expected turned up to attend the game. The club, the city council, and the AFL had anticipated a crowd of about 8000 and the club reckoned two gates and six turnstiles - as opposed to the normal six gates and 18 stiles - would be enough to handle the incoming fans. But another 7000 fans showed up and the club was forced to simply open the gates and let everyone in without ticketing as there was not enough staff to handle the load. Geelong CEO figures the move will cost the club and the league about $60,000.

Next week, it will be:

This week's losers will be in various locations throughout the country in practice games. 

Source: Melbourne Age,

Article last changed on Saturday, March 03, 2007 - 9:55 AM EST

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