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AFANA AFL Power Poll - Round Nine

Boris Kilpatrick, special to AFANA from Australia 

Scott Lycett kicks the <br/>Eagles forward; David Woodley <br/>for AFANA.

Round nine was in keeping with the AFL season so far with upsets, great performances and a bit of controversy for good measure. The West Coast Eagles grabbed top spot on the ladder with a big win over Richmond in Perth, Melbourne crushed Carlton in continuing their strong form, and previously winless Brisbane broke their drought with an upset win over the Hawks.

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AFANA AFL Power Poll - Round Seven

Liam Shiels tackles Mark Baguley as the Bombers pressure

Boris Kilpatrick, special to AFANA from Australia

Almost a third of the way into the 2018 season and round seven gave us some answers while it also gave us plenty of questions. The West Coast Eagles are for real, Richmond are showing no signs of the dreaded “premiership hangover” and the Sydney Swans have seemingly lost their home ground dominance. Hawthorn is once again a contender after moving out the old and adding some ready- made talent.

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Another Raft of Retirements

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

At the conclusion of Round 23, four more players announced that 2017 would be their last season: veteran Cat defenders Andrew Mackie and Tom Lonergan, Kangaroo Lachie Hansen and Kangaroo veteran turned West Coast rookie Drew Petrie. The Cats and Eagles still have a finals campaign to navigate in September.A few days later, Saint stalwart Leigh Montagna also announced his retirement.

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Saints Continue Melbourne Hoodoo

Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA  from Australia

St Kilda has once again downed a fancied Melbourne with a frantic 36 point win at Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Despite being a vastly improved team in 2016, the Demons could not find the answers to a fast finishing Saints that now hold a fourteen game winning streak over a beleaguered Melbourne. There was reason for optimism early for the Demons as they continually punished the Saints from defense in the first quarter, Jayden Hunt being the catalyst for numerous counterattacks that led to a 17 point lead at the first break.
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Eagles Tune Up For Finals

Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium, Perth

Ruck Battle
 The West Coast Eagles secured second position on the Premiership Ladder (AFL standings) with a double chance and home Finals after an old-fashioned belting of St Kilda at Domain Stadium in Round 23, the final round of the regular season. The Saints looked set to recover after absorbing a couple of opening round barrages with West Coast scoring four goals before the Saints had even heard the last echoes of the opening siren. The Saints' players put plenty of pressure on the Eagles’ ball carriers and pegged back a couple of goals to make a reasonable fist of the first quarter. In fact, St Kilda had plenty of the ball but couldn’t find a way to put more scoreboard pressure on the Eagles.
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Will Cox Debut Follow Holmes?

Brook "Boris" Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

Former American college basketball player turned St Kilda Saint, Jason Holmes, probably felt a bit strange when the siren sounded to end his debut game against Geelong on Saturday night Australian time and the game just ended there.Jason Holmes (45) runs through the banner prior to his debut last weekend in Aussie rules. Photo by Kim Densham for AFANA. With the scores tied at 97 points apiece, the 6'8" (203cm) Chicago native could have been excused for expecting "overtime". The lack of extra time is one of the idiosyncrasies of Australian rules football. Ties, though unusual, are an accepted result after four hard fought quarters of footy. The quirky result aside, Holmes' debut was a success. Saints' coach Alan Richardson praised the work ethic of his American recruit. It was Holmes' ruck work that stood out, with his vertical leap and all-round athleticism drawing parallels to Nic Naitanui of the West Coast Eagles - who most experts agree is the most exciting ruckman in the competition. On the heels of Holmes, another American is on the verge of his debut.
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Holmes Makes Debut in Saints and Cats Draw

Janet Linn reporting for AFANA from Australia

An energetic and committed St Kilda has stayed the course to force a drawn game against Geelong in Round 21. While players say they never enjoy a tied game, this one had enormous ramifications with the Cats’ Finals chances dealt a heavy blow. Jason Holmes debuts for the St Kilda Saints. Photo by Kim Densham for AFANA.For American fans, the most newsworthy facet of the game was the impressive debut of James Holmes from Chicago and the first American-born and raised AFL player. (Read more about Holmes at http://www.afana.com/drupal5/news/2015/08/21/chicago_native_set_debut_saints-7811).

In an entertaining first quarter, St Kilda threw down the gauntlet and ran all over Geelong for the first ten minutes, kicking the first four goals before the Cats could take a breath.
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Chicago Native Set to Debut for Saints

Brook "Boris" Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA from Australia

In a week where Australians Jason Day (golf), Liam Hendriks (baseball), and Jarryd Hayne (American Football) have hit the headlines with performances in other professional sports, it’s the AFL's turn to return the favor with American born and raised Jason Holmes set to debut as a ruckman for Saint Kilda in the Australian Football League. Holmes will be the second US born player to appear in an AFL game, but the first who was raised in the States. Californian born Sanford Wheeler played 43 games for the Sydney Swans between 1989 and 1994 (he migrated to Australia with his parents at the age of five). After 20 years, it is also thrilling for AFANA and the USAFL to see an American finally make it to the AFL.
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Coaching Appointments

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Just weeks after his resignation as the Western Bulldogs' senior coach, Brendan McCartney was appointed development and strategy coach with the Melbourne Demons. He joins Brett Allison, Brad Miller and newly appointed full-time Casey coach Justin Plapp, in Melbourne’s development team for 2015. He will remain in that role until assistant coach Simon Goodwin takes over from Paul Roos in 2017 as senior coach, at which time he will move into a mentor and management role.

In making the announcement, football operations manager Josh Mahoney said the club was delighted to have McCartney on board. “He has a proven record and reputation in developing players and his appointment adds valued experience to our development program ... Simon has previously worked with Brendan ... at Essendon and identified him as the ideal candidate ... to assist his transition into senior coaching."

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