The preseason and rookie drafts were held about a week after the National Draft. The rookie list was primarily used to officially relist senior players as rookies. They included Grant Birchall (Brisbane), Sam Reid (GWS Giants), Marty Gleeson (Essendon), Dylan Clarke (Essendon), Roarke Smith (Western Bulldogs), Daniel Venables (West Coast) and Bailey Banfield (Fremantle).
As the season winds down, it is that time of year when players decide to retire. Heading into the last weeks before finals, four announced they were hanging up the boots - Sun Pearce Hanley, Bomber Conor McKenna, Adelaide's Bryce Gibbs and Carlton's Matthew Kreuzer.
The Brisbane Lions retain top spot on the AFANA AFL Power Poll this week, courtesy of win number seven in a row over a competitive Western Bulldogs outfit. The Eagles remain right on the Lions tail after an impressive road win against a resurgent Carlton, Richmond overcame a slow start to roll the Demons at the MCG and the Giants stayed hot with a win against crosstown rival Sydney.
Geelong once again stumbled, this time losing to an injury hit Fremantle at Optus Stadium, Essendon had its winning streak broken by an up again Port Adelaide, the Kangaroos took care of Hawthorn after a sluggish start and finally the Adelaide Crows showed some form to end Saint Kilda’s finals hopes at Adelaide Oval.
Round eighteen gave us some sensational football with Geelong stealing the limelight. Twenty nine points down in the final quarter to a steadfast Melbourne, the Cats conjured some more Kardinia Park magic to steal a two-point win on a goal after the siren to Zach Tuohy. The Giants won a hard fought away game against a suddenly struggling Port Adelaide, setting themselves up for a top eight finish in the process.
Chris Kowald reporting for AFANA from Optus Stadium, Perth
The Fremantle Dockers’ have narrowly defeated the Adelaide Crows, and left a big question mark over last year’s Grand Finalists. With a challenging draw in the second half of the season, the injury hit Crows will need a dramatic change of fortune to make the finals again. The Dockers, like the Crows, were not at full strength.
Boris Kilpatrick, special to AFANA from Australia
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.
by Lisa Albergo reporting from AFANA from Chicago
On October 6, the two-week free agency/trade period began, as well as several clubs delisting players to make places available for newcomers. The biggest news ahead of this period was Gary Ablett requesting a trade back to Geelong despite a year left on his contract with the Suns. Others to request trades have been: Port's Jarman Impey designating Hawthorn his preferred choice, Giants Nathan Wilson and Devon Smith, Adelaide's Jake Lever and Charlie Cameron. The Bulldogs were also seeking to trade Jake Stringer, whose inconsistent form has seen fall out of favor. Melbourne was also seeking to trade Jack Watts, who was bitterly disappointed at not being able to remain with the club.
The West Coast Eagles overcame indifferent form to make use of the wind and fly past the Carlton Blues in the last quarter. In doing so, the Eagles kept their finals hopes alive for one more week. The Blues were brave and dashing in their play. Their players matched the Eagles as the home team pressed players towards the contest; and when the ball came loose, Carlton used pace to expose the Eagles with leg speed. If not for the heroics of Eagles forward Josh Kennedy, who kicked six goals, the Eagles’ season would have ended at the hands of a team some considered a candidate for the wooden spoon.
Finally the bye weeks are all done and dusted, and how the footy landscape has changed as we head into the final 10 rounds of the season. In the tightest finals race seen in recent times, there are 12 teams that currently have realistic claims to a finals berth. Here’s how the AFANA Power Poll shapes up as we head into a fascinating stretch run.
1. Adelaide Crows (Last time - 2)
The Fremantle Dockers were favorites to beat a young Carlton Blues team, but somebody forgot to tell Carlton.
The AFL competition in 2017 has so far been littered with upset results. Perhaps, with the exception of Brisbane, any team is capable of beating any other team on their day; such is the closeness of the competition. The difference between a win and a loss is more often measured in ounces of desperation rather than bundles of skill.