In early October, the AFL announced four new members for AFL life membership. The new members are Neil Craig, Peggy O'Neal, Kevin Sheehan, and Greg Swann for their respective roles within the game. The formal induction will take place next year during the 2024 season launch. Six players who reached 300 games also qualify by rule. They are: Luke Breust, Dustin Martin, Luke Parker, Isaac Smith, Callan Ward, and Jack Ziebell.
Just ahead of round 21, Tiger champion Trent Cotchin and Geelong champion Issac Smith announced their retirements. In speaking to his teammates, Cotchin reflected on the “authentic human connection” and “love” he had experienced during his career. Cotchin then said, “I am going to miss with all my heart the relationships, memories and experiences ... I accept reality ... My body is somewhat slowing down and is older than it once was. I found my life purpose at Richmond. I look to the future ... because of what I found here at Richmond and what Richmond people taught me ... creating an environment to help other realize and fulfill their potential not only inspired me but helped me to overcome my own fears ... I have always given my best and left no stone unturned ... ".
The Fremantle Dockers have re-energized their season with their third consecutive victory to sit just outside of the top eight. The Geelong Cats were beaten by the Richmond Tigers last week and were determined to return to their best. However, with a number of players unavailable through injury, the Cats found the pressure on the ball and the run of the Fremantle Dockers too much to handle. With the afternoon temperature nudging 79 °F, the big Cats lacked the fitness and stamina to stay with the young Dockers.
It was a cool but sunny spring day at the MCG which saw 100,042 spectators pack the MCG to watch the Geelong versus Sydney Grand Final for the 2022 premiership. With all the pre-match entertainment and the Australian National Anthem out of the way, the two sides went to battle. From the start it was Geelong who dominated the center clearances and the contested ball. Tom Hawkins was the first to score when he got on the end of a Zach Tuohy pass in the pocket, but his kicked drifted wide for a behind. His continual signature work in the ruck brought the first two goals of the game as he used his body to gain position and snap the ball through the goals on both sides of the goal mouth.
Despite the Cat's early dominance, it looked like some balance had been restored when will Hayward kicked the first for the Swans. But it looked anything but balanced as Geelong kicked the next three goals one to Blicavs and two in a row to Isaac Smith. While the Swans desperately tried to find a chain of possession, they were continually out marked across the ground. When Close kicked Geelong's sixth goal late in the quarter, it was not just the score but the Cat's dominance in every area that suggested this game may already be won. If not for four behinds in the last six minutes of the quarter,, there would have been no doubt.
The free agency period began at the end of October and ran through the first week of November. The first day was a busy one with five players heading to other clubs. The breakdown on the first day:
Richmond Tigers vs Hawthorn Hawks (MCG)
State of Play:
This game has all the makings of an absolute classic. On one hand you have Richmond, the reigning premier coming into the game riding a 21-game winning streak at the MCG. On the other you have Hawthorn, the form team of the competition boasting a massive total of 265 games of finals experience (the Tigers have just 114).
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.