The AFL held their annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony in late June. This year's inductees were South Australian player Michael Aish. James Bartel, Corey Enright, South Australian Tom Leahy, broadcaster Bruce McAvaney, Sam Mitchell, and Mark Williams. Bartel and Enright were inducted together due to their roles as teammates at Geelong during the Cats' dominant period\d and premiership success (see details below). Former St Kilda champ Nick Riewoldt was also a candidate this year, but will be inducted next year when he and his family return from living in the USA (his wife is an American from Texas). Players are eligible after five years of retirement. Coaches, umpires, administrators, and media representatives are eligible after retirement.
The Saints mauled Hawthorn earlier in the season at the MCG as their midfield and forwards dominated the Hawks. Now late in the season the two teams are not so distant on the ladder at Round 20 and both were outside the top eight prior to this match. Early in the third quarter today the Saints looked poised to repeat the dose, but a late fightback by the Hawks saw them trail by just two goals at the final siren, but still enough to carry the Saints into the top eight.
Played under the closed roof at Marvel, the two teams took a good period to feel each other out. After seven and a half minutes the Saints put the first serious score on the board when Mason Wood outmarked Jiath in the forward pocket and converted the free kick into a goal. But they failed to capitalize on good work of the midfield as King, Membrey and Lienart all missed set shots.
Melbourne started the game without their coach Simon Goodwin, out due to the health and safety protocols. Hawthorn started with goals, to Koschtizke who marked on the lead and two to Breust who played on and snapped truly. Fritsch kicked Melbourne's first twelve minutes into the game after the Demons caught the Hawks out the back of the contest on a turnover. Oliver and Petracca dominated around the ground for the Demons. But the Hawks were able to get some good movement halving the center clearances.
Ward kicked the Hawk's third, but it was Koschtizke who deserved the credit when he backed into the contest preventing Hunt from marking and the spill favoring the goal kicker. The Demons worked their way into the game to be just two points down at quarter time thanks to Petracca hitting Tom McDonald with a short pass for a goal and young Toby Bedford marking and kicking his first goal for the club. The Dees were on the board early but it took a review to determine whether the first one was a goal to Harms or a mark to McDonald. It mattered little to Melbourne as McDonald eventually took the paid mark from point blank range.
Under new coach Sam Mitchell, Hawthorn looked to defy wooden spoon predictions with a first up win over the Kangaroos by 20 points at the MCG. The new look 2022 Hawks kicked long and marked deep in the forward line with Lewis and Gunston the main targets. North Melbourne debuted Horne-Smith and he looks a real prospect but a four goal run by the Hawks either side of the half time break was decisive.
Earlier this month, the Hawks - led by president Jeff Kennett - announced a succession plan which would see club legend Sam Mitchell take over as coach from Clarkson at the conclusion of next season. However, there were reports that neither Clarkson nor Mitchell were happy with the terms of the agreement. Meetings were held following Round 20 involving CEO Justin Reeves and football director Richie Vandenberg, as well as members of the senior leadership group, who communicated the situation wasn't working.
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.