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Swans Retain Top Spot

Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Patersons Stadium, Perth

At the end of the last round, Sydney Swans found themselves on top of the AFL Ladder by what looked like a feat of legerdemain. Throughout the season the Swans have quietly crept up the table under the radar of their opponents and must now be seen as serious Grand Final contenders. The West Coast Eagles were below them in second position prior to the round but needed to win this important match up to stay in touch for the all-important double chance in the Finals.

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Round 14 Milestones

Peter (241 games) and Shaun (210) Burgoyne became the 12th pair of brothers in League history to reach a combined total of 450 games. The leaders are: Madden (710 games - Simon 378, Justin 332), Nankervis (578 - Ian 325, Bruce 253), Coventry (533 - Syd 227, Gordon 306), Richardson (518 - Wayne 277, Max 241), Wakelin (513 - Darryl 252, Shane 261), Rocca (499 - Saverio 257, Anthony 242), Matthews (487 - Leigh 332, Kelvin 155), Cornes (483 - Chad 248, Kane 235), Hocking (473 - Stephen199, Garry 274), Collier (470 - Harry 253, Albert 217), Voss (459 - Michael 289, Brett 170), and the Burgoynes.

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Unbeaten Eagles

Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Patersons Stadium, Perth

West Coast remains the only unbeaten team at the end of Round 6 after overcoming a gutsy challenge from a determined North Melbourne side. Just before the game it was announced that Eagles’ excitement machine Nic Naitanui had withdrawn and this sent a ripple of unease through supporters. He was replaced by second gamer, Scott Lycett. Kangaroos ruckman Todd Goldstein was also missing so each team would be exposed in the ruck competitions. In a first for the Eagles, Jacob Brennan (son of club great and Premiership player and vice-captain Michael Brennan) was playing his making his debut, the first father/son combination in Eagles’ history.

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Eagles Class Prevails

Despite injuries to top talent including Mark LeCras and Andrew Embley, the West Coast Eagles remained at the top of the Ladder as they flew into Melbourne to take on the improving Richmond Tigers. The bookmakers had installed the visiting Eagles as solid favorites, however a quick look at the recent results between the two teams at Etihad Stadium showed the Tigers with a 3-0 advantage. For Richmond it was a chance to notch a win against top class opposition – something it had threatened to do all season without being able to close the deal. For the Eagles it was a perfect opportunity to consolidate a Top Two position on the Ladder and a springboard to the Finals.

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Demon Demolition

Melbourne has had a tough time against the West Coast Eagles over the years, particularly when traveling to their fortress, Patersons Stadium, winning only eight times in the last 28 matches. The Demons were trounced last week in an emotional game after the passing of their club President and playing hero Jim Stynes. Today was another serving of the same medicine as the Eagles went all out to crush their spirit.

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Eagles Hit Finals Form Against Crows

West Coast has lost only one game of its last 12 and continues to be the surprise package of the 2012 home and away season. The Adelaide Crows have been struggling and faced their worst finish in the club’s history with only seven wins. Rain bucketed down as the game got under way and whilst this was a blessing to a dry and parched Western Australia, it made for slippery, wet conditions at the football.

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Kangaroos By A Whisker

North Melbourne entered their Round 21 game against West Coast knowing their chances of playing Finals had slipped away the day before when Hawthorn trounced their opponents to take a hold on eighth position. As for the Eagles, their only motivation was to give themselves a chance of getting off the bottom of the Ladder.

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Round 19 Tribunal

Brent Guerra took his case to the Tribunal to challenge the reckless classification and succeeded. Guerra and his advocate argued that he heard the umpire call "advantage" (which allows a player of the infringed team to play on when they are in possession of the ball so as not to disadvantage them by stopping play for a free kick) after his tackle on Malceski, but that he did not hear the umpire's whistle to stop play for a 50 meter (55 yards) penalty. He and his advocate convinced the panel to listen to audio of the match commentary which aided Guerra's case.

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Round 18 Tribunal

Hawthorn took Cyril Rioli's case to the Tribunal in an effort to have one of the charges dismissed. They were contesting the charge of attempting to strike as the incident occurred during a brawl which saw nine players, including Rioli, fined. Rioli accepted the fine as well as the charge of striking and later admitted that frustration led to his brain fade. He said he would take responsibility for his actions but did not testify.

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Crows Fly Higher

Four weeks ago the Adelaide Crows and the West Coast Eagles were both near the bottom of the table looking at the Wooden Spoon. What a difference a month makes. Since then Adelaide had won their last three games and climbed slowly up the ladder while the Eagles had slipped to last place. On a wintry Perth day Adelaide had the chance to win four on the trot and virtually cement the Eagles in bottom position.

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