Just as Round Seven was concluded, the footy community was mourning the death of game and Geelong icon Frank Costa. Costa, 83. succumbed to cancer. Costa, a successful businessman in the fruit and vegetable industry, assumed the presidency of Geelong in 1998 when the club was virtually on its knees - badly in debt and without any finals success in decades. Under his leadership, the debt was all but erased, the club became a dominant powerhouse and again tasted premiership success in 2007 and 2009. When he stepped down and handed the reins over to Colin Carter in 2010, the club was in a very strong position both on and off the field, going on to win the 2011 premiership. He is also responsible for bringing in current CEO Brian Cook and former coach Mark Thompson. At one point the trio made a pact that they would remain until the Cats won a premiership. Under his guidance, the club's home ground - GMBHA Stadium - was revitalized, upgraded, and expanded.
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 Power Poll returns after a few weeks hiatus as Boris was on assignment for another media outlet.
1. Greater Western Sydney Giants (Last Time - 2)
Some might point to a narrow victory at home over Collingwood and say the Giants were lucky. Deeper examination shows a team that played two players short for most of the game and three players short for the final quarter who found a way to win. A long injury list hasn’t stopped the Giants from winning. Expect a lot more.
by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
To paraphrase the introduction to old TV show The Naked City, there are many stories in finals history, these are a few. Every player and team strive for the ultimate prize of a premiership. Over the years, there have been many players whose teams get to the Finals or a Grand Final, but they are absent either through injury, poor form, suspension or simply being excluded from selection. These are some of those stories. [Ed. note: A "tragic" is someone for whom luck does not fall on their side and in this case, a perhaps once in a career opportunity is missed.]
So, who wins it all? In what looks to be the most open finals series for some time, you could mount a solid argument for six teams that could potentially take out the 2016 premiership. Read on for my take on who can win the Aussie rules championship in 2016 and why – and my pick for the two teams that will meet in the biggest AFL match of the year on October 1st.
I’ll start in reverse order of regular season finish, from eighth to top spot.
The Greater Western Sydney Giants have destroyed finals aspirants Port Power in a dominant display at Manuka Oval on Sunday afternoon in Canberra.
In downing the Power by a whopping 86 points the Giants set a number of club records including registering their highest score and biggest winning margin in their short history.
by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
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. 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.
Despite some atrocious kicking on goal, the West Coast Eagles overran a determined Geelong Cats in Round 9. It was a close game until the fourth quarter when West Coast players finally found their kicking radar and took the Cats apart. The game was evenly matched for much of the first half with Geelong getting out to an early lead with a couple of quick goals. One was a gift when the West Coast runner ran too close to Tom Hawkins giving away a 50 meter penalty right in front of goals. Steve Johnson slotted a clever goal from the left pocket and Jordan Murdoch was lively in Geelong’s forward line kicking two of his own. The Eagles' Josh Kennedy kicked two in the first quarter to keep the game even.