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2023 Midseason Rookie Draft

Narkle Breaks a Tackle (file photo)

The mid-season draft was held at the end of May with clubs allowed to fill out their lists provided they had open spots available. Often these are players who were either overlooked in the regular drafts or they are "mature-age" players who perhaps weren't ready to be drafted at 18 or 19 years old.

The number of the pick precedes the name of the player selected and the current club of the player follows their name. Two rounds were held but not all clubs had picks in either round. Carlton, Gold Coast, Adelaide, St Kilda, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Collingwood didn’t participate in the draft as they didn’t have any available list places. GWS had selections 5 and 14 but passed on both. Clubs are listed in alphabetic order.

ESSENDON

(9) JAIDEN HUNTER (Perth, WAFL), 21, 190cm (6'1"), 93kg (204 lbs), tall forward
Has been eligible for the draft for the past few years with several clubs showing interest. Came back from a recent injury to kick 11 goals in his past three games

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Hawthorn Investigation Ends

Alastair Clarkson (file photo)

The AFL has dismissed the independent panel which was formed to investigate the racism allegations against Hawthorn, former coach Alastair Clarkson, former assistant coach Chris Fagan, and welfare officer Jason Burt. The conclusion, called "imperfect" by AFL CEO Gil McLachlan, was that none of the three had anything to answer for.

All three have denied the allegations since the outset. The complainants, who initially supported the probe, no longer wish to take part in the independent investigation and they won't pursue any further legal action against the AFL. Although the panel has been disbanded, it does not preclude the league bringing future charges against the club. McLachlan said the AFL would move as quickly as possible to finalize whether any charges would be levelled against Hawthorn.

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Clarkson Takes Leave From North

Clarkson at Hawthorn (file photo)

Alastair Clarkson has temporarily stepped down from his coaching role at North Melbourne. There were unconfirmed reports that he was acting erratically in the lead up to his decision. The final straw was a withering half-time address to the North players during the Round Nine match against Port Adelaide. Reportedly, even a chair was thrown against a wall.

During a recent conference, Clarkson was very critical of his former club Hawthorn and the AFL over the racism investigations and the lack of progress being made. He called for Hawthorn to be investigated for the club's "shameful" handling of its report and said that reputations had been "scarred" as a result of the long-running process. He said the game was a "victim" of the ongoing independent investigation, which was commissioned by the AFL in October.

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Docker Pressure Downs Hawks

Brayshaw snaps (file picture)

The Fremantle Dockers returned to winning form by harassing and pressuring the Hawthorn Hawks with four quarters of attacking football. The Dockers returned to their game style of 2022; utilizing pressure around the ball, quick handpasses, running through the central corridor and direct transitions into attack, to record their highest score since Round 1, 2019. The Hawks matched the Dockers in the midfield for three quarters but fell down with poor delivery up forward. Most of the Hawthorn errors were a direct result of Fremantle's pressure on the ball, but even when the Hawks did find space they still made fundamental mistakes to allow the Docker defenders to regain the ball.

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AFL Facing Concussion Class Action Lawsuit

Picken Kicks a Goal (file photo)

In mid-March, Melbourne law firm Margalit Injury Lawyers filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of over 60 former players, seeking compensation for the concussions they suffered during their careers and the resultant post-concussion issues they have suffered since. The players include former premiership player Max Rooke (Geelong), Shaun Smith (Melbourne), Liam Picken (Western Bulldogs) and Darren Jarman (Adelaide and Hawthorn). The widow of the late Shane Tuck has also signed on in the suit. Smith previously won a million dollar plus insurance payout due the concussions he suffered.

Outside the court, the firm's leading lawyer Michel Margalit said the firm was seeking about AUD$ 2 million (US$1.35 million) plus medical expenses per player. Margalit said it could cost the AFL close to 1 billion $AUD (US$666 million).She said it was not about "bringing down the AFL", but getting the compensation for the players, Rooke played 135 games for the Cats 2001-2010 and is the lead plaintiff. He, like many of the others sustained permanent and life-altering injuries as a result of concussion-related injuries and because of the AFL’s negligence. Margalit said, “Their careers are finished and years later they find these concussion-related injuries creeping in and affecting their ability to work, their ability to have a happy family life."

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2023 AFL Life Memberships

Cotchin Leads the Team

The AFL will be holding their annual Life Membership and Jack Titus Award ceremony in early March. There are eight new inductees for their services to the game. Five inductees automatically qualified having reached 300 total AFL games: Trent Cotchin, Todd Goldstein, Josh J. Kennedy, Paddy Ryder and Steele Sidebottom. Lisa Hardeman, Bruce McAvaney and Eddie McGuire were awarded life membership for their ‘Special Services to the Game’. Peter Haby was awarded the Jack Titus Service Award for outstanding service to football as the Hawthorn Football Club Historian and Museum Curator. The AFL Commission confirmed their awards at a meeting late last year.

THE INDUCTEES

TRENT COTCHIN

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Hawthorn Investigation Update

Alastair Clarkson

Despite the fact that the AFL has appointed an independent panel to investigate the racism allegation against Hawthorn, the indigenous families involved are still wary of participating in the investigations. Some of the families involved wrote an open letter to the AFL, requesting the league admit its failings in dealing with the issue of racism. The allegations focus on a period between 2008 and 2016. The letter continued, "We have decided to participate in the AFL Independent Investigation on the basis that the AFL is also committed to independently look at its own failings, and promises to all First Nations families it will do better as a result ... the issue of racism in the AFL cannot be dealt with by a narrowly targeted investigation on a club-by-club, or crisis-by-crisis, basis. We want the AFL to take a good hard look at itself and how it has dealt with racism in the past. Not because we want to trawl over 100 years of neglect, or conduct a witch-hunt or to bring legal claims, but because we want the AFL to be a safer place for our children."

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Hawthorn Panel Appointed

Bernard Quinn KC Chairman Hawthon commission
Bernard Quinn KC
(Courtesy listgbarristers.com.au)

In early October, the AFL finally appointed their four person panel to investigate the racism allegations against Hawthorn, the then coach Alastair Clarkson and assistant Chris Fagan. Attorney Bernard Quinn, KC [King's Counsel], will head the panel and be joined by experienced barristers Jacqualyn Turfrey, Julie Buxton, and Tim Goodwin. Quinn has experience in commercial, public law and product liability law and extensive experience with class action suits. He was involved with the investigations in the Black Saturday bush fires. He also served as an associate to a justice in the High Court.

Jacqualyn Turfrey, Barrister, has extensive experience in multiple areas in commercial law and criminal law. She also worked in family and children's courts. She is an accredited mediator with experience in workplace disputes, community disputes, commercial disputes, and children's matters.  Ms Turfrey is a proud Palawa woman (Tasmania). Tim Goodwin, Barrister, specializes in commercial and public law with experience across commercial law, administrative law, government advice work, regulatory actions, and native title and land rights work.  He has experience in federal court and serves on a number of boards including the Human Rights Law Center.  He is a member of the Yuin people of the South East Coast of New South Wales.

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Hawthorn Victims Don't Trust AFL

AFL logo

After the racism allegations against Alastair Clarkson and Chris Fagan became public, the AFL said a four member panel would be appointed to investigate further. However, those allegedly affected by the alleged abuse said they were leery of giving their stories again to the AFL because of the way such issues have been handled in the past, or not handled at all. Age reporter Caroline Wilson said, “There’s genuine despair ... that it’s taken over a week already, and ... the aggrieved families who gave evidence in the Phillip Egan review (the Hawthorn club review which started it all) ... were still not over the line as agreeing to the process. They ... have been saying they want an independent judicial enquiry ... these people gave their evidence, are unwilling to do so again in an environment they don’t trust.”

Both Clarkson and Fagan have denied the allegations, with Clarkson saying he was never interviewed at the time of the initial review. Fagan has said he will cooperate with the new round of investigations. Both coaches are believed to have hired attorneys.

Source: sen.com.au, news.com.au

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Racism Scandal Explodes at Hawthorn

Alastair Clarkson (front) (file photo)

Newly appointed North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson and Brisbane Coach Chris Fagan have become embroiled in very serious allegations stemming from their time together at Hawthorn. It began with an external review commissioned by the club to better understand the indigenous people, referred to as First Nations players, and their experiences at the club. The review led to the allegations being made and the club referring everything to the AFL Integrity Unit. Several of the involved players were interviewed and their stories - and those of their partners, paint a completely different picture of the "family club". The story was made public by the ABC which brought to light the treatment of the young players at the hands of the coaches and club officials.

Three players and their partners told their stories but had their names changed for the publication. The families allege that players were told to part ways with their partners, even though the women were pregnant, were forced to move out of their homes. Their partners were allegedly told to terminate unborn children. The families say the players had the SIM cards removed from their phones to further separate them from family. Essentially, they were told football came first and that was to be their primary focus. In many cases, they were bullied into choosing the club and those involved had no compassion for the players or their families. [Ed. note: the ABC has stated that Clarkson and Fagan were given multiple opportunities to respond before the allegations were made public.]

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