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Cats Bounce Back to Defeat Eagles

Blicavs and Naitanui Compete

In a Friday night (Melbourne time) Semi-Final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Geelong Cats picked themselves up from their previous week's loss to the Collingwood Magpies, to keep their finals hopes alive and defeat the reigning Premiers, the West Coast Eagles. The Cats had been under intense media scrutiny all week, as many pundits predicted the Cats would again drop out of the finals series with two straight losses. The Eagles too had their own mid-week drama to deal with, as small forward Willie Rioli was handed a provisional suspension for interfering with a urine test administered by the Australian Sports Anti-doping Authority.

The Cats opened the game with a burst of goals. Their plan was clear. Run the ball through the middle of the ground, using handpassing and accurate kicking to catch the Eagle intercept markers [mark = catch] out of position. After nine minutes of play the Cats had booted three goals, keeping West Coast scoreless. Geelong's Captain Joel Selwood continually put his body on the line and midfielders Tim Kelly and Cameron Guthrie used their pace and ball skills to break the Eagles defensive lines. The Eagles abandoned their zone defense structure and played a man-on-man defense,

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Don Pyke Quits Adelaide

Don Pyke Coaching

Adelaide Coach Don Pyke tendered his resignation with two years remaining on his contract. Once the season concluded, the club embarked on an extensive review of their on and off field operations, a review which is still ongoing. However, the club and Pyke both said his departure had nothing to do with the review and was his decision following talks with club officials and his family. He had been considering stepping down for a week.

Pyke, at a press conference said with a prepared statement, "When the side is performing as it is, I recognize that ... I'm part of the problem ... The real question I've grappled with in the last couple of weeks ... 'Am I also part of the solution?'

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Danny Frawley Dies in Accident

Danny Frawley (cr: Wikimedia)

The Australian football world is in mourning once more with the sad news that former player and coach and current media personality Danny "Spud" Frawley was killed Monday afternoon in a car crash. He was driving alone when his car hit a tree just east of his hometown of Ballarat (72 miles northwest of Melbourne). Frawley, who had  just turned 56 on Sunday, was a much-loved personality in the football world, the media and the broader community. Several years ago, he opened up about his struggles with depression and worked in the community to urge others to seek help. He co-hosted a show on SEN Radio entitled No Man Should Ever Walk Alone which addressed men's mental health issues and advised callers where they could go for help for themselves or loved ones.

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Ratten Gets Saints Gig

Brett Ratten in His Carlton Days

Just as the finals were set to commence, St Kilda confirmed the appointment of Brett Ratten as senior coach. In the last six games of the season the Saints won three under the coaching of Ratten. Ratten is the third and final "caretaker" coach of the season to be appointed after Rhyce Shaw at North Melbourne and David Teague at Carlton. 

St Kilda President Andrew Bassat said Ratten had impressed the selection panel at every stage of the recruitment process, “We were able to evaluate Brett across six weeks ...

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Flying Eagles Knock Out Bombers

Naitanui Marks

The West Coast Eagles knocked the Essendon Bombers out of the finals series in an emphatic fashion. Having defeated the Fremantle Dockers at the same ground, and seen the Hawthorn Hawks defeat the Eagles at Optus, the Bombers gave themselves a real chance against the reigning Premiers. The Essendon game plan was simple. Run the ball through the middle of the ground to expose West Coast's lack of pace in that area; and then keep the ball low into attack to avoid high marking defenders, Jeremy McGovern and Tom Barrass.

Essendon's first goal, after two minutes of play, went to plan. Michael Hurley intercepted at half forward, a gather from Dyson Heppell and a measured handpass to Andrew McGrath who kicked truly from 48 meters.

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Photo of the Week!

Natanui and Merrett melee.
West Coast v Essendon, Elimination
Final, Optus Stadium. David
Woodley for AFANA.

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