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A Fond Farewell To Eddie Betts

Eddie Shoots for Goal

Eddie Betts played his 350th and final game in Round 23. It came after several weeks of discussions between him and the club with the club saying they would not be offering him a new contract. The announcement was made ahead of the final game of the year to give fans a chance to celebrate an amazing career and farewell (arguably) the most likable player and person to grace the game.

Betts was selected in the 2004 Preseason Draft and debuted in 2005. With his innate ability to kick impossible goals and create something out of nothing, he quickly became a fan favorite. He will go down in league history as one of the best - if not the best - small forward.

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Milestone Game Murphy's Swan Song

Murphy Kicks a Goal

Veteran Carlton midfielder Marc Murphy will play his 300th and final game against Port Adelaide in Round 22. Murphy, 34, made the announcement just after Round 21 concluded. Murphy said, "It has been an up-and-down 16 years. I would have loved to have won a premiership and had some success ... but unfortunately, it's not part of my story. I know there's a lot of (future) premiership players ... at this footy club and I'll be watching as a supporter and lapping it up pretty soon hopefully."

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The Passing Of A Carlton Legend

Just as Round 18 was getting underway, Carlton announced the passing of Sergio Silvagni, aged 83. He is the father of club legend Steve Silvagni - aka SOS - and the grandfather of current player Jack. Steve's son. Ben Silvagni, was also drafted in 2018 but never played a senior debut and was delisted at the end of 2020.

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Blues Blow Away Bombers After Slow Start

Hooker Battles Cox (2019)

It was a warm sunny day at the MCG, with the late 3.20 PMM start meaning that most of the game would be played in the shadows of the stands. Coming into this match Essendon were 14th and Carlton were 15th on the AFL ladder.  A solid crowd of 57,447 witnessed the match. Anthony McDonald Tipungwuti kicked the opening goal of the match as Essendon looked slick early.

Mitch McGovern and Sam Walsh kicked the next two goals to show the Blues fans they were up for the fight and much of the quarter it was an even competition.  But Essendon got their running game happening and Cale Hooker evened things up on the scoreboard.  With Essendon on the rampage, it took a big mark by Eddie Betts in the goal square to keep the Blues in it. He landed heavily with the ball and limped back to kick the goal.

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Return Of Kade Simpson

Simpson Tackles Magpie Greenwood

Carlton legend Kade Simpson has decided he wants to return to AFL football. Simpson, who turns 37 in May, was not offered a new contract by the Blues and, according to the 2020 AFL Record Season Guide he "retired". He has been out of the game for a little over six months but said he wants to return after watching the opening rounds of the 2021 season. Simpson, who played 342 games across fifteen seasons, spoke on a podcast hosted by former teammate Dylan Buckley (Dyl and Friends), and said, "I still wish I was playing, like 100 percent. Even now, for some stupid reason, I still run and flog myself. In the back of my head, I’m like, just imagine if someone now with the mid-season draft and all that sort of stuff. I’m pretty fit still. If someone did "come knocking, I’m ready. I wouldn’t be like ‘oh f--k I haven’t done a thing for six months’. I’m still fit."

Under AFL rules, a player must be retired for a year to be eligible for the midseason draft, but he could be eligible since it seems he was

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Activist Wants Club Melody Changed

Carlton FC - Wikimedia

Carlton's team song has come under fire from an indigenous activist. Dr Stephen Hagan, who campaigned successfully to have the name of a cheese brand changed from "Coon", has criticized the song because of its original lyrics which he has labeled as racist. He has urged the club to change the melody. 

The melody is taken from the 19th-century song "Lily of Laguna" with the lyrics concerning a black man in love with a Native American. The song was often performed in blackface makeup. Hagan describes the tune as “one of the most racist songs of all time”. In an interview, Hagan said he was shocked to learn from the Carlton club that past and present indigenous players supported the song, saying that the lyrics written for the team had “effectively removed the original song’s racist connotations”. Of this attitude, he said, “I’m absolutely shocked they would defend the racist theme song music rather than fight against the clearly racist origins of the melody. It doesn’t make the song any less racist that a couple of Aboriginal players who are very loyal to the club defend it.

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12 Added Via SSP, Scully Retires

Scully Handballs Under Pressure

The AFL Supplementary Selection Period (SSP) ended on March 9 with eight clubs selecting 12 players. Several had been delisted by other clubs and were invited to train with other clubs in the hope of being selected. Below are the clubs and their selections.

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Bruce McAveney Steps Away From Footy

By Masoman01 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47352034
Bruce McAvaney

In early March, legendary commentator Bruce McAvaney, who has called everything from footy to the Olympics, announced he was giving up his role as footy commentator with Australia's Channel Seven. Other than a five-year absence between 2002 and 2006 (when Seven lost the TV rights), McAvaney has been there with the free-to-air coverage. He has notched over 1000 games, including 20 Grand Finals; and formed a great partnership with the equally legendary Dennis Cometti (who retired several years ago). Although he is bowing out of football, he will continue with Seven's horse racing carnival and the 2021 Tokyo Olympics - his specialty is track and field.

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2021 AFL Life Members, Jack Titus Award

Defender Taylor's Rare Shot For Goal

The AFL has announced their annual life members and the winners of the Jack Titus Award for service to the game. The life membership awards will officially be presented at the league AGM in March. Nine players and coaches qualified automatically by reaching the total of 300 games as either player or coach, including preseason games and international rules.

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2020 Preseason and Rookie Draft

Goldsack Tackles Kennedy

The preseason and rookie drafts were held about a week after the National Draft. The rookie list was primarily used to officially relist senior players as rookies. They included Grant Birchall (Brisbane), Sam Reid (GWS Giants), Marty Gleeson (Essendon), Dylan Clarke (Essendon), Roarke Smith (Western Bulldogs), Daniel Venables (West Coast) and Bailey Banfield (Fremantle).

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