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The AFANA AFL 2016 Finals Preview

Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

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.
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Giants Take Sydney Crown

Brook "Boris" Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

Just 100 games into their existence, the Greater Western Sydney Giants are living up to their name – and the rest of the AFL competition must be seriously concerned. In the battle for Sydney supremacy at Spotless Stadium on Sunday, the Giants dismantled perennial finals contenders the Sydney Swans, ruining the Swans chance to go top of the ladder and giving them plenty to think about as the AFL moves into the second half of the regular season.
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Tigers Dream Finish

Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

To kick the game winning goal after the final siren is every Australian footballer’s dream.Richmond celebrates stunning win. Photo by Kim Densham for AFANA. It’s the equivalent of the walk-off home run in baseball, the three-point winning buzzer-beater in basketball and the overtime goal in the NHL. On Saturday night, Richmond’s Sam Lloyd lived that very dream. In a see-sawing battle at the MCG in front of a small but rabid crowd of 36,014, Lloyd saved Richmond’s flailing season, possibly the job of its coach Damien Hardwick, and certainly gave its loyal fan base a healthy dose of joy in a season that has delivered mostly just heartache. A live audience on Fox Sports 1 watched across the US.
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Kangaroos Make Second Consecutive Preliminary Final

Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Perth

North Melbourne earned a rare distinction in its dissection of the Sydney Swans at ANZ Stadium in the first Semi-Final. The Kangaroos are the only team in League history to make a Preliminary Final from eighth position after making Sydney look all at sea as they ran over them by more than four goals. Sydney never fired a shot in a scrappy and congested game that got away from them and saw some poor decision making by their coach.
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Goodes Leads Latest AFL Departures

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Within the football community, including his teammates and Coach John Longmire, there was speculation that Adam Goodes would retire at the end of the year. And so it came to be after Sydney's season ended at the hands of North Melbourne. There was no fanfare or chairing from the ground as Goodes did not announce his retirement until after the game in the rooms. Goodes was close to quitting mid-season after the widely reported over the top jeering from opposition fans but returned after a week away to see out the season. It is believed he will miss the Grand Final parade and traditional pre-game lap of honor for retiring players due to taking some holiday time. However he will have a chance to farewell the fans at the start of next season.

Although disappointed with the loss and missing out on one more chance at a premiership, Goodes leaves the game having achieved almost all there is to achieve over 372 games. He holds the record for the most games by an indigenous player and is inside the top ten in League history. His work in the community and for indigenous people has also been recognized and commended by many.

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Dockers Win Thriller to Make Preliminary Final

Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium, Perth

Sydney players will be kicking themselves after letting the First Qualifying Final slip out of their grasp against the Fremantle Dockers. The Swans' inaccurate kicking on goal let them down - they kicked 18 points, two of them within minutes of the end of the game where they could have snatched a thrilling victory. Sydney looked the better team at the end of the day and despite letting the Dockers out to a commanding lead, they were always in the hunt, right to the final siren.
Game Over


Fremantle put Sydney on the back foot with four quick goals in the opening term. Small forward Michael Walters booted two of the early goals against a gale force wind favoring Sydney’s end. Sydney players were spraying the ball badly when they kicked on goals and they had six minor scores on the board before Sam Reid finally straightened one up for a goal. Sadly for Reid, it was his last major play in the game as soon after he pulled a hamstring and substitute Zac Jones made an early entry into the match.
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Lance Franklin Out Indefinitely

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Shortly after Round 23 concluded, the Swans announced that Lance Franklin was suffering from, and being treated for, an undisclosed mental health issue.

It was also reported that Franklin had suffered a minor epileptic seizure at a cafe on the Friday morning before Sydney's match against Gold Coast. He was taken to a hospital, treated and released. Although hospital doctors recommended he not play that weekend, Sydney's medical staff cleared him to play.

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Swans Star Goodes Focus of Global Debate

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Adam Goodes has always been a spokesperson for his people, their indigenous heritage and a strong voice against racism. As a result, he has become highly respected off the football field as well as on and was named Australian of the Year in 2014. In 2013, Goodes heard a fan in the crowd call out to him using a racist slur and Goodes turned and pointed her out to security guards who escorted her from the ground. The fan turned out to be a 13 year old girl.

Goodes later met with her and she apologized. He later stated that it wasn't her fault as she, being so young, may not have realized the hurt her taunt caused. In a recent game against Hawthorn, there was a clash with Hawk Josh Gibson. There has also been criticism of Goodes with some accusing him of behind the play sniping and staging for free kicks. On occasions he has been booed with fans claiming these incidents have been the source of their behaviour.

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Tigers Upset Swans in Thriller

Janet Linn reporting for AFANA from Australia

In a Round 13 game played in two distinct halves of football, the Richmond Tigers pulled off a three goal victory over 2014 Grand Finalists the Sydney Swans in a down-to-the-wire thriller at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Franklin Lines Up
The Swans had won their last six games and looked set to run the listless Tigers into the ground before the Tigers found their mojo in the third quarter and produced a scintillating seven goal quarter.

Even before the ball was bounced to start the first quarter, the Swans were showing signs they meant business with Lance (Buddy) Franklin and his opponent Alex Rance
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