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Player Trades

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Mid-October was a busy time for all clubs with the free agency and trade periods commencing. Everything was concluded on the afternoon of October 22.

Under a new rule, the AFL has allowed clubs to trade future draft picks. Each club is allowed to trade just one first round selection and no more than two of these over a four year period. The AFL also created a valuation points system to determine compensation selections for clubs who lose players due to free agency.

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Franklin Joins Swans

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

In the week after the Grand Final, the free agency period began. The biggest move was Hawk Lance Franklin accepting a nine year deal with Sydney, reportedly worth $10 million. There had been speculation for months as to whether or not Franklin would depart Hawthorn. Initially, GWS was interested in Franklin but backed out. Franklin's manager Liam Pickering said Franklin's decision to move from Victoria was partly due to the relentless hounding he received by the media. Pickering said that when Franklin lost his driver's license in 2012, reporters were camped out in front of his home for several weeks.

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International Rookies Signed

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Sydney has added another North American as an international rookie. American Patrick Mitchell, 24 and 6'1, comes from Des Moines and has been playing basketball with the University of North Dakota.

Coach John Longmire said the club was impressed with Mitchell’s athletic capabilities as well as his determination to learn the game. Using Canadian rugby convert Mike Pyke as an example, Longmire said there was potential for players with no AFL background to learn the skills of the game. He believes Mitchell has the attributes to succeed, those being the athleticism required as well as determination to succeed and the willingness to learn and work. Mitchell will arrive in October.

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Swans Clip Eagles

Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Patersons Stadium, Perth

Sydney and West Coast have fought out some epic battles over the years, including two memorable Grand Finals. The Eagles are playing nowhere near their glory days while the Sydney Swans were the 2012 Premiers. It was expected that Sydney would roll right over top of West Coast and they didn’t disappoint their fans.

Although the Eagles got out to a flying start with the first two goals, their big forwards troubling the Swans’ defense, it went downhill from there. Sydney soon reeled them back and went on with it thanks to some inspired play by Jesse White. He made every post a winner in trying to cement his place in the team and was too strong and nimble for the West Coast’s running brigade. In fact the Swans ran the Eagles ragged all over the ground. They were prepared to spread and lead up to the ball when a teammate had it, making the Eagles look sluggish in comparison. Daniel Hannebery exemplified this when he ran the entire length of the ground to receive a pass and convert it to a goal. To paraphrase Yogi Berra, “It was getting late early” for the West Coast players. Although the Swans only led by seven points at the first break, the signs were there that it was only going to get worse for the home team.

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Round Four Milestones

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

2400 games: Collingwood played their 2400th match for premiership points in Round Four, joining the then-VFL as a founding member of the competition in 1897. Collingwood is the first club to reach this mark, with an overall record of 1463 wins through Round Four, 911 losses and 26 draws

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Underdog Swans Claim Premiership Cup

Janet Linn reporting for AFANA from Australia

It was a Grand Final for the ages. A crowd of 99,683 screaming fans was treated to an outstanding contest after a week of talk about the weather potentially spoiling the spectacle. Meteorologists were forecasting bitter cold, strong winds, heavy rain and hail so when the storm clouds held off to provide a windy but otherwise clear afternoon, there were sighs of relief around Australia. Rumors that swirled pre-game about Sydney ruckman Shane Mumford, all-Australian Ted Richards and Hawthorn skipper Luke Hodge under injury clouds also appeared groundless with both teams lining up as expected. In a notable first, goal umpire Chelsea Roffey became the first female and the first Queenslander to officiate at an AFL Grand Final.

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Swans In Finals Masterclass

 Jamie Kloeden reporting for AFANA from AAMI Stadium, Australia

Adelaide was abuzz all week as the hometown Crows returned to the Finals. 2011 was a season to forget so with a young, exciting team that sat second on the ladder at the completion of the minor round, Crows' fans around town saw a chance for some genuine success. The Swans were heading to Adelaide having spent most of the latter part of the season sitting in top spot but a drop down to third gave them the tough task of starting their Finals campaign on the road.

Jarrad McVeigh won the toss for Sydney and chose to kick

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Swans Retain Top Spot

Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Patersons Stadium, Perth

At the end of the last round, Sydney Swans found themselves on top of the AFL Ladder by what looked like a feat of legerdemain. Throughout the season the Swans have quietly crept up the table under the radar of their opponents and must now be seen as serious Grand Final contenders. The West Coast Eagles were below them in second position prior to the round but needed to win this important match up to stay in touch for the all-important double chance in the Finals.

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Sydney Slides Home

Late July and early August is when teams either make or break their seasons. Fremantle had been losing consistently over the last few weeks with the loss of top line players to injury proving telling. Sydney hadn’t fared much better and a win in this contest would consolidate their top eight position and put pressure on Fremantle for a home ground Final.

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International Recruiting Boom

Essendon already had one player from Papua New Guinea on an international scholarship, 17-year old David Meli, who is playing the juniors' TAC competition. Now it is three with the club offering two more international scholarships to Victor Lame and Max Lavai, both 15 years old. The pair spent a week in Melbourne in early May, touring the city, meeting Essendon's senior players and visiting the club's facilities.

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