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AFANA Finals Preview: Richmond vs Hawthorn

Richmond Tigers vs Hawthorn Hawks (MCG)

State of Play:

This game has all the makings of an absolute classic. On one hand you have Richmond, the reigning premier coming into the game riding a 21-game winning streak at the MCG. On the other you have Hawthorn, the form team of the competition boasting a massive total of 265 games of finals experience (the Tigers have just 114).

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AFANA AFL Power Poll - Round Twenty One

It's been a dark year for the Blues

Twenty one rounds into the AFL season and incredibly the finals and top four races remain wide open and just two weeks to go. A big win to Richmond over the Suns has locked up a top two spot for the reigning premiers while an amazing last gasp win to the Eagles – in almost identical fashion to their final in 2017, and once again over a distraught Port Adelaide – leaves them in great shape to finish in the top two and secure a home final.

A gutsy win to Hawthorn over Geelong has catapulted the Hawks into fourth position on the AFL ladder, in turn sending the Cats crashing out of the eight, while the Giants 14 point win over Adelaide kept them in great shape for a finals double chance while ending the Crows chances of any finals participation in the process.

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Family First For Hawk Star

Rioli Takes a Mark

In June, Hawk star Cyril Rioli was granted indefinite leave by Hawthorn to return to Darwin for family reasons. Just ahead of Round 16, he announced his retirement, effective immediately. He said he had thought about it for the past year and believes he has made the right decision for himself and his family.

In making the announcement, he said,

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AFANA Power Poll - Round Eleven

Boris Kilpatrick, special to AFANA from Australia

Tigers run through banner.

In a quirky scheduling twist this week, round eleven – celebrating Australia’s Indigenous heritage - saw the top eight teams pitted against the bottom eight, giving the top teams the chance to stretch their advantage while those struggling had the opportunity to make up some ground. Fast forward to Monday, and with all of the games in the books, the top six teams on the AFANA Power Poll all had wins, keeping them at the top of the tree.

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AFANA AFL Power Poll - Round Ten

 

AFL Fremantle v Kangaroos, 2018 Optus Stadium.

Boris Kilpatrick, special to AFANA from Australia

The Eagles are still flying high, the Demons are red hot and the Kangaroos continue to defy the critics. These were the big stories of an enthralling round ten. The Giants once again couldn’t find a way to win while the Tigers, minus two of their playmakers who went off injured early, could. Collingwood won again to keep in touch with the pack while Adelaide had a shocker. 

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Stuart Dew Appointed Suns' Coach

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Former Port Adelaide and Hawthorn premiership player Stuart Dew has been appointed as the new senior coach of the Gold Coast Suns. Dew, 38, won out over Carlton assistant coach John Barker and Collingwood assistant coach Scott Burns. He, like Barker, has completed his Level Four coaching course and won strong reviews throughout the AFL program which was designed to help assistants advance to senior positions. Dew was first interviewed formally by the Suns in mid-September, along with Adam Kingsley (St Kilda), Jade Rawlings (Melbourne) and former Western Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney. He, Barker and Burns made it to the final interview stage.
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Three More Veterans Bow Out

by Lisa Albergp reporting for AFANA from Chicago

 In mid-August, three more veterans announced they would be retiring at the end of the year - Bulldog Robert Murphy, Hawk Josh Gibson and Cat turned Bomber James Kelly. Murphy joins teammate and fellow 300-gamer Matthew Boyd in retiring.

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AFANA AFL Power Poll Round 18

By Boris Kilpatrick, special to AFANA from Australia

The big winners in Round 18 were the Adelaide Crows and the Sydney Swans. The Crows win over second placed Geelong in Adelaide gives them a six-point buffer at the head of the table, providing a great chance at finishing in first at the end of the minor round with the bonus of home finals. For the Swans, their big win over the Saints has them sitting 6th as the best performed team in the last two months.

The big loser over the weekend was the West Coast Eagles, whose final quarter capitulation against an undermanned Collingwood dropped them out of the top eight, leaving them with an uphill battle ahead to work their way back into finals contention.

1.    Adelaide Crows (Last time - 1)
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Hawks Create History with Third Consecutive Premiership

Janet Linn reporting for AFANA from Australia

Captain Hodge and defender Josh Gibson share the love with the fans after defeating West Coast eagles in the AFL Grand Final. Photo by Kim Densham for AFANA.While it was the hottest Grand Final in history with the mercury hitting 31.3 degrees Celsius (88.3 Fahrenheit), the much anticipated “close contest” between Hawthorn and the West Coast did not bring the heat many anticipated and - in the case of West Coast supporters - hoped for. In the end, this Grand Final was not a replay of “David and Goliath”. The Hawks entered the match favorites and they won nearly everything - the coin toss, all the important game statistics, the Premiership Cup, the Norm Smith Medal and the full-blown respect of the Australian football public. The Hawks' players were never challenged in a master class performance of Aussie Rules football. Alastair Clarkson and his coaching staff cemented a well-earned place in history as the Hawks won the “three-peat”, back to back Premierships in 2013 (defeating Fremantle), 2014 (dominating over Sydney) and now in 2015. No doubt West Coast fans are wondering what happened and how their break out season ended so lamely.
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