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Vertigo Grounds Crow and Docker News

Curly Hampton

Adelaide midfielder Curly Hampton has been forced to retire due to vertigo. Hampton, 25, also said all the setbacks he has had over the past eight years caused him to lose his passion for playing. When announcing his decision, he went on to say, "The past few weeks have been particularly hard ... At times, it has been difficult to train and play but it has also affected my life away from football ...  I am confident of making a full recovery but I feel it is best to do that away from the pressures of the AFL industry. This is a good opportunity to focus on the other priorities in my life ... ". He suffered ankle and shoulder injuries in 2014 and a foot injury in 2016. 

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Naitanui Out for a Year and Other Injury News

Naitanui with Willie Rioli

The West Coast Eagles have confirmed that Nic Naitanui has a torn the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on his right knee. His left knee was reconstructed in late 2016 and kept Naitanui out of the competition for all of 2017. American specialist Bill Knowles, who assisted Naitanui with his recovery in Philadelphia last July, has suggested that this second reconstruction could require a longer recovery period. It is expected that Naitanui will undergo reconstruction surgery as soon as the initial swelling subsides. He will miss the rest of this year and most of the 2019 season. The twenty-eight year old has played 160 games for West Coast; he will be nearly 30 when he returns to the game.

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AFANA AFL Power Poll - Round Seventeen

Mundy leads Dockers to upset win

Round seventeen was full of upsets, great finishes and some very big injuries. The Giants resurrected their season with a win over the Tigers, the Eagles rode their big forwards to a classy win over Collingwood, and the Crows celebrated the re-signing of favorite son Rory Sloane by banking a win against the highly fancied Cats.

Biggest loser of the weekend has to go to Port Adelaide, who not only forfeited a chance at second place on the ladder by losing to an undermanned Fremantle,

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Dockers Short Circuit Power in the Wet

Polec under pressure

The Fremantle Dockers took advantage of the wet and slippery conditions at Optus Stadium to defeat Port Adelaide Power by nine points. The win meant little but pride for the Dockers, but it cost the Power a potential second spot on the ladder. As a result of the shock loss, the stunned Power have plummeted to fifth place on the ladder.  The game was not pretty and was made difficult by the combination of rain and swirling winds. With their bigger and more mature bodies the visitors won more contested possessions; but the Dockers had raw hunger and pushed more players to the ball. Port could not initiate their running game as their playmakers were cramped and chased by desperate Docker tacklers.

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Saints Too Good for Midwinter Blues

Jack Steven handballs (from 2017)

On a midwinter’s night in what was effectively a dead rubber, the best that could be hoped for was a close match with some big highlights. Neither brief was filled. Having the roof closed was a small mercy at Etihad Stadium for the 33,780 fans. On form this match would almost certainly be a bankable win to the Saints.  In the end it was so, and no mercy was shown to the Blues on field. St Kilda won the toss and kicked to the Lockett end in what seems like a formality in the windless conditions. Carlton tonight were wearing their dirty grey clash strip with the curious fake pockets on their shorts.

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AFANA Power Poll - Round Sixteen

Thumbs up for top spot on the Power Poll!

After another top notch round of footy, Richmond holds onto top spot on the AFANA Power Poll as a result of its 47 point win over the Adelaide Crows, damaging the Crows chances of returning to finals football in 2018. Collingwood had to fight hard to defeat a determined Essendon, while the Swans stumbled at home against a very impressive Geelong.

Port Adelaide kept in touch with the top two after a comfortable win over Saint Kilda, the Eagles returned to the winners list in the “battle of the decimated forward lines” as they held off the Giants in Perth, and the Hawks solidified their run at the finals with a second half blitz to defeat the Bulldogs. 

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Chronic Knee Forces Bulldog Retirement

Clay Smith Kicks for Goal

Young Bulldog Clay Smith, 25, has been forced to retire due to recurrent knee injuries. He started training on Thursday ahead of Round 16, but came off the track and reportedly was in tears as he knew it was the end. In making the announcement, said, “It was a very difficult decision ... but the right one ... given my knee hasn’t been able to fully recover. I’ve given everything to try to make ... but unfortunately it hasn’t worked out ... ". Smith went on to thank the club and medical staff for all of their support and giving him the opportunity to play AFL football and said "... “While life without footy will leave a big hole in my life, it has shaped me as a person and helped me grow and I’m thankful for that.” Being a part of the Dogs' 2016 premiership, he said despite all the setbacks, he would not change anything about the seven years he spent at the club.

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Eagles Stop Giant Surge

McGovern rises above Davis

The West Coast Eagles won a Sunday thriller to end their run of losses and halt the Greater Western Sydney Giants’ surge towards the finals. The Giants threw everything they had at the Eagles and it was only their inaccuracy in front of goals that cost them the game. Both teams were missing key personnel in their respective forward areas, but the Eagles manufactured goals when needed, and the Giants were off line at key moments.

The game was played at a fierce pace with both teams moving the ball quickly with handball and long kicks into forward lines. West Coast’s Nic Naitanui dominated the Giants’ journeyman ruckman Dawson Simpson at bouncedowns and throw-ins, allowing the Eagle midfielder’s Andrew Gaff, Luke Shuey, and Jack Redden to gain an advantage in clearances. However, when the ball was kicked long to the Eagle forwards, the tall Giant defenders Sam Taylor, Adam Corr and Phil Davis spoiled the kicks repeatedly.

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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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