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Blues Add Two and Sandy Roberts Retires

Docherty (15) goes for the ball

First SSP Signings

The Blues have become the first club to sign replacement players under the recently introduced SSP (pre-season supplemental selection period) rule. With another season ending knee injury to defender Sam Docherty and the unexpected retirement of Tom Bugg, the Blues had two places open on their list. VFL star Michael Gibbons and Dandenong winger Matthew Cottrell, who have been training with the club, have been signed as rookies.

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AFLX Experiment Continues

AFLX Field Layout. Image courtesy of AFL

The AFL will continue its experiment with its radically shortened version of the game, AFLX, in a round-robin tournament at Marvel Stadium on Friday, February 22nd. The competition will climax with a final between the top two teams.

It’s AFL, but not as we know it...

The game format is intended to showcase the fast and furious aspects of Australian football, but played on a rectangular field similar to a soccer or American football field. The playing area is just 110 meters (120 yards) in length. There is a 10-meter "launching zone" in the middle of the ground and a 15-meter "forward zone" at each end of the field. The resemblance to AFL is maintained by using standard AFL goal posts.

Each team has fourteen players with only eight of their players permitted on the field at any one time, while the rest sit on the interchange bench. There are no limits on the number of interchanges or substitutions permitted. The game is played in two ten minute halves with no time on added for delays or stoppages.

Play starts with the umpire throwing the ball up in the center of the ground.

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Business Before Boots

Tomas Bugg

Carlton recruit Tom Bugg has put his burgeoning business ahead of his footy career, announcing his retirement. Bugg, 25, began his career with the Melbourne Demons in 2012 but was later traded to GWS. He played a total of 96 games for the two clubs. Cut by GWS, he was given a lifeline with Carlton in last November's rookie draft.

Bugg posted on Carlton's website, “My life ...  has changed in a very short period of time which has been the reason behind this tough decision ... The players and staff ... have been so welcoming and supportive ... Everyone is working incredibly hard to take the club back to where it needs to be, you see that every day when you walk through the door.

Bugg has a social media and "influencer" agency to which he wants to devote more time.

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AFL Life Membership

Pendlebury Halts Hawk McEvoy

In mid-January, the AFL presented their annual life memberships to eight recipients. Five players and umpires were automatic recipients for having reached 300 games during the 2018 season: Ray Chamberlain, Lance Franklin, David Mundy, Scott Pendlebury and Heath Shaw. The other three were North Melbourne Team of the Century member and former North Melbourne CEO John Dugdale for Special Service to the Game, Richmond Team of the Century member and long-time Essendon Recruiting Manager Merv Keane, and SANFL Hall of Fame Inductee and Life Member Wally Miller.

Bill Hector was awarded the Jack Titus Service Award for outstanding service to football, for his 50 years’ service to the Western Bulldogs in various roles starting as a Timekeeper in 1969 to most recently being the Club’s Senior Doorman.

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New Rules For 2019

Several months ago, the AFL announced new rule changes for 2019. Perhaps the most welcome change - for defenders at least - is the elimination of the hands in the back rule. No longer will a free kick be awarded to a player who simply places his hands on the back of his opponent. A push will still be penalized.

After a point is scored, players will now be allowed to run through the goal square and take off without having to kick the ball to themselves. They will also be allowed to handball the ball out from a behind instead of being restricted to just kicking it to themselves in the goal square or to a teammate. The opposition player standing at "the mark" in front of the goal square will be positioned 10 meters (11 yards) from the edge of the square rather than the previous five meters.

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Lucky Few Find New Clubs

Tom Campbell contested by opposition

Several players previously delisted and not selected in the recent drafts have found new homes under the newly created supplemental selection period (SSP). The SSP period runs from December 1 to March 15, allowing clubs to sign delisted or retired players as replacements for players on their lists who suffer season or career ending injuries.

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AFANA Needs Your Urgent Support - Will You Contribute?

You can help AFANA! We urgently need your financial support. Funds are running low.

AFANA is now in its 23rd year. One of the things we are forced to do periodically is to ask you for your financial support.  We need your support because we do this for fans but do so without the financial support of the AFL or other footy organizations. Please step up and help us in our efforts to continue to keep you informed about AFL coverage. If you benefit from the news and TV schedules we publish, or the assistance we give fans learning the sport or with coverage problems, please consider donating, as without it we can’t continue. (If you are among those who have already donated, please seek out another fan of the sport and encourage them to support us!)

Donate to AFANA and support footy in North America!

(Please note:  if you supported us recently, we thank you for your contribution!  We look forward to your future support. You do not need to join PayPal to use this link. Just use the donate "With a Debit or Credit Card link" in the lower half of the PayPal page. Donations of any amount accepted, and we love on-going monthly donations. )

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2018 AFL Draft and Rookie Draft

The AFL draft was held over our Thanksgiving weekend. During the trade period, many clubs swapped draft picks to improve their positioning in the draft selection order. They were again allowed to do so at the draft ahead of making their player selections.

On to the selections, both for the main draft and rookie draft. It is club by club in alphabetical order. The number in front is the draft pick, followed by the player name, (club of origin), age, height, weight and position, followed by a brief profile. There was no preseason draft as all clubs advised the AFL they would not participate.

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Second Chance For Overlooked Players

Mason Cox tackles Zac Clarke

The AFL has introduced a new signing period for players overlooked in the draft and rookie draft. One is the supplemental selection period (SSP) between December 1 and March 15, after all the drafts are over. The SSP is for state league players who miss out on the draft as well as players recently delisted by their clubs. To be eligible, players must have previously nominated for the national draft or previously been on an AFL club list.  

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Final List Changes Before Draft

Townsend Surrounded By Cats

Just before the AFL deadline of October 31 for club list submissions, nine clubs delisted players. Several clubs also signed delisted free agents.

Hawthorn delisted Will Langford, Brendan Whitecross and Kieran Lovell. Langford played 72 games for the Hawks including the 2014 premiership but managed only six games in 2018. Whitecross, a life member of the Hawks, played 111 games since 2007 in an injury-plagued career. He did play in VFL team Box Hill's 2018 premiership team.

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