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Cats Bounce Back to Defeat Eagles

Blicavs and Naitanui Compete

In a Friday night (Melbourne time) Semi-Final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Geelong Cats picked themselves up from their previous week's loss to the Collingwood Magpies, to keep their finals hopes alive and defeat the reigning Premiers, the West Coast Eagles. The Cats had been under intense media scrutiny all week, as many pundits predicted the Cats would again drop out of the finals series with two straight losses. The Eagles too had their own mid-week drama to deal with, as small forward Willie Rioli was handed a provisional suspension for interfering with a urine test administered by the Australian Sports Anti-doping Authority.

The Cats opened the game with a burst of goals. Their plan was clear. Run the ball through the middle of the ground, using handpassing and accurate kicking to catch the Eagle intercept markers [mark = catch] out of position. After nine minutes of play the Cats had booted three goals, keeping West Coast scoreless. Geelong's Captain Joel Selwood continually put his body on the line and midfielders Tim Kelly and Cameron Guthrie used their pace and ball skills to break the Eagles defensive lines. The Eagles abandoned their zone defense structure and played a man-on-man defense,

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Don Pyke Quits Adelaide

Don Pyke Coaching

Adelaide Coach Don Pyke tendered his resignation with two years remaining on his contract. Once the season concluded, the club embarked on an extensive review of their on and off field operations, a review which is still ongoing. However, the club and Pyke both said his departure had nothing to do with the review and was his decision following talks with club officials and his family. He had been considering stepping down for a week.

Pyke, at a press conference said with a prepared statement, "When the side is performing as it is, I recognize that ... I'm part of the problem ... The real question I've grappled with in the last couple of weeks ... 'Am I also part of the solution?'

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Danny Frawley Dies in Accident

Danny Frawley (cr: Wikimedia)

The Australian football world is in mourning once more with the sad news that former player and coach and current media personality Danny "Spud" Frawley was killed Monday afternoon in a car crash. He was driving alone when his car hit a tree just east of his hometown of Ballarat (72 miles northwest of Melbourne). Frawley, who had  just turned 56 on Sunday, was a much-loved personality in the football world, the media and the broader community. Several years ago, he opened up about his struggles with depression and worked in the community to urge others to seek help. He co-hosted a show on SEN Radio entitled No Man Should Ever Walk Alone which addressed men's mental health issues and advised callers where they could go for help for themselves or loved ones.

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Ratten Gets Saints Gig

Brett Ratten in His Carlton Days

Just as the finals were set to commence, St Kilda confirmed the appointment of Brett Ratten as senior coach. In the last six games of the season the Saints won three under the coaching of Ratten. Ratten is the third and final "caretaker" coach of the season to be appointed after Rhyce Shaw at North Melbourne and David Teague at Carlton. 

St Kilda President Andrew Bassat said Ratten had impressed the selection panel at every stage of the recruitment process, “We were able to evaluate Brett across six weeks ...

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Flying Eagles Knock Out Bombers

Naitanui Marks

The West Coast Eagles knocked the Essendon Bombers out of the finals series in an emphatic fashion. Having defeated the Fremantle Dockers at the same ground, and seen the Hawthorn Hawks defeat the Eagles at Optus, the Bombers gave themselves a real chance against the reigning Premiers. The Essendon game plan was simple. Run the ball through the middle of the ground to expose West Coast's lack of pace in that area; and then keep the ball low into attack to avoid high marking defenders, Jeremy McGovern and Tom Barrass.

Essendon's first goal, after two minutes of play, went to plan. Michael Hurley intercepted at half forward, a gather from Dyson Heppell and a measured handpass to Andrew McGrath who kicked truly from 48 meters.

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2019 Last Stop for Goldsack and Morris

Dale Morris One Handed Mark

Two long time veterans in Dale Morris and Tyson Goldsack have announced that 2019 is the end of the line. Morris announced his retirement after 15 seasons and 253 games for the Western Bulldogs. He leaves the game as one of the most respected footballers of the modern era; a shining example of perseverance, willpower, skill, determination and sacrifice. His comebacks from multiple injuries - including two knee reconstructions is testament that. In making the announcement in front of teammates and the press, he said, "Everyone who knows me

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AFANA AFL Power Poll - Before Finals

Dustin Martin Tore It Up

After 23 rounds of sensational footy we now have our eight finalists ready to battle it out for the 2019 AFL premiership in a weeks time. The Western Bulldogs smashed their way into the last available finals spot by running out 34 point winners over a disappointing Adelaide Crows in Ballarat on Sunday. Just a couple of hours later, Richmond ended Brisbane’s nine-game winning streak with a 27 point win at the MCG, earning the Tigers a double-chance plus a road trip to Brisbane to once again face the Lions in week one of the finals.

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Jordan Lewis Bids Farewell

Lewis vs Fellow Retiree McVeigh

Former Hawk and current Melbourne Demon Jordan Lewis, 33, has retired. His last game was the Round 23 match. In an unusual move, Hawthorn Coach Alastair Clarkson and Melbourne Coach Simon Goodwin both attended the press conference at which Lewis made his announcement. The idea to have both coaches present was Melbourne's and both coaches were full of praise for the impact Lewis had on their teams.

Goodwin said, "We had the opportunity to bring Jordan to the ... club, you heard what a great person he was,

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Five More Retirements

Michael Rischitelli

Veteran Gold Coast player Michael Rischitelli has retired as has Adelaide veteran Andy Otten, Essendon's David Myers, Alex Fasolo from Carlton, and veteran umpire Shane McInerney.

Rischitelli, 33, was originally drafted by Brisbane in 2003 and played 111 games with the Lions before crossing to Gold Coast to be a member of the inaugural team in 2011. His game tally after Round 23 is 243. During his time with the Lions, he was a Rising Star nominee in 2006 and won the club's best and fairest award in 2010. Rischitelli reflected on his time in the game, “I’ve loved every moment ...it's been an incredible journey ... I’ve experienced some fantastic moments and a couple of extremely tough times, but I’ve enjoyed the ride.

General manager Jon Haines said, “Michael has been a fantastic leader for our young football club,

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Crow and Saint Look for New Homes in 2020

Douglas Kicks Away

The Adelaide Crows told veteran midfielder Richard Douglas that he would not be offered a new contract for 2020. The club even released a statement saying Douglas was going to retire at the end of the season. Saint David Armitage also announced he would be leaving St Kilda and looking for another club in 2020.

Douglas, though, has no intention of retiring if another club wants him. Douglas, 32, is also interested in coaching if he cannot add to his 246 game tally. Douglas said he respected the club's decision, "The club's looking to go down another direction

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