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Saints Outplay Dockers

Hill kicks for Saints

The Saint Kilda Saints celebrated their first win in Perth since 2012, by outplaying and then outgunning the Fremantle Dockers. The Dockers were expected to win, but St Kilda surprised the locals with their attack on the ball and then took over in the third quarter, as Max King came to life and booted four second-half goals.

The Dockers started well by kicking accurately in the opening quarter with goals to Rory Lobb, Travis Colyer and Michael Walters. The windy conditions didn’t initially suit St Kilda who, despite matching the Dockers in the mid-field, were sloppy in attack and registered just four behinds (worth a point each). Lobb provided a high-flying target for the Dockers who consistently used the boundary to launch attacks. Saint Kilda pushed attacks straight for goal, from wherever they could win the ball, but their kicking was consistently astray.

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Suns Burn Depleted Eagles

Hurn Leads the Eagles (2018)

The Gold Coast Suns celebrated their first away win against the West Coast Eagles in a performance that showed the growing maturity of the young Suns. Matt Rowell played his strongest game for the Suns, since returning from injury, to re-ignite the hype surrounding his brilliant entry to league ranks. The Suns’ new captain Touk Miller was inspired by his young charges and steadied the Suns at crucial parts of the game. Izak Rankine was dangerous up forward and used his growing maturity to steady when needed and kick four goals for the visitors. The Eagles were missing six of their ten best players but were well served by the enthusiasm of their young reserve players Luke Foley and Jamaine Jones. Former Richmond player, Patrick Naish, seized his chance to impress.

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Hawks Kick Long To Take Down Roos

Sam Mitchell As A Player

Under new coach Sam Mitchell, Hawthorn looked to defy wooden spoon predictions with a first up win over the Kangaroos by 20 points at the MCG.  The new look 2022 Hawks kicked long and marked deep in the forward line with Lewis and Gunston the main targets.  North Melbourne debuted Horne-Smith and he looks a real prospect but a four goal run by the Hawks either side of the half time break was decisive. 

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Supplemental Signings

Paddy McCartin Handballs

The AFL's Supplemental Period (SSP) ran from January 10 through March 9 and several clubs took advantage and picked up players to round out their lists.

The Sydney Swans have picked Paddy McCartin, 25, during the SSP (Supplemental Selection Period) which has just concluded. McCartin was originally drafted by St Kilda in 2014 and played 35 games but had to step away from the game due to lingering concussion issues. He did spend last season with Sydney's VFL team and joins the club as a delisted free agent. McCartin joins brother Tom at the Swans and said, “It’s extremely exciting – it’s been a unique journey for me to get back to this point. It’s a path that not many people have taken, but my goal was to always try and get back to the elite level and to be able to do it with the Swans. To do it with Tom, in particular, is something that means a lot and is exciting. I’ve loved training with the team and playing last year, so it’s good to get on the list. There’s a lot that we want to achieve as a group so I’m looking forward to getting stuck in with the guys this year.”

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Melbourne Demons Back Goodwin

Goodwin at MCG "Big Freeze"

In mid-February, allegations surfaced regarding the behavior of Melbourne Coach Simon Goodwin. There were reports of bullying at the club and reports that, ahead of the 2021 season, he was drinking and gambling with players at a hotel pub. Goodwin, along with the entire football department was reviewed ahead of the season and some changes were made. Goodwin spoke to the board and denied the allegations of bullying.

The AFL got involved last February with then-Demons President Glen Bartlett and club director Mohan Jesudason attending an online meeting with commission chairman Richard Goyder and AFL boss Gil McLachlan, who reportedly told the group he had previously shared information with then-Demons chief executive Gary Pert in late 2020 about the drinking incident.

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AFL Life Memberships and Jack Titus Award Announced

Grant Birchall vs Jordan Roughead

In early February, the AFL announced the next inductees for life membership and the Jack Titus Award, which is given annually for service to the game. The awards and the memberships will be officially presented at the league's AGM in March.

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Ellis-Yolmen Anti-Vax, Retires

Brisbane midfielder Cam Ellis-Yolmen has followed in the footsteps of former Carlton defender Liam Jones and retired in late January rather than comply with the AFL's COVID vaccination mandate. He would not elaborate or comment on his reasoning, but teammate Mitch Robinson did speak about Ellis-Yolmen's decision. Brisbane veteran Mitch Robinson has given his insight into Cam Ellis-Yolmen’s decision to retire. Robinson praised the club for their handling of the situation and expressed how tough the weeks leading up to the announcement had been for his teammate, “I think most of the players understand who is and who isn’t getting vaccinated, and Cam wasn’t hiding that fact, we knew his situation throughout the whole process,” Robinson told his Rip Through It podcast.

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Sheppard and Townsend Retire

Sheppard Tackled

In early December West Coast running defender Brad Sheppard and Suns defender Jacob Townsend announced their retirements just a few days apart. Sheppard, 30, was forced to retire due to ongoing concussion issues. He suffered several head knocks late in the season, the last coming in round 22. The Eagles believed he could still play but gave him time to decide. He sought medical advice over concerns about his future health and opted to retire.

Sheppard was drafted in 2009 and played 216 games. He was named All-Australian in 2015 and won the best clubman award in 2020. He was also a key member of the 2018 premiership side. Coach Adam Simpson said, "His career speaks for itself, over 200 games, it's just really sad that it finishes this way. He still had plenty of good footy left. He retires as a man with universal respect at every level of the football club ... ".

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Friday Night Doubleheaders Return in 2022 AFL Schedule

Demons Celebrate 2021 Premiership
The 2022 AFL schedule was announced in early December, exactly 100 days from the start of the regular season. While the venues had been set, the League has only confirmed the dates and times for the first nine rounds. The schedule for Round 10 through to Round 23 will be progressively revealed throughout the season with advance notice. The regular season kicks off on Wednesday, 16th March with the rematch of the 2021 Grand Final between Melbourne and Western Bulldogs at the MCG, where the Demons will unfurl their premiership flag.
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2022 AFL Women's Schedule

Brisbane celebrates 2021 Premiership
(Updated 12/31/2021) After weeks of delay, the 2022 AFLW schedule was released in early December. The AFL had originally planned to start the sixth season of the women’s competition in December but decided to push it back to January 2022 to minimize the impact of interstate border restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as had occurred in the past two seasons. The 2022 season will kick off on Friday, January 7th with St Kilda hosting Richmond at SkyBus Stadium in Frankston, a bayside suburb around 25 mi southeast of Melbourne, while Brisbane Lions begin their premiership defense with the 2021 Grand Final rematch against the Crows at Noarlunga, 16 mi south of Adelaide on Sunday, January 9th. The schedule change was revealed on New Year's Eve, after the West Australian Government announced during the week it would close the state border to both Queensland and South Australia, due to recent surge in cases linked to Omicron variant of COVID-19 in both states.
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