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AFANA Finals Preview: Sydney vs Greater Western Sydney

Sydney Swans vs Greater Western Sydney Giants (SCG)

STATE OF PLAY:

Expect a fiery encounter as the cross-town rivals will leave nothing in the tank in this do or die elimination final. With the game being played at the SCG, you would usually think it was advantage Swans, but 2018 has been no cakewalk for Sydney when playing at home - where they in fact have a 5-6 record at a ground that in the past has been somewhat of a fortress.

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AFANA Finals Preview: Melbourne vs Geelong

Melbourne Demons vs Geelong Cats (MCG)

State of Play:

This is a battle between two differing line-ups: the finals hardened Cats and the young enthusiastic Demons. After a disastrous end to 2017, Melbourne finished strongly this season to book their finals berth for the first time in 12 years. By contrast, Geelong has missed the finals only once in the same 12 year period. The contrast continues with the Cats playing two easy beats in Gold Coast and Fremantle to complete the minor round, winning both games by over 100 points each.

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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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Coaching Moves

Coaching Changes Ahead

Both Brisbane Coach Chris Fagan and Geelong Coach Chris Scott have been given contract extensions. Fagan's is for two seasons while Scott is signed through 2022.

Adam Kingsley has decided to leave his position at St Kilda to seek new opportunities at Richmond. Kingsley, who played 170 games with Port Adelaide from 1997 to 2006, has been with the Saints since 2011. A highly credentialed coach, Kingsley is a graduate of the inaugural Level Four Coaches Program, was named the AFL Coaches Association’s Assistant Coach of the Year in 2015, and is very highly regarded by his peers.

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Clubs Begin Delistings

Billy Hartung handballs

As usual at this time of year, clubs whose seasons are over, begin reviewing their player lists and culling players to prepare for the national draft by opening spots on the roster in a process known as delisting. Some players decide it is time to hang up the boots while others decide they want out of where they are at. So here is the latest as the first part of a multi-part post.

North Melbourne delisted Billy Hartung, Tom Jeffries, Oscar Junker, Gordon Narrier, Daniel Nielson, and Josh Williams. Hartung was thrown a lifeline by the Kangaroos in last year's draft after being delisted by Hawthorn. The midfielder played 63 games for the Hawks 2014-17 and 13 games for Roos, with his solitary year with the club ruined by a torn hamstring in Round 14. After making their debuts in 2017,

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Delistings and Retirements Part 2

Goddard in action

Clubs which didn't make the post season have begun the process of releasing players they don't feel they need next season and opening spots on the roster for draftees. This is known as delisting. This is the second article in a series.

Essendon informed Brendon Goddard he would not be offered a new contract. Goddard, 33, was shocked at the decision while Coach John Worsfold admitted that it was a very tough call to make. An emotional Goddard, who has played every game this season, informed teammates ahead of the final game of the year.

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Lukewarm Pies

Michael Johnson played his last game

The Collingwood Magpies had to battle until the dying minutes of the match to pull off a narrow win over a spirited Fremantle Dockers side and lock up a top four position at the end of the home and away rounds. Fremantle took the game right up to the Pies, who traveled west in one of their rare forays across the country. It was Michael Johnson’s last appearance in a distinguished 244 game career, and his teammates dug in for him to nearly cause a "boil-over".

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Demons Thump Giants to Secure Home Final

Max Gawn (from Round 22)

In a prelude to the spring conditions awaiting in September, the final Sunday afternoon home and away match at the MCG for 2018 got underway in sunny conditions. The Demons were wearing their commemorative 160-year jumper and the Giants in their white away jumper.  While not quite do-or-die with both teams assured a spot in the final eight, today’s result would determine who and where they would play in week one of the finals. A win to Melbourne would mean a home final at the MCG against Geelong, a loss would mean an away match in Sydney. A win to GWS would mean a home final in Sydney and a loss an away final against the Swans at the SCG.

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AFANA AFL Power Poll - Round Twenty Two

The Demons are back in the finals.

With just one round to be played before the finals series begins, the top eight is finally taking shape, but there is still plenty to be decided with some big match-ups in the final round. The big winner out of round 22 was Melbourne, which finished strongly against the West Coast Eagles in Perth to book their first finals appearance in 12 seasons, much to the relief of Coach Simon Goodwin. Last year the Demons crashed out of the race late in 2017. Collingwood strengthened its hold on a top four finish with a big win over Port Adelaide at the MCG, effectively ending Port’s finals campaign in the process. 

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Melbourne Ruffles Some Feathers

Demons Celebrate the Win

Apparently no one had read the script to the Melbourne Demons. They hadn’t beaten a team in the top eight all season and it was a West Coast Eagles home game, Optus Stadium is a fortress and at 75 degrees, it was supposed to be too hot for Melbourne teams to last four full quarters. All that mattered little when the siren sounded and the Demons put on a display worthy of finalists when they ran over the Eagles in an upset in the West.

From the very first moments it was clear that Melbourne had come to play. They were ferocious in their tackling and hunted the Eagles down in packs all over the ground. West Coast were rattled and started to make disposal errors that played right into Melbourne’s hands.

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