In the wake of the COVID-19 international pandemic, the AFL has decided to cut the season to 17 rounds and suspend all second-tier competitions and talent pathways until the end of May. There is also the possibility of Round One being postponed. It was due to commence on Thursday, March 19th (US EDT). The shortened season would see teams play each other just once. The AFL had previously announced that no fans would be allowed to attend matches. While some of the Round Six AFLW games had attendances, others did not. The remaining AFLW matches will be played with no fans in attendance. AFL boss Gil McLachlan said at the first sign of any player testing positive would bring the competition to a halt for a minimum of two weeks.
Just a quick note to alert everyone that AFANA is closely following any changes the AFL makes to their schedule, whether it ends up being a shortened season as indicated overnight or is ultimately canceled. That will have a ripple effect on our TV schedules, radio page, draw pages, etc. As the dust settles we will make the necessary updates or notes but it might take awhile for everything to trickle down to the entire site and the networks to catch up.
Fans have also asked about where we are financially. It's still precarious and we badly need donations to pay the bills and debts. We know that all of the chaos brought about by the COVID-19 virus puts added financial pressure on each of you as well as on our long term viability. Please continue to consider a donation using either of our donation buttons at the top of the page. Thanks for your support.
The Supplemental Signing Period (SSP) ran from December 1 through March 13, allowing clubs to sign rookie players provided they had room on their lists and salary caps. A number of clubs took advantage of the period to round out their playing lists.
Concerned with the poor depth in the ruck and up forward with Tom Bellchambers injured and the return of Joe Daniher (groin) still indefinite, the Bombers have signed former swimming champion Henry Crauford under the SSP rules. Crauford, 22 years old and 6'3", competed in swimming at state and national levels before returning to football in 2016. He played for Norwood in the SANFL in 2019 and played 19 games for Norwood's reserves side. Several clubs showed some interest in Crauford but he was overlooked in last year's draft. Athletic and with good endurance for his size, he can play both ruck and as a tall forward.
There are family names which are synonymous with clubs: Shaw and Rose at Collingwood, Cordner at Melbourne, Silvagni at Carlton; not at all unusual in the AFL. It includes the Hird name at Essendon. The Bombers are continuing that tradition with the signing of Tom Hird, son of former champion player and coach James Hird. Tom Hird, 19, will be the fourth generation of the Hird family to wear the red and black. Great-grandfather Allan Sr and grandfather Allan Jr also played for Essendon. Tom, who trained with the Bombers in 2019, has been signed as a Category B rookie on a two year contract. This is a first in VFL/FL history. While there are plenty of siblings, father and son combinations, and even grandfather, son and grandson combinations, this is the first fourth generation of a family name at the same club.
After the Farmer story broke, former Hawk premiership player and 1987 Brownlow Medalist John Platten spoke on SEN's breakfast show. He said the revelation about Farmer was "pretty scary". Platten said he suffered at least 40 concussions during his 18-year career which began in the SANFL. One of those concussions was suffered during the brutal 1989 Grand Final against Geelong. He was so badly concussed in that game, he remembers very little about it and, to this day, cannot remember receiving his premiership medal.
Graham "Polly" Farmer passed away in 2019 at the age of 84. After his passing, a sample of his brain tissue was examined. In a first for the AFL, both a scientific journal and the West Australian newspaper reported that the examination revealed that he had CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) from head knocks he suffered during his playing career. While the medical journal did not reveal his name, the newspaper did. Farmer played 356 games from 1952 to 1971 as a ruckman for East Perth and West Perth in the WAFL and for Geelong in the VFL. He is considered a revolutionary figure in the game because of how he played the ruck position and his use of the handball.
AFANA has learned that WatchAFL subscription rates are rising on March 1. Fans are urged to subscribe today or tomorrow. The rates are as follows:
|Subscription||Old Rate||New Rate|
Side note: To further exacerbate our cash flow situation, our commissions on weekly and monthly orders through our links on this site were effectively cut. We will see an increase on annual subscriptions, which should help.
The site move is complete. If you have any problems, please report them using our Contact page. We are beginning to update the site for the 2020 season. TV schedules and info should begin to appear this week.
AFANA.com will be intermittently off-line from Monday morning, February 10th, 2020 as we transition to a new hosting provider.
Fellow footy fans,
(Update 1/29/20: 11 fans have donated $300 so far. Thanks! We still need about $275 to get us thru this month into next and at least $2,000 by mid-February to get thru the AFL season. Update 2/13/20: We have taken cost saving measures but we still desperately need your donations and support. Please help.)
As many of you have noticed there has not been much activity recently on the site in the lead up to the 2020 AFL and AFLW seasons. There are several reasons for that. One reason is my need for a break after 25 years. More urgently though, is the severe financial crisis AFANA continues to confront and the personal time, energy, and funds it has required.
Any not-for-profit entity, particularly small ones, always lives on the edge. It is a delicate balance between available resources and needs. AFANA is no different. We have persevered during good years and bad. The past 18 months though has been particularly trying. Lingering unpaid bills from our last web site redesign / upgrade and a sudden and dramatic decline in both of our major sources of revenue has often required me to pay hundreds of dollars out of my own pocket to keep the organization and website afloat.
Due to changes in policy at WatchAFL, we saw a year over year decline in revenue last year from subscription sales referrals of nearly 50%. Added to that were long delays in payments from WatchAFL. The changes in these policies often resulted in cash flow dropping to near zero in 2019. When you click on one of our WatchAFL links, we benefit (sometimes). If it has been more than 30 days since you last clicked on the link on our site or if you renew through WatchAFL, we get nothing. They don't provide us a "renewal link". Since the fan base is not growing at 50 to 100% per year, we cannot compensate easily.
If your name is not "Google" or "Facebook" then website advertising is minimal so must also depend on donations from fans like you. With the changes in the federal law on charitable donations, most small not-for-profits have seen a decline in donations over the past year. Usually December and early January is one of our best times. This year, we received less than $100. We're not getting the $10 and $20 donations of the recent past and the big donors, who used to give $100 to $2000 per year, have all but disappeared.
In October, we conducted a fundraising campaign aimed at past donors and website registrants and that bought us a couple of months but we can't keep going to the same well over and over, we need new supporters. We don't receive any funds from the AFL or Fox Sports US.
If the situation does not change, I will be forced to suspend operations and the website within days or weeks as I cannot continue to pay for the shortfall on my fixed income.
If you want to help, please click on the yellow "Donate" button along the blue bar near the top of almost every page. We also have a GoFundMe. If you prefer another method, please get it touch by using our Contact page and I will try to accommodate you.
Thanks for all of the support the past quarter century.
Co-founder and webmaster
Just a week before the Christmas holiday, ace Tiger defender Alex Rance - some say the best defender of the past decade - announced his immediate retirement. It came as a shock after he missed the entire 2019 season due to a ruptured ACL in the season opener. Rance was hopeful of returning late in the 2019 season to play in the Grand Final and was event training for two weeks prior, but eventually decided he was not ready.
He said in a statement that he felt the time was right so he could "... put the same time and energy into other areas of my life that need it, and to prioritize the more important things to me, such as my spiritual growth (a devout Jehovah's Witness), my family and friends.”