Sydney arrived at the MCG for the last game of Round 21 expecting to strengthen their Finals claims with a victory over Richmond. The Tigers have had a disappointing second half to the season and, while looking to regain some respect from the football public on the back of a six game losing streak, were not given any chance against the Swans.
In recent years, Patersons Stadium has been a fortress for the West Coast Eagles against Richmond with 12 of the last 14 matches going West Coast’s way. The Richmond Tigers had been given no chance of winning the Round 20 encounter, particularly with the Eagles celebrating 25 years in the competition and knocking on the door of a Final Four berth. Tiger fans hoped that with nothing to lose, Richmond might come out with a hunger to play and rain on the Eagles’ parade.
Brook Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA from Australia
Fresh from an unexpected victory over the all-conquering Cats, Essendon were favored to continue their resurgence with a win over a Richmond team coming off a belting at the hands of a rampaging Carlton. Essendon made one forced change from the team that beat Geelong, with the injured Andrew Welsh making way for Ricky Dyson. The Tigers decided not to make wholesale changes in the wake of their dismal display against Carlton, recalling Luke McGuane to bolster a thin defense and bringing back young draftee Reece Conca after a week’s rest.
In a season-defining win, the Richmond Tigers have come of age, defeating one of the most talented and improved sides in the AFL, the Fremantle Dockers, and recording their third victory in a row. After many seasons at the bottom of the Ladder, the young Richmond side has shown that it is heading in the right direction and that it may well upset other stronger and more experienced teams on the road to improvement.
Ahead of the preseason draft, clubs are required to submit the names of players they intend to include on their rookie lists. Delisted and out of contract players were also required, by November 23, to submit their names for the preseason draft.
Mark Thompson, who walked out on Geelong at the end of the season, has changed his mind about not taking up another coaching role. He has returned to Essendon, the club he played for and captained to a Premiership, as an assistant to James Hird.
Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Perth
Twenty-five years of rivalry came to a head Friday night at Etihad Stadium. A pro-Hawthorn crowd of 50,000 was looking forward to an easy win over the Bombers, and tipsters from all around Australia were licking their lips at the odds.