After the first round of the Finals was completed, the AFL Players Association held their annual awards ceremony. Unlike other League awards, the Leigh Matthews Trophy winner is nominated and voted for by his peers.
A sell out crowd was treated to an enthralling Round 22 battle between two teams vying to end the home and away season on a triumphant note with a home Final the prize for the winner.
A controversial interchange penalty against Hawthorn could well be responsible for denying the Hawks victory against St Kilda. Cyril Rioli had just kicked a goal with two minutes remaining in the final term to give Hawthorn a 13 point lead. However, the goal was disallowed due to Hawk Grant Birchall briefly putting a foot across the interchange line before a teammate had come off the ground. The emergency umpire signaled the infringement to the field umpire who then awarded a 50 meter penalty to the Saints.
by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Subiaco Oval
Big name cuts to both teams for disciplinary breaches and poor form saw the Fremantle Dockers and the Carlton Blues face off with new look sides and plenty of youth on display. Carlton wore a new away strip, a yellow jumper signed by Lance Armstrong, each one to be sold at auction post-match as a fundraiser for cancer research. Both teams had looked brittle in previous matches and Carlton in particular were out to show the football public that they were serious contenders for the Finals. The umpire was keen to get the ball bounced at the start of the game with players already involved in shoving and niggling that could have resulted in an all-in brawl had it gone on any longer.