As the season nears to a close, more clubs not in contention have made cuts to their lists and a few more players have announced their retirements.
There is an old adage in footy that a team has to lose a few finals to win one. it proved true for Richmond as they lost their first ever final in 1916 - a semi-final against Carlton. They then lost their first Grand Final to Collingwood in 1919. They lost again to Carlton in 1920 in a semi-final, but since there were only four teams eligible at that time, they were still through to the Grand Final which they won. They have since gone on to win another 10 premierships.
The Brisbane Lions claimed another victim, this time it was Hawthorn down in Tasmania to keep the Lions atop the AFANA AFL Power Poll and all but end the Hawks chances of finals football. Fellow pacesetter the West Coast Eagles, made light work of the Kangaroos at home. Geelong overcame a slow start to claim a win against Sydney on the road and Richmond proved too strong for an injury-hit Collingwood in the Friday night blockbuster at the MCG.
Essendon survived quite a scare at the hands of cellar dwelling Gold Coast before prevailing in what was their fifth win in a row, Greater Western Sydney found enough to scrape home against Port Adelaide by a solitary point in Heath Shaw’s 300th game. The Western Bulldogs kept their top eight chances alive with a big win over Fremantle and the Adelaide Crows left the gate open for another team to snatch 8th spot as they went down to an in-form Carlton at the MCG. Finally, Saint Kilda kept interim coach Brett Ratten’s record spotless by overcoming Melbourne at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night.
In mid-January, the AFL presented their annual life memberships to eight recipients. Five players and umpires were automatic recipients for having reached 300 games during the 2018 season: Ray Chamberlain, Lance Franklin, David Mundy, Scott Pendlebury and Heath Shaw. The other three were North Melbourne Team of the Century member and former North Melbourne CEO John Dugdale for Special Service to the Game, Richmond Team of the Century member and long-time Essendon Recruiting Manager Merv Keane, and SANFL Hall of Fame Inductee and Life Member Wally Miller.
Bill Hector was awarded the Jack Titus Service Award for outstanding service to football, for his 50 years’ service to the Western Bulldogs in various roles starting as a Timekeeper in 1969 to most recently being the Club’s Senior Doorman.
Just 100 games into their existence, the Greater Western Sydney Giants are living up to their name – and the rest of the AFL competition must be seriously concerned. In the battle for Sydney supremacy at Spotless Stadium on Sunday, the Giants dismantled perennial finals contenders the Sydney Swans, ruining the Swans chance to go top of the ladder and giving them plenty to think about as the AFL moves into the second half of the regular season.
The Greater Western Sydney Giants continue to send shivers up the collective spine of every other team in the AFL. Despite losing two talented defenders early in their Sunday contest against the Western Bulldogs, the Giants rolled to their sixth win in a row, outlasting a plucky Bulldog outfit by 25 points at Spotless Stadium. GWS now sits in third on the AFL ladder in a 3 way log-jam at 7-2 for the year.
The Greater Western Sydney Giants showed growing maturity to stave off a spirited Fremantle, to record their first ever victory against the Dockers at Domain Stadium. It was another indicator of the progress that GWS is making and of the disaster that has become the Dockers season. It is hard to imagine that the same Dockers club was considered a real premiership threat the past several seasons.
by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
After a recent survey and discussions between the AFLPA and players, a "Players and the Game Committee" will be formed to allow players a greater voice on the game and its future. The committee will consist of eight players - one from each state and four from Melbourne based clubs - who have strong and respected voices within the AFL industry and well-developed views on the game.
by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
Just one week ago, young Bulldog Lachie Hunter was cleared of any gambling wrongdoing after he and the club self-reported a bet placed on his account which involved the NAB Challenge game between the Bulldogs and Melbourne. In that case, investigators were told by Hunter that the bet was placed by a player from VFL club Footscray. It is still unclear how that person had Hunter's account details and the VFL is investigating.
Shane Mumford has won the 2014 Kevin Sheedy Medal in his first season with the Giants. The former Sydney premiership ruckman was presented with the medal by its namesake, inaugural coach Kevin Sheedy who has remained at the club as a coaching director. Mumford, 28, crossed from the Swans at the end of 2013 and took out the club champion award despite missing five games through injury. He polled in 13 of the 17 games he played to finish with 81 votes. Co-captain Callan Ward and small forward Devon Smith were equal runners-up on 72 votes. Midfielder Adam Treloar finished fourth on 62 votes and vice-captain Heath Shaw fifth with 56 votes.