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Kangaroos Snatch Finals Dream from Tigers

Janet Linn reporting for AFANA from the MCG, Melbourne

When the legion of Richmond fans who packed the MCG for the first Elimination Final on Sunday saw the North Melbourne fan club banner – one side of which read “Tigers Don’t Win Finals” - they let out a ringing chorus of “boos”.
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They then no doubt dismissed the thought that Richmond could possibly be defeated in its third Elimination Final in a row and sat back in their seats ready for glory, so much better prepared were the Tigers this year, having finished fifth on the Ladder, only one game short of the Top Four.
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Players On The Move

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Jarrad Waite has left Carlton and signed with North Melbourne as a free agent. Waite, 31, was drafted by the Blues as a father-son selection in 2001 and debuted in 2003. Injury restricted him to 184 games in which he kicked 252 goals. He was named Carlton's best first year player in 2003 and ran third in the best and fairest in 2007. His father Vin played in Carlton's 1970 and 1972 Premierships. Waite opted to sign with North Melbourne for two years after Carlton only offered him a one year deal. Although several other clubs showed interest, North was the most serious. Carlton will not receive a compensation draft selection as Waite was an unrestricted free agent.

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Dockers Pinch Thriller

Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Patersons Stadium, Perth

Fremantle picked a win out of the pocket of Carlton at Patersons Stadium in their Round 19 clash. Pre-game defiant Blues' coach Mick Malthouse was adamant that they weren’t in Perth to “just lay down”. Although their 2014 season has been less than impressive, Carlton had won six out of their past nine encounters in Perth so they had some reason to feel confident. The Dockers brought their "A Team" to the encounter after an embarrassing humiliation in their last game against St Kilda and the Dockers needed every man as the match went down to the last 40 seconds to decide the winner.

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Tigers Beat Blue Hoodoo

Brook Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA from Australia

Richmond and Carlton met in a Thursday night clash of considerable significance despite the AFL season being just one round old. Last year the Tigers narrowly defeated the Blues in Round One, only to give up a big lead in the Elimination Final against the Blues in a crushing defeat for Richmond and its army of loyal fans. With both Carlton and Richmond suffering first round defeats, the Round Two meeting was a “must win” for both clubs with Finals aspirations taking a big hit for the loser.
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Blue Day for Tigers

Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

This is what footy is all about. An Elimination Final between traditional rivals Carlton and Richmond on a beautiful sunny day in front of over 95,000 rabid footy fans. For the Tigers, it was about being back where they so desperately wanted to be after 12 years in the football wilderness. For Carlton, it was a chance - due to an unprecedented slice of luck when Essendon were stripped of their premiership points to vacate a spot in the Finals for the Blues - to restore lost faith under a new regime.

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Ratten Sings the Blues

Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting from Etihad Stadium for AFANA

A glorious sunny afternoon welcomed spectators to Etihad Stadium for the final appearance of both Carlton and Saint Kilda for the 2012 AFL season. The Carlton faithful turned out to see Brett Ratten’s last day at the helm of the Blues, their loss to the lowly Gold Coast Suns in Round 22 putting an end to Carlton’s Finals hopes and with it, any hope of Ratten retaining his job with the impatient Carlton hierarchy. For first year St Kilda coach Scott Watters, the game would give him an opportunity to look forward to 2013 after disappointingly missing the Finals, despite some positive signs from a team that finally blooded some new talent to support a solid core of veterans.

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Suns Turn Up Heat In Boilover

Jamie Kloeden reporting for AFANA from Australia

Carlton left Melbourne for Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast with everything to play for against the lowly Gold Coast Suns. After being Premiership favorites early in the season, things went wrong mid-season to the point where Brett Ratten was hanging on by a thread to his position as coach. A huge win against the Bombers last week made Finals a very realistic goal and a strong showing against the Suns would have the Blues riding a wave of momentum into the major round if things went according to plan.

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Round 19 Milestones

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Round 19 was Kevin Sheedy's 1000th game. He is the only person in League history to be involved in 1000 games as a player or coach. Sheedy's career began at Richmond where he played 251 games, eight pre-season games and eight State of Origin games as a Victorian representative. His coaching career includes 653 games with Essendon and GWS, 72 pre-season games, four State of Origin games and four International Rules games.

There was no shortage of tributes during the week from all sectors for Sheedy. A large contingent of former Richmond and Essendon players attended the game and the pre-game program included tributes as well. All fans attending the game received commemorative flags marking the occasion. After the game, Sheedy and the players were available on the ground for a special kick-to-kick with fans as well as photos and autographs.

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Blues Blitz Tame Tigers

Brook Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA from Australia

After going down to the vastly improved West Coast Eagles last week, Brett Ratten’s Carlton players were keen to re-establish themselves as a genuine Top 4 team on the big stage of the MCG. Richmond on the other hand was in need of a solid showing after playing whipping boy to the Blues in their last seven encounters.

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Dockers Nail Home Final In Thriller

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.

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