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Fletcher Leads Essendon Departures

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

After weeks of speculation, it is now official that Dustin Fletcher has retired. Fletcher was subbed out of his 400th game due to an abdominal injury and never played again.Dustin Fletcher is carried off by his captain Jobe Watson and Brent Stanton after playing his 400th game and becoming the third player in AFL history to do behind Michael Tuck and Kevin Bartlett. Photo by Kim Densham for AFANA. The club was hopeful he would be recovered for a send-off game, but it was not to be. Fletcher, 40, expressed disappointment that he could not get up for one more game. He pushed himself in the past few weeks to get back and interim coach Matthew Egan also lamented that one more game for the veteran defender had not proven possible. Egan said the Dons gave Fletcher every chance to play on Sunday but he ruled himself out.
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Four Stalwarts Hang Up Boots

Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Lewis Roberts-Thomson arrived at Sydney in 2001 with a shaggy mop of blond hair and a rugby background. He debuted in 2003 after an injury-riddled 2002 and quickly established himself as a fan favorite. Although he had doubts he could make it in the AFL, Roberts-Thomson leaves the game after 13 seasons and 179 games as a two time premiership player. He recently announced his immediate retirement after being restricted to just five games this year. He had considered trying to get back for the final games this year but realized he was mentally and physically shot.

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Tigers Hit Bombers For Six

Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

A little over a month and a half ago, the Richmond Football Club was languishing near the bottom of the AFL table, an abysmal 3-10 record reflecting a lost season after a promising return to Finals in 2013. Fast forward to their Round 20 game against arch-rivals Essendon with the Tigers a chance to take their record to 9-10 and retain a sniff of the possibility of Finals footy. Essendon itself has been in good shape to appear in the Finals after a horror 2013 when they finished eighth, only to have their points stripped due to the ASADA drug saga, vaulting Carlton from ninth position into the top eight. A win against Richmond would set the Bombers up nicely to play in the major round, despite missing their Captain Jobe Watson since Round 12.
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Crows Defeat Bombers In Thriller

G Michael reporting for AFANA from Adelaide, South Australia

Adelaide and Essendon were both coming off losses in the previous round making this match a crucial clash at AAMI Stadium on a cold and wet Sunday night. Desperate to alleviate the pain of two consecutive losses, the Bombers needed a stirring win to remain a game clear in the battle for eighth spot, while a Crows’ victory would see them stay in the fight for top spot.

As the Bombers ran out on to the ground they faced the realisation that the game was going to be a hard fought encounter in cold and wintery conditions, as their banner stood torn to shreds from the blustery winds. Bomber Sam Lonergan took advantage of a mistimed defensive clearance from Crow Sam Shaw and kicked the first goal for the game as both teams spent the opening minutes tussling for ascendency. A free kick to first gamer Aidan Riley saw the lead cut back to two points as the Crows goaled. However Essendon quickly responded with goals to both Jason Winderlich and Leroy Jetta, to take a 14 point lead with nine minutes to play in the opening term.

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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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Carlton Blue As Bombers Force Draw

Carlton and Essendon games open up old wounds with a traditional rivalry going back decades. The intensity of feeling was well summed up by long time Carlton fanatic Barb, who wore a button that stated simply "I Hate Essendon".

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Round 18 Injury

GEELONG
Mitch Brown, shoulder, season
Max Rooke, knee, indefinite
Jesse Stringer, hip, season
Adam Varcoe, knee, season

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