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Coaching Appointments

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Former West Coast premiership player Don Pyke is the new Adelaide coach. Pyke, 46, played 132 games for the Eagles between 1989 and 1996. He played in the 1992 and 1994 Premierships and won the Eagles' Best and Fairest award in 1993. His career was cut short due to a shoulder injury but he did play for Claremont in the WAFL after his AFL retirement. Pyke began his coaching career at Claremont and was there for two years before becoming an assistant with the Eagles 2001-2004. He then became an assistant with the Crows under Neil Craig 2005-06 before making a move to working in the oil and gas industry and serving as a coaching consultant to Claremont and Fremantle. He returned to West Coast as an assistant in 2014.

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Coaching Appointments

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Just weeks after his resignation as the Western Bulldogs' senior coach, Brendan McCartney was appointed development and strategy coach with the Melbourne Demons. He joins Brett Allison, Brad Miller and newly appointed full-time Casey coach Justin Plapp, in Melbourne’s development team for 2015. He will remain in that role until assistant coach Simon Goodwin takes over from Paul Roos in 2017 as senior coach, at which time he will move into a mentor and management role.

In making the announcement, football operations manager Josh Mahoney said the club was delighted to have McCartney on board. “He has a proven record and reputation in developing players and his appointment adds valued experience to our development program ... Simon has previously worked with Brendan ... at Essendon and identified him as the ideal candidate ... to assist his transition into senior coaching."

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Neeld Third Man Out

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chcago

In late May, a Melbourne board meeting led to media speculation that Coach Mark Neeld was going be sacked. That rumor was quashed with Neeld himself saying it was simply a routine meeting. However, at a meeting on June 14, the board decided to tell Neeld his services were no longer required. Recently appointed CEO Peter Jackson held off on delivering the news to Neeld until the Monday following the completion of Round 12 due to concerns that the information would be leaked to the media before Neeld could be told.

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President Departs As Demons Seek Change

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Less than two weeks ago, Melbourne Coach Mark Neeld quashed media speculation that his meeting with the board was for his dismissal as senior coach. However, media speculation has been rife regarding how long he would stay in the job. Neeld may have survived, but club president Don McLardy announced his resignation just ahead of the Round 12 games. He cited personal business interests and the team's poor performances as the reasons for stepping down. He has also relinquished his position on the board. He referred to a speech he made the previous Monday in which he recognized that the club needed to move forward with new leadership, direction and energy.

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Purple Hazing

Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Patersons Stadium, Perth

Fremantle moved into the Top Four with a comprehensive thrashing of a demoralized Melbourne in their Round Nine clash at Patersons Stadium. Melbourne’s Jack Watts scored the first goal and for a brief time it looked as though there might be a bit of spirit in the visitors. Unfortunately it was short lived and Melbourne soon crumbled under a relentless and clinical onslaught by the Dockers.

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Demons Omissions Rile AFL

 by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA From Chicago

The on-field woes of the Melbourne Demons could extend to off-field with the AFL unhappy that the club may not have told officials everything they know about Stephen Dank and his association with their club doctor Dan Bates. In early February, acting AFL Operations Manager Gillon McLachlan contacted Demon CEO Cameron Schwab to ask about any association the club might have with Dank. Schwab denied knowing Dank but later called McLachlan, informing him that Bates had communicated with Dank when the club was considering hiring him. McLachlan advised Schwab to dump Dank immediately.

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Freo Finds Finals Form

Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Patersons Stadium in Perth

With the Top Eight determined the previous round, all that was left was the shuffling of the deck chairs to find out which teams would play against each other in the Finals. It was down to percentage for the Fremantle Dockers as to where they finished, with the possibility that they could meet the West Coast Eagles in an Elimination Final if they finished in eighth position. Coach Ross Lyon talked about “managing” the result, a veiled reference some took as meaning not playing to their best to achieve that result.

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Crow Domination

G Michael reporting for AFANA from Australia

In Round 22, and with the Finals only two rounds away, the Adelaide Crows were looking to make amends for their disappointing loss to the Brisbane Lions in the previous round. Facing the lowly ranked Melbourne Demons at the MCG, the Crows were still a chance to finish in the Top Two and secure that all important first home Final. Melbourne on the other hand had little to play for as their season tapered out, their former captain Brad Green’s final match their only incentive for victory.

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Brad Green Hangs Up Boots

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Demon veteran Brad Green has announced his retirement effective at the end of the season. Although Green felt he could go on for a 14th season, he said he would step aside to give younger players a chance. When telling his teammates of his decision, he urged them to "step up" to help the club become successful. He said his only regret was not having more Finals success. He played in the losing 2000 Grand Final against Essendon in his debut season. The club has not seen Finals action since 2006. He also reminded the playing group of how tough and uncompromising the AFL could be saying, "Gone are the days when you can be happy just to be on an AFL list. It's time this club and the players really need to stand up and buy in to where Neeldy wants to take it."

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Tigers Unconvincing Over Demons

Brook "Boris" Kilpatrick reporting from the MCG for AFANA

A sunny Saturday afternoon was the setting for the Round 15 clash between a shell-shocked Richmond and a hungry Melbourne. The Tigers had endured a horror week off the field, losing Ty Vickery to season-ending shoulder surgery and team barometer Jake King to a knee injury for four weeks. As if that weren't enough, Dustin Martin was suspended by the club for two weeks in an incident that cost Daniel Connors his Richmond AFL career. Dylan Grimes was also unavailable with ongoing hamstring troubles and Daniel Jackson would be sitting out after being suspended for a love tap on Adelaide's Chris Knights in the previous round.

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