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Footy World Mourns Costa

Gary Ablett, Jr and Frank Costa

Just as Round Seven was concluded, the footy community was mourning the death of game and Geelong icon Frank Costa. Costa, 83. succumbed to cancer. Costa, a successful businessman in the fruit and vegetable industry, assumed the presidency of Geelong in 1998 when the club was virtually on its knees - badly in debt and without any finals success in decades. Under his leadership, the debt was all but erased, the club became a dominant powerhouse and again tasted premiership success in 2007 and 2009. When he stepped down and handed the reins over to Colin Carter in 2010, the club was in a very strong position both on and off the field, going on to win the 2011 premiership. He is also responsible for bringing in current CEO Brian Cook and former coach Mark Thompson. At one point the trio made a pact that they would remain until the Cats won a premiership. Under his guidance, the club's home ground - GMBHA Stadium - was revitalized, upgraded, and expanded. 

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No Essendon Saga in 2017? Guess Again!

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Just when everyone thought the Essendon supplements saga was done and dusted, it has reared its dubious head once again. Ironically, it has been just about exactly four years since the Bombers came out and "self-reported" with a request that the AFL investigate the 2012 supplements program. Now, Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper has obtained audio recordings of a crisis meeting which was held in August of 2013. Present at that meeting were chairman Paul Little (chairman), Jame Hird (coach), Mark Thompson (asst coach) and Danny Corcoran (football manager). The meeting was held to discuss the charges laid against the 34 players. The quartet are furious, believing the AFL had betrayed them and gone back on their word that the players would not be charged. In expletive-riddled conversations, all four express their anger at the league.

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No Fond Memories of Fitzpatrick For Some

 by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

While many will remember Mike Fitzpatrick fondly for all the positives he accomplished during his time as chairman, there are some who are not so happy. At the announcement of his retirement from the AFL Commission, Fitzpatrick said of the Essendon saga, "I think it was a really difficult issue, what happened was difficult, it should never have happened. But I am totally comfortable with the way we dealt with it ... I felt – as different events unfolded – the commission and the AFL dealt with them as they came, dealt with them under their processes ... ".

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What Next For Bombed Out Bombers?

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

There are three types of coaches - those who quit, those who have been sacked and those who will be sacked, with very few exceptions to the rule. In the earliest days of Australian Football there were no senior coaches. Team captains gave instructions on the field and acted as de facto coaches at training sessions. The first official senior coach was Jack Worrall who was appointed Carlton coach in 1902. Of course being the first senior coach appointed, he was also the first who was fired. He went on to be reinstated after the bookkeeping kerfuffle which saw him axed was sorted out and he was absolved of blame (he was also club secretary at the time). And so it has been ever since. If a team

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Tribunal Announces Essendon Decision

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

THE VERDICT IS IN - NOT GUILTY
The saga that has lasted over two years is finally over with the Anti-Doping Tribunal clearing all 34 players involved in the supplements program.The verdict was unanimous and in a statement Tribunal Chairman David Jones spelled out the reasons:

  • The Tribunal was comfortably satisfied that the substance Thymosin Beta-4 was at the relevant time a prohibited substance under the Code.
  • The Tribunal was not comfortably satisfied that any player was administered Thymosin Beta-4.
  • The Tribunal was not comfortably satisfied that any player violated clause 11.2 of the Anti-Doping Code.

The statement also said that a decision regarding "a former Essendon support person" (read: Stephen Dank) would be made at a later date. Whether or not the full 133-page decision document or part of it will be made public is left up to the players, the club and their lawyers. Leaked copies have apparently reached some in the media. In summary, the panel conceded there was insufficient evidence against the players to establish that they had taken TB-4 and it could not be established that the substance they were injected with was in fact, TB-4. The credibility of the key individuals involved was so low and the chain of custody and record keeping so suspect, exactly what was injected could not be proven.

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Busy Week In Bomberland

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

James Hird has finally had his day – actually two days – in court as he tries to have the ASADA investigation declared illegal. Speaking on his behalf, James Hird’s attorney Peter Hanks told the court that ASADA had illegally recruited the AFL in an effort to coerce those under investigation to answer questions. ASADA, in and of itself, has no such coercive power while anyone working within the AFL industry must answer questions put to them by the League or face sanctions. 

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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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Roo Resurgence Eliminates Bombers

Janet Linn reporting for AFANA from Melbourne, Victoria

In a no holds barred Second Elimination Final in front of 78559 fans, Essendon lined up against North Melbourne for the right to advance further into the Finals series. The Bombers had much to prove after two tumultuous seasons marred by the ASADA investigation into the use of prohibited substances at the club in 2012. Banned from the 2013 Finals series as a result, finally they had a chance to play on the big stage and give their fans something to celebrate. For North Melbourne it was “make or break’ type pressure hanging over their heads with the absence of team “barometer” Brent (Boomer) Harvey (through suspension) a definite disadvantage.
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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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