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Gone But Not Forgotten, AFL Retirements

 by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

The highly decorated, 15-year, 305-game career of Geelong champion Jimmy Bartel has come to an end with Bartel announcing his retirement during the October trade period. While Bartel said he felt he had more to give, he "understood the bigger picture" and respected the direction in which the club wanted to move.

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Essendon Sign Seven AFL Says No To Other Clubs

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

The Bulldogs, Saints, Demons and Port Adelaide have all been denied their request to the AFL to replace their suspended players with an extra primary player (from the recent national draft) or rookie listed player. AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon said the circumstances did not call for special treatment or exception to the rules beyond those already granted - upgrading a rookie listed player to the senior list.

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Geelong Era Nears End

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

The Cats missed the Final Eight for the first time since 2006. With that and the departures of Steve Johnson, James Kelly and Mathew Stokes, one of the greatest eras in Geelong history is nearing an end. All three players are still considering careers elsewhere. Johnson said ahead of his last game that playing for the Cats and enjoying all the success alongside so many great teammates had been a dream come true. He went on to thank everyone at the club, teammates and staff alike as well as the supporters who stuck close even through the hard times. He believes the club is heading in the right direction and will have more success in the future.

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Hawks Head to Grand Final After Thriller

Janet Linn reporting for AFANA from the Melbourne Cricket Ground

All week Australian Rules Football fans were agog with the excitement of two stunning Preliminary Finals. The first promised a nail-biting encounter between two teams that have shared an astonishing rivalry since Hawthorn upset Geelong - the overwhelming favorites - in the 2008 Grand Final. In the eleven games since taking that Premiership, Hawthorn has not beaten Geelong again. With a week off after winning the Qualifying Final against Sydney, the Hawks had their best chance yet to take the Cats and advance to the Grand Final.

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Round 21 Milestones

Steve McBurney will become the third umpire in League history to reach 400 games in Round 21. Ahead of him are Hayden Kennedy (495 games) and Rowan Sawers (410 games).

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Classy Cats Undefeated

Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

Richmond faced the undefeated Geelong in Round Six action with both teams having plenty to play for. If the Cats could get through with a win, they would carry a sensational 6-0 record into a week seven match up with a potentially 6-0 Essendon. For the Tigers, a solid 3-0 start had quickly turned sour with defeat at the hands of Collingwood then Fremantle by the barest of margins. Geelong has owned Richmond in recent years, the Tigers not having tasted victory over the Cats since Round 9 in 2006.

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Cats Hot Form Continues

Jamie Kloeden reporting for AFANA from Australia

Facing Geelong after a big win over Essendon promised to be a huge challenge for the Adelaide Crows and making it especially hard was the venue being Simonds Stadium. The visitors hadn’t tasted success there since 2003 but their great form presented them with their best chance for some time. The Cats are known as a good performing team in wet conditions. With rain forecast, they were going into the encounter as favorites although perhaps not by as much as previous seasons.

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Cool Cats Outlast Tigers

A buoyant Richmond side, fresh off its first victory for 2012, headed to the fortress now known as Simonds Stadium (formerly Kardinia Park) in Geelong to take on the reigning Premiers in one of football’s toughest tests. Geelong is so hard to beat at home that it recently had an unbeaten run at “the Cattery” that extended from 26 August 2007 to 27 August 2011. To further intimidate the visiting Tigers, the home team unveiled its 2011 Premiership Flag prior to the first bounce as the crowd finally took their seats after a power outage had shut them out of the Stadium.

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Grand Final Tribunal

Charges laid:

Cameron Ling (GEEL), striking Collingwood's Leigh Brown: assessed as intentional conduct (three points), low impact (one point) and body contact (one point), equaling five activation points, a classification of a Level Two offense, 125 demerits and a one game suspension. He accepted, reducing the penalty 25% to 93.75 demerits and a reprimand with the demerits held over toward his future record.

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Round 19 Tribunal

Brent Guerra took his case to the Tribunal to challenge the reckless classification and succeeded. Guerra and his advocate argued that he heard the umpire call "advantage" (which allows a player of the infringed team to play on when they are in possession of the ball so as not to disadvantage them by stopping play for a free kick) after his tackle on Malceski, but that he did not hear the umpire's whistle to stop play for a 50 meter (55 yards) penalty. He and his advocate convinced the panel to listen to audio of the match commentary which aided Guerra's case.

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