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Four More Call Time

Gibson Goes For Smother vs St Kilda

As the 2018 season heads towards finals, some players have already started toward the door by announcing their retirements. With just a few weeks left, Melbourne's Harley Balic, Adelaide's Sam Gibson, Gold Coast's Matt Rosa and Fremantle's Lee Spurr have all called time on their careers. 

Balic was originally drafted by Fremantle in 2015 but a wrist injury kept kept him sidelined in 2016. He finally debuted in 2017 but played just four games. He took a leave of absence from the club in May and later July 2017, and returned to Melbourne for personal reasons. He then asked to be traded back to Victoria, also for personal reasons. He had struggled with homesickness and feelings of isolation during his time in Perth.

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Player Trades

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Mid-October was a busy time for all clubs with the free agency and trade periods commencing. Everything was concluded on the afternoon of October 22.

Under a new rule, the AFL has allowed clubs to trade future draft picks. Each club is allowed to trade just one first round selection and no more than two of these over a four year period. The AFL also created a valuation points system to determine compensation selections for clubs who lose players due to free agency.

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Kennedy Kicks Ten To Sink Carlton

Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium, Perth

A ten goal haul to West Coast Eagle forward Josh Kennedy was the difference in what became a one-sided game against the Carlton Blues at Domain Stadium in the opening match of Round 2. Kennedy was unstoppable and deadly accurate as he single-handedly tore the Blues apart. His tally of ten goals 1 point at the end of the game was only one point less than Carlton’s entire score.
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West Coast Form Ominous

Janet Linn reporting for AFANA from Western Australia

A blisteringly hot Perth day did not keep over 36,000 die hard West Coast Eagles fans away from Patersons Stadium for their clash against the Western Bulldogs. Round One had already produced some unexpected results, the biggest being the upset defeat of the Sydney Swans by fledgling hometown rivals, the GWS Giants. Wins by Fremantle, Gold Coast, Port Adelaide, Geelong and Essendon point to a tightly contested season while Hawthorn’s easy defeat of the Brisbane Lions signals they are again the team to beat. None of these outcomes affected West Coast fan’s enthusiasm at having their “boys” back on the park after a 2013 season which went horribly wrong. Injuries to high profile players, underwhelming performances in home fixtures and a jaded game plan sent the Eagles from a widely-predicted Top Four finish to a lowly 13th on the Ladder.

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Fremantle On Fire Again

Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Patersons Stadium, Perth

No matter where each team is on the Ladder, the Western Derby is an exciting game, up for grabs every time it is played. Fremantle has had a lock on the contest over the past few seasons and, with both teams needing a win to consolidate Finals football, there was everything to play for in the 38th Derby at Patersons Stadium during Multicultural Round 16.

Fremantle got off to a flying start when Tendai Mzungu flew above the pack to haul in a great mark and kick the first goal. West Coast evened it up soon after when a poor kick in from a point gave Jack Darling a free kick on the 50 meter arc in the pocket. He booted a towering goal to register the Eagles’ first. From then on Fremantle dominated the quarter with some hard tackling and swarming around the contests. Chris Mayne kicked two goals and was ably supported by Michael Walters who kicked one of his own. It was starting to look ominous very early for West Coast until Josh Kennedy got a late one to keep them in the game. It was a scrambling, untidy quarter of football that had the Dockers up by 11 points when it ended.

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Demolition Derby

Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Patersons Stadium, Perth

On a par with “Dreamtime at the G” and the premier hometown rivalries, the Western Derby is one of the most anticipated clashes of the AFL round. These games are always full of skill, action and most of all spite. Derby number 35 came around with the "little brother" team, the Fremantle Dockers, having won the last two Derby encounters but the bookmakers had them as outsiders as the ball was bounced.

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Unbeaten Eagles

Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Patersons Stadium, Perth

West Coast remains the only unbeaten team at the end of Round 6 after overcoming a gutsy challenge from a determined North Melbourne side. Just before the game it was announced that Eagles’ excitement machine Nic Naitanui had withdrawn and this sent a ripple of unease through supporters. He was replaced by second gamer, Scott Lycett. Kangaroos ruckman Todd Goldstein was also missing so each team would be exposed in the ruck competitions. In a first for the Eagles, Jacob Brennan (son of club great and Premiership player and vice-captain Michael Brennan) was playing his making his debut, the first father/son combination in Eagles’ history.

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Happy West Coast 25th Anniversary

In recent years, Patersons Stadium has been a fortress for the West Coast Eagles against Richmond with 12 of the last 14 matches going West Coast’s way. The Richmond Tigers had been given no chance of winning the Round 20 encounter, particularly with the Eagles celebrating 25 years in the competition and knocking on the door of a Final Four berth. Tiger fans hoped that with nothing to lose, Richmond might come out with a hunger to play and rain on the Eagles’ parade.

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Anchors Away In Western Derby

Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Subiaco Oval

In spite of this match having little significance other than bragging rights in Western Australia, the Round 17 Western Derby opened true to form with some pre-game rough stuff. Before the ball was even bounced there were scuffles and bumps as players tried to assert psychological and physical dominance over their opponents. With West Coast and Fremantle ranked 15th and 16th for kicking efficiency in the league (last and second last) the possibility of a low skill and error-filled game was very real.

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Eagles Muzzle Unbeaten Dogs

Coach Rodney Eade traveled west once again with the Western Bulldogs to take on the West Coast Eagles who were coming off a demoralising loss to Saint Kilda the previous week. The Bulldogs enjoy an impressive winning record at Subiaco Oval and with an unbeaten record in the first three rounds, there were justifiably high expectations of another win.

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