At the end of Round 17, three more players announced their retirements- Hawks Ben Stratton and Paul Puopolo and Carlton defender Kade Simpson. Both Stratton and "Poppy" were selected as mature-age recruits in the 2009 and 2010 drafts respectively. Both quickly cemented their positions in the side and were part of the club/s incredible run of success, Stratton as a tough and clever defender, Puopolo as a reliable forward who could apply plenty of pressure on opposition defenders. Stratton, 31, assumed the captaincy in 2019 when Jarryd Roughead retired at the end of 2019.
The big three in Collingwood, Geelong and Greater Western Sydney all had wins over the weekend to strengthen their positions on the AFANA AFL Power Poll and put themselves in great shape as the season moves into round eight. The Magpies dominated Port Adelaide early in the Friday night game to cruise to victory, while Geelong was never threatened by a disappointing Essendon at the MCG on Sunday.
Just days after one of Australia’s largest online betting sites paid out on Hawthorn winning the 2015 Premiership - more than two months before the Grand Final is to be played - the raging favorites have been upset by Richmond in front of a massive MCG crowd.
A traditional rivalry began the 2014 Finals series with Hawthorn and Geelong meeting in the First Qualifying Final at the MCG. This was a match up that promised everything and, in front of almost 75,000 excited fans, it delivered on that promise early with a torrid opening quarter of hard physical contests, wayward kicks, nervous fumbles and both teams taking the game on at full throttle.
Promoted as a match that was a most likely Grand Final preview, the Sydney Swans versus Hawthorn contest at the MCG in Round 18 lived up to expectations. A big crowd of 72,000 saw a pulsating game of Aussie Rules Football, with both teams showing they have what it takes to lift the Premiership Cup in September.
Lance “Buddy” Franklin - the ex-Hawthorn gun who went north to Sydney on a reported nine year ten million dollar deal - was being reminded of his defection as many of the Hawk supporters let out a mighty “boo” every time he touched the football. In the first quarter, there was a lot of booing as Franklin started the game in fine form, setting up two goals and marking with authority. At the opposite end of the MCG, 200-gamer Jarryd Roughead was providing a strong target for the Hawks. Roughead had the first goal on the board within a minute of the opening siren, before Franklin replied after a couple of misses. Hawthorn had more scoring chances in an uncompromising first quarter. However their accuracy deserted them as they took a four point lead into quarter time that could have been greater given the balance of play.
by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
The Selwood brothers will play a combined total of 503 games in Round Nine, putting them in tenth place on the League's all time list of combined games by brothers and ahead of the Shaw brothers. The breakdown is 182 games for Adam (WCE), 75 games for Troy (delisted by Brisbane), 142 games for Joel (GEEL) and 99 games for Scott (WCE).
Brook Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA from Australia
Hawthorn will meet Collingwood in a Preliminary Final after comfortably defeating Sydney by 36 points at the MCG on Friday night. The Hawks dominated the contest early and at one stage in the third quarter held a 46 point lead before the Swans fought back. In Adam Goodes’ 300th game the Sydneysiders worked their way back to trail by just 18 points late in the third quarter. However Hawthorn showed poise under pressure to wrest back the initiative and cruise home with a six goal victory.