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Kangaroos Snatch Finals Dream from Tigers

Janet Linn reporting for AFANA from the MCG, Melbourne

When the legion of Richmond fans who packed the MCG for the first Elimination Final on Sunday saw the North Melbourne fan club banner – one side of which read “Tigers Don’t Win Finals” - they let out a ringing chorus of “boos”.
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They then no doubt dismissed the thought that Richmond could possibly be defeated in its third Elimination Final in a row and sat back in their seats ready for glory, so much better prepared were the Tigers this year, having finished fifth on the Ladder, only one game short of the Top Four.
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Rookie And Preseason Draft Updates

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

The AFL Rookie and Preseason drafts were held in the first week of December. Only one player was taken in the preseason draft with Carlton officially selecting Jason Tutt, who quit the Western Bulldogs to join the Blues. Tutt played only seven games in 2014 and a total of 26 with the Dogs in four seasons.

Here is a club by club of the players selected in the Rookie draft. The number in front of the player name is the draft selection. In parentheses are his club, his height and his weight.

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Crows Find Form

Jamie Kloeden reporting for AFANA from Adelaide Oval, Australia

Adelaide players have referred to their season thus far as "a roller coaster" with the last five rounds alternating between wins and losses. Players have stated publicly that their aim is to find some consistency and start stringing the wins together or risk playing themselves out of Finals' contention. North Melbourne on the other hand is currently in the Top Eight but is a team still fighting for consistency as players try to live up to big preseason expectations.
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Pre-Draft List Changes

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Ahead of the late November draft, clubs made changes, delisting some and elevating others from the rookie list. Clubs must use a draft selection to elevate rookies.

Adelaide delisted Ian Callinan and Nick Joyce. Callinan, 30, was a mature age recruit to the rookie list and played 32 games for the Crows in three seasons. He was elevated o the senior list in 2012. Joyce, 20, was drafted at the end of 2011 but did not play an AFL game in two seasons. Also delisted were Richard Tambling, Aiden Riley, Ben Dowdell and rookies Tim McIntyre, Dylan Orval and Tim Klaosen.

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Dockers Ship Comes In

Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Patersons Stadium, Perth

Richmond was living its YOLO (You Only Live Once) creed as the players prepared for a roll of the dice against a tough Fremantle Dockers unit at home. Pre-match the Tigers said they were prepared to throw everything into the Round 21 game and leave nothing on the table in the encounter. There was a bit of skullduggery before the game when giant ruckman Aaron Sandilands replaced Jonathon Griffen who claimed to be injured in the warm-up. It was pure theater as there were rumors that the fix was on right from the start to upset the Tigers’ game plan.

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Tigers Raid Lions Den

Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA from Australia

Fresh from a hellish three week stint that netted three narrow losses, Richmond took their 7-10 record north to face the Brisbane Lions - also holders of a 7-10 record. Both teams have displayed enough during the season to suggest there are better times ahead, but with a view to further improvement in the future, a win here for either team would provide a great fillip as their seasons wind down.

As the Tigers and Lions prepared for battle, the unfamiliar sight of Brisbane veteran Simon Black in the fluoro green sub vest had the crowd and the pundits speculating on what Lions' coach Michael Voss was concocting. Opposition coach Damien Hardwick would have been delighted to see the gutsy ball magnet in Black sitting on the sidelines for the start of the contest.

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Bad Bounce Turns Tigers Blue

Brook "Boris" Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

Richmond and Carlton headed to the MCG on Saturday night desperate for a change in fortune. With the Blues sitting in 11th position and the Tigers 12th, a loss in their round 18 clash would spell curtains for any post-season aspirations in 2012. Richmond, fresh off narrow defeats to Gold Coast and North Melbourne, were searching for a win against a Carlton team that has completely dominated them over the last few seasons. The Blues were riddled with injury after being touted as premiership favorites just a couple of months earlier, their problems exacerbated by losing prime mover Chris Judd to a bizarre “tackle” against the Kangaroos in Round 17. Matthew Kreuzer and Kane Lucas returned for Carlton, while Richmond welcomed back spiritual leader Jake King from a knee injury.

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Kangaroos Into Top Eight

Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

Sunday's Round 17 clash between the in-form North Melbourne Kangaroos and the struggling Richmond Tigers was touted as the Tigers' last chance to gain a Finals berth. Realistically, that chance probably passed the Tigers by a week earlier at the hands of the Gold Coast Suns, but there was no doubting the importance of this game to both teams. The Kangaroos could stake their claim to a Top Eight finish with a victory, while Richmond desperately needed to restore some lost credibility after an abysmal performance in Cairns. They welcomed back exiled young gun Dustin Martin while the Kangaroos would be missing one of their rising stars in Jack Ziebell, outed for four weeks by the increasingly confusing Match Review Panel.

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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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Tigers Bury Saints Hoodoo

Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA from Australia

In an unlikely “match of the round”, form teams St Kilda and Richmond met at Etihad Stadium in front of a pumped up Friday Night Footy crowd. The Tigers had not beaten St Kilda since 2003, though they came painfully close in the corresponding match just 12 months earlier when the game ended in a tense draw. The Saints were instilled as slight favorites with the bookmakers, in part due to the Tigers' poor form at Etihad and the aforementioned head to head record. St Kilda has been transformed into a more attacking team under new coach Scott Watters, giving the match all of the ingredients for an enthralling contest.

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