As the season nears to a close, more clubs not in contention have made cuts to their lists and a few more players have announced their retirements.
Richmond ruckman Shaun Hampson has announced his retirement from AFL football, effective immediately. Hampson, 30, has not played a senior game in two seasons due to a chronic back condition. Although both he and the club's medical staff have worked hard to alleviate the condition, but it has not been successful, and Hampson decided to call it quits as he considered his long-term hearth and his family more important than getting out and playing footy again.
The Adelaide Crows have strengthened their claim on premiership favoritism with a dominating 36 point victory over a disappointing Greater Western Sydney Giants in the first qualifying final at Adelaide Oval on Thursday evening.
The win takes Adelaide into a preliminary final against the winner of next weekend’s Geelong vs Sydney Swans clash at the MCG. It will be the first time Adelaide has appeared in a preliminary final since 2012 when they went down narrowly to Hawthorn.
It was a football purist’s game. Long kicking, high marking and open aggressive play with rapid movement of the ball. It was also a game that had major significance for both clubs.
A fearless Hawthorn completely dominated the Adelaide Crows in front of over 70,000 fans at the MCG on Friday night. With their potential “three-peat“ under threat after an indifferent performance against the West Coast Eagles just a week earlier, the Hawks showed no mercy as they piled on eight first-quarter goals.
Adelaide, despite coming into the game in season-best form, had no answers for the Hawks' brilliant ball use and pinpoint accuracy.
What a difference a week makes. Richmond players and coaches traveled to Adelaide on a high after defeating premiership favorite Hawthorn, confident they could defeat an Adelaide Crows team that had been demoralized by the Sydney Swans just a week earlier. The Crows knew they had to win to keep their Finals hopes alive, while the Tigers' Top Four chances depended on a victory over the Crows in front of a sell-out Adelaide crowd.
Richmond received bad news on the eve of the big clash with the news that Brett Deledio - their four-goal hero against Hawthorn - would not take his place in the team due to a bad case of influenza. With Deledio missing, the onus was on Jack Riewoldt and Ty Vickery to produce enough goals to win against the hard running Crows.
Jamie Kloeden reporting for AFANA from Adelaide, Australia
After a heart breaking after the siren loss to the West Coast Eagles last round, the North Melbourne Kangaroos were hoping that a home game, back under the roof at Etihad Stadium, against the traveling Adelaide Crows might be enough to get the confidence back up for a push towards the Top Eight. An indifferent start to the season had the Crows in a very similar position on the Ladder so many of the experts predicted a tight tussle with much on the line for both sides. And a tight tussle was certainly what played out with many touting this contest as the game of the season thus far.
by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
Stephen Milne (StK) will play his 264th senior game in Round Seven, putting him equal with James McDonald for the most games played by anyone in the game’s history who began his career on a Rookie list.
Jamie Kloeden reporting for AFANA from AAMI Stadium, Australia
Adelaide was abuzz all week as the hometown Crows returned to the Finals. 2011 was a season to forget so with a young, exciting team that sat second on the ladder at the completion of the minor round, Crows' fans around town saw a chance for some genuine success. The Swans were heading to Adelaide having spent most of the latter part of the season sitting in top spot but a drop down to third gave them the tough task of starting their Finals campaign on the road.
Jarrad McVeigh won the toss for Sydney and chose to kick
G Michael reporting for AFANA from Adelaide, South Australia
Adelaide and Essendon were both coming off losses in the previous round making this match a crucial clash at AAMI Stadium on a cold and wet Sunday night. Desperate to alleviate the pain of two consecutive losses, the Bombers needed a stirring win to remain a game clear in the battle for eighth spot, while a Crows’ victory would see them stay in the fight for top spot.
As the Bombers ran out on to the ground they faced the realisation that the game was going to be a hard fought encounter in cold and wintery conditions, as their banner stood torn to shreds from the blustery winds. Bomber Sam Lonergan took advantage of a mistimed defensive clearance from Crow Sam Shaw and kicked the first goal for the game as both teams spent the opening minutes tussling for ascendency. A free kick to first gamer Aidan Riley saw the lead cut back to two points as the Crows goaled. However Essendon quickly responded with goals to both Jason Winderlich and Leroy Jetta, to take a 14 point lead with nine minutes to play in the opening term.