It is something the AFL has tried, without much success, in the past and is set to try again - a mid-season draft. The league notified the clubs that the draft would take place at the beginning of June after Round 11 and just ahead of the bye rounds. The decision to hold a mid-season draft was finalized by the AFL Commission in October following discussions by the Competition Committee, but the finer details were not determined at that time. To be eligible, players must have previously nominated for an AFL draft or been on an AFL club list.
Several players previously delisted and not selected in the recent drafts have found new homes under the newly created supplemental selection period (SSP). The SSP period runs from December 1 to March 15, allowing clubs to sign delisted or retired players as replacements for players on their lists who suffer season or career ending injuries.
The AFL has introduced a new signing period for players overlooked in the draft and rookie draft. One is the supplemental selection period (SSP) between December 1 and March 15, after all the drafts are over. The SSP is for state league players who miss out on the draft as well as players recently delisted by their clubs. To be eligible, players must have previously nominated for the national draft or previously been on an AFL club list.
In the clash of the two port teams, the Fremantle Dockers showed more desire for the ball than Port Adelaide. Port, a team that has promised their fans so much in recent years, have stumbled when they were within touching distance of the top eight.
A couple of last minute goals to Lachie Neale and Hayden Ballantyne saw the Fremantle Dockers sneak a win over Port Adelaide Power in their Round 1 clash at Domain (formerly Patersons) Stadium in Perth. Neale’s goal was a shot on the run from 50 meters out in the last minutes of the game, while Ballantyne played on from a match winning tackle by Zac Clarke who won a free kick after chasing down Jasper Pittard in the forward 50 metre zone. A four goal contribution by Matthew Pavlich, two of which were at critical times in the final quarter, also helped the Dockers to a stirring win.
Matthew Pavlich celebrated his 300th game in fine style against Geelong and the Dockers joined the party defeating the Cats by five goals. Patersons Stadium in Perth was bursting at the seams as the Freo faithful packed in to cheer Pavlich on his special day. Football and fairy tales are rarely mentioned in the same sentence, but this game was the exception. The Dockers have been a thorn in the Cats’ side for several years and the Round 9 clash proved more of the same as the Dockers got out to a game winning lead in the first quarter.
Most Games, Indigenous Player: Shaun Burgoyne (HAW) will play his 240th game in Round 22, putting him equal with his brother Peter in tenth place for most games by an Indigenous player. Ahead of them are Andrew McLeod (340 games, ADE), Adam Goodes (331 games, SYD), Michael O’Loughlin (303, SYD), Gavin Wanganeen (300 games, ESS and PA), Darryl White (268 games, BRIS), Chris Johnson (264 games, FITZ and BRIS), Peter Matera (253 games, WCE), Nicky Winmar (251 games, StK and WB) and Jeff Farmer (249 games, MELB and FRE).
100 consecutive games: Jack Riewoldt (RICH) has played 99 consecutive games for Richmond since Round 10, 2009. His current streak of consecutive games is behind only Brett Deledio (135 consecutive games for Richmond since Round 18, 2007) and Josh Kennedy (102 consecutive games for Hawthorn and the Sydney Swans since Round 14, 2009).
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.
Two weeks ago at Patersons Stadium, the Fremantle Dockers played their first game against Geelong as if they were Grand Final material. In Round 3 against the Brisbane Lions they looked second rate. First blood went to the Lions with Todd Banfield awarded a free kick after Stephen Hill bamboozled himself and ran too far with the football. Brisbane was all over the more fancied home side which was hesitant in its disposals and not kicking truly when in possession of the ball. Both teams had a full court press on with their zones and the game resembled a chess match as each side tried to move the ball forward. Unfortunately it was not a Boris Spassky-Bobby Fisher level game but more like their unprepared understudies stepping into the spotlight.
Geelong won the 2011 Premiership and despite the loss of some key players to retirement, this is still a formidable side which plays well away. Nevertheless the Cats have had trouble with the Fremantle Dockers. Last year there was one nail-biting finish and the first quarter for 2012 showed that the fans were in for more of the same.