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AFL Attendances Allowed

The second round of the season will see limited fan attendances at some games. GWS and Sydney received approval from the New South Wales government to allow a limited number of people into their matches against North Melbourne and Essendon respectively. Fans, members, and patrons will be allowed in several function areas of GWS stadium and the SCG. It is believed only 350 people will be allowed to attend each of the two games. The club will continue to work with the necessary agencies to ensure the stadiums comply with state protocols.

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AFL Loses Icon

Bob Hammond, who served as Adelaide's first chairman, passed away at the end of May. Hammond, 78, was suffering from Parkinson's disease. Craig Hammond, his son, said his father had lived a rich and full life and the family was grateful for the support they had received since his father's health began failing in recent months. 

Hammond's football journey began as a player for North Adelaide in the SANFL where he played 234 games 1980 to 1973. He crossed to Norwood as captain-coach for a further 14 games in 1974. He was a member of three SANFL premiership teams with North Adelaide, the first when he was just 18 years old. Upon retirement, he became coach of Norwood and led them to premiership wins 1975 and 1978. He later briefly coached the Sydney Swans in 1984 and in 1983 coached South Australia to a historic first-ever win over archrival Victoria.

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AFL Season Returns June 11th

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan has announced that the AFL season will resume on June 11th. Just prior to the announcement, teams were permitted to begin non-contact training in groups of no more than 10. Teams will now be allowed to begin full contact training on the 25th. However, training will be limited to two sessions per week. Players and officials from all clubs will be required to be tested 24 hours before each training session. When matches do resume, umpires will also be tested. Testing will continue for all for the duration of the season.

The league is still working on the schedule for the season but is expected to have that by the end of the month. In making the announcement, McLachlan said, "Today is a significant step in getting footy back ... as this situation continues to evolve, we have to remain agile and flexible to ... adapt ... while ... we continue to prioritize the health and welfare of our players, staff, and the wider community and ... don't place any burden on the public health system."

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AFL Moves Closer to Restart

Did you say Gold Coast Eagles?

On the day the AFL began COVID-19 testing of AFL players, its hopes of restarting the competition were rocked by a letter from the South Australian government. The AFL intended to have a three-week training period for all teams, in a lead-up to the first AFL game in mid-June. The league looked set to announce an opening game on June 11th, between Collingwood and Richmond, but those plans may now be derailed. The South Australian government has ruled-out an exemption for AFL teams entering its closed borders without a mandatory 14 day quarantine. The Crows and Power were planning to fly in and out of South Australia on a weekly basis, to play in Victoria. In a further blow, the South Australian Government has also stipulated that no football players in South Australia can train in groups of more than ten (and training must be non-contact) until June 8th. The Crows and the Power will now have to find a training base at an east coast location, as soon as possible, if the league is to meet its mid-June restart date.

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More Aussie Rules Related News Links

Hugh Greenwood (AFANA, Dave Woodley)

More interesting stories about footy are appearing across the web. The Hugh Greenwood story made it to an American newspaper while the video of the Florida newsmen made it to Australia.

Ex College Basketball player Hugh Greenwood talks about his move to Gold Coast (from Adelaide) and his love of footy:

https://www.krqe.com/sports/local-sports/former-lobo-hugh-greenwood-starts-new-chapter-in-his-life/   

Ex-St Kilda player Arryn Siposs targets NFL draft success. His journey from St Kilda to USA college Auburn and his hope of being drafted by an NFL club and what he is doing to keep fit and practice his punting skills:

https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/sport/nfl/ex-saint-siposs-targets-nfl-draft-success-20200331-p54fnl.html

US news anchor learns AFL. A video of one Florida news anchor explaining footy to a colleague with video clips of the Carlton vs Richmond game:

https://www.news.com.au/sport/afl/us-news-anchor-learns-afl/video/92a9489199e38de533f487951aa487c6

Former NFL punter Pat McAfee, who is a recent and fanatical convert to AFL, interviewed American Magpie Mason Cox on his podcast. The interview runs about 37 minutes:

https://www.cowboysrideforfree.com/pokes-gone-pro/2020/4/4/21208098/oklahoma-state-cowboys-basketball-mason-cox-teaches-pat-mcafee-australian-football-league-explained

Sources: krqe.com, brisbanetimes,com.au, news.com.au, cowboysrideforfree.com

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Tex Says Stream Games To USA

Walker Kicks for Goal

Adelaide forward Taylor "Tex" Walker was interviewed on a Triple M radio morning show and came up with an idea to help spread the game and give sports fans something to watch with other competitions canceled or postponed.

He said the AFL should stream games directly to the United States, saying it could "... open a new market of AFL fans." He understands the AFL wanting to shorten games and possibly have games played on non-traditional days during the week "... trying to cram games in before a case occurs... " and added, “Put on a show for people sitting at home wanting to watch something.”

(Ed. note: apparently Mr. Walker is unaware that they already do so via WatchAFL.)

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Supplemental Signings

Mitch Brown's Strong Grab

The Supplemental Signing Period (SSP) ran from December 1 through March 13, allowing clubs to sign rookie players provided they had room on their lists and salary caps. A number of clubs took advantage of the period to round out their playing lists.

ESSENDON

Concerned with the poor depth in the ruck and up forward with Tom Bellchambers injured and the return of Joe Daniher (groin) still indefinite, the Bombers have signed former swimming champion Henry Crauford under the SSP rules. Crauford, 22 years old and 6'3", competed in swimming at state and national levels before returning to football in 2016. He played for Norwood in the SANFL in 2019 and played 19 games for Norwood's reserves side. Several clubs showed some interest in Crauford but he was overlooked in last year's draft. Athletic and with good endurance for his size, he can play both ruck and as a tall forward.

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Don Pyke Quits Adelaide

Don Pyke Coaching

Adelaide Coach Don Pyke tendered his resignation with two years remaining on his contract. Once the season concluded, the club embarked on an extensive review of their on and off field operations, a review which is still ongoing. However, the club and Pyke both said his departure had nothing to do with the review and was his decision following talks with club officials and his family. He had been considering stepping down for a week.

Pyke, at a press conference said with a prepared statement, "When the side is performing as it is, I recognize that ... I'm part of the problem ... The real question I've grappled with in the last couple of weeks ... 'Am I also part of the solution?'

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Five More Retirements

Michael Rischitelli

Veteran Gold Coast player Michael Rischitelli has retired as has Adelaide veteran Andy Otten, Essendon's David Myers, Alex Fasolo from Carlton, and veteran umpire Shane McInerney.

Rischitelli, 33, was originally drafted by Brisbane in 2003 and played 111 games with the Lions before crossing to Gold Coast to be a member of the inaugural team in 2011. His game tally after Round 23 is 243. During his time with the Lions, he was a Rising Star nominee in 2006 and won the club's best and fairest award in 2010. Rischitelli reflected on his time in the game, “I’ve loved every moment ...it's been an incredible journey ... I’ve experienced some fantastic moments and a couple of extremely tough times, but I’ve enjoyed the ride.

General manager Jon Haines said, “Michael has been a fantastic leader for our young football club,

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Crow and Saint Look for New Homes in 2020

Douglas Kicks Away

The Adelaide Crows told veteran midfielder Richard Douglas that he would not be offered a new contract for 2020. The club even released a statement saying Douglas was going to retire at the end of the season. Saint David Armitage also announced he would be leaving St Kilda and looking for another club in 2020.

Douglas, though, has no intention of retiring if another club wants him. Douglas, 32, is also interested in coaching if he cannot add to his 246 game tally. Douglas said he respected the club's decision, "The club's looking to go down another direction

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