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Former NFL Player A Footy Convert

Pat McAfee (Wikimedia Commons)

With so many sports competitions suspended, former AFL player Pat McAfee, who now has his own podcast, was looking for something to watch. He tripped across the opening round AFL match between Essendon and Fremantle and is now a diehard convert. Unfortunately, just after he discovered the game, the AFL announced the suspension of the season until the pandemic is over. While he couldn't quite figure out all the rules, he says he will keep watching when the game resumes and even has a dream of becoming an AFL player. Below are links to his stories and even a link to an "audition" video he posted.

3/21
https://www.espn.com.au/afl/story/_/id/28936855/americans-label-afl-incredible-vow-continue-watching

3/28
https://www.themercury.com.au/sport/afl/former-nfl-star-pat-mcafee-keeps-raving-about-onenight-stand-with-afl/news-story/d709108df44a1caa7e002e53ac7cb1cf

Former NFL player Pat McAfee's AFL audition video has received an endorsement from Hawthorn legend Dermott Brereton. Brereton believes he has potential. Below is the link to the full story with a video of McAfee kicking a Sherrin and a link to a related article:

https://www.foxsports.com.au/afl/afl-2020-pat-mcafee-interest-in-afl-dermott-brereton-reviews-former-nfl-players-footy-audition-video/news-story/0723707e9a2b110c319d37f9ab8f039f

https://www.foxsports.com.au/afl/afl-2020-pat-mcafees-footy-audition-nfl-punter-loves-aussie-rules-video-americans-loving-afl/news-story/e52400d044b3425809e298962f038625

Sources: espn.com.au, themercury.com.au, foxsports.com.au

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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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Another Son Of A Gun For Essendon

James Hird As a Coach

There are family names which are synonymous with clubs: Shaw and Rose at Collingwood, Cordner at Melbourne, Silvagni at Carlton; not at all unusual in the AFL. It includes the Hird name at Essendon. The Bombers are continuing that tradition with the signing of Tom Hird, son of former champion player and coach James Hird. Tom Hird, 19, will be the fourth generation of the Hird family to wear the red and black. Great-grandfather Allan Sr and grandfather Allan Jr also played for Essendon. Tom, who trained with the Bombers in 2019, has been signed as a Category B rookie on a two year contract. This is a first in VFL/FL history. While there are plenty of siblings, father and son combinations, and even grandfather, son and grandson combinations, this is the first fourth generation of a family name at the same club.

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Flying Eagles Knock Out Bombers

Naitanui Marks

The West Coast Eagles knocked the Essendon Bombers out of the finals series in an emphatic fashion. Having defeated the Fremantle Dockers at the same ground, and seen the Hawthorn Hawks defeat the Eagles at Optus, the Bombers gave themselves a real chance against the reigning Premiers. The Essendon game plan was simple. Run the ball through the middle of the ground to expose West Coast's lack of pace in that area; and then keep the ball low into attack to avoid high marking defenders, Jeremy McGovern and Tom Barrass.

Essendon's first goal, after two minutes of play, went to plan. Michael Hurley intercepted at half forward, a gather from Dyson Heppell and a measured handpass to Andrew McGrath who kicked truly from 48 meters.

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Five More Retirements

Michael Rischitelli

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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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Eagles Swoop On Bombers

Jarrod Cameron Marks

On a dry, calm night which was perfect for football, the West Coast Eagles comfortably defeated the Essendon Bombers to put a serious dent in the Bombers’ hopes of making the finals. The Eagles dominated the game after quarter time and kept the ball in their forward half for the majority of the match. The win pushed the Eagles into the top four of the league ladder, but goal front inaccuracy cost them a golden opportunity to build on their percentage (calculated by points a team scores compared to points they concede).

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Cox Kicks Two As Collingwood Take ANZAC Day Points

ANZAC Day Banner 2019. Photo by Kim Densham for AFANA.

A glorious autumn day was on offer at the MCG for the traditional ANZAC day clash between Collingwood and Essendon football clubs.  Pre-match saw former servicemen in a motorcade around the ground and both teams entered the field to run through a joint banner with “Always remembered” across the top in reference to those servicemen and women that served and fell in wars. The commemoration service was completed in the middle of the ground and the Australian and New Zealand anthems played then teams moved to their final warmups.

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List Changes for Tigers And Bombers

Shortly after Carlton signed two players under the SSP rule, Richmond followed suit by signing midfield speedster Sydney Stack from WA club Perth to a rookie contract. Stack, 18, was overlooked in the AFL Draft but has been training with the Tigers since December. He performed well during the Under-18 tournament earning All-Australian honors. The club list is now complete with the Tigers also having signed former Saint Maverick Weller.

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Lucky Few Find New Clubs

Tom Campbell contested by opposition

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.

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Second Chance For Overlooked Players

Mason Cox tackles Zac Clarke

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.  

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