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finals week two | september sep 16-17, 2011
ffeatures 7 TOP SHOTS
From jubilation to frustration, we present some of the best images of 2011 from AFL Photos.
42 ADAM GOODES
The Sydney Swans captain becomes the quickest ever to reach 300 games.
51 FINALS PREVIEW A look at tonight’s semi-ﬁnal, including teams, key players, match-ups and stats.
Recognising one of the greats.
78 LAST HURRAH
It’s 25 years since Fitzroy played in its last ﬁnal. Some old Lions re-live their heroics.
We review the week one ﬁnals action as the Bombers and Saints bow out.
BRING ON NEXT SEASON
4 Backchat 41 The Bounce 4 49 Matchday 4 76 Scoreboard 7 1116 Answer Man 1120 Kids’ Corner 1122 Talking Point
A review of the clubs that didn’t make the ﬁnals.
Ted Hopkins on the ﬁnals X-factor. T
112 CHRIS JUDD
The Carlton star wins his second Players’ MVP.
THIS WEEK’S COVERS There are T dedicated covers for both of this d week’s semi-ﬁnals. w
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Your say on the world of football
Marvelling at the Cats
Geelong deserves credit for its ability to stay ahead of the pack. Last year, after being thrashed in a preliminary ﬁnal, the Cats appeared in need of a major overhaul. And that was before Gary Ablett and coach Mark Thompson conﬁrmed they would be leaving. What they have done this year is quite remarkable, and ﬁrst-year coach Chris Scott has his team seemingly primed for a genuine shot at this year’s premiership. In many years when we look back at the game’s history, the modern Geelong story will be one to marvel at.
End of an era for the Saints
LOYAL BLUE: Brett Ratten has put the
» In many ways,
team ﬁrst and ignored speculation about his coaching future.
ROBERT NOLAN, WILLIAMSTOWN, VIC.
Ratten deserves credit
I found it fascinating that Carlton supposedly had to win its ﬁrst ﬁnal for coach Brett Ratten to continue in the role. I’m not sure if this was a concoction of the media, a wish of the fans or some sort of message from the club’s administration. Regardless, Ratten has done a superb job this year coaching a team that has visibly improved and appears to have plenty of growth remaining. Ratten has maintained his composure under pressure and has simply done what he did when he played for the Blues: acted selﬂessly and always with the best interests of the club ahead of anything else. BILL BURNS, RICHMOND, VIC.
Eagles on the way
Whatever happens this weekend, West Coast fans should know we’re on the way again.
GENERAL MANAGER, COMMERCIAL OPERATIONS Darren Birch AFL CORPORATE BUSINESS MANAGER Richard Simkiss AFL RECORD MANAGING EDITOR Geoﬀ Slattery AFL RECORD EDITOR Peter Di Sisto
With a slice of luck, we might have beaten Collingwood last weekend. This squad looks nice and balanced and capable of being competitive in the next few years. Yes, we’ve already got three cups, but why not aim high. I say the fourth might come next year. SARAH TILLINGS, SUBIACO, WA.
PRODUCTION EDITOR Michael Lovett WRITERS Nick Bowen, Ashley Browne, Ben Collins, Paul Daﬀey, James Dampney, Bruce Eva, Katrina Gill, Luke Holmesby, Ted Hopkins, Adam McNicol, Peter Ryan, Nathan Schmook, Callum Twomey, Gary Walsh, Michael Whiting, Jennifer Witham SUB-EDITORS Gary Hancock, Howard Kotton, Michael Stevens STATISTICIAN Cameron Sinclair
HAVE YOUR SAY
The best letter each round nd will receive the 2011 AFL Record Season Guide. Email aﬂrecordeditor@ slatterymedia.com or write to AFL Record, Slattery Media Group, 140 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands, VIC, 3008.
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Andrew Hutchison DEPUTY ART DIRECTOR Sam Russell DESIGNERS Alison Wright, Daniel Frawley PHOTO EDITORS Natalie Boccassini, Ginny Pike PRODUCTION MANAGER Troy Davis PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Stephen Lording DISTRIBUTION MANAGER Callum Senior
St Kilda’s elimination ﬁnal loss to the Sydney Swans summed up the club’s wretched 2011 campaign. The Saints were poor in patches and very good in streaks, but ultimately ﬁnished short of the mark. Coach Ross Lyon said afterwards what he was watching was “unrecognisable”. Backing up this year after losing the 2009 Grand Final to Geelong, drawing with Collingwood in last year’s Grand Final and then being comprehensively beaten in the replay was always going to be a tough ask. Pre-season oﬀ-ﬁeld dramas and the early-season loss to injury of veteran star Lenny Hayes merely made matters tougher. After eight rounds, the Saints were 15th with only one win. In July, midﬁelder Leigh Montagna told the AFL Record the team had partly lost focus on what had made it so good from 2009-10. However, St Kilda rallied and ﬁnished the home and away season well, providing hope it could work its way deep into the ﬁnals. After the loss to the Swans, Lyon ﬂagged signiﬁcant cchanges to the second-oldest llist in the competition. “It ffeels like the end of an era.” How the Saints a approach the next era w will be fascinating. PETER DI SISTO P
FINANCE & COMMERCIAL MANAGER Jeﬀrey Sickert NATIONAL SALES MANAGER – SPORT Shane Purss ACCOUNT MANAGERS Kate Hardwick, Callum Senior, Rebecca Whiting ADVERTISING SALES COORDINATOR Laura Mullins (03) 9627 2600 PHOTOGRAPHY Sean Garnsworthy, Michael Willson, Lachlan Cunningham, Tim Terry, Justine Walker, AFL Photos, (03) 9627 2600, aﬂphotos.com.au
PRINTED BY PMP Print ADDRESS CORRESPONDENCE TO The Editor, AFL Record, Ground Floor, 140 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands, Victoria, 3008. T: (03) 9627 2600 F: (03) 9627 2650 E: firstname.lastname@example.org AFL RECORD, VOL. 100, FINALS WEEK 2, 2011 Copyright. ACN No. 004 155 211. ISSN 1444-2973, Print Post approved PP320258/00109
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TOP SHOTS 2011
ike many stars of 2011, Essendon’s David Zaharakis will have some fond memories of a season that had its special moments. His second-half performance against Adelaide in round 17 at AAMI Stadium virtually locked in the Bombers’ spot in the top eight in James Hird’s ﬁrst season as coach. Others had plenty to celebrate: the Gold Coast Suns entered the
competition and had a win on the board by round ﬁve. We saw the familiar faces of North Melbourne’s Brent Harvey and Hawthorn’s Lance Franklin lighting up their respective teams with sheer individual brilliance. It was a tough year for others, such as St Kilda’s Lenny Hayes and Melbourne coach Dean Bailey but, sadly, that’s football. Come with us as we reﬂect on the 2011 season home and away through the lenses of AFL Photos.
UNS HERE COME THE SUNS Rd 5 Gold Coast v Port Adelaide
Gold Coast started its inaugural AFL season with h few expectations. Certainly it wasn’t tipped to win its ﬁrst game in round ﬁve. But after trailing by 40 points late in the third quarter against Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium, the Suns—led inspirationally by skipper Gary Ablett— stormed home to win by three points, after Power forward Justin Westhoﬀ missed a shot after the siren. Here a cross-section of the Suns is well represented. From left there is Danny Stanley, who resurrected his AFL career after a previous stint with Collingwood; jumping high is Jack Hutchins, one of the club’s 34 ﬁrst-year players; another ex-Magpie Sam Iles (No. 36); former Brisbane Lions star Jared Brennan, who gave his new club great service, and Josh Toy, another debutant. CALLUM TWOMEY PHOTO: SMG/AFL PHOTOS
© 2010 The Coca-Cola Company. ‘Powerade’ and ‘Mountain Blast’ are registered trade marks of The visit aﬂ record.com.au 9 Coca-Cola Company.
Rd 8 North Melbourne rne v Melbourne This has been a familiar sight for North Melbourne fans for the past 16 seasons— Brent Harvey celebrating an inspirational goal. The Kangaroos skipper, aﬀectionately known as ‘Boomer’, boasts a goals highlight reel that includes everything from long, zig-zagging runs from defence to freakish snaps. And his goal celebrations can be just as memorable. Here, Harvey celebrates one of his three goals in North’s 41-point win over Melbourne in round eight. The victory was just the Kangaroos’ second of 2011, following a diﬃcult opening ﬁxture; in their ﬁrst three games, they travelled to Perth twice and played reigning premier Collingwood. As he has done so often, Harvey led from the front against the Demons, racking up 23 disposals. He was also a key player in North’s mid-season revival that had it in ﬁnals contention until late in the season. NICK BOWEN PHOTO: MICHAEL WILLSON/AFL PHOTOS
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NT LENNY’S LAMENT Rd 2 St Kilda v Richmond
This is the moment St Kilda’s warrior Lennyy Hayes realised he had seriously injured his knee. The man who proved once again during the 2010 Grand Final what a champion footballer he was, would miss the remainder of the 2011 season. The premiership hopes of both club and individual appeared in tatters. As the reality sunk in after the game, Saints coach Ross Lyon reminded his players how they had responded in the long absence of their captain, Nick Riewoldt, the previous season. He recalled that Hayes had led the way during that time. And what a leader he is, the great grandson of former Geelong player Vin Maguire, who played 43 games from 1915-19 and was both a boxer and an umpire after he stopped playing. Somehow, the grandson has assumed the attributes we guess his great grandfather carried into sport. Hayes is tough and fair. His presence was missed, singer Joni Mitchell’s famous words summing it up best: “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” A fan favourite, Hayes will be back next year, aged 32. PETER RYAN PHOTO: LACHLAN CUNNINGHAM/AFL PHOTOS
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A MOMENT OF REFLECTION Rd 14 Sydney Swans v Collingwood Post-game, Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse can cut a contemplative ﬁgure. During the game, he works with a manic energy, his competitive streak given full voice, his football brain in top gear. Then the siren goes. Sometimes, the energy is transferred from the box to the players. On other occasions, the ﬁre dims and the teacher within is most evident when he addresses his team. Although he is direct, confronting and challenging people to be the best they can be, he understands the extent of his demands. “It can be easy to lose. It’s never easy to win.” Put that away in the memory bank when the going gets tough. It’s one of Malthouse’s. Later, among only the coaches, he will assess the game, the performances of individuals and the team. Sometimes he is more forgiving than many would expect. At all times he is empathetic. But what separates him is the mind like a steel trap: asserting, questioning and tumbling ideas around in his head. Wisdom and brilliance combined. The coach, at that point with 650 games behind him, in his 28th and ﬁnal year doing the job he has helped deﬁne. Here, Collingwood had just defeated the Sydney Swans by six points in the week after a bye. There would be no rest from that point on. PETER RYAN PHOTO: CRAIG GOLDING/AFL PHOTOS
© 2010 The Coca-Cola Company. ‘Powerade’ and ‘Mountain Blast’ are registered trade marks of The visit aﬂ record.com.au 17 Coca-Cola Company.
ETTS GOOD, BETTER, BETTS Rd 18 Essendon v Carlton
Two minutes into Carlton’s match againstt Essendon in round 18, Eddie ddie Betts kicked the ﬁrst goal of the game. Two hours later, Betts had a career-high tally of eight to his name in a supreme performance in the art of being the modern small forward. Betts took marks on the lead, picked up crumbs from marking contests, and even kicked a contender for goal of the year. Pinned up against the point post, Betts feigned to kick once before spinning into space and snapping a brilliant goal over his shoulder. All season, Carlton’s goalkicking trio of Betts, Andrew Walker and Jeﬀ Garlett troubled opposition defences. This night, it was Betts’ turn to ﬁnd—and create—holes in Essendon’s. CALLUM TWOMEY PHOTO: DAVID CALLOW/AFL PHOTOS
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KNOWING NO FEAR Rd 1 Brisbane Lions v Fremantle
Brisbane Lions captain Jonathan Brown is one of the competition’s most courageous players. His career has been built on attacking the ball ﬂat out, no matter what is coming his way. This single-minded approach has earned Brown universal respect and helped him achieve numerous team and individual accolades. But it took a toll on him in 2011. In this photo from round one, Brown had just out-bodied Fremantle opponent Antoni Grover to take a trademark chest mark. However, as he threw himself backwards to clutch the ball, Dockers defender Luke McPharlin accidentally collected him with his knee as he ran in
to help Grover. Brown suﬀered multiple ple facial fractures in the incident that sidelined him for seven weeks. In round 17 against Geelong, Brown suﬀered more facial fractures when he ran back with the ﬂight of the ball into an n oncoming pack headed by teammate Mitch tch Clark. But don’t expect Brown’s misfortune to change the way he plays. After his collision with Clark, he said simply: “I’ll do the same thing next time this type of situation arises.”
NICK BOWEN PHOTO: JASON O’BRIEN/AFL PHOTOS
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DDY TAKE A BOW, BUDDY Rd 8 Hawthorn v St Kilda
For a time early in thee round eight clash at the MCG, it looked as though Hawthorn had played St Kilda back into form, as the battling Saints forged a 30-point lead. But the Hawks pegged the Saints back and by the ﬁnal quarter had kicked away to a comfortable ﬁve-goal win. Leading the way was Lance Franklin with ﬁve goals, including two prodigious roosts from outside 50 in the ﬁnal term. Here, he looks a bit pleased with himself after the last of the goals sailed through. And why shouldn’t he be? Few players in the AFL have the capacity to win games oﬀ their own boot like ‘Buddy’ does. ASHLEY BROWNE PHOTO: MICHAEL WILLSON/AFL PHOTOS
THIS YEARâ€™S FINALS WILL BE 100 GREENPOWERED Luke Hodge gives 100% every game he plays. And this September, weâ€™re doing the same. At each game of the 2011 Toyota AFL Finals Series, Origin will match 100% of the estimated electricity used with accredited GreenPower. This will reduce carbon emissions by around 790 tonnes, equivalent to more than 1,000 average Aussie homes not using electricity for a month.* Switch to GreenPower, like Luke, and you can make a difference, too.
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THE DEMONS’ DARKEST HOUR Rd 19 Geelong Cats v Melbourne This scoreline from the GeelongMelbourne game at Skilled Stadium in round 19 represented the second biggest margin in the game’s history. Post-game, the mood in the Melbourne rooms was darker than the early afternoon skyline. The result set oﬀ a chain of events that led to Melbourne coach Dean Bailey being sacked, media commentator Garry Lyon reluctantly becoming interim football director to assist his sick mate, club president Jim Stynes, and former captain Todd Viney becoming the Demons’ caretaker coach.
It also sparked a debate aboutt whether something needed to be done to narrow the gap between the top and bottom teams in the competition. Perhaps it is a reﬂection of where our attention falls nowadays but the winner, Geelong, was almost ignored despite kicking the fourth highest score of all-time, the equal most goals in a game and achieving the second biggest margin of all-time. Every game has a story. This one contained more than most. PETER RYAN PHOTO: CRAIG GOLDING/AFL PHOTOS
© 2010 The Coca-Cola Company. ‘Powerade’ and ‘Mountain Blast’ are registered trade marks of The visit aﬂ record.com.au 25 Coca-Cola Company.
RETURN OF THE EAGLE Rd 19 Western Bulldogs v West Coast Eagles gles
Few would have predicted the re-emergence of Dean Cox. After two seasons dogged by injury and poor form, West Coast’s champion ruckman appeared to have lost his title as the game’s most dominant big man. This year he won it back. Cox’s return to form was never more evident than in round 19 against the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium. With only minutes remaining in the game and the Eagles leading by one point, the Bulldogs sent the ball deep into their forward line, where Cox took a strong contested mark. Two minutes later, he took another contested grab, this time only metres from the West Coast goal. He coolly kicked the goal to help his team to an important eight-point win.
CALLUM TWOMEY PHOTO: DAVID CALLOW/AFL PHOTOS
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Bring on next season For many teams, 2011 was a season of disappointment and lost opportunity, while for others it was a year of progress and great hope. However, all nine teams that missed the ﬁnals can look to West Coast’s dramatic surge from wooden-spooner in 2010 to a top-four ﬁnish and take solace that a rise in fortunes can be swift.
9th NORTH MELBOURNE
10 WINS, 12 LOSSES
or Andrew Swallow, North Melbourne’s round 23 loss to St Kilda was a microcosm of its season. When North built a 20-point lead against the Saints with just over seven minutes remaining until half-time, Swallow said it showed that, at their best, the Kangaroos could compete with the competition’s better teams. But, equally, Swallow said North’s subsequent capitulation in that game—the Saints kicked 15 of the last 18 goals to win by 65 points—underlined the harsh reality that it could not sustain
its best football long enough to beat those better teams. “We thought we were a big chance to win against the Saints because we’d played pretty well against them (in a nine-point loss in round 15) and just couldn’t get over the line,” Swallow said. “So it was extremely disappointing to drop away in the fashion we did. But it showed that, at the moment, we’re just not able to play the footy we need to play to match it with those sides for a full game. “The better sides were able to get on top and kick away from us. It’s frustrating but we’ve got to keep working hard to turn things around.” Swallow’s frustrations are understandable. North beat just one top-eight team (eighth-placed Essendon, in round 13). However, Swallow rightly pointed to mitigating circumstances. A horriﬁc run of pre-season injuries severely disrupted the seasons—and ﬁtness—of key players
such as Hamish McIntosh, Nathan Grima, Ryan Bastinac and Levi Greenwood. This, and a tough draw at the start of the season—in their ﬁrst three games the Roos travelled to Perth twice and played reigning premier Collingwood—meant North was 2-7 after 10 rounds and a long shot to play ﬁnals. However, Swallow was buoyed by the Roos’ effort to get back into ﬁnals contention with two rounds remaining. They had won seven of their 11 matches leading into the clash with the Saints, including four straight games from rounds 11-14. More signiﬁcantly, Swallow said North’s future was bright. With veterans Drew Petrie and Daniel Wells returning to ﬁtness and career-best form, and the impressive development of emerging players Todd Goldstein and Jack Ziebell, Swallow was conﬁdent youngsters such as Shaun Atley, Kieran Harper and Aaron Mullett could step up to support them next season.
“One of the highlights of the season was introducing more young players, such as Atley, Harper and, in the last three games, Mullett,” Swallow said. “Those guys worked hard through the year and took their opportunities. All three look as though they can match it at this level and they give us a bit of run and dash, which we need.” But Swallow was under no illusion that for North to make next year’s ﬁnals, it had much hard work ahead. Principally, he said the players had to work on their skill execution and ﬁtness. “It’s just going to take time for everything to come together,” Swallow said. “We know we’ve got the guys coming through and hopefully we can fast-track their development so they can start contributing more regularly. “Once we can get them going and start playing the sort of footy we know we can consistently over four quarters, that’s when we’ll start to be more competitive.” NICK BOWEN
FRUSTRATION: After successive ninth-placed ﬁnishes, Roo star Andrew Swallow is bursting out his skin for a shot at ﬁnals action next season. PHOTO: LACHLAN CUNNINGHAM/AFL PHOTOS PHOTO EDITOR: NATALIE BOCCASSINI
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10th WESTERN BULLDOGS
9 WINS, 13 LOSSES
njuries to key players and an abandonment of consistent intensity were behind the Western Bulldogs’ slide from a top-four contender to a bottom-nine team in 2011, captain Matthew Boyd said. First, dual All-Australian full-back Brian Lake failed to get going, with off-season knee, hip and shoulder surgery— combined with on-going issues knee restricting him with the knee—restricting to ﬁve games before his year ended in late July. on the While that was going on, key ﬁgure at the other end of the ﬁeld, Barry Hall, missed four games, and then another three with persistent ankle soreness he just couldn’t shake. Throw in the issues with Brownlow medallist Adam Cooney’s knee that initially restricted the midﬁelder and eventually ended
his season after round 18, and all three divisions of the on-ﬁeld set up were compromised. “We had injuries to key players,” Boyd said. “They were to players who impact the side, and when you lose key personnel, it’s really hard to replace them.” The backline had problems, especially late in the season when Ryan Hargrave’s foot issues caught up with him, Tom Williams’ year was called off after round 19 because of a foot fracture, Dale Morris horribly broke his leg against Essendon in round 21 and Lindsay Gilbee was in and out of form. Still, as it had all season, the casualty list opened up spaces for new faces. By round 24, every listed player bar Tom Hill had made an AFL appearance, and Tom Liberatore, Luke Dahlhaus and Jason Tutt emerged as solid prospects. y “As footballers,, you’re drilled to look for the positives, and we’re focusing on them,” Boyd said. “We had 10 debutants and we got games into the young guys, so in that sense, it was a successful year. “But we set a high standard for ourselves over the last couple of
years and to fall well short of that standard was really disappointing.” Why did this happen? Boyd believed speculation regarding coach Rodney Eade’s future, which ended after round 21 when it was announced his contract wouldn’t be extended, wasn’t a distraction. Instead, he put it down to inconsistent effort, for which even the longest of injury lists can’t be an excuse.
When you lose key personnel, it’s really hard to replace them MATTHEW BOYD
“The upside of this year is h of a lot about a we learned a hell what it takes, and a a lot about abo ourselves, the opposition o and the sort of progres sion we nee progression need to be top four and co ompete wee compete week in, week out,” he ssaid. th hing about this “The great thing year is the young young guys now know what it takes, and a the older olde guys are more desperate despeerate for it b because we’re one yearr closer to th the end. aro ound really quick “It comes around and we don’t w want to be in this situation again n. It’s going to be again. a really big driving drivving force for f us going into nextt year.” The Bulld ogs will be Bulldogs tiring playe without re retiring players Hall en Hudson in 2011, and Be Ben mature-age with mature-aged rook kie Mitch Hahn Ha rookie also hanging up b the boots.
JENNIFER WITHAM JENNIF
A FULL HAND: Matthew Boyd was an ace in the pack for the Dogs in a disappointing season, but believes his team can bounce back quickly.
AFL RECORD RECO RE COR ORD O
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9 WINS, 13 LOSSES
aptain Matthew Pavlich admits there were danger signs for Fremantle during an injury riddled pre-season and, ultimately, it was an overﬂowing medical room that told the story of his club’s unsuccessful season. Key players David Mundy, Stephen Hill and Hayden Ballantyne all entered 2011 underdone and suffered for it, while injury prevented Michael Barlow and Roger Hayden from playing until rounds 13 and 14 respectively. Most disappointing for the club was the fate of prized young midﬁelder Anthony Morabito, who was never given the opportunity to build on his brilliant debut season after suffering a serious knee injury early in the summer. So it was that Fremantle entered a season of high expectations underdone and undermanned, hopeful support would eventually arrive. It never did in any meaningful way. “We didn’t get any luck throughout the season,” Pavlich said. “Broken legs, knee injuries, foot injuries. Every week early on in the season there, it felt like someone went in for a scan and they came out with bad news instead of the opposite. “We kept talking about the cavalry coming over the hill at some stage, but unfortunately we kept losing soldiers along the way. “The cavalry came, and they ended up ﬁlling a role, but unfortunately some of those guys who were shouldering that load, they dropped by the wayside as well.” Because of injury, Fremantle was often forced to rush sidelined players, including Aaron Sandilands, Adam McPhee, Garrick Ibbotson and Tendai Mzungu, back into a team that was never settled. The crisis was best summed up by the fact the club’s best three stoppage players— Sandilands, Mundy and Barlow—didn’t feature in the same team until round 22 and
I think we saw some great individual improvement
STRONG FINISH: Trent Cotchin, this year’s club best and fairest, believes the Tigers can generate some excitement after ﬁnishing the season well.
PHOTO: MICHAEL WILLSON/AFL PHOTOS
Fremantle lost that match to North Melbourne by 98 points. Although Fremantle didn’t enjoy the desired development as a team this year, Pavlich said individuals, including Nathan Fyfe, Zac Clarke, Alex Silvagni, Nick Lower and Mzungu had encouraged the club. “There was great individual development,” he said. “We probably didn’t see the team development as much as we would have liked, but I think we saw some great individual improvement and continued to see some guys really step up their game to another level.” Fyfe, who played 21 games in his second season, was a standout. He and reliable key defender Luke McPharlin were the best-performed players at the club this year. Fyfe’s signature until the end of the 2014 season was a coup for the club. “It’s guys like him who are going to lead this club into its next phase,” Pavlich said of the young star. “He’s got such great talent and we’ll be looking for even more improvement in the off-season.”
It’s an off-season that will include a detailed review of the year, but Pavlich was conﬁdent that missing out on a second consecutive ﬁnals series would drive the players in 2012. “That will certainly leave a bitter taste in the players’ mouths and hopefully they can have a steely resolve about them to come back and hit the pre-season really hard,” he said.
Skipper Matthew Pavlich says the Dockers’ spate of injuries enabled several youngsters to emerge.
12th RICHMOND CHMOND
8 WINS, 13 LOSSES 1 DRAW
id Richmond improve in 2011? It is a question coach Damien Hardwick was asked often during the second half of the season. Thankfully for Hardwick, the victories over the Sydney Swans, Melbourne and Adelaide in rounds 21, 22 and 23 meant he could answer “yes” and point to his team’s win-loss record for a simple explanation. The Tigers won six games last year; this season they won eight and drew one.
“It was so important for us to ﬁnish off well,” midﬁelder Trent Cotchin said. “We wanted to take some sort of excitement into the pre-season.” Richmond began its campaign in promising fashion. The Tigers led Carlton midway through the ﬁnal quarter of their season-opening clash, only to be overrun, and a week later they drew with St Kilda. Ten-goal losses to Hawthorn and Collingwood in rounds three and four tempered expectations, but Richmond bounced back to win four of its next ﬁve matches, defeating North Melbourne, the Brisbane Lions, Fremantle and Essendon. The win over the Bombers, in the Dreamtime at the ’G match, was full of merit. In front of a buzzing crowd of 83,563, the Tigers blew the game open by booting seven goals to three in the third quarter. Cotchin and fellow midﬁelders Dustin Martin and Brett Deledio AFL RECORD
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OUTSIDE THE were the driving forces behind the success, while Alex Rance was outstanding in defence. At that stage, Richmond was knocking on the door of the top eight. But its form gradually fell away, an upset defeat at the hands of lowly Port Adelaide in Darwin in round 10 most disappointing.
We have to ensure there’s a lot of energy and eﬀort in the pre-season TRENT COTCHIN
DEFIANT DEMON: Vice-captain
Brent Moloney expects Melbourne to emerge stronger and more determined after a disappointing season.
13th MELBOURNE ELBOURN
8 WINS, 13 LOSSES 1 DRAW
elbourne had its share of ups and downs in 2011. Some would say more downs than ups, but it might be a bit of comfort for the Demons to hear a comparison between their team and Geelong of eight years ago. Melbourne vice-captain Brent Moloney started his career with the Cats before he was traded to the Demons at the end of 2004. He said he can see similarities between Melbourne this year and the Geelong squad he began his career with in 2003. “It’s deﬁnitely an experience thing. In my ﬁrst year at Geelong, we got thumped most weeks. But the next year we turned it around and played in the preliminary ﬁnal and they’ve been in the ﬁnals most years since,” Moloney said.
It’s deﬁnitely a testing time, but you come out a better person BRENT MOLONEY
The tough midﬁelder said West Coast was a prime example of a team that could surge up the ladder in the space of a season, and the same was not beyond the Demons. “It can turn around quickly. They (the Eagles) worked hard on the defensive side of their game and you look at them now, having ﬁnished in the top four.” Moloney’s former team sent Melbourne’s season out of control with a 186-point thumping in round 19. The club was in turmoil, with coach Dean Bailey subsequently sacked. It was a difﬁcult time for the Demons, but Moloney said it could yet turn out to be a deﬁning moment. “That’s when you ﬁnd out. Everyone can lead when we’re going well, but it’s when things aren’t going your way you see who can. It’s about how you respond and how you carry yourself,” he said. “It’s deﬁnitely a learning experience for all of us and a
testing time, but you come out the other end a better person.” There were some positives, with many of the club’s young players making progress. “There was the development of Jack Watts and Stefan Martin. We came on as a team,” Moloney said. “We got more game-time into Jack Watts and others. Jeremy Howe came on to the scene. Jordy Gysberts, James Strauss and Sam Blease got more experience and game-time. That’s going to help us in the long run.” The highlight for Moloney was the emergence of Watts, who has been widely criticised since he was picked ﬁ rst overall in the 2008 draft. “I loved seeing Jack respond to all the pressure on him. I thought he came a long way,” he said. “He has been building. After he was a sub against the Gold Coast, he got a bit of a kick in the guts. But after that, he really asserted himself around the club and started to play some consistent footy.”
PHOTO: LACHLAN CUNNINGHAM/AFL PHOTOS
The game against the Power was one of two ‘home’ ﬁxtures the Tigers played outside Victoria in return for a big monetary windfall. But the initiative, which will be repeated in 2012, drew criticism when Richmond also lost the other match, against new boys Gold Coast at Cazaly’s Stadium in Cairns. “You look at the stats and, if we won those two games, and a couple we lost by around 20 points (to the Sydney Swans in round 12 and Melbourne in round 14), we would’ve been a lot higher on the ladder,” said Cotchin, who captained the club in its last ﬁve matches after skipper Chris Newman suffered a knee injury. “That doesn’t mean we deserved to be higher on the ladder, but it’s a realistic view that if we did have a stronger ﬁnish to some of our games, then we could’ve been in a much better position, and hopefully challenging some other teams for a ﬁnals position.” During 2011, Hardwick often stated he was measuring his team’s progress against the improvement made by Hawthorn between 2005-08 (when he was an assistant to Alastair Clarkson). Hawthorn made the ﬁnals in Clarkson’s third season at the helm, so Richmond needs to conjure a similar result in 2012 to replicate what the Hawks did. “We know the direction we want to head in,” Cotchin said. “We have to make sure everyone’s on the same path, so we can ensure there’s a lot of energy and effort throughout the pre-season.”
7 WINS, 15 LOSSES
The Crows’ solid ﬁnish to the season should set the club up for an improved performance next year, says star on-baller Patrick Dangerﬁeld.
PHOTO: LACHLAN CUNNINGHAM/AFL PHOTOS
here was genuine reason for optimism after Adelaide’s spirited come-from-behind win over Hawthorn in round one, but the Crows’ season started to unravel almost immediately after the game. Forward Jason Porplyzia (shoulder) and emerging midﬁelder Rory Sloane (fractured jaw/thumb) had sustained serious injuries in the match. A few weeks later, young defender Phil Davis joined Porplyzia in having season-ending shoulder surgery. The Crows spluttered through the next six weeks, winning only two games, and slipped into free-fall in the middle stages of the season. Adelaide lost six straight matches from round nine, with several non-competitive performances uncharacteristic of the club under coach Neil Craig, who was under mounting pressure to retain his position.
The Crows snapped their losing streak with a narrow win over the Sydney Swans in round 15, but were unable to sustain the effort. The tipping point for Craig came against St Kilda at Etihad Stadium a fortnight later. Adelaide recorded its lowest score—3.6 (24)—in an insipid display to lose by 103 points. The coach resigned the following Monday. “This season has been almost surreal,” star on-baller Patrick Dangerﬁeld said. “We started the season so well with the win against Hawthorn, but then had that run of six losses. Neil ultimately left as a result of that, which was very disappointing. “We were playing quarters of good footy here and there, but you can’t do that and expect to win against any team in the competition these days.” Two-time Crows premiership captain Mark Bickley was appointed caretaker coach, and whether they were motivated by guilt, the change or a pressure release, the players responded. Adelaide recorded consecutive wins for the ﬁrst time in 2011 in Bickley’s ﬁrst two games in charge, and ﬁnished the season playing a more attacking and instinctive style of football. “We went a way to rectifying things to an extent over the last
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OUTSIDE THE ﬁve or six weeks of the season,” Dangerﬁeld said. “It was good to end the season on a better note, but at the same time it was frustrating because if we’d been able to deliver on what the coaching staff had been asking us to do earlier in the season, we might still have been in with a chance of playing in ﬁnals. “It shouldn’t take your coach leaving to trigger those kind of performances.” The strong ﬁnish to the year has given the Crows renewed hope they can challenge for the top eight as early as next season. “I can’t see why we couldn’t play ﬁnals. That will be our aim,” Dangerﬁeld said. Davis’s decision to leave for Greater Western Sydney was a major blow for the Crows, who lost another talented centre half-back in Nathan Bock to Gold Coast under similar circumstances last year. However, the 20-year-old’s defection was offset—at least to an extent—by the emergence of promising backmen Daniel Talia and Luke Thompson, and capable utility Shaun McKernan.
15th BRISBANE RISB BANE LIONS
It shouldn’t take your coach leaving to trigger those performances PATRICK DANGERFIELD
Sloane and Matt Jaensch also showed promise, while ruckman Sam Jacobs deserved to be crowned “recruit of the year”, according to Dangerﬁeld. Scott Thompson, who will be remembered for his 51-possession game against Gold Coast in round 22, completed his rise to elite-midﬁelder status. There will be plenty of talent for the next Crows coach to work with, whoever Craig’s successor may be. “It’s strange to think the person coaching you at the end of the season might not be at the club, or in that same role when you get back for the start of pre-season,” Dangerﬁeld said. “It’s going to be exciting because it’s potentially a change, but it’s unusual because our coaching staff has always been so stable since I’ve been at the club.”
4 WINS, 18 LOSSES
espite a shortage of wins, captain Jonathan Brown believes the Brisbane Lions made enough strides this season to expect to make a ﬁnals appearance in 2012. The Lions’ season got off to a horror start; they lost their ﬁrst match against Fremantle by two points and, critically, lost Brown (facial fractures) and fellow key position player Brent Staker ies. (knee) to serious injuries. agued Although injuries plagued iel their season, with Daniel atfull Merrett (back), Joel Patfull mmond (hand) and Josh Drummond ng large (knee and quad) missing he Lions portions, Brown said the salvaged plenty despitee being m four. anchored in the bottom ng of He said the unveiling ng the 11 debutants, including rnezis impressive Patrick Karnezis he and Niall McKeever, the w emergence of Matthew ly Leuenberger as a likely d the premier ruckman, and continued embracing of ng style, Michael Voss’s coaching were all positives. “The playing group has a ut it,” really good culture about Brown said. m is “Off-ﬁeld, Vossy’s team doing a tremendous job and her and are working well together ll link hopefully the results will e’s a real up with that soon. There’s irection positive feel about the direction the club’s heading in.” tep for Brown said the next step mpetitive the Lions was to turn competitive performances into wins.. “We mpetitive.” don’t play just to be competitive.” -quarter The Lions blew ﬁnal-quarter s, leads a number of times, inst including matches against
recent grand ﬁnalists Geelong and St Kilda. They also surrendered a 20-point fourth-quarter advantage over Adelaide in round 20, which sparked questions about the team’s ﬁtness. But Brown said it had nothing to do with that. “Maybe it was a lack of experience being in that situation for the majority of guys and we need to show a bit more composure as a whole, from the leaders down,” he said. “That’s an area we need to improve next year and to convert some of those close losses into wins.” He was in no doubt Brisbane could make the jump to the top eight next season. Brown said it was a minimum expectation and one he would expect the rest of the players to embrace. “We’re not top-four standard yet; clearly our results against top-four teams showed that, but we’ve been very competitive against the next bunch bunch, said bunch,”” he said. “Our goal is to be able to play the four quarters consistently as a
READY TO GO:
Skipper Jonathan Brown was forced to sit out most of the season with injury, but will hit the ground running in 2012.
There’ss a reall positive feell aboutt the direction the clu club’s ub’s heading g in JONATHAN BROWN OWN
hard-nosed team, which I think we’ve gained a reputation for in the majority of games, but not the four quarters and that’s what top-four sides do. “We’ve got to progress. No doubt we’ve come a long way, but our mentality has to switch in the pre-season onwards that we now have to win those games we’ve been competitive in, and expect that of each other.” Another bonus for the Lions will be Brown’s return. After shocking facial injuries in rounds one and round 17 (against Geelong) cost him 12 matches on the sidelines, the champion Lion said he would hit the ground running in 2012. “My body is in sensational condition,” he said. “I’ve always said if you want to freshen your body up, the best injury you can get is a facial fracture. “It’s not like I’ve sat home on the couch for 12 months and not run. (Being out) has really stirred the hunger inside me, that’s for sure. It ll allow me to do my ﬁ ﬁrst “It’ll rst (full) pre-season in 10 years, which is pretty exciting. I’ll need it because I’ve lost a fair bit of conditioning and weight, so I’m excited to spend time with the boys on the training paddock.”
16th PORT ADELAIDE
3 WINS, 19 LOSSES
hen Matthew Primus detailed plans to rebuild Port Adelaideâ€™s listt with youth, not even the coach h himself envisaged the clubâ€™s club bâ€™ worst season would be tthe h result. eei The Power lost eight of their opening nine games, game including a humiliating defeat defeea at the hands of the previo ou winless previously
Gold Coast at AAMI Stadium in round ďŹ ve. A breakthrough victory over Richmond in Darwin in round 10 helped the club snap a ďŹ ve-game losing streak, and promised to be the turning point of Port Adelaideâ€™s disappointing season â€Ś but it wasnâ€™t. Instead, the Power endured another run of (seven) losses, and just when it appeared things couldnâ€™t get any worse, they slumped to consecutive record defeats (138 and 165 points) to Collingwood and Hawthorn to ďŹ rm as wooden-spoon favourite. â€œYou never go into a season expecting to win only two or three games, regardless of whether youâ€™re rebuilding or getting more games into young players,â€? captain Domenic Cassisi said. â€œThe two big losses we had were disappointing, but for most of the season we were able to push good teams for a certain period of games. â€œWe just werenâ€™t able to do it for four quarters and that was our challenge all year. â€œIt doesnâ€™t matter whether youâ€™re ďŹ elding an experienced team or a young one, what we need to understand is that our effort canâ€™t waiver. â€œIf our effort is unquestionable, we wonâ€™t have the big losses we had.â€?
Port Adelaideâ€™s disappointing season on the ďŹ eld contributed toâ€”and was compounded byâ€”the negativity surrounding the clubâ€™s ďŹ nancial state, and the resignation of CEO Mark Haysman in July. He has since been replaced by former SANFL star Keith Thomas. In June, the AFL moved to allay fears over the Powerâ€™s future, investing $9 million into the club ahead of the muchanticipated move to Adelaide Oval in 2014 or 2015. Cassisi said Primusâ€™s approach to selection, which saw experienced players Chad and Kane Cornes and Daniel Motlop overlooked for large parts of the season, was also an investment in the clubâ€™s future. â€œWhat happened this year was far from ideal, but we also need to look at the bigger picture,â€? he said. â€œWeâ€™ll see the beneďŹ ts of what happened this season in the years to come in terms of the games weâ€™ve got into the likes of Hamish Hartlett, Matty Lobbe, Jasper Pittard, John Butcher and Cam Oâ€™Shea. â€œAll these things are money in the bank for years to come, but we need to try and fast-track everyone and ensure that next year we make signiďŹ cant improvement.â€?
MELBOURNEâ€™S OWN AFL RECORD
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FOR OUR NEXT TRICK: Campbell
Brown says Gold Coast’s debut season was a great learning curve, but expectations on the club would be much greater in its second year.
PHOTO: SEAN GARNSWORTHY/AFL PHOTOS; PHOTO EDITOR: NATALIE BOCCASSINI
17th GOLD LD COAS COAST SUNS 3 WINS, 19 LOSSES
old Coast vicecaptain Campbell Brown said the Suns had reached expectations in their inaugural season, but would demand vast improvement in 2012. Brown, formerly of Hawthorn, was one of eight uncontracted players signed by Gold Coast for its ﬁrst AFL season and was a strong leader on and off the ﬁeld, notwithstanding an early-season indiscretion. He said the Suns’ priority was to give their army of youngsters— they debuted 34 players—a learning and development season by getting as many games into them as possible.
After being belted by Carlton in their ﬁrst match, by 119 points, they rapidly improved and ﬁnished with three wins for the season. “It was a little bit of the unknown with a brand new club and new players, and I didn’t really think about a win-loss ratio but I wanted us to be really competitive,” Brown said. “The developing and learning was more the priority this year but, in my head, I thought if we could win four or ﬁve games, we’d have had a really good year and we’ve ended up winning three, which I think was about right. “The pressure was coming from the media after two or three games, whether we’d even win one game and how much teams would beat us by. “So to win against Port Adelaide in round ﬁve was great to get the monkey off the back and shut everyone up. That was fantastic.” Brown missed four matches through suspension early in the season and another four at the end of the campaign with a broken pelvis suffered against Geelong.
He said Gold Coast had learned plenty from its ﬁrst season, mainly what it took to play four consistent quarters, something that dogged the team for much of the season. “When you get fatigued, you don’t make good decisions and, with a bunch of young bodies in their ﬁrst AFL season, we could maintain a high, intense level for 15-18 minutes a quarter but then we dropped away,” he said. “That’s when teams went ‘Bang, bang, bang’ and kicked three, four or ﬁve goals in a row. “With another pre-season and more games, we’ll be able to hold our intensity a lot longer. “The expectations go up signiﬁcantly next year. Now that all these guys know what’s required, we’ll certainly improve a fair bit. “It mightn’t show in the wins column, but we’ll be more competitive for longer. “Improvement can be pretty rapid in today’s footy.” Brown said after a heavy workload on the Suns’ senior players, he would not be
disappointed if coach Guy McKenna and list manager Scott Clayton looked at recruiting more experienced players in the off-season. Of the youngsters he played alongside, the 2008 premiership player said he was most impressed by David Swallow and Zac Smith and most surprised by Trent McKenzie, whose left boot he rated as good as any in the game in terms of distance kicking the ball and accuracy for goal. Brown said he expected to be close to 100 per cent recovered from his injury by the time the Suns’ pre-season started on November 1. MICHAEL WHITING Campbell Brown keptt a diary of Gold Coast’ss ﬁrst AFL season. The Rise of the Suns (Slattery Media Group, $28) will be released on October 3. To order go to footybookclub.com
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The big men come to play in September.
A Sydney superstar breezes to 300 games.
HAWKS’ 91 TRIUMPH
Itt was the biggest decision I’ll I’’l have to make in my life
Hawthorn’s historic Waverley Park premiership, 20 years on.
Tom Scully joins the GWS Giants, p44
FAVOURED: History says the top four teams, led by (from left) Nick Maxwell, Cameron Ling, Luke Hodge and Darren Glass, should make up the preliminary ﬁnals.
Hawks, Eagles buoyed by top four history NICK BOW EN
ast Friday night was a tough one for Hawthorn. Not only did it lose the second qualifying ﬁnal by 31 points to Geelong, but its star forward Lance Franklin was helped from the ground late in the game with what appeared to be a serious knee injury. To make matters worse, the Hawks’ No. 1 ruckman, Max Bailey, was subbed off with a calf injury, midﬁelder Jordan Lewis was reported for rough conduct and captain Luke Hodge ﬁnished the match with a corked leg. Fortunately, things soon started to look brighter for Hawthorn. The day after the game, Franklin was cleared of ligament damage in his
knee, having suffered bone bruising and related swelling and bleeding. Although Franklin remained extremely unlikely to play against the Sydney Swans in this week’s second semi-ﬁnal, the Hawks were conﬁdent Bailey and Hodge would be ﬁt to play and, on Monday, Lewis was cleared by the Match Review Panel. As the Hawks prepare to bounce back against the Swans, they—and last weekend’s other losing qualifying ﬁnalist, West Coast—may have been buoyed by recent AFL history. Since the current ﬁnals system (in which the top-four teams meet in week one of the ﬁnals) was introduced in 2000, only
two of the 22 losing qualifying ﬁnal teams have failed to reach a preliminary ﬁnal—Port Adelaide in 2001 and West Coast in 2007. And, as tough as things may look for the Hawks if they are without Franklin this Friday night, they can take solace knowing other losing qualifying ﬁnalists have bounced back from far greater defeats than they suffered against the Cats. Remarkably, nine of the 22 losing qualifying ﬁnal teams from 2000-10 were defeated by more than 50 points and all of them won their subsequent semi-ﬁnal, against the winners of the ﬁfth versus eighth and sixth versus seventh elimination ﬁnals.
North Melbourne suffered the two heaviest of those qualifying ﬁnal defeats, losing to Essendon by 125 points in 2000 and to Geelong by 106 points in 2007. However, despite queries over the ﬁtness of their captain Wayne Carey, the Kangaroos backed up against Hawthorn in the 2000 ﬁrst semi-ﬁnal and won by 10 points. In 2007, North again faced a semi-ﬁnal against the Hawks, who were coming off an elimination ﬁnal win over Adelaide spearheaded by seven goals from Franklin. And, again, the Kangaroos booked a preliminary ﬁnal berth, this time winning by 33 points.
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Demons Stefan Martin and Cale Morton sign new contracts with the club.
The other teams that rebounded from humiliating qualifying ﬁnal losses were St Kilda, which lost by 80 points to the Brisbane Lions in 2004, Adelaide (71 points against the Lions, 2002), Richmond (70 points versus Essendon, 2001), Western Bulldogs (62 points against Collingwood in 2010), St Kilda (58 points versus Geelong in 2008), Geelong (55 points to Port Adelaide in 2004) and Western Bulldogs (51 points against Hawthorn in 2008). The ability of these teams to rebound from such losses suggests the gap between the top four and the other ﬁnalists has been signiﬁcant in the past decade. So do the results of the 2011 home and away season, when the top-four teams won 17 of their 22 games against the teams that ﬁnished ﬁfth to eighth. Signiﬁcantly, the Hawks won all four of their games against teams in the bottom half of the eight, but West Coast lost three of its ﬁve games. However, two of the Eagles’ losses came in the ﬁrst seven rounds before they really hit their stride. If, as expected, the Hawks go into this Friday’s game without Franklin, Clarkson may want to remind them of Geelong’s remarkable win over Carlton in the 1994 second semi-ﬁnal. With their three best midﬁelders, Garry Hocking, Mark Bairstow and Paul Couch, sidelined with injury, the Cats upset the Blues by 33 points. History is against the Hawks and Eagles in one respect, however. Since 2000, just three losing qualifying ﬁnalists have reached the Grand Final—the Lions in 2003, Swans in 2005 and Eagles in 2006. However, Hawthorn and West Coast will know all three of those teams went on to win that year’s premiership.
Schoolmate next target for Swans stopper
HARD WORK: Nick
Smith has grabbed his chance be part of Sydney’s back six.
PETER RYA N
ife will take a nice twist when two former Scotch College teammates—the Sydney Swans’ 23-yearold Nick Smith and Hawthorn’s 22-year-old Cyril Rioli—meet at the MCG on Friday night. Smith was captain of Scotch’s 2006 shared premiership team and Rioli a key player in that year. As an AFL player, Rioli gets people through the gate. Smith quietly tries to keep such main attractions quiet. He has done the job in recent weeks on St Kilda’s Stephen Milne (twice) and Geelong’s Steve Johnson. That talented duo kicked three goals in total in those three games. After Smith’s performance against Geelong in round 23, coach John Longmire said he would be surprised if his small defender ever got a good night’s sleep before the game. “Nick Smith has done some big jobs,” he said. So who is Nick Smith? “He is someone who is so disciplined, a highly process-driven individual,” said Chris Naish, the former Richmond and Port Adelaide player who is director of coaching at Scotch College. “He is a real model of just putting himself on the line for others.” Smith’s dad Malcolm Smith played one game for St Kilda, in round 22 of 1982, as the Saints went down by 88 points to a
strong Hawthorn side featuring just two players (Andy Bennett and Gary Ablett) who would leave the game not having played in a premiership. Smith is a good sportsman, having taken 100 wickets for Scotch as a handy leg spinner, a rare feat in in the APS competition. Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland is one person who shares the honour. But football is where he is making his name. In 2006, Smith led the Scotch ﬁrst 18 and played well on the MCG (24 possessions) with the Oakleigh Chargers as they won the TAC Cup premiership defeating the Calder Cannons. He started on the Swans’ rookie list. It was enough of an opportunity because Smith was always a strong trainer at school. “I don’t think he would have missed a session,” Naish said. “When he was there, it was all
about quality, and with a smile on his face. He just loved the hard work.” Hard work. That’s what Smith will face on Friday night against his former schoolmate. But as part of a back six that work for each other and with a midﬁeld that helps out, he remains a big chance of keeping Rioli quiet, too. The biggest total the Swans have conceded in 2011 is 106 points, coincidentally against the Hawks. Anyone who watched his last quarter on Saturday night when he beat Milne in a couple of one-on-one battles can appreciate Naish’s description of Smith’s leadership style. “Just courageous. He led from the front and you generally found that when the game was on and the pressure was right on, he would always stand up,” he said.
ESSENDON, CARLTON SMASH FINALS RECORDS
» The big crowd that turned
out for last Sunday’s elimination ﬁnal between Carlton and Essendon at the MCG helped the AFL break two ﬁnals attendance records. A record 90,161 people saw the clash between the Blues and the Bombers, which broke the previous record mark for an elimination ﬁnal—84,284—established in 2006, when the Western Bulldogs defeated Collingwood.
It also took last weekend’s total attendance to 270,145. That is the best result since the competition expanded to a ﬁnal eight in 1995 and four ﬁnals were played on the opening weekend. 2011
» Adelaide Crows v Essendon;
Brisbane Lions v Carlton; St Kilda v Collingwood; Geelong v Western Bulldogs 2006
Collingwood v West Coast; St Kilda v Sydney Swans; Carlton v Essendon
Melbourne v St Kilda; Sydney Swans v West Coast; Adelaide Crows v Fremantle
» Geelong v Hawthorn;
» Western Bulldogs v Collingwood;
» Hawthorn v Adelaide Crows; Collingwood v Sydney Swans; Geelong v North Melbourne; Port Adelaide v West Coast 1995
» Essendon v West Coast; North Melbourne v Richmond; Geelong v Footscray, Carlton v Brisbane Bears
Geelong youngster Daniel Menzel has surgery to repair torn ACL in his right knee.
BIG MEN DOMINATE
Cometh the ﬁnals, cometh the ruckmen
IMPROVER: Robert Warnock has emerged as a real force in the ruck for Carlton.
MICH A EL LOV ET T
lark Keating crashed and bashed his way through the best part of a decade for Brisbane, starting as a Bear in 1996 and ﬁnishing as a Lion in 2006 when his body was shot. But he was a man for the big occasion when the Lions won three successive premierships from 2001-03. Keating was a role player in a team blessed with champions such as Michael Voss, Simon Black, Jason Akermanis, Nigel Lappin and an emerging superstar Jonathan Brown. Most would not have Keating in that elite company, but his record in ﬁnals and playing in all three premierships for the Lions earned him the title ‘Mr September’. Keating played 20 of a possible 25 games in 2001, but the following season he was struggling. A late call-up in the qualifying ﬁnal saw Keating hold his spot for the Grand Final against Collingwood and when No. 1 ruckman Beau McDonald injured his shoulder, Keating took his chance and was the game’s dominant big man.
Lack of ﬁnals experience counts against Bombers » It was probably no surprise Essendon was so outplayed by Carlton last Sunday, considering the club’s lack of ﬁnals experience. Twelve Bombers were playing their ﬁrst AFL ﬁnal. In comparison, only four Blues—Nick Duigan, Setanta O’hAilpin, Jeremy Laidler and Chris Yarran—were tasting September action for the ﬁrst time. It was Carlton’s third consecutive ﬁnals campaign. Although the Blues had been
After battling a foot injury in the ﬁrst half of 2003, Keating repeated his effort, coming back to take over from the injured McDonald. He had 27 hit-outs, one more than the combined Collingwood total as the Lions thrashed the Magpies. The ﬁrst week of the 2011 ﬁnals series again proved the value of a big, strong body in September. And players such as Geelong’s Brad Ottens and Collingwood’s Darren Jolly
knocked out in the past two elimination ﬁ ﬁnals, nals, they were clearly better er equipped to handle the pressure ressure and intensity of ﬁ ﬁnals nalss than Essendon, which hich they beat by 62 points. ointss. Of the Bombers mberrs playing theirr ﬁrs rst st ﬁnal—Patrick ck Ryder, Leroy Jetta, Kyle Reimers, Kylee Hardingham,, Ben Howlett,, David Zaharakis, David Myers,, Tra Travis avis Colyer, Jake Melksham, Melk ksham, Dyson Heppell, ell, Jake J Carlisle and Alwy Alwyn yn Davey—seven en ha have ave played fewerr than tha an 50 games.
Like Keating, Ottens turns up in September and rises to another level
On the biggest stage, Carlton Carlton’ss comparative comparat experience was crit critical. The eight g compe competing p ﬁnalists last weekend weeke ﬁelded 49 ﬁnals debutan debutants. nts Essendo Essendon’s on’ 12 was the mo most, os ahead of We West st Coast (11), Ha H Hawthorn ((se (seven), the Sy S Sydney Swans (s (six), six Carlton and Geelong G (fou (four), ur) St Kilda (th (three) re and Co Collingwood ll (two). In Interestingly, in tth three of last wee week’s k’ four ﬁnals, the te team am with fewer ﬁnals debutants deeb won. Only the Swans Sw went against that th ha trend.
proved they are right up there as the ‘Mr September’ of their respective teams. We also saw the emergence of Carlton’s Robert Warnock as a genuine ruck force in the elimination ﬁnal against Essendon. Warnock had 39 hit-outs, 10 more than his season average, and on hit-outs alone, was the No. 1 ruckman in the opening week of ﬁnals. Sydney’s Shane Mumford was next best with 33 in the Swans’ elimination ﬁnal win over St Kilda, but his ability to take strong pack marks has many rating him the most important Swan behind Adam Goodes. Like Keating, Ottens turns up in September and rises to another level. His three successive clearances early in the second term and his marking ability up forward in the qualifying ﬁnal against Hawthorn were crucial in the Cats’ 31-point win. After a slow start, Jolly was doing his best work in the second half in the qualifying ﬁnal against West Coast, when the Eagles had to nurse a sore Dean Cox. It left the Collingwood big man battling an opponent with superior athletic ability in Nic Naitanui. But as we saw in the 2010 ﬁnals series, Jolly was up for the contest. The fact that Ottens and Jolly, who have both had their injury issues in recent seasons, have the week off, could prove decisive come preliminary ﬁnal weekend.
Bombers coach James Hird, when asked post-match the beneﬁts his side would get from playing in a ﬁnal, was diplomatic. It was about using the experience the next time they had that opportunity, like Carlton had after using the pain of their defeats the previous two years. “You never ever want to have that happen to you again,” Hird said. “I think every footballer who has played a lot of ﬁnals football has been in a situation where they have been disappointed with their performance in a ﬁnal. “You have to get better out of that and you have to improve out of that. This game can really hurt you and it can really do some good things for you and I think out of that hurt you want to get better.” CALLUM TWOMEY
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Richmond signs Jake King and Robin Nahas until end of 2013 season.
300 games, s, later, Goodes still ill making a ‘diﬀerence’ e’ PETER RYA N
dam Goodes is a star. Having won onee d two premiership and als, Brownlow medals, the 31-year-old is about to cap ying a wonderful career by playing his 300th AFL game in the orn on semi-ﬁnal against Hawthorn Friday night. But in the early years, ass a teenager, there was barelyy a hint he would become a giant of the game. Goodes was far from a star when he started with the North Ballarat Rebels in the TAC Cup in the late 1990s. He was chosen in the Vic Country team for the 1997 national under-18 championships on potential, but had a terrible carnival. His form in the TAC Cup was not much better. Rebels coach Gary Fletcher even sent him back to Horsham to gain form. He made a request Goodes play in the senior team at centre half-back, where he could gain conﬁdence by running straight at the ball. Back at the Rebels, Goodes played a moderate game in the key defence post in the ﬁrst ﬁnal. In the Grand Final he shone. Fletcher played him at full-forward on a hunch. His opponent was highly rated Dandenong Stingrays defender Trent Croad. Goodes kicked 6.9 and won the medal for best on ground. Even then, however, there was little interest in him before the 1997 draft. No recruiting scout would admit it, but Goodes was regarded as soft. Former Collingwood wingman Rick Barham took a different view. “He had obvious talent—I was hardly a genius for picking him out,” Barham said. “But he was a little inconsistent. People do forget that as a 17-year-old, you’re still learning the game.” Barham had been seduced by a mark Goodes took at a Vic Country training session at the MCG. 42
GIANT OF THE GAME:
Swans superstar Adam Goodes will become the fastest player in history to reach the 300-game mark, just 12 years and 172 days after his debut in 1999.
He’s 31 and he’s still running around like a 20-year-old RICK BARHAM, WHO RECRUITED GOODES TO THE SWANS
“It was the way he landed and took off,” Barham said. “He had strength in the air and on the ground, and balance. He was cat-like. It was AFL standard.” The Swans selected him with pick 43 in the draft. Their previous picks were Jason Saddington (11) and Fred Campbell (40). In keeping with Sydney’s policy of letting recruits ﬁnd
their feet, Goodes spent 1998 adjusting to his new life. His ﬁrst AFL game was against Port Adelaide in the opening round in 1999. His teammates included champions such as Paul Kelly and Tony Lockett and unknowns including Andrew Bomford and Stefan Carey. Port won by 29 points. Goodes played the rest of the season in positions as diverse
as the wing and the ruck, sometimes in the same game. As an athlete who stands 194cm, he was the prototype of modern football. At the end of the 1999 season, he won the Rising Star award. Former teammate Troy Luff, who was also in the Swans team when Goodes made his debut, said it was only after that ﬁrst season that the teeanager believed he belonged in the AFL. “He needed to be pumped up; he needed to be told he could play,” Luff said. “Winning the Rising Star conﬁrmed to him that he was a good player.” Those the AFL Record spoke to were generally of the opinion
Port Adelaide youngsters John Butcher and Matthew Lobbe agree to contract extensions. S.M.F.C.
that Goodes was shy, humble and lacking conﬁdence when he arrived at Sydney. The one dissenter was Barham, who said Goodes believed in his ability from the start. “He played with an inner conﬁdence,” Barham said, “as he still does.” In those early years, Goodes revelled—at least in mock fashion—in the nickname ‘The Difference’. If, after a close win, commentators and fans described Goodes as the difference, the budding star would strut and claim, “Yes, I was the difference.” Those interviewed agreed they can tell when Goodes is switched on. Luff sees Sydney play almost every week through his commentary work with Triple M. “You can just see when he’s on,” Luff said. Barham agreed: “When he’s on, he’s on.” Barham said Sydney was smart in keeping Goodes away from the ruck after he had suffered knee injuries in his early years. His durability since then has been remarkable, as shown again by the fact he has played every game this year. Just last week, in the elimination ﬁnal against
St Kilda, Goodes again proved his athletic powers by running from full-back to full-forward before receiving a handball and running into an open goal. “He’s 31 and he’s still running around like a 20-year-old,” Barham said. Tony Frawley was the regional manager of the North Ballarat Rebels when Goodes was playing there. He was responsible for making sure Goodes came down from Horsham every week to play in the TAC Cup. Frawley said Goodes’ success makes him proud. “But I never thought he would win two Brownlows and play 300 games.”
MILESTONES WEEK 2 FINALS
Born: January 8, 1980 Recruited from: Horsham/North Ballarat U18 Debut: Round 1, 1999 Height: 194cm Weight: 99kg Games: 280 Goals: 349 Player honours: Brownlow Medal 2003 (equal), 2006; best and fairest 2003, 2006; All-Australian 2003, 2006, 2009; International Rules Series 2001, 2010 (captain); leading goalkicker 2010; AFL Rising Star 1999; premiership 2005. Brownlow Medal: career votes 137
Adam Goodes Sydney Swans The eighth-youngest player to reach 300 games (31 years, 251 days) and the fastest in history to reach the mark (12 years, 172 days), beating Mark Ricciuto’s record of 13 years, 81 days. Becomes only the fourth indigenous player to reach the milestone.
AFL LIFE MEMBERSHIP
Jude Bolton Sydney Swans 300th oﬃcial game – 278 premiership matches, 20 pre-season games and one International Rules Match ONE OF THE GREATS: Goodes won his second Brownlow Medal in 2006 and is a chance to make it three after another outstanding season in 2011.
The list includes those not necessarily selected but on the verge of milestones.
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AFL agrees to hold annual Brownlow Medal function at Melbourne’s Crown Casino until end of 2016.
YOUNG STAR SIGNS
Scully’s six-year deal with Giants GA RY WA LSH A ND JA MES DA MPNEY
idﬁelder Tom Scully this week signed a six-year contract with Greater Western Sydney, the AFL’s 18th club. Scully, 20, the No.1 pick in the 2009 NAB AFL Draft, played 31 matches in two seasons with Melbourne. Scully said the offer from the Giants represented “a fantastic opportunity to come up here and be part of something special”. He said it had been tough dealing with the speculation over his future and that the decision to leave Melbourne had been a difﬁcult one, but he said he was “absolutely delighted to be on board”. Melbourne expressed its disappointment but had wished him well, Scully said. “It was the biggest decision I’ll have to make in my life. At the end of the day, I was very conﬁdent with the decision I had made. Melbourne Football Club gave me a great introduction to my career and was an incredible support. “I can’t speak as to how people will view me. I understand people will be disappointed, but it was just a decision where I was pretty clear in my mind what I wanted to do. “I want to thank all of the coaches, players, staff and of course the supporters for the last two years. For me, though, it’s all
PRIZED RECRUIT: Tom Scully is ﬂanked by
(from left) GWS chairman Tony Shephard, CEO Dale Holmes and coach Kevin Sheedy at this week’s announcement.
It was the biggest decision I’ll have to make in my life TOM SCULLY
about getting ready for this new stage in my career.” Scully had been the subject of intense speculation about his future all season. “I just wanted to focus on my footy all year and it was difﬁcult enough being injured (a knee concern restricted him to just 10 matches), let alone having to put up with all the media stuff,” he said. He said he was looking forward to playing his role on and off the ﬁeld. “I’m glad I can help promote the game up here and hopefully I can be a big part of this side going forward,” he said.
Giants CEO Dale Holmes described Scully’s signing as a “great day” for the club but also “for the game nationally”. Scully joins Callan Ward (Western Bulldogs), Phil Davis (Adelaide) and Rhys Palmer (Fremantle) as uncontracted players signed by the Giants. He ﬂew to Sydney last Sunday to inspect the expansion club’s player accommodation at Breakfast Point and training facilities at Blacktown. The Demons selected Scully with the priority pick they received after two straight seasons ‘winning’ the wooden spoon. They selected South Australian Jack Trengove with pick No. 2 in the same draft. Trengove recently re-signed with Melbourne until the end of 2015. Scully played for the Dandenong Stingrays in the TAC Cup under-18 competition, and made his AFL debut in round one of 2010. He ﬁnished second to Sydney Swan Daniel Hannebery in the NAB AFL Rising Star
award last year after playing 21 matches in his debut season. His ﬁnal match for the Demons was the win against Gold Coast in round 23 at the MCG.
» Melbourne will receive
two ﬁrst-round draft selections as compensation for losing Tom Scully to the GWS Giants. The AFL announced this week the Demons would receive a ﬁrst-round selection and a mid ﬁrst-round selection. The Western Bulldogs and Adelaide will each receive a ﬁrst-round selection for losing Callan Ward and Phil Davis respectively to the Giants. Fremantle will receive an end of ﬁrst-round selection for Rhys Palmer, who will also join the Giants in 2012.
IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT BUYING 2011 TOYOTA AFL GRAND FINAL TICKETS
2011 Toyota AFL Grand Final tickets are subject to the following condition of sale: Condition: This ticket is sold or distributed on the condition that it not be resold or offered for resale at a premium or be used for advertising, promotions, competitions or other commercial purposes without the AFL’s prior written authorisation. Any breach of these conditions allows your ticket to be cancelled and for a Declared Event may be an indictable offence under the Major Sporting Events Act 2009. I thank the AFL for their cooperation with the Victorian Government to ensure their 2011 Toyota AFL Grand Final Ticketing Scheme has transparent ticket distribution practices. The Hon. Hugh Delahunty MP Minister for Sport and Recreation
Supporters should be aware it is illegal for a 2011 Toyota AFL Grand Final ticket to be sold for a premium on its own or as part of a package deal unless the seller is authorised in writing by the AFL. The 2011 Toyota AFL Grand Final has been declared an event under the ticketing provisions (Part 9) of the Major Sporting Events Act 2009 to provide more transparent ticketing arrangements and fairer access for supporters to major events. Breaches of the Act can mean entry to the event being denied to the ticket holder and fines per ticket in excess of $7,000 for a person or $35,000 for a company - with multiple offences carrying fines up to 10 times these amounts. Each AFL club must detail its ticket distribution arrangements on its website. If unsure whether a ticket seller is authorised, please contact the AFL on 03 9643 1999
Port Adelaide Magpies mourning the death of former player and administrator Bob Clayton.
AROUND THE CLUBS
St Kilda S
G Gardiner, Steven Baker, Andrew McQualter and Robert Eddy M would be departing the club. w
the Brisbane Lions’ best and fairest award, edging out veteran Simon Black and Jack Redden. Rockliﬀ, named the club’s rookie of the year in 2010, won the Merrett-Murray Medal. Black won the players’ award; Redden received the Shaun Hart most courageous player award; Patrick Karnezis wass named rookie of the year, and nd vicecaptain Jed Adcock collected ted the Marcus Ashcroft most professional player award. award. The Lions conﬁrmed ed ruckman rucckman Mitch Clark has requested ested a trade to a West Australian AFL club. clu ub. The Lions said assistant sistantt coaches Jade Rawlings gs and d Beau McDonald havee left the club.
» St Kilda announced Michael
» Scott Thompson won
» Star North Melbourne midﬁelder Daniel Wells is recovering after developing a blood clot in his lungs following routine shoulder surgery. The club said Wells experienced chest and lower back pain and shortness of breath after being discharged from hospital. He was immediately readmitted for tests, with doctors discovering a “large” blood clot in his lungs. Wells will be on a bloodthinning drug for the next six months and will not travel with the team to the United States for a high-performance training camp in October. He won’t participate in training drills involving contact but can maintain and improve his ﬁtness with a view to playing close to the start of the 2012 season, the club said. North Melbourne delisted Ed Lower, Ben Ross, Brayden Norris and rookies Marcus White and Matthew Scott.
A Adelaide’s club champion award, beating captain Nathan a vvan Berlo. Defenders Graham JJohncock and Ben Rutten tied ffor third place. “It’s nice to get recognised ffor a decent season,” Thompson said after receiving the Malcolm Blight Medal. Veteran Michael Doughty, who is set to play on next season after being oﬀered a one-year contract extension, was named best team man. Matt Jaensch won the club’s emerging talent award and defender Daniel Talia received the Mark Bickley award for achievements of a ﬁrst- or second-year player on and oﬀ the ﬁeld. Jack Gunston was the original recipient of the Bickley award, rd, d, but the club decided d not to o award it to him him after he asked sk ked to be traded a aded to a Victorian orrian club.
» Youngster Tom Rockliﬀ won
Gold Coast Suns
» Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett won the club’s inaugural best and fairest award, adding to the two he won with Geelong. Ablett polled 196 votes, beating vice-captain Nathan Bock (138) and Michael Rischitelli (100). First-year player David Swallow, the No. 1 draft pick last year, ﬁnished fourth. Rischitelli was named the Suns’ most professional player.
» Young midﬁelder Trentt Cotchin won Richmond’s ond’s best and fairest from m Brett Brett Deledio and Dustin Martin Martin. n. Cotchin won the Jack ack Dyer Dyyer Medal M for the ﬁrst time me with witth a decisive victory. Bachar achar Houli H ﬁnished fourth h and young yyo big man Tyrone ne Vickery V was ﬁfth. At just 21, Cotchin is one o of the youngest best and a fairest winners in n Richmond’s R history. Alex Rance won the he most m improved player er award aw a and Reece Conca nca was w named best ﬁrst-year t-year player. p Jack Riewoldtt (62 (6 goals) was the leading lle goalkicker.
STAR SHINES: Gary Ablett won the Suns’ best and fairest.
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Geelong veteran James Kelly agrees to three-year contract extension. MORE ENLIGHTENED : Former
THE FINAL STORY
Hawthorn champion Dermott Brereton regrets the Hawks’ targeting of young Eagle Chris Lewis in the 1991 Grand Final.
Eagle Chriss Lewis was a target in 1991, admits Brereton A DA M McNICOL
ermott Brereton shifts ifts uncomfortably in ts his seat as he admits that while Hawthorn was a happy team in the 1980s and early 1990s, it was also a collection of men that would do anything to win a game of football. “Back in those days, racial viliﬁcation … Gee, I don’t think the two words had ever been used together,” Brereton says. “So we went and gave it to Chris Lewis.” Brereton is speaking about the torrent of racial abuse the Hawks directed at West Coast’s star indigenous midﬁelder in the 1991 AFL Grand Final at Waverley Park. What Lewis endured is the revelation of the third instalment of The Final Story, the four-part documentary series produced by AFL Media ﬁlmmakers Peter Dickson and Wayne Dyer. The series examines the legacies of the 1971, 1981, 1991 and 2001 Grand Finals. “It cut pretty deep,” Lewis admits. “I was only a young boy, trying to go out and do what I did best. I had never really experienced
Wallis 14-match ban for betting » Essendon assistant coach
Dean Wallis last week was banned for 14 games after he admitted to placing bets on AFL matches. Wallis admitted to wagering $400 in three separate multileg bets with one of those legs including a Bombers game. He was barred from having any contact with players
Only now, in this day and age, do we understand what we’ve done DERMOTT BRERETON
any of that sort of stuff until I played AFL. “The crowd were (also) quite vocal in that area, which was always a bit upsetting.” Yet the real tragedy of his career is that Lewis endured similar abuse on a weekly basis. “Chris Lewis’s greatest strength was being able to cope with that type of pressure, which was the norm in those days,” recalls his former teammate Scott Watters. Then-Eagles coach Mick Malthouse describes the abuse Lewis copped from the Hawthorn players as “absolutely disgraceful”.
“I don’t think eras have anything to do with it,” Malthouse continues. “Chris was reported on a couple of occasions. In my mind, I have no doubt he was viliﬁed. “We accepted it, and we have got a lot to pay for that, as a nation, as a league and as individuals. “Football wore him down. From a young man, when I ﬁrst went to that football club, who had a beautiful big smile, that became more and more tested through his career.” Lewis still regrets that neither he nor the Eagles tried to hold the Hawks to account for what they did.
during the banned period. He was also ﬁned $7500, but will be allowed to perform non-player related duties at the club. “We have made it clear again and again that under our rules, all AFL players, coaches, umpires and oﬃcials cannot bet on football in any way, shape or form,” the AFL’s general manager
of football operations Adrian Anderson said. “What this case shows is that we are prepared to act on any information and we have a number of investigative tools at our disposal to track down bets placed either electronically or in cash.” Wallis initially denied knowingly placing any bets
“I was a little bit disappointed tthat we probably didn’t, as a club, push the issue a little b bit further,” he reﬂects. “I tthink it was one of those a areas that we didn’t want tto go to because it was a b bit prickly.” Hawthorn won the 1991 G Grand Final by 53 points after k kicking eight goals with the b breeze in the ﬁnal quarter. Although Brereton cherishes his premiership medal, he has struggled to come to terms with his role in the targeting of Lewis. “Only now, in this day and age, do we understand what we’ve done,” he says. “I’ve apologised to Chris Lewis since. (I’ve got a) pretty dark memory of it. It’s something I’m not proud of.” Lewis says: “If Dermie needs to come out and say that to make himself feel better, then good on him. “(It’s) probably a recognition and admission of a bloke who’s fair dinkum about understanding what he may have done in the past, and trying to right a wrong.” Watters is thankful Essendon’s Michael Long took a stand on the issue four years later, which led to the introduction of the AFL’s stringent racial and religious viliﬁcation rules. “We look now and wonder, ‘How did that happen?’ Thank god we’ve improved.” THE FINAL STORY—20 YEARS ON WILL BE SCREENED BY CHANNEL NINE ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 18. SEE LOCAL GUIDES FOR DETAILS.
on AFL matches, but the subsequent investigation proved otherwise. Wallis played 127 games in 14 seasons at Windy Hill, including the 1993 and 2000 premierships. He is in his second stint as an assistant/development coach with the Bombers, having left Fremantle to join James Hird’s coaching panel late last year.
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Finals Week 1 2011
Your ultimate game guide including statistics, facts
EFFECTIVE EAGLE: Daniel Kerr was a key in West Coast’s
win over Carlton at Etihad Stadium in round 14.
Judd returns to Perth
PETER DI SISTO AFL RECORD
The trip to Patersons Stadium holds no fears for the Blues. Hawthorn v Sydney Swans
» The Hawks have won three of their past four
games against the Sydney Swans. In their most recent clash—at the SCG in round nine—the Swans led by ﬁve points at quarter-time but were outscored 12.14 to only 4.11 as Hawthorn careered away to a 46-point victory. Crucially, Hawks spearhead Lance Franklin amassed 28 disposals, nine marks and bagged 6.6. Of course, Franklin has a knee injury. The Hawks have won their past three clashes at the MCG—by 31, 11 and two points respectively. The Swans have won just one of their past 13 games at the MCG overall, and have lost their past four ﬁnals there, going back to the 2006 Grand Final. The teams have met just three times in ﬁnals for two Hawks wins, most recently in an elimination ﬁnal at Docklands 10 years ago.
West Coast Eagles v Carlton
Hawthorn 25 points West Coast Eagles 18 points TOTALS: Season 125 Finals 2
» In the four seasons Chris Judd has been at Carlton
since crossing from West Coast, the Blues have won four of their ﬁve games against their skipper’s former teammates by an average of 33 points. Ominously, Carlton’s only loss to West Coast in this period was in their most recent encounter, by 36 points at Etihad Stadium in round 14. In that game, Judd was restricted to 17 disposals, including four kicks (for just the second time in his past 145 games). Patersons Stadium holds no fears for the Blues, who have triumphed there in their past two encounters against the Eagles—by 37 points in 2008 and by 26 points last year. They have clashed in only two ﬁnals, resulting in a 55-point win to the Eagles in Perth in the 1996 ﬁrst qualifying ﬁnal and a 54-point victory to the Blues at the MCG in the 1999 ﬁrst semi-ﬁnal.
GERARD WHATELEY ABC GRANDSTAND
Hawthorn 2 points West Coast Eagles 23 points TOTALS: Season 133 Finals 4
BRIAN TAYLOR 3AW
Sydney Swans 9 points West Coast Eagles 18 points TOTALS: Season 129 Finals 3
ANDREW DEMETRIOU AFL CEO
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Sydney Swans 6 points West Coast Eagles 15 points TOTALS: Season 125 Finals 3
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AFL FINALS WEEK 1
VFL – FINALS
SECOND QUALIFYING FINAL Geelong Cats 2.0 7.2 12.6 14.14 (98) Hawthorn 3.5 4.8 7.12 9.13 (67) BEST: Geelong Cats – Ottens, Selwood, Ling, Johnson, Podsiadly, Chapman, Hawkins. Hawthorn – Hodge, Shiels, Franklin, Smith, Birchall. GOALS: Geelong Cats – Podsiadly 3, Menzel 2, Hawkins 2, Ottens 2, Hunt, Bartel, Johnson, West, Stokes. Hawthorn – Franklin 4, Hodge 2, Rioli, Lewis, Smith. Substitutes: Stokes (Geel), Bateman (Haw). Umpires: C. Donlon, M. Nicholls, S. Ryan. Crowd: 73,400 at the MCG.
SECOND ELIMINATION FINAL Sydney Swans 2.4 7.6 8.9 12.10 (82) St Kilda 1.3 3.4 7.7 8.9 (57) BEST: Sydney Swans – O’Keefe, Goodes, McVeigh, Mumford, Richards, Kennedy, Shaw. St Kilda – Dal Santo, Gram, Jones, Dempster, Fisher, Montagna, Polo. GOALS: Sydney Swans – O’Keefe 4, Goodes 2, McGlynn 2, Mumford 2, Reid, Spangher. St Kilda – Goddard 2, Schneider 2, Dal Santo, Koschitzke, Milne, Riewoldt. Substitutes: Geary (St K), Parker (Syd). Umpires: M. Vozzo, R. Chamberlain, J. Mollison. Crowd: 39,205 at Etihad Stadium.
FIRST QUALIFYING FINAL Collingwood 1.1 7.5 10.7 12.10 (82) West Coast Eagles 2.3 5.4 6.5 9.8 (62) BEST: Collingwood – Swan, Pendlebury, O’Brien, Wellingham, Davis, Shaw. West Coast Eagles – Naitanui, Mackenzie, Glass, Lynch, Waters, Shuey. GOALS: Collingwood – Wellingham 3, Krakouer 2, Blair, Swan, Cloke, Dawes, Brown, Ball, Fasolo. West Coast Eagles – Lynch 3, LeCras 2, Kennedy, Priddis, Naitanui, Darling. Substitutes: Fasolo (Coll), McGinnity (WCE). Umpires: S. McBurney, D. Margetts, S. Jeﬀery. Crowd: 67,379 at the MCG.
FIRST ELIMINATION FINAL Carlton 4.5 10.12 17.17 21.23 (149) Essendon 3.4 4.7 8.9 13.9 (87) BEST: Carlton – Murphy, Warnock, Carrazzo, Yarran, Betts, Scotland, Garlett, Henderson. Essendon – Hocking, Stanton, Myers, Lovett-Murray, Monfries. GOALS: Carlton – Betts 4, Garlett 3, Gibbs 3, Walker 3, Thornton 2, O’hAilpin, Robinson, Murphy, Simpson, Judd, Carrazzo. Essendon – Monfries 3, Stanton 2, Hille 2, Reimers 2, Carlisle, Colyer, Hocking, Jetta. Substitutes: Davies (Carl), Colyer (Ess). Umpires: B. Rosebury, M. Stevic, S. Meredith. Crowd: 90,161 at the MCG.
FIRST SEMI-FINAL Werribee Tigers 5.3 9.8 12.12 16.17 (113) Casey Scorpions 1.2 2.8 3.12 6.15 (51) BEST: Werribee Tigers – Mangan, Ross, Harding, Sharp, Martiniello, McKinley. Casey Scorpions – Stockdale, Lees, Warnock, Panozza, Mohr, Nicholson. GOALS: Werribee Tigers – Ross 4, McKinley 2, Tighe 2, Warren 2, Harding, Gleeson, Sharp, Sullivan, Tuck, Castello. Casey Scorpions – McNamara, Fitzpatrick, Bate, Dunn, Matthews, Nicholson.
OUT OF MY WAY:
Werribee’s Majak Daw and Casey’s Robert Campbell jostle for front position.
Chris Judd soars above Essendon’s Patrick Ryder for a spectacular mark.
SECOND SEMI-FINAL Northern Bullants 1.3 3.8 7.8 14.12 (96) North Ballarat 6.1 7.2 10.5 12.6 (78) BEST: Northern Bullants – McLean, Dare, Hampson, Lambert, Meese, Russell. North Ballarat – Pratt, Mullett, Driscoll, Peters, McKenzie, George. GOALS: Northern Bullants – Hampson 6, Kerr 2, Tuohy, Casboult, McCorkell, McLean, O’Keefe, Saad. North Ballarat – Driscoll 5, Darmody 2, Stephenson, McKenzie, Lynch, Pratt, Peters.
AFL SYDNEY – FINALS PRELIMINARY FINAL Balmain 6.4 6.5 10.6 13.7 (85) Sydney University 2.3 8.5 9.5 12.10 (82) BEST: Balmain – Taggart, Stevens, Maniscalco, Howard, Lilly, Bolt. Sydney University – Clarebrough, Cole, Higgins, Clarke, Elkington, Wells. GOALS: Balmain – Saddington 3, Osland 2, Fosdike 2, Stevens 2, Howard 2, Davis, Brian. Sydney University – Campbell 2, McConnochie 2, Thompson 2, Turco, Clarebrough, Barton, Cole, Moller, Elkington.
Dane Swan Matthew Boyd Bryce Gibbs Marc Murphy Trent Cotchin Sam Mitchell Scott Pendlebury Kade Simpson
Bryce Gibbs Travis Cloke Heath Scotland Grant Birchall Ben Reid Nick Riewoldt Sam Fisher Quinten Lynch
Matt Priddis Scott Pendlebury Scott Thompson Chris Judd Daniel Cross Simon Black Matthew Boyd Gary Ablett
Collingwood Western Bulldogs Carlton Carlton Richmond Hawthorn Collingwood Carlton
441 398 381 375 372 371 347 347
Carlton Collingwood Carlton Hawthorn Collingwood St Kilda St Kilda West Coast Eagles
174 174 161 157 156 154 153 149
West Coast Eagles Collingwood Adelaide Crows Carlton Western Bulldogs Brisbane Lions Western Bulldogs Gold Coast Suns
356 330 330 325 323 305 303 301
Scott Selwood Matt Priddis James Kelly Jack Redden Ben Howlett Luke Ball Andrew Swallow Jude Bolton
Ryan Griﬀen Adam Goodes Dane Swan Matthew Boyd Quinten Lynch Travis Cloke Kade Simpson Trent Cotchin
Rebounded from 50
Nathan Bock Pearce Hanley Robert Murphy Graham Johncock James Frawley Shannon Hurn Rhyce Shaw Scott McMahon
West Coast Eagles West Coast Eagles Geelong Cats Brisbane Lions Essendon Collingwood North Melbourne Sydney Swans
190 179 167 166 153 151 145 145
Western Bulldogs Sydney Swans Collingwood Western Bulldogs West Coast Eagles Collingwood Carlton Richmond
130 130 118 115 114 113 111 108
Gold Coast Suns Brisbane Lions Western Bulldogs Adelaide Crows Melbourne West Coast Eagles Sydney Swans North Melbourne
117 116 111 111 110 108 106 95
Chris Judd Josh Kennedy Matt Priddis Andrew Swallow Gary Ablett Matthew Boyd Scott Pendlebury Trent Cotchin
Ryan O’Keefe Dane Swan Scott Pendlebury Gary Ablett Matthew Boyd Adam Goodes Marc Murphy Scott Thompson
Todd Goldstein Matthew Leuenberger Dean Cox Shane Mumford Sam Jacobs Robert Warnock Ben McEvoy Mark Jamar
Carlton Sydney Swans West Coast Eagles North Melbourne Gold Coast Suns Western Bulldogs Collingwood Richmond
161 157 153 146 138 132 131 125
Sydney Swans Collingwood Collingwood Gold Coast Suns Western Bulldogs Sydney Swans Carlton Adelaide Crows
96 96 84 83 83 81 79 73
North Melbourne Brisbane Lions West Coast Eagles Sydney Swans Adelaide Crows Carlton St Kilda Melbourne
741 724 669 614 611 560 497 484
Source: CHAMPION DATA
A F L S E A S O N S TAT S
THE HIGH-DEFINITION SPECIALIST NEAFL NORTH – FINALS
SANFL – ROUND 23 West Adelaide 3.0 10.1 11.3 14.8 (92) Sturt 2.3 3.8 5.11 8.13 (61) BEST: West Adelaide – Caire, Green, Birss, Hartlett, Piasente, Fisher. Sturt – Martin, Twopeny, Bartlett, Hinge, Thomson, Kurtze. GOALS: West Adelaide – Piasente 3, Fisher 2, Ferguson 2, Anderson 2, Pettigrew, Davenport, Beech, Homburg, Fielke. Sturt – Martin 2, Harms, Crane, Twopeny, Kurtze, Crocker, Duldig. Eagles 4.2 5.5 8.6 12.8 (80) Port Adelaide 2.1 7.3 8.6 8.9 (57) BEST: Eagles – Lewis, Powell, Day, Grieger, Goldsworthy, Raymond. Port Adelaide – Lees, Beard, Dolling, Scanlon, Summerton, Kulikowski. GOALS: Eagles – Hall 3, Allmond 2, Goldsworthy, Toumpas, Lewis, Cicolella, Treeby, Staple, Lane. Port Adelaide – Summerton 2, Rose, Gray, Eckermann, Milera, Biacsi, Lokan. Panthers 3.0 8.2 11.4 14.8 (92) Norwood 3.6 5.7 6.13 9.16 (70) BEST: Panthers – Cross, Cockshell, Brooksby, Liddle, Crabb, Thewlis. Norwood – Forster, Georgiou, Campbell, Bown, Young, Rowe. GOALS: Panthers – Wundke 3, Cockshell 2, Leonard 2, MacLeod 2, Bass, Brooksby, Liddle, Cross, Murphy. Norwood – Bown 2, Grigg, Gallagher, Gazzola, Rowe, Eagleton, Webber, Campbell. Central District 3.8 5.15 10.17 12.17 (89) North Adelaide 0.2 6.3 9.6 13.8 (86) BEST: Central District – Boyd, Goodrem, Templeton, Jenner, Williams, O’Sullivan. North Adelaide – Allan, Miles, Clisby, Amato, Ivens, Thiele. GOALS: Central District – O’Hara 2, Callinan 2, O’Sullivan 2, Habel, Dunne, Williams, Havelberg, Gowans, Templeton. North Adelaide – Gill 3, Boras 3, Stewart 2, Thring, Thiele, Delvins, Alleway, Ryswyk. Bye: Glenelg
SANFL ladder P W L
20 17 3
Agst % Pts 56.83
20 14 6
20 13 7
PRELIMINARY FINAL Morningside 3.3 8.8 12.12 17.16 (118) Mt Gravatt 0.2 5.3 6.7 9.11 (65) BEST: Morningside – Spackman, Abey, Allen, Brown, Upton, Price. Mt Gravatt – Grose, Schultz, Vearing, Lake, Reid, Steven. GOALS: Morningside – Abey 6, Mugavin 3, Brown 2, Upton, Gough, Lucy, Rootsey, Spackman, Holman. Mt Gravatt – Vearing 2, Gilliland 2, Proud 2, Skubis, Hamill, James.
NEAFL EAST – FINALS PRELIMINARY FINAL Ainslie 6.9 10.13 18.15 21.20 (146) Eastlake 2.1 3.3 7.5 8.8 (56) BEST: Ainslie – Lawless, Andrews, Hughes, Crook, Tow, Paine. Eastlake – Ainsworth, McGrath, Wiles, Bruce, McMahon, Wilson. GOALS: Ainslie – Paine 5, Crook 4, Hughes 3, Lawless 3, Vandenberg 2, Stone, Shirley, Mathis, Love. Eastlake – McGrath 2, Wilson, Armstrong, Egan, Bruce, Gibson, Hart.
A F L TA S M A N I A – F I N A L S
FOR YOUR NEAREST STORE CALL
WA F L – F I N A L S FIRST SEMI-FINAL Subiaco 8.0 11.5 19.10 24.18 (162) South Fremantle 2.2 8.3 11.4 12.5 (77) BEST: Subiaco – Horsley, Hughes, Bristow, Rumble, Headland, Kerr, Randall. South Fremantle – T. Bairstow, Head, Murphy, Miller, Hams, Murphy. GOALS: Subiaco – Kerr 4, Horsley 3, Bristow 2, Pickett 2, Cockie 2, Stevenson 2, Headland 2, Hughes 2, Blecyhnden 2, Broadhurst 2, Parker. South Fremantle – Dell’Olio 3, R. Adams 3, Hayward 2, Hasleby 2, Hams, McGrath. SECOND SEMI-FINAL Claremont 6.5 12.6 17.11 23.13 (151) West Perth 1.1 3.1 6.3 10.6 (66) BEST: Claremont – Handley, Andrews, C. Jones, Blackwell, B. Jones, Franz, McLernon. West Perth – Tedesco, Stockley, Browne, Hutchings, Branch. GOALS: Claremont – C. Jones 6, Richardson 3, Foster 3, Handley 2, Rudeforth 2, Bradshaw, Browne, Gilligan, Laurie, Schammer, Wilkes, Blackwell. West Perth – Tsalikis 2, Tregear, Stockley, Crisp, Branch, Strijk, Gobbells, Manning, Browne.
TAC C U P – F I N A L S
FIRST SEMI-FINAL Clarence 4.3 13.5 16.8 22.14 (146) Glenorchy 6.5 7.7 10.10 12.15 (87) BEST: Clarence – Standen, Setchell, Gleeson, Thurley, French. Glenorchy – Mott, Spencer, Webb, Reynolds, Kamaric, Corbett. GOALS: Clarence – Standen 9, Williamson 5, Baker 3, Thurley, French, Gilmour, Jenkins, Gleeson. Glenorchy – Hodge 2, Bowden 2, Webb 2, Collis 2, Mott 2, Crouch, Brown.
FIRST SEMI-FINAL Calder Cannons 3.2 6.8 7.10 12.15 (87) Western Jets 3.1 5.4 11.5 11.6 (72) BEST: Calder Cannons – Grenfell, Uysal, Ellis, Sheridan, Saad, Hetherington. Western Jets – Hylton, Hunter, Charleston, Turnbull, Holdsworth, Brown. GOALS: Calder Cannons – Sheahan 3, Hetherington 2, Atkins, Uysal, McBean, Markworth, Sheridan, Solomon, Sahlberg. Western Jets – Turnbull 4, Fairley 2, Hoskin-Elliott, Nastasi, Piva, Jones, Cooke.
SECOND SEMI-FINAL Burnie 3.1 9.4 13.5 14.5 (89) Launceston 4.4 6.8 7.10 9.12 (66) BEST: Burnie – McKenna, Fox, Shackleton, Laycock, Barrett, Templeton. Launceston – Lonergan, O’Donoghue, Rundle, Savage, De Visser. GOALS: Burnie – Laycock 3, Hayes 2, Banham 2, Barrett, Stephenson, Shackleton, Munday, Smith, Radford, Lee. Launceston – Finch 2, Sinclair 2, Rundle, Bristow, Groenewegen, O’Donoghue, Woolley.
SECOND SEMI-FINAL Oakleigh Chargers 3.3 9.4 13.8 17.10 (112) Gippsland Power 1.0 2.0 3.0 7.2 (44) BEST: Oakleigh Chargers – Mascitti, Tomlinson, Viney, Tyson, Jong, Hammond. Gippsland Power – Butcher, Scott, Hector, Tynan, Staley, Wyatt. GOALS: Oakleigh Chargers – Hammond 4, Jong 3, Viney 2, Mascitti 2, Tyson 2, Orval, Wooﬃndin, Gotch, Murphy. Gippsland Power – Butcher, Willcocks, Wyatt, Marusic, Fusinato, Lange, Williams.
Our team is made up of many colours Wear them with pride, not prejudice
We come from different backgrounds. We play for different teams. We are united by our great game. We strive for the respect of our fans and peers. There is no respect in racism.
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The Lions’ last hurrah Fitzroy oﬃcially departed the AFL in 1996 when it merged with the Brisbane Bears, but it was a decade earlier that the Lions truly roared for the last time. The struggling club’s heroics in the 1986 ﬁnals series became the stuﬀ of legend. BRUCE EVA
his season marks only the fourth time in League history that Carlton, Essendon, Hawthorn and South Melbourne/Sydney Swans have contested the ﬁnals in the same year. Strangely enough, this quirk has been an omen for the Lions. The last time it happened was 2001, when the Brisbane Lions won their ﬁrst AFL premiership; the time before that was 1996, Fitzroy’s farewell season; the ﬁrst occasion was 1986, Fitzroy’s ﬁnal visit to the ﬁnals in its colourful history. That it is 25 years since Fitzroy was part of the business end of the season surprised even the key combatants in what became a memorable ﬁnals series partly because of the struggling club’s heroics. “No wonder I feel old,” Scott McIvor said with a laugh. “Well there you go—that has gone too quickly,” Michael Conlan said. Although 1996 is regarded as the ‘ﬁnish line’ for Fitzroy, it was a decade earlier when the Victorian Lions truly roared for the last time.
Victories by a kick in two cut-throat ﬁnals have become the stuff of legend, produced with the backdrop of uncertainty that came from a nomadic existence and a support base that, while hardy, was dwindling. That season was the last of the VFL as we knew it. The Swans had been in Sydney for ﬁve years but the rest of the competition was based in Victoria. The name change to the AFL was still four years away, but the arrival of teams from Queensland (the Brisbane Bears) and Western Australia (West Coast) was only months away—the Lions having been almost dragged down the aisle to embrace the supposed riches in the sunny north. This wasn’t a new phenomenon for Fitzroy. “In 1979, the club had asked whether I would have an issue with us relocating to Sydney,” Conlan recalled. “I came from Canberra so I said, ‘No, not at all, that’s even closer to home for me’, and that’s what they were planning to do in 1980 or ’81. “Just before ’86, we moved to Northcote (in Melbourne’s inner north) for our training venue, and that’s when
I could sense the club was in real trouble ﬁnancially.” Life as a drifter—Lou Richards referred to them as the “gypsies of the league” in the opening minutes of the preliminary ﬁnal broadcast on Channel Seven—leads to a myriad of recollections. While Conlan spoke of the “barbaric facilities” at fading VFA club Northcote’s ground, McIvor remembered occasional training nights at the Lake Oval in South Melbourne and even Waverley Park, the League’s own ground in Melbourne’s outer south-east. The club was in the second and ﬁnal year of playing home games at Collingwood’s Victoria Park, where training access was also limited, and the squad would even have sessions at the oval alongside Merri Creek, which runs through Melbourne’s northern suburbs. If it was us-against-the-world— and the world was being a bitch— the players still won’t use that as a crutch to lean on. If anything, it is a badge of honour. “Maybe it was, but that certainly never affected how you played,” Bernie Harris said bluntly.
HERO: Michael Conlan was one of Fitzroy’s stars during the late 1970s and ‘80s. He had a quiet day in the 1986 elimination ﬁnal but will always be remembered for kicking the winning goal.
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The Lions’ last hurrah
IN FULL VOICE: Fitzroy’s last
ﬁnals victory— the 1986 qualifying ﬁnal—saw (from left) Craig McGrath, Scott McIvor, Grant Lawrie and Doug Barwick, give a stirring rendition of the club song.
“We just went about our business and that’s all you did— if you were lucky enough to get a game each week, you just went out and did your best; I didn’t think it mattered much. “Fitzroy was used to all that stuff—training all over the place and not knowing what was going on; that was just part of playing for Fitzroy. “All the players got on famously and we had a lot of good fun off the ground, as well as on the ground.” The 1986 season was the ﬁfth in an eight-season period the Lions had qualiﬁed for September, although they only had wins over Essendon in the elimination ﬁnals of 1979 and 1981 to show for it. They had not made the ﬁnals with such regularity since the period covering World War I and the early 1920s. “Fitzroy was struggling from a membership point of view and from a ﬁnancial point of view, but there was always this incredibly strong base—the players were so loyal to each other; the fans, even though 80
it was only a small fan base, triumphs over Essendon and were really loyal people,” McIvor the Swans being the only said of the united front the club consecutive September wins it presented at the time. had posted since its last ﬂag “You still see people from the in 1944. Fitzroy days and it’s like you’re Those wins were against the almost family—the fans really same two teams the Lions had to embraced the players, so it was beat in the last two rounds just to an incredibly strong feeling.” make the ﬁve. With six rounds to go in 1986, After coaching Hawthorn the Lions (1978) and were 8-8, a Carlton game and a (1981-82) to whopping premierships 17.3 per cent before being out of the sacked by the ﬁve. The next Blues, David nine weeks Parkin was in would be his ﬁrst season book-ended by in charge of games against the Lions; he eventual effectively SCOTT McIVOR premier swapped Hawthorn—a positions with 51-point win Robert Walls, to Fitzroy in round 17 and a who had returned to his 56-point victory to the Hawks in former club. the preliminary ﬁnal. Conlan and McIvor were in no One can mount a strong doubt about the impact Parkin argument the four weeks before had in 1986; semi-ﬁnal hero the preliminary ﬁnal were the Harris was not so sure, openly most glorious the club enjoyed admitting he and the master after World War II, with ﬁnals mentor did not see eye-to-eye
The fans really embraced the players so it was an incredibly strong feeling
and that was the main reason he departed for the Brisbane Bears after the season. “Parkin came in like a ferocious general—he really came in like a lieutenant of the army,” Conlan explained. “He was highly conﬁdent, he was very well organised, he had something to prove and he was very disciplined, and that’s what we needed at that point. “I’ll never forget his comments that year: ‘Don’t ever worry or question the training and some of the tactics I’m preparing; I’ll get you there, don’t worry about that’. Those words always echo in my ears and we all believed that he’d get us there; we just followed his direction and trained exceptionally hard. “Fitzroy had a lot of good athletes. We weren’t a great football side but we were pretty good athletes, and we really worked on that. He was fantastic, ‘Parko’, and the boys just got on board and loved him.” McIvor agreed. “Parkin was brilliant. He really got the most out of the group,” he said. “He can be such an inspirational
character, David, because he’s such a great speaker, but also he’d been through so much at Hawthorn and Carlton; he could draw on so much experience and pull people in.” Essendon was shooting for three premierships in a row in 1986, but its campaign was derailed early with season-ending injuries to stars Tim Watson, Darren Williams and Paul Vander Haar. The Lions had also become the Bombers’ nemesis, beating them by 45 and 35 points in their two home and away meetings. Fitzroy was not without its injury concerns either as the elimination ﬁnal loomed, with No. 1 ruckman Matt Rendell and champion full-forward Bernie Quinlan both sidelined, and Leon Harris rushed back into the side after missing six weeks with a broken leg. The stakes were high on a cold and wet day at Waverley, and if the then 20-year-old McIvor was not ﬁred up enough about his ﬁrst ﬁnal, Parkin made sure he was right on the edge as the team prepared to ﬁle out of the rooms. “Parko’s come up to me, grabbed me, and he’d never done this before, looked me in the eye and said, ‘Keep your eyes open for (Roger) Merrett at the ﬁrst couple of centre bounces’. I was that pumped up to play, I was that excited. “I remember being out on the ground in the warm-up and (Essendon coach Kevin) Sheedy was out there trying to ﬁre them up. I don’t know if ‘Sheeds’ would remember it but as he was ﬁring them up, he was looking at me, and I was listening to him—there was plenty of ﬁre and brimstone. “It might have been the second or third bounce and I remember looking up and seeing Roger coming at me with the death glare on.” Merrett missed, and McIvor went on to have 25 disposals and kick a goal. He was rated best on ground in the one-point win. Conlan was close to worst on ground after being blanketed by Michael Thomson—“I had a dog of a day”—but will forever be remembered for just his ﬁfth kick of the game; unattended at half-forward in the dying minutes, he marked a pass from Leon Harris and kicked the goal that put the Lions in front. “It was just one of those days where you don’t get near it, and I often think, ‘Gee I was even
THANKS MATE: Bernie Quinlan (right) missed the elimination ﬁnal through injury but he was quick to congratulate Michael Conlan for his last-goal heroics.
lucky to stay on the ground and not be replaced’, so I was very fortunate,” Conlan observed. “It was wet and slippery and I could have sprayed it, but fortunately it hit the foot right and went straight through the middle. “I often think if I’d missed that, I would have had to keep running and jump the fence, and if I had that kick ﬁve times again in those conditions, you probably wouldn’t kick it ﬁve times in a row.” What often gets forgotten is that the following week Conlan starred with four goals in the come-from-behind win over Sydney at the MCG. The Lions were inspired by the last-quarter introduction of Bernie Harris. He had kicked two of the side’s eight goals the previous week against the Bombers and, against the Swans, he sparked a ﬁve-goal-to-two ﬁnal term to help the Lions turn a 12-point deﬁcit into a ﬁve-point win. Harris had seven kicks, set up a goal for Richard Osborne and booted the match-winner to send his team into the preliminary ﬁnal. “When I got on the ground at least I had fresh legs; the other blokes had been going hammer and tongs for three quarters,” he said.
» The Sydney Swans had one
One thing they all agreed on was the physical state of the team once they returned to Waverley to face the Hawks for a spot in the Grand Final. Despite a ﬂying start, the efforts of the previous fortnight—and the efforts to surge into September—had physically impacted, with Conlan and Harris estimating the Lions were down to 12 ﬁt players by half-time. “The elimination ﬁnal was a David and Goliath performance, given we went in without Quinlan and Rendell, but I think the performance against the Swans was also terriﬁc,” Conlan said. “It was a tough slog and the efforts of those two games took their toll by the time we met Hawthorn. “Before the game, blokes were getting painkillers and blokes were ginger, they weren’t 100 per cent. It had been backs-against-the-wall stuff and it was just an amazing couple of performances.” Harris added: “I started on the bench again, but warming up at half-time, I reckon I counted 12 who were jogging around, so we had blokes down left, right and centre. As it turned out, we weren’t good enough.”
‘winner’ on the day of their heart-breaking 1986 ﬁrst semi-ﬁnal loss to Fitzroy—even though the man in question rates the Swans’ exit from September as “the biggest disappointment” of his career. Swans team of the century half-forward Tony Morwood took the mark of the year in the game and won a car for his trouble; ironically, noted high-ﬂier Warwick Capper was underneath him when he soared to the heavens in the forward pocket at the Punt Road end of the MCG. “At the time, I didn’t think much of it,” said Morwood, who ﬁnished with four goals. “Warwick and his opponent (Gary Pert) were in front of me; I just jumped and sat on their shoulders, it wasn’t really a dramatic mark but it was textbook. Went up high, took it at the highest point, came down and landed on my feet. “Channel Seven rang during Grand Final week and said, ‘You’re the winner unless a better mark is taken during the Grand Final’, and in the Grand Final (Hawk) Gary Buckenara soared over the pack (Peter Motley and Peter Dean) and was sideways but dropped the mark—I was delighted. Had he taken that, it would have been mark of the century.” Sydney had ﬁnished second on the ladder after 22 rounds, but found itself in a sudden-death semi-ﬁnal after a narrow 16-point loss to Carlton in the qualifying ﬁnal. Morwood said the loss of captain and centre half-back Dennis Carroll to a knee injury in round 22 was “critical”. The two September defeats in 1986 continued the club’s ﬁnals victory drought that started in the 1945 Grand Final and didn’t end until the 1996 qualifying ﬁnal. “Hawthorn won the Grand Final (in ’86) but I have no doubt we should have made it,” Morwood said. “Nowadays, we would have got two home ﬁnals. We didn’t win a ﬁnal in my career. We did it tough.” AFL RECORD
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REVERED: West Coast champion Dean Kemp is ready to put something back into football.
RECOGNISING THE GREATS
Sea change rekindles Eagle’s passion When the topic of West Coast’s greatest player is debated, Dean Kemp’s name is inevitably raised. An incredibly popular ﬁgure in the club’s 25-year history, the 1994 Norm Smith medallist belied his humble stature to build a 243-game career that made him one of the modern era’s greats and an inaugural inductee in his club’s Hall of Fame. Football has taken a backseat in Kemp’s life in the decade since his retirement, but he is now returning to the game that made him an icon and has plans to make a diﬀerence. NATH A N SCHMOOK.
PHOTO: WILL RUSSELL/AFL PHOTOS
en years living in Margaret River, the idyllic surf town nestled in Western Australia’s south-west, has rubbed off on Dean Kemp. The 42-year-old is relaxed, smiles a lot and looks every bit like a man with the beach on his doorstep. There is less of the blond hair than there was in his playing heyday, but he’s happy to joke about that. Dressed in a leather jacket, jeans and funky sneakers usually seen on skateboarders, it’s hard to imagine the iconic Eagle in the club polo and slacks worn now by his 1992 and ’94 premiership captain John Worsfold. Indeed, coaching, or football in any serious sense, has not been Kemp’s go since leaving Perth almost as soon as his brilliant career ended after 12 seasons, two premierships, one club best and fairest award (1992) and the Norm Smith Medal in West Coast’s 1994 Grand Final triumph over Geelong. Kemp’s priorities have revolved around his and wife Karin’s two boys—Sunny, 10, and Robbi, ﬁve—and the life they have built on their
eight-acre property overlooking the world-renowned surf of Margaret River. Since selling his local hardware shop a few years ago, contract work as an electrician has kept him busy, with a regular morning paddle, golf and occasional visits to the gym keeping him in good health. “It’s peaceful, nice and quiet,” Kemp says of his life in the south-west. “It’s a great place for the kids to grow up with the surﬁng and the sport, so everything’s ticking along well.” It’s an enviable life, but something has changed in the last year, and one of the most skilful players to pull on a West Coast jumper is preparing to return to the game in a full-time capacity. There’s much about the game in 2011 that would have suited Kemp, a sublimely skilled, smart and balanced player with great awareness. And, naturally, there’s so much he could teach today’s players. That’s partly what brought me to meet him, curious about what’s become of the skinny, courageous midﬁelder who was a hero to so many but removed himself so quickly from the cut and thrust of the game.
I want to teach them that it is a lifestyle, not just a sport DEAN KEMP
The ﬁgures tell the story of a remarkably consistent player who thrived on the big stage. He ﬁnished top-10 in best and fairest voting eight times in his 12 seasons and was three times runner-up. He sits ﬁfth on West Coast’s all-time games list and has played more ﬁnals (25) than any other Eagle. To win the club champion award in the year of West Coast’s ﬁrst premiership is one of his
great achievements, and he was the midﬁeld architect of the club’s 1994 triumph. Seasoned football watchers don’t remember Kemp putting in bad games without a reason. Still, there’s a perception in the west that his career didn’t receive the recognition it deserved on the east coast, something that could perhaps be explained by his style. He lacked the explosive power of wingman Peter
dean kemp Matera, or the strength of Chris Mainwaring on the other wing, but he became the glue in one of the game’s grand centre lines and he was the consummate team man. These days, I am told, his infectious personality, humility and easy-going nature are still intact. “He’s a really great person with a good understanding of who he is and where he’s at,” says West Coast CEO Trevor Nisbett, who remains one of Kemp’s close friends. We meet at West Coast’s Patersons Stadium headquarters during one of Kemp’s regular trips up to Perth and it is a place
Born: February 17, 1969 Recruited from: Subiaco Debut: Round 1, 1990, v Collingwood Height: 182cm Weight: 81kg Games: 243 Goals: 117 Player honours: best and fairest 1992; 2nd best and fairest 1995, 1997, 2000; Norm Smith Medal 1994; All-Australian 1992; Australian Football Hall of Fame inductee 2007 Brownlow Medal: career votes 53
where he feels at home. ‘Tommy’, as he is known (because of his penchant for putting tomato sauce on everything he eats), is in demand, too. Midﬁelders Luke Shuey and Matt Rosa are both keen to have a chat, and Worsfold stops to share a laugh at the expense of their premiership teammate Brett Heady, who broke down during his team running duties the previous weekend. Development coach Gavin Bell asks Kemp if he will be back in town for the round 24 clash with Adelaide; he would like him to have a chat to a few players about the ﬁnals series. Frankly, there’s nobody better in the West Coast web to talk about performing at the highest level in the most important matches. Kemp has maintained a presence at West Coast, mentoring some of the club’s young midﬁelders and working as a part-time skills coach for two months last season. That spell at the club appears to have sparked a re-engagement with the game. He has big plans to establish state s a football academy in the state’s south-west for 10-17-year-olds, hi he h is i something clearly excited about. “This year, I’ve got back into footy and I’ve seen so many kids who are keen,” he says. “People come up to me and ask me to be involved, and
I just thought now’s the perfect time. I’d like to give a bit back. “I’ve spoken to a lot of people down there and I’ve got a fair bit of support. “I want a fair bit of the academy to be skills-based, the fundamentals of football —kicking, handballing, how to keep your feet, where to run— things that kids don’t always instinctively have. “I also want to teach them that it’s a lifestyle, not just a sport.” Kemp grew up in Kalgoorlie, the Goldﬁelds town 600km inland from Perth. His father Robert (known as Bob to all) was a local football stalwart and older brothers Wayne and Garry played from a young age. Mother Judith and sisters Sandra and Melissa were great supporters through his career, with Judith still involved at West Coast making sandwiches for the players and Melissa employed as a football department assistant. After tagging along with his brothers, Kemp started playing football as a ﬁve-year-old and grew to love the game and tthe camaraderie. He started an electrical a apprenticeship at 14 but by tthen football was becoming sserious. Nisbett, then g general manager at WAFL club S Subiaco, was already tracking h his development. Older brother Garry was a talented player and went o on to play in Subiaco’s 1988 p premiership but, as early as 1 1984, stories were already ssurfacing in Perth about the yyounger, more talented brother. It appeared to be smooth ssailing for the young Kemp, but tthere’s a tragic twist in his and h his family’s tale. On the day of the local Grand F Final in 1985, a 16-year-old K Kemp found his father dead on a woodheap; he had died on the sspot from a heart attack while cchopping wood. Many years later, when he p played on the MCG for the ﬁrst ttime, he thought about where he h had come from and how proud his ffather would have been to see him p playing at the home of football. “He was so special to me and tthat was a bit of a kick in the guts w when that happened,” Kemp ssays. “He was the main man of tthe family and the strong one. H He showed us what to do.” IN FULL FLIGHT: Dean Kemp in possession and looking for options.
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Bob had a large group of friends in Kalgoorlie football and Kemp, who sank his teeth into his electrical apprenticeship during the difﬁcult years that followed, wasn’t without support as he moved closer to a career in football. Nisbett, whose brief in the mid-1980s was to get more people playing Australian Football in the Goldﬁelds and recruit the best to Subiaco, had also got to know Bob and the Kemps well.
e remembers Dean as a skinny, raw-boned kid who was playing against men at 16, developing the awareness and balance required to hold his own in the brutal world of bush footy. “They throw you around and they’ll teach you a thing or two, so you’ve got to learn to protect yourself as best you can,” Kemp says. “It shaped the way I played, for sure.” In 1989, Nisbett convinced Kemp to join brother Garry and his great mate Brett Heady, who also hailed from Kalgoorlie, at Subiaco. The details of that 1989 WAFL season reveal how West Coast pulled off one of the great recruiting steals, securing Kemp with selection 117 in that year’s draft. “I moved over to West Coast at the end of the year and, about six weeks later, Mick Malthouse was appointed,” Nisbett explains. “(Recruiter) Mick Moylan was here and, between the three of us, we had to work out who we were going to draft. “In 1989, Subiaco ﬁnished seventh on the ladder and we weren’t on television because we weren’t a successful side. At the end of that year, each VFL club was only allowed to pick one West Australian in the draft. “Most of them thought, ‘Well there’s not a lot of talent in Perth, so we’ll be able to see those guys mostly on television’. Subiaco had only been on television twice, so I ﬁgured nobody is going to look at Dean. “Mick Moylan had seen the boys play and he didn’t take a lot of convincing that both Dean and Brett (who was selected with pick No. 92) should be high on our preferences.” There are also stories that suggest Kemp, in the days before mobile phones, was encouraged to take a trip north and see what the ﬁshing in Derby had to offer. Once an Eagle, Kemp was an instant hit, making his debut in
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dean kemp round one of 1990 and missing just two games in his ﬁrst season; he was dropped once and missed another with a rib injury. As he did for much of his career, he lined up on a bigger, stronger opponent, Collingwood’s Darren Millane, in his ﬁrst game, and he learned a valuable early lesson. “I lined up and thought, ‘No way, I’m out of my weight here’, so I ran around the back of the square to Paul Peos, who was playing on a young bloke, Graham Wright. “I said, ‘Mate, the coach (Malthouse) has just come out and told me this bloke’s a bit big for me, you might be better off playing over there’. “Anyway, I got a few kicks and I was pretty happy, but after I’d showered and was leaving Subiaco, I heard the coach yell, ‘Tommy, get back in here’. “I thought he was just going to congratulate me on a good game ﬁrst-up, but he laid down the law to me. ‘I make the rules, you don’t go changing positions,’ he said. I never did that on my own again.” The dressing-down aside, Malthouse turned to Nisbett during that match and remarked: “This kid is going to be a sensational player.”
he image of Kemp at his peak with West Coast is of a slight player, socks pulled up and baggy jumper half tucked. A player who did the percentage things, he would often dispose of the ball quickly and efﬁciently, allowing those around him to ﬁll the highlights reel. As such, and despite 1988 Brownlow medallist Gerard Healy’s declaration during the 1994 Grand Final that he had Brownlow medallist written all over him, Kemp never polled well in the prestigious award, ﬁnishing his career with 53 votes. He was a remarkably consistent player but, as Nisbett notes, “the bigger the game was, the better he played”. He was among his team’s best players with 20 disposals and six tackles in West Coast’s 1992 premiership, and he ﬁnished with 23 disposals and two goals in the 1994 Grand Final. They were good numbers in the early 1990s. “There was extra focus put on big games and you needed to play well to become a good player,” he says. “That’s what it
SATISFIED: Dean Kemp
reﬂects on his career (top) and with 1992 premiership teammates Craig Turley (left) and John Worsfold.
was all about. Any of the big games I played in,, I always prided myselff on ng playing well and being useful to the team.” The second half of Kemp’s career didn’t bring further success, but he left a ng footprint, inﬂuencing 2006 premiership players Andrew Embley, Dean Cox, Daniel Kerr and Ben Cousins, with whom he shared thee captaincy in 2001, his last season. p The image of Kemp in his ﬁnal games is off a brave ast three veteran, playing his last lmet after matches wearing a helmet two serious bouts of concussion. A third, suffered against Collingwood in round 12 of 2001, ended his distinguished career. “You always like to leave on your own terms, but I think it was time,” he says. “I was lucky enough to average 21 games a year. In my last year, I played eight. I was lucky enough to have a hell of a lot of success.” The early years of retirement were tough for Kemp, and he spoke often about the struggles of leaving the game with his late teammate Mainwaring, who died in October of 2007. In Margaret River, he had cut himself off from football and didn’t see many of his former teammates for a few years. “I used to get excited when the bloody garbage truck man used to come and empty the
bin,” he says. “I’d run down the driveway and say hello. “You’ve only known one thing for a long time and then you come out of that and you’re back to square one. You’ve met some wonderful people and done some great things, but what’s the next step in your life?” Former West Coast chairman Murray McHenry and past Subiaco powerbrokers Kevin Meriﬁeld and David Williams helped Kemp get his business off the ground in Margaret River, and it still bears the name Dean Kemp’s M10 Solutions. As he looks to involve West Coast and WAFL club East Perth in his football academy, he says he is lucky to have the contacts built up over a career in football to make good things happen. Speaking to key football ﬁgures
in Western Australia, there’s little doubt that an academy program for the south-west area will bring great beneﬁts for football. It is Kemp’s way of giving back to the game that inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 2007, but there is a deﬁnite sense that being involved in the game full-time again will be great for the man himself. “It’s really exciting and I’m looking forward to just getting back into it and achieving some things,” he says. “When you’re playing footy you want to achieve things and it’s no different when you ﬁnish. “You want to be good at what you do and hopefully be successful. I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.”
“WINNING WASN’T EXPECTED AT HAWTHORN, IT WAS DEMANDED” ALAN JOYCE
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Finals Review Week One Class and courage
IMAGES ON FOLLOWING PAGES: AFL PHOTOS
SEALER: Luke Ball’s goal late in the ﬁnal term clinched victory for Collingwood in last Saturday’s qualifying ﬁnal against West Coast. Alex Fasolo (left), Andrew Krakouer (hidden) and Sharrod Wellingham joined in the celebrations. PHOTO: SEAN GARNSWORTHY/AFL PHOTOS
uite ﬁttingly, the home and away season’s best two teams, Collingwood and Geelong, advanced to respective preliminary ﬁnals, albeit in contrasting style. The Cats, with their superbly balanced mix of savvy, experienced types and energetic youngsters, were far too good for Hawthorn in the opening match of the ﬁnals series at the MCG last Friday. The Hawks’ dirty night was made worse when star forward Lance Franklin injured his knee and was helped from the ﬁeld. Late the following morning, as Collingwood and West Coast prepared for their qualifying ﬁnal at the MCG, Franklin—wearing the type of chic sunglasses that only enhance his reputation as football’s rock star—emerged from a clinic across the road from the ground knowing he had escaped serious injury. Everyone breathed in relief. Later that afternoon, the Magpies withstood an early swooping by a precocious bunch of Eagles, leading coach Mick Malthouse to laud his team’s courage. We knew Collingwood had skill and speed and smarts and discipline. We now also know it won’t go down quietly, its resolve perhaps stronger than most neutral observers ever believed. At Etihad Stadium last Saturday night, the Sydney Swans—the old-fashioned, resilient Bloods—did it again, this time handling a wobbly St Kilda, with a few early nicks and, ﬁnally, a massive dagger. And on the Sunday, with the MCG packed on a sunny but frigid afternoon, the Carlton swagger made its triumphant return. The Blues did a clinical job on Essendon, three days short of a full 10 years since their last win in a ﬁnal. PETER DI SISTO
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FIRST QUALIFYING FINAL Collingwood 12.10 (82) d West Coast Eagles 9.8 (62)
Magpies still worthy ﬂag favourites
any experts are citing Collingwood’s qualifying ﬁnal escape against West Coast last week—compounded of course by the 96-point loss to Geelong in the ﬁnal-round ‘dead rubber’ the previous week—as evidence the reigning premier is a staggering shadow of its former self. But such an argument does little justice to the Pies or the Eagles. It is perhaps instructive to note that Coillingwood coach Mick Malthouse has been in this situation before—in fact, it was potentially far more deﬂating—and still managed to win the premiership in emphatic style. It was back in 1994 when Malthouse was in charge of the Eagles and current coach John Worsfold was skipper. At the end of a 24-round home and away season (the most recent instance of such a long qualifying period before this season), West Coast was a game clear at the top of the ladder, just as the Magpies were this season. Under the ﬁnals system of the time, the 16-6 Eagles hosted Collingwood at the WACA. The Leigh Matthews-led Pies had ﬁnished eighth in a then 15-team competition with a 12-10 record and a percentage of just 99.9 and, hence, were lucky to be in the ﬁnals in the ﬁrst place. However, the David-versusGoliath clash didn’t follow the script—the Magpies got within two points and might have won had the normally reliable Mick McGuane not dropped a
chest mark inside 50 with six seconds left. But even then, few dared to question the premiership claims of West Coast—and those who did were spectacularly premature because the Eagles, of course, won their preliminary ﬁnal against Melbourne by 65 points and then the Grand Final against Geelong by 80 points. Malthouse’s Magpies faced far superior opposition this time, with West Coast winning 17 games to be statistically the best fourth-placed side in history. Many experts, including the Pies themselves, rate the Eagles as the team that most resembles the reigning premier in approach and style, and that’s exactly how they played for most of last week’s clash in front of a crowd of 67,379 at the MCG. Collingwood also had major personnel issues, particularly in its backline, where it was undersized, underdone and limited by injury, prompting Malthouse to laud the win and his defenders’ efforts to restrict the Eagles to just nine goals as one of the “gutsiest” performances in his time at the club. Among the Magpies’ back-half heroes were Harry O’Brien, who had a career-high 30 disposals in perhaps the best game of his career, the now reliable Leon Davis (33), Heath Shaw (30) in his ﬁrst game back after an eight-match AFL suspension for betting, skipper Nick Maxwell in his early return from a broken thumb and restricted pair Chris Tarrant and Alan Toovey. It was clear from the outset they would be under
Malthouse lauded the win as one of the gutsiest in his time at the club
PARTY PIES: The Magpies mob a delighted Alex Fasolo after the youngster kicked a goal after the ﬁnal siren. Below from left, Harry O’Brien competes against Eagles Andrew Embley and Mark Nicoski; skipper Nick Maxwell spoils Mark LeCras, and Alan Toovey leads Quinten Lynch to the ball.
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FIRST QUALIFYING FINAL enormous pressure, with West Coast adding 2.2, both goals coming ominously from key forwards Josh Kennedy and Quinten Lynch. The Eagles’ pressure was immense (they ultimately won the tackle count 100-74) and it took the Magpies 18 minutes to register their ﬁrst score, a goal to Sharrod Wellingham. West Coast jumped to a 14-point lead early in the second term before Collingwood ﬁnally found some system, piling on the next ﬁve goals to lead by 18 points. The plucky visitors replied with two quick goals before half-time, including a Mark LeCras special from the boundary, but the Pies kicked away again to take a 26-point advantage by three-quarter time. The lead appeared bigger, considering star ruckman Dean Cox had been subbed out before the last change with back spasms. However, the Eagles surprised perhaps everyone except themselves when their relentless Collingwood-style pressure and fanaticism created the ﬁrst three goals of the ﬁnal term and suddenly, at the 20-minute mark, they were within seven points of causing a boilover. The Magpies were seemingly out on their feet. That was the cue for 19-year-old Alex Fasolo— Collingwood’s youngest player and a late inclusion for the injured Ben Reid—to win a hard-ball get and dish off a handball to Luke Ball, who snapped truly. Two minutes later, Fasolo followed up with a goal after the siren from outside 50. As expected, the Eagles dominated the ruck duels with 50 hit-outs to 29, but the Magpies were, more importantly, just as dominant in the clearances (53-31). Midﬁeld stars Scott Pendlebury and Dane Swan were magniﬁcent, Pendlebury best-aﬁeld in the ﬁrst half when he had 25 of his 38 disposals, and Swan most prominent after half-time when he had 27 of his 43 touches. The margin would have been greater if not for the superb work of Eagles defenders Darren Glass and Eric Mackenzie, who restricted the Pies’ monster forwards Travis Cloke and Chris Dawes to just 10 touches, six marks and two goals between them.
DOMINANT: West Coast
Harry O’Brien was at his ﬂamboyant best with a career-high 30 disposals.
ruckman Nic Naitanui had the upper hand over counterpart Darren Jolly.
PLAYER FOCUS COLLINGWOOD
O’Brien’s heroic ﬂair brings results » Harry O’Brien has long been
the heroic type: daring, dashing, elusive, strong, rarely beaten, regularly repelling attacks and bouncing the ball out of defence, and capable of taking high marks and kicking long goals. In last week’s qualifying ﬁnal win over the Eagles, O’Brien was perhaps the most heroic Magpie in a ﬁercely determined defensive unit. The dread-locked rebounder (‘defender’ doesn’t seem apt, as O’Brien is always on the attack) was given the tough job of stopping West Coast goalsneak Mark LeCras, who entered the match with a season tally of 43 goals, second for the Eagles behind only Josh Kennedy (51).
Not only did O’Brien nullify LeCras, holding him to just eight kicks and two goals (one of which was a stroke of genius that merely highlighted the importance of O’Brien’s assignment), but he also generated enormous rebound run for the Pies. Many judges rated O’Brien best-aﬁeld, no mean feat, considering the eﬀorts of teammates Dane Swan, Scott Pendlebury, Leon Davis and Heath Shaw. O’Brien was more proliﬁc than ever, amassing a career-best 30 disposals (his previous best was 28 against Adelaide in round 18, 2009), including 20 kicks and 10 handballs.
In 98 per cent game-time, the 24-year-old also claimed nine marks and delivered seven spoils (both equal-second on the ﬁeld) and pumped the ball inside 50 on three occasions, including a typically penetrating long ball that set up Sharrod Wellingham for a goal in the second term. Collingwood was without Ben Reid, who takes more marks from opposition kicks than any other, but O’Brien stepped up and delivered, showing great courage, poise and ﬂair from start to ﬁnish. The 2010 All-Australian half-back was particularly prominent in the third term, when he collected 13 touches— the best single-quarter tally of his career. BEN COLLINS
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FIRST QUALIFYING FINAL LEADING BY EXAMPLE:
WHAT THE COACHES SAID
Eagles skipper Darren Glass was stoic in defence, keeping Chris Dawes to just one goal.
Mick Malthouse COLLINGWOOD
It was probably one of our gutsiest performances since I’ve been at the club. I say that on the back of six backline players—one of them has been relatively free of injury, and the others have either had an injury, been suspended, or are carrying an injury. And there’s no Ben Reid, and they’ve (the Eagles) kicked nine goals. So I reckon it was an outstanding performance by those players. I reckon every one of those backline players will (need the week’s break). We took the gamble that we could scramble over the line and get these players another week’s rest.
PLAYER FOCUS WEST COAST EAGLES
Glass a cool head under pressure
» Much has been made of West Coast’s resurgent veterans this season. After lean 2010 seasons, ruckman Dean Cox and midﬁelders Andrew Embley and Daniel Kerr have all returned to form reminiscent of their 2005-06 glory days. But Eagles captain Darren Glass’ renaissance has been the equal of any at West Coast in 2011. Like Cox and Kerr, Glass’ 2010 season was riddled by injury, with an abdominal complaint restricting him to eight games. However, this year he has missed just one game and re-established himself as one of the AFL’s elite key defenders. A 2006-07 All-Australian, Glass has
been nominated in this season’s All-Australian squad. The value of key-position players seems to rise once the ﬁnals begin. Certainly that was the case with Glass when West Coast took on Collingwood at the MCG in the ﬁrst qualifying ﬁnal last Saturday. Set the task of manning Magpie key forward Chris Dawes, the Eagles skipper kept him to just 11 disposals, one goal and two marks, none of which were contested. Glass had 13 disposals, which included 10 contested possessions, and took three contested marks. Glass and teammate Eric Mackenzie now form one of the stingiest key-defensive duos in the competition.
Mackenzie manned Magpie star Travis Cloke last Saturday and kept him to 10 possessions and one goal. West Coast would have identiﬁed Cloke and Dawes as potential match-winners for Collingwood, so for Glass and Mackenzie to keep them to a goal each was a great result for the Eagles. West Coast took a remarkable 11 ﬁnals debutants into their clash with the Magpies, including Mackenzie. Along with Dean Cox, Glass is the most experienced ﬁnals player on the Eagles’ list, having played 11 before last Saturday’s game. Glass’ experience and cool head under pressure against the Magpies were vital. NICK BOWEN
WEST COAST EAGLES I thought the boys challenged themselves to play throughout the four quarters and there wasn’t a big margin on the scoreboard. To get it to seven points and have the game alive with a few minutes to go was exciting. It’s a pretty intense game and a lot of pressure. We didn’t cope with the pressure as well as we believe we can. It felt like we were just a little bit short of the class of Collingwood— not the eﬀort, but the class. I think we matched them in intensity and eﬀort but they showed the way with clean ball handling and clean ball use.
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SECOND QUALIFYING FINAL Geelong Cats 14.14 (98) d Hawthorn 9.13 (67)
Ruthless Cats expose Hawks’ deﬁciencies
awthorn has plugged holes all year as injury struck down key defenders and forward/ruckman Jarryd Roughead. Many suspected the losses would prove decisive in a key ﬁnal and so it proved in the second qualifying ﬁnal when the Hawks faced Geelong. Although Hawthorn held the ascendancy in the ﬁrst quarter— it had eight scoring shots to the Cats’ two—it did not make the most of its opportunities and took just an 11-point lead to the ﬁrst break. However, Lance Franklin looked ominous and the Hawks were controlling the ball. But the game changed in 40 seconds at the start of the second quarter when a Brad Ottens tap led to a Paul Chapman clearance and a Tom Hawkins mark and goal. Then Joel Selwood cleared and a goal followed. Then James Kelly broke a tackle to clear and the momentum and the lead was with Geelong. Needless to say, the Cats were smashing Hawthorn at the centre clearances, not only getting ﬁrst hands on the ball but also making decisive forays forward. Such dominance is like a big serving ace in tennis; it releases pressure and dispirits the opposition. That scenario left Hawthorn’s defenders in one-on-one contests against their opponents, the worst possible scenario. With the conditions slippery and Hawthorn’s defence undersized, the Cats did not muck around with the football either, going direct and long.
Hawkins and James Podsiadly (who had kicked six against the Hawks in round 12) responded, marking the ball or creating a contest. Ottens or Trent West pushed forward when not rucking to stretch Hawthorn’s backline even further. That quartet kicked eight of the Cats’ 14 goals between them. Geelong’s forward structure was reminiscent of the great Hawthorn teams of the 1980s. To their credit, the Hawks fought back early in the third quarter, kicking three goals in succession either side of half-time to regain the lead. Luke Hodge was inspirational, kicking the ﬁrst two goals of the second half and hitting the ball with intent, while Liam Shiels, playing in his ﬁrst ﬁnal, showed his more experienced teammates how to be tough over the ball and hunt it inside stoppages. Jordan Lewis was trying to help out at the contest by being third-man up and was attempting—sometimes in a misguided manner—to lift the group. But the workload was being left to too few and Geelong was able to absorb the pressure; it kicked four goals in as many minutes towards the end of the quarter to break the game open. Hawthorn could not bridge the gap and the night became even worse when Franklin landed awkwardly in a marking contest late in the last quarter and hurt his knee. Although the injury looked serious, he was diagnosed with bone bruising the next day and remained a possibility to continue playing in this ﬁnals series.
The Cats were smashing Hawthorn at the centre clearances
CATS IN CONTROL: Geelong speedster Travis Varcoe leaves Hawthorn’s Paul Puopolo in his wake. Below, from left, Hawk Jordan Lewis feels the displeasure of Cats Corey Enright and James Kelly; Shaun Burgoyne and David Wojcinski clash heavily, and Lance Franklin hobbles from the ﬁeld after injuring his knee.
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SECOND QUALIFYING FINAL Unfortunately for the Cats, they lost brilliant performer Daniel Menzel— a real X-factor who was regaining his form—to a season-ending knee injury. It was a devastating blow for Menzel, who turned 20 this week. He had kicked 28 goals in a breakout season. Geelong’s performance was professional and beﬁtting a team that had made the previous four preliminary ﬁnals and three of the past four Grand Finals. It had known it was playing in the qualifying ﬁnal for weeks and appears to have cranked up the tempo in the past fortnight. Skipper Cameron Ling blanketed Sam Mitchell, while Ottens, Chapman, Selwood, Kelly, Corey Enright, Matthew Scarlett and Jimmy Bartel led the way, all performing, as they have so often before, in the big moments. Bobbing up for the Cats on the night was Hawkins, who set the tone early by attacking the ball and getting his hands on it and Allen Christensen, who provided the necessary leg speed around the stoppages to break clear. Add in the freakish Steve Johnson— who gave the team his best and worst on the night—and it is easy to see why the Cats had 69 inside 50s. Hawthorn was disappointing. The structural holes seemed to negatively impact on the midﬁeld’s conﬁdence. Even Cyril Rioli was down, not hitting the front of packs with his normal ferocity. When he tried to give the team a spark, he was set upon. Isaac Smith got plenty of possessions in his ﬁrst ﬁnal although he was unable to use the ball creatively and was forced to go long after an early mistake. (He was among the seven Hawks playing in their ﬁrst ﬁnal; they will be better for the run). A collective improvement is required because an in-form Sydney Swans will be tough around the football. But the midﬁeld’s performance is unlikely to be repeated this week. The Cats were the winners, booking their ﬁfth preliminary ﬁnal in succession, having defeated the Hawks in the teams’ past seven games. Once again, they are a premiership contender after week one of the ﬁnals.
FLYING CAT: Ruckman Trent West put an exclamation point on Geelong’s win with a sensational high mark late in the game.
Veteran ruckman Brad Ottens was dominant at the centre bounces and in the air when pushing forward.
PLAYER FOCUS GEELONG CATS
Ottens stands the test of time » Of the six teams remaining
in the 2011 ﬁnals race, only one player has been in the AFL system longer than Geelong ruckman Brad Ottens. But after Ottens’ teammate Darren Milburn was overlooked for last Friday night’s qualifying ﬁnal against Hawthorn, the Cats’ No. 1 ruckman now shares the honour of longest-serving player with Collingwood’s Chris Tarrant. No doubt both veterans will appreciate the extra week oﬀ as their respective sides won their qualifying ﬁnals. Ottens has been pushing his body since 1998 when he was a young Richmond ruckman/forward, starting the same year as Tarrant began his ﬁrst stint for the Magpies.
Milburn played his ﬁrst game for the Cats in 1997, but was given the news late last week by coach Chris Scott that he would not be in the Cats’ 22 to take on the Hawks. It denied Milburn the chance to equal Garry Hocking’s record of 21 ﬁnals for Geelong, and showed there is no room for sentiment at this time of the year. Fortunately for Ottens, there is no suggestion he is facing a similar predicament to his dual premiership teammate. Again, it was a case of roll on September and roll out Ottens on the game’s biggest stage. He was clearly the dominant big man in last Friday’s ﬁnals opener and close
to the most inﬂuential player on the night. If he wasn’t dominating the centre bounces, as he did early in the second quarter, he was crashing packs and taking strong marks while resting up forward. Ottens’ raw statistics (16 disposals, ﬁve marks, two goals and 21 hit-outs) do not do justice to his eﬀectiveness. He dominated all over the ground against Max Bailey before the young Hawk was subbed oﬀ injured and was far too accomplished for David Hale. Ottens can now put his feet up for a week and push on to another preliminary ﬁnal, his ﬁfth in succession. MICHAEL LOVETT
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SECOND QUALIFYING FINAL INSPIRATIONAL: Skipper
WHAT THE COACHES SAID
Luke Hodge kept the Hawks in the game with his “strong mind and competitive spirit”.
Chris Scott GEELONG CATS
The conditions didn’t necessarily suit the tall guys. It was slippery most of the night but it was also really windy and the wind was really ﬂukey. (Taking four talls into the game) was a risk. I was sitting at home through the day just looking at the sheets of rain coming through and wondering. Darren Milburn is such a good wet-weather player and we’re still thinking he’s going to play a big part in the ﬁnals series potentially, along with Cam Mooney. But in the end, the decision to go with those big blokes paid oﬀ.
PLAYER FOCUS HAWTHORN
Hodge imposes himself on the contest » It was hardly surprising that
Luke Hodge headed Hawthorn’s list of best players on what turned out to be an ordinary night for the club. Hodge is a proven big-game player—he won the Norm Smith Medal in 2008—who is never far way from the action. Displaying his trademark aggression, excellent skills, quality decision-making and application, he dragged his team back into the game straight after half-time with two quick goals, just when it appeared the Cats were about to run away with it. The ﬁrst came after a strong mark in a body contest with Andrew Mackie, a classic one-on-one contest. He quickly
played on and slotted the goal from about 30m. Then, from the ensuing centre bounce, he marked a short kick inside 50 from Brendan Whitecross, went back and kicked a goal to put the Hawks two points ahead. Commentating on Channel Seven, Leigh Matthews praised Hodge’s capacity to impose himself on the game, pointing to his “strong mind and strong competitive spirit”. Hodge ﬁnished with 23 disposals, took seven marks, sent the ball inside forward 50 ﬁve times, laid eight tackles, had six ‘one per-centers’ and kicked two goals. But, in the end, his eﬀorts could not overcome a dominant
Geelong, which exposed the Hawks in several critical phases of the game. “It was embarrassing how they beat us in and under,” Hodge said. “I guess the luxury of (ﬁnishing) top four is having another chance. We ruined the ﬁrst one and we’ll come out ﬁring next week.” “They were more hungry; they were determined. It was a disappointing performance by our side.” Hodge has been hampered for much of the year with various injuries, his pre-season limited by an achilles injury, and the late part of his year by a knee complaint. PETER DI SISTO
Alastair Clarkson HAWTHORN
They smashed us with contested ball, particularly contested marking. Their big fellas really hurt us, particularly in the ruck. That allowed them ﬁrst possession of the footy and ultimately we got smashed inside 50. When Geelong have 69 inside 50s, you’re never going to win a game of footy. It can become very dispiriting when the ball clears and you’ve hardly touched the footy. That was it in a nutshell in our view. They were harder, tougher and cleaner in close. The season’s still alive for us. We weren’t good enough against a very good opponent.
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FIRST ELIMINATION FINAL Carlton 21.23 (149) d Essendon 13.9 (87)
Blues win a cause for optimism
ver so brieﬂy, there was reason for concern for Carlton at the MCG last Sunday. After peppering the Ponsford Stand end goals for the ﬁrst few minutes with just ﬁve behinds to show for it, back came Essendon with three quick goals. Those clad in navy and white began shifting uncomfortably in their seats. Two straight elimination ﬁnal defeats (to the Brisbane Lions in 2009 and the Sydney Swans last year) can cause that sort of anxiety. It turned out there was no need for panic as the Blues rammed on the next 10 goals without an answer to set up a 62-point win and a semiﬁnal trip to Perth to take on West Coast. There were positives everywhere for the Blues, starting with the release of the pressure hovering over the club for a considerable period. Not since the opening week of the 2001 ﬁnals had they tasted success in a ﬁnal. The club slumped to its lowest ebb thereafter, ‘winning’ three wooden spoons before a long, slow climb back to respectability. Hence the giddiness around the MCG as the Blues wrested back the lead, kept on extending it and then with every goal in the second half, driving nail after nail into the hated Bombers’ cofﬁn. It took a long time for the Blues to grasp the notion of rebuilding, but the silver lining for winning wooden spoons is No. 1 draft selections and what is now clear is that in
Marc Murphy, the Blues landed one of the best. Certainly, he now enters the discussion with Luke Hodge and Nick Riewoldt as to which club has the best of the lot. Murphy has had a monstrous year in Carlton’ midﬁeld. Teammate and skipper Chris Judd generally gets the limelight and wins the accolades, but Murphy’s brilliance came to the fore again on Sunday and his 37 touches, eight inside 50s and ﬁve score assists played a massive part in Carlton gaining the ascendancy. Murphy needed to stand up because Judd was uncharacteristically quiet. Heath Hocking is Essendon’s premier lockdown merchant and kept the Carlton skipper to just eight touches in the ﬁrst half. But this time, it didn’t matter because the Blues were relentless all the same. The run and carry from the backline, evident most of the year, came to the fore again. All season, the Blues have maintained that they prefer the more spacious MCG to Etihad Stadium and, with Chris Yarran leading the way with some piercing runs from defence, they demonstrated why. The other key to the Blues this year has been their unpredictable forward line. They were without the recuperating Matthew Kreuzer for much of the season and he was again missing last Sunday, meaning it was going to be up to the small forwards to help deliver a winning score. And they did. Eddie Betts again hurt the Bombers, this time with four goals, while Andrew Walker and Jeff Garlett chimed in with three
There was no need for panic as the Blues rammed on the next 10 goals
BOLTING BLUE: After a quiet ﬁrst half, Carlton captain Chris
Judd stepped it up a gear to leave the Bombers in his wake. Below, from left, Andrew Carrazzo displays the Blues’ passion; Robert Warnock, who produced probably his most important game in the ruck for Carlton, was also not afraid to get down and dirty at ground level against Essendon skipper Jobe Watson, and coach James Hird was lost for answers as the Bombers were comprehensively outplayed.
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FIRST ELIMINATION FINAL each. Bret Thornton kicked two as well. For one week at least, Carlton put to bed the oft-ﬂoated theory that small forwards can’t get the job done in ﬁnals. Thornton was fascinating to watch. He barely escaped being delisted at the end of last season and most observers would have had him marked down for key defensive depth at the start of the season. But over the course of 2011, he reinvented himself. He presented wonderfully last Sunday, particularly in the second term, with ﬁve uncontested marks. The win came as an enormous relief for Carlton coach Brett Ratten, whose standing as a former champion player and the coach who has done all the hard work in rebuilding an indifferent list just a few years back, has done him few favours with some of the club’s more outspoken supporters. They wanted him gone if Carlton failed at the opening ﬁnals hurdle once again, but he had the Blues beautifully prepared for Essendon and there was an air of inevitability about the result from the time they were about ﬁve goals up. A contract extension for Ratten would now appear to be a mere formality and certainly deserved. Sadly for his Essendon counterpart James Hird, several Bombers chose the elimination ﬁnal to turn in their poorest efforts for the year. NAB AFL Rising Star award winner Dyson Heppell was among them, while Kyle Hardingham, Leroy Jetta, Alwyn Davey, David Hille and David Zaharakis also battled. A bit like the Blues, the Bombers were relying on their small forwards to get the job done, but they were nowhere near as effective. Hocking and skipper Jobe Watson worked hard through the midﬁeld, Paddy Ryder toiled hard in the ruck and Brett Stanton won plenty of the ball, but it was generally a bleak day. But given their awful 2010, the Bombers did well just to make the ﬁnals and as Hird pointed out afterwards, the journey has just started. The Blues, meanwhile, are well along the path of theirs and would take plenty of optimism with them to Perth. ASHLEY BROWNE
Normally a defender, Bret Thornton has been a revelation as a marking target up forward this season and played a key role in just his second ﬁnal for the Blues last week.
PLAYER FOCUS CARLTON
Thornton shines as marking forward » The transformation of
Bret Thornton from key defender into an eﬀective marking forward has been another success story for Carlton and coach Brett Ratten this season. Ratten has used the experienced Blue at both ends of the ground, depending on the team’s needs. But a hip injury to Jarrad Waite has provided an opportunity for Thornton to be used as a lead-up forward more regularly. Thornton, 27, made his debut in 2002 and has been through plenty of tough times at Carlton. For many seasons, he played on the opposition’s best forward—a tough task in
any team, let alone a side on the bottom of the ladder. He has relished the switch, kicking 12 goals to take his career tally to 20 in 180 games. At the end of last year, Thornton’s career was at the crossroads after missing selection for the elimination ﬁnal against the Sydney Swans. His form dropped oﬀ and he played out the season in the VFL. It appeared his future lay elsewhere and he reportedly requested a trade to another club (he had also been previously linked to the Hawks). But a deal could not be reached, so Thornton decided to see out his contract with the
Blues. No doubt he would be happy he stayed. In only his second ﬁnal last Sunday, Thornton played one of the best games of his career. He used his aerial strength to advantage in the windy conditions, collecting 18 possessions, taking 11 marks and kicking two goals. Interestingly, he played the lead-up forward to perfection in the Blues’ last game at Patersons Stadium, when they defeated Fremantle by 30 points in round 21. His statistics were impressive (22 possessions, 12 marks and a goal) before he sustained a facial injury that forced him from the ground in the ﬁnal quarter. HOWARD KOTTON
FIRST ELIMINATION FINAL LONE HAND: Angus Monfries was one of the few Bombers to stand up to the Blues’ pressure, ﬁnishing with three goals.
WHAT THE COACHES SAID
Brett Ratten CARLTON
It’s mixed emotions. There’s relief and I’m also very excited about what I saw. Sometimes you have to taste disappointment to realise how far and how deep you have to push to get success. Our club’s been through that: ’93 we lost a Grand Final, ’94 we went out in straight sets, and then in ’95, we had some real joy. But sometimes you’ve got to taste defeat to know how much it really hurts, and I think in the last couple of years that really helped our playing group. We thought if we could get over the ﬁrst ﬁnal, it would relieve a bit of pressure from the group.
PLAYER FOCUS ESSENDON
Monfries earns ﬁnal kudos
» Angus Monfries was one of few Essendon players to enhance his reputation in last Sunday’s 62-point loss to Carlton. In front of the biggest crowd of the season, there were many Bombers who failed to perform in the club’s elimination ﬁnal defeat. Monfries was not one of them. He had 21 possessions, took 10 marks and kicked three goals in an impressive performance under a weight of Carlton pressure. The best thing about Monfries’ eﬀort was the value his disposals carried. Each was earned, particularly those won via marks.
In his time playing as a half-forward, the 24-year-old has developed an ability to be smart and reliable around goal. He has also grown as a capable lead-up forward with strong hands, and is capable of doing the same further up the ground. On several occasions last Sunday, Monfries worked hard back into defence to help his backline and took some crucial contested overhead marks. His three-goal eﬀort was also the best for his team, and took his season tally to 31 goals from 22 games, a career-high after leading his club’s goalkicking last year with 24. Monfries matured as a player this season. Although
he initially struggled to ﬁnd a suitable position in James Hird’s restructured forward line, Monfries’ new role—a mix of playing on the wing, on the ball and close to goal—suits him. After the game, Monfries was positive. His club’s 2011 season was over, but its focus on getting better would not be halted, a message Hird also pushed after the game. “He said that we’ve improved this year and this is a stepping stone to what we want to achieve,” Monfries told aﬂ.com.au. “We’ve just got to get back on the horse, keep our heads up and look forward to the pre-season.” CALLUM TWOMEY
If you look in isolation at this game, you can be shattered and disappointed, but you look at the perspective of the whole year and I think we’ve made drastic improvements, and we’re only going to continue to get better. We talked to our players about (putting) the best people around them to give them the best opportunity to be as good as they can be. They were disappointing but they’ve been terriﬁc all year and they’ve absorbed the information, they’ve learned, they’ve trained hard, and I can only commend our players for the year they’ve had and the improvement they’ve made.
SECOND ELIMINATION FINAL Sydney 12.10 (82) d St Kilda 8.9 (57)
Beaten in the stats, but Swans had right moves
n the end, it took an act of authority from the biggest man on the ground, Sydney Swans ruckman Shane Mumford, to end the tension that had underpinned this elimination ﬁnal at Etihad Stadium. About 20 minutes into the last quarter, Mumford put himself in some peril by drifting from the direction of the wing into the path of players who were moving out from the goalsquare. After bullocking across the front of the pack, Mumford stretched up to take a mark that appeared all the more towering because of the hugeness of his frame. His goal from the set shot put the Swans 32 points up and snuffed out any hope for the grasping Saints. Mumford was among the architects of the Sydney victory. He had 33 hit-outs and kicked two goals in an entertaining duel with St Kilda big man Ben McEvoy, who caught the eye with six strong marks. Others to shine for Sydney included veterans Jarrad McVeigh and Adam Goodes, who had 26 and 25 disposals respectively. Goodes especially was impressive. Ten minutes into the second quarter, he ran from full-back to full-forward before receiving a handball from Ryan O’Keefe that enabled him to run into an open goal. Rhyce Shaw had 25 disposals off half-back and midﬁelder midﬁelder Kieren Jack had 21. Fellow midﬁelders Ben McGlynn and Josh Kennedy both had 20,
while Daniel Hannebery had 18 before being forced off in the last quarter with a shoulder injury. O’Keefe was the best man on the ground with 21 disposals (12 contested) and four goals. Nick Dal Santo was clearly St Kilda’s best, with 33 disposals in a performance that conﬁrmed his favouritism for the Saints’ best and fairest award. The match featured three signiﬁcant changes in momentum, starting with the Swans’ burst in the second quarter when they kicked ﬁve goals to two to take a 26-point lead at half-time. O’Keefe found form in front of the sticks by kicking three of those ﬁve goals. Goodes and centre half-forward Sam Reid kicked the other goals in the second quarter, Reid after conﬁrming his soaring talent by taking a superb mark over a pack 20m out. Sydney scored the opening goal of the third quarter through Matt Spangher, who was working hard as a lead-up forward. St Kilda then fought back to kick the next four, signalling the second shift in momentum. The ﬁrst, after three minutes, was a pearler from the under-siege captain Nick Riewoldt. Riewoldt had battled a knee injury and the attention of Sydney full-back Ted Richards, whose ability to get a ﬁst on the ball and willingness to rebound had given him the edge. In this instance, Riewoldt took the ball at half-forward and was running in the direction
The match featured three signiﬁcant changes in momentum
NOWHERE TO RUN: Saints
midﬁelder Nick Dal Santo was surrounded by swarming Swans, from left, Adam Goodes, Josh Kennedy and Shane Mumford. Below, from left, Sam Fisher clears for St Kilda; courageous co-captain Jarrad McVeigh attempts to shrug oﬀ Farren Ray, and Dean Polo and Brett Peake were forlorn ﬁgures after the Saints bowed out.
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SECOND ELIMINATION FINAL of the boundary line when he kicked a perfect drop punt that bisected the posts. His goal on the run only served to highlight his poor display from set shots; his tally for the night was 1.3, with his behinds coming at junctures when goals were desperately needed if the Saints were to haul in their rivals. Goddard capped off St Kilda’s promising third quarter when he kicked his second goal to put his team within nine points. The Saints had all the momentum as they went into the ﬁnal change, trailing by eight points. Sydney signalled the third change in momentum when rover Ben McGlynn kicked truly after about 10 minutes. O’Keefe then earned a free kick for tackling Dal Santo, who made no attempt to move the ball on while he was caught on the ground. O’Keefe’s fourth goal put the Swans 20 points up. McGlynn then kicked his second goal for the quarter, giving the Swans a 26-point lead, before Mumford sealed the victory with his emphatic mark and goal. Dal Santo kicked a late consolation goal for the Saints, who ended the game in despondent fashion. Sydney’s victory was its fourth in succession, a sequence that started with its 17-point victory over St Kilda at ANZ Stadium in round 22 and continued with its upset performance in toppling Geelong at Skilled Stadium in round 23. As expected in Sydney games, the Swans lost most statistical measures because of its game plan of forcing stoppages and moving the ball with fewer possessions. For example, St Kilda had 61 more disposals. The Swans did, however, win the telling statistic of marks inside 50, 10 to nine. The margin of victory suggests Sydney was more efﬁcient in attack. St Kilda’s loss ended a season that started under a cloud, but began to ﬁnd any sunshine only after the victory over Melbourne in round nine. The Saints now face decisions on whether they slice into a list that appears in need of regeneration after seven ﬁnals campaigns in eight seasons.
MATCH-WINNER: Ryan O’Keefe ended a barren period in front of goal by kicking four in a crucial performance.
PLAYER FOCUS SYDNEY SWANS
O’Keefe rewarded for persistence » Ryan O’Keefe has had an
indiﬀerent season in front of goal. His tally of 13 goals after the home and away matches was his lowest since he kicked 12 in 2002 (and matched his haul in 2009). His best returns have been totals of more than 30 in three consecutive seasons, from 2004-06, which in football terms is a long time ago. So it was a smart, if unexpected, move when coach John Longmire assigned O’Keefe to play a run-with role on St Kilda dynamo Brendon Goddard. O’Keefe curbed Goddard to an extent (the key Saint ﬁnished with 19 disposals), but more importantly, he ended his
barren patch in front of goal by kicking four. Three of those goals came in the second quarter. The last was the result of an indiscretion from St Kilda full-forward Justin Koschitzke, who, after a period on the bench, was marginally outside the interchange gates when he ran back on to the ground. The free kick and 50m penalty put O’Keefe within range. O’Keefe earned his last shot at goal outside comfortable range. After trapping Nick Dal Santo and winning a free kick for holding the ball, he took his kick from outside 50 on a moderate angle with his team 14 points in front about 20 minutes into the last quarter.
It was a crucial shot; since the Saints’ mighty ﬁghtback against Collingwood in the 2010 Grand Final, rivals have been wary of their ability to claw back into a game. O’Keefe, however, had the conﬁdence and wherewithal to send the ball straight through the sticks to give his team a strong grasp on victory. O’Keefe has played every game this season, which is testimony to his durability. Now he’s returned to goalkicking form. The 30-year-old knew if he persisted, the rewards would come. In this case, the reward was a major hand in helping his team through to a semi-ﬁnal against Hawthorn. PAUL DAFFEY
WHAT THE COACHES SAID
Stephen Milne may polarise fans, but the lively small forward is an integral part of the Saints’ line-up and ﬁnished the season with 56 goals.
John Longmire SYDNEY SWANS
I thought we took our chances, particularly in the second quarter, and maybe even a bit in the ﬁrst quarter. We weren’t great at the start of the game, and in the second quarter we started to get better at our contested footy. But probably the real key was showing some resilience when they came back at us in the third term. They kicked four goals to one, and they’re a quality team that has been in the last two Grand Finals. The ability to be able to stop that and then give a little bit more back was good.
PLAYER FOCUS ST KILDA
Opportunist Milne takes his chances » Life as a small forward can
be tough when your team struggles to move the ball eﬃciently, let alone to plan. In fact, one can starve waiting for the odd morsel the opposition hasn’t got covered. That was the lot of Stephen Milne against the Sydney Swans at Etihad Stadium last Saturday night. Early on against the Swans, Milne played the consummate team man when the Swans pressed forward and he found himself in unfamiliar territory on the wing. But he found a way to get involved, running cleverly to receive the ball before handballing to a teammate’s advantage.
Milne kicked the Saints’ ﬁrst goal, marking a kick from Jason Gram after a clever lead into space. Late in the third term, he set up Brendon Goddard for an important goal with a nice left-foot pass. Milne polarises fans. Some see him as an underrated talent who has long been an integral part of the team; others view him merely as an opportunist with a tendency to over-celebrate when he kicks the easiest of goals. Milne is a smart player who usually makes the most of his chances around goal. He often improvises, punting on his knowledge of the mysterious
ways of the Sherrin and the terrain ahead of him to kick freakish goals, around corners or along the ground. It happens way too often for it to be dismissed as luck. And here’s a fact that can’t be disputed: Milne will ﬁnish his career with St Kilda—whenever that might be—as one of the club’s greatest goalkickers. He has kicked 490 in his 236 matches, behind only Tony Lockett (898), Bill Mohr (735) and Stewart Loewe. Milne ended the 2011 season as St Kilda’s leading goalkicker, with 56 from 23 matches. Whatever you think, the numbers tell the story. PETER DI SISTO
Ross Lyon ST KILDA
Certainly it sort of feels like an end of an era to be honest. To lose a home ﬁnal at Etihad, against a good team, it was a really disappointing night. I think there were some of the old warts there that came out. The message got lost a little bit. I thought it was a disorganised and erratic a style of footy that we had allowed to happen for a long, long time. We had every opportunity. I’m hurting because we didn’t deliver. I don’t like losing and I don’t like losing ﬁnals. I don’t like losing at home. There’s no satisfaction for me.
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aflpa mvp 2011
JUDD VOTED NO. 1 BY HIS PEERS A star Blue joins some of the game’s greats, winning his second AFL Players’ Association MVP. ASHLEY BROW NE
RUNAWAY VICTORY: Chris Judd was
in vintage form this year and easily won the AFLPA’s MVP award.
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Judd was also named the best club captain of the 2011 season. He told the Herald Sun he had enjoyed a consistent season and was looking forward to continuing Carlton’s run in the ﬁnals against his former team this weekend. AFLPA president Luke Power paid tribute to Judd, saying the award recognised the value players place on peer recognition. “Players strive for the recognition of their colleagues, whether it’s from their teammates or opponents,” Power said.
LEADERBOARD LEIGH MATTHEWS TROPHY VOTING FOR 2011 MVP Chris Judd
COLLINGWOOD GOLD COAST
Judd’s recognition as a player and captain is richly deserved
» HONOURED: Chris Judd received the Leigh Matthews Trophy from the former Hawthorn great at this week’s week s AFLPA awards night.
AFLPA PRESIDENT LUKE POWER
Judd polled 1347 votes to win easily. Collingwood’s Scott Pendlebury (456) and Gold Coast’s Gary Ablett (389) ﬁnished second and third. Judd is the third Carlton player to claim the award, following in the footsteps of Greg Williams (1994) and Anthony Koutouﬁdes (2000). He joins Ablett, Williams, former North Melbourne captain Wayne Carey and ex-Brisbane Lions skipper Michael Voss as multiple winners of the award.
“Chris Judd’s recognition as a player and captain is richly deserved and I congratulate him for a stellar season.” The MVP award is the only peer-voted award in the AFL and recognises versatility, the ability to play under pressure, skill, leadership, courage, respect for all players and— most importantly—overall value to a team. Other winners announced at the function held at Melbourne’s Crown Casino were Essendon’s Dy Dyson Heppell, Brisbane Lio Lions captain Jonathan Bro Brown and Essendon’s He Henry Slattery. H Heppell, who last we week won the NAB AF AFL Rising Star award, wa was named the best ﬁrrst-year player. Brown won the Robert Ro Rose most courageous pl player award for the th third time, having al also received it in 2007 an and 2008. Slattery received th the Open Universities A Australia education a and training excellence a award, which recognises a player’s capacity to ju juggle football and sstudy commitments.
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arlton captain Chris Judd’s September celebration continued on Monday night when he took out the Leigh Matthews Trophy as the AFL Players’ Association’s Most Valuable Player. It was the second time he has won the award, presented by Open Universities Australia, but his ﬁrst with Carlton, following on from his success playing for West Coast in 2006.
2011 TOYOTA AFL GRAND FINAL WEEK FREE ACTIVITIES AT FEDERATION SQUARE
MONDAY SEPTEMBER 26
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 27
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 28
KICKS FOR KIDS
Channel [V] Live
Noon –4pm: Visit the FOXTEL Dome, for photo opportunities and giveaways
10am –4pm: Visit the FOXTEL Dome, for photo opportunities and giveaways
10am –4pm: Visit the FOXTEL Dome, ies and giveaways for photo opportunities
LIVE BROADCASTS TS
9am –noon: 1116 SEN’s Hungry for Sport with Kevin Bartlett
9am –noon: 1116 SEN’s Hungry for Sport with Kevin Bartlett
Noon –1pm: Crocmedia’s Footy Feast with Damien Barrett and Cameron Luke
Noon –1pm: Crocmedia’s Footy Feast with Wayne Schwass and Cameron Luke
9am –noon: 1116 SEN’s N’s Hungry for Sport with Kevin Bartlett
Noon –4pm: 1116 SEN’s Harf Time with Daniel Harford
Noon –4pm: 1116 SEN’s Harf Time with Daniel Harford
6 –8pm: Crocmedia’s SportsDay with Tony Leonard and Terry Wallace
6 –8pm: Crocmedia’s SportsDay with Nathan Thompson and Terry Wallace
7.30pm: Channel 7’s coverage of the 2011 Brownlow Blue Carpet, presented by Toyota’s Hybrid Camry, on the big screen
8.15pm: Channel 7’s coverage of the 2011 Brownlow Medal vote count on the big g sc creen screen
DAY’S DA AY’SS HIGHLIGHTS 1 –1 –1.3 –1.30pm: 30pm: Brownlow w Medal Footy Panel 2 –3 3pm: Fashion –3pm: P Pa ra ade e - see the latest Parade B Br own ow nlow w-inspired Brownlow-inspired fash sh s hion before befo fore fashion the bi ig ni nigh gh ht big night
10 –11am: The Drawn Grand Final with Herald Sun cartoonist Mark Knight on the main stage 10 –11.30am: NAB AFL Auskick clinic in B irrrar a un ung g Marr (pre-registration required) Birrarung N oon –12 1 . 12 Noon –12.30pm: NAB Ambassadors panel w wi ith th 2011 th 201 011 11 NAB AFL Rising Star nominees with
N’s Noon –4pm: 1116 SEN’s Harf Time with Daniel Harford 1 –2pm: Crocmedia’s Footy Feast on Luke with Terry Wallace and Cameron sDay 6 –8pm: Crocmedia’s SportsDay with Tony Leonard and Terry Wallace
DAY’S HIGHLIGHTS HTS Noon –1pm: Channel nel [V] presents some of tists the hottest artists around in a lunchtime n the concert on age ge and main stage u the chance gives you eet with the bands s to meet erwards d , with afterwards, an nks to FOXTEL. FOXTEL EL. thanks 1pm: Au 1pm: uto ogr g ap ph Autograph sess ssion wi with th ban a ds d session bands in the he Atr trium m Atrium
WHEN GREATNESS CALLS WHO WILL ANSWER?
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 29
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 30
SATURDAY OCTOBER 1
SPIRIT OF FOOTBALL
FOOTY ON PARADE
TOYOTA AFL GRAND FINAL LIVE
10am –8.30pm: Visit the FOXTEL Dome, for photo opportunities and giveaways
Noon: 2011 Toyota AFL Grand Final Street Parade from the Victorian Arts Centre to the Old Treasury Building, including the presentation of the Grand Final teams
LIVE BROADCASTS 9am –noon: 1116 SEN’s Hungry for Sport with Kevin Bartlett
10am –8.30pm: Visit the FOXTEL Dome, for photo opportunities and giveaways
Noon –1pm: Crocmedia’s Footy Feast with Terry Wallace and Cameron Luke
6 –9am: Channel 7’s Sunrise with Mel and Kochie, featuring a live performance by The Living End on the main stage
Noon –4pm –4pm: 1116 SEN’s Harf Time with Daniel Harford
6 –9am: 1116 SEN’s Morning Glory with Tim Watson and Andy Maher
4 –7p pm:1116 6 SEN’s –7pm:1116 The Run R Hom me with Home David d Schw warz and Schwarz Franc cis Lea ch Francis Leach
8.30am –noon: 774 ABC Melbourne
6 –8p pm: 3AW W’s –8pm: 3AW’s Spor rts Today Toda ayy with Sports Gera rd Hea ly Gerard Healy and Dwayne D e Russ sell Russell
9am –1pm: Triple M Melbourne’s Dangerous Dave roaming the Square
6 –8p pm: –8pm: Croc medi d a’s s Crocmedia’s Spor r ay rtsDa SportsDay with t Tonyy Leon nard d an nd Leonard and Terryy Wallace Wallac ce 7. 7 30 0 –8.30p pm: 7.30 –8.30pm: FO OX SP S O TS OR S’ S FOX SPORTS’ A AF T ams w with Brian AFLL Te Teams T Ta y or yl or, Da D v d Parkin, vi Taylor, David Brad Br ad JJohnson, oh ohns hn o on, Tony Shaw Sh aw wa nd LLiam and Pick Pi cke e in er i g Pickering
DDAY’S AY’S YS HIGHLIGHTS HIG GHLIGHTS 1 –2p –2pm: pm: AFLL Media Gran and Final panel, Grand host ed db hosted byy LLeigh Matt th ws the sa and Matthews Luke Darcy, with the Premier P rship Premiership Cup on disp play display
9am –noon: 1116 SEN’s Hungry for Sport with Kevin Bartlett
Noon –1pm: 7 News coverage of the 2011 Toyota AFL Grand Final Street Parade on the big screen Noon –1pm: Crocmedia’s Footy Feast with Dr Turf and Cameron Luke Noon–2pm: FOX SPORTS News Long Lunch 4 –7pm: 1116 SEN’s The Run Home with David Schwarz and Francis Leach 4.30 –6.30pm: Triple M Adelaide’s Rush Hour with Mark Ricciuto and Chris Dittmar 7.30 –8.30pm: FOX SPORTS’ After the Bounce with Jason Dunstall, Danny Frawley, Gerard Whateley and Damien Fleming Various FOX SPORTS News crosses throughout the day
DAY’S HIGHLIGHTS 10am onwards: Fun for the whole family, including footy activities, giveaways and live entertainment
2.30pm: 2011 Toyota AFL Grand Final, MCG
LIVE BROADCASTS 9 –11am: Crocmedia’s Off the Bench with Craig Hutchison, Liam Pickering and Dr Turf 11am –1pm: 1116 SEN’s Crunch Time with Anthony Hudson, Matthew Lloyd, Dermott Brereton and Mark Robinson 1.30 –2.30pm: Network Ten’s coverage of the 2011 Toyota AFL Grand Final pre-match entertainment on the big screen 2.30 –6pm: Network Ten’s coverage of the 2011 Toyota AFL Grand Final on the big screen
DAY’S HIGHLIGHTS 10.30 –10.45am: Brett Kirk and the Premiership Cup on the main stage, followed by the walk to the MCG 6 –8pm: Live bands on the main stage 8pm: Presentation of the winning 2011 Toyota AFL Grand Final team on the main stage
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Our AFL historyy guru answers your y queries. RARE FEAT: Jobe Watson and
col hutchinson NAME GAME
his father Tim are one of two father-son combinations to have captained the same League side.
» How good a judge is the
FOLLOWING IN FAMILY FOOTSTEPS
Could you please tell me how many sets of brothers and father-son combinations have captained the same club? LES JIMENEZ, VIA EMAIL
CH: There have been many
cases of family combinations serving as acting captains in the absence of regular skippers. Brother combinations who have been ofﬁcially appointed as on-ﬁeld leaders include Melbourne’s Don (1948-49) and Denis (1951-53) Cordner;
Geelong’s Bill (1910-13) and Alec (1920) Eason and Bruce (1976-77) and Ian (1978-81, 1983) Nankervis; Collingwood’s Wayne (1971-75) and Max (1977) Richardson and Ray (1979-80) and Tony (1987-93) Shaw; and South Melbourne’s Paddy (1923-26) and Joe (1928, 1930-31) Scanlan. Bill Thomas was captain of South Melbourne in 1910-11. His son Len led the Swans in 1938. Tim Watson was Essendon’s on-ﬁeld leader from 1989 until 1991 and his son Jobe has been the Dons’ skipper for the past two seasons.
GENUINE SENIOR FOOTBALLERS » Former Xavier College
student Phil Ryan made his debut as a Hawthorn player in the opening round of 1941. By coincidence, his younger brother Ted played his ﬁrst League game for Collingwood the same day. Phil kicked 26 goals in 52 career matches as an eﬀective ruckman for the Hawks
in six seasons. He later served on the Hawthorn committee and enjoyed a 12-year term as president, in which time the club won premierships in 1971, 1976 and 1978. For many years, he also gave great service as a League administrator. Happily, the AFL Life Member is still active at the age of 96.
Do you have knowledge of any players who are close to 90 or older, or who reached such an age before passing? Contact Col Hutchinson on (03) 9643 1929 or col.hutchinson@aﬂ.com.au. 116
Saints’ Sean Dempster? In the early Middle Ages, there was a suﬃx -ster which indicated a female who did something. For example, a brewster was a female brewer (a common female task back then). However, even before the end of the Middle Ages -ster was being used for both males and females. The male equivalent was the obsolete word deemer, the noun from the verb deman meaning “to judge” (our word “deem”). A deemster, the forerunner of demptser, was a judge (as is television’s Judge Judy). The only other Dempster to play League football is Sean’s father Graham (South Melbourne, 1972-79). Other examples of the suﬃx -ster are the names Baker/Baxter and Webber/ Webster. A baxter, originally bakester, was a female baker and a webster a female weaver (or “webber”). Brewer, Baker, Baxter, Webber (and its variation Webb) have all been well represented on League lists but no Brewster has played at the highest level. KEVAN CARROLL
WRITE TO ANSWER MAN The Slattery Media Group, 140 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands, 3008 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Ask the expert about all your footy memorabilia.
ELUSIVE: One collector
is ﬁnding some Eagles AFL Records had to ﬁnd.
I am a keen West Coast Eagles fan, and have all but about 10 AFL Records from their time in the AFL. Apart from selling sites on the internet, is there any other way of getting these elusive Records? PETER MCGHEE, VIA EMAIL
RM: I have a website. If you
google my name, it will direct you there. Go to ‘Ask Rick a Question’, then log on to Football Collectables. We have had around 27,000 hits, so I’d suggest you might have some good luck. Hope this helps. Otherwise, call up every sporting collectables shop you can ﬁnd. Fingers crossed.
I’d like to buy a Chris Judd game-worn jumper. Any ideas? DAVID ORMISTER, VIA EMAIL
RM: I can guarantee you one
thing, David— it won’t be cheap! Contact the club or keep your eyes peeled on all the selling sites on your computer. You wouldn’t get too much change out of $5000.
As a nine-year-old, I was lucky to see the Hawks take out their ﬁrst premiership in 1961. My dad bought me a souvenir pennant, which I still have. Colours are still bright, and it is in nice condition. Value? BOB SCUDDER, VIA EMAIL
RM: Any item relating to
a club’s ﬁrst premiership always attracts a premium price. If the pennant is as described, you would be looking at $500 or so.
I have 200 football cards from 1933 issued by WD & HO Wills. Top condition. Price please. DANIEL FLYNN, VIA EMAIL
RM: Believe it or not,
Daniel, these cards are not worth more than $2 each. They must have been issued in millions and they are everywhere—even after 78 years. They are by far the most common swapcards issued from the 1930s. CONTACT RICK MILNE email@example.com or drop him a line: 5 Cooraminta St, Brunswick, Vic, 3056 or call (03) 9387 4131. One query per reader.
» The VFL started in 1897. Before that, many of today’s teams played in the Victorian Football Association: Geelong, Melbourne, Collingwood, Essendon, Carlton, Richmond, St Kilda and North Melbourne among them. The 1895 VFA premiership was won by Fitzroy—its ﬁrst premiership. Here is the football used in that game, with a plaque telling us it was presented to captain Tom Banks as a memento. Banks was part West Indian and came to Fitzroy via Maryborough. As a Fitzroy fanatic, this is one of my prized possessions. I bought it at auction, but I’m too embarrassed to say how much I paid. Let’s just say it was a VERY LARGE amount.
BRAINS FINAlSanswers at bottom of page
West Coast have played in 5 AFL Grand finals. How many have they won? A. 2 wins B. 3 wins C. 4 wins D. 5 wins
Which Carlton player has played the most finals games for the Blues with 29 Finals? A. Bruce Doull B. Stephen Silvagni C. Chris Judd D. Craig Bradley
Sam Mitchell was Captain of the Hawks 2008 Premiership team. Which player won the Best & Fairest award that season? A. Lance Franklin B. Luke Hodge C. Cyril Rioli D. Sam Mitchell
The Swans most recent Grand Final appearance was in 2006 losing by 1 point to which side? A. Geelong B. Hawthorn C. West Coast Eagles D. Western Bulldogs
Spot the 7 DIFFERENCES between the 2 cards
Silver CODE cards and enter codes to play
Answers: 1. B, 2. A, 3. A, 4. C, 5. â€œChristopher Juddâ€?, Carlton & Blues swap positions, different background, missing Sherrin logo on ball, missing Hyundai logo on guernsey, extra tape to arm, added goggles
TV N O N E AS SE
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SPOT THE DIFFERENCE
FIVE TO FIND
SPOT THE DIFFERENCE: Exclamation mark on the sign in the background removed; tattoo on Magpie Dane Swan’s thigh removed; ‘P’ changed to ‘B’ on Eagle Sam Butler’s shorts; yellow strip removed from back of Butler’s jumper; blue stripe added to Butler’s right sock.
E X TE NDE D P L AY T I M E The AFL Playground outside the MCG will continue to operate in the ﬁrst two weeks of the AFL ﬁnals series, before moving to Melbourne’s Federation Square on September 23-24 and from September 26-30. The playground is the coolest fan zone for kids looking to test their footy skills and warm up before watching the footy, Located below Gate 6 at the MCG,
the playground features activities of all types for kids, with club mascots also in attendance. It is open 90 minutes before the start of the match until the end of the half-time break. Federation Square is located on the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets. Visit aﬂ.com.au/ playground for more information.
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AFL AF FL F L RECORD RECOR RE CO CO OR RD
viisit vvis i siitt aﬂ is aﬂrecord.com.au visit
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Applying data laterally to analyse and understand the modern game.
Excitement of youth provides the ﬁnals X-factor
istory and commonsense tells us that an injection of talented youth is critical. Yes, it is partly done with an eye to the future, but it is a vital ingredient for immediate ﬁnals success. I was 20 when I kicked four goals for Carlton in the second half of the 1970 Grand Final. That half of football essentially built my playing reputation. Importantly, there were other young players (aged 21 or under) who bobbed up in the team that defeated Collingwood by 10 points after trailing by 44 points at the main break: Brent Crosswell, David McKay, Phillip Pinnell, Barry Mulcair, Neil Chandler and Robert Walls. I mention the Blues’ youth in the Grand Final more than 40 years ago to illustrate that the use today by some clubs of young players is not really new. Indeed, from 1960-69, teams playing in Grand Finals picked 137 players aged 21 or under. From 1950-59, Grand Final teams used 115 youngsters. By comparison, from 2000-09, Grand Final teams selected 77 players aged 21 or younger. There are many examples of youngsters playing decisive match-winning roles in big games. In last year’s Grand Final replay, Collingwood’s Steele Sidebottom was superb, his performance putting him in contention for the Norm Smith Medal. In the 2009 Grand Final, Joel Selwood’s opening term helped set up Geelong’s ﬂag. Cyril Rioli turned the Cats upside down in 2008 to help Hawthorn to the premiership. In 1997 and 1998, Adelaide’s Andrew 122
IMPRESSIVE: Geelong’s Tom
Hawkins stood out in the win against Hawthorn.
There’s no doubt today’s ‘kids’ are all right McLeod was hardly more than a whippersnapper when he won consecutive Norm Smith medals. And don’t forget the Baby Bombers of 1993. There’s no doubt today’s ‘kids’, to borrow from The Who song, are all right. The top-four teams this year (Collingwood, Geelong, Hawthorn and West Coast) proved this. Geelong’s stunning 96-point victory over Collingwood in round 24 and its 31-point win over Hawthorn last Friday night conﬁrmed how the ‘system’ works. On both occasions, fans were treated to a joyous display of ‘real footy’ principles. Blessed with an array of mature champions, the Cats were determined to show they had the credentials to win
the ﬂag. The missing ingredient was youth. Their next-generation players—Daniel Menzel, Allen Christensen, Mitchell Duncan, Tom Hawkins, Travis Varcoe and Trent West—had to step forward, and did. The Cats attacked at every opportunity, found space ahead of the ball, their defenders beat their direct opponents and then counter-attacked. We saw a team backing its aerial supremacy. Experienced stalwarts supplemented by precocious and willing youth. Improvisation prevailing. Underpinning it was a sense of know-how and expertise, while the kids provided the unexpected bob-ups and sparks. But kids cannot strut their stuff unless the core is there to support
them. The lesson was obvious in the win over Collingwood. Previously, the Magpies’ ensemble of proven champions and talented youth had swept all before them, based on domination at stoppages, sound structure, and an all-conquering forward press. The Cats ripped all that apart. Why did the Magpies’ structure and its press wilt? The facile explanation for such an uncharacteristic result is that they were not “100 per cent switched on”, but that is far from the whole story. The hardest thing for youth is to organise and improvise at the same time. Consistently doing both requires learning and experience. Under intense pressure, Collingwood’s structure unscrambled. And that’s why the core is so vital. It helps ﬁll the cracks. When the cracks opened, the Cats danced through them. Collingwood’s core did not hold up as per usual. Unavailable for the game were captain Nick Maxwell, Leon Davis, Dale Thomas and Heath Shaw. Once they are together on the ﬁeld doing what they do best, the Magpies will make a strong claim for the ﬂag because they too have a terriﬁc ensemble of talented youth to draw upon. West Coast’s rise from the bottom of the ladder last season to an impressive fourth this season was partly explained by the gelling of its experienced team leaders with an inﬂux of youthful talent, including Nic Naitanui, Luke Shuey, Jack Darling, Andrew Gaff, Scott Selwood and Ashley Smith. Likewise, Hawthorn’s outstanding season was contingent on its crop of emerging young talent, perhaps more so than any other ﬁnalist. TED HOPKINS IS A CARLTON PREMIERSHIP PLAYER AND FOUNDER OF CHAMPION DATA. HIS BOOK THE STATS REVOLUTION (SLATTERY MEDIA GROUP) WAS RELEASED RECENTLY AND IS AVAILABLE VIA FOOTYBOOKCLUB.COM
A true legend stands the test of time.
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He’ll selflessly give his all, day in, day out. He puts his body on the line and backs himself to go the distance. When the team is down, he’ll courageously step up, take on a bigger workload and go even harder. A reputation for toughness that can’t be faked, it’s been earned with every challenge conquered. It’s the confidence to never give in until you come out on top. That’s what makes it the unbreakable, New-Look HiLux.
The AFL Record is the most loved and read football magazine in the country and for the first time, is now available free to read online each...
Published on Sep 14, 2011
The AFL Record is the most loved and read football magazine in the country and for the first time, is now available free to read online each...