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ON THE RISE Meet the Gold Coast Suns, the AFL’s 17th club PETER RYAN INTERVIEWS THE SUNS’ COACH GUY McKENNA AND LEADERSHIP GROUP
round 2, april 1-3, 2011
features 57 Suns all set
The Gold Coast Suns will become the ﬁrst new club to play in the AFL since Port Adelaide in 1997 and they join the Brisbane Lions as Queensland’s second AFL team. PETER RYAN talks to their leaders, including captain Gary Ablett (left) and Maverick Weller.
regulars 4 7 25 53 72 74 76
Backchat The Bounce Matchday Dream Team Answer Man Kids’ Corner NAB AFL Rising Star
Essendon’s Dyson Heppell.
78 Talking Point
Ted Hopkins on football’s exclusion zones.
THIS WEEK’S COVER Leading the Gold Coast Suns – Nathan Bock, Guy McKenna, Gary Ablett and Campbell Brown.
67 JOHN LONGMIRE
From teenage goalkicking star at North Melbourne to calling the shots as Sydney Swans coach.
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A dashing display
What a great coincidence the article on Geelong’s Darren Milburn in last week’s Record was. As a much-maligned playerr ut by supporters of other clubs – but ns highly thought of by Geelong fans for nearly 16 years – it was greatt to see him again “put in” in suchhaa valuable way against St Kilda. After coming on to the ground as a substitute for Joel Selwood, ‘Dasher’ again provedd ue how much Cats supporters value him. He played a ﬁne part in Geelong’s comeback and kickedd the winning goal. Well done, Dasher. May you keep on playing such good footy in 2011. ANNE WHITE, MITCHAM, VIC.
Window closing for Saints
I agree with Murray Johns’ letter from last week. Time is indeed running out for the Saints. These days, teams only seem to have a few years at the top, giving them precious little time to reward their supporters with a premiership. A decade ago, Collingwood had its chances but couldn’t overcome the Lions, who secured three premierships before too eventually falling way. Even the drought-breaking team from Geelong doesn’t seem as strong as it was a couple of years ago. So if St Kilda doesn’t bag the ﬂag this year, it might be all over for Saints supporters this time around. TIM BORTEN, MONTEREY KEYS, QLD.
GENERAL MANAGER, COMMERCIAL OPERATIONS Darren Birch AFL CORPORATE BUSINESS MANAGER Richard Simkiss AFL RECORD MANAGING EDITOR Geoﬀ Slattery AFL RECORD EDITOR Peter Di Sisto
HERO: Darren Milburn kicked the winning goal for
Geelong in last week’s victory over St Kilda.
Toss of the coin
I was interested to look at the ladder to see where both Melbourne and Sydney would be placed after their ﬁ rst-round draw. The ladders I have seen all show Melbourne as eighth and Sydney ninth, presumably based on alphabetical order. What are the rules in these circumstances? And what would happen in the extremely unlikely case that this scenario existed after round 22? JO VELDMEYER, UPPER COOMERA, QLD.
Here is a summary of the AFL’s rules on ladder positions:
Clubs are separated via premiership points. If premiership points are the same, position is determined by percentage (and however many decimal places are needed to separate teams).
PRODUCTION EDITOR Michael Lovett WRITERS Nick Bowen, Ben Collins, Paul Daﬀey, George Farrugia, Katrina Gill, Ted Hopkins, Adam McNicol, Peter Ryan, Nathan Schmook, Callum Twomey, Andrew Wallace SUB-EDITORS Gary Hancock, Howard Kotton, Michael Stevens STATISTICIAN Cameron Sinclair CREATIVE DIRECTOR Andrew Hutchison
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If percentages of teams are the same (which can only happen if teams have the same points for and against records), the previous results between the two clubs are considered. If two or more teams can’t be separated by percentage and previous results (i.e. they drew their only match), a coin toss is held to determine the ﬁnal outcome.
HAVE YOUR SAY
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bo bold old ex expansion plans will bee the focus f of attention this weekend, we eeken when the Gold Coast Suns Su uns play pl their ﬁ rst home and away aw way m match. The establishment e of the Suns, Su uns, the th AFL’s 17th club, has taken tak ken three-to-four th years of str rateg planning, with the strategic AFL it a priority to AF FL making ma ha ave a p have presence in the Gold Co oast area, a Coast one of the country’s fastest-growing regions. fas stestCritically, all involved in Criti thee process of setting up th pro scratch have a cclub from f acknowledged errors made acknow decades ago when the Brisbane Bears were hastily set up to play at Carrara, which will be Gold Coast’s home once its impressive transformation into Metricon Stadium is soon completed. The Suns’ management have been clear about their priorities. Yes, they want a competitive and successful team, but they also want to make a genuine connection with the community. Already they’ve made a mark in Queensland, with more than 12,000 members and healthy corporate support. And this weekend, the football part of the operation goes on show. As Peter Ryan’s interview starting on page 57 reveals, the Suns have, so far, done everything right. PETER DI SISTO
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Our take on the round one debutants.
Flexible Bombers are on the march.
The fans are going to love walking in and seeing all the colour
200 games for a Carlton superstar.
Brad Johnson, p17
Cautious h approach to sub rulee
IMPACT: Demon Ricky Petterd
was one of the successful substitutes last week when he came on and was an inﬂ uential player in the ﬁnal term.
he secrets hidden n stitute beneath the substitute were rule’s green vestt were never going to bee outing. revealed in full at its ﬁ rst outing. But round one at least gave ked us a glimpse of what worked d and what didn’t for teams under the new rule, which has reduced the interchange bench from four players to three players and a substitute. As expected, nearly every team picked substitutes who were small to mid-sized and versatile. Although no player would likely want to start a game in the substitute’s green vest, round one also showed they can have a real impact. We saw Ricky Petterd give Melbourne a forward spark in the ﬁnal quarter against the Sydney Swans, his effort helping the Demons overcome a 14-point three-quarter time deﬁ cit and emerge with a draw. And Geelong’s substitute, Darren Milburn, kicked the match-winning goal against St Kilda with 19 seconds left in the game. The Sydney Swans’ Mark Seaby was the only ruckman chosen as a substitute in round one. His selection, alongside the Swans’ No. 1 ruckman Shane Mumford, ﬂ ew in the face of the prevailing pre-season
Round one showed injury will have a huge say on when clubs inject a substitute into a game AFL RECORD
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Richmond’s Alex Rance accepts a three-week suspension for rough conduct against Carlton’s Jarrad Waite. e.
logic that had back-up ruckmen facing near-certain extinction in the new substitute era. Seaby was relatively quiet when brought on at the 10-minute mark of the ﬁ nal quarter against Melbourne and did not give the Swans the run a smaller player could have. But Western Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade said there was still room for two ruckmen in a side, arguing the Bulldogs had erred in picking a sole ruckman, Ben Hudson, to take on Essendon duo David Hille and Patrick Ryder. As expected, round one showed injury will have a huge say on when clubs inject a substitute into a game. Obviously, a game-ending injury to one of its players forces a club’s hand. Six teams were in this boat in round one, with Adelaide and Geelong forced to replace Jason Porplyzia (shoulder) and Joel Selwood (concussion) respectively in the ﬁrst quarter. But the threat of an injury also played on the minds of the clubs that didn’t suffer one. Of those 10 teams, none introduced their substitutes before midway through the third quarter, with Richmond the ﬁrst to do so 13 minutes into the second half against Carlton. With the Bulldogs down
HIGHS AND LOWS:
Darren Milburn went from substitute (below) to ‘super sub’ after he kicked the Cats’ winning goal.
by 37 points at half-time against Essendon, Eade said he had been tempted to bring on his substitute, Justin Sherman, but had held off for another 15 minutes, fearful a subsequent injury would leave his side a player short on the interchange bench.
ollingwood Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse even admitted he had been tempted not to use his substitute, Brent Macaffer, thinking by doing so he could improve the ﬁtness of the other 21 players. Ultimately, he relented at the 15-minute
mark of the ﬁnal quarter, with Macaffer kicking a goal. AFL game analysis manager Andrew McKay told the AFL Record he was conﬁdent clubs would play their substitutes in every match. But he said any substitutes not brought on to the ground would still be credited with having played that game. There seems little doubt the stricter concussion guidelines introduced by the AFL this year contributed to the clubs’ cautious use of their substitutes in round one. U Under the new guidelines, any player diagnosed with concussion during a game is n no longer permitted to return tto the ﬁeld. Two of the players rreplaced by substitutes in ro round one left the ground w with concussion (Selwood and Ca Carlton’s Jarrad Waite). The Brisbane Lions, who had alr already used their substitute, loo looked as though they might lose Mitch Clark to concussion too, but he was cleared to return th ﬁeld. to the If we were to make one conclusion at this early stage, it would be this: the clubs’ use of substitutes is currently governed by the fear of injury. It remains to be seen whether some clubs will use it more boldly and more strategically.
A ‘weird’ wait, but Petterd provides the spark » Ricky Petterd says being one of the competition’s inaugural 16 substitutes was a “weird” but ultimately satisfying experience. It began two days before Melbourne’s round-one game against the Sydney Swans, when coach Dean Bailey told Petterd he would be the Demons’ substitute. Petterd told the AFL Record this week he prepared for last Sunday’s match exactly as he would for any other game, from his diet through to his pre-match warm-up. But when he took his place on the interchange bench, the realities of life as a substitute began to take hold. With no idea of when he’d be sent on to the
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ground, Petterd found he soon had to stop watching the game as a player as he was wasting too much nervous energy. By switching into spectator mode, he kept himself mentally fresh. Running up and down the boundary line every four or ﬁve minutes and kick-to-kick sessions at breaks helped keep him physically switched-on. When his opportunity came at the start of the ﬁ nal quarter, Petterd was in no doubt about his role – to provide an immediate spark up forward. He delivered, racking up six possessions, taking four marks, kicking a behind and contributing with two score
assists to help Melbourne come from 14 points ts behind behindto tosalvage salva ge a draw. came on on the the When he came erd immediately ground, Petterd re of ofjust justhow howtired tired became aware ayers were, were, and and tried tr ied d the other players at by by running runningat at to prey on that tunity. every opportunity. elt pretty pretty fresh. fresh. “I really felt e when You do notice when you’re you’reout out there you’re running running past pastpeople people hinking, “Why and you’re thinking, “Whyam amI I theseguys guyspretty pretty running pasttthese said. easily?’” he said. “But you’ve ve got got to to understand they’ve they’veplayed playedaa hard-fought game.” game.” At the end of the game, Petterd was content he’d he’ddone donehis hisjob jobbut but “upand andabout”. about ”. felt strangelyy“up
Not to worry, 10 or 15 minutes after the the ﬁﬁnal siren, siren, Melbourne’s Melbournes ﬁtness staﬀ summoned him back into the middle of a near-empty MCG to do some further running. That’s the less glamorous side of life as a substitute. NICK BOWEN
Richmond signs 18-year-old Irish Gaelic star John Heslin as an international rookie. e.
ponderings No room for faint-hearted as season kicks oﬀ » Talk about a ferocious opening. The ﬁrst round saw four games decided by less than a goal. New Geelong coach Chris Scott matched Fremantle’s Michael Walters for the round’s best post-goal celebration. The substitute rule was introduced. Three on the bench appeared to slow the game down as it went on. Yet ‘super subs’ such as Collingwood’s Brent Macaﬀer and Melbourne’s Ricky Petterd came on and played the last quarters as though they were soccer strikers being introduced to the fray. It makes me think teams that don’t suﬀ er an injury still have an advantage over opponents that do. Essendon unleashed a brand of football reminiscent of Collingwood’s best. The Lions were tough yet the Dockers stood up and ran them down. Adelaide won’t have the same start to the season in 2011 as it had in 2010, when it lost its ﬁrst six games. Two of the game’s best players – Jonathan Brown and Joel Selwood – were concussed after horrendous, unlucky clashes. That was horrible but not unpredictable. This game has changed. Zones have changed players’ starting positions and increased the likelihood of two players being forced to charge at the football that lobs in between them, waiting to be won. Players are programmed to chase the ball with fanaticism, as everyone knows that winning the ball is the vital ingredient to success. Throw in some kamikaze courage, which all players possess, and the head-ﬁrst technique they sometimes apply (arguably in an eﬀort to draw a free kick,
BUSINESS AS USUAL: Collingwood’s
ability to control the ball helped it make short work of Port Adelaide in the opening round.
knowing umpires are instructed to protect the head) and it’s no wonder accidents can happen. It only takes one mis-kick and suddenly players are locking horns like bulls. The truth is, no one wants shocking collision injuries like we saw last weekend. That’s one reason why when the AFL received advice that without a change to the interchange rules, such collisions were likely to happen at greater speed in the future, it acted immediately to slow the time players could be running at top speed. The concussion rule was also implemented with player welfare paramount. The sub rule may reduce congestion, too, particularly late in games. If that brings
back more contests and creates more space for crumbing experts, then that’s a good thing. One point about the game supposedly opening up late: the last quarter was the lowestscoring on quarter, on average, of the round. Other debates about the sub rule are are continuing. Some continuing. Some cite cite the the rule rule as more fair, while arguments about whether soft-tissue injuries njuries will will go go up up or or down down take: fairness fairness ensue. My take: iss diﬃcult cult to to achieve achieve n sport, sport, and and we we need need in properly time to properly assess the impact i mpact on soft-tissue injuries. njuries. Let’s wait wait and and see before we
This season eason has 27 weeks ing of remaining debate e and contest st
take hardened positions on its eﬀ ect. But, enough of that already. What about the style the Bombers played last week? Can they continue it? Forget for a second the forward press and remember the Magpies’ ability to win centre clearances and put the ball inside 50 was why they are more formidable now than they were this time last season. To challenge, teams must win the ball. Nothing has changed in that department, we guess, since 1897, because having the ball is the best form of defence. From there the tactics follow. That’s why the starting four at centre bounces is the most important team within a team. It’s why smart crumbers are critical and why the agility to ﬁnd space to use the ball eﬀectively once it is won is an attribute coaches and recruiters rate highly. This season has 27 weeks remaining of debate and contest and conjecture and excitement and emotion. Players must pace their bodies and minds to reach the ﬁnish with a Liam Jurrah-like spring still in their step. The marathon has started. journey. Enjoy the journey.
Fremantle’s Michael Walters led the celebration of the round.
AFL RECORD RECORD
Geelong defender Matthew Scarlett accepts one-week ban for striking St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt.
KICKING OFF A CAREER
A ﬂying start for young and old KATRINA GILL
wenty-four players made their debuts in last week’s opening round of home and away matches, a new mark. Of that group, six can be classed mature-age debutants, players who had previously never been listed by an AFL club, or who had made it on to a list but never played a senior game. Carlton had a debutant in each category, with former Adelaide rookie Ed Curnow and ex-Norwood recruit Nick Duigan lining up against Richmond. Curnow was delisted after one injury-interrupted year at the Crows in 2008. He was eligible to play after being chosen as Carlton’s nominated rookie and impressed on debut, gathering 24 possessions and kicking one goal. Duigan took a different path to the AFL. The self-confessed “late-bloomer” didn’t emerge as a draft prospect until last season, but also looked comfortable on debut in defence against the Tigers.
North Melbourne unveiled two mature-age debutants, Cameron Richardson and makeshift ruckman Cameron Pedersen in its loss to West Coast, while 24-year-old Lucas Markovic was selected to play his ﬁrst game in his second season with the Western Bulldogs. Brisbane Lions forward Rohan Bewick also lined up in his ﬁrst game. Fremantle star Michael Barlow and Geelong cult hero James Podsiadly put mature-age recruits on the map in the eyes of all followers followerslast last many football truth is is season, but the truth artedlooking looking recruiters started uniorsystem system outside the junior players for potentiall players long before Barlow maa ﬁrmed from $1001 longnd shot to second favourite for the Brownlow Medal last season. Carlton’s recruiting manager hes Wayne Hughes said Barlow’s’s rapid made rise had justt made utside everyone outside ng the recruiting ake fraternity take notice of mature-age recruits. ke all all “It’s not like of a sudden clubs g are drafting mature-age players.
Over the last four or ﬁ ve years, we’ve had Michael Jamison, Dennis Armﬁeld, Simon White and Jeff Garlett,” Hughes said. “Barlow was famous last year, but there have been other guys along the way.” Collingwood forward Andrew Krakouer and Fremantle’s Nick Lower were among another 13 ‘recycled’ players to play their ﬁrst game at a new club. There have been concerns the expansion of the competition to 17 teams will dilute the quality of talent on show in the AFL, but Hughes said the recruitment of the likes of Curnow, C Podsiadly and Ian Callinan by Adelaide we were good for the game. “Maybe “Maybe, the game has always alw been a bit selﬁsh and more guys over the jou journey deserved to play AFL fo footy,” he said. “I was invo involved with Freman Fremantle when it started started and that (dilution) was talked about then, then but it’s sorted itself out. It’s just great 120 more players who have never had an opportunity before get an opportunity.” oppo MATURE RECRUIT: Carlton’s Nick Duigan looked comfortable in his ﬁrst game last week.
ROUND ONE DEBUTANTS Brodie Smith Adelaide Claye Beams Brisbane Lions Rohan Bewick Brisbane Lions Ryan Lester Brisbane Lions Ed Curnow Carlton Nick Duigan Carlton Dyson Heppell Essendon Jayden Pitt Fremantle Cameron Guthrie Geelong Luke Tapscott Melbourne Shaun Atley North Melbourne Cameron Pedersen North Melbourne Cameron Richardson North Melbourne Jarrad Irons Port Adelaide Cameron O’Shea Port Adelaide Jasper Pittard Port Adelaide Jake Batchelor Richmond Reece Conca Richmond Brad Helbig Richmond Byron Sumner Sydney Swans Jack Darling West Coast Andrew Gaﬀ West Coast Tom Liberatore Western Bulldogs Lukas Markovic Western Bulldogs
When they’re not playing... PLAYER
First job heldFavourite band/musicBest advice receivedFavourite commentator
Brent Harvey North Melbourne
At a sports store Kings Of LeonNever give up
Clinton Jones St Kilda
At Hungry Jack’sLive
Lance Franklin Hawthorn
Nathan Fyfe Fremantle
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Ja James B Brayshaw Work hard andd the rewards will illcome come
B Bruce M McAvaney
Lil Wayne ne
Have a shot if you get the ball within 90 metres
When you are going through hell, keep going
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Adelaide forward Rory Sloane to have surgery after fracturing his thumb and jaw in last week’s win over Hawthorn.
Flexible Bombers putting their best foot forward CALLUM TWOMEY
obe Watson’s brilliance lies in his creativity, his ability to think with the ball in hand, and use it in a way that almost every time advantages his teammates. In 2011, judging by his performance against the Western Bulldogs last week, Watson could also be using those talents in attack, as well as through the midﬁ eld where he has made his name. Against the Bulldogs, Watson picked up 35 possessions, but it was his work inside 50 that was impressive – and damaging. Watson, who started his career as a full-forward with the Bendigo Bombers in the VFL, was dominant close to goal. He had nine disposals inside 50, four scoring shots (two goals and two behinds), two score assists and nine scoring
stars such as Leroy Jetta (above) and Jobe Watson (inset)will be playing roles on the ball and in attack this year.
involvements. His inﬂ uence was massive. Essendon appears likely to put an emphasis this year on using its stoppage players – midﬁelders and ruckmen – in varying roles through the forward line. Watson and the likes of Leroy Jetta are two of those. Jetta said coach James Hird wanted players to be versatile.
“With the new substitute rule, we’ve got three on the bench, so a lot of midﬁelders are going to spend a lot of time up forward,” Jetta said. “That’s the role a lot of us are going to have as midﬁ elders resting in the forward line and Jobe did that well.” It needs to be noted last week’s performance was just one game – and the Bombers,
MILESTONES ROUND 2
as Hird said after the match, have won big games in the last few seasons without backing up – but it can also be read as a revealing snapshot of how the team continues to progress and how it wants to improve. Jason Winderlich played almost exclusively as a lead-up forward, Stewart Crameri was used as a marking option, Kyle Hardingham’s agility in defence was critical and David Zaharakis had 19 touches and kicked two goals. Add to that mix, Patrick Ryder and David Hille in the ruck, and the Bombers have a group of players with growing ﬂ exibility. Jetta, 22, has gone from a forward pocket to a dangerous midﬁeld option. “‘Hirdy’ has got a lot of faith in me to play through the midﬁeld, so hopefully I can deliver for the club,” he said. “This is my ﬁ fth year at Essendon now, so hopefully I can improve and become a pretty good player.”
The list includes those not necessarily selected but on the verge of milestones.
AFL Life Membership
238 games Matthew Pavlich Fremantle He will equal the Fremantle games record held by Shane Parker.
Simon Black Brisbane Lions
Paul Chapman Geelong
AFL 200 Club
Ben Rutten tten Adelaide de
Mark Blake Bla Geelon Geelong
Leigh Montagna ntagna da St Kilda
Shannon By Byrnes Geelon Geelong McIntosh Hamish McI North Melbourne Melb
Drew Petrie North Melbourne
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Judd Chris Ju Carlton
Daniel Harris arris Gold Coast oast
Brett Pea Peake St Kild Kilda
100 games as captain Nick Riewoldt St Kilda
100 games as coach Ross Lyon St Kilda
100 club games Brent Guerra Hawthorn
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The round-three West Coast-Sydney Swans match (April 9) at Patersons Stadium to start 30 minutes later than originally schedule
SOLVING A TALL ORDER
Versatility the key for ruck duos NATHAN SCHMOOK
any questions surrounding the AFL’s new interchange rules remain unanswered after round one, but the importance of versatile and effective ruckmen was certainly conﬁrmed after the ﬁrst set of matches under the ‘three-and-one’ system. Clubs entered 2011 understanding that (potentially) fewer rotations meant more time on the ground for their big men, with ruckmen who can’t play other roles possibly on the way out. Collingwood’s Leigh Brown has been cited as the prototypical modern second ruckman, or ‘half-ruckman’, and he again worked effectively alongside Darren Jolly, the pair combining for two goals and 36 hit-outs against Port Adelaide.
But other clubs struggled with the requirement to keep both their ruckmen on the ground for longer to allow midﬁ elders to rotate as much as possible on and off the ground. Against Richmond, Carlton started ruckmen Robbie Warnock and Shaun Hampson on the ground, and they played 88 and 90 per cent of the match respectively, with mixed results. The Blues convincingly won the hit-outs 43-26, but the contributions of their ruckmen up forward were minimal: they combined for one goal, albeit an important one kicked by Hampson late in the game. Coach Brett Ratten, whose hand was forced after he lost forward Jarrad Waite, wasn’t sure post-match if the pair would continue to be used in the same way. Richmond coach Damien Hardwick was adamant it was the substitute rule that forced Warnock and Hampson to play untypically long stints. “It’s making the rucks stay out there for a hell of a lot longer,” he said. The most successful ruck partnership of the weekend was
that of Essendon’s David Hille and Paddy Ryder against the Western Bulldogs. The Bombers duo combined for 28 hit-outs and had a signiﬁ cant impact around the ground, with Ryder booting two goals. Both were among their club’s best players against the ho chose to play Bulldogs, who ognised ruckman, ruckma n, just one recognised Ben Hudson.. e, with withMark Mark Melbourne, tefan Jamar and Stefan earedto toget get Martin, appeared right,while while the balance right, the Sydney Swans, Mumford with Shane Mumford hite (and (and and Jesse White their Mark Seaby as their substitute),might mighthave havegot got he ﬁﬁrst openingit wrong in the round draw since 1982. e’s Aaron Aaron Fremantle’s supportedby by Sandilands, supported ley, was highly Kepler Bradley, with41 41hit-outs, hit-outs , inﬂuential with ns and aa goal goal 22 possessions Brisbane Lions, Lions, against the Brisbane er cent centof of playing 85 per the game. st’s Dean Dean West Coast’s inimal Cox, with minimal m Quinten support from
d, at 6.10pm (WST).
Lynch, wound back the clock with a best-on-ground performance against the Kangaroos, who were forced to play without a ruckman after Todd Goldstein was a late withdrawal with a stomach bug. With Cox racking up 29 disposals, 29 hit-outs and booting two goals against makeshift ruckman Cameron Pedersen (who was making his AFL debut), North North Melbourne would have have left Perth knowing versatile and effective ruckmen remain crucial underthe the crucial under new interchange interchange rules.
VINTAGE DISPLAY: Dean
Cox wound back the clock with a dominant performance for West Coast last week.
Great on paper. Even better on air. The most entertaining team in footy and you’ll only hear them on 3AW. Your game. Your station.
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West Coast forward Mark LeCras set to miss up to 10 weeks after tearing his adductor against North Melbourne. e.
Vietnam Swans kick in to aid NZ quake victims ADAM McNICOL
he football community around Australia played a big role in raising money to help the victims of the ﬂ oods that ravaged Queensland and Victoria over the summer. Many people involved with the game overseas have also been doing their bit to support those impacted by natural disasters around the globe, and the Hanoi-based Vietnam Swans have been leading the charge. A number of Swans players, along with the club’s executive, played a key role in raising almost $100,000 for the Christchurch earthquake appeal. “The morning after the earthquake struck New Zealand, the Vietnam Swans contacted the New Zealand ambassador and consul-general to offer our condolences and full support should they wish to organise
FUNDRAISER: New Zealander John Gardner, holding a Sydney Swans jumper that was auctioned, is pictured with Vietnam Swans national president Phil Johns (left) and national treasurer Danny Armstrong.
a fundraiser,” club president Phil Johns said. “Given the close relationship between New Zealand and Australia, we knew we would start to ﬁnd people in the club who would be directly or indirectly affected by the tragedy. Inevitably, we did.” Among the fundraising initiatives was an auction of two signed jumpers donated by the Sydney Swans.
Even a small footy club like the Vietnam Swans can make a diﬀerence VIETNAM SWANS PRESIDENT PHIL JOHNS
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“The challenge was to get the two jumpers, along with a signed Wallabies jersey, from Sydney to Saigon prior to the fundraiser,” Johns explained. “The Vietnam Swans activated our network, and in the space of a couple of hours we had tracked down someone who could bring them here. It was a wonderful example of people coming together to support a cause. “The AFL does a great job at supporting many worthwhile causes, but even a small footy club like the Vietnam Swans can make a difference.” Johns and his fellow members of the Swans have inspired other Australian Football clubs in Asia to follow their lead, and the Tokyo Goannas recently set up an online appeal to raise money for those affected by the earthquake in Japan. Meanwhile, the Swans are preparing for one of the most signiﬁcant matches in their short history. On April 23, they will play the Hong Kong Dragons in the inaugural Anzac International Friendship Match. The game will take place in the town of Vung Tau, where the Australian Army was based during the Vietnam War. A large crowd is expected, including many Vietnam veterans, some of whom played a match there during the conﬂict.
New body, AFL Victoria, to run football in Victoria, with AFL development strategy and operations manager Grant Williams appoin
ted general manager.
STIRRING THE PASSION
The fans are going to love walking in and seeing all the colour
A home away from home for Dogs fans
here are few who have expressed their love for their football club as openly as Brad Johnson has for the Western Bulldogs since he made his debut in 1994. With his trademark smile and hobbled running style, Johnson played 364 games for the club he supported as a child, retiring at the end of last season. But his involvement with the Dogs continues in retirement. Itâ€™s why Johnson was more than happy to help the Bulldogs launch the â€˜Footscray Endâ€™, a family-friendly section of Etihad Stadium for fans to congregate before and during the clubâ€™s home games at the ground. With a kidsâ€™ zone and band set to join in festivities, as well
ATMOSPHERE: Brad Johnson has
thrown his support behind the â€˜Footscray Endâ€™ at Etihad Stadium.
as Bulldogs paraphernalia and player banners adorning the pillars, the area will be, as Johnson suggested, a chance for all Dogs supporters to enjoy themselves. â€œThe fans are going to love walking in and seeing all the colour. It will add a home-ground advantage, which is something the club is after, and it looks back at the history of the club as well,â€? Johnson said.
â€œItâ€™s a great opportunity for all the Bulldogs supporters to meet at one place and create a bit of atmosphere and energy leading into games.â€? Johnson will ofďŹ cially unveil the Footscray End when the Bulldogs host the Brisbane Lions on Sunday, after he and former teammate Nathan Eagleton, who also retired last year after 277 games, do a lap of honour before the game.
Johnson, who is completing a 12-month internship part-time at the AFL alongside media commitments with Fox Sports and radio station 3AW, said he was enjoying life after footy. â€œI spent some quality time with the family after last season and itâ€™s been pretty relaxing, but once the new year kicked in, I started some new work, which has been good,â€? the 34-year-old said. â€œThereâ€™s still enough time during the week to stay reasonably relaxed, and I know that during the footy season Iâ€™ll be busy, but thatâ€™s always been the way and itâ€™s ďŹ ne. I enjoy it, I love the game, and I want to be part of it as much as I can,â€? he said.
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Brisbane Lions skipper Jonathan Brown expected to miss at least eight weeks after surgery to repair facial fractures.
PLAYERS WE LOVE
Chris Judd CARLTON
» This round at the Gabba,
He has given his all at every contest until he can give no more, such is his commitment to the cause
as the Gold Coast Suns make history as the AFL’s 17th club, one of the game’s great modern players will set foot on an AFL arena for the 200th time. From the day Chris Judd made his debut for West Coast against Collingwood at the MCG in 2002, also in round two, he has captivated fans with his exhilarating speed and ability to win the ball, often in challenging situations. He has given his all at every contest until he can give no more, such is his commitment to the cause. Judd was picked at No. 3 in the 2001 draft and inherited the No. 3 jumper made famous by two-time Eagles premiership wingman Chris Mainwaring. Selected before Judd were two other Victorian teenagers, Luke Hodge and Luke Ball. Like Judd, they have become club captains and premiership players, yet Judd is the ﬁ rst of that terriﬁ c triumvirate to reach 200 games – Hodge is on 173 and Ball 167. In 134 games with the Eagles, Judd ruled the roost around the midﬁeld with teammates Ben Cousins and Daniel Kerr. The thrilling sight of Judd ﬂying around the ﬂanks at Subiaco will live long in the memories
of Eagles fans, as will his achievements – Brownlow and Norm Smith medals, premiership captain and twotime best and fairest winner. When he made the diﬃ cult decision to return home to Victoria at the end of 2007, he decided to join Carlton and accept responsibility as captain for lifting the Blues up the ladder. In 65 games with his new club, he has done just that, often carrying the team to victory on his broad shoulders. It could be argued he has become a more complete player at Carlton. At West Coast, he was perceived as an outside runner with supreme pace and skill. He has lost none of that with the Blues, but complemented these assets with the ability to be a leading contestedpossession winner. Judd has won the John Nicholls Medal as the Blues’ best and fairest player in his ﬁrst three seasons with the club, achieved All-Australian honours in each year (taking his All-Australian seasons to ﬁve), and a second Brownlow last year. Now the Carlton captain, 27, can set his sights on more achievements – perhaps 300 games, a third Brownlow Medal and another premiership. Who’s to say he can’t accomplish all three before his brilliant career is over? HOWARD KOTTON
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