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Round 20 Wrap

August 18th 2008 08:50
With Round 20 out of the way we are now two weeks from the start of the 2008 AFL Final Series. The competition is certainly starting to hot up, so let’s have a look at the results from the weekend.

Collingwood and Port Adelaide kicked off the round on Friday night at AAMI Stadium, with the Magpies running out easy winners by 29 points. Port Adelaide's season was declared over a long time ago by coach, Mark Williams, and it is becoming increasingly obvious their heads are onto 2009 already. While Collingwood were never challenged in the match, it must be said that their opposition was not the strongest. Their big challenge will be Sydney this week, it is a must win game for them to consolidate their position in this year’s finals.

Saturday saw Essendon host the Adelaide Crows in a match that was dominated by the South Aussies. Adelaide ran away to be big 56 point winners. Not only did this win for the Crows ensure their a finals spot, it also gave them an opportunity to finish in the top four. The fifth placed Crows are half a game behind North Melbourne on the table. Although with games against St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs in the last two rounds, it is hard to see them any higher than they currently are.

The big battle was at the MCG on Saturday with last placed Melbourne hosting second to bottom West Coast. Melbourne lead for the majority of the day and ran out winners by 34 points. It was clear very early on in the season that neither of these teams would feature in September action, but it has been proven that both clubs have some promising signs for the years to come.

Sydney hosted reigning premiers Geelong on Saturday night at ANZ Stadium. Geelong proved too strong and beat the Swans by 39 points. Geelong now sit clear by four games on top of the table. It seems that there is nothing that can stand in their way of back to back premierships. The class, determination and depth of their squad is leagues above all the other teams at the moment. Sydney need one win out of their next two games to secure their finals position. They play Collingwood and Brisbane, and if they beat both could possibly still find themselves in fourth position.

In one of the surprises of the week, the Brisbane Lions upset the highly fancied Western Bulldogs by 11 points in front of their home crowd. Brisbane now find themselves one game out of the top eight, and with games against Carlton and Sydney, you would think they need to win both to sneak in. The Western Bulldogs will almost certainly finish 3rd and take on Hawthorn in the first week of the finals for the opportunity to have a week off. The next two weeks should be spent fine tuning their game and ensuring they are ready for this big clash.

In the biggest upset of the round, and one of the biggest of the year - Richmond kept their finals dream alive by downing Hawthorn by 29 points. The Tigers have match ups against Fremantle and Richmond in the last two rounds and would need to win both to have a chance at scoring an unlikely spot in this year’s September action. Hawthorn have already secured a top 3 finish and will be looking to regain their suspended and injured stars before their clash with the Bulldogs in week one of the finals series.

With their season on the line Carlton could not overcome the rejuvenated Kangaroos. North Melbourne scored a great 51 point victory to push them up into 4th position. It could depend on other results to see whether they will hold their spot, as they clash with the unstoppable Cats this week, before playing Port Adelaide in Round 22. Whilst the year is over for Carlton fans - their side has shown a great deal this year and should be a genuine contender is years to come.

In a brutal game over in the west, St Kilda moved one step closer to ensuring they have a spot in this year’s finals - downing the Dockers by 43 points. The Saints are going to have to fight to keep their spot in their last two games, with match ups against the Crows and the Bombers. With Richmond and Brisbane knocking on the door - St Kilda is going to have to prove they deserve their spot.

Whilst Geelong sits perched on top of the AFL ladder and seemingly leagues above everyone else - the race for the finals is still well and truly alive. And if history has taught us anything it is that once you're in there - anything can happen!

Aussie Aussie Aussie - Oi Oi Oi

August 13th 2008 11:35
The 2008 Beijing Olympics have crept up on us all. I don't think I was alone when I say that I was not buying into the hype leading up to these games and wasn't all that excited about watching them. But we are Aussies, and nothing keeps us from our sport!

I must admit, since the Opening Ceremony on Friday night - I have been glued to Channel 7, watching every possible minute and every possible event. As much as a sport fanatic as I am, I wouldn't think twice about changing the channel to avoid watching a swimming or equestrian meet, but there is something about the Olympics that changes all that in us. We feel like it is Australia versus the world and we cannot get enough of it! We are an extremely patriotic and proud country at the very worst of times, but an event such as the Olympic games emphasises this to an extent not even I can believe.

I sat in a food court of a busy Melbourne city building today, ate my lunch and watched on in absolute amazement as the building slowly filled up with spectator's beginning to position themselves around the few plasma screens. Everyone had poured in to see 20 year old Brisbane girl, Stephanie Rice, race for her second gold medal in the 200 metre individual medley. Anyone who saw the race will understand just how close and how tense the final few metres were. Rice was trailing all race and came from behind to win against all odds in true Australian style. The whole building of a few hundred people went up in an absolute roar as Stephanie's name flashed up on the screen as the winner. For a few minutes I swore I was part of the crowd at the Water Cube in Beijing. The roar of the crowd and sheer excitement and surprise of the victory sent a shiver down my spine and re-iterated in my mind that Australian's are amongst the most proud and passionate people in the world.

It is times and events like these that remind us how lucky we are and good it is to be an Aussie. Our country may not be anywhere near the size, and we may not have anywhere near the population of other countries - but that doesn't stop our elite athletes rubbing shoulders with the 'big boys' on the world's biggest stage. I think I speak for the whole of Australia when I say that this country has never been prouder or more inspired by its athletes. We are yet to pass the half way point of the games, and I am happy for them to never end. Get behind your heroes Australia - ride every bump, take every breath, and win every gold right there with them. Let's make this the most successful Olympics ever! Go you Aussies!

Over and out.

100 Goals - To Run or Not to Run....

August 13th 2008 10:48
The debate has heated up today over whether fans should be allowed to run onto the ground to celebrate the 100th goal of a player. As Hawthorn superstar Lance "Buddy" Franklin, and Carlton spearhead Brendan Fevola close in on the monumental achievement it has sparked pleas from the AFL for all fans to keep off the ground in the interest of safety for all involved.

It has been a time honoured tradition that fans race from every corner of the ground to celebrate the milestone of their hero. It has been four young years since we have seen a player kick 100 goals, Fraser Gherig brought up the ton against Port Adelaide in a Preliminary Final in 2004. We have to go back 10 years to find the last player to kick 100 goals in the regular season, Tony Lockett in 1998. With the modern game continuing to evolve, the old fashioned Full Forward has become a thing of the past - which makes Franklin's and Fevola's achievements this year so much more impressive.

The AFL want to ban people from running onto the ground and are threatening to hand out harsh penalties to those caught. I think we can all understand the AFL's concerns and can appreciate there is a certain risk of danger for both the players and the spectator's. But to take away one of the greatest parts of our game, and for something that has become so rare is not on. It has been 10 years since Tony Lockett brought up his 100th goal in the Home and Away season, and who knows how long we may have to wait again. Kicking 100 goals in a season is one of the most remarkable individual achievements in the game. The day the 100th goal is kicked will be surely be etched into not only the player's mind - but all those who witnessed it forever. Do you remember where you were when you saw Lloyd or Dunstall kick their 100th goal? Do you remember feeling a shiver up your spine when you saw people run from everywhere to celebrate Plugger's 1300th career goal? Those are some of my most memorable and fond memories of our great game.

Fans - be safe. No one wants see any players or spectators hurt or injured. But celebrate your hearts out if and when these two great modern day forwards bring up one of the greatest individual achievements we have left. Recent history has shown that an AFL player kicking 100 goals comes around less often than the Olympic games, so make sure you cherish it and make it a day that will not be forgotten in a hurry!

Over and out.

Tanking Revisited

August 12th 2008 11:41
As we near the end of Season 2008, there is no better time to reflect on the year that has been. We have seen an influx of gossip, headlines, and controversy this year and arguably one of the biggest stories is that of 'tanking' reports.

We all heard champion ex-Bulldog and Brownlow Medallist, Tony Liberatore give his story and opinion on events that took place towards the end of last season during his time as an Assistant Coach with Carlton. The unprecedented uproar that followed this story led great debate throughout the football world and fingers began pointing at other clubs possibly guilty of 'tanking

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Today in the AFL - 04/04/2008

April 3rd 2008 23:09
Ben "Dutchy" Holland sues Tigers for 538K

Ben Holland of the Melbourne Football club is suing his former club for unpaid promises

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AFL Strikes Out

April 3rd 2008 04:07
This was a blog I wrote a few months ago, but it still has some relevance today and some of you might have some interest in it re. the AFL's drug policy.

Over the past year or so, the AFL has come under some scrutiny regrading its often highly criticised and rather inconsistent drug code. As it stands, players who are found to have taken illegal substances are given three strikes before they can be named to their club and punished

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Today in the AFL - 03/04/2008

April 3rd 2008 00:59
Dockers have no respect for Eagles

Peter Sumich west coast eagles AFL

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Today in the AFL - 02/04/2008

April 2nd 2008 01:20
Kreuzer set to make AFL debut for Carlton in Round 3

Matt Kreuzer Carlton Blues

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Daniher's Demons

April 1st 2008 01:37
It would be hard to not know about what has been the debacle that was the Melbourne Football Club’s performances at the MCG in Rounds 1 & 2 against the superior and powerful Hawthorn side and upcoming Western Bulldogs side. Not only did the Demons lack any sense of urgency from the opening bounce in both games, they were always behind and they were comfortably beaten in every area on the field.

Very rarely does a loss not reflect any positives for the losing team. Even in the many 100 point shellackings we’ve seen over the past few years, the losing team has always had at least one positive to come out of it, be it the impressive performance of a youngster or the performance of an injury plagued star returning for his first hit out in months. However, after the 104-point belting of Melbourne by the Hawks on Easter Sunday, the Demons could take no positives whatsoever out of the game, not even the debuting performance of Isaac Weetra and Cale Morton

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