Footystats Diary, footy's best kept secret, 1993 Review
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1993 Review
October 1992 to September, 1993


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OCTOBER 1992

<||> 48 hours after the Grand Final bookies were offering WEST COAST at 5/2 for the 1993 flag – others GEELONG 4/1, Collingwood 5/1, Hawthorn 6/1, St Kilda 10/1, Footscray and Carlton 12/1, Adelaide 14/1, Essendon 16/1, Melbourne 50/1, North Melb and Fitzroy 100/1, Richmond 200/1, Brisbane 500/1 and Sydney 660/1 …

<||> after 13 seasons coaching in the SANFL, 40-year old NEIL BALME (Rch 1969-79 of 159 games) signed for three years with MELBOURNE …

<||> 42,242 rain-soaked fans at Football Park saw PORT ADELAIDE take its 31st SANFL flag with a 56pt thrashing of GLENELG – days later PORT officially notified the SANFL of its desire to become the second SA-based AFL club …

<||> coach TERRY WHEELER signed with the Dogs 'til the end of 1994 …

<||> the 1992 minor series drew 4,332,925 plus 481,346 for the seven finals, total 4,814,271 …

<||> AFL to canvas the League’s 38,000 members for suggestions on future ticketing arrangements …

<||> AFL aiming to sell 85.45 hectares of Wellington and Jackson Road frontage to Waverley Park …

<||> overlooked for the Demons job, PETER HUDSON kept his ST KILDA post as football manager but stepped down from the match committee …

<||> the deals begin — MATTHEW ROBRAN traded by HAWTHORN to the CROWS … VSFL Under 18 comp extended to 10 teams adding Bendigo, North Central, Latrobe Valley and splitting Ballarat and Geelong …

<||> the Federal Government pledged $8m toward the WA Commission’s upgrade of SUBIACO OVAL to seat 50,000, increasing prospects of a second Perth-based club …

<||> in trading, TIM ALLEN became a Hawk as CHRIS WITTMAN and DEAN ANDERSON moved across to ST KILDA …

<||> following 10-days of ardent media speculation anticipating the SYDNEY SWANS demise, the AFL at 7.33pm on October 21 (the Blues and Kangas abstaining with Brisbane and Sydney refraining) on an 11-nil vote redirected remaining licence fees of $1.95m back to the Swans providing working capital for the club for three years; plus three priority choices (1-3-5) in both the November and March drafts. BRISBANE gained similar draft concessions on positions 2-4-6 …

<||> three-time Hawthorn premiership fullback KELVIN MOORE (301 games 1970-84) was appointed ST KILDA Chairman of Selectors …salary cap upped (9.37%) $150,000 to $1.75m for 1993 …

<||> delistings start as NORTH announce signing of DEAN LAIDLEY (WCE) …

<||> the Saints lose the Phillip Morris group of companies as major sponsor …

<||> financially-struggling MELBOURNE effects senior player cuts …

<||> the AFL granted a $500,000 advance against dividends to cash-strapped FITZROY …

<||> AFL Players Association (AFLPA) and lawyers voice demands on the present draft system …

<||> former Hawk and Saint PETER RUSSO (195 games, 1978-90) joins MELBOURNE as assistant coach …

<||> as the Saints head to Waverley, MOORABBIN OVAL is offered as a major venue to the VFA …

<||> NEVILLE BRUNS retires after 223 games with GEELONG; weeks later Bruns was added to the Cats board of directors …

<||> ALEX JESAULENKO returns to footy as coach of VFA’s COBURG ...

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NOVEMBER 1992

<||>
Pre-draft deals continued in exchange for picks — ADELAIDE embraced GREG ANDERSON (Ess) and STUART WIGNEY (Syd); BRISBANE gained PAUL SPARGO (NM); DION SCOTT (Syd); CARLTON – TIM POWELL (Rch); FITZROY – LUKE BEVERIDGE (Mel); GEELONG – LIAM PICKERING , DARREN STEELE and LEIGH TUDOR (all NM); HAWTHORN – DARREN BAXTER (Fsc); MELBOURNE – ADRIAN CAMPBELL (Fsc), NORTH MELB – JOHN BLAKEY (Fit); SYDNEY – SCOTT WATTERS and TONY BEGOVICH (WCE); DEAN McCRAE (NM), MICHAEL WERNER, ED CONSIDINE, RICHARD AMBROSE (Ess), TONY MALAKELLIS (Gee), JAYSON DANIELS (StK) …

<||> the judgement generally was “equitable” when the AFLs 1993 draw was unveiled – a season reduced to 20 games over 22 minor rounds; a night final; no Fitzroy matches in Hobart; a one-week-long mid-season State of Origin series; 7-game opening round starting Friday March 26; 14-match FOSTER’s CUP pre-season from February 13 to March 20 …

<||> BRISBANE appoints SHANE JOHNSON its Football Manager …

<||> 15-AFL club General Managers vote unanimously, supporting the draft thus giving the League power of action to defend it; Magpies' President ALLAN McALISTER found the vote ‘extraordinary’ …

<||> the draft was held on November 11, following indications the AFL rules may be challenged in court. Though the wait was six months further down the track, there was an extraordinary consequence. 124 players were drafted by member clubs – 41 SANFL players (11 from Port Adelaide, seven from Norwood) 31 WAFL players including eight from Subiaco, but only five Tasmanians were called up, a record low for a November draft plus many promising Victorian teenagers were passed over. A highly-prized 19-year old Port Adelaide ruckman BRETT CHALMERS when a youngster with Woodville had been Richmond’s choice in 1989 at number 109 but their hold had lapsed and Chalmers widely proclaimed his desire to become only a Collingwood player, emphasising his intent with a draft-eve fax to several AFL clubs. When the draft commenced Chalmers was by-passed by the first NINE choices – West Coast (twice), Brisbane (twice), Essendon, Sydney, North, Richmond and Melbourne, resulting in Collingwood’s number 10 choice when Chalmers was picked by the Magpies … on November 27 following pressure, the AFL Commission began investigating draft infringements involving Collingwood, North and Brisbane and four SANFL players. It reopened the probe into Collingwood’s alleged attempt to lure Brisbane’s NATHAN BUCKLEY, the North choice ROBERT PYMAN and Carlton’s draft selection ANDREW McKAY …

<||> as balance sheets are completed the depressed economy of 1992 points to many clubs suffering losses – the Footscray result showed 91% of the Bulldogs $254,000 profit came from poker machines …

<||> HAWTHORN launched a national advertising campaign for a sponsor after HOUSE-HOLD FINANCE ended its 12-year contract …

<||> BRAD HARDIE (150 games Fsc-Br-Col 1985-92) is appointed skills coach at COLLINGWOOD after being overlooked in the draft …

<||> ace GEELONG forward BILLY BROWNLESS signed a two-year contract with the Cats …

<||> former Demon GREG WELLS is named Chairman of Selectors at Melbourne ...

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DECEMBER 1992

<||>
The NSW Rugby League announced the 1995 entry of the BRISBANE CRUSHERS, NORTH QUEENSLAND (Towns-ville) COWBOYS and PERTH PUMAS who, together with AUCKLAND would comprise their 20-team competition …

<||> NORTH MELBOURNE admit cash-flow problems in a failure to finalise payments to 12 senior players …

<||> FOOTSCRAY captain 32-year old DOUG HAWKINS (288 games) signs one-year contract …

<||> ESSENDON sponsor NUBRICK reassessing its level of support …

<||> GEELONG in a turn-around of its $67,676 loss in 1991 revealed a 1992 operating surplus of $319,638 …

<||> FITZROY gained a temporary solution to its money troubles when AFL Directors guaranteed a loan of $400,000 closely following the $500,000 advanced in October …

<||> MELBOURNE announced major sponsorship by PIONEER HOMES for $300,000 …

<||> the much-admired broadcaster BILL JACOBS at 74 announced his retirement from radio commitments with 3AW – a commentator of 35 seasons, Jacobs colour-filled, accurate style gave fans descriptive accounts of games unmatched by his contemporaries …

<||> HAWTHORN from a profit of $5740 declared a $430,925 loss for 1992 inflated by a one-off payment of $408,895 on the John Elliott Stand at Princes Park – CARLTON recorded a profit of $31,175 after a $233,928 payout on the same facility, the Blues reversing the $399,137 loss of 1991 … even better news for CARLTON as CUB and the Blues stitched-up another sponsorship deal worth $2m over the next five years …

<||> JACK (“Captain Blood”) DYER is inducted to the AUSTRALIAN SPORTS HALL OF FAME. Now 79, Dyer played 312 games with Richmond between 1931 and 1949 …

<||> Essendon announced a $111,545 profit …

<||> the MCGs 12-week long $1.8m resurfacing and new $7.5 score-board went on show; replacement of 20,000 cubic metres of soil, new irrigation and 7.5 kilometres of drainage, 100mm gravel blanket topped with grass sitting on 300mm of sand. The new score-board installed and paid for by BOYER SPORTS MEDIA is 43% larger at 17.28m wide by 6.4m and 400% brighter with 270,000 pixels compared to 38,000 of the old one …

<||> scrutiny of CARLTON’s accounts revealed the Blues had written off more than $134,000 relating to the “purchase of shares” – suggesting Carlton were indeed serious in building a merger with NORTH, holding 20% of the listed Kangas club shares …

<||> DAVID SHAW a member of Essendon’s 1962 and 1965 premier teams succeeded RON EVANS as Bomber president …

<||> TONY HANNEBURY former administrator of WILLIAMSTOWN is elected president of the VFA …

<||> ADELAIDE boosted profit by $70,000 to $866,000 after making the first of seven annual payments to the AFL – by prior agreement, 80% of the Crows annual profit ($627,000) goes to the nine SANFL clubs …

<||> COLLINGWOOD interested in securing the condemned Victoria Park primary school as an administration block and child-minding centre opposite their ground – the Magpies who profited $170,871, awarded life-membership to President ALLAN McALISTER and 10-year player SHANE MORWOOD …

<||> the SANFL Magpies dumped BRUCE WEBER their President since 1986 – Weber was a key slogger in PORT ADELAIDE’s plucked 1990 bid to join the AFL …

<||> FITZROY passed a December 1 deadline with 40 players unpaid …

<||> December 17 was a day of triple-impact on the 109-year old history of the FITZROY FOOTBALL CLUB – former player, CEO and President KEITH WEIGARD passed away losing his battle with cancer; the WESTPAC Bank dumped KEITH CONROY its m.d. of 14 months and AFL Directors at a 5-hour meeting voted 12-3 against providing Westpac with direct guarantees on a $1.5m loan to the debt-riddled club; in recent weeks the League had granted Fitzroy monies and redirected the Lions 1993 dividend of $1.1m; AFL Chairman ROSS OAKLEY in summary said “Westpac requested that all of those funds be subject to a guarantee. We felt that was not a precedent that was acceptable to the AFL” … the concluding words on RON CARTER’s comment in The Age were succinct – “Other clubs should take particular notice of what happened – It might have been a clear message that from now on, it is every club for itself” …

<||> the following day KEVIN RYAN the Lions CEO confirmed debts were nearer $2m (rumors said $2.8m) …

<||> former MELBOURNE president STUART SPENCER after a fiery election was voted back on the Demons’ board which announced a deficit of $463,188 …

<||> ST KILDA finished with a modest $9713 profit opposed to their $177,442 last year …

<||> NUBRICK continues major sponsorship of Essendon …

<||> RON JOSEPH long-serving Kanga secretary set for a permanent AFL-funded position as supremo of NSW footy …

<||> COLLINGWOOD suggests a merger to FITZROY as Magpie megaphone ALLAN McALISTER believing that “Fitzroy is well and truly finished” said in an Age quote 21/12 – “I would be much more delighted about them surviving than I would be about the Swans surviving” …

<||> FOOTSCRAY chairman of selectors RICK KENNEDY resigns …

<||> ST KILDA contract DAVID GRANT thru 1995 with CRAIG DEVONPORT also inked …

<||> HAWTHORN confirm 3-year sponsorship deal under OZ-CHILD banner believed worth $300,000 a season …

<||> DANNY FRAWLEY named ST KILDA captain for a record seventh season …

<||> GARY CLAYTON (Waverley ground manager since 1982) the AFLs long-serving employee of 31 years and five other staffers lose their jobs as purse-string are tightened …

<||> TIM WATSON steps down from Channel Seven commentary ranks …

<||> Santa delivered early as Fitzroy on the 23rd announced they had secured AFL cover for the $1.5m with WESTPAC, thus relieving the League of monumental 1993 draw problems had the Lions gone-under; survival for another foundation member – for how long was the big question as the League dried out of 1992 and Melbourne’s rainiest year for 36 seasons …

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JANUARY 1993

<||> RICHARD OSBORNE (187 games 411 goals) quits FITZROY and heads for the March draft …

<||> the training tempo hots up as the serious business starts …

<||> frantic press focus on the Magpies PETER DAICOS (now 31) results in the 245-gamer stripping and training at Vic Park …

<||> former Essendon veteran SIMON MADDEN is named a Victorian selector …

<||> next draft rescheduled to Monday March 15 …

<||> superannuation (and who pays) still a major topic for MELBOURNE players and Demon administrators …

<||> reluctant Collingwood wingman GRAEME WRIGHT signs new 4-year contract …

<||> in a revamp, SYDNEY dump physio of 11-seasons DOUG COLEMAN plus medicos GEORGE PEPONIS and PHIL LOXLEY …

<||> ADELAIDE CROWS centre-forward JOHN KLUG quits AFL footy at 27 after 12 knee operations in five years …

<||> AFLPA significantly with 134 reps from all 15 clubs gathered for talks on unresolved issues of welfare and security terms for new standard players contract …

<||> discontent by many senior FITZROY and NORTH players as “cash-flow” problems halt full payment on 1992 salaries …

<||> RICHMOND president NEVILLE CROWE returned for a further three years as the Tigers announce a $26,332 loss – WA personality MAL BROWN returns to Punt Road to “sell the Tigers” to the fans …

<||> a rowdy FITZROY meeting hears liquidation or merging face the Lions as reported losses mount to $958,546 …

<||> in a test of strength and legal threats, the AFLPA calls a secret ballot – the AFLPA did win medico benefits and illness payments, super fund, 6-weeks leave, a reduced season, deletions of the options clause and a minimum wage from 1994 but crucial demands were rejected; denouncing the League rebuff AFLPA chief exec PETER ALLEN – “they’ve given all they’re going to give and we can get stuffed” …

<||> an unusual deal sees the popular COODABEENS move to Saturday morning footy with 3AW while still being heard nationally on ABC Radio every Sunday night …

<||> BRENDAN McCORMACK severs his links with FITZROY and will nominate for the March draft …

<||> the League terminates the standard player contract to wash its hands of the disputation, potentially damaging AFLPA aims which threatens industrial action …

<||> in trials, at Sunshine a near full-strength FOOTSCRAY 24.11-155 whipped a young and under-manned ESSENDON 11.16-82 ...

<||> after 80mm of rain on the coolest Darwin day for years, MELBOURNE 8.6-54 downed the NORTHERN TERRITORY F.L. 4.7-31 in soggy conditions …

<||> FITZROY captain PAUL ROOS breaks a finger at training …

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FEBRUARY 1993

<||>
AFLPA secret-ballot is off, then on again as the THC suggests players join the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) of which journalists are a part …

<||> AFL with concerns on surface conditions cancels four Waverley practice matches …

<||> AFL November draft investigation re-surfaces …

<||> JOHN PECK who played 213 games with HAWTHORN kicking 475 goals 1954-66, died at Euroa aged 55; Peck was the Hawks leading goalkicker on eight occasions and was the last player to lead the VFL list for three successive seasons with totals of 75-68-56 in 1963-64-65 …

<||> GRANT THOMAS (StK-NM-Fit 1978-83) 83 games 22 goals, named NORTH MELBOURNE match committee chairman …

<||> GEELONG asks for a move of R2 COLLINGWOOD game from Vic Part to MCG …

<||> VFA sound legal warning that players will face prosecution for salary cap breaches …

<||> LEIGH MATTHEWS confirms BRAD HARDIE has severed his Magpie links by returning to South Fremantle …

<||> AFL Commissioners delivered wide-ranging proposals expected to be rubber-stamped on March 7 …

<||> week-end trials, in bushfire clouded skies and 36 degrees in Hobart, CARLTON 17.15-117 led all day to down ESSENDON 15.11-101 … MELBOURNE 15.16-106 edged out FOOTSCRAY at Sunshine – ROD GRINTER (Mel) was reported for his 11th time (but later cleared) … FITZROY 15.14-104 narrowly beat RICHMOND 15.9-99 at Bulleen … the Kalgoorlie practice match was accorded live tv throughout WA – ADELAIDE with a last-minute goal 8.6-54 defeated WEST COAST 6.13-49 – GREG ANDERSON (Ade) suffered a broken thumb …

<||> TIM WATSON accepts a skills coaching role with ST KILDA but scoffs at rumors he will play …

<||> AFL revises dividend figures cutting likely payments to $1.5m or $100,000 less for each club as the depressed economy and diminishing sponsor market bites …

<||> BRENDAN McCORMACK fined $5000 by FITZROY for missing November and December training, takes his legal action to the AFL Appeals Board …

<||> BRUCE DOULL, 359-game veteran (1968-86) with CARLTON joins old mate ROBERT WALLS as specialist coach and advisor when BRISBANE play MELBOURNE matches …

<||> AFLPA heads for the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) seeking Federal Award as AFLPA threats to disrupt Foster’s Cup matches, draws a Commission reminder to all 15 clubs of existing rules calling for fines of $500 per minute for late on-the-ground appearances …

<||> 22,253 at Football Park saw COLLINGWOOD 13.12-90 hang on to down PORT ADELAIDE 13.9-87 …

<||> SYDNEY select ruck-rover PAUL KELLY at 23 as new Swans captain replacing DENNIS CARROLL after seven seasons …

<||> Cats superboot GARY ABLETT dickering on contract renewal over Adidas boots at GEELONG, one of four clubs (the others Ade-Car-Ess) contracted to the sports marketer – Cats are said to receive $100,000 per season with bonuses; other manufacturers having contracts are – DIADORA (Br-Fsc-Rch) and PUMA (Col-Haw-StK-WCE) — later in the month BLADES gained a break-through signing SYDNEY …

<||> GEELONG sell sponsor-logo rights for shorts to FORD MOTOR COMPANY …

<||> Rugby League player ANDREW ETTINGHAUSEN awarded damages in Sydney for 1991 publication of a nude photograph of him taken in the showers. The Age editorial (12-02) summed up – “He is the owner of a $350,000 penis” – WARWICK CAPPER was available for just $4.95 in Woman’s Forum …

<||> Collingwood Council launched another court challenge over sale of Vic Park land to the Magpies …

<||> Foster’s Cup – at Lavington (to 6000) a disciplined RICHMOND 22.15-147 (Jackson 7, Hogg 5) towelled a still-struggling SYDNEY 10.7-67 (Werner 3) – for the Tigers, the name PITURA re-emerged, this time MARK, son of … at Waverley (20,919) FOOTSCRAY 10.14-74 pipped CARLTON 9.18-72 … at the Park (6423) on Sunday FITZROY 15.9-99 gathered pride over GEELONG 13.9-87 … in trials, at Football Park (22,640) ADELAIDE 14.10-94 (Hodges 8) downed ST KILDA (without Lockett) 12.5-77 … HAWTHORN 22.8-140 (Dunstall 10) outlasted NORTH 20.9-129 (Longmire 6) – ANTHONY ROCK (NM) got one match for striking …

<||> the Bulldogs abolished their CEO position, ditching GRAEME PEARCE …

<||> in the “we’ve had better weeks department”, the AFL were blasted from all quarters over the condition of WAVERLEY PARK for the opening matches of the FOSTER’s CUP – two major injuries suffered by CARLTON players resulting in coach DAVID PARKIN commenting “somebody like Luke O’Sullivan ought to turn around and sue them” – Age 15-02 – two Blues O’SULLIVAN and ANDREW PHILLIPS suffered serious knee injuries …

<||> deafening silence reigned after ST KILDA dealt with TONY LOCKETT behind closed doors following his failure to make the Saturday flight to Adelaide …

<||> AFL moves Foster’s Cup matches away from Waverley – on Wednesday with VCA approval (and $10,000) at Princes Park MELBOURNE 9.11-65 tumbled COLLINGWOOD 8.13-61 to a 15,000 crowd; 3AW were denied broadcast rights for the 5.15pm start … Demon hot-head forward ALLEN JAKOVICH under new ruling booked for “misconduct in that he allegedly instigated and wrestled MICHAEL GAYFER (Col) to the ground” – JAKOVICH was outed one game …

<||> AFLPA delivers its Log of Claims to all clubs signed in total by 364 players …

<||> AFL Annual Meeting (16-02) reported a revenue increase from $34.05m in 1991 to $42.67 last year yet sustained a $2.35m operating loss, the majority caused by the $1.95m redirected back to the SYDNEY SWANS …

<||> MURRAY BROWNE (Col-Fit, 82 games 1981-86) appointed skills coach at COLLINGWOOD …

<||> TONY LOCKETT lacking match fitness left out of side in Foster’s game moved to SUBIACO (16,318) where on Saturday EAGLES 16.15-111 beat SAINTS 10.11-71 … in trials, ESSENDON 22.10-142 demolished HAWTHORN 9.11-65 – the Hawks DERMOTT BRERETON came thru an outing in the Reserves … an improving RICHMOND 15.15-105 downed FOOTSCRAY 14.9-93 at Sunshine – former Demon now Bulldog RICKY JACKSON suffered a broken leg …

<||> injury (13 operations) end career of GEELONG ruck-giant DAMIEN BOURKE at 28 after 102 games over 10 seasons …

<||> KEN GANNON named Chairman of task-force reporting on future format of Victorian domestic footy …

<||> AFLPA Log of Claims lodged with IRC as solidarity wavers with HAWTHORN and GEELONG players withdrawing support, and COLLINGWOOD and CARLTON in question …

<||> highly-regarded Port Adelaide player NATHAN BUCKLEY trains in Brisbane – he later signs a one-season deal with the Bears …

<||> two more Cup matches switched from Waverley, this time to KARDINIA PARK …

<||> relentless focus on AFL Waverley ground-surface-bungle, results in forced retirement of well-respected League GM of football operations BARRY CAPUANO – he later said, “he had expected to finish his working days with the League “ …

<||> SYDNEY players follow GEELONG to negotiate direct with their club over pay and conditions as IRC warns AFL clubs not to intimidate players into pulling out of their industrial dispute …

<||> ESSENDON secure lease of RIVERSIDE GOLF & TENNIS COMPLEX in Ascot Vale …

<||> Bombers shorts logo inked by DONS SMALLGOODS …

<||> in a transferred Foster’s at Football Park (24,234) ADELAIDE 27.21-183 crushed a woeful NORTH 5.6-36 …

<||> the Waverley Park fiasco claimed another victim as 15-year League employee CHRIS PITTMAN is sacked …

<||> DERMOTT BRERETON breaks down at training …

<||> at Kardinia Park (4312) on Saturday, ESSENDON’s new-breed of baby Bombers 16.17-113 shook-off a persistent BRISBANE 11.19-85 advancing in the Foster’s Cup, while on Sunday again at Geelong (6000) FITZROY 13.17-95 outlasted FOOTSCRAY 13.12-90 … HAWTHORN youngster PHILLIP MURTON breaks a leg at training … GARY ABLETT now 31, sealed a 3-year performance-based deal with GEELONG … in trials, at Skinner RICHMOND 22.10-142 downed ST KILDA 15.8-98 ...

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MARCH 1993

<||> After five months of investigation into the AFL Commission, DAVID CRAWFORD of KPMG handed down his 30-page document designed to take football into the 21st Century – it recommended, abolition of the present Board of 15 Club Directors thus stripping clubs of any decision-making powers, expansion of the Commission to eight with ROSS OAKLEY as Chief Executive and ALAN SCHWAB as executive commissioner – Crawford was retained by the clubs to interview and compile a list of potential commissioners including a part-time Chairman … The Age editorial (03-03) – “It’s a whole new ball game, and one by those still gripped by memories of the days when football was a suburban passion may not like” …

<||> IRC in landmark decision finds a dispute exists between AFLPA and clubs, opening the way for a Federal Industrial Award …

<||> 24 days before the season WAYNE SCHIMMELBUSCH resigned as coach of NORTH …

<||> Foster’s Cup matches returned to Waverley (16,288) as RICHMOND 17.11-113 crushed HAWTHORN 11.7-73 – the Tigers breaking an 8-year hoodoo …

<||> in documents lodged with AFL, disgruntled Sydney rover BARRY MITCHELL in the draft is asking $1,025,000 for five years – $225,000 for 1993 (with $150,000 up-front) then $200,000 for the next four seasons …

<||> the incredibly successful minor grade coach DENIS PAGAN is appointed senior coach at NORTH for two years …

<||> in trials, FOOTSCRAY 14.20-104 beat BRISBANE 12.15-87 at Skinner; GEELONG 17.21-123 downed NORTH 15.7-97 at Tatura; CARLTON 15.14-104 clipped SYDNEY 11.18-84 (Minton-Connell 6) in a willing fight at Sebastapol, while 13,388 at York Park Launceston saw COLLINGWOOD 15.11-101 just survive from ST KILDA 13.21-99 … in weekend Foster’s Cup games at Waverley, on Saturday (7276) WEST COAST 11.9-75 were too good for MELBOURNE 5.9-39; on Sunday 6867 watched ESSENDON 16.11-107 (Salmon 8) click against ADELAIDE 13.10-88 …

<||> in advance of the draft, all clubs prune player lists …

<||> Club Directors adopt CRAWFORD REPORT with only one alteration, requirement approval by clubs to admit, expel, relocate or merge is now a 66% majority, down from a recommended 75% …

<||> talks continue between League and Players Association …

<||> on Wednesday night at the Park, 18,683 watched RICHMOND 15.8-98 win a heart-stopper over FITZROY 14.8-92 for the Tigers to advance into the Foster’s grand final …

<||> WAYNE CAREY at 21 wins captaincy at NORTH …

<||> League denies SYDNEY SWANS right to transfer mid-June R11 match from SCG to Perth – the WA Football Commission had offered the cash-strapped Swans $125,000 to play at the WACA …

<||> Bulldogs $2700, Blues $9743 and Demons $13,470 are fined for 1992 salary cap breaches …

<||> the recently deposed BARRY CAPUANO tipped to head WA consortium bids for second Perth-based AFL club …

<||> as the Labor Party gained a fifth term of Federal government, at Waverley, on Saturday night in Foster’s Cup 13,193 saw ESSENDON 12.9-81 record a slashing win over WEST COAST 9.7-61 – but, in-form Bomber PAUL SALMON suffered a shoulder injury …

<||> in trials, GEELONG 24.21-165 whopped a depleted ST KILDA 9.12-66 at Boronia; BRISBANE 13.19-97 gained a desperate success over HAWTHORN 13.14-92 at Skinner; COLLINGWOOD 23.16-154 eclipsed SYDNEY 11.15-81 at Traralgon; NORTH 22.17-149 (Longmire 8) surprised FOOTSCRAY 18.16-124 at Golden Square, while in Burnie a fresh-and-speedy MELBOURNE 18.15-123 clipped CARLTON 17.17-119 …

<||> the major surprise of the 81-player Monday draft was the naming of TIM WATSON for a Windy Hill return after a one-season retirement – SYDNEY as expected gathered RICHARD OSBORNE with their first pick – other new Swans PAUL BRYCE (NM) and JOHN HUTTON (Bri); Collingwood got their million-dollar recruit BARRY MITCHELL, while BRENDAN McCORMACK was chosen by Brisbane – BEN DOOLAN ended up at Essendon, while PORT ADELAIDE who contributed 11 players in November were raided again giving up another six youngsters …

<||> BASS advance sales for the Friday night Magpies-Bulldogs clash tipped to draw 70,000 …

<||> with a modest eight pokies, the SYDNEY SWANS named the nearby-SCG MOORE PARK BOWLING club as their new social base …

<||> Sydney brewer TOOHEY’s aim for major sponsorship with ST KILDA …

<||> from a family-dynasty stretching back to 1892, former Collingwood rover ALBY PANNAM died aged 78; Pannam played 183 matches, kicking 461 goals from 1933 until 1945 and was a celebrated member of the Magpies 1935 and 1936 premiership sides, later coaching Richmond 1953 to 1955 …

<||> in the final pre-season trials – on Friday afternoon at Western Oval, FOOTSCRAY 17.18-120 thumped an injury-troubled ST KILDA 8.16-64; on Saturday at Arden Street to 5000 fans NORTH 16.14-110 (Carey 6) impressed against COLLINGWOOD 11.17-83; at Boronia, a more-positive HAWTHORN 17.16-118 cracked it over FITZROY 12.9-81; at Princes Park the stars were firing as GEELONG 19.11-125 downed CARLTON 16.15-111; while at Morningside, BRISBANE 26.18-174 thrashed SYDNEY 14.16-100 … after a 35-year stint in Herald Sun columns LOU (Kiss of Death) RICHARDS is replaced by REX (Yibbidy Yibbidy) HUNT …

<||> a record Foster’s Cup crowd of 75,533 turned out to give their overwhelming support of the series concept at Waverley Park on Saturday night as ESSENDON 14.18-102 beat a far-from-disgraced RICHMOND 11.13-79 in the Grand Final, setting both sets of fans on the hopes to higher glory for the 1993 season — the winning Bombers gathered $104,500, Richmond a cool $74,500 for their efforts – GAVIN WANGANEEN (Ess) was named winner of the MICHAEL TUCK MEDAL …

<||> Tribunal – Richmond forward SCOTT TURNER was cleared of striking but STEVAN JACKSON (Rch) was outed one week and PETER SOMERVILLE (Ess) got two matches on Foster’s video-charges …

<||> TONY SHAW retains Magpie captaincy for his seventh season …

<||> after 16 years in mothballs the Hawks #5 guernsey made famous by PETER CRIMMINS (1966-75) is awarded to gutsy back-pocket ANDY COLLINS …

<||> Richmond g.m. CAMERON SCHWAB slams the Magpies (Herald-Sun 23-03) stating – “Collingwood .. has no feeling whatsoever for what’s good for the game .. its actions in the past 6-12 months more than vindicate that” …

<||> IRC asks AFLPA to prove players have been “leaned on” to drop their pay claims …

<||> after 41 years of ace journalism with The Argus and The Age, recently-retired RON CARTER is awarded an AFL Gold Pass …

<||> ST KILDA squeezed thru a League loophole to sign sponsorship with Sydney brewer TOOHEY’s for $2m over six years; current AFL deal with CUB precludes ground signage and restricts the Saints to guernsey and shorts logo ...

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Let the games begin
Football Siberia
An unhappy clash of sport occurred on the last weekend of March at the AFL's opening. If you lived out of earshot or vision of the Melbourne media you were in a Footy Siberia as The Davis Cup, Australian Motor-cycling Grand Prix, Sheffield Shield and NZ cricket commentaries competed, with Australian Football running unplaced, well back in the field.

ROUND ONE – March 26-27-28 — Friday night drew 58,997 to the MCG where COLLINGWOOD 17.13-115 posted a convincing 20pt win over FOOTSCRAY 13.17-95 – the Magpies star recruit BARRY MITCHELL had 15 kicks, worth on average $666 each … on Saturday at the G in a high-scoring match NORTH 24.22-166 found respectability kicking the sweep against BRISBANE 22.11-143 – John Longmire (NM) got 8.5, Bears captain Roger Merrett six goals … MELBOURNE 11.4-70 lost Garry Lyon and Allen Jakovich to injury within 47-seconds of each other at Waverley where Hawthorn 13.15-93 with numbers were too persistent … widely tipped flag contenders CARLTON 17.10-112 at Princes Park fell victim to a highly-motivated FITZROY 17.16-118 … at Kardinia Park, GEELONG 20.16-136 (without Ablett) downed ST KILDA 16.16-112 (without Lockett) where it was hard to find the clear-cut winner … on Sunday in hot Subiaco conditions ESSENDON 17.8-110 tackled, harassed and chased all day almost pulling it off over WEST COAST 17.21-123, showing the Bomber’s Foster’s Cup was no fluke – Sumich (WCE) with 7.8 and Bewick (Ess) 8.2 were match highlights … ADELAIDE 28.10-178 took top ladder place for the first time with a 94pt MCG thrashing of RICHMOND 12.12-84 who fell away badly – TONY MODRA (Ade) as a stand-in full-forward kicked 10.3 …

<||> a VSFL snapped achilles tendon injury spelt a sad finish for the Hawks 31-year old CHRIS MEW after 230 games 1980-92 which included 8 grand finals and five premierships …

<||> as the Victorian Government rejects a Fitzroy application for an increased share of pokie revenue, president DYSON HORE-LACY confirms Fitzroy approached BRISBANE for merger talks but were rejected as the Bears wanted their own identity – AFL Chairman Oakley said a decision will soon be made if the Lions are to make it into 1994 …

<||> Tribunal – DARREN WHEILDON (Fit) guilty of striking Jon Dorotich (Car) two weeks … MICHAEL LONG (Ess) guilty of striking, two matches … GEOFF MILES (Col-WCE-Ess) 122 games 1982-92 retires at 31 …

<||> knee injury forces retirement of fiery 27-year old ruckman STEVE DWYER after 89 games (1984-92) with MELBOURNE and RICHMOND …

<||> coach LEIGH MATTHEWS (Col) joins KEVIN SHEEDY (Ess) and MICHAEL MALTHOUSE (WCE) in push for extended interchange – Commission confirms days later, “it’s in the pipeline for 1994” ...

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Another foreign legion
ROUND TWO – April 2-3-4 – Wooden-spooners Sydney named 10 new faces in a major overhaul for their opener, all but one from other clubs – BRYCE (Mel), CONSIDINE (Ess), HUTTON (Bri), DANIELS (StK), McCRAE (NM), OSBORNE (Fit), WERNER (Ess), WATTERS (WCE), MALAKELLIS (Gee) and NATHAN IRVIN from Mangoplah … on Friday night at the MCG, RICHMOND 18.18-126 (Hogg 7) bounced back to thrash BRISBANE 11.14-80 … at Waverley on Saturday GORDON FODE after 27 scoreless games kicked 4.3, his last goal seconds before the final siren for ST KILDA 19.18-132 to steal the result from NORTH 19.11-125 … 49,856 at the MCG saw ESSENDON 20.12-132 and CARLTON 19.18-132 fight out a fitting draw – GREG WILLIAMS (Car) gathered 38 possessions, Blues captain STEPHEN KERNAHAN from a 50-metre set-shot in front after the siren kicked out-of-bounds … at Princes Park the Bulldogs survived a third term fightback after a terrible Demon first-half – TONY LIBERATORE (Fsc) with 33 touches kicked the winning goal on the siren, FOOTSCRAY 15.13-103 to MELBOURNE 13.17-95 … crying for a bigger venue, only 24,147 were at Vic Park to see two brilliant players in action, PETER DAICOS (Col) with 8.1 and GARY ABLETT (Gee) with 7.2 – the Cats were on top early but the Magpies chipped away and it was a surprise the visitors were so close at the end, COLLINGWOOD 17.11-113 to GEELONG 15.13-102 … at the SCG on Sunday, a vastly-improved Swans were in front at half time, level at the last change, but were devastated by a 10.4 finish as HAWTHORN coasted home 22.17-149 to 12.20-92 … under lights on Sunday at Football Park 46,260 saw ADELAIDE 15.11-101 (Modra 6) turn in a super-charged performance to down WEST COAST 12.14-86 as the Crows telegraphed the much-feared possibility of a non-Victorian Grand Final …

<||> With debts of $250,000 VFA club DANDENONG plan liquidation …

<||> the humble BIG AL states Collingwood will NOT move any scheduled Vic Park ‘home’ games in 1993 …

<||> first stage of Queensland Government sponsored $44m upgrade of BRISBANE CRICKET GROUND opened by Premier WAYNE GOSS; improvements boast new lighting, new 15,000-seat grandstand and oval in size with the MCG …

<||> in the Tasmanian midlands, WOODSDALE 70-27-447 humbled MOUNT PLEASANT 0.2-2 in the opening round …

<||> Tribunal – GARY ABLETT (Gee) pleaded guilty to striking GARY PERT (Col) receiving a two-match suspension; it was Ablett’s second ‘confession’ mirroring his 1989 plea - it was also his 8th appearance and his file now records suspensions of 13 matches … DEAN WALLIS (Ess) cleared of trip charge on CRAIG BRADLEY (Car) ...

<||> decision on entry of Fremantle-based side for 1994 rests on the future prospects of Fitzroy … 

<||> groin injury to keep KARL LANGDON (WCE) sidelined for 10 weeks …

<||> Scray coach TERRY WHEELER fined $1000 for post-match criticism of umps after the Magpies round one win …

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231,561 for Easter round
ROUND THREE – April 10-11-12 – Several close contests of the split Easter round were played to great crowds in fine conditions – Saturday at Waverley heralded the return of TONY LOCKETT (8.1) who kicked ST KILDA 20.12-132 to a solid 38pt win over SYDNEY 13.16-94 … at Princes Park, FOOTSCRAY 14.17-101 got home by a whisker from FITZROY 14.14-98 … Sunday marked the Bears ‘home-coming’ to the BRISBANE CRICKET GROUND after six years of Gold Coast isolation where they were largely ignored. The Demons with a 10-goal third term turn-around almost stole the show but BRISBANE 17.13-115 (Merrett 6) fought back to down MELBOURNE 17.11-113 … at Subiaco, level at half-time, Sumich (WCE) with four-straight in the third helped the Eagles to skip away from the Tigers, WEST COAST 15.19-109 to RICHMOND 9.11-65 … on Monday 87,638 at the MCG (the 1982 record is 90,564) saw the pacy Magpies take early control to hold out the plucky Bombers, COLLINGWOOD 21.13-139 to ESSENDON 16.13-109 … a 29-minute last term goal by a redeemed Blues captain STEPHEN KERNAHAN gave CARLTON 16.16-112 a spine-tingling two-point victory over HAWTHORN 16.14-110 to a lock-out 33,075 at Princes Park … at Kardinia Park 23,378 watched a revived NORTH 15.18-108 runover a lethargic GEELONG 13.6-84 … ADELAIDE and COLLINGWOOD only two unbeaten … knee injury to sideline PETER DAICOS (Col) …

<||> Footy passion bursts 1981 crowd figures with 231,561 attending … LOCKETT (StK) cited on video charge …

<||> a busy Tribunal – STEVE KRETIUK (Fsc) three weeks on striking Michael Gale (Fit); CRAIG BRADLEY (Car) cleared of striking; ANTHONY CONDON (Haw) cleared of charging; TONY LOCKETT (StK) pleaded guilty at his seventh appearance to gather two weeks (career total 13 weeks) for striking TONY MALAKELLIS (Syd) who was cleared of wrestling charges; BARRY YOUNG (Rch) four weeks for striking Chris Lewis (WCE) who had surgery on a cheekbone; MATTHEW FEBEY (Mel) two weeks for striking Danny Noonan (Bri) ...

Commissioners named
On April 14 six new part-time AFL Commissioners were named with former Hawthorn and North coach JOHN KENNEDY as Chairman alongside TERRY O’CONNOR president of West Coast, COLIN CARTER Geelong’s AFL Director, RON EVANS the former Essendon player and president, GRAEME SAMUEL an original Commissioner from 1985-92 returns and JOHN WINNEKE, QC, a former Hawthorn ruckman. On resigning club commitments they will join the two full-time commissioners ROSS OAKLEY and executive ALAN SCHWAB; overlooked for placement were previous commissioners ALBERT MARTELLO and MICHAEL CARLILE …

<||> after 10 of their 12 clubs ended 1992 in the red, the 117th VFA season commenced amid fears the credibility of the Association had been undermined – days before, DANDENONG burdened by debt (revealed as $400,081.56) went into voluntary liquidation, but Sheply Oval continued its representation as the DANDENONG REDLEGS LTD emerged …

<||> MELBOURNE devastated by injury lost another forward DARREN BENNETT with a broken arm …

<||> FITZROY coach ROBERT SHAW and manager GLENN WARRY fined $3500 in total for comments on WHEILDON for suspension in round one ...

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Saints win at Victoria Park
ROUND FOUR – April 16-17-18 – … like old times, just six games as Carlton, Footscray and Richmond had the bye … the League got its 232nd one-pointer when 45,673 packed Football Park on Friday night seeing ADELAIDE 15.13-103 (Modra 6.2) and FITZROY 15.12-102 pass under the microscope – a poster from ruck DAVID PITTMAN (Ade) deep into time-on provided the result … on Saturday a jaded COLLINGWOOD 15.14-104 succumbed to ST KILDA 18.18-126 (a terrific 3rd term of 7.7) to win at Victoria Park for the first time since 1976, to record the Saints SEVENTH win at Abbotsford in 97 years … despite easing back after half-time NORTH 19.14-128 (Carey 7.2) continued to impress as it steam-rolled MELBOURNE 14.15-99 at the MCG – suspected broken ribs to ruckman JIM STYNES (Mel) seems sure to end 137 successive games … GEELONG 18.17-125 (Brownless 7.4) though missing ABLETT, BAIRSTOW and HINKLEY outran, out-manned and out-gunned HAWTHORN 11.13-79 at Waverley … on Sunday, a barn-storming ESSENDON 28.13-181 kicked its best for 29 years against a virus-ravaged SYDNEY 14.11-95 at the SCG … WEST COAST 14.14-98 galloped away from BRISBANE 6.10-46 at Subi … round 4 focus – The Crows without defeat stay on top; two days less recovery, possibly the difference between the Magpies and the Saints; of the dozen 50-metre penalties handed out in the round, six went to the Bombers at the SCG …

<||> Tribunal busy again – DANNY FRAWLEY (StK) cleared of elbowing; DENNIS CARROLL (Syd) cleared of attempting to strike; on video-charges – Essendon utility MICHAEL LONG created a new record when he was outed three weeks for striking Andrew Dunkley (Syd). It was a career fourth time in his 86 matches and LONG had been suspended for the THIRD SUCCESSIVE time in three days games — RICHARD OSBORNE (Syd) got three weeks for striking Gavin Wanganeen (Ess) and ROSS LYON (Fit) gathered two weeks for striking MARK BICKLEY (Ade) …

<||> on-field racist comments particularly toward Aboriginal players came under the spotlight and were fuelled by comments from Collingwood prez ALLAN McALISTER quoted as saying on GTV-9 of Aborigines: “As long as they conduct themselves like white people, well, off the field, everyone will admire and respect them”; days later the AFL announced a players code of conduct and a public education program to eradicate racism ...

Sydney axe Buckenara
The end came quickly and not entirely unexpectedly for GARY BUCKENARA as the Sydney coach was sacked, two days after the club’s 18th consecutive defeat, the longest League failure run since Melbourne lost 20 in 1981-82 …

<||> the endless days which followed displayed an extraordinarily public appointment of RON BARASSI, backed by the pronouncement of AFL CEO ROSS OAKLEY …

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Fairytale debut for Adrian McAdam
ROUND FIVE – April 23-24-25 – … 35,113 at the MCG on Friday saw the fairytale debut of North’s ADRIAN McADAM a gifted Black from Alice Springs who kicked seven goals in the NORTH 25.9-159 belting of RICHMOND 17.20-122 … as expected FITZROY 24.23-167 slaughtered SYDNEY 11.8-74 at Princes Park; the Swans 1sts and Reserves combined defeats were by 209 points … at Western Oval, FOOTSCRAY 20.7-127 exposed skill errors in ESSENDON 11.15-81 – Bulldog Brownlow TONY LIBERATORE was reported for the first-time in any grade … on the Anzac Day Sunday at the MCG the Demons gave
coach NEIL BALME his first AFL success as they shut-down the undefeated Crows mid-field – MELBOURNE 10.17-77, ADELAIDE 9.14-68 – talented Brownlow ruckman JIM STYNES (Mel) amazingly turned out for his 138th successive – suspected rib damage was ‘only’ still-painful four ruptured cartilages … 52,211 were at Waverley to see GREG WILLIAMS (Car) pick up 45 possessions and still be dragged; CARLTON 17.21-123 were too good for a depleted ST KILDA 11.12-78 without LOCKETT (suspended) HARVEY (inj) and WINMAR who was sidelined with an unsettled bid for $200,000 per year contract terms … the Bears facing disaster snapped back with 9.2 in the second term and gave their BCG fans a spine-tingling finish, BRISBANE 19.12-126 (Merrett 7.4) to GEELONG 18.19-127 – Ablett kicked 8.5 in a brilliant display but was booked for a career 8th time …

<||> 5th round focus – the Kangas 4+1 go to top place, the Crows drop to 3rd; BRETT SCOTT for Sydney becomes another stop-gap AFL coach — and another TOM HAFEY protege ...

<||> Denying it was a sideways move PETER HUDSON takes up Saints marketing manager role added to his title of football operations manager at Moorabbin …

<||> League disciplinary committee on five-month draft investigation reserves its finding on conduct prejudicial charges against ANDREW McKAY (Car) and ROBERT PYMAN (NM) …

<||> Tribunal – on guilty plea ROBERT SCHAEFER (Rch) got one week for striking; GARY ABLETT (Gee) up for charging was found not guilty; TONY LIBERATORE (Fsc) on misconduct charge was dismissed on a technicality … CARLTON holds talks to lure Rugby League club BALMAIN to play some Princes Park matches …

<||> Appeals Board directs FITZROY to repay its former player BRENDAN McCORMACK the $5000 it fined him, paving the way for players to recoup old fines …

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A goal-den round
ROUND SIX – April 30-May 1-2 – Melbourne’s warmest-ever April closed as records galore highlighted the 6th week of fixtures with 265,150 attending matches in four States. The brilliance of GARY ABLETT (Gee) was displayed on Saturday as he kicked 14.7, the highest individual tally scored in 1521 games at the MCG. On Friday the League had two night contests for the first time – 46,689 at Football Park saw HAWTHORN 16.9-105 (Dunstall 9.1) cut the Crows defence to down ADELAIDE 12.16-88 (Modra 7.3) – at the MCG, 33,933 watched MELBOURNE 22.21-153 triumph over RICHMOND 8.12-60 … on Saturday 46,588 at the MCG watched the Bombers PAUL SALMON kick 10.6 (but was over-shadowed by Ablett) as ESSENDON 23.18-156 put to question GEELONG 19.18-132 … NORTH 35.19-229 (McAdam 10.6, Longmire 9.4) gave the still-coachless SYDNEY 16.9-105 a power-house thumping; RON BARASSI was a silent spectator at Princes Park … on Sunday, 86,196 (giving the MCG a new three-day record of 166,717) saw the 206th clash as COLLINGWOOD 21.11-137 stamped the Maggies as leading contenders over CARLTON 15.11-101 … at the BCG the Bears gave their local fans a well-earned victory, BRISBANE 17.8-110 over FITZROY 12.11-83 … at Subiaco, the Bulldogs Perth hoodoo continued as WEST COAST 19.11-125 won easily over FOOTSCRAY 13.6-84 …

<||> Round 6 focus – the duel feat of Ablett and Salmon paralleled the double-figure match figures of Coventry (Col) and Mohr (StK) both 11 in 1931 and Coventry and Margitich (Mel) with 10 each in 1933; five forwards, Ablett, Salmon, McAdam, Longmire and Dunstall kicked 52.24 for the weekend; BERNARD TOOHEY (Gee-Syd-Fsc) plays his 250th, SHANE MORWOOD (SM-Syd-Col) his 200th; MODRA (Ade) with 34.11 from five games; NORTH MELBOURNE, the friendless Kangas of two-months ago still lead 5+1, with a startling new discovery of ADRIAN McADAM with 17.8 in two games …

<||> Tribunal — ANDREW JARMAN (Ade) fined $750 on abusive language charge to umpire DARREN GOLDSPINK; MARK HARVEY (Ess) not guilty of unduly rough play; JOHN HOWAT (Rch) not guilty of striking; BRENDAN McCORMACK (Bri) cleared of striking …

<||> the legendary ‘Gentleman Jim’ CLEARY, a 222-game (1934-48) SOUTH MELBOURNE veteran passed away at 78. Remembered for his gentle manner and love for the game Jim also played with Port in the VFA and enjoyed a 20-year span with Channel 7’s “World of Sport”. As full-back, Jim played in two losing Swans grand finals in 1936 and 1945 …

<||> unresolved WINMAR dispute with ST KILDA boils over into a third week with the club revealing $650,000 a year for three seasons, had been the original demand by the player …

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AFL & Barassi take charge
of the SS Titanic

The Herald Sun story by PETER STONE finally confirmed it on Tuesday May 4 in a saga which appeared to be getting longer than Days of Our Lives.

But like most yarns, it was just the beginning as RON BARASSI took charge as new coach at the Sydney Cricket Ground — it was the tip of the iceberg as the new unfettered AFL Commission launched an emphatic Sydney rescue mission after past monies estimated to be almost $40-million had been pumped in over 12 years.

The key to restructuring – (1) the Swans dumped private-ownership in favour of a traditional, membership-based system; (2) Barassi as coach until the end of 1995 and (3) ALAN SCHWAB appointed to Sydney in the latest survival strategy will head a task-force alongside former NM general manager RON JOSEPH who was tipped to become executive chairman of the new Sydney board following Schwab’s three-month stint.

Peter Weinert (now president), Mike Willisee, Craig Kimberley and Swans GM Barry Rogers will be joined by three appointees to a board charged with the task of playing the final cards in the AFL deck as the unsinkable Harbour City dream was badly holed and showing a decided list to starboard …

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Crows and Saints suffer costly defeats
ROUND SEVEN – May 8-9 – of the five Saturday contests watchers keenly directed their attention to Western Oval and Vic Park – NORTH 22.9-141 added another scalp earning plaudits as they disposed of FOOTSCRAY 17.8-110 … the Crows with their third straight loss went reeling out of the Six as COLLINGWOOD 14.17-101 ran down ADELAIDE 11.10-76 … RICHMOND 19.22-136 at the MCG drove a further nail into the heart of turmoil-riddled ST KILDA 16.8-104 (Lockett 9.3) … HAWTHORN 16.17-113 (Dunstall 7.6) at the Park in the last half shrugged off a persistent BRISBANE 10.10-70 … at Princes Park the Lions continued their heart-thumpers (having won by a goal or less twice and twice lost by three points) as FITZROY 12.7-79 hung on from MELBOURNE 11.12-78 … on the Sunday Mother’s Day in Coathanger City, the Swans were down on skills but not disgraced as CARLTON 21.13-139 downed SYDNEY 13.17-95, while at Kardinia Park, WEST COAST 16.17-113 took the points in a nip-and-tuck affair from GEELONG 15.15-105 …

<||> 7th round focus – ADRIAN McADAM (NM) continued to set new records kicking 6.3 at Footscray for 23.11 in his first three matches – the best debut of all time, breaking the records of GEORGE MOLONEY (Gee) who kicked 7-12-2 and DOUG STRANG (Rch) 6-14-1 in the opening three rounds of 1931 …

<||> Carlton captain STEPHEN KERNAHAN sidelined with, chicken-pox …

<||> found guilty of breaching draft rules, ANDREW McKAY (Car) and ROBERT PYMAN (NM) were each fined $10,000 by a disciplinary committee convened to hear the charges …

<||> Tribunal – PETER MATERA (WCE) guilty of striking Peter Riccardi (Gee) was outed two matches in his first career suspension … on a video charge MARK BAIRSTOW (Gee) after an exemplary 20-year record got two weeks for striking Glen Jakovich (WCE); the finding drew a $2000 fine against Cat CEO GREG DURHAM for his comments and threat of a legal challenge …

<||> Saints and NICKY WINMAR settle differences with new deal through until 1997 …

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Ablett soars – Swans sink
ROUND EIGHT – May 14-15-16 – It was business as usual for GARY ABLETT when Geelong met Richmond. In 1988 against the Tigers he kicked 10.4 then 14.3 in 1989 – 12.2 in 1990, adding another 12.1 this time around in a classic performance … at the WACA on Friday night FITZROY 11.10-76 towelled WEST COAST 7.16-58 … on Saturday, the Saints (even with Nicky Winmar back) were left in tatters at the Park when ESSENDON 19.11-125 thrashed ST KILDA 9.13-67 … with their key ruck k.o’d in the opening minutes FOOTSCRAY 15.16-106 were the masters over CARLTON 11.12-78 at Princes Park … the Magpies gave coach LEIGH MATTHEWS only his second win over his old club as COLLINGWOOD 14.10-94 shut HAWTHORN 10.16-76 down at Vic Park … GEELONG 19.14-128 at home were too accomplished for a woeful RICHMOND 9.24-78 … at the BCG the Bears wrote new records as they walloped the Swans — the biggest half-time lead of 120-points and the League’s biggest three-quarter time score of 27.17-179, going on to kick the 10th-highest of 33.21-219 to 8.9-57 – even RON BARASSI after Sydney’s 22nd loss admitted “the size of the task is bigger than I thought it was” … at Football Park, the Crows in a last-quarter surge dramatically ended the Kangas five-game winning-streak, ADELAIDE 19.9-123 (Modra 10.1) to NORTH 18.13-121 … 8th round focus – the Woodsmen take over top spot; the Lions get a boost from 11th to fourth place; TIM WATSON returns for the Bombers; the Hawks loss was just their third against the Magpies in 21 outings …

<||> Tribunal — CRAIG KELLY (Col) up for his 8th time in 69 matches was outed for three weeks for charging Tony Hall (Haw) and the Maggies fined $2000 for comments; BRENDAN GALE (Rch) not guilty of striking; ANDREW DUNKLEY (Syd) not guilty of charging; from video, BRENDAN McCORMACK (Bri) got four weeks for unduly rough play against Darren Holmes (Syd) …

<||> the VFA vote for six-member AFL-style independent commission to run the Association …

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Clubs and players face draft charges
Following six months of enquires, newly appointed AFL investigator, the solicitor ROBERT BRADLEY on May 18 officially charged the Collingwood club with engaging in conduct prejudicial to the draft.

The official charge sheet as The Age (19-05) recorded, said that Collingwood “through the actions of Allan McAlister, (football manager) Graeme Allan and-or (recruiting manager) Gerard Sholly – and through the actions of Brett Chalmers and-or (Port Adelaide football manager) Robert Clayton – created and-or actively exploited or manipulated circumstances which prevented, hindered or discouraged those clubs having the right to a selection in the 1992 national recruit draft before Collingwood’s 10th overall choice from drafting Brett Chalmers” … “entered into or carried out a scheme, plan, course of action or course of conduct which had the purpose, or which was likely to have the effect of preventing, hindering or discouraging Brett Chalmers from accepting employment with other clubs”

In preparation for their defence the Magpies gathered a team of barristers and leading Melbourne QC’s … Age columnist PAT SMITH said “McAlister says neither he nor the club is concerned. Well, they should be terrified right down to the bottom of their boots. The penalties are severe – if they are found guilty of trying to dud other clubs.” Smith also commented, “Over the past six months the AFL has been carefully restructured, the last vestige of meaningful influence withdrawn from the clubs and the new commission empowered to run the competition independently and ruthlessly” …

The Age
reported BRETT CHALMERS admitted he was guilty of the charge … two days later Brisbane player NATHAN BUCKLEY was charged on two counts of conduct prejudicial to the draft, associated with NORTH MELBOURNE which received three complaints against the Kangas, each naming football director GREG MILLER. Though it had been expected, neither Collingwood nor Brisbane were named in the Buckley case, the Bears escaping on a technicality …

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Winter hits as Kangas return to top place
ROUND NINE - May 21-22-23 – … as winter hit Melbourne for the first time, the Kangas returned to top place in front of 44,833 MCG Friday night fans when they dominated ground-level contests over the Blues who struggled in the rain all night, NORTH 20.14-134 to CARLTON 14.12-96 … the Lions made the Magpies regret their pre-Christmas takeover pitch with a rugged display in heavy rain on Saturday at Princes Park as FITZROY 14.8-92 shut down COLLINGWOOD 10.13-73 … on a muddy MCG surface the Bomber defence was superb as they controlled the Crows, ESSENDON 16.15-111, ADELAIDE 10.5-65 … the Hawks at the Park led by a mile at halftime then just survived by 10pts as the Tigers kicked an 8.1 last quarter, HAWTHORN 20.11-131 to RICHMOND 19.7-121 … at the Western Oval the Saints were in more bother as the Bulldogs rattled up a 10-goal victory, FOOTSCRAY 22.11-143, ST KILDA 11.13-79 (Loewe 7.4) with Tony Lockett for an all-day effort gaining just five touches and one behind … on Sunday at the MCG, the Demons in a last-half fight-back served the Eagles with their second successive defeat, MELBOURNE 14.17-101 to WEST COAST 13.10-88 … the SCG was the only fine-weather venue which the Cats took full advantage of with a 9.5 opening but thereafter the Swans went goal-for-goal in a performance driven to regain the hearts of their fans, GEELONG 19.15-129 (Ablett 7.6) downed SYDNEY 15.14-104 … focus on the round – GARY ABLETT (Gee) in his six matches reached 51.24 while TONY MODRA (Ade) brought up 52.13 – umpire PETER CAMERON ran the Kanga-Blues game for his 300th appearance …

<||> FITZROY announced a five-year CUB sponsorship deal worth $250,000 …

The Osborne incident
The 9594 fans at the SCG late on Sunday were stunned 11-minutes into the last quarter when Swans forward RICHARD OSBORNE suffered a sickening collision with teammate DALE LEWIS. Osborne lay prostrate on the ground, bled freely from the mouth and stopped breathing while being attended to by a combined team of medical staff. During the eight-minute stoppage, when the player failed to respond, the on-duty ambulance was brought onto the arena and Osborne was conveyed to Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital. Though concussed, a brain-scan and examination by neurologists cleared the player … an aftermath of the Osborne incident brought calls for tougher rules governing the return for concussed players and predictions, helmets may soon become part of the uniform of Australian Football teams …

<||> BRETT CHALMERS the 20-year old Port Adelaide ruckman failed to appear at Monday’s AFL hearing of draft charges. The committee of PETER O’CALLAGHAN, QC, JOHN SCHULTZ and GREG MEESE adjourned its hearing after COLLINGWOOD challenged the recent appointment of the League’s investigator, solicitor ROBERT BRADLEY …

<||> Tribunal – CRAIG BRADLEY (Car) received a one-match suspension when found guilty of stomping Jose Romero (NM). It was Bradley’s first outing in more than 300 games with Port Adelaide, Carlton and SA – GLEN ARCHER (NM) was fined $750 for abusive language to field umpire Peter Cameron – on video, JASON BALDWIN (Fit) received four weeks suspension on a tripping charge against Kent Butcher (Col) who as a result of the incident sustained a hairline fracture of the fibula ...

<||> FRED FANNING at 71 died of a heart attack in Geelong Hospital. Fred is the League’s greatest goalkicker with 18.1 at the Junction Oval against St Kilda in 1947’s 19th round ending his 104-game career with MELBOURNE between 1940 and 1947. On Show Day in the 1939 Reserves Grand Final at the MCG, one of his kicks was measured at 105.5 metres …

<||> Pay-TV (maybe by ’95) becomes a new topic …

<||> WA 15.20-110 beat SA 13.8-86 (Hodges 7) at Subiaco Oval …

<||> 18-year old Bomber fullback DUSTIN FLETCHER with approval of his coach Kevin Sheedy captained Essendon Grammar in the APS Grand Final on Friday afternoon other than lining up that night against Fitzroy …

<||> Disciplinary committee hearing for NATHAN BUCKLEY and North Melbourne charges are adjourned a second time …

<||> Radio 3EE disappears from the airwaves leaving footy with only two mainstream full-cover outlets, 3LO and 3AW …

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Bruises and broken hearts
ROUND TEN – May 28-29-30 – 50,567 at the MCG on Friday night were entertained to quick-scoring exchanges, abundant talent and the versatility of both sides as ESSENDON 19.15-129 came home strongly to pip FITZROY 19.11-125 … on Saturday, the Tigers at the MCG got the jump on the Swans and maintained a buffer of 20pts all day as the Harbour City boys lost their 24th, passing St Kilda’s 1901-03 record of 23 – RICHMOND 17.20-122 (Hogg 7, Richardson 6), SYDNEY 14.9-93 – Barassi’s summation, “just the usual bruising and broken hearts” … in a ‘no-frills’ affair at Waverley a desperate Eagles narrowly won the day sending the Saints to their 5th straight loss, WEST COAST 9.12-66, ST KILDA 9.10-64 (Lockett 5) … after an ordinary month the Blues responded with a spirited performances to thrash the Demons at Princes Park, CARLTON 17.26-128, MELBOURNE 11.8-74 … the Kangas put to rest any doubts of their worth when they savaged the Magpies by 83pts for their first win at Vic Park since 1985. North displayed skill and commitment as ADRIAN McADAM put in another sensational game with 9.2, equalling Sel Murray’s 1938 record at Abbotsford, NORTH 19.12-126, COLLINGWOOD 5.13-43 … building on an early wind advantage the Hawks rattled up a solid 70pts win at Western Oval, HAWTHORN 20.12-132 (Dunstall 8.2), FOOTSCRAY 9.8-62 … On Sunday in fine conditions at the BCG it was a close contest with just a point difference at both half and -time until the Crows opened the flood-gates with 8-goals in the last to record a surprising 37pt win, ADELAIDE 18.14-122, BRISBANE 12.13-85 – Modra (Ade) 7.5, Merrett (Bri) 5.3 …

<||> 10th round focus – NORTH now two games clear with 8+2; McADAM (NM) continues to astonish with 38 goals in six; HAWTHORN slip into second spot …

<||> Tribunal – JIM STYNES (Mel) cleared on striking; MICHAEL WERNER (Syd) guilty of striking Brendan Gale (Rch) received three weeks; PHIL GILBERT (Mel) not guilty of striking; three video charges were heard amidst calls for a review of video procedures – BERNARD TOOHEY (Fsc) and DARREN WHEILDON (Fit) were cleared of striking charges, RICK OLARENSHAW (Ess) pleaded guilty and was outed one match on striking Michael Dunstan (Fit) …

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Croweaters take State of Origin series
The AFL season went into a one-week hiatus as STATE-OF-ORIGIN football took centre stage featuring all States and Territories …

<||> MIKE SHEAHAN the Sunday Age (30-05) signalled the possible move by some League officials to frustrate the movement of power to the newly appointed AFL Commission for up to 18-months …

<||> TONY DE BOLFO in the Herald Sun (29-05) revealed ALAN SCHWAB at a four-hour meeting stated the SYDNEY club required urgent assistance in providing “things taken for granted in Melbourne or Adelaide” – the million little things required to make a great footy club”; Schwab the AFL trouble-shooter was quoted in stating – Sydney could attain these facilities without making any financial imposition on other League clubs …

<||> Retirements: BRUCE LINDNER after an injury-punctuated 85 games, 106 goals with Geelong and Adelaide from 1985 to 1991 – NEIL CORDY at 34 after 236 games (1979-93) 140 with Scray and 96 with the Swans …

<||> The final link with SOUTH MELBOURNE was severed as 32-year old DENNIS CARROLL called it a day after 219 senior matches starting at Lakeside Oval in 1981. Carroll was captain of SYDNEY for seven seasons, played under eight coaches, six general managers and five owners – he joins ROD CARTER and BRETT SCOTT in a skills-coaching role under Ron Barassi …

<||> A combined NSW-ACT side suffered heavy defeat by Victoria in the Tuesday night State of Origin MCG fixture watched by 22,409 (or as PATRICK SMITH, The Age (02-06) pointed out, it was more than the 17,455 who saw the last Vic–NSW game in Melbourne in 1928) – VICTORIA 19.16-130 d NSW–ACT 8.17-65; best for Victoria was CHRIS LANGFORD, for the Blues, Hawthorn’s SHANE CRAWFORD … on Wednesday night at Football Park, 21,487 saw SOUTH AUSTRALIA 19.13-127 down WESTERN AUSTRALIA 14.7-91, the Croweaters gaining the right to challenge the Vics in the final.

Saturday’s major final lacked passion and a big crowd but was a great display for the code. 31,792 at the MCG watched the Vics trail most of the night (a 4.40pm bounce to a 7.30pm finish) as the Croweaters recorded their first State win in Melbourne since 1963 – SOUTH AUSTRALIA 16.13-109 (Darren Jarman 6) d VICTORIA 14.13-97 (Ablett 5). CRAIG BRADLEY won the Fos Williams Medal as the best SA player while ROBERT HARVEY won the Ted Whitten Medal for the Vics … after-match criticism of the poor MCG crowd focussed on the price-hike to $20 for Adults and $10 for kids (the gate was $204,930.35) along with the curious match-time start … on Sunday at BELLERIVE OVAL to 9660 (gate $73,716) in another State fixture, a combined QUEENSLAND-NORTHERN TERRITORY squad downed TASMANIA, 16.14-110 (Dunstall 8) to 10.16-76 … Fitzroy captain PAUL ROOS underwent surgery for the broken jaw suffered for Victoria in Saturday’s game …

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Tribunal – GILBERT McADAM (StK) was suspended one week on charging ANDY LOVELL in the Tas-Qld match …

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Brett Chalmers fined $30,000
The AFL disciplinary committee at a five-hour hearing on Tuesday June 8 fined Port Adelaide ruckman BRETT CHALMERS $30,000 and banned him from playing with COLLINGWOOD for the next three years.

Chalmers and Collingwood were charged with hindering rivals from drafting the 20-year old SANFL Magpie in last November’s AFL national draft. Although Chalmers forfeited his right to join Collingwood until 1997 the club may retain him as a listed player or swap him in a future draft thus avoiding the League of a possible legal challenge for restraint of trade.

Collingwood officials were cleared of tampering with the draft process with counsel accepting unopposed the submission of the AFL Magpies innocence.

<||> DERMOTT BRERETON (Haw) returned to full training at Glenferrie …

<||> 25-year old RICKY JACKSON (now Fsc) retires, failing to recover from the broken leg suffered pre-season after 80 games with Melbourne 1986-91 …

<||> STEVE MACPHERSON (Fsc) has knee surgery following injury in the Tas-Qld State game …

<||> 32 players were delisted in preparation for the mid-season draft …

<||> Melbourne author and historian JIM POULTER with family links over seven generations to the Aboriginal community claimed origins of the Australian Game came from the Gunditjmara tribe in Victoria’s Western District who before settlement played a game called “marngrook” or game of ball (Age 08-06) …

<||> Aftermath of Chalmers draft hearing – Scray chief DENNIS GALIMBERTI demanded the AFL make public the report completed by former League investigator and barrister SANDY ROBERTSON who had been replaced.

Solicitor ROBERT BRADLEY the new AFL appointee, conducted his own enquires upon which the committee judged and so fined McKAY (Car), PYMAN (NM) and Chalmers and the still uncompleted charges against NORTH, Greg Miller and NATHAN BUCKLEY. The Robertson findings reportedly contained several extracts which were “dynamite” in criticism of AFL administrative procedures and rules …

<||> The Kangas in the middle of a 20-day lay-off, emerged content after a Thursday practice match at Football Park in Canberra, NORTH 18.11-119 downed a combined ACT side 12.15-87 …

<||> Talks continued toward 1994 admission of FREMANTLE-based side …

<||> On claims of $300,000, the AFL admits to losing $100,000 on the State of Origin series …

On an AFL-clear Friday night, RUGBY LEAGUE show-cased its code to 11,822 fans in bitter conditions as ST GEORGE 20 played WESTERN SUBURBS 8, at Olympic Park ...

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Rain, hail and snow for split round
ROUND 11 – June 12-13-14 – Biting weather with single-digit temperatures greeted the fans, and snow caused footy to be called off in Ballarat. On Saturday at the MCG, two of the seasons under-achievers were matched as the Cats got a dream start but were unable to halt the last-half charge as the Blues were emphatic 29pt victors, CARLTON 17.16-118, GEELONG 13.11-89 to 37,119 … at Waverley where hail bucketed down, ST KILDA 20.10-130 (Lockett 11.1) recorded their first win since April 17th defeating a dishevelled BRISBANE 11.9-75 … at Princes Park RICHMOND 12.10-82 kicked away after half-time for their first twin-victories since May 1990 to hand a devastating defeat to FITZROY 7.14-56 … on Sunday at the SCG, it was little more than a training gallop for the Eagles as they comfortably disposed of the Swans who lost their 25th, WEST COAST 19.11-125, SYDNEY 10.3-63 … a packed Football Park crowd of 44,987 saw the confident full-of-running Crows race away from the battling Bulldogs, ADELAIDE 15.17-107, SCRAY 8.14-62 … the two Monday games brought the fans out – at the MCG, 57,833 saw MELBOURNE 24.16-160 (Allen Jakovich 9.2) comprehensively thrash COLLINGWOOD 16.13-109 … at the Park, 47,295 watched ESSENDON 17.14-116 race away in the last half from HAWTHORN 12.14-86 — a top-class 219,118 attended the split 11th round but in arrears of the 1981 record of 230,970 …

<||> THE HALF-WAY MUSTER – with 10 played and 10 to go – NORTH 8+2 with 32pts lead, then WEST COAST 7+3 on 28pts with ESSENDON 26, HAWTHORN, ADELAIDE and COLLINGWOOD on 24 make up the Six … another seven hopefuls are in contention down to the 13th-placed Richmond, with only Brisbane and Sydney discounted … the Magpies have lost their past three, Carlton loom promisingly, Geelong are in question, Fitzroy and Footscray decidedly vulnerable, St Kilda on thin ice and Melbourne starting to show some signs – all the elements to bring smiles to the faces of the men at Jolimont …

<||> Tribunal – MARCUS SEECAMP (Fit) was suspended one week on striking Matthew Richardson (Rch); DAVID NEITZ (Mel) cleared of striking; on video evidence DEAN WALLIS (Ess) was outed three matches for tripping Andrew Gowers (Haw) – it was the second tripping offence for Wallis in less than 12 months; fellow Bomber MARK HARVEY was cleared from a striking charge …

<||> MIKE SHEAHAN moves from the Sunday Age to the Herald Sun as contributing editor …

<||> Victorian-based coaches set a meeting to call for a greater say in the running of the Game – KEVIN SHEEDY the Essendon coach, a prime-mover said “the coaches need to be heard by the AFL Commission” after strong feelings had been expressed to the elimination of a reserve grade competition and the ceiling of senior lists from 52 to 42 in 1994 …

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Warnings from Jeans and Barassi
The respected ALLAN JEANS went public to argue a strong case for retention of grass-roots tradition and development for the future of Victorian-based football through Reserves grade footy in the Herald Sun of June 15. Jeans warned the ‘executioner’s axe” was hanging over the Game.

In another warning, RON BARASSI said the national competition was doomed unless the AFL took on Rugby League in Sydney and Brisbane – “if we in Australia cannot establish a meaningful presence in those two cities then in the 21st century there’ll be no Australian football – it will be a quaint little game played in the corner of Australia and the 21st century will be spent surviving and dying” …

<||> AFL CEO Ross Oakley hit back at criticism to changes pointing out, clubs had several months to articulate their concerns; only four of 15 clubs opposed lists being chopped to 42; six clubs (three were interstate) were happy; two clubs – Footscray and St Kilda did not offer submissions — however, DENIS GALIMBERTI said Footscray were very concerned and offended by Oakley’s mis-representation as the Bulldogs supported “retention of lists of 52 and in principle agrees with Allan Jeans’ sentiments” …

<||> St Kilda also rejected Oakley’s claim as their submission was sent (with AFL approval) the day after it was due … following a three-hour meeting AFL Coaches Association (AFLCA) president ALLAN JEANS said “there was a very strong consensus we retain the Reserves”, telegraphing a defiant stand by coaches was likely, even against their own club wishes …

<||> All WACA tickets for Friday night’s clash between top-placed NORTH and the EAGLES who are second were sold out a week in advance …

<||> boot-makers BLADES extend their popular product to England and South Africa …

<||> in what was thought to be a first, Essendon coach KEVIN SHEEDY was warned not to “glare” – Sheedy at half-time on Monday when the free-kick count was 23-8 to the Hawks was considered to have glared at umpires prompting JOHN RUSSO and DARREN GOLDSPINK to write, resulting in the AFL suggesting Sheedy does not repeat his intimidatory manner …

<||> it was appropriate in the last June MID-SEASON DRAFT, the 32nd and last player chosen was BRAD HARDIE by SYDNEY – it would be Hardie’s fourth club after stints with Scray, the Bears, two games for the Magpies and more recently back with South Fremantle; other features of the draft – MATTHEW AHMAT discarded by Brisbane was first to the Swans; former Cat ruck DAMIEN BOURKE (retired but now living in Queensland) was chosen by Brisbane; DALE KICKETT (Fit-WCE-StK) joins cousin Derek at ESSENDON; ANTHONY HARVEY joins brother Robert at St Kilda; Collingwood recalls TERRY KEAYS from Frankston VFA, as North did for ANDREW KRAKOUER from Sandringham … West Coast did not bother to use their right of a 13th selection …

<||> Marking the International Year of the World’s Indigenous People, the AFL announced it would appoint an Aboriginal player as a liaison officer of the League – the Grand Final will celebrate Aboriginal culture featuring entertainment, posters and Football Record cover and the promise to implement a code of conduct for players with a public education program to address racism on and off the field …

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Alan Schwab dies in Sydney
Executive Commissioner ALAN SCHWAB was found dead in his Boulevard Hotel room in Sydney on Friday June 18. The 52-year old administrator had been working dual roles in both Sydney and Melbourne for several weeks aimed to secure the future of the ailing Sydney Swans. Of the many tributes which flowed, the WEST AUSTRALIAN Football Commission notice (Age 22-06)  said it all, “A great administrator and visionary for Australian Football who will be remembered for his strength and dedication to the Game” …

Almost 2000 people attended the funeral of ALAN SCHWAB at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday June 25. Pallbearers of the coffin draped with the 1973 Richmond premiership pennant included Royce Hart, Mal Brown, Kevin Sheedy, Dermott Brereton, Garry Lyon and Gavin Brown – a private cremation followed at Springvale …

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Bears draw best Gabba crowd since 1981
ROUND 12 – June 18-19-20 – At the WACA on Friday night it was last-man-standing stuff in the torrid encounter which saw NORTH 16.11-107 achieve a psychological edge over WEST COAST 15.11-101 … close all day at the G, the Demons continued their claw up the ladder making it 5 from 7, ending the Bombers 5-game streak, MELBOURNE 15.15-105 (Jakovich 8.6) to ESSENDON 10.11-71 … at the Park 28,975 watched a bruising affair with the Saints DANNY FRAWLEY and JAMIE SHANAHAN hospitalised with concussion and the Moorabbin boys with numerous other injuries as they were humiliated by 78pts, HAWTHORN 23.14-152 (Hudson 7.2), ST KILDA 11.8-74 (Lockett 5, Loewe 5) … the Blues celebrated the 250th of JUSTIN MADDEN as their veterans obliterated the Crows at Princes Park, CARLTON 24.12-156, ADELAIDE 11.11-77 … at Scray, PAUL KELLY was b.o.g. with 43 possessions but the Swans captain was a lone-hand as an ineffective FOOTSCRAY 13.16-94 bumbled on to win from SYDNEY 10.9-69 – the Swans 26th loss … on Sunday, the Cats and Lions met in a crossroads match at Kardinia Park – the Cats who were 8-goals up at one stage just survived a savage fight-back to win by seven points, GEELONG 16.17-113 (Ablett 7.3), FITZROY 15.16-106 … coming off three defeats the Magpies in the end won comfortably sustaining spirited third-term pressure of 7.7 from the Bears, COLLINGWOOD 20.18-138, BRISBANE 14.13-97 – 15,471 was the best BCG footy crowd since the Dons and the Hawks drew 20,351 in 1981 …

<||> Tribunal – two Kangas, WAYNE SCHWASS was found guilty of striking John Worsfold and MICHAEL MARTYN guilty of misconduct in wrestling with Peter Sumich from the WACA match – Schwass and Martyn were each suspended for two matches; on video charges, ANDREW JARMAN (Ade) was suspended for one match for striking Matthew Hogg (Car), KARL LANGDON (WCE) was cleared of misconduct against Craig Scholl (NM) …

<||> it was revealed the AFL had with-held gate receipts on FITZROY’s failure to repay a debt in April of $250,000 due to the Lions cash-flow problems, as confirmed by club chairman DYSON HORE-LACY – the FOOTSCRAY club offered a co-tenancy deal with the Lions for 1994 at the WESTERN OVAL …

<||> the AFL Commission affirmed its commitment to the survival plan for SYDNEY with the swift appointment of KEN GANNON as executive chairman of the club to replace the late ALAN SCHWAB …

<||> HSV-7 sports guru BRUCE McAVANEY hospitalised on his 40th birthday …

<||> a report commissioned by the NATIONAL AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL COUNCIL showed the code injected more than $1-billion into the Australian economy. The report by STREET RYAN AND ASSOCIATES stated about 10.6 million people attended Australian Football in 1992 with 41 per cent going to AFL matches. The code is the fourth-largest in Australia with more than 258,000 registered players and 373,000 players in total …

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Swans win – repeat win!
ROUND 13 – June 25-26-27 – In greasy night-time conditions 47,705 at the MCG on Friday saw a thrilling encounter decided with a last-minute goal from JASON DUNSTALL. The Hawks maintained their jinx over the Kangas with their 14th successive win, HAWTHORN 12.11-83 (Dunstall 6) to NORTH 11.14-80. The Arden Street boys kept top place but the Hawks were starting to look ominous … on Saturday the Saints put paid to the Lions ’93 chances with a solid victory at Waverley, ST KILDA 17.10-112 (Lockett 8.0), FITZROY 12,7-79 … it was all-square at the half-time MCG break but the Bombers powered away from a lack-lustre Tiger outfit, ESSENDON 21.15-141 to RICHMOND 8.15-63 … the Eagles previously winless at Victoria Park came back from a bad first term to win pulling away in impressive fashion, WEST COAST 14.10-94 (Sumich 6) to COLLINGWOOD 11.5-71 … the Bulldogs celebrated as captain DOUG HAWKINS became the 29th League player to amass 300 senior games – FOOTSCRAY 17.19-121 downed BRISBANE 14.9-93 … on Sunday in Barassi’s 7th match as coach, the Swans broke their 26-game losing drought with a 40pt SCG victory over the more-favoured Demons – in a terrific contest where the lead changed 10-times in the second term, the Sydneysiders amazed everyone when they blitzed a third quarter of 10.4 to one behind (kicked by Jakovich); RICHARD OSBORNE just five weeks after being stretchered from the SCG with concussion kicked 10.2 (six in their blazing 3rd term), SYDNEY 23.11-149 to MELBOURNE 16.13-109 … under lights at Football Park, 45,504 watched the magical ABLETT kick 10.6 of the GEELONG 14.11-95 score, but not enough to stop ADELAIDE 16.19-115 who returned to the top Six.

<||> 13th round focus – AAP made certain their subscribers understood, with the message – SWANS WIN – REPEAT WIN! … a check of the League records showed Sydney captain PAUL KELLY was the only player to have worn the Red-and-White through 26 losses, then led them to the Sunday success … with just three defeats of 7, 2 and 3 points, NORTH still on top for the 5th successive week with 36pts; the Maggies with three home losses from six, slump to eighth after the Eagles first win at Abbotsford; September plans by the Cats, Lions and Demons in tatters; GARY ABLETT (Gee) with 72 from nine games leapt to the top of the goalkickers with his 8th double-digit career tally; after just six games in 1992 due to injury, DERMOTT BRERETON (Haw) on 189 senior matches returned in the Twos Friday curtain-raiser … in another footy “stranger than fiction” tale, it was deja-vu for Demon coach NEIL BALME at the SCG debacle – in 1989 as coach of the SANFL’s perennial finalist Norwood, the Redlegs had tumbled to South Adelaide, ending the Panthers 26 losses on-the-trot …

<||> Tribunal – JASON MOONEY (Syd) was cleared of striking Anthony Lovell (Mel); from a video citing STEPHEN TINGAY (Mel) was cleared of striking David Murphy (Syd) …

<||> At the first meeting of senior delegates and the new AFL Commission on Monday, member clubs were told the League intends to sharply reduce its level of debt from $21.4 over the next four of five years, saving $1.5m in servicing costs with ROSS OAKLEY stating “the banks obviously have some level of concern” – new licence fees will not be distributed to clubs and the $1.22m dividend forecast for 1993 already slashed from previous estimates, could not be guaranteed - a $150,000 loss was sustained on the State of Origin series. In further developments, a $250,000 debt owed to the AFL by Fitzroy is expected to climb to $300,000 by October, adding further doubts on the club’s financial viability. July 19 was set down for the vote to legally transfer powers from the clubs to the Commission …

<||> Surprise June draft choice BRAD HARDIE confirms, he will not join Sydney …

<||> An AFL Disciplinary Committee met for four hours to continue its hearings to the NORTH MELBOURNE and NATHAN BUCKLEY charges but the case was adjourned again for a further 48 hours – which was again adjourned until July 26, at the request of NORTH “because of the unexpected and unavoidable absence of their senior counsel” …

<||> ST KILDA unhappy with their financial results at Waverley signal a possible return to Linton Street in 1997 …

<||> Speculation rises on new entries to the competition as discussions took place in both Adelaide and Perth …

<||> Fitzroy’s chairman DYSON HORE-LACY said on 3LO, the Lions would leave Princes Park after this season. He hoped it would be for Western Oval, it could be a merger, even a move to Fremantle to provide the base for a second WA team in the AFL – “it was the Western Oval or one of the unmentionables (merger or relocation)” as reported by MIKE SHEAHAN in the Sunday Age, July 4th …

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Blues are back in town
ROUND 14 – July 2-3-4 – From the ‘broken hearts’ of a few weeks back, the SCG on Friday night was the unfortunate scene of broken bones as two ADELAIDE players suffered major injuries. RODNEY MAYNARD suffered a broken collarbone and MATTHEW ROBRAN a broken leg in separate first-half incidents as the Crows sent the sorry Swans back to the losers circle, ADELAIDE 18.18-126, SYDNEY 12.10-82 … on Saturday at the G, the Bombers were ruthless with 10.3 in the 3rd term giving the Bears a good old-fashioned hiding by 116pts, ESSENDON 23.17-155 (12 goalkickers), BRISBANE 4.15-39 … in Arctic conditions at Waverley, the Demons won the toss to kick with a gale, building a 35pt lead then the breeze turned around to favour them again through the second. As a steady down-pour enveloped the ground, the Saints were rarely sighted, MELBOURNE 14.8-92, ST KILDA 6.10-46 … tenacity and tightness at its best was seen at Princes Park as the Lions tore away from the Roos with 8.3 in the first. The Kangas came back with an identical tally in the second then broke away to lead by 27 midway thru the third period. The Lions goal-drought was broken and in a heated match (three reports) the difference was ALASTAIR LYNCH who kicked 7.3 in the Roy Boys win 18.11-119 to 17.16-118 … at a chilly Kardinia Park, the Cats after half-time buried the Bulldogs by 56pts in their most spirited showing for weeks, GEELONG 15.20-110 (Ablett 5.4), FOOTSCRAY 8.6-54 … Sunday at Subiaco was the scene of a battle worthy of a final as CARLTON 14.8-92 pipped WEST COAST 13.13-91 – Chris Mainwaring (WCE) had a shot from the boundary with two seconds left which shaved the post … at the MCG before half-time the Tigers were in line for a boil-over but the Magpies grafted away with big-man DAMIEN MONKHORST playing an outstanding part for the Woods to win by 30pts, MAGPIES 22.15-147 (Rocca 10.2), TIGERS 17.15-117 …

<||> Footystats Focus — a busy time for the Tribunal with six weekend reports – NORTH suffer their first double-defeat; in the four the Roos have lost, the aggregate is only 13pts – the Lions had their second one-point win, their fans having survived seven results of a goal or less – Carlton with four in a row and Essendon on seven wins from the past eight looking like finals material … MATTHEW ROBRAN (Ade) had major surgery in Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital to repair a splintered tibula and a fractured fibula after landing awkwardly from a mark against the Swans … Ablett (Gee) 77, Modra (Ade) 74 and Dunstall (Haw) 66 are tops in goal-kicking … the ladder (on ratio), NORTH 36pts, HAWKS 32, BOMBERS 34, BLUES 30, EAGLES 32, CROWS 32, then outside the Six, MAGPIES 32, CATS 28, BULLDOGS 28, DEMONS 24, LIONS 24, followed by SAINTS 20, TIGERS 16, BEARS 12 and almost certain wooden-spooners, the SWANS on the bottom with 4 points.

<||> The Sunday Age (04-07) thru MIKE SHEAHAN explained the recent absence from media exposure of Collingwood president ALLAN McALISTER. Dissident Magpie board members called a special meeting on May 17 following McAlister’s return from a Darwin jaunt following his remarks widely reported about Aboriginal footballers. It was believed the Collingwood AFL Director ERROL HUTCHESSON and former champion player and coach BOB ROSE were concerned on the effect to the club the media exposure was having, asking Big Al to take a lower profile … the Collingwood leader speaking at the Victoria Club however was strong in his commitment to the new AFL Commission. McAlister called on all clubs to honour their April agreement to transfer powers …

<||> Tribunal – BARRY STONEHAM (Gee) was suspended three weeks being found guilty of dropping his knees into the back of Peter Foster (Fsc); DALE WEIGHTMAN (Rch) got three weeks for striking Paul Williams (Col) – it was Weightman’s 16th report for eight guilty verdicts and 19 matches suspension of his 277-game career; DEAN GRIEG (StK) pleaded guilty to charging Todd Viney (Mel) and received two weeks; JAMES MANSON (Fit) was cleared of striking Alex Ishchenko (NM); a charging case against PETER DEAN (Car) was withdrawn on video evidence … CHRIS LEWIS (WCE) was cited by the AFL for misconduct in that he spat at Greg Williams (Car) in the match at Subiaco; Lewis pleading guilty to the charge, was suspended for three matches – Lewis publicly apologised to Williams; the last player to be suspended for this misdemeanour was RENE KINK (Col) who received six weeks for the offence against ALEX JESAULENKO (Car) in the 1979 Grand Final … high-profile rookie ADRIAN McADAM (NM) was found guilty of disputing the umpires decision and fined $1500 … MARK ZANOTTI (Fit) was cleared of striking …

<||> after three players fell ill, Essendon were fined $3000 for their late call-up of ALAN EZARD from Reserves to seniors on Saturday …

<||> the Saints announced the sudden resignation of RICK WATT from their CEO of football to concentrate full-time on management of their social club ...

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Kangaroos rule
ROUND 15 – July 9-10-11 – The Kangas coming off two narrow defeats passed a major test of character on Friday night when 55,693 at the MCG saw them kick away from the Bombers with 8.8 in the last term, NORTH 19.15-129 (Longmire & McAdam each 6) to ESSENDON 13.13-91 … football’s superboot GARY ABLETT kicked 11-straight in his command of the MCG turf on Saturday but again, it wasn’t enough as the Demons dug deeper in the run home to put paid to the Cats, MELBOURNE 22.9-141, GEELONG 20.7-127 … the Hawks at the Park, gripped second-spot when they charged away from the Lions in the last half, HAWTHORN 15.20-110 (Dunstall 5), FITZROY 9.10-64 … the Blues trailed by 16 at half-time but their class enveloped the Bears in the long haul at Princes Park, CARLTON 19.17-131, BRISBANE 14.13-97 … at Vic Park, the Magpies were never troubled in a vital percentage boosting thrashing of the Swans, COLLINGWOOD 25.19-169 (Rowe 6), SYDNEY 11.11-77 … on Sunday at Football Park, 46,660 saw the Crows repay an old debt with a 93pt hammering of the Saints, ADELAIDE 23.18-156 (Modra 7, Hodges 6), ST KILDA 8.15-63 with TONY LOCKETT leaving the field before half-time after crunching into a goal post, then falling awkwardly … at the MCG, the Tigers in a last-half slump allowed the Bulldogs to come from behind and keep their slim hopes alive, SCRAY 10.18-78, RICHMOND 8.14-62 …

<||> 15th round focus – GARY ABLETT (Gee) in his 36th appearance with 11.0 took his MCG tally to 192 goals and with 88 in 11 games, is in sight of the 1934 BOB PRATT record of a century in 13 matches … a new record 15th round crowd figure of 226,925 advancing on 182,245 of 1990 … the Blues on five straight wins are now third, their highest spot … PETER DAICOS played just one quarter in this 250th game for the Magpies but spent most of the day on the bench with Collingwood captain TONY SHAW who is on 292 games …

<||> Carlton president JOHN ELLIOTT accused Footscray president PETER GORDON of “constant carping criticism” of the AFL Commission – the Big Blue also called on the League to make the hard-decision and axe two Melbourne-based clubs – and “do the things that are necessary to improve this great game of ours” …

<||> St Kilda’s GILBERT McADAM started with the AFL as a promotions officer, a position funded jointly by the League and the Federal Government’s Department of Employment, Education and Training scheme. McAdam will help with the preparation of a players’ code of conduct, with particular emphasis on racism and the Grand Final entertainment when Aboriginal artists and culture will be a feature.

<||> Tribunal – MARK VISKA (Ade) on a video citing was found guilty and suspended one match for intentionally tripping Mark Dwyer (StK) … R17 Blues-Bombers clash switched from Princes Park to the MCG …

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Goals galore
ROUND 16 – July 16-17-18 – One of the smaller Football Park crowds of just 45,109 on Friday night saw the Crows overwhelm the Tigers by 139pts – TONY MODRA booted a club record of 13.4 – ADELAIDE 26.15-171, RICHMOND 4.8-32 (it was the season’s lowest) … the Hawks stopped the Demons as the Glenferrie lads took over the last half with midfield MCG dominance with forwards Dunstall (7.4) Hudson (4.1) and Allan (30 possessions), the margin may have been just 16pts but the Hawks appeared certainties for the finals, HAWTHORN 16.10-106, MELBOURNE 12.18-90 … Cats coach MALCOLM BLIGHT offered an apology for his team’s insipid showing as ST KILDA pummelled away for their best-ever score of 27.15-177 to GEELONG 15.16-106 … the sleeping Blue giant awakened from a first-half slumber with 11.6 in the third and 9.5 to the finish at Princes Park as CARLTON 27.19-181 (Stephen Silvagni a personal best of 10.6) thrashed FITZROY 14.11-95 – it was Carlton’s sixth-straight and the Lion’s 6th defeat from the last seven …with SAVERIO ROCCA kicking 10.3, the Magpies at Victoria Park showed their mid-season slump was past as they rattled up a hat-trick of wins with a thorough 64pt success, COLLINGWOOD 21.19-145, FOOTSCRAY 11.15-81 … on Sunday at the BCG, the Kangas maintained their leadership status with a 42pt win over the Bears but North paid a high price with injuries to Carey (back), Rock (calf), McAdam (ankle) and Romero (knee), NORTH 22.14-146 (Longmire 8.2), BRISBANE 15.14-104 … 44,507 were at the MCG in The Battle for Sixth Spot as the Bombers and the Eagles clash went down to almost the last kick of the day. PAUL SALMON after kicking three behinds had been dragged but gathered a free-kick which went thru truly giving it to ESSENDON 12.17-89 by two points from WEST COAST 13.9-87 – it lifted the Dons to 6th and tumbled the Eagles down to 7th, the first time the premiers had been outside the Six this year …

<||> The after-match turmoil in the MCG dressing rooms was electric. West Coast coach MICHAEL MALTHOUSE launched a tirade against the umpires, the media and he had to be separated from Herald Sun writer DARYL TIMMS …

<||>The AFL’s 15 clubs on Monday July 19 granted the new AFL Commission unprecedented powers to run the Game but diluted the capacity to expel clubs. An amendment to the Crawford Report proposal now requires a two-thirds (10 clubs) majority for merging, relocation or admittance of a new club to the competition.

<||> Tribunal – PETER DEAN (Car) was fined $1500 when found guilty of misconduct against umpire Michael Abbott – DANNY FRAWLEY (StK) was suspended one week for wrestling with Gary Ablett (Gee) – BRIAN LEYS (Rch) was cleared of a trip charge …

<||> at St Kilda BRIAN HEALEY became the new Chairman, ANDREW PLYMPTON the new President following the resignation of TRAVIS PAYZE …

<||> an unrepentant Eagles coach MICHAEL MALTHOUSE and captain JOHN WORSFOLD (who admitted calling Umpire Howlett a ‘cheat’) were fined a total of $5000 for their actions last weekend …

<||> AAP reported PM Paul Keating had agreed to toss the coin at a planned match next February in Darwin between an Aboriginal All-Stars side and COLLINGWOOD …

<||> PETER DAICOS (Col) goes under his third 1993 left knee operation raising doubts he will play again, this season …

<||> 2000 members and supporters at Fitzroy Town Hall after being told the Maroons could expect an extra $300,000 income, voted in favour of a shift from Princes Park to WESTERN OVAL – the Lions fifth move in 26 years and their third in eight …

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Hawthorn to top spot
ROUND 17 – July 23-24-25 – Taking advantage of WAYNE CAREY’s (NM) absence, the Saints beat North a second time on Friday night at the MCG, shutting out the Kangas midfield – the 15pt loss tumbled the Kangas from top spot, ST KILDA 16.16-112, NORTH 14.13-97 … with newly discovered desperation the Cats emerged from Waverley with a shock 8pt win over the Magpies who charged back to level in the last term after being 41pts down but the boys from Sleepy Hollow hung on, GEELONG 13.9-87, COLLINGWOOD 11.13-79 … the switch to the MCG accommodated 67,035 fans ($317,353.45) to see a good close game of footy between two prime-contenders – Bomber fans shuddered at the off-target efforts of their forwards (Salmon kicked 1.7) but they still had enough to snuff out the fuse of the Blues six-game streak, ESSENDON 15.14-104 (Watson 5.3) to CARLTON 12.11-83 … the notorious Western Oval wind was a vital factor of the Demons 13pt win – the Bulldogs had a scoreless third term, MELBOURNE 16.14-110, SCRAY 14.13-97 … on Sunday the Hawks enjoyed a stroll in the Park at Waverley with a percentage lifting 92pt win over the Swans, HAWTHORN 24.15-159 (Dunstall 8.3, Hudson 8.3), SYDNEY 9.13-67 … at the BCG, the Bears broke a 7-game losing-streak with a commanding 19pt win from the hapless Tigers, Brisbane 18.10-118, RICHMOND 14.15-99 … the Eagles at Subi posted their first win in Perth since May 2nd with a strong 37pt success from the Crows who rarely win an away fixture, WEST COAST 15.17-107, ADELAIDE 10.10-70 ...

<||> 17th round focus – crowds pass 200,000 for the third successive week; the Hawks with September in sight go to top place for the first time since Round One of 1990, but face a string of hard ones; the Eagles back in the fight; Collingwood also in line for a run of tough encounters; ABLETT (Gee) misses a new record but is an equal on 98 goals with TONY MODRA (Ade) – DUNSTALL (Haw) on 87 goals in line for his fourth career ton ... JIM STYNES the 1991 Brownlow winner set a new Melbourne record of 145 consecutive matches, passing the standard set by DON CORDNER in the 1940's ...

<||> Tribunal – PAUL BROWN (Gee) cleared of a wrestling charge ...

<||> Investigations and lengthy hearings stretching back nine months were concluded on July 26 when NATHAN BUCKLEY (Bri), NORTH MELBOURNE and Kanga football director GREG MILLER were cleared of charges prejudicing the 1992 November draft. North chairman RON CASEY indicated his club would be seeking AFL assistance for the Kangas heavy legal costs of the proceedings and later lodged a claim for $30,000 ...

<||> following Fitzroy's decision to move to Western Oval in 1994, MELBOURNE will join ESSENDON, NORTH and RICHMOND to protest against plans to force MCG co-tenants to play extra matches at Princes Park ...

<||> the Saints revealed NICKY WINMAR had signed a new 3-year contract two months ago; also at Moorabbin, PETER HUDSON took over as acting GM following the move by RICK WATT ...

<||> Sydney put both PAUL KELLY and MARK BAYES on new contracts but DALE LEWIS telegraphed his inetntion to quit ...

<||> the Lions relocate their offices to the FITZROY CLUB HOTEL in Northcote while also backing a return to Brunswick Street Oval for their training headquarters ...

<||> speculation on a final at night resurfaces ...

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Ablett kicks second fastest ton
ROUND 18 – July 30-31, August 1 – The Magpies and Bombers despite rain drew another spectacular Friday night MCG house of 87,573 – the 68pt thumping put the skids under the Woods finals chances and elevated the ever-improving Dons to second, ESSENDON 18.15-123, COLLINGWOOD 7.13-55 … the Saturday games maintained high interest as the Eagles bearing heavily the ‘reigning premiers’ tag struggled to win by 19pts over the Tigers at Princes Park to a slim 6023 fans, WEST COAST 15.10-100, RICHMOND 11.15-81 … at the Park, 40,850 were treated to a close-checking first half with the Hawks apparently in control, but after the long interval the Blues reorganised with De Iulio, Welsh and Christou advancing in stature as CARLTON 17.20-122 inflicted their fourth successive win over HAWTHORN 13.13-91 … at the G, the spotlight again illuminated GARY ABLETT who blazed away 10.6, recording the second-fastest century of goals in 14 matches as GEELONG 25.16-166 (Garry Hocking 40 possessions) thrashed NORTH 10.12-72 by 94pts … at home FOOTSCRAY 22.14-146 demoralised FITZROY 13.6-84 … on Sunday at the MCG, a score of 20.18-138 by MELBOURNE gave BRISBANE 6.13-49 an 89pt hiding and in Sydney the Swans succumbed to ST KILDA 24.11-155 (Stewart Loewe with 8.1 played an outstanding match for the Saints) to SYDNEY 17.16-118 ...

<||> 18th round focus – the big venue attractions drew a total of 207,354 despite four crowds under 16,000 ... Essendon leader KEVIN SHEEDY added further status to his already impressive career, recording his 300th game as coach of the Bombers – Friday was his 196th win ... only the legendary BOB PRATT (SM) has scored 100 goals quicker than Ablett – Pratt did it in the first 13 rounds of 1934 – Gary's 10.6 last Saturday was his 5th double-digit effort for the season ... Hawthorn's grip on the double-chance slips ... North slump to fourth, their lowest listing since R3 but with a bye next week have time to lick wounds and regain injured stars ... the Demons knocking on the door ... DERMOTT BRERETON (Haw) suffered a torn hamstring in the Twos, setting him an impossible task ... Blues captain STEPHEN KERNAHAN set to return after four weeks ... JIM STYNES (Mel) reported for wrestling in his 150th game – he was later cleared of the charge at Monday's Tribunal ... a striking charge against BRENDON GALE (Rch) was withdrawn ...

<||> RICHMOND and ST KILDA sign with cashless trading system BARTERCARD ...

<||> KEN GANNON promises imminent announcement of new Sydney board ...

<||> due to business pressures Richmond president NEVILLE CROW resigns.

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Leadership shocks
ROUND 19 – August 6-7-8 – The Swans on Friday night served warning “no one is safe” as the Harbour City boys pressured the Bombers in the last half. A 21pt MCG win confirmed the Red-and-Black had won their finals berth, ESSENDON 18.9-117, SYDNEY 13.18-96 (Minton-Connell 8.3) … on Saturday, the Blues struggled at the MCG well into the last term before shaking off the Tigers to gain a 23pt success – CARLTON 16.10-106 (the returning Kernahan 7.1), RICHMOND 12.11-83 … the Crows away-from-home credibility was destroyed as the Lions posted a well-deserved five-point victory at Princes Park – FITZROY 15.9-99, ADELAIDE 13.16-94 (Modra 7.2) throwing the Crows out of the Six … the Cats at Kardinia Park laid their Hawthorn bogey to rest when they thrashed a disorganised Glenferrie outfit who were decidedly mediocre, GEELONG 22.18-150 (Ablett 8.2), HAWTHORN 10.8-68 … the Magpies came back from a 35pt mid-game deficit for season-saving two-goal win over the Saints at the Park, COLLINGWOOD 10.20-80, ST KILDA 9.14-68 … on Sunday, the Eagles at the BCG appeared to cement its top Six place cruising to a 60pt win, WEST COAST 19.17-131, BRISBANE 10.11-71 …

<||> Focus — Essendon became the fifth club to head the ladder, in front of Carlton. An improving West Coast were up to third, North with the bye in at fourth, the vulnerable Hawks slump to sixth, the Crows on the outer at seventh, with the Cats and Demons clawing away in 8th and 9th places … GARY ABLETT passes 700 career goals … dumped after 266 senior games over 15 years, Hawthorn captain GARY AYRES was one of the best in the Twos … the former Fitzroy duo GARY PERT (Col) and RICHARD OSBORNE (Syd) play their 200th League games … TONY MODRA became the first ADELAIDE player to kick a hundred goals in a season … following recent top-dressing, the Waverley playing surface comes under fire again … CHRIS LEWIS (WCE) returning from suspension is booked again, for “unduly interfering with an umpire” in Brisbane; at Monday’s Tribunal. Lewis was outed a further three matches bringing doubt on his participation if the Eagles make the finals; Fitzroy forward DARREN WHEILDON was cleared of a wrestling charge … from video, DARREN STEELE (Gee) reported for striking John Platten (Haw) and outed for one match …

<||> MIKE SHEAHAN returned to Flinders Street in the Herald Sun pages on Wednesday August 11 …

<||> AFL signals likely overhaul of draft system to include preferential treatment to the three, possibly four bottom-placed clubs …

<||> GRAHAM CORNES appointed for another two years as coach of ADELAIDE …

<||> following the loss of co-tenant Fitzroy, CARLTON may play up to 14 games at Princes Park in 1994 …

<||> in a thought returning to the early days of the League at the start of this century, Essendon coach KEVIN SHEEDY proposed a top-eight round-robin of teams 1-3-5-7 and 2-4-6-8, each playing a “Final Four” series with the winners of both groups meeting in a Grand Final ...

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Saints upset the Blues
ROUND 20 – Aug. 13-14-15 – Sydney were far from disgraced in the Friday night SCG encounter which drew a paltry 8214 fans – the highlight, 8-goals to both full forwards, FITZROY 17.12-114 (Wheildon 8.1), SYDNEY 15.9-99 (Minton-Connell 8.3) … the Bombers DEREK KICKETT turned on something special for Saturday in the MCG wet – he kicked 8.3 which included a third-term goal-square “specky” captured by Trent Bouts in The Herald Sun – “like a whirling dervish with a death wish, he launched himself into a 360-degree aerial spin that produced the most spectacular chest mark you could ever hope to see” – the kick brought up Derek’s 7th goal – Kickett’s game even drew praise from the defeated Bulldog coach Terry Wheeler, ESSENDON 14.14-98, FOOTSCRAY 12.13-85 … the Saints bagged their first victory against the Blues at Princes Park for 29 years and it may prove a costly defeat with a slump from second to fourth, ST KILDA 11.18-84, CARLTON 10.17-77 … the Kangas on Sunday showed they were back on track with a booming first term against the Tigers sending MCG warning-signals for the forthcoming September action, NORTH 19.14-128, RICHMOND 11.18-84 … there were 41,988 rain-soaked Subiaco fans as the Eagles buried the Hawks in the mud-and-slush handing out the first string of triple-defeats to the Glenferrie boys since 1981, WEST COAST 10.7-67, HAWTHORN 6.9-45 … under lights at Football Park, 46,310 home-town fans watched the Crows thump the Demons by 59pts, ADELAIDE 13.27-105, MELBOURNE 6.10-46 …

<||> Footystats Focus — St Kilda wrote a new page in their history – for the first time in 97 years of League football, the Saints had beaten both Collingwood at Victoria Park and Carlton at Princes Park in the same season – Saturday’s win was the first over the Blues at Carlton since 1964 …

<||> BRIAN ROYAL (Fsc) in his 199th game ended sadly with a serious 2nd-quarter leg injury … Hawthorn in Perth kicked their lowest League score since R8 of 1956 … with their senior team on a bye, the Magpies tested returning players in Reserve (VSFL) Grade against the Hawks at the Park – a game which boasted three Norm Smith medalists, TONY SHAW (Col) plus GARY AYRES and PAUL DEAR of Hawthorn … although the Crows have won just one from six in Melbourne, they sneak back into the Six … Hawthorn on top two weeks ago are now sixth and need to win their next two for a finals berth … a booming finish predicted, which may go down to the wire with the Final Six not being decided until 8.30pm on Sunday August 29th …

<||> BILL SWAN reached 302 games in the VFA passing the 300 record of FRED COOK – Swan after a long career with Port and Williamstown was named best as the Seagulls were pipped by a point in his record-breaker at Fort Gellibrand, retiring a week later ...

<||> Published figures revealed the MCC paid interest of $12.9m (44% of its income) to service loan commitments to the $147m Great Southern Stand in the 12 months ending March 31 …

<||> Hawthorn’s champion forward JASON DUNSTALL turned down a $1.5m offer to transfer to BRISBANE …

<||> JON DOROTICH a 1987 premiership player for Carlton may have played his last game following a hefty four-week suspension …

<||> after disappointing seasons, BARRY MITCHELL (the Million-Dollar Man) expresses doubts on continuing at Vic Park in 1994, as DERMOTT BRERETON suggests he may have to leave Hawthorn to continue his senior career – at a book launch The Kid was critical of Hawk match committee decisions. Two days later Hawthorn hit Brereton with a hefty 29th birthday present of a fine ($12,500 was rumoured) for breaching club solidarity – GARY AYRES was recalled to the seniors and Dermie was selected at full-forward in the Twos …

<||> tickets for the August 29 Crows match against Collingwood sold out in six minutes in Adelaide …

<||> over 900 draft applications swamped the AFL offices …

<||> AFL Commissioners approved sponsor logos on the backs of guernseys but Carlton declare they will resist the temptation of the dollar “at this time” – logos no greater than 30cm x 8cm will be worn below the players number …

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Top six is wide open
ROUND 21 – August 21-22 – The second-last round was a drama-packed 48-hours as fortunes rose, fell or stayed in limbo … another mighty 84,054 ($316,535.70) on Saturday revelled in the clash of the AFL’s perennial heavyweights – the first-half was a tense and furious contest then the heavens opened, after which the Blues were simply sensational kicking 9.9 to 1.5 going to a 54pt victory, CARLTON 17.15-117 (Kernahan 7.5), COLLINGWOOD 8.15-63 … at Waverley, following three losses the Hawks played direct footy (8.6 to 0.1 in the first) had numbers at the ball and tackled with ferocity handing the Crows their sixth successive Melbourne defeat, HAWTHORN 17.13-115 (Dunstall 8.1), ADELAIDE 13.10-88 (Modra 5.1) … in their second ‘farewell’ to Princes Park (6185, $7906.40) the Lions gave a devastating display against the Bears who were lamentable for the first three quarters (20.13 to 1.5) in a match marred by a high injury toll and two reports, FITZROY 22.15-147 (Lynch 7.4), BRISBANE 5.13-43 … continuing their last-gasp charge, the Cats at Kardinia Park seized the last-half as an amazing run of injuries took their toll on the Bombers who ended with 15 fit men resulting in another earnest call from Kevin Sheedy for an increase of the bench, GEELONG 19.12-126, ESSENDON 14.10-94 … the Western Oval again proved a graveyard for the Eagles as an inspired Bulldog combination added 11.5 to just 3.3 in the last two terms for a 42pt upset, FOOTSCRAY 14.10-94, WEST COAST 7.10-52 … the two Sunday matches were runaway wins for both the Kangas and the Demons – in Sydney, with a 10-goal second quarter, North went back to top place with a 62pt success, NORTH 25.10-160, SYDNEY 14.14-98 – while at the MCG, MELBOURNE 26.19-175 (Jakovich 8.5, Lovell 8.0) recorded their biggest win of the year and their greatest-ever by 121pts over RICHMOND 8.6-54 – it was the Tigers ninth successive loss, equalling bad days of 1912 and 1953, but behind the 12 losses of 1989-90 and 14 in 1961-62 …

<||> Focus – all Top Six places are up for grabs heading into the last round with the Bombers on the bye – NORTH 52, ESSENDON 54, CARLTON 50, WEST COAST 48, HAWTHORN 48 and ADELAIDE 44 fill places now, but GEELONG 44 and COLLINGWOOD 44 are still contenders; all must wait the climactic weekend … JASON DUNSTALL collects his fourth ton – 132, 138, 145 and 107+ …

<||> DARREN WHEILDON (Fit) dropped, on disciplinary grounds for not showing for a GTV-9 engagement … DERMOTT BRERETON (Haw) in only his sixth outing for the season kicked 5.4 in the Twos … the Bulldogs gathered motivation for their assault on the Eagles – sitting in the stand after mid-week surgery was BRIAN ROYAL who would have celebrated his 200th that day – Royal on crutches entered the victory arena embraced by his teammates … JOHN BLAKEY (NM) played his 150th … the Kangas made it 7 in-a-row, their all-time best over the Swans … of interest, the victory by the Demons over Richmond was the League’s first by a margin of 121pts …

<||> COLLINGWOOD in their newsletter signal intention to move major games next year to the MCG …

<||> Princes Park will accelerate Rugby League’s move into Melbourne if plans are confirmed for BALMAIN to play three matches there in 1994 …

<||> after 24 seasons the 1981 Brownlow Medalist BARRY ROUND bowed out of senior footy when he announced his retirement as coach of Williamstown …

<||> Tribunal – TIM McGRATH (Gee) pleaded guilty from his 52nd game and was suspended two matches for striking James Hird (Ess); PETER WILSON (WCE) cleared of striking; ALASTAIR LYNCH (Fit) was found not guilty of misconduct (head-butting); a charge against Brisbane captain ROGER MERRETT for striking was withdrawn; DAMIEN MONKHORST (Col) cleared of a video trip charge …

<||> three umpires mooted for all next year’s FOSTER’S CUP pre-season matches …

<||> AFL Commissioners flew to ADELAIDE for talks on the split of Football Park gate receipts of which some visiting Melbourne clubs receive as little of $2000 from some 45,000 gates – the Crows, fast-becoming a wealthy club enjoy 23,000 members plus 18,000 Football Park card holders, leaving just 5,000 for the general public …

<||> the Cats preparation for its crucial test in Perth was frustrated when they were denied permission to train on the WACA – revealed later as being brought about by pressure from the West Coast club …

<||> NATHAN BUCKLEY expected to resign from the Bears as ROGER MERRETT signifies he will continue another season …

<||> the Eagles premiership player KARL LANGDON after only one senior game (R12 v NM) because of groin, wrist, knee, back and foot injuries, is injured again in a WAFL match …

<||> MICK SINNI (Prahran) with 19 votes wins VFA LISTON MEDAL from DAVID KING (Port Melb), PETER WILLIAMS (Frankston) and SIMON CLARK (Springvale) on 15 …

<||> Herald Sun readers rated their favourite HSV-7 callers and experts in the order of – BRUCE McAVANEY (most popular), Sandy Roberts, Ian Robertson, Drew Morphett, Dennis Commetti, Peter McKenna, Peter Landy; the experts rated as GERARD HEALY, Ross Glendinning, Bernie Quinlan and Don Scott …

<||> Footscray captain DOUG HAWKINS (308 games) will play on into 1994 but the Bulldog farewell was given to GLEN COLEMAN, BERNARD TOOHEY, PETER FOSTER and BRIAN ROYAL …

<||> the Swans DAVID MURPHY to call it a day after the Carlton match, on 156 League games, just past his 31st birthday …

<||> August in Melbourne was the second-warmest (after 1982) since records began in 1856 …

<||> AFL announces special concessions for bottom strugglers Sydney, Brisbane and Richmond in the October and March drafts …

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Hawks make 12th-straight finals series
Crows make the six

ROUND 22 – August 27-28-29 – Surrounded by excitement and anticipation not seen since 1987, a packed WACA of 32,121 on Friday night saw the Cats extend a remarkable resurgence with successive wins over Collingwood, North, Hawthorn, Essendon and then the Eagles as the Corio Bay boys came from a 9-point deficit to be 20pt winners, GEELONG 17.14-116 (Ablett 5.5, Stoneham 4.2), WEST COAST 14.12-96 – the in-form John Barnes made 36 hit-outs, 21 possessions and 7 marks; the HSV-7 Melbourne telecast of the Perth encounter rated 36.5 or 719,000 people … the Scraggers continued to shape the Six when they upstaged North at the MCG on Saturday – the Kangas lost JOHN LONGMIRE for the rest of the season with a knee injury just 17-minutes in, the Dogs then exposed the soft North backline as the decisive drive which had kept Arden Street on top of the ladder for 12 rounds deserted them, SCRAY 20.15-135, NORTH 18.15-123 … the Saints at the Park ended with 10+10, the Tigers also ended with 10, but it was a string of ten successive losses in a disheartening year, ST KILDA 18.17-125, RICHMOND 12.10-82 …

<||> a delayed flight had the Swans arriving at Princes Park at 1.20pm – most felt they should not have made the effort. But it was a far-different story a minute from the final siren as the Blues with Bradley’s 3rd goal managed to level the scores; inside the last half-minute a young Swans defender (Gavin McMahon) with a mongrel punt put the ball out on-the-full for the Swans ninth time in the game – the free kick went to ROHAN WELSH who gained only a behind but it was enough to yield second place and the double-chance for CARLTON 16.15-111, SYDNEY 16.14-110 … expectations were still high when the first of the three Sunday games started – at the BCG where the Bears in the early part made it a contest but after a heavy clash between ROGER MERRETT (Bri) and DARREN PRITCHARD (Haw) (who was stretchered and hospitalised with concussion) then JASON DUNSTALL’s 900th League goal, the Hawks powered away to win 24.19-163 (Dunstall 10.3) to 15.16-106 … at the MCG, FITZROY 14.14-98 survived a late surge to down MELBOURNE 11.9-75 … the Six was still not set when the Maggies and Crows started at 4.08pm to the biggest (48,522) AFL Football Park crowd. The Woods stormed away and mid-way thru the second led by 33pts; then without warning the Crows clicked and did so for the rest of the match, adding 18.15 to 10.8 and run out 24pt winners to earn their place in the Six, ADELAIDE 19.21-135, COLLINGWOOD 17.9-111 …

<||> The Six – ESSENDON, CARLTON, NORTH, HAWTHORN, ADELAIDE, WEST COAST was described as “possibly the softest six in finals history” with Adelaide recording only two wins from their last dozen in Melbourne (both over Richmond) … HAWTHORN made history for its 12th successive finals, with the Hawks and the Eagles the only two to carry through from 1992 as the Blues enter the race for the first time in five years … GARY ABLETT (Gee) with 124 goals won the John Coleman Medal from TONY MODRA (Ade) 119 and JASON DUNSTALL (Haw) 117 … GARRY HOCKING (Gee) won The Sunday Age award from Glenn Lovett (Mel) … the last survivor from the 1987 Brisbane debut team MATTHEW CAMPBELL retired after 76 League matches … WAYNE CAREY (NM) wins the ABC Radio Award … rover DEAN WATSON (Southern Stingrays) wins the MORRISH MEDAL in the VSFL Under 18’s comp … 1992 premier coach MICHAEL MALTHOUSE signed by West Coast thru to 1996 …

Tribunal – ROGER MERRETT (Bri) was found guilty of charging Darren Pritchard (Haw) and outed for four matches – it was Merrett’s fifth suspension (total 12 weeks) of his 253-games with Essendon and Brisbane … PETER WILSON (WCE) was fined $1000 after pleading guilty of using insulting language to umpire Darren Goldspink … three players were booked from video – DEAN LAIDLEY (NM) was found guilty of head-butting Tony Liberatore (Fsc) and suspended for two weeks; DARREN WHEILDON (Fit) was fined $750 for shaking a goal post; CHRIS GRANT (Fsc) was cleared of striking … DAMIEN MONKHORST (Col) was outed two matches for striking Nigel Smart (Ade) …

<||> Sidelined for the last six matches after suffering a back injury against Adelaide (R15), TONY LOCKETT (842 goals, 173 games) tipped to sign a contract extension beyond 1994 ensuring he will end his career with the Saints ...

<||> PETER HUDSON farewells the Saints after four years, returning to HAWTHORN for marketing activities and being groomed to take over from Hawks CEO John Lauritz …

<||> as KEVIN RYAN bows out, former Essendon and AFL officer BARRY CAPUANO was appointed acting g.m of FITZROY …

<||> the AFL tipped to extend the 1994 season by trimming the pre-season Foster’s Cup and by-passing the week-long State of Origin concept. The Australian Medical Journal reveals research showing a significant increase of severe injuries over the past eight years, foreshadowing AFL approval of an increase to three on the inter-change bench. The AMA findings were linked with a strong push for a reduction to 20-minute long quarters plus added time …
Ladder after Round 22
W L D F A % Total M/R
1 ESSENDON 13 6 1 2333 1959 119.1 54 67.5
2 CARLTON 13 6 1 2315 1968 117.6 54 67.5
3 NORTH MELB 13 7 2597 2150 120.8 52 65.0
4 HAWTHORN 13 7 2166 1858 116.6 52 65.0
5 ADELAIDE 12 8 2168 1840 117.8 48 60.0
6 WEST COAST 12 8 1912 1651 115.8 48 60.0
7 Geelong 12 8 2354 2109 111.6 48 60.0
8 Collingwood 11 9 2086 2060 101.3 44 55.0
9 Footscray 11 9 1978 1997 99.0 44 55.0
10 Melbourne 10 10 2101 1873 112.2 40 50.0
11 Fitzroy 10 10 2001 2011 99.5 40 50.0
12 St Kilda 10 10 2040 2166 94.2 40 50.0
13 Brisbane 4 16 1886 2504 75.3 16 20.0
14 Richmond 4 16 1753 2480 70.7 16 20.0
15 Sydney 1 19 1837 2901 63.3 4 5.0

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The Finals
McFooty arrives
Hawthorn & Kangaroos fail

Saturday-Sunday, September 4-5 – The food-chain logo of McDonald’s Family Restaurants – a golden ‘M’ – found its place in football, on the Tom Sherrin balls.

<||> Fine and clear weather greeted the first finals – at Waverley on Saturday, whether it was the smallest peace-time crowd since 1910 or the least number to see a League final since 1944, it was a sparse 29,147 who watched the Kangas 7-week horror stretch (which had started in Brisbane in July) end swiftly as the defending premiers West Coast produced a workmanlike display. The Eagles demolition was statistically confirmed with 361 to 279 possessions and a scoreboard of 17.18-120 to NORTH 11.3-69. In a match lacking the intensity of a final, the Kangas suffered key injuries to captain Wayne Carey and Anthony Rock …

<||> Under the MCG lights, the first League night final (which was not greeted kindly in some quarters) produced a terrific contest of fluctuating fortunes – first the Blues then the Bombers seemed certain winners but each clawed their way back with a last kick goal to TIM WATSON (Ess) ending the heart-stopper for 79,139 fans – CARLTON 15.10-100, ESSENDON 14.14-98 – savaged by injury as Tom Hafey of 3LO observed, the boys from Windy Hill were a far-cry from their ‘Baby-Bombers’ tag of the season with four players in their 30’s and just one teenager in MARK MERCURI …

<||> On a sunny Sunday, 55,287 at the MCG saw the Crows make history, winning their first AFL final – it was a tense struggle, locked at quarter-time, seven points at the long break, just 15 on the final changeover, the Hawks struck back and led with only 10-minutes remaining but spurred on by the estimated 20,000 who had made the trek, the Croweaters fought back to charge away for a 15-point victory in which MATTHEW LIPTAK was a vital contributor, ADELAIDE 16.14-110, HAWTHORN 13.17-95 …

<||> JASON DUNSTALL kicked six goals for Hawthorn, ending with 123 for the year and 910 career goals … Adelaide’s TONY MODRA with two goals has 121, just three away from GARY ABLETT with at least two games in hand or possibly more as the Diary had said in April – “as the Crows telegraphed the much-feared possibility of a non-Victorian Grand Final …

<||> Tribunal – ANTHONY CONDON (Haw) was suspended for three matches, being found guilty of striking SCOTT LEE (Ade); DARREN JARMAN (Haw) was cleared of a striking charge …

<||> The Hawthorn board with an early departure from the finals advanced their review of the season … a daunting task facing Crows coach GRAHAM CORNES of how to keep the lid on local hype as the Adelaide Advertiser editorial expressed – “This is the spirit of South Australia. This is getting together, getting down to it and doing it the hard way – this is the team with the right stuff – this is SA going its hardest – SA is on a roll” ...

<||> NATHAN BUCKLEY (Bri) was seen enjoying the Victorian climate, being courted by several clubs on winning the $10,000 NORWICH RISING STAR award ...

<||>TED WHITFIELD the South Melbourne wingman (54 games 1939-45) who was suspended the entire 1946 season after the infamous VFL ‘bloodbath’ grand final against Carlton, passed away at the age of 72. Ted’s exploits at Princes Park on September 29 1945 etched his name in footy folk-lore and included, pulling his jumper over his head so a goal umpire couldn’t report him, abusive language, attempting to strike a goal umpire and misconduct in that he deliberately kicked the ball away after a taking a mark …

<||> WEST COAST blocked out a McDonald’s logo on training balls at their high-profile mid-week training session at Subiaco Oval; the Eagles are sponsored by Big Mac rivals, HUNGRY JACKS …

<||> LEON DAPHNE the md of Nissan Australia is named new president of RICHMOND …

<||> clubs commenced pruning of lists in preparation of the draft …

<||> Melbourne received as much rain in the first nine days of September as normal for an entire month …

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Ken Sheldon sacked
St Kilda’ longest-serving coach (after Allan Jeans) KEN SHELDON was sacked by the recently revamped Board on Sept 8th. Sheldon in his four seasons took the club to the finals in 1991 (5th) and 1992 (4th) and although only two games (10+10) from the Six, finished a disappointing 12th in 1993. He was the fourth senior Saints official to be either sacked, moved sideways or resign in recent months, following chairman Travis Payze, CEO Rick Watt and more recently Sheldon’s strongest ally, match committee member Peter Hudson who returned to the Hawks … Sheldon’s St Kilda record in 80 matches (1990-93) was 49 wins, 39 losses and one tie; he was the Saints seventh coach in 17 years.

Hawks dump Alan Joyce
24-hours after Sheldon’s departure, ALAN JOYCE the coach with a 72% success rate (67+26 from 93) – two day flags and three Foster’s Cup trophies from just four seasons, was outed by HAWTHORN. President TREVOR COOTE when making the media announcement said “I don’t think it’s a matter of (Alan) doing something wrong – but we feel perhaps the philosophies and the methods won’t be right for the next stage of our club’s development” … Joyce at his Thursday press conference departed Glenferrie with dignity, loyal to his club.

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Dons out Eagles; Second-chance Crows
Saturday-Sunday, September 10-11 – In a tight, scrappy contests, CARLTON overcame a tardy start (the Blues first goal came from Brett Heaver in the 19th minute) to flex its muscles during a three-goal to nothing second quarter and took control over ADELAIDE as Craig Bradley kicked five second-half goals in the Second Semi-Final played at Waverley on Saturday to 59,233.

It could be said the Crows kicked themselves out of the game in the windy conditions finishing with 8.20, but it would be unfair to a superb Carlton defence led by STEPHEN SILVAGNI who was the master over the high-profile SA spearhead TONY MODRA (2.1), MILHAM HANNA who shut out NIGEL SMART and ANDREW McKAY who was a top performer.

The Blues advanced to their first playoff since 1987 with a slogging 18-point win, 13.8-86 to ADELAIDE 8.20-68 ...

On Sunday at the MCG, rainy periods were served to 75,453 fans for the First Semi-Final. 1993 minor premiers ESSENDON beset by injuries as the critical stage of the season displayed dash, ferocity and a sense of youthful enthusiasm when they exposed the lack of depth in the line-up of defending premier WEST COAST.

The Eagles lack of scoring power (they had the fourth lowest points-tally of the year) was painfully evident and they paid the penalty in selecting players still carrying injuries. For the Bombers, JOE MISITI, a teenager playing his first final was BOG and their on-target forwards built a commanding 32pt half-time lead which the Sandgropers were never able to challenge, ESSENDON 16.12-108, WEST COAST 11.10-76.

<||> A transmitter glitch before the First Semi bounce on Sunday silenced 3LO commentators for more than two hours; 3AW and K-Rock calls were unaffected …

<||> MIKE SHEAHAN as the nation’s premier writer won the AFMA’s award for the fourth successive year …

<||> Tribunal – cited from video WAYNE WEIDEMANN (Ade) was found not guilty of kneeing Justin Madden (Car) …

<||> Collingwood player GRAEME WRIGHT was hospitalised in Melbourne with a virus affecting his nervous system later identified as the rare Guillain-Barre syndrome …

<||> TREVOR COOTE, Hawk prez since 1988 announces he will quit …

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Bombers gutsy comeback
Saturday, September 18 – The Preliminary to 76,380 fans at the MCG was one of the all-time great finals. Adelaide, the newcomers were superb in the first half with ruck SHAUN REHN playing a standout, and TONY MODRA with 5 goals – the Crows at half-time led 12.12 against a disorganised Bomber outfit 6.6. Parallels were swiftly drawn against the 1970 Grand Final as Essendon inspired by exciting second halves from DARREN BEWICK, rover SEAN DENHAM and midfielder MICHAEL LONG (who was explosive all day) staged one of the great comebacks. Levelling six minutes into the last with Berwick’s 6th goal then the Dons took the lead five minutes later thru GARY O’DONNELL. Continuing to beat Father Time, the veteran TIM WATSON sealed it with the Bombers 11th goal since half-time (11.3 to 2.4) for an amazing 42pt turn-around. It was classic stuff and should be put in a time capsule, ESSENDON 17.9-111 (Bewick 6.1), ADELAIDE 14.16-100 (Modra 6.1) …

<||> GARY ABLETT (Gee) was presented with the Coleman Medal at the Prelim for his 124 goals in the minor series. TONY MODRA (Ade) however passed that total and finished with 129 goals …

<||> WERRIBEE 10.10-70 won its first VFA flag, strangling PORT MELBOURNE 4.4-28 to a slim 14,389 fans at Carlton; on-field brawls involving both players and spectators marred the day for the Association … on Monday, Borough coach DAMIEN DRUM joined Sydney as assistant to Ron Barassi …

<||> STAN ALVES the former Melbourne captain and Kanga premiership player was named the 33rd coach of ST KILDA …

<||> NATHAN BUCKLEY settles to play with Collingwood for a three-year deal reportedly worth $600,000 …

<||> the Crows still licking their wounded-pride, declined the offer of an Adelaide ticker-tape parade …

<||> GAVIN WANGANEEN (Ess) with 18 votes won the BROWNLOW MEDAL from GREG WILLIAMS (Car) and GARRY HOCKING (Gee) with 17, ahead of WAYNE CAREY (NM) and JASON DUNSTALL (Haw) on 16. Next with 14 were NATHAN BUCKLEY (Bri), LEON CAMERON (Fsc) and WAYNE SCHWASS (NM). The Bombers 20-year old Aboriginal star was one of the youngest winners and a fitting result in the Year of the Indigenous People …

<||> An aftermath of the Brownlow Count questioned why the one-vote loser GREG WILLIAMS (Car) was not recognised in R10 versus Melbourne when he had 44 possessions – Geelong's GARRY HOCKING was ineligible having a prior suspension in the year …

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The Grand Final
Bombers gutsy comeback

Saturday, September 25 – It was near perfect for the big day, 18, blue skies, and an MCG crowd of 96,862 who witnessed one of the most complete Premiership victories, as ESSENDON shattered CARLTON by 44pts to win their 15th League title since 1897.

The Bombers swept all before them with a thunderous opening and their confidence (even arrogance) continued to brutally expose the much-vaunted Blues. The Dons led by 61pts in the third term as the designated “Baby Bombers” (eight players were 18-20) proved they were professionally experienced campaigners.

It focussed the generalship of coach KEVIN SHEEDY who won his third flag with Essendon – they were the first team since 1977 to be premiers from the First Semi-Final … adding to the club’s success of an earlier Foster’s Cup and the Brownlow, black midfielder MICHAEL LONG gave a magical display to win the NORM SMITH MEDAL, well-supported by an amazingly committed side … Carlton’s one shining light was captain STEPHEN KERNAHAN who kicked 7.4 – ESSENDON 20.13-133, CARLTON 13.11-89 – it was the Blues heaviest defeat of the season.

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Footystats Diary
1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006


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