Footystats Diary, footy's best kept secret, 1994 Review
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1994 Review
October 1993 to September 1994


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September 27-30, 1993

<||> Deeply upset at being dumped by Essendon for the Grand Final, DEREK KICKETT after 23 successive games and 38 goals in the lead up, failed to appear on the big day, nor for any of the following celebrations ...

<||> anything between 10-15,000 supporters (at $5 a throw) turned out to Windy Hill on Sunday to cheer their winning stars ...

<||> BRETT CHALMERS fined $30,000 in June for hindering last year's draft setting himself for the Crows ...

<||> new Hawk president GEOFF LORD refused to comment on report his club which lost $430,925 last year is tipped for a further $500,000 deficit ...

<||> Tribunal – video scrutiny from the Grand Final brought citings against SEAN DENHAM (Ess) (guilty, two matches plus Foster's Cup series) and STEPHEN SILVAGNI (Car) cleared, adding to MARK ATHORN (Car) charge not sustained and STEPHEN KERNAHAN (Car) guilty of striking Chris Daniher (Ess) received one match plus Foster's Cup and a private reprimand from tribunal chairman NEIL BUSSE ...

<||> at MELBOURNE, two retire, DARREN BENNETT and ANDY GOODWIN as doubts are raised on GREG HEALY; GRAEME YEATS was told he is no longer required ...

<||> Footscray full-back TONY CAMPBELL (the man with the gloves) quits the Bulldogs to make a tilt to America's NFL ...

<||> cash-strapped FITZROY still owing the League $250,000 (overdue 5-months and now guaranteed by Footscray) were refused a continuing bank guarantee on a further needed $200,000; hours after, the story was leaked to the press causing a furious Fitzroy chairman DYSON HORE-LACY to accuse AFL personnel in a strongly worded letter to ROSS OAKLEY ...

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OCTOBER 1993

Knights returns on Hawks three-man panel
<||> As rumors of player dissent over pay cuts were raised at Glenferrie it was possible the new team of PETER KNIGHTS (full-time coach), JOHN KENNEDY JNR (assistant) and BARRY ROWLINGS (Reserves) may need all of their 600-odd senior game experience; Knights a former Brisbane coach was more recently at Devonport where the NTFL wooden spooners failed to renew his contract ...

<||> North sign coach DENIS PAGAN thru 1997 ...

<||> the Saints expected to finish $280,000 in the red ...

<||> 42,719 saw WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS win their first SANFL flag when they crushed Norwood, 17.20-122 to 7.7-49 ...

<||> TOOHEYS, rival brewer to the AFL's long-term benefactor and major sponsor CUB, signs on the MELBOURNE club in a five-year, $2m deal ...

<||> KEN SHELDON joins SOUTH ADELAIDE as coach ...

<||> the Nine Network ink Rugby League telecasts until 2000 for an estimated $70m ...

<||> AFL sues Tooheys Brewing for publishing and distributing posters of AFL players in Inside Football ...

<||> GEELONG clinch two-year sponsor deal with Telecom worth $100,000 ...

<||> AFL agree to set up non-smoking areas at Waverley after threat of legal action ...

<||> COLLINGWOOD seeks support of its members to schedule seven 'home' matches each year to the MCG ...

<||> West Coast gm BRIAN COOK revealed the Eagles did not receive a cent in gate receipts from five 1993 away games – Melbourne (MCG), Sydney (SCG), Richmond (PP), Brisbane (BCG) and Footscray (WO) ...

<||> TONY HALL, DERMOTT BRERETON, GREG DEAR and JAMES MORRISSEY refuse new contracts with Hawthorn ...

<||> Brereton on the eve of his marriage to TV hostess Antonia Player had long but inconclusive talks in Sydney as well as being courted by Footscray ...

<||> after 16 years (269 games) with the Hawks, former captain and dual Norm Smith medalist GARY AYRES quits as the Glenferrie walkout continues ...

<||> Just 20 days after the Grand Final, the rumor-mill was an active pastime mid-October. For posterity, we record the following published predictions –

Gary Ayres (Haw) to VFA
David Bain (Bri) to St Kilda
Andrew Bews (Gee) to Sydney
Dermott Brereton (Haw) to Sydney
Greg Dear (Haw) to Richmond
Jon Dorotich (Car) to Richmond
Brett Chalmers (Col) to Adelaide
Darren Cuthbertson (Mel) to Richmond
Andrew Gowers (Haw) to Richmond
Tony Hall (Haw) to Adelaide
Scott Hodges (Ade) to Brisbane
Dean Irving (WCE) to North Melbourne
Craig Lambert (Rch) to Geelong
Troy Lehman (Col) to Brisbane
Dale Lewis (Syd) to Carlton
Alastair Lynch (Fit) to Bri or Syd or Car
Barry Mitchell (Col) to North Melbourne
Craig Starcevich (Col) to Brisbane
Steven Stretch (Mel) to Richmond
David Strooper (Syd) to anywhere
Craig Turley (WCE) to Hawthorn
Nicky Winmar (StK) to Carlton

<||> Activity aplenty as Friday October 29 draft date nears, which HSV-7 will live-telecast ... 

<||> Glenferrie deficit blowout may reach $800,000 as Hawk president GEOFF LORD frankly admits - ‘there's been some overspending and I guess that's resulted in the financial situation you see’ ...

<||> ALASTAIR LYNCH confirms a huge deal, transferring to Brisbane, landing a body-blow to the troubled Maroons who threaten legal action ...

<||> Essendon's TIM WATSON on 298 games to play on into '94 ...

<||> Hawks wingman ANDREW GOWERS signs a one-year deal ...

<||> list trimming before the draft cut 220 players, 87 who played senior football last year; Sydney was the busiest, cutting 22; the Bombers chopped the disgruntled Derek Kickett ...

<||> further pre-draft trading in exchange for picks, RICHARD OSBORNE after 15 games with Sydney signs with FOOTSCRAY; BARRY MITCHELL (Col) to Carlton; TROY LEHMANN and CRAIG STARCEVICH from the Magpies to the Bears (in exchange for Buckley); ROBERT WEST (WCE) to Footscray; PAUL RIDLEY (Col) to Melbourne ...

<||> in one of the surprise trading deals Richmond captain JEFF HOGG was traded to Fitzroy in exchange for MATTHEW DUNDAS, MICHAEL GALE and PAUL BRODERICK moving to Punt Road ...

<||> GARY AYRES joined Geelong as Assistant Coach bringing to five Hawthorn premiership players in support roles - Terry Wallace (Fsc), Peter Russo (Mel), Rodney Eade (NM), Peter Schwab (Rch) and John Kennedy (Haw) ...

<||> RAY YOUNG, who earned the nickname “Mr Statsman” as head of APB Sports Consultants died of a massive heart attack on October 28 aged 58 ...


<||> Balmain set to play three Rugby League games at Princes Park on April 23, May  21 and July 9. NSWRL announce NSW v Queensland State-of-Origin will be played at the MCG on Wednesday June 8.

<||> The AFL sprang a major surprise naming IAN COLLINS its GM of football operations beginning November 29; the 51 year-old Collins as Carlton's CEO the past 12 years was often a harsh critic of the Commission ... one scribe dubbed the National Draft ‘footy's “Young Talent Time”’ when from 1106 nominations, 66 players were chosen with the VSFL providing 31 players, SA 13, Vic Country 5, WA 6, VFA 2, NSW 2, Vic schools 2, Tas. 1 with only four recycled AFL players. Number one choice was 17-year-old DARREN GASPER from South Fremantle who starred in the WAFL finals. Gasper was chosen by the Swans. In their 10-pick luxury of priority and exchange, Sydney gathered seven 17-year-olds drafted from three states, two aged 18 and the 25-year-old MARK HEPBURN the former ruckman from the Eagles and North. Sydney were expected to eye-ball DERMOTT BRERETON as their first choice in March ...

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NOVEMBER 1993

Optus & Telecom book their AFL numbers

<||> Magpie social club support for move of major matches to the MCG running at 80% ...

<||> FITZROY collect $124,000 from SCHWEPPES COTTEE's in unique 8-week sponsorship deal on product sale of SOLO soft-drink ...

<||> CARLTON promoted football manager (since 1982) STEPHEN GOUGH to CEO replacing new AFL gm IAN COLLINS ...

<||> one of footy's hottest properties NATHAN BUCKLEY arrived at Vic Park ...

<||> Princes Park officially became OPTUS OVAL as CARLTON plugged into a deal reported to be for $3.5m over five years with the communications company who only 24-hours later linked themselves for another $250,000 per annum over three years with WEST COAST as second-level Eagle sponsors behind the SGIO and Hungry Jack's – meanwhile TELECOM lined-up their long-term connection with the ADELAIDE CROWS ...

<||> The Eagles telegraphed news which will squeeze visiting clubs to bag a profit from Subiaco in 1994 as a 12-month $11m upgrade will reduce capacity at best to 31,000 ...

<||> former League players head for the bush as PETER FOSTER (Fsc) is named coach at Yarrawonga; ALAN EZARD (Ess) to North Ballarat; PETER BANFIELD (Ess-Bri) at Ainslie and SIMON EISHOLD (Mel-Rch) for Echuca ...

<||> the long-running feud over Vic Park land was finally(?) won by the COLLINGWOOD club when the full Victorian Supreme Court ruled in favour of forcing the Council to sell the land to the Magpies; the council were ordered to pay costs running into tens of thousands, clubs costs were said to be $40,000; the disputed land at the corner of Lulie and Abbott streets makes up 6% of Vic Park ...

<||> the TRANSPORT ACCIDENT COMMISSION replaced Nubrick as the major sponsor of ESSENDON ...

<||> TONY ELSHAUG (Mel-Ess-Col) is named full-time development coach at NORTH ...

<||> standard AFL admission charges may become a thing of the past as a $2.00 surcharge is suggested for all MCG matches to meet spiralling costs at the premier venue ...

<||> the VCA agrees for the League Grand Final to be held on October 1st in 1994 ...

<||> DERMOTT BRERETON signals he will move to Sydney in January ...

<||> Fitzroy were left in limbo when its banker, WESTPAC refused the club credit unless the AFL would guarantee their overdraft, payable on demand. The League declined, instead promising to meet the obligation to Westpac (not including interest) in October 1994 as part of its yearly distribution to all clubs. The Lions had 10 days to find funds otherwise it would have either folded or been forced into a merger.

A Melbourne-based businessman emerged who told Fitzroy and AFL officials he wished to remain anonymous, who agreed to lend the embattled Lions $750,000. On Monday November 22 the AFL accepted the arrangement ...

<||> early odds for the flag, 4-1 Essendon; 5-1 Adelaide, West Coast; 6-1 Geelong; 7-1 Collingwood; 12-1 Carlton, North Melb, St Kilda, Hawthorn; 16-1 Footscray, Melbourne; 66-1 Fitzroy; 200-1 Richmond; 500-1 Brisbane, Sydney ...

<||> RAY STEELE, 76, remembered to everyone as a gentleman died from cancer. Steele who was a cricket luminary also played 43 games with Richmond (1940-43) ...

<||> DAVID CLOKE former Tiger and Magpie ruckman (1974-89) was appointed coach of Port Melb ...

<||> the new season salary cap for each club was lifted $100,000 to $1.85m ... BRIAN ROYAL (Fsc) to coach Leongatha ...

<||> significantly, in its publication of the new League draw The Age listed the Royal Parade matches for “Princes Park” ...

<||> BERNIE AHERN described as ‘58, shy and mega-rich’ was revealed as Fitzroy's 11th-hour benefactor ...

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Wide-ranging changes announced
20-minute quarters – three interchange


Almost four weeks later than usual, the much-delayed draw for 1994 was released on Friday November 26th. Delays had been due to the uncertainty of Fitzroy's future, and other factors included the curious repositioning of North Melbourne as finishing in sixth place, below Hawthorn – an important point as the 15-club draw had been ‘weighted’ in three groups of 1-5, 6-10 and 11-15 with bottom placed clubs mostly meeting the leaders of 1993 only once in the new season.

The most dramatic change was the reduction of quarters to 20-minutes plus added time thus ending the traditional “100 minutes of football” (trimming the length of a game between five and seven minutes) and the introduction of a third interchange player.

The duration of playing time at 25 minutes of four quarters had been a 107-year-old tradition decided upon at the Inter-Colonial Football Conference held in Melbourne on November 4-5, 1885.

1993 research had discovered about 12 minutes playing time each match was lost at boundary throw-ins and scores; average time lost per score was 5.84 seconds and the average number of scoring shots per game was 56; more than six minutes playing time was lost at boundary throw-ins and five-and-a-half minutes after a score had been made; the average length of time-on per game in 1993 was 21 minutes.

Other highlights of the draw included - the opening on Sat-Sun March 26-27 for 24 rounds with two byes each; Foster's Cup pre-season (including Monday night games) shortened by two weeks; four Sunday matches for Princes Park; a significant reduction in the number of times teams have only a five-day break; Collingwood listed for seven home matches at the MCG; other MCG tenants to play two home games at Princes Park (the exception being the Melbourne club); Adelaide drawn for no MCG games; no State-of-Origin in Melbourne; Carlton, Collingwood and Essendon to meet each other twice.

Critics as usual focussed on the fact Fitzroy would travel widely again with Lions pres DYSON HORE-LACY quoted – “Nothing's changed very much. Since 1987 we have played 27 out of a possible 28 interstate matches”.

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DECEMBER 1993

Seven Network sign AFL rights until 1998

<||> The League confirmed the agreement reached with the Channel Seven Network for television rights to all AFL matches and special events until the end of the 1998 season for an estimated $80m. AFL CEO Ross Oakley when announcing the arrangement expressed the commitment both the League and network would work toward in building viewing audiences in Queensland and NSW - “we regard those two areas as fundamental to our new contract and continuing long-term partnership”. Channel 7 devoted 384 hours in 1993 to telecasting 145 matches including the Grand Final which attracted 1.3m viewers in Victoria ...

<||> the Eagles CHRIS MAINWARING was fined $500 for possessing a dangerous drug (cannabis) and $30 for hindering police after a footy trip incident outside a Gold Coast nightclub ...

<||> continuing a 50-year tradition, FORD signed a new five-year sponsorship deal with GEELONG believed worth $3m (maybe $4m) ...

<||> RICHMOND posts an $5973 profit the fifth year in the black for the Tigers; COLLINGWOOD will list a $63,321 profit but FOOTSCRAY will come in with a $384,455 loss ...

<||> ALAN JOYCE to join ABC Radio for comments ...

<||> Magpie cricketers depart Victoria Park for Yarra Bend ...

<||> following his widely-publicised appearance in Sydney the AFL banned DERMOTT BRERETON from further training with the Swans. A hiccup developed when it was realised Brereton was delisted by the Hawks prior to the October draft  thereby eliminating him as a pre-draft choice in March. IAN COLLINS in one of his first major AFL pronouncements said the ban would be lifted if Sydney gave a written guarantee they would draft Brereton with their first choice; raising the serious question whether Brereton indeed would be able to regain fitness to the required standard after his lengthy absence from the game ...

<||> Newly returned CARLTON pres JOHN ELLIOTT announced a $45,103 profit after a $212,000 loss on the Princes Park stand bearing his name ...

<||> the Queensland Government announced a $25.5m grant to redevelop the BCG increasing capacity to 24,000 by the start of the 1996 season ...

<||> DOUG HAWKINS signed a one-year deal with the Bulldogs ...

<||> ROGER MERRETT nearing 34 will be the oldest AFL player going around in 1994 confirming he will play his 17th League season with Brisbane just as soon as he serves an outstanding 4-week suspension ...

<||> ST KILDA believe their move of home-base from Moorabbin to Waverley has been a financial fizzer bringing a $259,893 loss for an accumulated debt of $954,536 and the football club operating on an overdraft of more than $158,000. To further accentuate the Saints woes their social club will make a loss of another $150,000 ...

<||> Waverley co-tenants HAWTHORN revealed a $640,000 loss; the Hawks CEO JOHN LAURITZ said Hawthorn in the past four years had outlayed $3.2m over and above its normal expenditure, including $409,000 to service debt on its 42.5% ownership of the John Elliott Princes Park stand, $1.25m on improvements to the social club and $1.5m on refurbishment of the Michael Tuck Stand at Glenferrie, leaving an excess of assets over liabilities of $2.4m, but facing a severe shortage of cash ...

<||> following two years of losses MELBOURNE announced an operating profit of $29,492; an extension confirmed NEIL BALME will coach the Demons until the end of 1997 while skipper GARRY LYON signed a new four-year deal ...

<||> at GEELONG, the annual trading profit was $238,717 with the Cats reducing by $300,000 the debt on the recent Brownlow Stand ...

<||> ESSENDON reaping rewards from their 93 Premiership posted a $388,107 profit and now have assets of almost $2m. Their nine MCG home matches averaged 50,000 and following the Grand Final the Bomber merchandising sales have been booming with a turnover of more than $500,000. The interest in the Premiership Cup required six photo sessions with supporters paying $20 for the privilege of having their picture taken with the cup. The Windy Hill gaming operations are the most successful in the League and response to news-ads were so strong a new deal for added dining facilities at the MCG was necessary to accommodate associate sponsors.

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Fremantle to be admitted in 1995
<||> In Perth on December 14, the 16th club was added when it was finally announced EAST FREMANTLE (formed 1898) and SOUTH FREMANTLE (formed 1900) would combine as FREMANTLE for a 1995 entry as the “AFL Sharks” . The license awarded to the WAFC carried a $4m fee payable over 10 years. Predictions included the introduction of a "final-8", two division system, with regular Monday night matches.

Following the FREMANTLE announcement by AFL CEO Ross Oakley and WAFC Chairman Dr Peter Tannock, the League indicated the Commission had set a 16-team ceiling and plans for another team from Adelaide would only go ahead if a Melbourne-based club fell by the wayside. The $4m licence fee (payable over 10 years) would not be distributed to clubs but will be used toward reduction of the existing AFL debt last season revealed as $21.4m.

The licence for the new club was granted to the WEST AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL COMMISSION which also owns the licence for West Coast. The new licence will be sub-let to a new company established to operate the FREMANTLE club.

__________

<||> COLLINGWOOD members voted overwhelmingly in favour of switching the majority of Vic Park games to the MCG. The resolution (including proxies) was 1142-442 ...

<||> STEPHEN KERNAHAN is CARLTON captain for his 8th season ...

<||> as RON JOSEPH is named a Commissioner of NSW football, 44-year old DAVID LEVENS director of NSW umpires for the past five years is appointed the AFLs first full-time coach of umpires ...

<||> admission prices lifted by 50 cents making it $11.00 for the new season home-and-away games ...

<||> ADELAIDE announce a big $1.13m profit, 80% of which will be distributed back to SANFL clubs; the Crows enjoyed a 30% improvement with 47,000 being the average of their 10 games at Football Park ...

<||> COLLINGWOOD revealed the "New Magpies" regime had loaned FITZROY $400,000 in 1985, a year before the Woods themselves were a day away from being wound up ...

<||> North's ROBERT PYMAN ordered to settle the $10,000 fine imposed last May for breaching draft rules ...

<||> The AFL Commission promised Club presidents a new season dividend of $1.372m and a guaranteed $12,500 for future games at Football Park ...

<||> As Australians bought 131-million Christmas cards and Melbourne experienced its wettest December on record – the NICKY WINMAR turmoil resurfaced at St Kilda with The Age reporting an altercation between Winmar KAIN TAYLOR and STEWART LOEWE at the Saints end-of-season dinner ...

<||> Carlton Pres JOHN ELLIOTT is sued for $66.5m by Foster's, the AFL Blues major sponsor ...

<||> SANFL Premiers WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS will join the Foster's Cup series as the 16th team ...

<||> the AFL and AFLPA form a joint-committee to hear contact disputes between players and clubs; it may be soon called upon as year-end negotiations continue for four high-profile players – PETER DAICOS (Col), STEPHEN SILVAGNI (Car), ANDREW JARMAN (Haw) and ANDREW BEWS (Gee) ...

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THE 1993 AFL FINANCIAL CUP

West Coast $2,000,000 *
Adelaide $1,130,000
Essendon $338,107
Geelong $238,717
Collingwood $63,321
Carlton $45,103
Fitzroy $29,939
Melbourne $29.942
Richmond $5973
North Melb $ –35,768
Brisbane $ –200,000
St Kilda $ –259,893
Footscray $ –386,455
Hawthorn $ –640,085
Sydney Not available

* estimated

 

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JANUARY 1994

Footy Record to go for pre-match sales

<||> In a further break from tradition expending back to 1912 the weekly "Football Record” is to be upgraded to editions similar to each final series and go to sale on several Friday's coinciding with big matches; an expected cover price is $2 ...

<||> SYDNEY announced they had re-signed DALE LEWIS for a further three years; Lewis had been widely tipped to leave. The Harbour City powers now have their eyes set on disgruntled Tiger CRAIG LAMBERT in the March draft ...

<||> VicHealth (from their $22m) with $410,000 already committed to the Development Foundation for junior football are to sponsor FITZROY for an eighth season with a boost in funding to $250,000 ...

<||> Sports presenter EDDIE McGUIRE after 11 years quits TEN to head up the footy team at GTV-9 ...

<||> after seven years, BILL GOGGIN steps down as Victorian State coach ...

<||> Brisbane offer vexed Hawk DARREN JARMAN a two-year deal ...

<||> AFL applies licence fees ranging from $5000 to $20,000 on all League practice matches ...

<||> early betting for 1994 – Essendon 7/2 flag, 1/6 six; West Coast 9/2, 2/9; Geelong 6/1, 1/2; Adelaide 6/1, 1/4; Carlton 11/1, 4/5; Collingwood 9/1, 4/6; Hawthorn 16/1, 6/4; North Melb 12/1, 1/1; St Kilda 12/1, 4/6; Melbourne 16/1, 5/4; Footscray 25/1, 2/1; Fitzroy 150/1, 14/1; Richmond 200/1, 33/1; Swans 700/1, 40/1.

<||> NEIL KERLEY joins Seven for on-ground reports from Football Park ...

<||> Monday January 10th saw training begin in earnest as ESSENDON announced their practice match schedule starting in Darwin on January 29 and within a month the Bombers would also play in Perth, Hobart and Adelaide ...

<||> despite charges against him by the National Crime Authority, Carlton Pres JOHN ELLIOTT scoffs at suggestions he will be replaced as the League's longest-serving (10 years) current president ...

Final 8 finds support
<||> A mid-January meeting between the Commission and club presidents found 13 clubs endorsing a Hawthorn proposal for a trial of an eight-team finals series this season, a year in advance of its expected introduction when Fremantle will   be admitted in 1995; the system would be the equivalent to playing two divisions under the old final-four system and the winners of each division meeting in a SuperBowl style grand final ...

<||> A working party involving the SA Government and local football authorities are investigating a $15m plan to increase seating of Football Park in Adelaide by 15,000 to a capacity of 61,000 ...

<||> SHANE O'SULLIVAN after 15 years working with Footscray and Brisbane returns to CARLTON as recruiting manager; last year Shane coached Oakleigh in the VFA ...

<||> logos on the football itself along with guernsey sponsorship are certainties for the new season .– only the price remains to be set ...

<||> A veteran of 207 games (1982-1993) ANDREW BEWS, a former Geelong captain at 29 signed a two-year deal with BRISBANE who will make him their first choice in the March draft ...

<||> DARREN GASPAR from South Fremantle, the 17-year old No. 1 draft pick signed a two-year deal with SYDNEY and started training ...

<||> already one of the wealthiest  ADELAIDE ($6.3m income in 1993) announced possibly the biggest-ever sponsorship deal – three-years with TOYOTA believed to be worth $3m ...

<||> Tiger marketing manager MAL BROWN joins the WAFC think-tank panel of Ross Glendinning, John Todd, Ron Alexander and WAFC chairman Trevor Sprigg on plans for new Fremantle side ...

<||> the Perth-based CHALLENGE BANK logo will appear for the next two years as advertising on all League match balls in a deal worth about $300,000 each season – the revenue going toward alleviating AFL debt ...

<||> DEREK KICKETT, dumped from Essendon’s grand final side announced he was quitting the AFL and was considering several offers in the country ...

<||> OZRAY PARKING, a Sydney firm were awarded a five year contract to provide parking and cleaning services at Waverley Park ...

<||> after weeks of indecision DARREN JARMAN signed a two-year deal with HAWTHORN ...

<||> the AFL will closely monitor a 25-metre penalty to be trialled by the WAFL; the 50-metre penalty will be retained ...

<||> former Saints wingman GILBERT McADAM struck a three-year deal  with BRISBANE adding to other recent high-profile recruitments of Alastair Lynch, Craig Starcevich, Troy Lehman and Andrew Bews ...

<||> FITZROY’S controversial forward DARREN WHEILDON stops training with the Lions but days later signed for another-year ...

<||> GAVIN BROWN (125 games 1987-93) is appointed the 15th post-war skipper of COLLINGWOOD and clouds the future prospects of TONY SHAW...

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Sunday Age estimates top money earners
<||> When players of the 1930s were governed by the Coulter Law the average player received Three Pounds ($6.00) a game, with this dropping to a mere Thirty Bob ($3.00) a week during World War 2. Proving the players of today were light years away, ROHAN CONNOLLY in the columns of the Sunday Age on January 9 estimated the earnings of some of the current breed, indicated many were enjoying rich off-field rewards.

The AFL's top earners were understood to be Carlton players GREG WILLIAMS and STEPHEN KERNAHAN. It was estimated Geelong's GARY ABLETT gathered an added $80,000 from recent video sales of One Special Season which sold 20,000 copies. These players will soon be joined by ALASTAIR LYNCH who will be playing with Brisbane for a reported $1.2m over five years.

For the record, The Sunday Age estimates were –

PLAYER

CLUB

CONTRACT

Other
Earnings

TOTAL

Greg Williams Carlton $250,000 $10,000 $260,000
Gary Ablett Geelong $150,000 $80,000 $230,000

Stephen Kernahan

Carlton

$190,000

$10,000

$200,000

Tony McGuinness Adelaide $170,000 $30,000 $200,000
Tony Lockett St Kilda $140,000 $40,000 $180,000
Barry Mitchell Coll'wood $180,000   $180,000
John Platten Hawthorn $160,000 $20,000 $180,000
Paul Salmon Essendon $140,000 $40,000 $180,000
Wayne Carey North Melb $140,000 $30,000 $170,000
Jason Dunstall Hawthorn $140,000 $25,000 $165,000

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FEBRUARY 1994

Practice matches and the silly season begins

<||> Essendon opened its 1994 campaign with their first win against a combined Northern Territory side in four visits to the Top End. Fielding almost an Under-23 side, high-priced Sydney recruit BEN DOOLAN was a solid contributor in the 18.8-116 to 14.10-94 win ...

<||> at Subiaco a West Coast Eagles U23 side accounted for the Brisbane Bears 15-17-107 to 13.6-84 ...

<||> decidedly short of a gallop DERMOTT BRERETON turned out in a SYDNEY intra-club game ...

<||> CHRIS LANGFORD is named captain at HAWTHORN with JASON DUNSTALL his deputy ...

<||> IAN MAJOR and ALLAN JEANS to lead a six-man team as 693AM confirm their welcome addition to radio's footy roster ...

<||> former Carlton premiership defender and Fitzroy coach ROD AUSTIN was appointed Victoria's state-of-origin coach ...

<||> WESTERN OVAL before the March 26 start will get a $500,000 facelift jointly financed by the Bulldogs and the AFL. The major upgrade will include – new change rooms for Fitzroy; new Cross Street toilet block; new interchange dugout; undercover standing room; disabled toilet facilities and asphalting of gates and entrances.
__________

Final 8 finds support
<||> FITZROY is once again under threat after the Lions were told by the League it will not accept loan deals with private benefactors once the arrangement with trucking magnate BERNIE AHERN expires.

The Lions will be forced to seek financial funding through a recognised financial institution by the end of the year — or begin merger talks.
__________

<||> Club disenchantment with the AFLs new $5000 practice match levy brought threats to boycott pre-season games. West Coast had already been charged with a $10,000 match levy and had spent $38,000 to host a Brisbane U23 team on January 29 with further $32,000 costs for the Essendon Feb 5 game at Subiaco which includes the Bombers travel and accommodation expenses; the Bombers Norm Smith Medalist MICHAEL LONG crashed in the first quarter injuring the cruciate ligament of his right knee resulting in surgery which may sideline the Grand Final star for all of 1994. ESSENDON without 12 of their premiership team found WEST COAST 15.23-113 too good for their 12.8-80 ...

<||> The three umpire system was trialled in other practice matches — DERMOTT BRERETON kicked four second-half goals as SYDNEY 11.6-72 were pipped by a steadier GEELONG 11.13-79 in front of 7000 fans at Barooga ... an on-going knee injury kept GREG WILLIAMS out of the bruising CARLTON intra-club at Skinner Reserve; former Swans and Magpie rover BARRY MITCHELL appeared in his third set of AFL colours picking up 20 possessions ... ADELAIDE 11.7-73 downed a ‘new-look’ BRISBANE 8.12-60 in quagmire conditions at Coolum ... in other intra-club matches, JOHN LONGMIRE five months after a knee reconstruction came thru a NORTH MELBOURNE hit-out at Rosebud; the TIGERS senior side was flogged by 19-goals by the ‘others’ at Traralgon, while the FOOTSCRAY game at Waverley used 12 umpires in three-man shifts, and FITZROY at Glenferrie were happy as former Bomber KIERON SPORN picked up 30 possessions and kicked six goals ... pumped up by a 7-goal opening, ST KILDA 16.12-108 downed COLLINGWOOD 13.9-87 in a Monday twilight charity encounter at Vic Park to 15,000 fans ...
__________

Age insight investigation sparks finance review
<||> The financial affairs of the AFL were brought into the public arena by an 'Insight' report in The Age newspaper on February 7-8-9 which said, the League debt was greater than previously stated and stood at $299 million in 1992; Waverley Park in 1993 lost almost $100,000 and needed $2 million spent in repairs; promotional support for Sydney and Brisbane was $1.8 million in 1993; $4m was spent of relocating League offices to the Great Southern Stand and it costs $400,000 more in annual rent; AFL books in 1991 showed the SANFL had paid $4 million in licence fees for Adelaide's admission but in reality, the fee was being paid over 10 years.

The 'Insight' team revealed the AFL made – $12.9m from radio and TV rights; $3.1m from the Record; $3.9m from sponsorships; $1.2m from catering rights and $400,000 from car parking.

Amongst costs were – $3.2m on salaries; $500,000 on legal fees; $180,000 on consulting fees; $100,000 on entertainment; $100,000 on uniforms and equipment; $95,000 on airfares and accommodation.
__________

<||> PAUL KELLY is reappointed captain of SYDNEY ...

<||> BARRY CAPUANO quits after eight months as CEO of FITZROY becoming gm of the Melbourne Tigers basketball club ...

<||> NORTH 7.13-55 clipped FITZROY 5.10-40 in a Friday twilight trial at Sunbury amid an ultimatum from 12 players and their solicitors requiring the Fitzroy club within 7 days to provide details of the club's financial position as certified by auditors, copies of the 1993 accounts and the Maroons business plan and budget for 1994 ...

<||> the highly-publicised Darwin exhibition saw PM Keating toss the coin in front of 15,000 as the Aboriginal All-Stars’ combined smoothly to raise 13.10-88 and down a strong COLLINGWOOD side 10.8-68 ... the All-Stars were coached by former St Marys, South Fremantle and Richmond great MAURICE RIOLI ...

<||> an enthusiastic crowd at Skinner saw GEELONG 15.11-101 easily overcome FOOTSCRAY 8.11-59 ... at North Hobart Oval, the Blues gained some revenge when they whipped the Bombers, 19.18-132 to 11.5-71 to an estimated 15,000 ... at Waverley Park, HAWTHORN 16.7-103 (Dunstall 6) overran ST KILDA 8.8-56 in the final term ... in a Saturday night outing at Football Park, 26,395 saw ADELAIDE 16.10-106 win over WEST COAST 11.12-78 ... in a Brisbane intra-club game with less than two minutes left, ALASTAIR LYNCH fractured his left collarbone likely to sideline him for six weeks ... at Randwick in a Swans intra-club outing SIMON MINTON-CONNELL kicked 7 goals as Sydney unveiled a new-look attack ...

<||> GEOFF SLATTERY in The Sunday Age gave the thumbs-up — “the Final Eight is positive in every way that you look at sport in the ’90s. It works for the fans; it works for the players; it works for the backroom boys; in a strange way, it returns the game to cut throat routines we treated as the norm in the days of the old, traditional final four; and, perhaps more importantly, it works in a business sense not only for today, but for the future of this marvellous game.” ... a week later, KEN McINTYRE the architect of all League finals systems since 1931 in a letter to the editor congratulating Slattery's perception said – “The article assures me that the purpose has been achieved, at least for those who have the brains to grasp it” ...

<||> TONY SHAW (293 games) and PETER DAICOS (250) signed one-year deals with the Magpies however COLLINGWOOD did not guarantee the veteran pair senior listing until performances were measured ...

<||> FITZROY declared an audited profit of $29,939 as speculation continued with the promise when the Lions paid an outstanding $250,000 debt, the AFL would release their mortgage hold over the Lions’ North Fitzroy hotel ...

<||> SCRAY overcame a scoreless first term to runover FITZROY by 22pts in a Wednesday practice session at Skinner  ...
__________

Annual Report
Income $48.8m; $29.467m distributed to clubs

<||> The AFL ANNUAL MEETING was held on Tuesday February 15 when three were elevated to Life Membership – KEVIN SHEEDY (Ess), DOUG HAWKINS (Fsc) and umpire PETER CAMERON who retired after 306 senior matches ... on an income of $48.8m, and distribution of $21.467m to the clubs, League debt was $17.3m after an operating profit of $28,920, significantly better than the $423,500 loss last year ... in tribute, a portrait of the late ALAN SCHWAB was unveiled ... the Jack Titus Award for his outstanding contribution to football over several decades was made to BILL McMASTER (Gee) ... retiring Commissioners GRAEME SAMUEL and RON EVANS were reappointed  ...
__________

<||> Supreme Court writs by FITZROY were served on player JAMIE ELLIOTT and the Richmond club. Elliott who has been out of contract was signed by the Tigers but the Lions claim Elliott had made a verbal commitment to them ...

<||> The opening FOSTER'S CUP games were both thrillers. On Saturday night at Waverley, 25,708 saw BRAD PLAIN goal with two seconds left to clinch it for COLLINGWOOD 13.14-92 over NORTH 13.13-91 ...

<||> on Monday night 18,662 at the Park watched RICHMOND 17.14-116 down ST KILDA 14.12-96 in extra time ...

<||> in practice, BRISBANE 18.13-121 lashed SYDNEY 10.13-73 at Campbelltown and in two Waverley outings, CARLTON 13.14-92 beat MELBOURNE 12.15-87 and HAWTHORN 17.19-121 were too good for ESSENDON 6.15-51 ...

<||> The VFA briefly flirted with a concept to move dwindling Association support to summer competition ...

<||> FITZROY gathered valuable sponsor support with a NIKE deal to provide footwear and clothing to the Lions players worth some $50–75,000 ...

<||> after many complaints new Waverley Park operators OZRAY PARKING dropped a $3-entry surcharge on taxis ...

<||> talented Lions half-forward PETER CAVEN (23, and 39 games) quit FITZROY to sign with SYDNEY for three years under the special assistance concession the Swans enjoy ...

<>

MARCH 1994

<||> on Wednesday night just as GEELONG looked set for the kill, a resilient FITZROY 12.13-85 held out the Cats 10.11-71 in a Foster’s Cup tie at the Park to 9080 fans ... at Football Park, 28,776 saw ADELAIDE 16.17-113 (Modra 7) down WEST COAST 14.10-94 in extra time ... DEREK KICKETT set to play with GVFL club Tatura ...

<||> HAWTHORN after a $640,000 loss gathered about $350,000 by signing the Sydney-based MEDICAL BENEFITS FUND (MBF) as joint sponsors with OZ CHILD ...

<||> FOOTSCRAY and COLLINGWOOD announced their partnership in Bulldog/Magpie Radio, a joint commercial venture to broadcast all games involving the two clubs on FM community stations 3WRB (Western Suburbs) and 3INR (Heidelberg). The commentary team will include HARRY BEITZEL, GRAHAM DAWSON, TOMMY LAHIFF and former players LAURIE SANDILANDS and BRIAN TAYLOR. The $238,000 venture includes a $20,000 rights fee to the League ...


<||> HAWTHORN advanced in the Foster’s Cup when they powered away from CARLTON in the last term to win at Waverley on Saturday night to 26,117 fans, 14.15-99 (Dunstall 6) to 11.18-84; on Sunday at the improved BCG now boasting a 20,000 capacity, BRISBANE 18.18-126 gave promise of better things to come with a classy 32pt Foster’s win over MELBOURNE 14.10-94 watched by 4728 ... in practice, Saints coach STAN ALVES blasted his charges as ESSENDON 16.9-105 blitzed ST KILDA 6.7-43 at Koroit ... Monday night footy drew strongly again as 26,913 attended Waverley where after a string of tight encounters, COLLINGWOOD 15.15-105 pitched RICHMOND 7.14-56 from the Cup series in a one-sided affair ...

<||> Tribunal – West Coast's KARL LANGDON (who missed all but a quarter of footy in 1993) underwent knee surgery and was suspended for three weeks on tripping; RODNEY MAYNARD (Ade) also received a one-week holiday – both from the Feb 23 Foster’s game at Football Park ...

<||> On Wednesday night at Waverley in a sometimes spiteful second half, ADELAIDE 15.18-108 (Modra 4) pulled away from FITZROY 13.8-86 to only 5494 Foster’s Cup fans; the Lions lacked forwards and the difference was the precision of TONY McGUINNESS (Ade) who gathered 40 possessions ... FITZROY discharged their $250,000 AFL debt with a $200,000 advance from ‘SCRAY on new season earnings from their Western Oval tenancy ... Tribunal—RICHARD CHAMPION (Bri) for one week on striking; DALE LEWIS (Syd) and STEVEN KRETIUK (Fsc) were both cleared of striking charges ... several clubs pull out as former Richmond pivot CRAIG LAMBERT nominated his salary package for the draft at —$194,000 – stay tuned ...

<||>
At 32, after 250 games, 549 goals and two Copeland Trophy wins over 15 seasons, PETER DAICOS was dumped by Collingwood and looked headed for the March draft; The Age editorialised – ‘... the fat lady has been singing for some time. But it was hard to hear her above the roar of the crowd.’

<||> SYDNEY 14.10-94 turned a certain massacre into a respectable defeat as HAWTHORN 20.13-133 (Dunstall 8) took the Foster’s Cup Saturday night outing at Waverley to 11,785 fans ... on Sunday at the Park, despite a League ruling and the prospect of a $10,000 fine GILBERT McADAM featured as BRISBANE 6.11-47 suffered a 62pt whipping in the Cup from ESSENDON 15.19-109 watched by 11,383 ... in practice, on a rock-hard Eaglehawk surface, ’SCRAY 15.15-105 downed CARLTON 14.5-89 but good news for the Blues was, GREG WILLIAMS came thru two quarters ... at Subiaco in oppressive 35deg heat, GEELONG 19.10-124 clipped WEST COAST 17.14-116 – in the first half, GARY ABLETT (Gee) kicked 5.4 then was rested while PETER MATERA sparkled for the Eagles ... at Moe, MELBOURNE 23.18-156 (Jakovich 7) were ruthless over RICHMOND 6.8-44 ... at York Park in Launceston, ST KILDA 15.16-106 looked better downing NORTH MELB 11.15-81 who were relieved as Roo captain WAYNE CAREY escaped serious rib injury after a heavy fall ... without playing a match RICHARD OSBORNE departed the Bulldogs to aim for American football in the NFL ... PETER DAICOS retires gracefully from his 11 operations over 15 seasons by accepting an administrative role with Collingwood and is engaged by 3AW as a commentator ...Fitzroy coach ROBERT SHAW is fined $1000 for an outburst to umpires in the Lions Cup tie with Adelaide ... WEST COAST, one of the AFL’s wealthier clubs announced a 17% increase in its sponsorship income adding Optus, Marlows and Quality Pacific Hotels. It takes to 25 the companies injecting $50,000 or more into the club this season with revenue going to $2.8m ... clubs pruned lists in advance of the pre-season draft—at Collingwood apart from Peter Daicos, MICHAEL GAYFER was omitted; also DEAN RICE (StK), SCOTT HODGES (Ade) and JAMIE ELLIOTT (Fit) ...
__________

On Saturday March 5 at Glenferrie a seemingly innocuous reserve grade practice match attracted heavy media attention as DERMOTT BRERETON under the Michael Tuck Stand appeared in Sydney colours. At half-time, in the words of Swans coach Ron Barassi—“I would say it’s his worst performance so far.”

By Monday press photos appeared resulting in AFL honcho Ian Collins calling for film of the match with Brereton being cited. On Wednesday the player was found guilty of serious misconduct in that he stood on the head of Hawthorn’s RAYDEN TALLIS in a VSFL practice match. Brereton was suspended for seven matches, taking the 29-year-olds career total of 189 games to 30 matches of suspension.

___________

ADELAIDE 13.11-89 thoroughly beat COLLINGWOOD 7.10-52 to 12,222 fans at Waverley as the Crows advanced to the Cup grand final ...

<||> BRIAN TAYLOR resigns as Prahran coach as VFA gm ADRIAN TWOMEY steps down just five weeks off their new season ...

<||> GTV-9 expands AFL coverage introducing an hour-long 9.30pm Thursday “Footy Show” on League teams anchored by EDDIE McGUIRE ... HSV-7 counters Channel 9’s Sunday lunchtime “Footy Show” with “I’m Rex Hunt, and You’re Not” ...

<||> ESSENDON 15.12-102 on Saturday (without eight of their premiership team) won thru for their sixth night Foster’s Grand Final under Sheedy when they proved too good for HAWTHORN 13.9-87 (Dunstall 7) to 21,418 fans at Waverley...

<||> in practice, SYDNEY 15.17-107 (Minton-Connell 6) powered away from SANFL premiers TORRENS-WOODVILLE 8.6-54 in front of a lean 5762 at Football Park ... at West Park Burnie, MELBOURNE 21.14-140 (Jakovich 7) slammed CARLTON 10.11-71 to 5000 supporters ... about 3800 were at Lavington where NORTH MELB 16.16-112 downed FOOTSCRAY 10.17-77 ... at Sebastapol, 7000 paid $21,630 to watch BRISBANE 16.9-105 resist GEELONG 14.8-92 (Ablett 7.4) and where Cats coach MALCOLM BLIGHT called for a reduction to a hard pre-season schedule of AFL rostered practice matches ...

<||> the Bombers press long-serving coach KEVIN SHEEDY for a contract extension to the end of 1997 ...

<||> Highlights of the pre-season draft held on Wednesday March 16 — CRAIG LAMBERT with his expected $194,000 price tag became a Bear adding icing to a remarkable series of off-season recruiting pick-ups by Brisbane; DEREK KICKETT (for a reported $30,000 base and between $1500 and $2000 a game) after stints with North and Essendon gained another League life moving to the Sydney Swans; DAVID STROOPER ex-Fitzroy and Sydney was picked-up by St Kilda; DEAN IRVING (WCE) became a Demon as former Melbourne player STEVEN STRETCH will play for Fitzroy ...

<||> Tribunal – Essendon ruckman STEPHEN ALESSIO on a video citing from the Cup semi, was found guilty of standing on the back of Hawthorn’s JOHN PLATTEN and suspended for five matches ...

<||> PETER MATERA the 1992 Norm Smith Medalist signed a two-year deal with the Eagles ...

<||> In the final practice matches, over five quarters of play at the Geelong West Oval, GEELONG 19.17-131 (Ablett 5) downed HAWTHORN 15.16-106 ... in a high-scoring affair at Princes Park, CARLTON 20.19-139 defeated ST KILDA 21.5-131, with the Saints resigned to losing crack forward STEWART LOEWE for the opening rounds after aggravating an old groin injury ... at Skinner Reserve, NORTH 24.19-163 demolished SYDNEY 6.8-44 ... while at Vic Park, MELBOURNE 5.17-47 were found wanting against a positive COLLINGWOOD 16.10-106.
__________

Foster's Cup
Bombers barn-storm into 1994

On Saturday March 19 at Waverley 43,925 paid $232,237.30 to watch Essendon complete back-to-back Foster’s Cup premierships and illustrate they are a genuine chance to take out successive day flags. The Bombers took another $104,500 in prize money, taking control in the second half, showing they were always going to win.

Who knows what would have happened had the Crows forward Tony Modra kicked accurately in the opening term and given Adelaide the sort of quarter-time lead they deserved.

Gary O’Donnell (Ess) was awarded the Michael Tuck Medal for his best on-ground performance and teammate Darren Bewick led the onslaught.

The Crows left too much to too few under the Waverley lights.

  1/4 time 1/2 time 3/4 time Final
ESS 4.2-26 (7) 6.3-39 (7) 11.7-73 (25) 15.12-102 (34)
ADE 2.7-19 4.8-32 6.12-48 9.14-68
Goals – ESSENDON: Salmon 3, Bewick 3, Manton 3, Mercuri, Hird, O’Donnell, Dale Kickett, Olarenshaw, Somerville. ADELAIDE: Modra 3, Brown 2, Lee, Tregenza, Ricciuto, Jarman. Best – ESSENDON: O’Donnell, Bewick, Manton, Misiti, Calthorpe, Olarenshaw. ADELAIDE: Ricciuto, Smart, Pittman, Brown, McDermott, Lee. Umpires – G. Dore, B. Sheehan, G. Caulfield.

League approves three umpires
“AFL umpires sacrificed a pay rise to subsidise the introduction of the third man in white” – reported Tony de Bolfo in the Herald Sun. The AFL Commission endorsed the introduction of the three-umpire system — five days before the start of the home-and-away series.

According to AFL chief executive Ross Oakley, the umpires had agreed to forfeit 50% of a pay increase they were to receive this year to help fund the extra umpire.

Without the full increase, the third umpire will cost clubs $840 per game with overall cost for the season being approximately $9000 each. The $840 is calculated on the average cost of umpires who are paid on a sliding scale.

The introduction ends the two-umpire system introduced in 1976.
__________

Night preliminary is forecast by Sheahan
Leading Herald Sun journalist Mike Sheahan noting the success of the Foster’s Cup final at Waverley when nearly 44,000 saw Essendon defend its title against Adelaide said – “coupled with the determination of senior AFL officials to minimise any differences in the preparation for all four teams in the two Preliminary Finals in the new final-eight format, a night match looks certain”.

Sheahan speculated further — “Even if an interstate team is involved, if that team is Adelaide, the two Preliminary Finals would be played at the MCG (afternoon) and Football Park (under lights). The only certainty on Preliminary Final day is that the MCG will host one of the games in accordance with the contract between the AFL: and the Melbourne Cricket Club.”

Mike concluded — “The idea of a night Preliminary Final will be sold on the desire to give all possible grand finalists seven days to prepare for the climax to the season”.

__________

<||> IAN COLLINS head of AFL football operations confirmed he will be addressing examples of collusion and apparent player amnesia at recent Tribunal hearings, thus threatening to end an age-old footy tradition ...

<||> BRISBANE were fined $7000 for breaching rules by playing the ineligible GILBERT McADAM in the March 6 Cup match against Essendon ...

<||> League gain CUB sponsorship for an October 15 exhibition between CARLTON and RICHMOND at The Oval in London ...

<||> two community radio stations 3WRB and 3INR won the first round of a legal action by 3AW who tried to stop them covering Collingwood and Footscray matches. The Federal Court ordered costs against 3AW ...

<>

Essendon pip Eagles
Tony Modra kicks 13.3
205,746 attend first round


Teams playing twenty minute quarters for a place in the Final Eight; three on the inter-change bench; three central umpires bouncing the Challenge Bank ball -- our game of old, was a game of the new as the 98th season of the competition formed in 1897 embraced the nation anew on Saturday, March 26th.

The district cricket finals were still on, as was the Sheffield Shield final in Sydney, and our Australian batsmen were 6/241 overnight in the Third Test at Durban in South Africa.

Bright sunny conditions greeted first round Melbourne fans with temperatures in the high 20’s, enough for goal umpires to shed their familiar long white coats for short-sleeve shirts, alongside boundary umpires who were wearing fluorescent pink wrist-bands. Among further changes, teams wore guernseys with sponsor names on the back for the first time.

At the MCG on Saturday to 39,741 fans, when the Eagles PETER SUMICH steered thru his fifth goal 15 minutes into the third term, West Coast had a 33pt lead over Essendon and it looked as though  the 1992 AFL giant had re-awakened. The Bombers seemed dead-and-buried then with elements of last year’s preliminary performance broke thru with a goal from first-gamer Che Cockatoo Collins, and a quarter later after the lead had changed four times in the term, the out-of-touch Don PAUL SALMON just as he did in round 16 last year kicked his only goal of the day to give his club a narrow three-point success, 12.10-82 to 11.13-79 ... to 19,100 at the Western Oval, Richmond almost broke a 12-year first-round losing sequence when it came back from a 6-goal half-time deficit to fall just two points short against Footscray, 17.11-113 to 17.9-111 ... it took Collingwood until the last term to head the unfancied Fitzroy at Vic Park for the Magpies to eventually scratch out an 11pt win, 17.12-114 to 16.7-103 in front of 25,602 ... the day’s only blow-out came at Waverley where Hawthorn 23.15-153 thrashed co-tenants St Kilda 15.7-97 before 29,582 who saw JASON DUNSTALL (Haw) kick 9.3 before departing at three-quarter time with a thigh injury ...

The three Sunday games were full of interest — at the BCG (crowd 7901), the Swans stunned the Bears with a wasteful 6.8-44 in the first quarter and only in the dying minutes did a much-relieved Brisbane break back to snatch a 10pt win, 13.21-99 to 12.17-89 – an already wounded Brisbane suffered further as prized-recruit GILBERT McADAM had his jaw broken in two places and former Geelong ruck-rover ANDREW BEWS had his nose broken in two places ... leading throughout, the Demons with a potent forward line (Jakovich 8.8, Lyon 5.1) demolished the Cats by 65pts at the MCG before 39,741 with MELBOURNE 26.18-174 break a 37-year old record in club-to-club contests with the Corio Bay boys; GEELONG with 16.13-109 continued their run of disappointing openings; ROD GRINTER (Mel) was booked by two umpires for a career 11th time ... from a 5.45pm kick-off, 44,953 at Football Park saw ADELAIDE 22.18-150 blitz CARLTON 13.6-84 with the Blues held to a scoreless second term. The Crows full-forward TONY MODRA created a new League first round record kicking 13.3 ...

<||> ROUND ONE FOCUS—the Demons score topped their 57-R9-MCG of 23.16-154 against Geelong ... Carlton’s second term without a score was their first since 68-R16-WO against Scray ... Modra’s 13.3 topped five previous tallies of 12 dating back to TED FREYER (Ess) in 1935; earlier paper-talk said Tony Modra considered retirement due to personal pressures placed on him ... with time added when the ball went out-of-bounds, reduction in the length of matches went unnoticed ... new Swan DEREK KICKETT in his opener found himself playing in VSFL (Reserve Grade), against his old club, Essendon ... ALAN JOYCE (3LO) and PETER DAICOS (3AW) made their debuts as commentators ... the racism issue returned when insensitive comments were made by Ted Whitten (GTV-9) and Rex Hunt (HSV-7) ... Melbourne’s ROD GRINTER the most suspended player of the post-war era was cleared for only the third time in eight years when two charges from Sunday were withdrawn ...

<||> Sydney lodge a bond of $2000 claiming new evidence is available to re-open DERMOTT BRERETON suspension case ...

<||> from video, MICHAEL WERNER (Syd) is cited over BCG clash on Sunday with GILBERT McADAM (Bri) ...

<||> glandular fever lays stylish ruck-rover SCOTT RUSSELL (Col) low after 91 consecutive matches ...

<||> the Springvale v Prahran night game will open the Association season on Friday April 15 –  the first VFA match for premiership points under lights since games at Albert Park in 1958 ...

<>

300th for Tim Watson
New high for Easter
Hawks & Blues slump

ROUND TWO – Sat-Sun-Mon, April 2-3-4: The fans rolled out for the Easter split round played in near-perfect conditions with 234,097 attending the seven matches, topping 1990’s second round of 188,396 and the Easter split of 1992 when the record of 206,990 was established. The highlight was the Monday MCG clash of traditional rivals Carlton and Collingwood which drew 85,063 where League supporters farewelled the Magpies PETER DAICOS who ran a lap-of-honour before the match.

On Saturday at Waverley, the Demons confirmed their emergence as a potent force under Neil Balme when they blitzed Hawthorn with a 9.1 opening. The Hawks without the injured Jason Dunstall lost captain Chris Langford early and never troubled the smoothly coordinated Demons who dominated the packs with captain GARRY LYON playing his 150th, MELBOURNE 17.16-118 (Jakovich 4.10), HAWTHORN 8.16-64 in front of 29,581 ... at Princes Park to 24,872 fans, FITZROY produced a David-and-Goliath effort coming from 11pts down to kick six goals to two in the third then hung on gallantly to down the premiers ESSENDON, 17.10-112 to 14.15-99 putting a dampener on Tim Watson’s 300th senior game with him tearing a hamstring early ... the Kangas at the MCG (27,195) thrashed ST KILDA giving the Saints a horror start for new coach Stan Alves, NORTH 21.16-142 to 10.13-73. Tony Lockett kicked three in the first then retired with a calf strain and RUSSELL MORRIS (StK) was booked for striking ...

On Sunday a warm Perth day at Subiaco where construction of a new stand is under way saw 28,034 pack the reduced facilities. The Eagles and Crows fought out a tight affair until the last 15 minutes when WEST COAST took control to double their score and ran out 19pt winners, 14.13-97 (Heady 5) to ADELAIDE 11.12-78 ... at the MCG, 15,333 fans watched a procession as RICHMOND 20.14-134 (Richardson 7.2) ran up a 62pt win over BRISBANE 11.6-72 who were strongly criticised for their failure by coach Robert Walls ...

The first half of the always-awaited Carlton-Collingwood clash was tense with scores level (6.8-44) at half-time. The Magpies then romped away and put-to-question the Blues prospects as COLLINGWOOD 14.16-100 were 34pt victors over CARLTON 9.12-66 ... to a packed 24,019 at Kardinia Park, the Bulldogs (who had only won four times at Geelong since the Second World War) were pummelled by the Cats who opened with 7.5 and steadily went further ahead, winning 22.20-152 (Ablett 7.6) to FOOTSCRAY 8.16-64 – Garry Hocking (Gee) was reported ...

<||> ROUND TWO FOCUS—three unbeaten sides, North, Melbourne and Collingwood ... the Demons win was their first over Hawthorn at Waverley after 11 previous failures ... it was Collingwood’s 100th win of the 208 contests with Carlton ... Geelong’s 88pt win was their best against Footscray ... Nicky Winmar returned to the Saints line-up and was best against North ... Barry Mitchell’s Carlton and AFL career under a cloud, being dropped to the VSFL ... the troubled Hawks have Jason Dunstall nursing a torn thigh muscle and will miss at least the next two matches ... Tony Modra (Ade), from 13 goals in the first round, held to a single goal and a bruised chest at Subi ...
__________

<||> 22 minutes into the second term of Monday’s game at the MCG, playing his 115th match MICK McGUANE (Collingwood) wrote his name into footy folklore. Recalling legendary feats by past Magpies—Ray Gabelich in the 1964 grand final and Phil Manassa’s run in the 1977 replay, McGuane accepted a Damien Monkhorst handpass out of a centre ballup, bounced the ball a record seven times along the Members wing, baulked twice, waited, darted, dared, escaped planned shepherds and on entering the last 50m had a ping at the Punt Road goals raising two flags and bringing the house down for one of the more sensational moments of the Game—7’s Peter Landy rightly called the play, “goal of the year”.
__________

Bulldogs dump Terry Wheeler
Alan Joyce takes over
Footscray swung the axe on TERRY WHEELER coach of 91 (50-40-1) matches (1990-94). The newcomer on April 6th was former Hawthorn coach ALAN JOYCE, the man with a 72% strike rate dumped last year at Glenferrie who will be a big plus at Western Oval but a big loss to ABC Radio where he made an auspicious start to a commentary career. Joyce was signed to a three-year deal by Footscray president PETER GORDON.

The Joyce decision put paid to the prospect he would be the inaugural coach of the new FREMANTLE side.
__________

<||> TRIBUNAL — the Hawks DARREN PRITCHARD was found not guilty of striking Jim Stynes (Mel) ... the charge against GARRY HOCKING (Gee) was withdrawn ... MICHAEL WERNER (Syd) was suspended five matches for the BCG March 27 incident involving GILBERT McADAM; it was the third occasion Werner had been outed for striking in four appearances over four seasons ... RUSSELL MORRIS (StK) was cleared of striking Adrian McAdam (NM) ...
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<||> The AFL launched a new TV campaign in Sydney featuring a host of overseas sporting personalities—John McEnroe (tennis), Carl Lewis (athletics), Evander Holyfield (boxing), Hakeem Olajuwon (basketball), Ian Wright (soccer), Dean Richards (rugby union) and Sharron Davies (swimming). Developed by Campaign Palace under the theme “I’d like to see that” the 30 and 60 second ads were aimed to represent the game’s credentials chiefly in the Sydney and Brisbane Rugby League markets.
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<||> PORT ADELAIDE lodged an application to join with the SANFL to form a company and enter the AFL in 1996, the earliest a second SA side would be permitted to join ...

<||> the League Tribunal chairman NEIL BUSSE rejected a Sydney submission to reopen the suspension of DERMOTT BRERETON ...

<||> In team changes for the second round — the Magpies failed to re-instate TONY SHAW; Carlton after two defeats axed six players bringing back BARRY MITCHELL; the Bulldogs dumped SIMON ATKINS to the VSFL as veteran DOUG HAWKINS headed for the interchange bench; the Kangas added JOHN LONGMIRE; the Saints made four changes and lost TONY LOCKETT thru injury, while the Hawks added teenagers NICK HOLLAND and RAYDEN TALLIS who was the player offended by the Sydney’s Dermie on March 19th ... RICHARD OSBORNE returns to the Bulldogs after trying out as a kicker in America’s NFL ...

<||> deposed Scray coach TERRY WHEELER to guest as 3LO specialist commentator for Magpie-Bulldog clash ...

<||> Blues pres JOHN ELLIOTT (later supported by Footscray’s PETER GORDON) sparks call to ‘bulldoze’ Waverley Park, the land and buildings with a League book value of $35.9m. MIKE SHEAHAN in the Herald Sun quoting the AFL on April 9—“in terms of the straight operation of Waverley Park between 1970 (first year) and 1992, the stadium contributed a net $42,382,521 to the VFL/AFL.” Sheahan warned–‘clubs have a less than stunning record of astute use of extraordinary dividends from the AFL’.

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Kangas blitz the Hawks
Saints surprise the Dons
1000th defeat for Swans


ROUND THREE – Fri-Sat-Sun, April 8-9-10: North Melbourne put paid to a 14-game long bogey when they blitzed Hawthorn to 36,726 Friday night MCG fans. The Kangas controlled every facet of play gaining a 127pt victory against a Hawk combination who were ‘insignificant’ in the words of their coach PETER KNIGHTS, NORTH 25.23-173, HAWTHORN 6.10-46 ... the Saints with newly found endeavour surprised the normally slick Bombers with a 14pt win at Waverley to 30,454 fans. The Saints were often sloppy but were able to restrict the Dons forwards, ST KILDA 16.12-108, ESSENDON 14.10-94 ... for a game quite un-remarkable but to it was attached great significance as 8829 fans saw the Lions play their first ‘home’ at the Western Oval. The match marked PAUL ROOS 250th senior appearance over 13 seasons, six as captain of the Lions. He sparkled with 25 possessions as FITZROY 17.9-111 downed BRISBANE 12.6-78 ... at the MCG to 19,609, the Eagles were too ruthless for a disappointing RICHMOND 5.9-39 to 20.15-135 (Sumich 5) for what was the Tigers worst effort since their dark days of late 1989 ... on Sunday, 28,496 knew it was a much-relieved David Parkin as an intense CARLTON 14.15-99 posted their first win from a GEELONG 10.10-70 who gained undeserved consolation to finish within 29pts after being 9-goals down ... at the MCG, the Scraggers almost pulled-it-off, just failing to deliver Alan Joyce his dream as COLLINGWOOD 14.11-95 clipped SCRAY 12.22-94 before a disappointing 38,307 ... the Swans at the SCG to 11,068 had the spit but not the polish coming from six goals down to within a point but couldn’t go on with it as ADELAIDE 24.10-154 downed a spirited SYDNEY 21.9-135 who again received a standing ovation for of all things, another defeat! – showing just what a curious set of fans follow our code in the northern outpost ...


<||> ROUND THREE FOCUS—it was League loss number 1000 for the Swans and their 10th on the trot ... North kicked their highest score of the 133 contests with the Hawks since 1925; the Kangas hadn’t beaten Hawthorn since 1984 ... former Footscray forward SIMON BEASLEY entered notable ranks, making his debut call of the North-Hawthorn match for 3LO and ABC Regionals ... the Maggies and Dogs gave the League its 238th one-pointer ... TOM ALVIN (Car) played his 200th ... in an unusual VSFL sidelight, during the third term of the Sydney-Melbourne curtain-raiser at the SCG, ADRIAN CAMPBELL (Mel) kicked, whereupon it was marked and the ball awarded to the Swans DARREN HOLMES, who had been standing the mark ...


<||> TRIBUNAL — DEAN GREIG (StK) was outed two matches for striking David Calthorpe (Ess); ANDREW CAVEDON (Car) suspended three games for striking Peter Riccardi (Gee); a report against LAZAR VIDOVIC (StK) was withdrawn ... (Geelong captain MARK BAIRSTOW expected to be sidelined for up to six weeks following surgery to his right knee ...

<||> no stranger to hospitals, the Magpies GRAHAM WRIGHT had ankle surgery to remove chipped bone but could be back in fortnight ...

<||> Richmond players were over-looked when Victorian selectors named a squad of 35 (to be culled to 22) for the May 3rd game versus S.A. at Football Park ...

<||> CRAIG LAMBERT ties himself to the Bears until the end of 1997; Lambert’s initial ‘94 deal called for a $40,000 sign-on fee, $100,000 as a base salary, $2,000 a game and $10,000 extra if he plays 16 or more games, or is in the top eight of Brisbane’s best-and-fairest ...

<||> a knee injury to sideline SCOTT LEE (Ade) for eight weeks ...

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Swans second win in 38 games
Hawks to the bottom
Surprise packet Demons


ROUND FOUR – Fri-Sat-Sun, April 15-16-17: The Friday SCG encounter was a close scrappy contest between fellow-cellar-dwellers. A game riddled with basic skill errors the saving grace was a 14pt win for Barassi’s SYDNEY 11.20-86 (Minton-Connell 6) to RICHMOND 10.12-72. The 9727 fans at last saw the Swans heading in the right direction ... lacking leadership with the critical absence of both Dunstall and Langford, the Hawks were but a shadow of their former selves at the Park on Saturday as the Bluebaggers with 11.3 in the third (including five goals by MIL HANNA) in front of 30,944 were 87pt victors, CARLTON 24.16-160, HAWTHORN 11.7-73 ... 61,193 were at the MCG to watch the AFL’s early surprise packet Melbourne put the chocker on the creative talents of an injury-sapped Bomber outfit who were starved of forward opportunities, MELBOURNE 12.12-84, ESSEN-DON 9.12-66 ... at the Western Oval the Kangas retained their unbeaten record holding off a spirited last term effort from the Scraggers, NORTH 17.10-112, FOOTSCRAY 14.15-99 – 21,630 saw a 22-year -old WAYNE CAREY (NM) play an outstanding forward’s game with 6.2 and his report by the emergency umpire ... on Saturday night 32,000 packed the WACA where the Eagles scored their first win in the Perth night since 1992 as they barnstormed to a 12-goal victory over the Lions who were beyond the pace after the first break, WEST COAST 18.21-129, FITZROY 8.5-53 ... on Sunday, the expensive ALASTAIR LYNCH kicked 8.3 in his debut game (first match for nine weeks) for the Bears as they stormed home after an even first half to demolish the Saints by 53pts who were still without both Loewe and Lockett, BRISBANE 22.19-151, ST KILDA 15.8-98 to 11.640 fans ... the Crows left the Cats standing in a gung-ho final dash to 45,639 at Football Park when ADELAIDE 15.14-104 downed GEELONG 11.11-77 ...

<||> ROUND FOUR FOCUS—Three unbeaten sides reign, the Kangas, Demons and Magpies ... it was an AFL first, all four interstate-based played at home in the same round and all sides won ... 209,733 supporters provided a new record for the round, topping the 201,790 of 1992 ... Hawthorn on the bottom of the ladder for the first time since 1979s second round; before that, it was 1970 when the Hawks held the bottom (12th) rung for seven weeks from round three to nine ... Carlton’s 11.3-69 third quarter against the Hawks was equal to the Blues best in 115 outings at Waverley Park ... Adelaide ruckman BRETT CHALMERS fined $30,000 for prejudicing the 1992 draft played his debut game for the Crows ... the charge against WAYNE CAREY (NM) was withdrawn by the umpire before a hearing ...

<||> the round was a three-day television feast with 15-hours from five capitals for southern states viewers ...

<||> Carlton president JOHN ELLIOTT revealed, in company with the Melbourne City Council and the University of Melbourne, plans to build another oval in nearby Royal Park to provide another venue for cricket and thus free Princes Park earlier each year for football ...

<||> high-profile business manager MAL BROWN launched a scathing attack calling the RICHMOND board (which he works for) “negative”, “cliquey” and “tired” ...

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Collingwood president ALLAN McALISTER named seven AFL clubs he thinks should merge–Hawthorn to join St Kilda, Fitzroy with Footscray and North with Richmond and Melbourne. It recalled events of 100 years ago when the Magpies proposed mergers and inclusion of Ballarat and Bendigo to the then governing VFA body, a move rejected which led to the breakaway and formation of the VFL in 1896 ...
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<||> a new statewide comp involving country centres and some VFA clubs is mooted for 1996, possibly called the Victorian Football League ...


<||> Collingwood’s MICK McGUANE at Vic Park training collided with team-mate Glenn Sandford straining the lateral ligament in his right knee to sideline the star for at least a month ...

<||> the $6m giant colour video screen to sit on top of the Northern Stand will be ready in time for the MCG finals ...

<||> ABC Radio adds former Essendon great SIMON MADDEN to their expert commentary team ...

<||> TRIBUNAL—DEAN WALLIS (Ess) was suspended for three games on the misconduct of kneeing David Schwarz (Mel) in the stomach; a rugged Bomber defender, it was the third time in three years Wallis had been suspended for three matches ... ANDREW JARMAN (Ade) from video was outed two games for striking Adrian Hickmott (Gee) ...

<||> ALLAN JEANS, former St Kilda, Hawthorn and Richmond coach who has long held concern for the future of junior and grassroots football calls for the expansion of existing VSFL comp to the whole of eastern Australia embracing Tasmania and Canberra, rather than create a new statewide football league ...

<||> former captain LAURIE SANDILANDS joins the Footscray board as football development director ...

<||> In the days following the Sunday comments of MAL BROWN on Channel 9’s “Footy Show”– on Thursday, Tiger gm CAMERON SCHWAB resigned for personal reasons; that night the Richmond board sat for 4¾ hours; on Friday, four board members resigned—CLAUDE ULLIN, ERIC LEECH, MICHAEL HUMPRIS and TREVOR McGINLEY; Richmond president LEON DAPHNE while chiding Brown “for using a public forum to express his criticisms of the Board, I wanted him to stay as business manager of the club and as a consultant to the Board”...

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First million fans as the leaders crash

ROUND FIVE — Fri-Sat-Sun-Mon, April 22-23-24-25: With a half-time tally of 0.3 to 9.5 the Bears extended their losing run at Melbourne grounds to 14 (their last win was 92-R18-PP v Fit) when the Demons winning their fourth on-the trot performed a Friday night MCG demolition to 20,946, MELBOURNE 17.15-117, BRISBANE 4.6-30 ... despite a 7.3 effort by the Magpies SAVERIO ROCCA, the Bombers fell over the line to clip the Maggies by four points in a tight affair to a great 74,330 ($329,328) in perfect weather at the MCG on Saturday, ESSENDON 14.14-98, COLLINGWOOD 14.10-94 ... at Kardinia Park the Cats shut down North’s shining stars to inflict the Kangas first loss with TIM McGRATH handing Wayne Carey (NM capt) a hiding and GARY ABLETT kicking 7.6 from 14 shots as GEELONG 17.18-120 downed NORTH 15.15-105 to 23,580 fans ... at the Western Oval, the Swans, 44pts down at the last break produced a landslide 8-goals to one finish for the 10,515 fans but failed to bridge the Lions well-earned lead, FITZROY 20.17-137, SYDNEY 20.9-129 (Minton-Connell 9.2) ... at Football Park, the Bulldogs 9.2 to nil second term silenced the 44,426 parochial Crow fans and set up a worthy victory, ‘SCRAY 19.15-129, ADELAIDE 13.15-93 ... coming off successive 54, 127 and 87 point defeats, the Hawks with the returning Dunstall and Langford carved up the Eagles to 27,385 stunned Subiaco fans by a 71pt margin. It was the Coasters heaviest League defeat in 83 Indian Pacific outings (Subi 52, WACA 31), HAWTHORN 19.15-129, WEST COAST 8.10-58 ... the single ANZAC Day fixture at the Park drew 37,870 where after a traumatic week off the field, the Tigers broke back to convincingly defeat the Saints who dropped to last place, RICHMOND 15.22-112, ST KILDA 10.10-70 ...

<||> ROUND FIVE FOCUS — 239,052 gave the 5th round a new crowd record, easily topping the 206,990 Easter split round of 1992 but just under the 240,630 Anzac split of ‘92; the first 1,000,000 of 1994 passed thru the turnstiles ... the Demons with 4+0 now lead as the Kangas, Maggies, Crows and Eagles all suffered weekend war wounds ... the Doggies second term thumping left Adelaide with their first scoreless League quarter; Footscray became the first club to win two at Football Park, while the Hawks made it four wins in Perth, an AFL best ... Brisbane’s 0.3 at ½-time was the 16th recorded instance since 1925 of a ½-time score of three points or less ... departing from the normal radio roster arrangements, 3AW gave extended coverage thru REX HUNT of the Essendon-Collingwood MCG match which had been drawn by Magic 693 ... Rugby League on the Saturday drew 14,672 fans to Princes Park where Brisbane downed Balmain 36-14 ... Footscray banner at Crow Park – “You can have your Grand Prix back as long as you take Kennett, too”...

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CARLTON & UNITED BREWERIES the AFL’s major sponsor since 1986 at a price tag believed to be $3m a year, fired a broadside at the League of its handling of sponsorships, describing the AFL as lacking in integrity and professionalism. The CUB deal will last until 1996 but the brewer is angry by the infiltration of its other competitor Lion-Nathan who under the Toohey’s label already backs St Kilda and Melbourne and is ready to sign with the new Fremantle club.

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<||> Merger rumors surrounding RICHMOND resurface ...

<||> Freo start interviews with prospective coaches believed to include Gerard Neesham, Robert Shaw and Ken Sheldon ... ...

<||> the Kangas top 9500 members, their best since their 1925 League entry ...

<||> for the second time in 12 months, the MCG goalposts were shifted eight metres anti-clockwise to reduce goal-square wear-and-tear ...

<||> TRIBUNAL – PAUL BULLUSS (Rch) pleaded guilty and suspended for two games (including Tuesday’s State-of-Origin) for striking Stewart Loewe (StK) on Anzac Day ...

<||> 3AW avoided censure of their rival broadcasters over ‘extended special comments’ being told, the present agreement is to be honoured ...

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Magpies pipped again by less than a goal

ROUND SIX — Saturday April 30: To reduce the impact on players for Tuesday’s State-of-Origin, seven clubs enjoyed a bye. Princes Park welcomed 22,335 for what was tipped as a close tussle, Blues rookies JAMES COOK (6.2) and TROY BOND (5.2) aided by a mistake-riddled Swans defence kicked Carlton to a 10-goal victory; Cook took 10 marks, CARLTON 20.14-134, SYDNEY 11.8-74 ... 47,211 were at the Park to watch a low-scoring hard slog between the Demons and Pies. A disallowed GAVIN BROWN goal micro-seconds after the ¼-time siren sounded and a cruel free against TONY SHAW in the last minute stemmed the Wood’s final quarter fight back from 25pts down as the Redlegs posted their fifth straight, MELBOURNE 9.6-60, COLLINGWOOD 8.7-55; the Maggies second loss by less than a goal in successive weeks ... at the MCG for 27,022, the Eagles were too fast and strong recording a 37pt win, a margin which probably flattered the Kangas, WEST COAST 18.15-123, NORTH 13.8-86 (Carey 5.3) ... the Bears still leading into time-on fell away to a terrific Crow last quarter team-effort of 8.3 highlighted by a miraculous mark and goal by TONY MODRA (6.2) as ADELAIDE 18.13-121 beat BRISBANE 17.8-110 to 9457 fans at the BCG ...

<||> ROUND SIX FOCUS – Melbourne to top place on 5+0 ahead of Crows, Eagles, Kangas, Blues and Magpies ... only 17 goals were kicked at the Park, the lowest aggregate in Melbourne-Collingwood clashes since 1965 when in the same round at the MCG, the Woods won 6.13-49 to 7.5-47 ... Magpies full-back JOHN BALLANTYNE out for the season after damaging his right knee cruciate ... high-profile full-forward TONY MODRA (Ade) in five games (he was injured R3) leads with 32.9 ... a rare stat, Carlton captain STEPHEN KERNAHAN did not kick a point in the Blues 10-goal win ... Richmond on the bye played a TFL side led by former captain DALE WEIGHTMAN at NHO to 4108 fans with the Tigers pressed to win 17.13-115 to 14.7-91 ... in Canberra, an under-strength FOOTSCRAY with only 11 senior players were swamped by a 7-goal last term burst and defeated by an ACTAFL side, 19.8-122 to 12.15-87 ...

<||> on a rare footy-free day of May 1st, HSV-7 appropriately programmed three hours of archive footage titled ‘The No Football Sunday’ ...
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S.A. home by two points
Tuesday night at Football Park had 44,598 fans to witness a classic State-of-Origin encounter as South Australia held on to win by two points 11.9-75 to 10.13-73. Only seconds before the siren GARY ABLETT (Vic) from the square snapped truly at goal but was ruled to have interfered with SA defender Nigel Smart. TONY MODRA kicked 6.2 for the Croweaters who gave their coach GRAHAM CORNES six wins from six against the Big V. The Fos Williams Medal was won by ANDREW JARMAN (SA) while the Whitten Medal was gathered by DAVID CALTHORPE (Vic) ... Richmond appoint three new board members—CHARLES MACEK, JAMIE BARTELS and TERRY GRIGG as former Tiger champions MICHAEL ROACH joins as kicking skills coach and KEVIN MORRIS returned from Essendon VSFL coaching, as the Tigers full-time development officer ... politician PHIL CLEARY quits the Association board as talks point to VFA clubs forming a large part of the planned restructure of Victorian footy ...

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Spectacular efforts by the Saints and Ablett

ROUND SEVEN — Sat-Sun, May 7-8: The Hawks continued to defy their critics as they carved the Bombers up in fair weather at the Park on Saturday to 33,927. With Essendon struggling up-forward and lacking the passion which brought them last year’s flag, Hawthorn were dogged and wore black armbands in tribute to training stalwart BOB YEOMAN who died after 30 years of service, HAWTHORN 12.16-88, ESSENDON 11.9-75 ... at the G, 34,601 watched a game of terrific pressure as the Demons suffered their first loss to a committed bunch of Kangas who were always prepared to run and tackle fiercely; Melbourne already without the injured Jakovich, lost captain GARRY LYON with an ankle and after-effects of Tuesday’s S-o-O before half-time and were well down, NORTH 13.12-90, MELBOURNE 8.10-58 ... the Tigers cut loose with a great second half at Princes Park to dent the Lions hopes; JEFF HOGG (Fit) played his 150th game, against his old teammates, RICHMOND 20.13-133, FITZROY 13.14-92, crowd 14,537 ... on Sunday, 52,342 saw the magic of GARY ABLETT with a last term effort which will rank as one of the great marks in footy. The Cats burst away with a 7.3 to 0.1 opening but Collingwood came back strongly in the third (8.3) to have a big chance then Geelong steadied in defence to take it by 28 points, 18.16-124 to 13.18-96 ... at the Western Oval, it was a scrappy first half for 12,181 fans which only briefly came to life for a generally lack-lustre effort, FOOTSCRAY 12.14-86, BRISBANE 7.7-49 ... at the SCG, the Swans squandered a 51pt third term lead as an aggressive TONY LOCKETT kicked 11.2 to spearhead the League’s greatest comeback; the Saints were 48pts down six minutes into the final quarter and won inside the last minute, 17.7-110 to SYDNEY 16.14-110 (Lewis 7.1), crowd 9295 ... at Subiaco, 26,651 saw the Eagles destroy the Blues by 11-goals, the result (without the injured Sumich) marred only by inaccurate kicking, WEST COAST 16.19-115, CARLTON 6.13-49 ...

<||> ROUND 7 FOCUS—it was Carlton’s lowest score in 58 outings since their 6.12-48, 91-R17-PP v Adelaide ... the Saints miraculous comeback drove the dagger even deeper into the Swans club as the Sydney-based inheritor of South Melbourne’s record with game 1203, becoming the longest span a club has played without premiership success ... reflecting on the Bombers 2+4, their two wins were by three against the Eagles and four versus the Magpies ... Tony Lockett’s 11.2 was his 15th double-digit effort, a record ...

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Lockett outed for eight games
No senior reports were received from the 56 officiating umpires but the 7th round gathered subsequent media coverage rarely witnessed. One of the highlights came from the SCG match which produced the greatest single last quarter League comeback by a team, as St Kilda recovered from a 48-point deficit at the 6m10s mark to win their contest against Sydney by one point, 16.14-110 to 17.7-109.

In the first quarter of this match TONY LOCKETT (StK) at 12 minutes clashed with defender PETER CAVEN (Syd) resulting in Caven being knocked unconscious for some six minutes and being stretchered from the ground. Caven was hospitalised with a compound fracture of the nose and underwent surgery.

On Tuesday, Lockett along with three other players from the round were cited by the League on offences following video scrutiny. The resulting Tribunal hearings on Wednesday May 11th drew (as The Age reported) 47 media scribes and 11 cameramen.

TONY LOCKETT was found guilty of “misconduct in that he struck Caven with a right forearm to the head” – Lockett was suspended for eight weeks on the Caven offence but was found to be not guilty of a second charge “that he kneeded Sydney’s Daryn Cresswell with a right knee to the head in the third quarter”.

It was Lockett’s eighth time before the Tribunal since his debut in 1983 and the sixth time suspended for a total of 21 matches. Peter Caven who attended the Melbourne hearing and to whom Lockett apologised requires plastic surgery and may miss as many as 10 matches.

WAYNE CAREY (NM) was cleared of a charge of “misconduct in that he attempted to gouge the eyes of Melbourne defender Sean Wight ... DAVID KING (NM) was suspended for two matches for striking Steven Febey (Mel) ... ANDREW OBST (Mel) was suspended for one match for striking Dean Laidley (NM)
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<||> RINO PRETTO in his 205th VFA game (1980-94) kicked four goals, becoming only the second player in Association history to pass a career 1000 goals, behind FRED COOK who kicked 1366 goals with Yarraville and Port Melbourne (1970-82) Pretto who played with Camberwell, Coburg, Oakleigh and now the Dandenong Redlegs spent his first four VFA years at full-back. In 1985 with Oakleigh, Pretto kicked 170 goals which is topped only by BOB PRATT (Coburg 183 in 1941) and RON TODD (Williamstown 188 in 1945).
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<||> Showing a rapid 19-day recovery during which he was treated up to five times a day, MICK McGUANE returned to the Collingwood line-up gaining 22 possessions in round 7 and missing only the Essendon and Melbourne matches ...

<||> two field umpires, ROWAN SAWERS and ADRIAN PANOZZO who officiated last Sunday at the SCG were among four changes to the senior panel; two others, Murray Bird and Andrew Coates were also replaced ...

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Ablett's 14.5 lifts Cats to fourth place
Carey reported a third time


ROUND 8 — Fri-Sat-Sun, May 13-14-15: The Blues in their third club game in 13 days withstood a strong second-half comeback by the Tigers to 50,227 at the MCG on Friday night. The Blues virtually wrapped it up in the first when they kicked 7 goals to one and were 56pts up at half-time but the Tigers went on to make a real game of it, CARLTON 20.15-135, RICHMOND 16.11-107 ... fair weather continued on Saturday as the Pies won easily over the Saints to 35,851 at the MCG in a sometimes spiteful encounter which brought three reports including Magpie captain GAVIN BROWN. The Woods also lost GARY PERT who seriously injured a knee falling awkwardly after taking a towering 2nd term mark, COLLINGWOOD 19.13-127, ST KILDA 11.12-78 ... after a good first quarter the Bears were not in the race (yielding their 60th defeat in 68 Melbourne outings) as Hawthorn powered away to a 99pt win with JASON DUNSTALL kicking 10.2, giving him 377 Waverley goals in 73 matches, HAWTHORN 25.16-166, BRISBANE 10.7-67, for a modest 12,233 at the Park ... with only four points in it at the last change, the class of the Kangas was telling as the Arden Street brigade won by 29pts to 11,334 at the Western Oval where there was a classic contest between PAUL ROOS (Fit) and North captain WAYNE CAREY who was booked by two umpires (one for charging, the other for striking) following a fourth quarter clash, NORTH 17.17-119, ROYS 13.12-90 ... on Sunday at Princes Park a big expectant crowd of 27,254 saw the Crows lead early in the second term but the Bombers thru MICHAEL SYMONS off inter-change lifted and were never seriously challenged gaining their third victory of the year, ESSENDON 20.11-131, ADELAIDE 13.10-88 ... at the MCG to 28,559 the Bulldogs after half-time regrouped with ILIJA GRGIC booting four goals in the 3rd to take out a tight one by three points, FOOTSCRAY 14.10-94, MELBOURNE 13.13-91, the Demons second loss ... Coathanger Oval proved a full-forward’s heaven for the second week as GARY ABLETT kicked 14.5 (a new SCG record) for a 94pt trouncing of the Swans who were always found wanting; the win lifted the Cats to fourth place, GEELONG 25.15-165, SYDNEY 9.17-71, crowd 11,200 ...

<||> ROUND 8 FOCUS — West Coast with the bye took over top place for the first time since R24 of 1991, the year the Eagles led all season but lost the grand final ... it was League game 1400 for Hawthorn who produced a new high score, and new biggest margin against the Bears ... the Friday night defeat brought loss number 800 for the Tigers ... Gary Ablett’s 14.5 in Sydney gained Geelong’s 950th League victory but it fell short of his personal best of 14.7 kicked in a losing side 93-R6-MCG versus Essendon ...

<||> TRIBUNAL—at a busy hearing, Brownlow favourite, WAYNE CAREY (NM) was suspended for two matches for striking Peter Satori (Fit); Carey was cleared of a second offence, of charging. From the MCG dust-up on striking charges, GAVIN BROWN (Col) was outed for two games DEAN GRIEG (StK) for four weeks but LAZAR VIDOVIC (StK) was cleared, revealing he had struck team-mate Kain Taylor, breaking his nose ... better news for Magpie fans–GARY PERT did not suffer cruciate ligament damage in his knee and the 207-game veteran may return in 4-6 weeks ... STAN ‘Bunny’ WITTMAN the last surviving member of Melbourne’s 1926 premiership died aged 92; he played 113 games, 1926-31 ... the AFL Code of Conduct is imminent as Essendon’s new young Aboriginal star CHE COCKATOO-COLLINS admits he has been a victim of on-field racial taunts.
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Tribunal reverses decision
Collingwood FC obtained a rare reprieve when the two week suspension of Magpie captain for striking against GAVIN BROWN was erased. Tribunal chairman NEIL BUSSE accepted new evidence in the form of video supplied by the St Kilda club and Channel Seven. Busse underlined the importance in future cases that clubs leave “no stone unturned on all relevant evidence brought before this Tribunal. It’s important that clubs realise the onus is on them to be well prepared professionally and adequately to defend on the day in respect of any charge.”

It was only the second time a player has successfully appealed a suspension. In the 1989 Second Semi, PAUL VAN DER HAAR (Ess) was suspended for three matches for striking Greg Dear (Haw) but the case was re-opened on medical evidence and the suspension struck out.

Three previous appeals all failed — in August 1988, Warren Jones (StK) for striking David O’Connell (WCE), in March 1991, Dermott Brereton (Haw) for striking Chris McDermott (Ade) and May 1993, Mark Bairstow (Gee) for striking Glen Jakovich (WCE).

Brown will still be eligible for the Brownlow and immediately was named in the weekend team.

At a separate hearing DAVID CALTHORPE (Ess) from a video charge was suspended two games for striking MARK RICCIUTO (Ade) who from the same incident was judged not guilty of striking.

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North Melbourne's 125th birthday
Tony Shaw – 300 games


ROUND 9 — Fri-Sat-Sun, May 20-21-22: Joint celebrations for the 125th anniversary of North Melbourne’s (nee Hotham FC) foundation and the arrival of the 300th senior game for Collingwood’s TONY SHAW drew 72,216 to Friday’s MCG clash. Fireworks and a cavalcade of former North greats set the scene for LEO DWYER to toss the coin. Dwyer in 1925 was a member of the first North sides in VFL competition and head of the family which produced three generations for the Arden Street colours.

Without suspended captain Wayne Carey, North stole the show coming from 33pts down in the second to steam away with a thorough victory over the Maggies who sorely lacked key position height, NORTH 17.19-121, COLLINGWOOD 13.10-88 ... some scribes said The Blues had the better of the play but the worst of the umpiring when they met the Bombers at the Park to 40,080 on Saturday; with both sides desperate to improve their win-loss ratio, it was a thriller as ESSENDON 9.9-63 downed CARLTON 7.20-62 ... with a gale-force wind blowing to the Geelong Road end, it was a tough slog for both at the Western Oval to 15,043 where PETER MATERA (WCE) was at his damaging best as the Eagles ran in their sixth win, WEST COAST 12.11-83, FOOT-SCRAY 7.10-52 ... at Kardinia Park Ablett with 8.3 cruised to 104 goals in games against the Tigers as the Cats poured on a 64pt win to 22,205 fans, GEELONG 21.16-142, RICHMOND 11.12-78 ... surprise of the day (? the year) was the Swans MCG comeback from 28pts behind early in the last to inflict their second successive win over the embarrassed Demons, SYDNEY 16.10-106, MELBOURNE 14.13-97, crowd 19,333 ... Sunday at the Park gathered just 15,249 for another tight, low-scoring affair as the Saints lifted to clinch a 13pt win over the Lions, ST KILDA 11.9-75, FITZROY 8.14-62 ... the Hawks were back to their booming best as they inflicted a devastating 97pt victory on the Crows who were scoreless in both the first and third quarters stunning the 44,405 Football Park fans, HAWTHORN 22.13-145 (Dunstall 9.5), ADELAIDE 7.6-48 ...

<||> ROUND 9 FOCUS — 228,531 for the round topped 1964’s Queen’s Birthday split ... The Eagles stay on top with the shuffle taking place to other positions ... Melbourne after five-straight wins have lost their last three ... winning-streaks – the Hawks, their last four games, the Cats and Kangas their last three ... of the four Essendon wins three have been by less than a goal ... the Hawks within a month have inflicted the heaviest home ground defeats to both the Eagles and the Crows at Subiaco and Football Park ... the Crows with zip on the board in the first and third quarters were the equal of the Eagles 92-R22-WO against Footscray, ... the Hawks 8.1-49 was the best opener yet at Footy Park ... DERMOTT BRERETON for Sydney, played his first senior match since 1992 and proved an inspiration to the Swans victory over Melbourne at the MCG ...

<||> Bulldog great ALLAN HOPKINS journeyed down from Cobram to receive a birthday cake for his 90th ...

<||> STEWART LOEWE (StK) had surgery by two doctors on his lower abdominal region expected to sideline him for up to two months ... x-rays to MARK HARVEY (Ess) confirmed a left knee torn posterior ligament likely to keep him out for 6-8 weeks ...

<||> the AFL Commission in saying players must be accountable for their behaviour, strongly reprimanded TONY LOCKETT (StK) for gesturing to Swans fans after the SCG match on May 8. The League also indicated concern and disapproval of actions taken by PETER CAVEN (Syd) during a TV program where Caven used a baseball bat to attack a dummy dressed in a St Kilda jumper – the Swans sent an apology to St Kilda ...

<||> League statistician Col Hutchinson revealed the remarkable record attained by GARY ABLETT (Gee) who in his past 25 matches has kicked 175 goals at an average of seven per game ...

<||> TRIBUNAL—North Melbourne full-back MICK MARTYN was cleared of striking Saverio Rocca (Col) on a technicality but got a dressing down from chairman NEIL BUSSE ...

<||> Opposition mounts to anticipated elimination of Reserves (VSFL) with Victorian threats against the AFL Commission that the ultimate could happen — “the power to dismiss the lot of them” – Fitzroy pres DYSON HORE-LACY, The Age May 24.

<||> TFL Commission in Hobart gave the thumbs-down to inclusion of a Tassy side in any restructured Reserves comp ...

<||> the lobby received a boost when Carlton pres JOHN ELLIOTT said two commissioners had told him they favoured retaining the Seconds (Age 26-05) ...

<||> after a 24-year association Sydney gm BARRY ROGERS resigned to head for Queensland ...

<||> first radio ratings of the year (for April 10 thru May 14) of the match call showed 3AW polled 16.7% (91,000) over 3LO 12.5% (60,000) and newcomer Magic 693 on 3%...

<||> a Melbourne suburban player was suspended until 2000 for striking a field umpire ...

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The Hawks crash
Bombers & Cats in great MCG clash


ROUND 10 — Fri-Sat-Sun, May 27-28-29: On a warm Friday Perth night the Swans produced a gutsy first-half effort to 27,666 fans but the Eagles class was too great at the end, WEST COAST 14.17-101, SYDNEY 10.15-75; Peter Sumich and Brett Heady (WCE) were lost with hamstrings midway thru the second term ... Carlton at home on Saturday to 24,332 Princes Park fans were given a tough time by a committed though off-target Bulldog outfit with STEPHEN KERNAHAN the obvious difference booting 7.5 of CARLTON 16.13-109 to FOOTSCRAY 13.19-97, ... it was a crowd-pleasing affair for 75,129 at the MCG where there was a touch of first-half magic as Ablett kicked six and the Cats led by as much as 33pts then the Bombers (still without nine of their grand final side) turned disaster into glory; the Dons kicked seven without answer and held on grimly to win by 11pts, ESSENDON 16.16-112, GEELONG 15.11-101 (Ablett 7.1) ... a scoreless opening doomed a woeful Saints to a Demon thrashing at the Park to 19,914; that the margin wasn’t greater was a worry to Redleg coach Neil Balme, MELBOURNE 15.16-106, ST KILDA 4.8-32 ... the Maggies were pumped-up at Vic Park kicking 8.6 in the first to always have the Hawks (after four-straight) playing catch-up, COLLINGWOOD 16.14-110, HAWTHORN 10.14-74, crowd 26,718 ... on Sunday at the BCG, the Kangas were 4/11 and had 14 shots in the first to appear solid winners, but the 27 degrees and a big spread of over-confidence allowed the Bears in to take over and the 27pt margin flattered the Roos, BRISBANE 17.18-120, NTH MELB 12.21-93, crowd 10,953 ... under lights at Football Park, 42,915 saw the Crows break-away from the Lions for seven goals in the third to put the game beyond the plucky visitors, ADELAIDE 15.13-103 Modra 5.1, Wigney 5.2), FITZROY 9.10-64 ...

<||> ROUND 10 FOCUS—another crowd record, 227,717 beating 1991’s R10 of 191,445 ... St Kilda’s scoreless opener, their first zip first quarter since 1976 ... big 9th round winners, Hawthorn, Geelong and North all got done in R10 ... his five goals against North made ROGER MERRETT leading Brisbane goalkicker with 193, topping Brad Hardie’s 192 ... interstate footy–at the BCG, QUEENSLAND 18.18-126 had a thorough win over TASMANIA 10.10-70 while in Canberra the ACTAFL 23.23-161 were sound victors over the Sydney FL 15.11-101 ...

<||> GERARD NEESHAM whose entire VFL-AFL experience is nine 1982 games with Sydney was named inaugural coach of FREMANTLE. Neesham enjoys an impressive WAFL record with Claremont, six grand finals in seven years with four premierships and played 247 matches with East Fremantle, Swan Districts and Claremont ...

<||> CAMERON SCHWAB (the recent Richmond gm) was appointed as a full-time consultant to assist Fremantle’s 1995 establishment in the League ... Carlton were fined $50,000 for salary cap breaches ...

<||> Lakeside Oval at Albert Park, home of South Melbourne until 1981 and the scene of 704 League games will disappear in preparations for the 1996 Grand Prix in Melbourne ...

<||> The tip — FREMANTLE will wear a green guernsey and will be known as the Mariners ...

<||> AFL Commission to consider Federal Government plan to fund a $1m traineeship plan for players, umpires and officials ...

<||> a cartel of four SANFL clubs, North Adelaide, Centrals, West Adelaide and Woodville-West Torrens preparing a plan to form the second SA team in the AFL expected to be known at the end of August ...

TRIBUNAL – from video, PAUL COOPER (Haw) suspended one game for misconduct on the rare charge of tripping by hand against Bradley Plain (Col); TIM HARGREAVES (Haw) was cleared of a similar charge ...

<||> Herald-Sun on reader response rated the most popular TV and radio commentators as – TIM LANE (ABC), followed by Sam Newman (GTV), Kevin Bartlett, Rex Hunt, Dennis Commetti, Eddie McGuire, Harry Beitzel, Bruce McAvaney, Gerard Healy and Sandy Roberts ...

<||> VFA to propose amalgamation of four clubs should the new State League proceed – Coburg with Preston, Springvale and Dandenong, Port Melbourne and Sandringham with Prahran ...

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Bears in boilover
Another 10.1 for Dunstall


ROUND 11— Sat-Sun, June 4-5: A booming second term of 8.4 and with captain STEPHEN KERNAHAN in sparkling form, the Blues were 77pts up and only a late charge by the Lions brought any excitement for the 19,090 fans at the Park on Saturday, CARLTON 20.15-135 (Kernahan 9.6), FITZROY 12.8-80 ... the Magpies for their last Vic Park appearance of the year gave their 27,390 fans plenty as they came away from a locked-up 40pts all at half-time to run out 23pt winners from the Crows who have yet to win at Abbotsford, COLLINGWOOD 13,12-90, ADELAIDE 8.19-67 (Modra 2.7) ... the Bombers 46pt win at Princes Park (22,783) was not indicative of the Tigers early commitment but the Dons sparked by a miraculous last term goal from the boundary by GAVIN WANGANEEN were clear winners with 9.1 in the last, ESSENDON 24.10-154, RICHMOND 17.6-108 ... one of the year’s major upsets occurred at Kardinia Park (18,507) when the Bears won their first on-the-road since 92-R18-PP v Fit, as the BCG boys took over midway thru the second and were never headed, BRISBANE 19.12-126, GEELONG 15.11-101 (Ablett 6.2) ... on Sunday at the MCG (31,324), WEST COAST were always in control and maintained their leader status with a convincing 44pt victory over a troubled MELBOURNE, 18.10-118 to 11.8-74 ... at the Park (22,895) the Hawks were amazingly accurate with pin-point delivery to JASON DUNSTALL who kicked 10 straight before his only behind as HAW-THORN 20.5-125 downed FOOTSCRAY 8.13-61 ... in Sydney, (11,182) the Kangas booming second term of 9.3 was the contrast to the otherwise competitive but wasteful Swans who enjoyed 53 more kicks and 32 more handpasses but still lost by 20pts, NORTH 19.12-126 (Long-mire 6), SYDNEY 16.10-106 (Minton-Connell 7.2) ...

<||> ROUND 11 FOCUS — The Tigers played their 1700th League game ... Jason Dunstall (Haw) now just 37 off the magic 1000 goals ... JUSTIN MURPHY enjoys a 5-goal debut with Richmond ... North in the 125th meeting won their 8th straight against Sydney; the Swans haven’t won in the 90’s against the Kangas ... 153,171 attend the round ... JIM STYNES (Mel) on 159 successive matches suffers knee injury; Stynes still made it for his 160th ...
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The previous Rugby League match at the MCG was on August 14, 1914 when England beat Australia 21-15 to a crowd of 12,900.

Wednesday June  8, 1994 saw 87,161 pack the ground for the State of Origin clash when NSW downed Queensland 14-0.
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<||> tickets for the Grand Final rise to $53 ...

<||> 3AW and 3MP thru the Australian Broadcasting Authority failed in their court bid to halt community station 3NIR covering Collingwood matches ...

<||> Tribunal—GLEN ARCHER (NM) from video was suspended two matches for kneeing Simon Minton-Connell (Syd) ...

<||> Herald-Sun speculation of AFL 5-year plan is strongly denied 24-hours later by CEO Ross Oakley but a day after a Commissioner is quoted as saying weaker clubs will be placed under pressure by new criteria ...

<||> a three-times club best & fairest, former captain and life member, MATTHEW LARKIN at 29 retires after 172 senior games with North ...

<||> TERRY WHEELER former Bulldog coach is chosen to oversee the AFL’s traineeship course funded by $1m from the Federal Government ...

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Eagles battle Bears
Tigers cage the Magpies
Ablett saves Geelong


ROUND 12 – Sat-Sun-Mon, June 11-12-13: In a crucial Saturday battle the Blues were stronger and more reliable when it counted at the MCG (crowd 52,199) taking out a 27pt win over the Demons who have now lost five of the last six games, CARLTON 18.13-121, MELBOURNE 13.16-94 ... at Kardinia Park (23,518) Cats coach Blight was booed at ¾ time as his side trailed the injury-riddled Saints by 26pts; five last term goals by the magical Gary Ablett saved his team from a dunking in Corio Bay, GEELONG 17.11-113 (Ablett 7.3), ST KILDA 16.14-110 ... at Princes Park (16,497) the Crows were blown away as a powerful Kanga attack registered a whopping 80pt victory which with greater accuracy should have been greater, NORTH 21.23-149, ADELAIDE 10.9-69 ... on Sunday, at the SCG (12,251) the Swans were competitive only for the first half as the Hawks with ease pin-pointed Dunstall who with 11.3 booted his 14th career double-digit tally, HAWTHORN 21.15-141, SYDNEY 13.5-83 ... on a heavy Subiaco Oval, the Eagles ran in their sixth successive win as the improving Bears only a goal down at the last break squandered opportunities with 1.6 in the final term, WEST COAST 11.12-78, BRISBANE 10.9-69 to 23,450 fans ... on the Queen’s Birthday Monday, 61,983 were at the MCG to witness a Tiger humiliation of the Maggies reminiscent of Richmond’s glory days; the Woods were goalless for almost an hour, kicking their lowest against the Tigers since 61-R2-VP, RICHMOND 14.18-102, COLLINGWOOD 4.12-36 ... at the Park a keen struggle was watched by 39,181; after a close first half where the Dons lost two thru injury, four goals to Chris Grant gave the Doggies a big show and though the Bombers clawed back to within a goal, the Tricolours found a bit extra to go away by 28pts and keep their hopes alive, FOOTSCRAY 13.14-92, ESSENDON 9.10-64 ...

<||> ROUND 12 FOCUS — at the half-way mark the top eight, WCE 36pts, NM 32, Haw 28, Car 28, Mel 24, Gee 24, Ess 24, Col 24 ... 229,079 just under the 1992 figure of 234,819 ... Collingwood’s 4.12-36 at the MCG against Richmond was the Maggies lowest score away from Victoria Park (other than finals) since 1897 ... NATHAN BURKE (StK) and ADRIAN GLEESON (Car) played their 150th ... Dunstall kicked his 14th double-digit ... Collingwood’s lack of strike reflected in 1005pts for a 91pts av in 11 games ... Magpies injury woes continued as BRAD ROWE will be out for the season after surgery to a dislocated right shoulder suffered three minutes into Monday’s game ...

<||> TRIBUNAL — in hearings over two nights, TIM WATSON (Ess) preserved his unblemished record when cleared of striking Tony Liberatore (Fsc); Tim’s other appearance of his 303 games was in 1988 when found not guilty on a strike charge ... MATTHEW CROFT (Fsc) one game for tripping Ben Doolan (Ess) ... WAYNE CAREY (NM) from video, suspended three matches for striking Ben Hart (Ade); it was Carey’s fourth appearance this year for two suspensions ... DAMIAN HOULIHAN (Col) three matches for striking Chris Naish (Rch) ... PAUL KELLY (Syd) two weeks for striking Darren Pritchard (Haw) ... DARREN JARMAN (Haw) one match for tripping Derek Kickett (Syd) ... MICHAEL MANSFIELD (Gee) cleared of charging David Strooper (StK) ...

<||> After 18-months research, a 200-page SANFL report recommending two clubs should merge to form Adelaide’s second AFL side was reportedly greeted by the AFL's gm IAN COLLINS disclosure that the League’s preference was for a single, established club to join.

On the boil, as well was the Norwood-Sturt merge proposal to gain the franchise. The speculation was, if the AFL rejected SANFL recommendations it would almost certainly favour Port Adelaide winning the second license in its own right. The club in 1991 came within an ace of winning a spot before legal challenge and a SANFL backflip thwarted the bold attempt (Age, June 16).
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<||> Former headquarters, AFL House in Jolimont goes to the market with an ask of $3.1m ...

<||> Essendon coach KEVIN SHEEDY reveals a plan for an annual $10 levy on all Victorian rate-producing properties to safe-guard the state’s 11 AFL clubs; a Herald Sun readers poll gave it the thumbs down, 58% to 42%  ...
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<||> on June 30, tobacco giant ROTHMANS will cease sponsorships worth almost $2m a year for Australian sports and the arts, blaming federal laws banning tobacco advertising. The ROTHMANS SPORTS FOUNDATION was not involved in tobacco advertising and had paid for coaching in cricket, rugby league, rugby union, athletics and AFL football, as well as a full-time golf professional ...
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Bears and Magpies score important victories
18,097 squeeze in the BCG


ROUND 13 – Sat-Sun, June 18-19: The three Saturday matches were played in blustery conditions and a temp of 15. At Princes Park the Saints got to within 21pts in the 3rd but the Blues took over to kick 10 of the last 11 goals to win their fourth on-the-trot, CARLTON 22.13-145, ST KILDA 10.5-65, crowd 22,843 ... without a win since R5, the Lions surprised their critics as they blew away the Hawks at Waverley with MARK ZANOTTI (Fit) holding JASON DUNSTALL (Haw) goalless for only a career 9th time, (last 92-R19-P) FITZROY 10.6-66, HAWTHORN 7.11-53 (17,599) ... at the MCG (26,917) a concerted effort to stop the Kanga midfielders succeeded as the Tigers ran in their second win against a top side just five days after knocking off the Magpies; gritty, desperate footy was rewarded, RICHMOND 9.18-72, NORTH 10.7-67 ... four Sunday games, at the G the Magpies struggling thru injury opened well and stopped the Eagles run of six matches with a confidence boosting success, COLLINGWOOD 18.13-121, WEST COAST 12.12-84, crowd 27,699 ... at the Western Oval (13,070), the Doggies crushed an under-manned Swans outfit and it was difficult to access the worth of Scray’s big 80pt win and going to 6+6, FOOTSCRAY 20.14-134, SYDNEY 9.6-60 ... in Brisbane the gates were closed by two o’clock as 18,097 squeezed into a BCG still undergoing expansion. The Bears scored one of their most important AFL wins as they defeated an injury-riddled Bomber line-up with ALASTAIR LYNCH and PAUL PEOS dominating the Bears attack with 5 goals apiece, BRISBANE 17.12-114, ESSENDON 11.15-81 ... the vital twilight game at Football Park produced a nail-biter for 41,189 with the fast-finishing Demons failing by 5pts, a relief for the Crows, ADELAIDE 11.17-83, MELBOURNE 12.6-78 ...

<||> ROUND 13 FOCUS — Carlton, their 4th in a row and the Blues 150th win against the Saints ... Dunstall’s last zip in a game was in 1992 v St Kilda when the Hawks also kicked 7.11.53; the last three occasions Jason has been held goalless have all be at Waverley ... the Tigers broke a 7-game win-streak by North ... the previous goalless first term (Rch-NM had one on Saturday) was 88-R1-C, Bri 0.3 v Col 0.3; it’s happened 14 times in the past 50 years ...

<||> TRIBUNAL — GREG WILLIAMS (Car) after admitting striking Robert Harvey (StK) was cleared. In dismissing the charge chairman NEIL BUSSE reminded Williams on his 15th trip to the Tribunal “to be a little careful in the way he tackles players in future”; ANG CHRISTOU (Car) was cleared of a tripping charge; RICHARD CHAMPION (Bri) suspended three matches for striking Chris Daniher (Ess); DAMIEN HARDWICK (Ess) cleared of tripping; JOHN HOWAT (Rch) cleared of striking ...

<||> An expo called AFL Sensation modelled on a similar US promotion leading to their Super Bowl will be held during grand final week at the National Tennis Centre where the Commission expects up to 100,000 will attend ...

<||> at Football Park on Tuesday night, 17,561 watched the WAFL 10.14-74 defeat SANFL 7.18-60 ...

<||> a telephone poll on Adelaide’s Channel 7 found 74% of 6000 respondents favoured Port Adelaide’s bid to win SA’s second AFL licence ...

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The Bears blossom
Melbourne plummet


ROUND 14 — Fri-Sat-Sun, June 24-25-26: As the chill and wet weather arrived, the Blues won their fifth in a row and replaced North in second spot in Friday nights MCG clash (45,171) where the Kangas always threatened but Carlton were always steadier, 15.16-106 to 13.10-88 ... the four Saturday matches were in competition with, a March for Jesus which drew 15,000 to Bourke Street, Rugby League’s Balmain v Illawarra at Princes Park to a slim 6118 and the Australia-Italy Rugby Union Test for 15,539 at Olympic Park — at the bleak Western Oval (16,050) where the game ended in darkness, it was all gloom for co-tenants Fitzroy who were humiliated as Footscray posted their biggest victory of 104pts and eight successive wins over the Lions in 123 meetings, SCRAY 21.18-144, FITZROY 6.4-40 ... at the MCG (32,528) Richmond gained their first hat-trick of wins since 1986 in impressive manner over Melbourne who squandered 70-more possessions but failed to realise their advantage as the Tigers went away to a 16pt victory, RICHMOND 11.12-78, MELBOURNE 9.7-61 ... the first draw of the season came at Waverley (13,913) where the Saints collapsed for a zip last term to allow the Crows to claw back and share the points in a game giving neither joy, ST KILDA 12.7-79, ADELAIDE 11.13-79 ... the Eagles reinforced top position with an 18pt win at Kardinia Park (21,660). West were in firm control then relaxed in the last but withstood a comeback by the Cats who boasted their best line-up all season, WEST COAST 14.9-93, GEELONG 10.15-75 ... on Sunday, the BCG was stacked again with 18,881 fans in great weather. The Bears after recent wins over North, Geelong and Essendon finally arrived when they posted an emphatic first-time victory over Collingwood allowing the Magpies a two-minute period when the black-and whites led, BRISBANE 17.19-121, COLLINGWOOD 11.11-77 ... a chilly MCG had 27,094 to see a comfortable Bomber success over the Swans; the Dons were always in control with first-gamer SCOTT CUMMINGS (after 55 goals in the Twos) kicking 8.1 for ESSENDON 19.15-129, SYDNEY 14.11-95 ...

<||> ROUND 14 FOCUS — Carlton to second, Footscray to fifth as the Demons who were the opening pacesetters, with only one win in eight weeks plummeted to 11th ... the StK-Ade tie at Waverley was the first R14 draw since 1959; the Saints were scoreless in a last quarter for the 61st time since 1897 ... CHRIS MAINWARING played his 150th for the Eagles ... DAVID PARKIN coached the Blues for the 200th time for 125 wins, 73 losses and two draws; it was Parkin’s 362nd as a League coach ... PETER CAVEN (Syd) injured in a R8 clash with TONY LOCKETT (StK) returned in the Twos ...

<||> NSW Rugby League calls off its third Melbourne Princes Park match scheduled for July 23 ...

<||> TRIBUNAL — WARREN CAMPBELL (NM) outed two weeks for striking Andrew McKay (Car) ... DEREK KICKETT (Syd) from video, pleaded guilty to striking Damien Hardwick (Ess) with a right forearm to the head and was suspended two matches; JASON MOONEY (Syd) was cleared of striking ...
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At an estimated cost of some $5m, CARLTON revealed its plans to increase capacity to 43-45,000 with the construction of a new open-area stand on the south-eastern side of Princes Park, the expansion of its playing area, electronic scoreboard, plus long-term plans for the installation of lights; this increased speculation on the nearing prospect of Monday night football. The Blues are understood to be renegotiating a lease with the City of Melbourne in seeking a 40-year term.
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<||> in a late Tribunal hearing on Friday, DAMIEN MONKHORST (Col) from a video citing was cleared of a misconduct charge ...

<||> the League and AFL Players Association reached agreement to share proceeds from the sale of various player-oriented merchandise expected to boost the AFLPA coffers by $100,000 ...

<||> Sunday Age reported Carlton as promoters of Rugby League games at Princes Park had its fingers badly burnt after their guarantee of $100,000 for each of the three scheduled Balmain matches, the July 29 game being cancelled after only 6118 turned out for the June 25 event ...

<||> Blues prez JOHN ELLIOTT on 3AW again calls for sale of Waverley Park ...

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Hot Blues blitz Bears
Cats on the skids; four-in-a-row for Tigers


ROUND 15 – Fri-Sat-Sun, July 1-2-3: Four of the seven matches were marked by closely fought first halves then a disastrous collapse, plus two seven-point margins ... in Perth under lights at the WACA on Friday night the under-manned Saints were no match for the Eagles who romped in by 79pts, WEST COAST 19.14-128, ST KILDA 7.7-49 (24,352) ... the Bears were accorded Match of the Day status for the first time but suffered a crushing reverse at Princes Park when the Blues with 11.2 to 1.1 in the last term won by 98pts in a cakewalk (their 6th on-the-trot), CARLTON 22.12-144, BRISBANE 6.10-46 (21,043) ... even though Longmire bagged 7.6, the Kangas lamentable kicking for goal cost it dearly as the Bombers took an “anybody’s” game at the G (50,141) by just 7pts, ESSENDON 14.8-92, NORTH 11.19-85 ... to the long break it was a terrific goal-for-goal contest at Waverley for 35,267 fans; the Hawks reorganised and the Cats without muscle were exposed again and tumbled to 11th, HAWTHORN 16.19-115, GEELONG 11.13-79 ... it was an ill-wind at Western Oval which the Demons used to the fullest (kicking seven goals twice) as the Lions turned a 21pt lead into a 46pt loss for the slim 8484 fans, MELBOURNE 16.15-111, FITZROY 9.11-65 ... the SCG on Sunday (13,083) had a half-time one-point Magpie lead; the Swans then predictably fell apart but the widest margin of 32pts was trimmed back in a low-standard outing, COLLINGWOOD 13.15-93, SYDNEY 10.13-73 ... the Tigers (on-a-roll) and the Crows in the late game at Football Park (43,052) was a cliffhanger with the Tigers terrific 6.3 third term the clincher, RICHMOND 13.12-90, ADELAIDE 12.11-83 ...

<||> ROUND 15 FOCUS — Richmond scored their first win over Adelaide; the Crows third loss at home this year; the Tigers first string of four wins for 10 years, since 85-R3-4-5-6 ... at first subtle, now a positive, as the old “Notre Dame March” club-song greets each Swans SCG entry ... Eagles 44, Blues 40, Hawks, Kangas, Magpies and Bombers on 32, the Doggies and Tigers on 28 in the top eight with Richmond in sight of their first finals since 1982 ...

<||> The VFA may merge with the VSFL and move its headquarters to the MCG. The Association however seem certain to continue into 1995 as the AFL club push for retention of the Reserves appears to have succeeded, and a VFA facelift reducing to 10 clubs is possible ...

<||> the Junction Oval set to receive a $500,000 facelift by the MCC to ensure the Demons stay as its long-term winter tenant ... MAL BROWN to serve out his two-year contract at Richmond but resigns his marketing position ...

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Remarkable 16th round
Tony Shaw 306 games
Doug Hawkins 321st; Dunstall 200th
Double-digit Ablett, again!


Please note: This is the last occasion where all matches were of the round were played in day light.

ROUND 16 — Sat-Sun, July 9-10: With Melbourne experiencing one of its mildest winters since records were started in 1855 (before footy!) plenty of history was packed into three hours on Saturday as two players equalled long-standing club-match records, TONY SHAW (Col), the 306 games of Gordon Coventry and DOUG HAWKINS (Fsc), the 321 of Ted Whitten. At Waverley Park, the Hawks JASON DUNSTALL played his 200th and by kicking another five was on-track with 984 for another historic milestone. Down on Corio Bay, the amazing GARY ABLETT with 10.3 reached 797 goals with his 12th double-figure performance of his 198 matches.

At the Western Oval, the Magpies were never led and always in control as they disposed of the Lions by 49pts to 15,394 fans, COLLINGWOOD 19.15-129, FITZROY 11.14-80 ... in a terrific all-day MCG contest the Tigers looked safe (once up by 29) but had to withstand a Bulldog fight-back to 49,878 fans, RICHMOND 14.13-97, FOOTSCRAY 12.22-94, the Tigers fifth in a row, their best in more than a decade — the irony is Scray kicked the same score losing by a point to the Maggies, same place in R3 ... the Cats at home had seemingly again turned certain victory toward defeat being 16pts down to the Demons 15 minutes into the last, then stormed home kicking 7.5 goals to one behind in the next 18 to win by 30pts, GEELONG 22.13-145, MELBOURNE 17.13-115, amazing stuff for the 23,468 fans, a disaster for the Demons who’ve lost eight of the past 10 games, three by less than a goal ... the Saints at Waverley had a spirited second term but that was all as the Hawks controlled the rest to be easy 64pt victors, HAWTHORN 21.16-142, ST KILDA 11.12-78 to 25,037 ... on Sunday, the Blues with two eight-goal quarters at Princes Park savaged the Crows to virtually end their 1994 hopes, CARLTON 20.16-136, ADELAIDE 10.16-76 (29,669) ... at the SCG there was a miserable 5,728 fans (the worst is 5,272, 90-R20 v Bri) to watch the Bears lead most of the day winning their seventh with ROGER MERRETT six goals straight, BRISBANE 21.9-135, SYDNEY 15.20-110 ... in the heavy Subiaco (29,351) conditions the Bombers received a flogging at the hands of the Eagles who kicked 11 goals with a noticeable absence of any scores by their recognised forwards of Sumich, Lewis and Heady, WEST COAST 11.14-80, ESSENDON 5.14-44; the Dons twice kicked 6.7-43 in 1991 and before that 5.11-41 in the 1990 Grand Final, their most recent drubbings ...

<||> TRIBUNAL – SCOTT LEE (Ade) was cleared on a kneeing charge; from video, NICKY WINMAR (StK) was suspended for three matches on striking Darren Pritchard (Haw); LAZAR VIDOVIC (StK) outed for one match on misconduct – his foot had made contact with Andrew Gowers’ (Haw) backside ...

<||> following the indication FREMANTLE will wear two strips, for home and away matches, WEST COAST reported to be looking at changes to their colours.
___________

The 1970 premiership cup was stolen Sunday from a glass cabinet at the Carlton Social Club.

In a bizarre twist on Tuesday, a TV station was contacted by a person describing himself as a Magpie supporter who admitted a previously unreported 1977 heist when the famed original had been taken and stashed away. The anonymous Collingwood fan made good an offer and left the trophy in a Princes Park toilet block. It was later returned to Blues prez John Elliott.

In the following days it was revealed thru other thefts, not all trophies in the Carlton cabinet were originals.
__________

<||> Melbourne-based AFL presidents gave the green light to a proposal to increase the number of VSFL teams to 12 next season and lift the age limited to Under 19; the proposal will be presented to the Commission by Hawks prez GEOFF LORD ...

<||> AFL CEO Ross Oakley conceded there is “a possibility” football could be moved from Waverley Park. Its future would be decided after a review of the ground later this year ...

<||> the Lions hierarchy admitted it was dangerously exposed as 22 of its 42 listed players were either out of contract and entering ‘option’ years; though Fitzroy attendances at Western Oval this year showed a 25% drop compared to Princes Park last year, the vulnerable club believed it was on track for a $250,000 profit, beside the fact they have debts of almost $1.75m with a further $750,000 loan due to Bernie Ahern on October 31 ...

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Blues & Tigers maintain their winning ways
Injury toll quells Magpies


ROUND 17 — Sat-Sun, July 16-17: On Saturday to a whopping 85,381 at the G, the Blues reinforced their standing as they posted their 12th for the season and made it eight in-a-row when they posted their 105th win over the injury ruptured Magpies who suffered again as ALAN RICHARDSON sustained a knee injury; when the first half heat was on GREG WILLIAMS and FRASER BROWN ran hard at the ball setting up the win as the Woods always struggled up forward with STEPHEN SILVAGNI in sparkling form for the Blues, CARLTON 14.13-97, COLLINGWOOD 7.12-54 ... following a mid-week four-hour crisis meeting, the Demons played havoc with the Hawks at Princes Park (14,271) as a full-on ALLEN JAKOVICH returned from injury to kick 8.1, was booked for swearing at central umpire MURRAY BIRD and dragged by coach Balme; dominating the midfield and the Hawks down everywhere, the Demons looked as good as they were in their first five wins of the year, MELBOURNE 17.10-112, HAWTHORN 11.8-74 ... it was an emotional day as DOUG HAWKINS entered his 322nd game for the Bulldogs embraced by TED WHITTEN, the old player overtaken. 23,953 at the Western Oval saw Hawkins with 23 possessions as one of the best afield lift Scray back into the eight, and to their first win after 11 drubbings by the Cats, FOOTSCRAY 17.11-113, GEELONG 13.7-85 ... at the Park (21,097) the Kangas with WAYNE CAREY back after suspension gathered 21 possessions in a terrific return to wallop the Saints for North’s first win in four; TONY LOCKETT after his eight-week suspension got two kicks, NORTH 17.14-116, ST KILDA 8.7-55 ... nothing was easy for the Roys at the MCG (33,265) on Sunday, close early in the third term, the Bombers with a couple of good tap-outs from PAUL SALMON broke away and ending kicking nine-straight in the last to be 64pt winners, ESSENDON 24.9-153, FITZROY 12.17-89 ... at the BCG (15,436), the Tigers on a roll gave the Bears some of their own medicine and with ferocity from the first bounce carried off their sixth on-the-trot; MATTHEW RICHARD-SON was terrific up forward, taking eight marks, kicking 5.4, RICHMOND 15.8-98, BRISBANE 12.12-84 ... the Crows kept their fragile hopes alive to 42,860 at Football Park in the twilight match – it was a dramatic 4pt result over the Eagles as SHAUN REHN shouldered the load, well-supported by CHRIS McDERMOTT and TONY McGUINNESS — ADELAIDE 12.10-82, WEST COAST 11.12-78 ...

<||> ROUND 17 FOCUS — the Blues gathered their 8th straight (best since 1987-88), the Tigers their sixth ... Geelong’s GARY ABLETT with 3.2 against Scray passed 800 career goals ... the Eagles MICK MALTHOUSE attained 250 games in League coaching ranks ... 236,261 fans brought a new 17th round record ... Bombers lose TIM WATSON with an ankle and, JAMES HIRD, when a teammate crashed into him in a marking duel on Sunday was hospitalised with a collapsed lung ... Collingwood may have only 26 of their 42-man squad for next weekend ... ALASTAIR LYNCH (Bri) cracks his collarbone again, no surgery, just rest, for maybe a month ...

<||> TRIBUNAL — a contrite ALLEN JAKOVICH (Mel) was found guilty and fined $2000 for abusive language ... DAVID NEITZ (Mel) found guilty of striking Jason Taylor (Haw) and suspended one match ... a charge of intentionally tripping against ANDREW GOWERS (Haw) was thrown out, despite Umpire Bird’s reluctance to withdraw ... a charge of eye-gouging against TIM HARGREAVES (Haw) was dismissed ... GRAHAM WRIGHT (Col) found guilty of striking James Cook (Car) with an arm to the head and suspended two matches ... CHRIS JOHNSON (Fit) cleared of striking ...

<||> the retired 250-gamer PETER DAICOS was back in training but Collingwood coach LEIGH MATTHEWS rules out his return to Vic Park ...

<||> Magpies with a big injury list only able to get 24 of their 42 seniors on the track ...

<||> the Crows fined and suspended for one match its crack forward TONY MODRA for failing to report to a compulsory training session; he’ll miss the Friday night game against Sydney ...
__________

Fremantle Dockers set sail
in red, green and purple

The AFL’s newest club honoured its century-old heritage by naming itself the “Dockers”. The team will wear red, green and purple jumpers, emblazoned with a large white anchor. Their logo is a beanied wharfie in a singlet, clutching an anchor.

At the July 21 launch of the Dockers in Perth, Freo chairman ROSS KELLY summed up the obvious in launching a new club and attracting players and supporters – “... where I live, there’s more basketball hoops than chimneys on houses” ...

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Shock defeats the order
Blues, Tigers and Bombers hit a brick wall
Tony Shaw plays his 307th
Swans sizzle the Crows


ROUND 18 – Fri-Sat-Sun, July 22-23-24: Swans captain PAUL KELLY with 37 possessions provided the inspiration at Football Park on Friday night to 43,788 and he had brilliant support from a flying JAMIE LAWSON and DEREK KICKETT who played his 100th League match, as the Swans buried the Crows finals chances; the Crows had enough of the ball but the Swans were more desperate, SYDNEY 13.9-87, ADELAIDE 10.15-75 ... Saturday in Melbourne was crisp and sunny. At the Western Oval (26,340) TONY SHAW on his 34th birthday passed the six-decades-long Gordon Coventry record when he played his 307th for the Maggies. It was the only highlight as the under-manned, misfiring Woods were held to a seven-goal total for the second week. The Bulldogs won every quarter and a team packed with fine contributors were easy victors, FOOTSCRAY 13.9-87, COLLINGWOOD 7.13-55 ... five last quarter goals in eight minutes briefly grabbed the lead for the Bombers at the MCG (38,858) but the charge was too late after the Saints with both Lockett and Loewe back had produced an extraordinary display of accuracy, ST KILDA 18.2-110 (Lockett 6.1), ESSENDON 15.10-100 ... at the Park (26,936) the match was evenly poised at the last break with a 4pt margin, but the Kangas bounded away with 6.1 to a point to come out emphatic victors over the Hawks, NORTH 15.9-99, HAWTHORN 9.5-59 ... on Sunday at Waverley (42,580), GARY ABLETT played his 200th as the Cats produced a full four-term effort to halt the Blues eight-match streak. The menacing attack of Ablett (5.2) BARRY STONEHAM and  BILL BROWNLESS (3.2) and the Cats 7.2 opening proved too much for the Blues, GEELONG 13.12-90, CARLTON 8.6-54  ... in Brisbane, it was a very ordinary game for 8,236 fans as the Bears and Lions showing poor skills both desperately tried to lose the match, BRISBANE 8.17-65, FITZROY 7.16-58 ... at Subiaco, only in the early stages did the six-on-the-trot Tigers have a show. Beyond quarter-time, it was all too easy for the Eagles who ran away as their teamwork came together – an ominous sign as the Sandgropers took a one game lead, WEST COAST 14.17-101 (Sumich 6.5), RICHMOND 7.11-53 to 25,896 ...

<||> ROUND 18 FOCUS — six rounds left, Eagles 52, Blues 48, Kangas 40, then Hawks-Dogs-Tigers-Dons-Woods on 36 making up the eight, outside on 32 are Demons, Cats and Brisbane, with the Crows 12th on 30pts ... a parallel, it was the first time since 1980 that both St Kilda and North had won two games in a season over Essendon and Hawthorn respectively ... titleholders Bombers,  four losses in seven weeks ... Tony Shaw in his 307th suffered a corked thigh in the 2nd term after only three possessions ... both the Woods and Bombers already reeling from injuries and now for the Dons, CHE COCKATOO COLLINS in a brace after damaging a medial ligament and PAUL HILLS a hamstring ...

<||> TRIBUNAL — MARK MERCURI (Ess) suspended one match for striking Damien Shaw (StK) ...

<||> North Melbourne CEO KEN MONTGOMERY will stand down. The Kanga board have appointed football director GREG MILLER as replacement ...

<||> AFL coaches firmly rejected a move to increase the interchange bench from three to six ...

<||> the Commission relaxed their demand for a $700,000 guarantee for a Perth final ...

<||> nine clubs seeking  jumper design alternatives for possible use in ‘95 Foster’s Cup matches ...

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Demons thrash Dons
Bears win in Melbourne
5,423 at Footscray is lowest since 1967


ROUND 19 – Fri-Sat-Sun,  July 29-30-31: With clubs battling for places in the finals, major injuries were keynotes as all interstate clubs played in Victoria. The season ended early for three players sustaining severe injuries —broken legs were suffered by BRENT HEAVER (Car) and JAMIE LAWSON (Syd), and a knee injury to STEVE KOLYNIUK (Fsc). The round opened Friday night at the MCG (32,845) where the Bulldogs had a 9pt half-time break but the Kangas slowly got on top and landed a killer blow with three goals in the opening 10 minutes of the final term. Longmire, Carey and McKernan were constant worries for the smaller Dog defence, NORTH 15.12-102, FOOTSCRAY 12.10-82 ... in blustery conditions on Saturday at Princes Park (25,080) injuries descended on the Blues who finished with only 16 fit men yet they were always in command with a strong defence forcing the Hawk forwards into errors. Every time the Hawks threatened Kernahan (5.0) did something special, CARLTON 15.14-104, HAWTHORN 9.18-72 ... MATTHEW FEBEY with three goals in the first 13 minutes gave the Demons a lightning start over the Bombers at the G (43,132). Going in without the injured Jakovich, capt GARRY LYON (8.1) at full-forward and DAVID SCHWARZ (5.2) at CHF controlled proceedings (8-goals straight in the 3rd) as Melbourne gave an injury-struck Essendon a savage beating, the Demons biggest win over the Dons since a 1937 victory at Windy Hill, MELBOURNE 21.9-135, ESSENDON 8.10-58 ... at the Park 12,927 fans saw both sides struggle to score, indeed the Bears though scoreless in the last won by 10pts from the Saints who managed only one goal after half-time matching the Bears first two quarters. McADAM and LAMBERT stood out for the Bears who posted their first win in Melbourne since 92-R18-PP v Fit, to become another contender for the eight, BRISBANE 8.7-55, ST KILDA 5.15-45 ... rain, a biting wind and a direct telecast of the Kardinia Park match kept fans down on Sunday as the Cats buried the Crows who had just two goals to ¾-time at Corio Bay. 14,763 saw GEELONG 13.13-91, ADELAIDE 5.8-38 — the Crows third lowest in the AFL; Ablett was restricted to 3.4 to reach 98 goals and crucial injuries were suffered by the Cats ... the Eagles who have never found the Western Oval a friendly place were superior in every department to monumentally thrash the Lions who after a scoreless third, managed but 0.2 in the last. To say the Eagles handled the wet conditions well would be the understatement of the season, WEST COAST 13.14-92, FITZROY 3.8-26 (the lowest score of the year). The 5,423 fans who braved the Western Oval chill was the lowest Melbourne crowd since 67-R17-AS of 4,846 for NM v Haw, and below the 5,759 for 87-R17-PP, Fit v Bri ... early setbacks for the Swans at the MCG (23,906) when Lawson suffered a broken leg and two players were booked did not alter the fact the Tigers with greater skills were too accomplished for the Coathanger City boys. The Swans ended the day badly with three reported, capt PAUL KELLY, ruck GAVIN ROSE and DERMOTT BRERETON for his 16th career booking, RICHMOND 14.11-95, SYDNEY 9.8-62 ...

<||> ROUND 19 FOCUS — in the Bombers 1900th League game, the Demons posted their first triple against the Dons since 1971-72 ... CHRIS LANGFORD (Haw) played his 250th, PAUL COUCH (Gee) his 200th ... Hawthorn’s injury-plagued star-forward JASON DUNSTALL (so near to 1000 goals) adds a strained calf muscle to a sore back and a dinky knee ... Richmond lose captain TONY FREE for the rest of their season as a metal plate is inserted to the broken jaw suffered in an incident which resulted in the Sunday clash with DERMOTT BRERETON ... speedy Sydney rover JAMIE LAWSON had a 15cm rod inserted in the left leg broken in the first 60 seconds against the Tigers ...

<||> TRIBUNAL — DERMOTT BRERETON (Syd) was found guilty of two striking charges against Tony Free (Rch) and suspended seven matches at a hearing lasting two hours. With five Swans games left, the sentence ends Brereton’s season after only playing seven games (7 goals, 50 possessions) with his new club. Within two weeks of his 30th birthday, it was Brereton’s 8th suspension (two in 1994) totalling 37 games of his 196-match career ... Swans captain PAUL KELLY was found guilty and suspended two games for striking Chris Bond (Rch) ... a striking charge against GAVIN ROSE (Syd) was withdrawn ...

<||> to lessen the impact of low crowds and reduce costs for matches against interstate clubs, St Kilda called for double-headers (they were tried in 1986) however the request is rejected by the AFL ...

<||> JEFF CROUCH at 59 lost his battle with cancer on August 5th. Crouch umpired 182 VFL matches (1959-70) including 15 finals and five Grand Finals and for 21 years was the appeal director of Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital ...

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Magpies dump Bombers
Demons & Lions to merge?


ROUND 20 – Fri-Sat-Sun, August 5-6-7: Two free kicks brought two goals as a subdued GARY ABLETT reached the ton on Saturday against North. But, the action started Friday night at the MCG when 76,301 turned out in the chill to see the pumped-up Maggies devastate the already weakened Bombers and dump the reigning premiers from finals expectations. The heat was on even before the game as Collingwood tearing thru their banner ran into a circling Essendon group sparking an ugly two-minute all-player brawl. A mid-game burst of 13 goals failed to lift the Magpies from 9th place with the Dons one below on 10th, COLLINGWOOD 19.20-134, ESSENDON 17.4-106 ... an intense Saturday struggle at Princes Park resulted in a significant one-point win for the Cats. The Kangas were kept alive by a terrific forward effort by WAYNE CAREY (5.1), GEELONG 10.18-78, NORTH 11.11-77 (24,712) ... down early, the Tigers at the G (33,503) scored their ninth win from 10 games as they proved too resourceful for the struggling Saints who were kept in it after losing the inspiring NICKY WINMAR with concussion from the solo effort of TONY LOCKETT (who bagged 6.2). RICHMOND 12.21-93, ST KILDA 9.7-61 ... the Hawks, at the Park (16,328) written off by many after three successive losses, (and without the injured Dunstall) for the second time in four months were the masters over an Eagles side who were found wanting, HAWTHORN 15.10-100, WEST COAST 7.12-54 ... the Crows at the Western Oval (17,591) continued their downward slide and played without confidence as the Bulldogs  did as they pleased to climb two more rungs to 6th, FOOTSCRAY 17.16-118, ADEL-AIDE 4.10-34 ... despite the BCG heat (12,341) and injuries the Demons with five unanswered goals in the second had enough to score a brave win over the Bears who can kiss their finals dreams goodbye—the Redlegs have a tough run but appear set for the eight, MELBOURNE 14.15-99, BRISBANE 12.12-84 ... a low-crowd, late match, (6,513) brought a low-standard fight for bottom place. A 28pt win by the Lions assures the Swans of the wooden spoon for the third season, the club’s worst-ever achievement since 1897, FITZROY 13.16-94, SYDNEY 9.12-66 ...

<||> ROUND 20 FOCUS — merger talk rumors between Melbourne and Fitzroy curbed attention over the effects of the round which saw 187,289 attend ... the Crows 4.10 was the second lowest since joining the AFL ... after 63 goals for the year, a groin injury takes its toll on SIMON MINTON-CONNELL (Syd).

<||> TRIBUNAL — Essendon utility GLENN MANTON was suspended two matches for striking Mark Fraser (Col) ...

<||> ROBERT SHAW resigned as coach of FITZROY. With four matches remaining his decision is effective October 1st ...

<||> Bomber woes continue as the season ends for capt MARK THOMPSON with a broken arm; PAUL SALMON has damaged an A/C joint in shoulder and RICK OLARENSHAW has hurt his ankle ...

<||> daily media speculation continued on the prospective Demons-Fitzroy merger which revealed registration of the name MELBOURNE LIONS was lodged with OFTBA on August 5th ...

<||> Brisbane Bears make another offer to Fitzroy for merger yet, despite the obvious, Lions chairman DYSON HORE-LACY vows Fitzroy will “go it alone” and “going to Brisbane would be like taking the last chair on the Titanic” ...

<||> the Bears ALASTAIR LYNCH ruled out for rest of season ...

<||> the Friday night all-in, 42-player ruckus results in a single player DAMIEN MONKHORST (Col) being fined $5000 for conduct unbecoming, in that he incited an all-in brawl ...

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Heat on the Demons
Blood rule under fire


ROUND 21 – Fri-Sat-Sun, August 12-13-14: The AFL’s recently introduced ruling that players showing blood from any injury are required to immediately leave the field when instructed by an umpire (or face a $1000 fine) came under criticism when Melbourne lost two players within five minutes of Saturday’s first quarter. Umpires are required to wait until replacement players have arrived and taken up their position. The enforcement may require review.

A big house of 31,948 at the WACA on Friday night saw the Eagles pumped-up and blow out to a 40pt lead at the last change. The Roos came back doggedly and the Coasters fade out after early dominance and following their Hawk humiliation, may be a worry. Highlight of the night was the Jakovich-Carey contest which had everything; Jako won on points cast, WEST COAST 10.13-73, NORTH MELB 9.10-64 ... at the MCG to only 49,872, the Maggies charged into the eight on Saturday when they easily accounted for a tired-looking Demon outfit who failed to goal past the 3-minute mark of the second half, COLLINGWOOD 13.14-92, MELBOURNE 9.10-64 ... the Cats accounted for the Lions at Princes Park (11,399) despite the shattering loss of BARRY STONEHAM with a broken leg and the continued patchy form of GARY ABLETT who has bagged just 10 goals in three games, GEELONG 13.22-100, FITZROY 8.11-59 ... at the Park (14,653), the flu-hit Dogs had few problems disposing of the Saints; both LOCKETT (5.5) and OSBORNE (5.0) sparked at both ends, ‘SCRAY 17.15-117, ST KILDA 10.12-72 ... Sunday at the MCG to 52,562 saw a good scrap between 4th and 7th but even though the polished Hawks won by 28pts, the Tigers didn’t lose any fans in a spirited but woefully inaccurate showing. Hawk captain CHRIS LANGFORD had a magnificent game with 15 marks and 21 possessions, HAWTHORN 18.9-117, RICHMOND 11.23-89 ... in beautiful SCG conditions (9622) the lowly Swans scored one of the major upsets of the year handing what may be a costly loss to the 2nd-placed Blues, who were put under pressure  all day by a taunting Harbour City crew who were not headed from early in the last half, SYDNEY 9.16-70, CARLTON 8.14-62 ... in the twilight game at Football Park (36,609) it was cold and windy where the under-manned Bears turned around a first term failure to lead deep into the last quarter but the Crows rallied to clinch a nail-biter, ADELAIDE 13.11-89, BRISBANE 12.14-86 ...

<||> ROUND 21 FOCUS: Sydney announce extended sponsorship deal with QBE and 10-year winter agreement with SCG Trust. $6m plans include a new Swans social club to open October in the M.A. Noble Stand and establishment of new player facilities in Brewongle Stand ... Hawthorn extended their winning run over the Tigers to 16 ... the Cats posted their 100th win over the Roys ... the Bulldogs with five on the trot against St Kilda is their best since 1925 ... the Crows made it six straight over the Bears but it was Adelaide’s lowest versus Brisbane ... 206,512 for the round ...

<||> As merger plans with Melbourne falter, a meeting of 300 FITZROY supporters plan an audacious scheme to raise $2m and wipe the club’s debt, based on a $10 a week contribution for two years ...

<||> TRIBUNAL—before hearings, a charge against DARREN JARMAN (Haw) of disputing a decision was withdrawn by the umpire ... in three charges from the Friday night Perth match, COREY McKERNAN (NM) suspended one match on a tripping charge against Jason Ball (WCE); BRETT ALLISON (NM) cleared of tripping; the charge of disputing the umpire’s decision was dismissed ... GREG DEAR (Rch) was cleared of striking ... CRAIG O’BRIEN (StK) was cleared on striking ... AFLPA president JUSTIN MADDEN is cited from video, becoming the 12th player reported for tripping (five suspensions). Madden is cleared but publicly supports League stance ...

<||> the Bears call for a halt to the spectacular increase on the use of gloves by players ...

<||> Melbourne spearhead ALLEN JAKOVICH to miss the rest of the year with a back injury ...

<||> Swans coach RON BARASSI fined $1000 for half-time comments towards umpires in R19 v Rch at the MCG ...

<||> $450,000 will give lights and baseball to the Saints home base at Moorabbin by December ...

<||> AFL gm IAN COLLINS is appointed to the Sydney FC board ...

<||> A Grade Amateur teams Old Xaverians and North Old Boys played the last game of football at Albert Park's Lakeside Oval on Saturday August 20th ...

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Top 8 shuffle continues
Kangas and Hawks slide


<||> ROUND 22 – Fri-Sat-Sun,  August 19-20-21: The “football is a funny game” cliche well described the round as teams supposedly dead-and-buried re-bounded to thicken the finals plot. With five goals from the pocket, Demon rover ANDY LOVELL put the skids under the Kangas on Friday night (32,951) at the G. The Redlegs led at every change and were rarely challenged by a flat opposition and the Kangas tumbled down and seem certain to miss the double chance, MELBOURNE 15.13-103. NORTH 12.11-83 ... a fine Saturday brought 66,555 to the MCG for what was a terrific game of footy with the lead changing regularly. The Magpies goaled two minutes from the end thru NATHAN BUCKLEY to run out 3pt winners over the injury struck Cats who fell from 5th to 8th, COLLINGWOOD 15.17-107, GEELONG 16.8-104 ... at the Park (13,454) the Saints comfortable win over the Swans was marred as spearhead TONY LOCKETT (who kicked 9.4) and utility NICKY WINMAR returning from a 3-game suspension) were booked, both in incidents with TROY GRAY (Syd), as the Swans are assured of the spoon, ST KILDA 17.12-114, SYDNEY 11.15-81 ... the Lions were committed with a 7.3 opening at the Western Oval (12,099) but only kicked three more as the Tigers took control for a 10-goal win despite a very shortened second term of 21m 32s due to a timepiece malfunction, RICHMOND 19.15-129, FITZROY 10.9-69 ... from losing to the bottom side one week, the Blues with poise and aggression were ruthless and scored with ridiculous ease to demolish the top-placed Eagles by 64pts at Princes Park (28,057), Williams (Car) gathered 45 possessions, CARLTON 19.12-126, WEST COAST 8.14-62 ... the Bombers written-off by most, trailed by four goals early in the second then sparked to kick seven unanswered goals and never look back to destroy the very ordinary Hawks to 49,354 at the MCG. Dunstall managed just 3.2, taking him to 999, ESSENDON 20.16-136, HAWTHORN 12.12-84 ... at the BCG (10.572) Scray gained a hard-fought 10pt win with the Bears hitting the lead for the first time with just four minutes left but goals to LEON CAMERON and the Bull-dogs greatest son DOUG HAWKINS clinched the win and an almost certain finals berth, FOOTSCRAY 14.14-98, BRISBANE 13.10-88 ...

ROUND 22 FOCUS—with only two rounds remaining the finals shuffle continues – WCE 60, Car 56, Fsc 48, Col 48, Rch 48, NM 44, Mel 44, Gee 44 in the eight, with Haw 44 and Ess 40 the smokies ... North look shaky while the Cats suffered added injury woes ...
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Five-year plan released
The long-awaited AFLs Five-Year Plan was released on Monday August 22nd, all 208-pages, weighing almost one kilo and on tight distribution, not including the public.

All 11 Victorian clubs are unlikely to survive in their present form and the AFL CEO Ross Oakley said the Commission could act immediately to have a club deleted from the competition.

The Plan at a glance—effective immediately, AFL clubs will need to satisfy the Commission they are able to pay all debts as soon as they are due.

Failure to meet this criterion will result in the expulsion of that club from the competition.

Effectively, Fitzroy, labouring under debts of $2.2m would be incapable of satisfying a critical evaluation and St Kilda, who have debts of about $1m may also struggle to meet the League’s new requirements.

In a nutshell, the 5-Year Plan calls for —

<> A 16 team competition.

<> Each club to meet a solvency criteria seven months before the start of a season.

<> Victoria cannot sustain 11 teams – one likely to go. 100 years of history does not automatically qualify a club for AFL participation.

<> Mergers of Victorian clubs a preferred option with debt assistance and concessions on draft and player lists, salary cap and underwriting and promotional assistance.

<> A second South Australian team should be admitted as soon as possible after 1996.

<> The AFL seeks sponsorships rather than higher admission prices.
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<||> TRIBUNAL–Saints forward TONY LOCKETT was cleared of charging Troy Gray (Syd). Charges against NICKY WINMAR (StK) were withdrawn by umpires ... CRAIG TURLEY (WCE) pleading guilty (under severe provocation) was suspended two matches for striking Greg Williams (Car). Turley broke the players’ unwritten code of honour, claiming that Williams had struck him three times, provoking his reaction. A later AFL review judged Williams did not have a case to answer; Turley from a video citing was cleared of a kneeing charge ...

<||> on the eve of the finals, the Commission announces clubs could be fined up to $50,000 if their players are involved in on-field brawls ...

<||> the nomadic Lions select Coburg as their new training ground, their eighth base in 27 years; the League withholds gate monies to Fitzroy after the club’s failure to repay a debt to the AFL ...

<||> lowly Sydney facing their third successive wooden spoon are granted access to two uncontracted players in addition to their two priority choices in the November draft ...

<||> Demon forward ALLEN JAKOVICH is booked for surgery to fix a back injury ...

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Blues take top place
1000 goals to Dunstall
Bombers to miss finals


ROUND 23 – Fri-Sat-Sun, August 26-27-28: The Kangas on Friday night at the G (17,895) rebounded from three losses to record an emphatic 86pt win over what seemed to be a morale shattered Lions, NORTH 25.10-160 (Carey 5, Longmire 5), FITZROY 10.14-74 ... a Saturday lock-out 32,486 packed Princes Park in fine and warm (22) conditions. The Blues won their ninth successive PP game when they devastated the Tigers by 113pts for Carlton to take top place for the first time since the opening round of 1992. After their defeat of West Coast the previous week as a class act, the Blues go to premiership favouritism, CARLTON 25.11-161 (Fraser Brown 7.0), RICHMOND 6.12-48 ... at the Park (40.154) the Magpies blew a golden opportunity to cement their finals berth when a Lockett-led Saints won by 2pts. Lockett with trademark strength led confidentially to kick 8.4 and send the Woods from 4th to 7th, ST KILDA 14.6-90, COLLINGWOOD 13.10-88 ... Scray recovered from a sluggish start to outscore the Demons 9-goals to two in the second half as the hard-working Doggies gripped a finals spot. The Western Oval had 23,611 to see FOOTSCRAY 16.15-111, MELBOURNE 13.10-88 ... the Cats at home (22,130) had their worries when the Swans with 7.3 in the second, led by 21pts at half-time. The Corio Bay boys slammed back with 8.5 in the third but to the end, the Swans were always uncomfortably close, GEELONG 16.15-111 (Ablett 6.4), SYDNEY 15.9-99 ... at the BCG on Sunday (13,718), Hawthorn’s JASON DUNSTALL three-minutes into the first quarter became the third player in League history to pass the 1000-goal mark. He kicked 6.3 for the day to reach a career 1005. The Hawks had to withstand a spirited Bear attack who led in the third and they almost stole the game, coming back in the last, but the brown-and-gold steadied, HAWKS 15.12-102, BRISBANE 13.13-91 ... in the twilight game at Football Park (41,669) after quarter time the Crows dominated and savagely dealt with the Bombers. Modra and Hall returned to great form as the Dons a mere shadow of their premier status after an injury-racked year, bowed out of the finals race, ADELAIDE 17.13-115 (Hall 6, Modra 5), ESSENDON 8.10-58 ...

<||> ROUND 23 FOCUS—the Blues 113pt drubbing was only 2pts short of their 84-R14-PP record and handed the Tigers their seventh worst loss in 1712 League outings ... North’s 86pt win was their best over the Roys topping the 73pts of 66-R11-BS ...

<||> TRIBUNAL—GREG DEAR (Rch) is cleared of a striking charge, for the second time in a fortnight ... ANDREW McKAY (Car) was found guilty of disputing an umpire’s decision and fined $1000 ...

<||> 1981 Brownlow medalist and Channel Seven commentator BERNIE QUINLAN firms as new Fitzroy coach ...

<||> Collingwood’s GRAHAM WRIGHT suffers a recurrence of a debilitating virus ...

<||> COCA-COLA set to replace CUB as AFLs corporate sponsor in seven-year deal, until 2001,  worth a reported $30m ...

<||> TIM WATSON (Ess) after 307 games, 337 goals (1977-94) confirmed his second retirement ...

<||> JAMIE LAWSON (Syd) who broke his leg on July 31 is told by doctors after three operations, he may not walk for 12-18 months ...

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Tigers crumble to miss
Magpies and Demons in
Wild Subiaco brawl
Hawks in 13th finals series
Crowds reach 4,721,411


ROUND 24 – Fri-Sat-Sun, September 2-3-4: With finals chances hinging on most games, another 228,347 turned out starting with a wonderful 72,932 at the G on Friday night when the Kangas hammered a deficient Magpie outfit by 64pts. North captain WAYNE CAREY though off with a corked calf midway into the second, his side sparkled with key forward JOHN LONGMIRE ending with 8.2 as the Woods chances went cloudy, NORTH 19.12-126, COLLINGWOOD 8.14-62 ... it was cold early then wet for the Saturday meeting of the 1994 grand finalists. With the Bombers out of this year’s finals, this failed to even draw tele-coverage but gathered 61,231 to the MCG. Brownlow favourite GREG WILLIAMS was a late Blues withdrawal and FRASER BROWN was out with the Blues (maybe playing it safe) suffering accordingly as the Dons were much easier winners than the 18pt margin, ESSENDON 12.8-80, CARLTON 9.8-62 ... the Cats (even without the injured Ablett) with 10 consecutive mid-game goals, relished their Princes Park meeting (25,112) against the Tigers who got their second successive thumping at the same venue, GEELONG 27.9-171 Brownless 8.0), RICHMOND 13.17-95 ... the Saints (Lockett injured) ended their commitments with their third win in as many weeks chiefly thru their mid-field dominance by NATHAN BURKE and ROBERT HARVEY at Western Oval (10,809) in Robert Shaw’s final game as coach of the Lions, ST KILDA 21.14-140, FITZROY 15.12-102 ... at the Park (22,973) neither the Crows (without the injured Modra) nor the Hawks were flash for the 22,973 fans in the dry first half. One journo said the second half was a bore and the Hawks uninspiring, but they still won, HAWTHORN 9.12-66, ADELAIDE 6.11-47 ... both the Tigers and the Woods were dwelling on the Sunday results. At the SCG (8336), with three players kicking an unblemished 19 goals (DAVID SCHWARZ 9, SEAN CHARLES 5, MARTIN PIKE 5) the Demons confirmed their finals berth with one the League’s more accurate scores, as the Swans finished with the wooden spoon for a third season, MELBOURNE 27.5-167, SYDNEY 18.13-121 ... in Perth, the Bulldogs were on the receiving end of a 71pt thrashing as the Eagles went back to top and finished minor premiers. The second quarter ended when BRETT HEADY (WCE) was stretchered unconscious and as players were leaving for the Subiaco Oval half-time break, a scuffle exploded into one of the most savage brawls footy has suffered leaving West forward PETER SUMICH also stretchered unconscious, requiring oxygen. There were no reports from officialdom, but a right-royal League investigation was promised, WEST COAST 17.15-117, FOOTSCRAY 6.10-46 ...

<||> THE FINAL EIGHT—Eagles 64, Blues 60, Kangas, Cats, Bulldogs and Hawks on 52, then the Demons, Woods and Tigers on 48 with Richmond in 9th shy on percentage. Essendon were 10th, then Adelaide, Brisbane, St Kilda, Fitzroy and Sydney.

<||> ROUND 24 FOCUS—Robert Shaw exited from the Lions after 86 matches as coach with a 28+58 record ... John Coleman Medal goes to GARY ABLETT (Gee) with 113 goals for the home-and-away ... the Demons 27.5 against Sydney matches closely matches two Essendon tallies, 29.7 versus South Melbourne, 50-R2-WH and their 28.6 against the Magpies, 84-PF-P ... the Hawks into their history-making 13th finals series ... GREG WILLIAMS (Car) with 88 votes wins The Age award from Glen Jakovich (WCE) on 83 and Gary Hocking (Gee) on 75. In the Herald Sun award placings were identical with voting as 23 to Williams and Jakovich and Hocking tieing on 19 each ... Fitzroy rover DAVID BAIN (the 1988 Sandover winner) topped the VSFL's GARDINER MEDAL with 17 votes, from GLEN NUGENT (Haw) and TROY POLAK (NM) both on 14; ...
__________


A new home-and-away attendance record of 4,721,411 was set, beating the 1992 season of 4,332,925. The MCG attracted over two million, with an average of 44,112 attending the 46 fixtures. Waverley Park drew 711,082 for a 27-game average of 26,336. The 164-match series had an average attendance of 28,615 compared with 27,903 of last year.
__________


<||> TRIBUNAL—from video citings, JAMES MANSON (Fit) was suspended one week and fined $1000 on a misconduct charge in that he assaulted NATHAN BURKE (StK); Burke and JASON BALDWIN (Fit) escaped penalty on similar charges ... MARK VISKA (Ade) was found guilty of striking Paul Hudson (Haw) and suspended two matches ... PAUL BRODERICK (Rch) was cleared of intentionally tripping John Barnes (Gee) ...

<||> BERNIE QUINLAN who played for both Footscray (1969-77, 177 games, 239 goals) then Fitzroy (1978-86, 189 and 576) for a career tally of 366 matches and 815 goals was appointed the 1995 coach of Fitzroy.

__________

Aftermath of Subiaco dustup
Following the Sunday September 4th half-time brawl at Subiaco Oval, the AFL’s resident investigation officer MAX CROXFORD interviewed upwards of 20 players and officials. The recently determined rule of $50,000 fines against clubs in similar brawls was still days away from being proclaimed into footy law.

On Wednesday, AFL football  manager IAN COLLINS arranged a deal with both West Coast and Footscray where, for fines of $20,000 each, no charges against players would be made, letters of the arrangements being obtained from both clubs. Croxford is understood to have recommended no charges be laid. However, the Commission proceeded to cite eight players, five from West Coast — GLEN JAKOVICH, CHRIS LEWIS, PETER SUMICH, JASON BALL, TONY EVANS, and three from Footscray, DANNY SOUTHERN, CHRIS GRANT and STEPHEN MACPHERSON for hearings scheduled at 1pm Friday.

Footscray took the matter into the Victorian Supreme Court on Thursday where facts of the $20,000 deal were exposed with an injunction being obtained for a delay of charges against Bulldog players until the following Monday after their Saturday final. The Eagles proceeded with the hearings against their players who, after a four hour hearing were all cleared of any misdemeanour. Footscray withdrew their Supreme Court action against the League and the Tribunal hearings on three Bulldogs players were heard on Tuesday September 13th.

DANNY SOUTHERN was found guilty of misconduct “in that he assaulted” Peter Sumich, and fined $10,000 for his part in the Subiaco brawl.

Ladder after Round 24
W L D F A % Total M/R
1 WEST COAST 16 6 2078 1572 132.2 64 72.7
2 CARLTON 15 7 2351 1774 132.5 60 68.2
3 NORTH MELB 13 9 2383 1848 129.0 52 59.1
4 GEELONG 13 9 2403 2104 114.2 52 59.1
5 FOOTSCRAY 13 9 2106 1905 110.6 52 59.1
6 HAWTHORN 13 9 2188 2005 109.1 52 59.1
7 MELBOURNE 12 10 2190 1879 116.6 48 54.5
8 COLLINGWOOD 12 10 2017 2019 99.9 48 54.4
9 Richmond 12 10 2033 2167 93.8 48 54.5
10 Essendon 11 11 2075 2119 97.9 44 50.0
11 Adelaide 9 12 1 1876 2159 86.9 38 43.2
12 Brisbane 9 13 1940 2195 88.4 36 40.9
13 St Kilda 7 14 1 1809 2415 74.9 30 34.1
14 Fitzroy 5 17 1726 2456 70.3 20 22.7
15 Sydney 4 18 1987 2454 78.1 16 18.2

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Extra-time opening to four Qualifying finals
Hawks, Magpies bow out


QUALIFYING FINALS – Sat-Sun, September 10-11: Cloudless skies following mid-week rains greeted the first series of the Final Eight system, amid the continuing controversy of the Subiaco dustup.

Only 38,223 were at the Park on Saturday afternoon to witness the 2nd QF in which the Kangas and the Hawks were the first to experience the extra-time rule. With scores tied at 91pts all at full-time, five minutes plus time-on was played to each end to break the deadlock. Earlier, Hawthorn with JOHN PLATTEN in his 200th as a shining light threatened to go away. The strength of WAYNE CAREY (NM) emerged to bring the Kangas back and an all-day challenging fight resulted. It was Carey with a 50-metre goal at 26m22s of the last quarter which tied the scores. In extra-time however, North surged constantly with eight-scoring shots. holding the Hawks pointless as the Kangas ran in for a 23pt victory and their first finals win since 1985, NORTH MELBOURNE 15.24-114, HAWTHORN 13.13-91 ...

At the MCG (61,182) on Saturday night, the Cats after an 8.3 (Ablett 5) to 3.3 opening led by 36pts at one stage. Geelong with JOHN BARNES dominating the ruck, appeared to be winning everywhere then injuries hit as Scray rallied and a great contest developed. Footscray hit the front by a point with a snap goal from RICHARD OSBORNE with just 26 seconds left. GARRY HOCKING cleared the ball for Geelong from the bounce for a DAVID MENSCH mark who delivered it to the leading BILL BROWNLESS, only three seconds remained. After the siren, Brownless kicked truly from 35m to snatch an incredible 1st QF five-point win, GEELONG 15.16-106, FOOTSCRAY 15.11-101 ...

Sunday remained fine but the 3rd QF drew just 56,111 to the MCG. The Blues missed the injured CRAIG BRADLEY but enjoyed early superiority when they led by 25pts. This disintegrated instantly as the Demons took the psychological edge with four quick goals. Melbourne alternated ANDREW OBST and BRETT LOVETT who shut-down the Blues powerhouse GREG WILLIAMS confining him to a meagre gamelong eight kicks, one mark and eight handpasses. The premiership favourites of one week were found wanting as the Demons were emphatic winners, 18.15-129 to 14.12-96 ...

In Perth, the WACA oval (31,824) dried out well from rains and gave good conditions for the 4th QF. Even though West Coast were ahead all day, it never broke free as the Magpies hard, defensive style upset the Eagles constantly. It was tight relentless stuff with the Woods fighting back with a gallant six-goals straight in the last to fail by just two points. It could’ve been different had a certain mark 35m out not bounced off the chest of Maggie champion MICK McGUANE, five seconds from the siren. It was TONY SHAW’s 313th game (22 finals) and his obvious farewell on an emotionally losing note, WEST COAST 11.16-82, COLLINGWOOD 12.8-80 ...

<||> QUALIFYING FINALS FOCUS — JASON DUNSTALL (Haw) gathered his 5th century with 4.1, ending with 101.47 for the season ... confusion on two occasions in Perth with a hard-to-hear siren, could have led to protests had the margin been closer ... a review is called of rule banning coaches from addressing players when extra-time is played ...

<||> TRIBUNAL—JUSTIN MADDEN (Car) cited from video on a charge of unduly rough play was found not guilty ... The League rules in favour of one Preliminary Final Melbourne, one in Perth both on Sat Sept 24 ...

<||> GARRY McINTOSH (Norwood) with 22 votes won the SANFL Magarey Medal ...

<||> CHRIS SCOTT (Bri) won the NORWICH RISING STAR $10,000 AWARD, a second for the Bears, following NATHAN BUCKLEY’s 1993 win ...

<||> GRAHAM CORNES foundation coach of the ADELAIDE Crows is dismissed after finishing below expectations at 11th place and “player unrest”. Cornes record for his 89 games in command was 43+45, with one draw ...

<||> SIMON MINTON-CONNELL quits Sydney after three seasons netted him 168 goals in 41 matches ...

<||> tins were rattled at Western Oval training to help pay the $10,000 fine imposed on DANNY SOUTHERN ...

<||> Essendon’s Brownlow medalist GAVIN WANGANEEN broke a leg in an Adelaide motorcycle accident ...

<||> GARY BUCKENARA tipped for Subiaco coaching spot ...
__________


End is nigh for VFA
Though reports were conflicting, the 118 years of the VICTORIAN FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION were close to ending. Four clubs were tipped to merge or disappear as a new competition is raised, bringing it in line with VSFL Under 18 zones. The new comp may still be named the VFA but administrations of the VSFL and VFA will be merged and based at AFL House.

PRAHRAN who joined the VFA with Port Melbourne in 1886 announced they would not field a senior team in 1995. The Two Blues name, guernsey and base at Toorak Park would be retained with the intention to enter an Under 18 team in the VSFL.
__________


<||> After the Saints were believed to have offered him $10,000 a game, TONY LOCKETT quits St Kilda and begins talks with Richmond. Sydney offered him $1m for three years, with Collingwood also pursuing the 183 game, 898 goal, 28 year-old veteran ...

<||< DERMOTT BRERETON now 30, waiting the chop from Sydney’s list after only seven games with the Swans ...

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Then there were four
Blues & Bulldogs dispatched


SEMI-FINALS, Sat-Sun, September 17-18: The finals race was reduced to four after Melbourne and Geelong scored comfortable wins in both cut-throat semi’s. After three nail-biting finishes in the first weekend, both the Cats and the Demons scored surprisingly easy victories.

Just 53,160 were at Waverley on Saturday for the 2nd Semi where the Cats suffered late withdrawals by MARK BAIRSTOW, GARRY HOCKING and PAUL COUCH plus the injured MICHAEL MANSFIELD, but Geelong were inspired and powered to an early lead over Carlton and were never headed. Ablett who captained the Cats finished with 6.3 and JOHN BARNES was formidable in the ruck, but it was their unsung heroes, AARON LORD (after only one previous quarter in AFL footy) who roved to the winning Barnes, LIAM PICKERING, forward LEIGH TUDOR and defenders STEVEN HOCKING, STEVEN HANDLEY and PAUL BROWN who set the Cats on track.

From favourites only two weeks prior, Carlton were out in straight sets as coach DAVID PARKIN raised questions to his own future, GEELONG 15.15-105, CARLTON 10.12-72.

On Sunday under threatening skies 65,577 were at the MCG for the 1st Semi in which the Demons had little trouble in recording the easiest of wins. Their 79pt victory was chiefly thru the sensational efforts of captain GARRY LYON who kicked a personal-best of 10.4 in three quarters before leaving early in the last with a bruised thigh. The other Melbourne star forward DAVID SCHWARZ was stretchered late in the match after being accidentally kneed in the head. He received mild concussion and six stitches to his wound but was expected to be available Saturday for the Demons date in Perth with the Eagles, Melbourne’s first trip across the Nullarbor since 92-R16 ...

The match proved the Bulldogs to be ill-equipped against Melbourne, and not helped by the absence of key ruckman ILIA GRGIC and an injury toll of a further seven including the 329 game veteran DOUG HAWKINS. The Doggies had spirit in the first half, but were throttled as the game lengthened, MELBOURNE 21.18-144, FOOTSCRAY 9.11-65 ...

<||> Recent coach of Fitzroy, 39 year-old ROBERT SHAW is named the new coach of ADELAIDE ...

<||> TRIBUNAL—Brownlow Medal favourite GREG WILLIAMS (Car) was found guilty of disputing the umpire’s decision during Saturday’s 2nd Semi and fined $1000 ...

<||> BEN ALLEN (Haw) at 25 and 98 games with the Hawks, signs with FREMANTLE and is named inaugural captain of the Dockers. The Age speculated the Allen deal was $650,000 over three years ...

<||> IAN COLLINS AFL football manager enters Tony Lockett controversy revealing on radio, the St Kilda contract does not expire until next March ...

<||> DERMOTT BRERETON quits Sydney and will return to Melbourne ...

<||> Magpie pres ALLAN McALISTER announces his club has withdrawn from the bidding for TONY LOCKETT to “remain faithful to its youth program” ...

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After-siren Cats again
Eagles devastate Demons


PRELIMINARY FINALS: Saturday, September 24: For the first time there were two Preliminary Finals on the same day, one in Melbourne, one in Perth.

At the MCG, 80,121 saw the Kangas burst away in the first quarter and threatened to turn the contest into a one-sided affair with a somewhat wasteful 5.9 opener to lead by 18pts. Then against the flow, the Cats with their tails up kicked seven unanswered goals to go in at half-time up by 24pts. North fought hard to get back into the game, edging to within two-goals but the Cats still had a three-goal buffer at the last change. North came again at the tiring Cats and with three goals regained the lead at the 19-minute mark of the last. Geelong levelled with a behind then, almost at 27 minutes, a hurried kick from deep in the forward pocket by LEIGH TUDOR (G) carried over the head of North fullback MICHAEL MARTYN and landed in the arms of GARY ABLETT who marked 20m out directly in front as the siren sounded. Ablett coolly went back and converted to give Geelong their second extraordinary finals win and their third grand final in six years under coach MALCOLM BLIGHT, GEELONG 16.13-109, NORTH MELB 14.19-103. It was a cruel end for the Roos who were aiming for their first playoff since 1978. WAYNE CAREY was North’s superstar of the match with 18 kicks, 14 marks, six handballs and 6.4. His duel with TIM McGRATH (G) was one of the best of the season.

At the WACA, 34,317 were packed in to see an awesome West Coast devastate Melbourne by 65pts. Apart from a 10-minute burst of action by the Demons in the second quarter the Eagles were never in trouble. West shut down the dangerous Melbourne mid-field and had no answer to a rampaging Eagles blitzkrieg who continually crashed out of the middle and drove downfield. The Demons could only be thankful the Coasters were off target, WEST COAST 16.21-117, MELBOURNE 8.4-52.

A sober reflection on the command West Coast had over the Demons. The well-respected Melbourne forward-trio of Lyon, Schwartz and Pike had before this matching, contributed 83 goals from eight games. Captain GARRY LYON with 3.1 from seven kicks was the only scorer of the trio in this outing.

<||> A slim crowd of 13,168 on Sunday were at Victoria Park to witness possibly the final premiership of the VICTORIAN FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION (founded in 1877). Box Hill had its hands on its first-ever VFA title in its 43-year history but Sandringham with a ruthless final quarter burst captured its fifth senior flag by nine points, 11.12-78 to 10.9-69.

The Beach Road Zebras triumphed on the day winning all three VFA premierships, a feat only previously won by Williamstown.

<||> TRIBUNAL – The citing of Geelong’s GARY ABLETT from the Preliminary Final video gathered vast press coverage. The charge was striking on North Melbourne’s MICHAEL MARTYN during a torrid third quarter passage when Ablett was seen to throw a straight left arm across the face of the pursuing Martyn. A 25-minute Tuesday night hearing found the charge was not sustained ...

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Carlton's Greg Williams sweeps awards pool

Greg “Diesel” Williams stamped himself as one of the all-time greats when he captured his second Brownlow Medal at the count conducted at Melbourne’s Radison Hotel on Monday night September 26th.

Williams who had shared the 1986 medal (as a Sydney player) with Hawthorn’s Robert DiPierdomenico, scored a massive 30 votes to finish ahead of West Coast’s PETER MATERA (28) and Geelong ruck-rover Garry Hocking on 20. Williams polled nine firsts, one second and one third vote.

It capped off a remarkable season for Williams on the eve of his 31st birthday, making him the third oldest player to win the AFL’s highest individual award.

Williams who was also a runner-up in the 1993 count, became only the third player in Brownlow history to poll 30 votes, behind the 32 recorded when Collingwood’s Des Fothergill and South Melbourne’s Herbie Matthew tied for the Medal in 1940.

The Brownlow was a clean-sweep for Greg Williams who won every major Melbourne media award —

Sunday Herald Sun
(worth $15,000)
The Herald Sun
The Age ($3000)
The Sunday Age ($5000)
Inside Football (7-day island holiday)
Radio 3AW ($10,000)
Channel Seven ($20,000)
ABC Radio 3LO ($1000 trophy)
Football Media Association (Gold Coast trip)

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Grand Final
West Coast murder Geelong to take second flag


GRAND FINAL – Saturday October 1: Rohan Connolly of The Sunday Age wrote on the game — “It was meticulous, it was methodical, and, in the end, it was a massacre. West Coast thumped Geelong by 80 points to win the second AFL premiership of its eight-year history, consigning the Cats to their third grand final loss in the past six years."

The Eagles won by a margin even greater than many had feared, with an awesome display of defensive and later, attacking power.

West Coast, largely through its own inaccuracy, led by only 18 points as late as halfway through the third quarter.

But when the Eagles kicked the final three goals of the term to increase the gap to six goals by the last break, the dam wall Geelong had been holding back all afternoon finally collapsed. West Coast piled on eight goals to one in the final quarter to record the fourth-largest grand final win in league history.

The win, before a crowd of 93,860 – the lowest attendance at an MCG grand final since 1988 – extended the Eagles’ historical dominance over the Cats. West Coast has now won 14 of the clubs’ 18 meetings, including two grand finals and a preliminary final.

It gave Eagles coach Mick Malthouse – a third premiership he won one as a player with Richmond in 1980 – confirming West Coast’s place as the most successful club of the 1990s. In five seasons as coach, Malthouse has never taken the side to lower than fourth.

West Coast seized the initiative with three goals in the first 10 minutes and maintained it thereafter, save for a burst of four goals in eight minutes late in the opening term that gave the Cats the lead for the only time in the match.

Geelong looked a dispirited bunch midway through the last quarter, a term played in almost eerie quiet as the fiercely pro-Geelong crowd digested a truly awesome display by the visitors.

The Eagles’ backline was as impregnable as ever, Michael Brennan holding Gary Ablett to one goal, Glen Jakovich a wall at centre half-back, and Guy McKenna a constant source of attack. But West Coast’s biggest trump was Norm Smith medalist DEAN KEMP, who was superb with 23 possessions and two goals in a ruck-roving role on Geelong captain Mark Bairstow.

Bairstow had a game he would prefer to forget, the second grand final in a row he has played on the eventual Norm Smith medalist, and there are likely to be rumblings at Kardinia Park over summer about his role as captain.

There are doubts, too, over the future of coach Malcolm Blight, who said after the match he would sit down and weigh up his future soon. The question for him, is whether he can rebound again from a third grand final defeat.

The last club to suffer losses in three grand finals, Collingwood in 1979-80-81, plummeted to 10th the next season, and did not appear again in a grand final again until 1990 ...

The Eagles’ dominance yesterday underlines just how much catching up the rest of the competition has to do if it is to match one of the modern game’s great sides.

WEST COAST 4.3, 8.12, 12.18, 20.23-143 d GEELONG 4.4, 5.7, 7.12, 8.15-63.

The three bigger grand final victories than yesterday were in 1988, when Hawthorn beat Melbourne by 96 points; 1983, when Hawthorn beat Essendon by 83 points, and 1980 when Richmond beat Collingwood by 81 points.”


<||> Grand Final Stabs – The towering second quarter grab by Geelong’s BILL BROWNLESS will rank as one of the all-time great marks ... almost 15,000 fans from Perth are estimated to have crossed the Nullarbor ... Gary Ablett (Gee) was 33 on the day ... The Seekers made their farewell professional appearance in the pre-game entertainment ... David Howlett, voted Umpire of the Year, controlled his first Grand Final with Bryan Sheehan (his 4th) and Denis Rich (3rd) ... some 5000 Geelong fans had camped up to nine days for tickets at Kardinia Park, and a lot missed out ...

<||> Channel Seven used 25 cameras, 35 microphones and 8 kilometres of cable for their telecast expected to reach 47 million households in 60 countries; 1,464,000 (a 57 rating) watched the Grand Final in Melbourne ...

<||> an estimated 80,000 attended the Friday Grand Final parade ... the Victorian economy was boosted by more than $56-million from footy spending ...

<||> odds for the 1995 flag — West Coast 4/1, Essendon 6/1, Adelaide 7/1, Geelong 7/1, Melbourne, Collingwood, North 8/1, Carlton & Footscray 12/1, Hawthorn 16/1, Richmond 25/1, Brisbane 33/1, St Kilda 33/1, Sydney 100/1, Fitzroy 200/1, Fremantle 250/1 ...

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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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