Footystats Diary, footy's best kept secret, 1998 Review
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1998 Review
October 1997 to September 1998

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Viewing figures for the Grand Final’s in the two rival codes of AFL and Rugby League brought an interesting set of comparisons between 1996 and 1997–

1997 Grand Final–source Channel 7

AFL nationally


AFL Sydney


AFL Melbourne


AFL Brisbane


AFL Adelaide


AFL Perth


1997 Grand Final-– source Channel 9

Rugby League nationally


Rugby League Sydney


Rugby League Melb.


Rugby League Brisbane


Rugby League Adelaide


Rugby League Perth


1996 Grand Finals


AFL nationally


Rugby League nationally


Rugby League Sydney


AFL Sydney


AFL Melbourne


AFL Brisbane


AFL Adelaide


AFL Perth


Just three days after the Grand Final the annual Gabfest between the 16 clubs took place at Optus Oval (Sept 30) when the career paths of many players were recharted … the 10-day official trading period began on October 7th in advance of the AFL National Draft scheduled at Football Park on Friday October 31st.

The Redlegs from The Parade gave Port Adelaide a 73pt shellacking in the SANFL Grand Final on Sunday October 5. Norwood gained their 27th flag and first since 1984 with a thorough victory, 19.12-126 to 7.11-53.


ADELAIDE – Andrew McLeod

BRISBANE – Matthew Clarke

CARLTON – Brett Ratten


ESSENDON – Sean Denham

BULLDOGS – Scott West

FREMANTLE – Dale Kickett

GEELONG – Liam Pickering

HAWTHORN – Paul Salmon

MELBOURNE – Jim Stynes

NORTH MELB – Anthony Stevens


RICHMOND – Wayne Campbell

ST KILDA – Robert Harvey

SYDNEY – Paul Kelly

WEST COAST – Peter Matera

The Magpies announced (2nd) the signing of telecommunications company VIATEL as its major sponsor. The $3 million deal is the most lucrative yet gathered by an AFL club—it’s for three years. The distinctive yellow and red VIATEL logo will appear on the front and back of the Pies guernsey and will result in an ‘away’ strip alternative of the famous black-and-white uniform so far unchanged since 1892.

At 30, following 198 games and 441 goals for Geelong (1986-97) BILLY BROWNLESS announced his retirement.


The TFL’s 11-club competition shed Sandy Bay, Hobart and Launceston from their 1998 starting line-up. New Norfolk was retained and a new club added, called Southern Districts based in the fast-growing Kingsborough.

The Footscray Forever Committee and the Western Bulldogs board resolved their long-running name dispute—the letters FFC will be placed on the backs of jumpers above the number (Herald Sun, 2nd) … end-of-year footy trips saw clubs head to—Brisbane (Bali), Carlton (Cape Town), Collingwood (London), Geelong (Los Angeles), Hawthorn (USA), Demons (Sun City), Bulldogs (Cairns), North (Ireland), Richmond (Bali), St Kilda (Thailand), Sydney (London), West Coast (London) … WAYNE CAREY (NM) had further surgery to the left shoulder injured on March 27th — other Roos under the knife included, COREY McKERNAN (shoulder), ANTHONY STEVENS (knee), CHRIS GROOM (knee), JASON DANILTCHENKO (knee), DANNY STEVENS (hernia) and BRETT ALLISON (hernia) … working on his comeback, JASON DUNSTALL with 1200 goals to his credit stepped down from the Hawthorn captaincy …

The League on Oct 6th released the 15-match draw for the 1998 Ansett Cup. The series (using six inter-change players) opens in Hobart on Saturday Feb 21, with Brisbane and Fremantle playing in South Africa the next day at the Newlands cricket ground in Cape Town. The following weekend schedules Sydney and Melbourne at The Basin Reserve in Wellington. The March 21 playoff is rostered for Waverley or Footy Park.

Fremantle traded the highly-sought 20-year old ruckman JEFF WHITE to the Demons on Oct 7th, in return for Melbourne’s No.2 and 18 draft selections. White’s deal was reported as $800,000 for three years—a sign on of $200,000, plus $200,000 per year.

The AFL released figures (8th) on the top salary earners. It was seen as a bid to hose down escalating demands in the trading war. Listed were four players in the ‘over $300,000’ bracket. Media speculation eyeballed—TONY LOCKETT (Syd), WAYNE CAREY (NM), DARREN JARMAN (Ade), and GAVIN WANGANEEN (PA) as the peak salary earners. 161 players or 25% of contracted players to the 16 AFL clubs were said to be receiving more than $100,000.

West Coast cruised to an easy victory in London over an inexperienced Collingwood before a vocal crowd of 11,500—WEST COAST 11.7-73 d Collingwood 8.7-55 (Sav Rocca 4).

A fortnight later the Magpies received a complaint from the London promoter CAPITALIZE to “unacceptable behaviour and noise” experienced at the 4-star Rochester Hotel—the high-jinks were rated as—”stupid, but not life-threatening”.

Deals inked by the 2pm cut-off on Friday Oct 17 saw 37 players traded. Biggest deal was the swap of Sydney’s SHANNON GRANT with North’s vice-captain WAYNE SCHWASS.

Revered in sporting circles for his dedication, humour, and a genuine “good bloke”—JACK DUNN, former Sun News-Pictorial legend passed away October 18, aged 78.

Former VFA club, now the Preston Knights fell out of favour—the VFL Board (21st) refused to issue a licence to the club for the 1998 VFL season.

Former North defender ROSS SMITH was appointed 1998 coach of new VFL side Bendigo … BARRY MITCHELL the former Swan-Pie-Blue now 31, was named as fitness adviser and senior runner by CARLTON … also at Optus, BARRY RICHARDSON, three-time flag-winning player at Richmond and more recently chairman of selectors with Melbourne was named to the same position with the Blues … BRIAN ROYAL moved up as senior assistant to TERRY WALLACE with the Bulldogs, while DAVID NOBLE takes over the Reserves … Collingwood and Richmond aim for an MCG Queen’s Birthday clash as a regular feature …

CHRIS DANIHER announced his retirement at Essendon and return to the NSW family property at Ungarie. The four Daniher’s from 1978 to 1997 played 618 games for the Bombers—Terry 294, Chris 124, Anthony 118 and Neale 82—Terry (19 games) and Anthony (115) also played with the South Melbourne-Sydney combo.

The AFL at its quarterly meeting on Oct 27 announced the distribution of $500,000 to each of the 16 clubs. The cash is part of the $20 million the Seven Network are paying to obtain the last bid for tv rights to AFL games from the year 2000.

The balance will be used to remove the $10.2 million debt of the League.

The AFL also advised there will be a $70,000 increase to each club in the 1997 distribution. Estimates for 1998 distribution was $1.82 million per club, rising to $2.2m in 1999 and $3.7m in 2000.

The AFL also forecast the salary cap of $2.9m in 1997 will rise through to $3.7m in 2000.

Geelong’s latest CEO swiftly left his position on Oct 29, less than three months after he filled the vacancy left by GREG DURHAM on August 7th.

It was reported, King the former head for seven years of Athletics Australia came under pressure following him declining to report daily to REX GORELL, the powerful Cat director and a key player in the affair. King took legal advice on the matter. On November 5 the Cats appointed PHILLIP NUNN at their new CEO.

The 12th annual National Draft was conducted at the Convention Centre at Adelaide’s Football Park on Friday October 31st.

From the extensive stable of young developing talent 83 were chosen. On the day of selection most ranged in the 17-18 age bracket, only 14 had reached 20—the eldest was 24.

TRAVIS JOHNSTONE, a 17 year-old midfielder from the Dandenong Stingrays was No.1 choice—he went to the Melbourne club.



Football Park in Canberra is set to receive a $7.8 million upgrade to include lighting and 15,000 semi-permanent seats. The upgrade will focus footy and night cricket at the venue. The 15,000 seats would be moved to Bruce Stadium when a 40,000 capacity is required for soccer or rugby matches.

BRIAN WALTON was axed as footy manager by Richmond on the 3rd. In the days to come, after 10 years with the Dogs GARRY O’SULLIVAN resigned and took Walton’s place at Punt Road and in the continuing revamp, PAUL ARMSTRONG made his exit from Kardinia Park and moved to O’Sullivan’s role at Scray.

In a break from tradition COLLINGWOOD announced (7th) a minor revamp of its famous guernsey. The middle black stripe will be broader and carry the Magpie logo for ‘away’ games—a few die-hards blanched.

Full-back JAMIE SHANAHAN fails to reach terms with the Saints and will nominate for the February draft … in another contract dispute, Bomber ruckman PETER SOMERVILLE stops training at Essendon … ROB SNOWDEN former football and recruiting manager at Sydney was appointed football ops manager at PORT ADELAIDE … WEST COAST made a life-member of coach MICHAEL MALTHOUSE … GARRY O’DONNELL steps down as Essendon captain paving way for the naming of JAMES HIRD … GARY COLLING set to be replaced as football manager at St Kilda … TRARALGON exit from the VFL and create a passage for the PRESTON KNIGHTS to be retained … JOHN PLATTEN (258 games 1986-97) retired from Hawthorn—returning to his origins at CENTRAL DISTRICT … CARLTON SOCCER CLUB were undefeated in the first six rounds of the Ericsson Cup—a happier result from the disaster suffered by Colling-wood’s flirtation with the round-ball.

Former Hawthorn premiership player PETER SCHWAB, more recently assistant coach at both Richmond and Glenferrie Oval was named (10th) AFL umpires director of coaching.

The 120 unsecured creditors of the now-defunct FITZROY FC will get just 27 cents in the dollar. Half of the $920,000 pool set aside settled claims by employees and two legal cases. Of the $1.3m claim by Footscray on the Whitten Oval lease, the Dogs received $77,000. The Nauru Insurance Corp received their full $1.2m payout from the $6m AFL Brisbane merger deal in July 1996—“The Age” (14th)

On November 10, the AFL announced it would become the first major tenant of Sydney’s $615m Olympic Stadium at Homebush after the 2000 Games. On a 10-year deal, six AFL matches at least would be played each year to a capacity of 72,000. The Sydney lease of the SCG expires in 2003.

The AFL (17th) increased the inter-change bench to four players for the 1998 season—the $3.2m cap was upped by $75,000 to accommodate the change … the AFL will also retain the rookie list of up to six—the draft minimum age will stay at 18 years.

West Coast’s dual premiership star (and most recent best & fairest Eagle) PETER MATERA opted (17th) to stay in Perth. This was despite frequent cross-country flights by Melbourne officials and an offer rumoured to be at least $1.8m over four years for the out-of-contract 167 game experience.

After 10 years as Chairman of the AFL Tribunal (18 years overall) NEIL BUSSE retired on Nov 22.

The MCC and Collingwood signed a five-year deal on Nov 26 for a minimum of nine home games at the MCG beginning in season 1998.

The 176-match draw for 1998 was released Nov 27. A small war broke out as the AFL called for Collingwood to play three of its ‘home’ games at Waverley. Just one game for the Pies was listed at Victoria Park, largely dependent on $200,000 being spent to bring the old suburban facility up to standard.

<||> Scheduling of some ’98 matches may result in a 3.30pm start, with delayed telecasts into regionals.

<||> Essendon reaped a boost from the draw—they’ll play 16 at the MCG, three at Waverley, one at Carlton and just two out-of-state journeys to Footy Park and Subiaco.

<||> Night footy was cut back to 41 home-and-away games (53 in 1997), with none scheduled for Waverley Park as the lights begin to dim on the one-time “jewel in the crown.”

<||> Advocates of Monday night footy will wait a little longer—one only was rostered, on August 24 at the MCG for a return engagement between the Demons and Sydney.

An extension plan to roof the Olympic Stand and the top of the Members’ Reserve were revealed. The $145m project would equal that of the Great Southern Grandstand opened in 1992. The revamp will boost MCG capacity again past the magic figure of 100,000.

RON RICHARDS stepped down from the Collingwood board after 47 years of service—Ron is 70 next May … the Saints aim their sights for more games at the MCG … DARREN BEWICK at 30, signed a new two-year deal with Essendon … following pressure from Victorian clubs, the AFL will review revenue sharing policies in respect of gate receipts—clubs often play interstate to sellout crowds and receive nothing in return …

National Sportsbet’s first market for ’98 were posted—West Coast 5/1, Adelaide and St Kilda 9/1, Essendon 10/1, Bulldogs 19/1, Freo and Port at 66/1—Hawks 100 and Demons at 150.

Australia drew 2-all with Iran on Saturday November 29 at the MCG for a record 85,022. However the Roos missed a place in the 1998 World Cup, on the away goals ruling.



STAN ALVES was appointed (4th) St Kilda coach for two more years. He is now the second longest coach in St Kilda’s history—after ALLAN JEANS (1961-77).

An aftermath of the Collingwood visit in October to London had a costly sequel. The Pies received a bill from the AFL for $6400 for damage to property and loss of business by the Rochester Hotel.

A leaked report from AFL Tribunal member SHANE MAGUIRE found its way to the pages of the Herald Sun on Dec 4th. Maguire a prospect to succeed the departing chairman Neil Busse expressed concern to several suspensions handed down in 1997. Maguire (when Busse was overseas) was acting chairman of the Tribunal when GREG WILLIAMS was outed for nine weeks for pushing umpire ANDREW COATES in the first round. AFL football operations manager IAN COLLINS (it was said) was not pleased by the publication.

DARRYL WHITE, a 109-game player for Brisbane since 1992 was sentenced to two months jail when found guilty of assault in November 1996 of a man at a Brisbane nightclub. He was on bail pending an appeal.

Ballots lodged by Saturday Dec 6th from over 13,000 Richmond members supported the Leon Daphne ticket. The first Tiger election since 1984 drew a record 59% response. Reform candidate MALCOLM BROWN failed to gain a seat on the Board.

Restructuring of the umpires department was completed (9th) by the naming of the record 410-match veteran ROWAN SAWERS as AFL Umpires Coach.

He replaces David Levens who will move to reassigned duties. Sawers will assist PETER SCHWAB recently appointed national umpires director of coaching.


Clubs conducted their AGM’s at which financial results were tabled —

CARLTON: On operating revenue of $11.5m, a $224,581 profit—AFL TV-money was not included; $415,660 has been set aside for the GREG WILLIAMS court action, while the Blues provided for a payout of $85,715 to retiring captain Stephen Kernahan, now a club director.

COLLINGWOOD: $892,309 profit—AFL TV-money included. Their report said: “our overall improvement on 1996 is $995,567 after dealing with all the issues including a large loss from soccer.” Debt has been reduced by $1.5m leaving a core bank debt of some $1.3 million.

ESSENDON: From $10,115,588, the Bombers enjoyed a $988,712 profit (AFL TV-money included). Cash reserves however have dried up after $4.5m has been spent on Windy Hill over the past three years, and the purchase of Melton Country Club. The Bomber social club also requires refurbishment of at least $600,000.

FOOTSCRAY (Western Bulldogs): Though enjoying a 45% membership increase, the club suffered a loss of $76,818, which was assisted by the input of $500,000 from the AFL TV distribution. Still, the Doggies managed a huge turnaround in only 12 months from their $2.1 million loss of 1996. Proceeding with their three-year plan, the Bulldogs have set a target to gain 20,000 members for the new season. The club is already committed to play the bulk of their home games at Docklands Stadium from 2000.

GEELONG: With AFL-TV money included in the calculations, the Cats recorded an operating profit of $217,419 which is a consolidated figure including their social club activities. They were down $500,000 on last year, and only a modest $8197 profit resulted. Members at the December 22 AGM learned the debt of over $5-million precludes the club at this time from financing Kardinia Park improvements.

HAWTHORN: $308,204 profit—which does not include the AFL tv-money of $500,000. This follows the Hawks’ $1.1m loss in 1996. Membership reached a record 27,200 after the aborted 1996 merger plans with Melbourne.

MELBOURNE: $833,858 profit—including the AFL TV-money. The club remains debt-free. The Demons will address their lowly membership base of 15,350, which by just 300 is second only to the Western Bulldogs; Melbourne seek a $2m increase of revenue in the new year.

RICHMOND: With injections of $500,000 from the AFL and $474,947 from the Jack Dyer Foundation the Tigers named a $789,914 profit. Without these two payments, Richmond stood to lose $107,000. A payout to sacked coach ROBERT WALLS was $212,000.

ST KILDA: $56,092 profit—which does not include AFL-tv money — the Saints are adding the $500,000 as a 1998 cash injection. The club’s $1.9m debt from four years ago has been reduced by $1.2m. President ANDREW PLYMPTON stressed the Saints had not decided on a new base. Docklands may be an alternative but St Kilda were also keenly interested on the outcome of discussions over Waverley Park.

ADELAIDE will hold their AGM’s in February, BRISBANE have still to announce their date.

Former Glenferrie champion DERMOTT BRERETON was named a director of HAWTHORN, who will hold celebrations February 27-28 next year to mark their 125th anniversary … a giant video screen will be in place at Football Park for the 1998 season … the AFL is set to limit Kardinia Park games to eight from 1999, with three ‘home’ games in Melbourne—however the Cats are determined the $1.7m ground expansion to lift capacity at Geelong from 25 to 33,000 will go ahead … JAMES HIRD was appointed Essendon captain (10th) … JAMIE SHANAHAN, the discarded St Kilda full-back came to terms and started training with Melbourne—he struck a two-year deal and the Demons have formally notified the League, their intention to select the 125-game Shanahan with their first pick in February’s national draft … PORT ADELAIDE opened (12th) the $2.6m upgrade of their social club facility at Alberton Oval …

At their AGM in Brisbane (9th) the AUSTRALIAN RUGBY LEAGUE posted a loss of $2.8 million for 1997, double that of the previous year.

"Let's keep that in context," chairman Neil Whittaker (who was re-elected) said. "It involves funding support for the national competition and, when obviously our ability to generate revenue was restricted."

Peace-talks between with the rival SuperLeague camp (which have been going for some months) for a united competition continue.

The first summit meeting with reps of the AFLPA held (10th) in Melbourne addressed many issues. The AFL outlined its views on –

length of pre-season training
<||> increased drug testing over summer
<||> pursuance of its vilification rules
<||> Melbourne cannot sustain 10-clubs
<||> final season of the Reserves in 1999

The meeting was in advance of collective bargaining due to begin between the AFL and the AFLPA, late-1998.

MORTON BROWNE the Hawk CEO resigned on Dec 11 after 12 months in the task. Seeking ‘other challenges’, Browne oversaw a turnaround from a $1.1m loss to a $308,204 profit.

The Collingwood club were reeling from a bitter election result. BARRY PRICE (158 games 1966-79) was elected to the Magpie board Thursday (11th) but resigned Saturday on a matter of principle after opponent Jack Kennedy was re-elected. Kennedy had suggested Price was opposed to the Pies move to the MCG and favoured the Docklands option.

AFL Commission chairman JOHN KENNEDY announced his retirement on Dec 15. The former player, coach and administrator had completed five years in the top job, and overall 47 years at the highest level of footy.

Former Essendon president RON EVANS, a commissioner since 1993 will become the new Chairman.

The AFL (15th) threw a lifeline to clubs saying they can explore the possibility of having a team in the VFL competition. The last season of the Reserves comp is slated for 1999.

The Pies were saved another election when Barry Price on Dec 16 rethought his actions and decided to sit on the seven-man Collingwood board.

New manuals released on skills of the game have eliminated reference to the drop kick — departing the way of the place kick and the stab pass — footy romantics are reported to have wept.

The Rugby Union Bledisloe Cup will return to the MCG on Saturday July 11th, in the State-of-Origin break … Channel Seven appointed long-serving GORDON BENNETT as Melbourne head-of-sport, with TIM WORNER returning to Sydney … Geelong ruck-man STEVEN KING broke his arm at training … former North on-baller PETER GERMAN was named the assistant to Hawk coach KEN JUDGE … former Tiger captain TONY FREE recently training with Collingwood abandoned his comeback attempt …

CARLTON were still waiting on the AFL to decide if the $415,660 legal costs of the GREG WILLIAMS case would be included in their 1997 salary cap. The Blues face a potential fine of some $200,000 … meanwhile both RICHMOND and GEELONG are also waiting on a decision over their salary cap breaches.

<> Dashing wingman LEO TURNER of the 1951-52 premiership sides for Geelong passed away (17th) aged 69.

SuperLeague died when the three-year Rugby League war ended on Friday (19th). The ARL and News Limited came to terms and will share equal control for 20 years of the competition to be run by a new entity—the National Rugby League Championship Company.

20 teams will compete in 1998, 16 in 1999. These reduce to 14 in 2000, with a Sydney minimum of six clubs, or a maximum of eight.

It is planned the elite competition will be backed by ‘impressive’ State Leagues.

Both pay-TV channels, Foxtel and Optus will now show games, together with the Packer–Channel Nine deal which expires in 2000.

The Western Reds and Hunter Mariners will disappear, though the entry of the Melbourne ‘Storm’ side will balance the numbers.

The duration of the disagreement over who controlled the code was estimated to have cost News Limited upwards of $800 million.

Geelong added another two years to their appointment of coach GARY AYRES which will keep him at the Cattery until the end of 2000 … the Western Bulldogs similarly happy with TERRY WALLACE added a further three seasons, also to the end of 2000.

The recently retired MARK HARVEY was appointed assistant coach at Essendon for 1998. He’ll join MARK THOMPSON and ROBBIE KERR as assistants to Kevin Sheedy in the restructured football department … STAN MAGRO is the new assistant to Gerard Neesham at Fremantle, while BEN ALLEN is now full-time skills coach of the Dockers … former Roo PETER GERMAN as assistant, joins CHRIS CONNELLY (development coach) as full-time support to Ken Judge at Hawthorn.




MICK McGUANE was told by Carlton to meet the required fitness level by the start of February—he has undergone 14 operations during his career (155 games, 1987-97) … MIL HANNA the delisted 190 game (1986-97) Carlton veteran in training at Punt Road and is a likely pick-up by Richmond in the February draft—depending on their salary cap … JOSE ROMERO signed a new two-year deal with the Bulldogs … SIMON MADDEN the great Essendon ruckman (378 games 1974-92) joined Melbourne in their widening off-field staff … MICHAEL VOSS and ALASTAIR LYNCH will co-captain Brisbane again in 1998, with MATTHEW CLARK as vice-captain … LEIGH MATTHEWS joins the footy team on Melbourne’s MMM-FM … SCOTT CROW resolves a weeks-long dispute and re-signs with the Pies on a one-year deal …

Former Essendon player JOHN BIRT (194 games, 1957-67) is no longer required by Brisbane. Over 40 years, Birt was involved with Carlton, Hawthorn, Footscray, Collingwood, Fitzroy and Brisbane after the merger.

North are hot-favourites for the Ansett Australia Cup being quoted at 5/1 … in the big one, West Coast are favourites as 5/1 to win the AFL premiership cup, Adelaide, Saints, North, Brisbane and the Bombers are ranked equal second favourites at 8/1.

From a career which started in 1978, Denis Rich, a veteran of 251 games and three Grand Finals will not have his contract renewed for season 1998. The AFL is reducing its contract list of umpires from 44 to 32.

Neville Waller, centre half-back of Collingwood’s 1953 premiership passed away January 10 aged 65. He played 86 games, 1953-58 and joins recently departed Magpies, BILL TWOMEY and RON KINGSTON.

The Sunday Age on January 18 revealed twilight matches will become a feature of the first half of the AFL’s 1998 season.

On Saturdays, 11 games, eight at the MCG, three at Waverley will start at 3.30pm, for a 6pm finish and be telecast on a one-hour delay into the Melbourne market.

As journalist Rohan Connelly noted: ”Saturday football will never be the same again …”

In other changes to the AFL draw, Collingwood are now set to play three games at Vic Park in ’98, against the Swans, Freo and Eagles.

Moves for a team from the Northern Territory to enter either the SANFL or the Perth-based Westar Rules comp in 1999 are on hold pending sponsorship arrangements. Both nine-club comps would welcome a 10th team to eliminate an annoying bye.

Adelaide and Brisbane seem set to follow the Sydney example of direct telecasts of matches against the gate. Sydney games have been live through-out their region in recent years, yet have still played to sellout crowds of 35,000 to 40,000 regularly.

KEVIN SHEEDY, the man who made jacket-waving an art form, was honoured on Australia Day, January 26th. The 50 -year-old Essendon coach of 400 AFL matches since 1981 was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for service to football and the community.

The Moonee Valley Racing Club conducted the nation’s first night racing meeting on Monday January 26—the seven race program drew a big crowd of 32,342 … premiership coach MALCOLM BLIGHT was dubbed Adelaide City Council’s citizen of the year for 1998, after taking the Crows to their first AFL title … payment of a $100,000 retirement package to former Geelong superstar GARY ABLETT almost went to court, but the Cats and player amicably settle the matter … CRAIG BRADLEY appears a shoe-in for the Carlton 1998 captaincy; he often led the Blues during the frequent absence of recently retired leader STEPHEN KERNAHAN …

ACTU Secretary BILL KELTY will become the eighth commissioner at the AFL’s AGM on February 17.

Kelty was the only nomination received following the retirement of the League’s chairman John Kennedy. Kelty more recently was also a governor of the Reserve Bank.

Meanwhile, the decision of Graeme Samuel, the long-serving commissioner to serve out his full three-year term came under challenge—Carlton, North and the Pies believe Samuel has reneged on his decision to resign after the 12 months.


Some of footy’s biggest transfers took place on January 30 when the Seven Network secured JASON DUNSTALL and DOUG HAWKINS for their 1998 line-up. Besides losing the two media stars, Channel Nine also farewelled The Footy Show producer HARVEY SILVER. Channel Seven and Silver are understood to be planning a new untitled footy variety show to feature Hawkins and Dunstall, as well as JAMES HIRD and Seven’s contracted star WAYNE CAREY.




Geelong, Richmond and Collingwood on Feb 3 were fined for 1997 salary cap breaches. As a result, the three were precluded from participating in the February 17 pre-season draft.

Carlton however escaped when it was determined the $415,600 court costs of the Greg Williams challenge would not be included in the Blues’ salary cap.

Geelong, who breached their cap by $154,000 were fined $77,000—source of the excess was understood to have been contract and injury payments to GARY ABLETT.

The Magpies suffered a $47,500 fine for their $68,000 breach; a fine of $21,000 was imposed on Richmond who went over the cap by $54,000.

1998’s salary cap is $3.275 million.

How things can change!

Just four years ago, the Swans couldn’t give a ticket away, and were paying $2500 a week to get a page in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.

In 1993, their membership was 3097. Sydney have announced they will apply a ceiling of 24,500 members. The Swans have already passed 22,000 and the figure increases daily.


The books were finally closed on the Greg Williams affair when the AFL announced (3rd) Essendon’s SEAN DENHAM was fined $3000 for his part. A hearing last September found Denham guilty of ‘conduct unbecoming’ when he and Williams engaged in a verbal confrontation and the end of the Essendon-Carlton game in 1997’s first round game at the MCG.

A two-paragraph 46-word statement ended the management arrangements between Flying Start (Australia) and the retired Geelong superstar GARY ABLETT. The Australian quoted industry sources saying, Ablett’s value was now minimal.

The League telegraphed that BRIAN COLLIS, QC, will be the next head of the AFL Tribunal. Collis headed the VFA judiciary from 1988 to 1993.

The formation of the new AFL Appeals board will also be set up soon.

The Age reported (6th) that after 18 months of investigation, the AFL are poised to deliver a bombshell.

Stephen Linnell reported: The issue is whether the money earned by a player while doing a promotion should be classed as a football payment.

The heart of the matter is how the AFL controls its salary cap and what are true football earnings.

It has the potential for being one of the biggest off-field stories of the year. One can almost hear lawyers ordering more pink ribbon.

MIL HANNA is a casualty of AFL fines imposed on Richmond. Hanna after 12 years with Carlton (190 games, 1986-97) was training with the Tigers and hoped to continue his career. Richmond cannot participate in the draft and Hanna is expected to retire … NEIL BALME, dumped as Melbourne coach last May is expected to coach The Allies against the Vics in Brisbane on July 10 … PETER SUMICH (514 goals with West Coast) is training in Adelaide with Sturt and subject to employment opportunities will line-up with the SANFL Double Blues this season … Fremantle’s MICHAEL CLARK was the first ‘knee’ casualty – a reconstruction will be needed … with just 21 games over his last three seasons, injuries have overtaken 30-year-old MICK McGUANE - he announced his retirement. McGuane was a member of the 1990 Collingwood premiership and played 152 games with the Pies. He transferred to Carlton in 1997, but had only three games with the Blues before suffering injury … LEE WALKER, recovering from his fourth knee reconstruction was appointed to the Magpies coaching staff … the PERTH FC, born in 1899 sought assistance from the WAFL for money problems.

An internal boardroom war in the AFL Player’s Association appears to have claimed executive director PETER ALLEN, their CEO of 18 years.

A review of the AFLPA’s structure recommended that Allen’s position be advertised, which the Association is expected to do next week.

Allen, is mid-term of a five year contact.

Intra-club and practice matches started on Friday February 6. A modest 2000 fronted at Waverley to see Richmond and North in the opener. The suspended JUSTIN CHARLES was a standout performer for the Tigers with four goals, yet he will sit it out until the 17th round at least. The trial was noted by the return of North’s MATTHEW CAPUANO after missing the 1997 season with his second knee reconstruction—Tigers 22.12-144, North 8.13-61 … at Waverley, PETER EVERITT after his shoulder operation came through his first big test when the Saints had their intra-club hit out … in hot and steamy Darwin conditions on Saturday night, Essendon dominated the NT Buffaloes who failed to major until the final quarter, ESSENDON 8.10-58, NTFL 4.6-30 …

A new AFL sub-committee was formed with NEIL BUSSE the former Tribunal chairman at its head. The key focus of the group will be to oversee the critical period of transition as the second-tier VICTORIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE moves to greater prominence following the demise of the AFL Reserves at the end of 1999.

Sydney posted a $811,000 profit for 1997 on income of over $13 million. The biggest relief however arrived in the news that the AFL and former owners MIKE WILLESEE, BASIL SELLERS, CRAIG KIMBERLEY, PETER WEINERT and JOHN GERAHTY have released the Swans from repaying a debt of $7 million. Sydney were committed to pay back $2m to the AFL and $5m to former owners as part of the package which saved the club from extinction in October 1992.


Appeal board announced
The AFL launched several initiatives at a Sydney press conference held at the Regent Hotel on February 11. The mechanism of the much-awaited Appeal Board was released.

Appeals to a Tribunal decision must be lodged by 2pm the following day.

A second tribunal panel of four members, headed by PETER O’CALLAGHAN, QC will hear the case again from ‘scratch’ as ‘soon as practicable’ before the player’s next scheduled match.

Clubs must pay $5000 costs, which is non-refundable. A further $10,000 must be lodged to have the case heard and will be refunded if the appeal is upheld.

The Appeal Board may confirm, increase or decrease a decision of the tribunal.

AFL players and officials who breach confidentiality provisions in racial and religious vilification cases will face fines of up to $40,000. League CEO WAYNE JACKSON announced in Sydney that players could now have legal representation if appearing before the Tribunal under the racial vilification rule.

A player who breached confidentiality could be fined $10,000 for a first offence and $20,000 for subsequent offences.
<> Several times last year, the process failed when the case became public.

The media had a field day when Sydney full-forward TONY LOCKETT signed with ADVANCED HAIR STUDIO, who are noted for their hair transplants … Melbourne radio men met on Thursday (12th) to arrange how to cover different starting times of 2.10 and 3.30pm matches. Days later, the time-honoured rotation system was scrapped, and the ABC, 3AW, Triple M and Magic 693 will broadcast any match they choose … it was proposed that an ANSETT CUP game in 1999 be played in DUBAI … Hawthorn’s JASON DUNSTALL made a surprise appearance at Waverley and played half-a-game in an intra-club practice. The 1200-goal super-forward (1985-97) is recovering from his second left knee reconstruction … the FINAL EIGHT system is under review — often it has been the subject of criticism, as being confusing and unbalanced … accepting it is still too early for a second AFL club in Sydney, the League will ‘encourage’ other clubs to play additional matches in the Harbour City … LES ‘Salty’ PARISH who played 87 games (1980-85) as a ruck-rover for Fitzroy passed away on Thursday (12th) at Cobram, aged 43 …

Across Feb 13-15, pre-seasons meetings continued with many ‘star’ players rested. On Friday night at Football Park, Port and the Roos staged an aggressive clash which brought a 20pt win for North 10.11-71 to Port 6.15-51 … around 12,000 at Optus Oval saw SEAN CHARLES (ex-Mel) play a defensive big role in the Blues 36pt win over Collingwood, 13.11-89 to 7.11-53 … the two coaches TERRY WALLACE (WB) and NEALE DANIHER (Mel) tried 54 players in six quarters—the result didn’t count, but for the record, Dogs 18.19-127, Demons 18.17-125 … in Newcastle, 7500 in hot conditions saw TONY LOCKETT kick 4.1 in the first half then retire from the game along with PAUL KELLY and DARYN CRESSWELL. Sydney’s youngsters came back in the last term to down Brisbane 14.13-97 to 12.5-77 … Saturday night had 14,271 when JAMES HIRD led the Bombers to 20 point win over Adelaide, 10.11-71 to 6.15-51, crowd 11,993 … at Subiaco also on Saturday night, West Coast posted a big 20.15-135 to down Freo 9.5-59 … on Sunday at North Hobart Oval, the Saints zipped away and led all day from the Tigers, 12.12-84 to 10.6-66 … four players were charged from the weekend matches … though distant in plans, the SANFL’s NORWOOD club still aim for an AFL spot as Adelaide’s third club … TRENT CUMMINGS (WCE) became the second senior-listed player to face a knee reconstruction. While player for Fitzroy in 1996, Cummings had surgery on his other knee … days following his retirement, MICK McGUANE made his radio debut at Carlton with the 3AW team.

NSW Premier BOB CARR during talks in Sydney with AFL CEO WAYNE JACKSON offered the Homebush Olympic Stadium for the 2001 Grand Final.

The one-off suggestion took advantage of the prospect that Melbourne will be granted the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Redevelopment of facilities at the MCG may lower its capacity to as little as 60,000 for one season. The MCC pointed out; construction to replace the Olympic Stand built in 1956 is unlikely to begin until 2003. A further factor was, the MCC and the AFL have an agreement to play the jewel event at the MCG until 2032.


AFL revenue climbs to $83m; profit $13.7m
The 101st Annual General Meeting of the AFL was conducted on February 17.

Revenue for the 1997 season was a record $83 million, which resulted in an operating profit of $13.7m, up 5,000 from 1996.

For the first time in years, the League is debt free, recording net assets of $50m, with $38m of that being the value of the Waverley Park facility. Debt reduction was assisted by the television rights payment of $20m from the Channel Seven Network.

Preliminary forecasts indicate the 16 member clubs will each receive a distribution of $2.22m in 1999, increasing to $2.42m in 2000.

The pre-season draft was conducted on Tuesday morning (17th). As expected, JAMIE SHANAHAN and JOEL SMITH were the first two players named. Eleven were selected in the following order —

  1 Melbourne JAMIE SHANAHAN (StK)
  2 Hawthorn JOEL SMITH (StK)
  3 Port Adel MATTHEW BODE (Glenelg)
  4 Sydney ADAM COGHLAN (Sandringham)
  5 North Melb DAMIEN HOULIHAN (Tatura)
  6 West.B'dogs SCOTT TAYLOR (West.B'dogs)
  7 St Kilda MATTHEW CARR (East Fremantle)
  8 Adelaide pass
  9 Hawthorn JASON DANILTCHENKO (North Melb)
10 North Melb BRADY ANDERSON (East Perth)
11 St Kilda JAMIE ELLIOTT (St Kilda)
12 Hawthorn HAYDEN KILMARTIN (East Fremantle)
13 St Kilda pass
14 Hawthorn pass

The SA National Football League, holders of the two AFL licences, had an operating surplus of $5,887,967 for 1997—assets are $14,099,853.

A surplus of $3,780,000 was distributed to the nine member SANFL clubs, a rise of 23.5% over 1996.

St Kilda’s BARRY HALL became the first player to be suspended for the year. Hall was found guilty on Tuesday (17th) at the first sitting of the new Tribunal chaired by BRIAN COLLIS, QC. Hall received a three match holiday for kneeing Michael Gale (Rch) in the head … wresting charges against GAVIN WANGANEEN (PA) and JOSH ROBERTSON (NM) were adjourned. The booking against BRENT GREEN (Syd) was withdrawn.

Further video evidence resulted in charges against Wanganeen being upgraded. When the case was heard on Thursday, Wanganeen was found guilty of striking Robertson (NM) and suspended for three matches.

The 1993 Brownlow medalist who has played 147 games (1990-97) was twice suspended for one week last season, once for striking, once for charging.

The first charges of 1998 were heard on the same day as figures were released showing that umpires or the AFL laid a record 164 reports last year. The previous highest figure of 135 cases occurred in 1987.

CRAIG BRADLEY was appointed captain of Carlton—his deputy will be STEPHEN SILVAGNI … the Dockers will loose HEATH BLACK for the early season following groin surgery … FILA, a new player in the football boot market have upped the ante by signing several prominent players to contracts worth up to $90,000. Geelong’s LEIGH COLBERT is the latest, joining Fraser Gehrig (WCE), Michael O’Loughlin (Syd), Glen Archer (NM) and Adam Heuskes (PA) with the player-manager RON JOSEPH prominent in all negotiations with the Italian manufacturer…

The opening Cup game played at North Hobart Oval on Saturday (21) provided two leads for the season—Carlton are likely to struggle, and the Roos will again be a power. Without the injured McKernan, the Kangas ran away with a 45pt win, North 17.17-119, Carlton 11.8-74, crowd 10,000 … Sunday was a big day when the Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town hosted the first official AFL match played outside of Australia. To the awesome backdrop of Table Mountain, Brisbane grabbed the first quarter initiative and were never headed, Lions 18.17-125, Fremantle 16.7-103. The crowd was posted as a generous 10,123 … in other practice matches; the Bulldogs at Waverley were slick on every line and broke the game open with a seven goal third quarter. The Saints’ woes continued when star forward JASON HEATLEY was booked for charging MATTHEW ROBBINS (WB) in the first term, ’Dogs 18.12-120, Saints 12.10-82 … at Alberton Oval (8,465), the Demons fell down up forward and Port were good winners in a tightly-fought trial, Port 11.11-77, Melbourne 7.3-45 … about 8,000 were at Macquarie University in Sydney where Essendon won a scrappy hit out from the Swans, 10.5-65 to 6.16-52. The focus was on MATTHEW LLOYD who kicked six goals, while TONY (“half-a-game”) LOCKETT kicked four in the space of 11 minutes in the second term … at Victoria Park, BRETT SPINKS for a second week showed the Cats may have found a new forward. His four goals were the difference, against the Hawks, Geelong 13.9-87, Hawthorn 8.8-56 …

North coach DENIS PAGAN admitted in Hobart that COREY McKERNAN, his key forward-ruckman will miss at least six weeks with a stress fracture to his right leg. Adding to the Arden Street toll, DARREN CROCKER came away from the Cup game in Hobart with suspected damage to the medial ligament of his right knee.

The TFL is fighting to obtain Federal Government funding for a 25,000-seat stadium at Hobart Showgrounds for AFL football. Should TFL delegates vote to proceed with the $35 million dream, North Melbourne may be one of the first to play regular games in Hobart. The Roos are keen to play scheduled games outside of Victoria to maximise their return from gates.

Hawthorn in a meeting with consultants ARTHUR ANDERSEN are still pursuing their options to retain Waverley Park … AFL gm of footy ops, IAN COLLINS, will recommend the South African venture of an Ansett Cup game be continued in 1999 … MIKE SHEEHAN in The Herald Sun (21st) named his Top 50 for 1998. Heading his rankings were: WAYNE CAREY (NM), then JAMES HIRD (Ess), ROBERT HARVEY (StK), GLENN JAKOVICH (WCE) and CHRIS GRANT (WB) …

Richmond lost five players in their Cup match on Monday night (23) in Adelaide—MATTHEW RICHARD-SON (left elbow), BRETT EVANS (fractured cheekbone), JOEL BOWDEN (broken right collarbone), DUNCAN KELLAWAY (broken nose) and NICK DAFFY (sprained ankle). The Tigers also had the game stolen from them in the last half-minute of play, ADELAIDE 17.10-112 to RICHMOND 15.18-108, crowd 17,953 …

Launceston brewers J Boag & Son, sponsors of the TFL for the past 12 seasons withdrew their valuable $200,000 sponsorship on the eve of the 1998 season. The AFL who already support Tasmanian football each year with $500,000 may have to fill the breach if a new sponsor is not found.

ANTHONY ROCK (NM) was found guilty of striking Ron De Iulio (Car) and suspended for two games. Rock’s only previous booking was in a 1993 practice match when he received one week for Andrew Gowers (Haw) … St Kilda forward JASON HEATLEY was cleared of ‘charging’ Matthew Robbins (WB) … PAUL DIMATTINA (WB) was found not guilty of striking Ryan O’Callaghan (StK) in a reserve grade trial.

Ansett Australia confirmed it will sponsor the pre-season competition into season 2001.

The AFL Rookie Draft was held on Tuesday (24) at the MCG. LINCOLN REYNOLDS, grandson to triple Brownlow medalist of the Thirties Dick Reynolds, wound up with the Bulldogs, after Essendon took South Fremantle’s DEAN RIOLI, the nephew of former Tiger great Maurie Rioli with their first selection.

Up to six rookies were named by some clubs.

NSW premier BOB CARR beat the AFL’s official release when on Wednesday (25th) morning’s John Laws program on 2UE he announced the 1999 Brownlow Medal presentation would be held in Sydney.

The NSW Government would pay the AFL $200,000 for the privilege of hosting the television event.

The jilted Victorian premier JEFF KENNETT with chest-thumping quotes initially overlooked the fact, the one true “national” football competition was moving to further consolidate its newly-won presence in dominant rugby territory.

Sydney since 1993 have held a “Night they won the Brownlow” event. Last year more than 1,400 attended the Darling Harbour Convention Centre when BOB SKILTON was the guest.

Glen Jakovich and Peter Matera were outstanding in West Coast’s Wednesday night 54pt demolition of Collingwood at Subiaco, 13.12-90 to 5.6-36.

The Magpies’ decision to travel to Perth on the same day for the Ansett Cup match backfired and breached AFL guidelines.

The first flight from Tullamarine was delayed, then abandoned. Collingwood’s transfer to another flight landed them in Perth with less than three hours to spare—and into hot water, and a possible $20,000 fine.

Geelong reappointed BARRY STONEHAM as captain for a third season—last year’s deputies Michael Mansfield, Leigh Colbert and Liam Pickering were retained … REX GORELL resigned as director of the Geelong club. Gorell, also a vice-prez was a key figure when NEIL KING departed the Kardinia Park CEO post last October … the Australian Tax Office is winding up its audit of the 16 AFL clubs. However, the tax affairs of many key players will continue … CAMPBELLTOWN, a Sydney outer-suburban club are making six-figure overtures to retired super-forward GARY ABLETT—the Towners play in the ACT AFL competition …

Last October, Collingwood trumpeted the record $3 million sponsorship deal with VIATEL COMMUNICATIONS. It has now been revealed the Viatel figurehead JOHN MASSEY has worked under three different names and there are a series of questions to his substance.

The First Round Ansett Cup matches were completed — on Friday at Footy Park (17,024) PETER EVERITT was the big man difference as the SAINTS 18.11-119 posted a 20pt win over PORT 14.15-99 … MATTHEW LLOYD kicked five in the first term and 10.2 for the night when ESSENDON 19.11-125 demolished HAWTHORN on Saturday night at Waverley for 34,536 fans — Lloyd’s effort equalled the best in the night series by PETER SCHOFIELD (NM) versus South, 59-1R-AP, PETER McKENNA (Col) v Fit, 68-1R-AP and MICHAEL ROACH (Rch) v Swan Districts, 82-QF-P … at the tiny Basin Reserve in Wellington NZ on Sunday afternoon, 7,820 saw the Demons out-play the more-fancied Swans and record a 12pt win, MELBOURNE 15.15-105, SYDNEY 14.9-93 … on Monday night at Waverley (10,509) the Bulldogs crushed the Cats by 63pts, WEST. B’DOGS 22.12-144, GEELONG 12.9-81 …


MARCH 1998

The first week of March witnessed the messy divorce of Collingwood and Viatel. In the media last October, Viatel were touted as part of a $3 million three-year deal, as the biggest sponsorship in footy.

By March 4, the break was complete but far from over.

KEVIN ROSE, Collingwood president, on the 5th confirmed PRIMUS Communications as the club’s major sponsor for 1998. At the same time, the Pies sued Viatel for $201,338. The writ served March 5th stated the total value of the contract with Viatel was $1.45m over three years—far less than the $3m first claimed.

A hearing in the Industrial Relations Court on March 31 will determine if the IRC have jurisdiction to hear applications lodged by umpires DENIS RICH and MARK PRINCE. The two umpires did not have their contracts renewed when the AFL reduced lists from 44 to 32 ...

SHANE ELLIS (WB) was suspended for two matches for striking Brenton Sanderson (Gee)—it was described as ‘reckless contact with the head’. It was Ellis’ third guilty verdict in less than 12 months.

MICHAEL SYMONS (Ess) and DANIEL CHICK (Haw) were each fined $1500 for wrestling. Tribunal chairman BRIAN COLLIS said the recent tribunal tradition of dividing a player’s salary into 52 weeks has been abandoned.

A new US cable channel, FOX Sports World will televise a Saturday AFL match live, with another match, plus the one-hour highlights package as part of their 1998 season coverage … KATRINA PRESSLEY became the first woman to be appointed to an official AFL match. She’ll only be a reserve in the Adelaide v Brisbane Ansett Cup game, but a full appointment is expected soon. At 27, Katrina is one of six (four goals, two boundaries) female umpires from the QSFL.

Rescheduling of the North v Port game in August will bring the AFL’s first morning game since 1938.

The R18 fixture will be moved from the MCG to Manuka Oval in Canberra. An 11.40am start will enable to game to be televised live into Melbourne and Adelaide.

The only previous ‘morning’ games were in 1899, 1920 and 1938.

BOB KUPSCH, a Collingwood member of their 1955 and 1956 grand final sides passed away March 3 …

Quarter Finals were conducted in four contests over Fri-Sat-Sun-Mon, March 6-7-8-9 … thanks to a seven goals to one second term, the Lions on Friday night ran out 55pt winner over the Crows at the Gabba, BRISBANE 18.17-125 (Lappin 5) ADELAIDE 10.10-70 (crowd: 11,871) … on Grand Prix eve a disappointing 30,850 at the MCG saw North produce a stunning last half, kicking 12 goals to one to slam the Bombers by 47pts, NORTH 16.14-110, ESSENDON 8.15-63 … a near full-strength St Kilda surged into the semi’s when it thrashed an inexperienced West Coast by 98pts on Sunday night at Waverley (15,817), SAINTS 24.18-162 (Loewe 5), EAGLES 10.4-64 (McIntosh 4) … on Monday night at Waverley (13,537) in a tough-nut affair, Melbourne maintained their return to form with a 24pt victory over the Western Bulldogs, DEMONS 13.10-88, DOGS 9.10-64 …

In an extended trial of six quarters involving 76 players on Saturday at Waverley, Geelong used 42 senior-listed players and rookies before losing to Sydney, 12.12-84 to 11.15-81 … on Sunday at Tatura for 6000 fans, COLLINGWOOD 13.10-88 pipped HAWTHORN 11.16-82 … goals in the last two minutes at Fremantle Oval produced a tight win for PORT ADELAIDE 13.8-86 over FREMANTLE 10.12-72 — the heated last quarter drew a close video review ...

The AFL Tribunal on Tuesday heard the first cases from the weekend—BRAD SHOLL (Gee) was suspended four matches for striking Brad McMahon (Syd) … CHRIS JOHNSON (Bri) was outed one match for striking a QAFL player in a reserve grade practice match between the Lions and Morningside in Brisbane … MARTIN PIKE (NM) was fined $1500 for making an insulting gesture towards field umpire Hayden Kennedy.

Hearings on Wednesday, resulted in DAVID SCHWARZ (Mel) received a one match suspension for tripping Matthew Robbins (WB) … a striking charge against BRETT MONTGOMERY (WB) was withdrawn … NIGEL SMART (Ade) on a video striking charge escaped a penalty. His teammate BRETT JAMES (Ade) however was found guilty of striking Luke Power (Bri) with an arm to the face, and received a two-match suspension. MICK MARTYN (NM) on a video charge of wresting James Hird (Ess) had his case withdrawn. Martyn’s advocate BERT GAUDION said the incident should never have been brought to the attention of the tribunal—citing the late, great wrestling commentator—“I doubt whether Jack Little would have had time to even clear his throat”.

A video review of the final quarter of the Freo-Port trial resulted in citing’s of MARK GALE (Fre), JOSH FRANCOU (PA) and a further eight players, including Port skipper GAVIN WANGANEEN for engaging in a melee. These charges will be heard on Monday March 16.

Comments made by Port coach JOHN CAHILL on Adelaide radio were also under scrutiny.

DAVID LEVENS, the former AFL umpires coach received a payout for losing his job, however details were confidential. The 49-year-old Levens hopes to continue a career in sport … DAVID GRENVOLD at 32 was asked to stay at Windy Hill as captain of the Reserves … JOE MISITI (broken jaw), BARRY YOUNG (a home knee injury) and STEVEN ALESSIO (foot stress fracture) add to the long-term injury list at Essendon which also includes MARK MERCURI, DARREN BEWICK, MICHAEL LONG and BLAKE CARACELLA … The Cats unveiled a radical new strip to be worn by GEELONG in all away matches. Prominent are the three bands of club sponsor adidas and the GFC logo. FORD also feature on the blue back with a white number … JASON DUNSTALL will lead HAWTHORN for a fourth season—Paul Salmon, Shane Crawford and Nick Holland will be his deputies … the AFL PLAYERS’ ASSOCIATION on Tuesday (10th) held an interstate video meeting with members. Club captains and delegates discussed the present unrest of changes with the AFLPA executive.

Prize-money for the AFL’s ‘baby Brownlow’ was boosted. The Norwich Rising Star Award will now carry an investment portfolio worth $20,000.

Though the AFL denied strike action was likely, IAN COLLINS, AFL head of football operations addressed field umpires at their Waverley training session on Thursday (12th) night.

The AFL Umpires’ Association are unhappy with the AFL’s response to their call for a new collective bargaining agreement.

Former umpire DENIS RICH said, in 1997 the average field umpire earned $21,000 – players received an average of $91,448.00.

North surged to their second Ansett Cup Grand Final in four years, with another dominating last half on a wet Waverley surface on Friday night (13th). The Roos were the masters over Brisbane in the low-scoring conditions, NORTH 14.16-100, LIONS 8.7-55 (crowd: 10,015) … on Saturday evening at the Park for 28,054, conditions were clearer as the Saints with a rattling last term of 7.2 despatched the Demons by 37pts, ST KILDA 15.12-102, MELBOURNE 9.11-65 (Farmer 5) …

Saturday practice games—at Berri (7,512) Geelong 10.9-69 defeated Adelaide 5.16-46 … at Football Park (7,700) Port 15.10-100 d Haw 14.8-92 … at Waverley, WCE 11.9-75 pipped Rch 10.12-72 … while in Canberra at Football Park (8,247), Syd 18.10-118 d Ess 10.11-71 … on Sunday at Bendigo’s QEO, Carlton for 11,000 fans too good for the Bulldogs, 15.17-107 to 10.15-75, as were the Pies who downed Fremantle at Vic Park, 20.9-129 to 7.9-51 …

DAVID BOURKE with a dislocated shoulder suffered at Waverley against the Eagles has been ruled out for at least six weeks—he will have an arthroscope … MATT RICHARDSON on Saturday (14) had metal plates inserted to his left elbow after a break in Adelaide on Feb 23 …

The AFL Tribunal sitting on Monday (16) reserved its decision on 10 players involved in a 30-second melee in the last quarter of the Freo-Port practice game on March 8. All had pleaded not guilty. Umpire MARK NASH from a video review charged Gavin Wanganeen, Brayden Lyle, Michael Wilson and Josh Francou from Port, and Jess Sinclair, Scott Chisholm, Greg Harding, Shaun McManus, Gary Dhurrkay and Mark Gale from Freo.

The March 16 sitting heard other cases. FABIAN FRANCIS (PA) was outed one match when found guilty of kicking Luke McCabe (Haw) in the trial game at Football Park (14). It was the first charge Francis had faced in a career dating back to one game with Melbourne in 1991. The small penalty was declared “at the bottom end of the range”.

From a wrestling charge, to which both pleaded guilty, rookie BRIAN DODD (Fre) was fined $600 and PETER BURGOYNE (PA) $1200.

Also from the Freo-Port practice game, JOSH FRANCOU (PA) and MARK GALE (Fre) both pleaded not guilty to wrestling. Each however were fined $1500 for the offence.

FREMANTLE protested to the condition of the visitors’ dressing rooms at Vic Park—a familiar, even old-fashioned complaint from last Sunday included “no hot water in the Dockers room after the match” … a groin injury to MARK MERENDA adds him the Richmond tally … the AFL have given Port coach JOHN CAHILL until Monday (23) to explain comments made on Adelaide radio; he faces a fine of up to $5000 …

An opening round strike by umpires was averted at a two-hour Monday meeting with the League. A new agreement is said to be ‘close’.

TODD VINEY replaced GARRY LYON as captain of Melbourne. Lyon had led the Demons in 117 games over seven seasons (1991-97), the equal in time of ROBERT FLOWER, 127 matches (1981-87). Glenn Lovett and David Neitz will be deputies to Viney. A back injury has restricted Lyon to 11 games in the past two seasons.

The AFL Tribunal reconvened on Wednesday (18) and delivered its verdict on the Freo-Port melee.

Fines totalling $27,000 were handed out to 10 guilty players —

$4000 – SCOTT CHISHOLM (Fre)
$3000 – GARY DHURRKAY (Fre)
$2000 – MARK GALE (Fre)
$2000 – JESS SINCLAIR (Fre)
$2000 – SHAUN McMANUS (Fre)
$2000 – GREG HARDING (Fre)

It recalled the $55,000 of fines which resulted from the Ade-Gee game of Friday April 12 1996. Six Geelong and four Adelaide players had been fined amounts from $3000 to $5000, and then both clubs were each fined $10,000.

COLLINGWOOD having talks with a public relations firm, in a move to raise its image … the shoulder injury to DAVID BOURKE (Rch) may side-line him all the season … Bulldog on-baller MARK WEST with a shoulder injury will not play until mid-season … Pie prez KEVIN ROSE responding to flak over Vic Park facilities said the SCG visitors rooms were the worst in the AFL – Rose was unaware the SCG Trust have just spent $580,000 upgrading visiting team facilities; slightly more than the $200,000 to be outlayed at the crumbling Abbotsford venue … JOHN WORSFOLD was named captain of West Coast for an eighth successive season. Worsfold at 29 on 192 games (1987-97), will be the longest serving captain in the AFL. As expected, GUY McKENNA was appointed the Eagles’ vice-captain.

$20 million over five years
AFL to invest in NSW future

The long-awaited NSW Task Force report is likely to call for an AFL investment of up to $20 million.

The Age
(March 20) said: “The request is among key recommendations contained in a report prepared by the league’s NSW development taskforce, headed by an AFL Commissioner, Mr Terry O’Connor.

The taskforce has just finished the report – national football’s most important document since the 1992 Crawford Report - after nine months of submissions and investigations. It includes objectives and a development plan for the next 20 to 30 years.

The Age
believes that the report, to be assessed by the full AFL Commission during the next month, acknowledges that if the plan fails after five years, AFL funding should be severely cut — Stephen Linnell.

Carey steals the show

A quality performance by North champion WAYNE CAREY sealed the Ansett Cup for the Kangas in the night Grand Final played at Waverley on Saturday night March 21.

Carey produced a great final quarter effort, in which he kicked four of his five goals, leading North to a 14pt victory over a capable St Kilda outfit. Carey finished with 27 possessions, including nine marks.

The Saints led by 34pts early in the third term, but North illustrated a never-give-in desire and with a great team effort led by Carey and ably assisted by Fremantle import WINSTON ABRAHAM, the Roos turned the game around with a dominating finish.

The match was played in a superb spirit by both sides to a large crowd of 63,760.

In the winning side, JOHN BLAKEY (NM) made his 32nd night appearance and equalled the game record of CHRIS LANGFORD (Haw).

Both North and the Saints are certain front-runners for the main premiership season.

  1/4 time 1/2 time 3/4 time Final
NM 4.2-26 (4) 6.6-42 9.7-61 14.13-97 (14)
STK 3.4-22 9.8-62 (20) 11.1-77 (16) 12.11-83

GOALS: NM: Carey 5, Abraham 3, Blakey 2, Grant 2, Scott, Sholl. STK: Loewe 5, Sierakowski 2, Everitt 2, Jones, Winmar, Keogh, Sziller, Hall. BEST: NM: Carey, Abraham, Pike, Archer, A.Stevens, Grant. STK: Jones, Loewe, Sziller, Lappin, Winmar.
Wayne Carey (North Melb)
Umpires: Kennedy, Sheehan, Howlett.
Crowd: 63,760

In advance of the premiership opening the final practice matches were played on Saturday (21st) — at Optus Oval, the free-scoring Essendon 21.8-134 whipped Carlton 8.6-54 — GARY MOORCROFT with five goals added lustre to the Dons potent forward brigade which already boasts JAMES HIRD and MATTHEW LLOYD … in Sydney's sweltering heat (30-plus) at Campbelltown's Monarch Field, the reigning premiers Adelaide suffered injuries to MATTHEW ROBRAN and ROD JAMESON and another blow when the Swans game clicked, 12.5-77 to 5.9-39 … at Kardinia Park, Hawthorn's JASON DUNSTALL took five marks and kicked two goals in a trial which pleased both coaches—Geelong 10.10-70 clipped the visitors 9.10-64 … the former Kanga JASON DANILTCHENKO now with the Hawks, had his left knee buckle in the last quarter—a reconstruction is certain to end his season; Jason previously had surgery to his right knee …

ALAN JOYCE, former Hawthorn and Footscray coach joined Fremantle as their Melbourne-based scout … North named WAYNE CAREY as captain for a sixth-straight season – deputies will be Glen Archer, Corey McKernan, David King and Peter Bell … WAYNE CAREY after a blow to his kidneys in the Cup grand final passed blood—tests cleared him, but he failed to train on Monday night … West Coast make moves to secure the future of MICHAEL MALTHOUSE, their dual-premiership coach since 1990—his present deal ends this year …

The Age footy kick-off
Kelty fires the passion

New AFL Commissioner BILL KELTY delivered a landmark speech when The Age launched the 1998 season at a luncheon for 450 at Melbourne's Crown Casino on Monday (23rd).

Kelty, a former ACTU topper is an unashamed Essendon supporter since his boyhood days of Brunswick and standing in the outer at Windy Hill.

In an inspired delivery, Kelty spoke of how the game had sustained a nation through the Depression and expressed —

"It is part of the character of this society, Australian football.

It is just not a sport, it is part of the fabric which makes this country."

"Australian Football must always be the people's game. To make it the people's game means big grounds, it means free-to-air television. Otherwise, it will be a game not any longer for the battlers. but a game for the rich and privileged. And when it is that it is no longer the people's game."

PATRICK SMITH reviewing Kelty's words: Kelty is just one voice on the commission, which is a tough mix of business men. Just how loudly he will be heard only time will tell. But if the commissioners are smart, they'll be all ears."

An agreement running until October 31 2000 was sealed between the AFL Umpires Association and the League on March 23.
Umpires who earned about $30,000 last year will enjoy increases for some senior members to receive up to $90,000 in the year 2000. In addition to gaining injury payments and an allowance for attending tribunal and appeal hearings, the League will also contribute $30,000 to create a secretariat for the AFLUA and the establishment of a provident fund.

No action will be taken over comments made by Port Adelaide coach JOHN CAHILL to recent treatment of Port Power skipper GAVIN WANGANEEN and the Tribunal. … figures revealed 43% of Sydney members are women. Recognising their female supporter base, the Swans are offering two $10,000 scholarships, one for further studies, the second to a promising female athlete … the Demons announced (25) the Korean multinational LG ELECTRONICS would become the major naming sponsor of the MELBOURNE club for the next three years in a deal worth $2.5 million—Toohey's, the previous major sponsor is to be shorts sponsor … a five-month gap when no AFL players were tested was closed when a new agreement was signed with the AUSTRALIAN SPORTS DRUG AGENCY … RESERVOIR-LAKESIDE which provided Tony Shaw and the Rocca brothers to Collingwood withdrew from the Diamond Valley League due to a lack of players. Days later Edwards Lake, the stamping ground of the Lakies was closed, after all the ducks died …

AFL chief WAYNE JACKSON ruled out the playing of premiership matches outside of Australia "as far as we can see…"

Speaking at a Rotary lunch (25th) he said a repeat of the overseas Ansett Cup games would not be staged unless there was a long-term strategic reason to do so.

Jackson also noted: "Merely maintaining the status quo in NSW, Victoria and the other states will not take our sport to a position of primacy. If we are going to defend our position as a national competition, then we must grow grass-roots football throughout the whole of Australia and particularly in NSW and Queensland."

Funding to TFL and VFL
Stephen Linnell in The Age reported on March 25 that AFL funding for the TFL in 1998 would increase from $460,000 to $950,000. The TFL recently lost BOAG'S Brewery, their major sponsor of 12 years. The Tassy comp for 1998 will become the "CHICKENFEED SUPERLEAGUE".

A VFL subcommittee (headed by Neil Busse) is to recommend any Victorian footballers wishing to break into AFL ranks only be drafted from the new VFL, or the elite Under 18 competition.

On the demise of the AFL Reserves at the end of 1999, the League is expected to be asked for up to $4 million to fund the new VFL. The second-tier VFL is expected to be made up of eight Melbourne-based clubs and four from country regions including Ballarat, Bendigo and the Ovens and Murray.

The VAFA suggested the limitation of the draft to only the VFL might suffer by a court challenge, as a restraint of trade. The restriction may discriminate against country and metropolitan league players who were capable of playing AFL football.


Friday night thriller starts 1998
'Twilight' matches introduced
The Bulldogs whip the Lions
Crows fail again at Carlton

ROUND 1 – Fri-Sat-Sun, March 27-28-29.
MILESTONES — North and West Coast opened the new season on Friday night at the G for a below-expectation 27,150 fans. North in their 250th game at the MCG served up West Coast’s 100th League defeat  … the first 3.40pm start “twilight” game was played on Saturday at the MCG … JOHN BLAKEY played his 250th (Fit 135, 1985-92, now 115 with NM) …  four reached their century of games bringing up 1500 players to play 100 matches since 1897 — PETER CAVEN (Fit 39, Syd 18, now Ade 43), DUNCAN KELLAWAY (Rch), DREW BANFIELD (WCE), ROHAN SMITH (WB) … four also reached 50 games, JUSTIN MURPHY (Rch 12, now Car 38), SCOTT CROW (Haw 13, now Col 37), RYAN O’CONNOR (Ess), JARRAD SCHOFIELD (WCE).

<||> The Roos and the Eagles played another of their gritty, take-no-prisoners style of contest for 27,150 fans at the G. In the third term it seemed as though the effects of the short time-span between their Ansett Cup triumph would make North pay dearly, in spite of the $104,000 prize money they gained six days before. The Roos were ‘gone’ — yet they fought back doggedly to gain a thrilling final goal victory when Adam Simpson’s left-foot snap bounced through. After the match North coach Denis Pagan said: “It was a touch of grand larceny.” The versatile CRAIG SHOLL (five goals) was an inspiration. WAYNE CAREY was checked by GLEN JAKOVICH, but Sholl provided the alternative avenue North desperately needed — NORTH 15.13-103 (Sholl 5) best, Sholl, Archer, King, WEST COAST 15.11-101 (Ball 4) best, Peter Matera, Ball, Cousins.

<||> Adelaide, missing six of their premiership side had a great start and looked the ‘goods’ in another contest at Carlton. The Blues to that stage had played terrible football and deservedly trailed the Crows by 27pts.

On the Blues’ performance, Charles Happell of The Age reported: One pattern of play late in the first quarter summed up their misery: Andrew McKay missed a teammate with a regulation handball in the centre of the ground, Matthew Allen then fumbled, skipper Craig Bradley followed suit, and then Aaron Hamill spilled a chest mark. It was a bloopers’ tape special.

The Blues staged a remarkable last-half recovery sparked by ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES, while BRETT RATTEN was fantastic in the middle. It was only a 10pt margin at the finish but another worrying seventh loss in-a-row capitulation for the Crows who had looked certain winners, CARLTON 10.13-73 (Koutoufides 3) best, Koutoufides, Ratten, Manton, ADELAIDE 9.9-63, best, Caven, Ricciuto, Bickley—crowd: 20,747.

<||> The fans gave tentative approval of the first ‘twilight’ game as 47,628 turned out at the MCG for the 3.40pm bounce-down. The result of the historic event was a comfortable 39pt win for Collingwood. Hawthorn may have snatched a two point lead at half-time but in the last half it was a canter for the Pies. Overall, NATHAN BUCKLEY from the midfield was in superb touch with 10 marks and three goals. More than any other player, Buckley gave the Woods a flying start. Jake Niall of The Age predicted: … while the Hawks remain favourites for the spoon, the Pies and their supporters can dare be hopeful.

Hawk captain JASON DUNSTALL returned from his second knee repair and kicked four goals from limited chances, while SAV ROCCA was robust but off-target with 4.5 for the day, COLLINGWOOD 18.15-123 (S.Rocca 4) best, Buckley, Crosisca, Schauble, HAWTHORN 12.12-84 (Dunstall 4) best, Taylor, McCabe, S.Crawford.

<||> Waverley Park on Saturday turned on some of its well-known ‘features’ of rain and high winds, with 23 of the 30 goals kicked to the scoreboard end. ROBERT HARVEY (StK) was taken out of the game in the first two minutes when the Brownlow medalist received a heavy tackle, and retired with suspected broken ribs. St Kilda were a class above a mistake-prone and injury-struck Geelong, starting their campaign with a three-goal win, ST KILDA 17.7-109 (Loewe 4) best, Cripps, Brown, Peckett, GEELONG 13.13-91 (Spinks 4) best, Sanderson, Hocking, Spinks—crowd: 34,323.

<||> On the Saturday night game at the Gabba (18,788) Tim Atkinson in The Age said: “The Lions were made to look like a flea-bitten circus act by the speedy and talkative Western Bulldogs …"

The Western Bulldogs in humid conditions were too committed and with the effective SCOTT WEST (33 touches) in sparkling form, they
scored the biggest win of the round. Nothing the Lions tried could stem the thrashing, WEST.B’DOGS 17.16-118, best–S.West, Croft, Dent, BRISBANE 10.12-72, best–Ashcroft, Hart, M.Voss.

<||> The Swans won their first opening round contest since 1990 in the Sunday clash with Port at Footy Park (31,230). Opening with two STUART MAXFIELD goals in the first 90 seconds, an on-target Sydney raced away to lead by 39pts midway in the third term, when they had 18.2 on the board. Port Adelaide turned the battle into a contest and within a quarter drew within one point of the visitors. TONY LOCKETT provided the breathing space and the Swans with a tight victory by seven points, SYDNEY 20.4-124 (Filandia 5.0, Lockett 4) best, Filandia, Roos, Kelly, PORT 17.15-117 (Eagleton 4, Burgoyne 4) best, Eagleton, Burgoyne, Mead.

<||> In a crowd-pleasing tussle for 70,200 on Sunday at the MCG, Essendon controlled three-quarters of the contest, then were overrun by a ferocious bunch of Tigers who had 103 disposals to 62 in the last term. The Bombers with a considerable injury list failed to live up to expectations. To balance the equation, Richmond’s forward line will be boosted when MATTHEW RICHARDSON returns, RICHMOND 14.19-103–best, Knights, Campbell, B.Gale, ESSENDON 13.11-89 (Lloyd 4) best, O’Donnell, Hardwick, Fletcher.

<||> In Perth heat of 32 degrees, the Dockers lost both their captain and vice-captain, PETER MANN and STEPHEN O’REILLY before the game. Freo seemed to be digging a grave for itself in the lush Subiaco turf and the Demons seemed likely to turn things around for their new coach Neale Daniher. However the heat took its toll on the visitors and mid-game the Dockers with nine-straight goals took control and surged away for a 23pt win. TRAVIS JOHNSTONE (Mel) and BRAD DODD (Fre) were the pick of the rookies, but JIM STYNES (Mel) in his 241st consecutive game showed there’s a lot of life left in the Irishman, FREMANTLE 13.6-84 (Waterhouse 5) best, Kickett, Bandy, Waterhouse, MELBOURNE 8.13-61–best, Schwarz, Neitz, Viney—crowd: 18,155.

<> The opening round drew 268,221—far lower than predictions … TONY LOCKETT (Syd) had two goals disallowed at Footy Park—the first right on half-time when umpires ruled he had played on after the siren. The second came in the dying seconds of the last term, when Plugger was ruled to have received a thrown ball from Craig O’Brien … <> ROBERT HARVEY (StK) on Sunday was cleared of broken ribs but is unlikely to be fit for the Round 2 clash against the Bombers … <> PETER FILANDIA (Syd) returning from two knee reconstructions, kicked 5.0 versus Port … <> GREG WILLIAMS, the retired 250-gamer is now a skills coach at Carlton. He has one more match to serve of his nine-week suspension before he can take the field in an AFL game. Greg will be clear in time for the Round 3 clash on East Monday—against Essendon …

At Monday’s hearing, GLENN FREEBORN (NM) was suspended for two weeks when found guilty of striking John Worsfold (WCE) … BRAD SCOTT (Bri) was cleared of the charge of striking Scott West (WB).

DARREN JARMAN (Ade): Following viewing of video evidence e on Monday, his charge of striking Scott Camporeale was withdrawn by umpires.

On Monday, following media coverage, the Brisbane club officially lodged a complaint against an incident involving TONY LIBERATORE (WB).

“Trial by media is bad enough. Conviction by the media is reprehensible.”

Western Bulldogs prez DAVID SMORGON made these comments after a 90 minute AFL Tribunal hearing on April 1 found TONY LIBERATORE had no case to answer. The Bulldog was not required to defend himself.

The hearing resulted from extensive media coverage of how scratches had occurred to the face and chest of Brisbane ruckman STEVEN LAWRENCE. These caused him to leave the field early in the Saturday night game at the Gabba.

The Brisbane club officially complained on Monday and an AFL investigation resulted in ‘Libba”, the 1990 Brownlow winner being charged on Tuesday with misconduct.

The Tribunal heard seven witnesses and AFL investigator RICK LEWIS expressed there had not been enough evidence to substantiate the suggestion of eye-gouging.

An out-of-court settlement believed worth $40,000 closed the case on an action by two umpires to the IRC. Though negotiations were confidential, The Age (1st) estimated DENIS RICH and MARK PRINCE may have received $25,000 and $15,000 respectively … <> the AFL inspected (3rd) work at Kardinia Park and gave Geelong the nod to host their weekend clash with Richmond — extensions will increase capacity to 32,000 … <> the AFL moved two games from Waverley. The Pies will now play the Sydney (R7) and West Coast (R17) games at Vic Park … <> ANDREW JARMAN was named as a State of Origin selector for SA … the Bombers named four vice-captains to JAMES HIRD — Michael Long, Sean Denham, Steve Alessio and Darren Bewick … <> the Saints are experimenting with a new boot claimed to make players kick more accurately — it has a flat ‘platform’ across the toe of the boot … <> the Tigers reported its membership had passed 24,000 …

The Queensland Government announced a new sports stadium package. The Ballymore rugby union stadium will be upgraded and a new $900 million privately funded project will cater for 65,000 spectators in a super-stadium to be built at Rivercity.

The BCG Trust announced further extensions will increase capacity of the Gabba to 40,000 by January 2000. Work will begin this June.

The $40 million project will bring to $126.5 million the amount spent on the BCG since it became Brisbane’s AFL home in 1993.

The Age (2nd) reported Victorian clubs met on Wednesday and created a united front on two key issues. Carlton prez JOHN ELLIOTT will meet AFL chiefs to express concerns over the elimination of the Reserves competition and the impact of games being televised earlier each Saturday in the Melbourne market.

Carlton, Collingwood, Geelong and St Kilda signed long-term deals with CITIBANK but will still benefit from a new AFL deal signed with the ANZ Bank.

The AFL deal on behalf of all 16 clubs is worth at least $1.6 million. ANZ-AFL credit cards with club logos are expected to be in the pockets of fans by June.


North get the Demons virus
Only Dogs and Swans are unbeaten
Crows & Dons down by huge margins
Hawks on the bottom

ROUND 2 — Fri-Sat-Sun, April 3-4-5.
MILESTONES — PAUL SALMON (Ess, now Haw) played his 250th … MICHAEL SEXTON (Car) his 150th, while DAVID PITMAN (Ade) and SHAUN SMITH (NM, now Mel) reached their centuries … CRAIG O’CALLAGHAN (Fre) his 50th game… RODNEY EADE in his 50th as Sydney coach recorded a welcome victory … SHANNON GRANT (Syd, now NM) and MICHAEL O’LOUGHLIN (Syd) played their 50th consecutive matches …

<||> The Friday night opener at Subiaco (38,796) was a powerhouse display by the Eagles. Their big men dominated Collingwood as JAKOVICH and McINTOSH were strong in defence while GEHRIG and BALL provided the attack focus. A 10-goal defeat failed to credit the spirit the Magpies gave the contest in the last half, but they thoroughly out-gunned, WEST COAST 17.14-116 (Ball 4) best, Schofield, Gehrig, Braun, COLLINGWOOD 8.8-56—best, Osborne, Russell, A.Rocca — it was West’s sixth successive win over the Pies.

<||> Reporting on the Saturday clash at Kardinia Park (26,669) JAKE NIALL in The Age said: …the Tigers lacked the polish to finish off the Cats. When the game was in the balance early in the last quarter, with the scores level, the Tigers were simply unable to find another gear.

MARK MERENDA played a lone hand up forward with four goals, while Tiger captain MATTHEW KNIGHTS was a class act (though he was reported). BRAD OTTENS a new arrival at Punt Road showed great promise with strong marks. The Cats still have their problems in ruck and on the forward line, yet came away with the points, GEELONG 14.15-99 (Burns 3, Hall 3) best, Hocking, McGrath, Sanderson, RICHMOND 11.14-80 (Merenda 4) best, Knights, Merenda, Kellaway — MATTHEW RICHARDSON (Rch) though returning showed his fractured arm had still not properly healed.

<||> Port Adelaide consigned Hawthorn to the bottom of the ladder to record their first win at Waverley (18,698) with a strong Saturday display. Minus the withdrawal of both DUNSTALL and JUSTIN CRAWFORD the Hawks lacked cohesion and received no drive from their appointed leaders. Their third term “was probably the worst played by the Hawks in more than 15 years” ASHLEY BROWN declared in The Age.

In contrast, Port gave a great team-effort and surged away after half-time for their 45pt victory, PORT 17.10-112 (Cummings 7.1, Lade 4) best, Wilson, Cummings, Kingsley, HAWTHORN 10.7-67 (Krummel 4) best, Graham, Krummel, Lekkas.

<||> The Demons hit North with a burst from the first bounce in the Saturday MCG ‘twilight’ contest for 29,990 fans. The boot appeared to be on the other foot for most of the gave — it was Melbourne who appeared to have grasped the tag as ‘premiership contenders’. Not until they trailed by 43pts midway into the third term did the Kangas get their game going.

North charged home and all but drew level, then to confirm they are a ‘new’ team under coach NEALE DANIHER, the Demons steadied and slammed on closing goals for a comfortable 25pt win, MELBOURNE 19.11-125 (White 3, Neitz 3, Lyon 3, Farmer 3) best, Leoncelli, Rigoni, Stynes, NORTH 15.10-100 (Abraham 3, Carey 3) best, Carey, Blakey, A.Stevens.

<||> The best crowd ever see Sydney and Brisbane play were at the SCG on Saturday night. Played at a frantic pace, the lead changed frequently in the first half. Brisbane appeared to gain the better of Sydney in the third term, but the Swans clawed their way back to maintain the lead they held at every break. From the seven-minute mark of the final quarter, Sydney with four goals in five minutes broke the back of the Lions and went away by 38pts.

The game was sparked by great performances by both WAYNE SCHWASS and PAUL KELLY, who provided inspirational midfield drive.

The match also gave an insight to the dwindling value of TONY LOCKETT. Almost kickless, he was moved to the ruck in the third and soon left for the bench. He did kick the final goal of the game, however by then a Sydney victory was well locked away, SYDNEY 20.15-135 (Schwass 3, Kelly 3, O’Brien 3) best, Schwass, Barry, Nicks, BRISBANE 14.13-97 (Leppitsch 3, Power 3) best, Voss, A.Lynch, T.Lynch — crowd: 32,111. Sydney are unbeaten after two, Brisbane winless and down to 15th place.

<||> 40,602 watched Adelaide chairman BOB HAMMOND unfurl the 1997 pennant at Football Park in perfect Sunday conditions. The Crows with a 7.3 opening led all day to inflict a demoralising 93pt defeat on Fremantle. ALAN SHIELL reviewing the game in The Age: The trouble was that although the Dockers played so pitifully, it would be premature – and silly – to put Adelaide’s 93pt win into any long-term perspective.

Even Freo coach GERARD NEESHAM (who is at short odds to lose his job) said: There was a lack of run and definitely quick a lack of endeavour — ADELAIDE 25.17-167 (Sampson 6, McLeod 6) best, Bickley, Rehn, McLeod, FREMANTLE 11.8-74 – best, Bond, Fletcher, Burton.

<||> The Bombers gave the Saints a very-public 89pt flogging at the MCG (53,905) on Sunday. The well-drilled Sheedy unit were merciless. Though the Dons were cut-down by injury Hird (hamstring) Somerville (concussion), Barnard (concussion) and Symons (ankle), their remaining 18 were on a roll following their first round defeat. A surprise star performer was the often criticised MARK FRASER—he was one a rampant midfield, where the Saints were expected to be at their strongest.

ESSENDON 28.14-182 (Moorcroft 6, Lloyd 5, Mercuri 3) best, Moorcroft, Fraser, Blumfield, ST KILDA 13.15-93 (Loewe 4) best, Everitt, Loewe, Sierakowski — the Dons kicked 10.4 in the third, yet the 89pt margin ranked only 11th of their biggest wins in 187 games against the Saints.

<||> At Carlton on Sunday, a better than average crowd of 27,846 saw the Western Bulldogs retain top position with a through 56pt win over the Blues. Only in the first 15 minutes of the game did Carlton give hope to their army of fans. From there, the Doggies were slick, always in control and on several occasions moved from one end of the ground to the other without the opposition touching the ball.

The Bulldogs kicked eight unanswered goals and by half-time had secured a victory. The Blues did improve after the break booting five goals, but the Dogs just went further ahead by adding eight of their own. The Blues’ brains-trust have a lot of work to do; the Dogs with Grant and Scottie West on fire will scratch out their fair share of wins, BULLDOGS 22.8-140 (Cook 6, Kolyniuk 4) best, S.West, Grant, Cook, CARLTON 13.6-84 (Silvagni 3) best, Porter, Silvagni, Bradley — The Bulldogs’ 56pt margin was just three points short of their biggest win over Carlton, 59pts, 89-R1-PP when JOHN GEORGIADIS burst onto the scene with 8.4 for Footscray.

Reported crowds for the second round totalled 265,543. This was marginally down on the 268,409 which attended the opening round fixtures. Total for the first rounds reached 533,952, at an average of 33,372 from the first 16 matches.

PAUL SALMON (Haw) in his 250th suffered a depressed cheekbone fracture, requiring surgery … SHAUN SMITH (Mel in his 100th, damaged his left knee versus North – a scan result is awaited … Geelong fans on Saturday bade farewell to the retiring BILLY BROWNLESS who gave the Cats a champion 198 games and 441 goals from 1986 to 1997. Another Cat retiree from 1997 was invited, but as expected failed to show.

Richmond captain MATTHEW KNIGHTS who pleaded not guilty received a two-match suspension at Monday’s AFL Tribunal hearing.
Knights was found to have struck Geelong’s Brett Spinks with an open hand. It was his first suspension from 176 League games over 11 seasons.
BRETT SPINKS (Gee) who pleaded guilty was outed for three matches for striking Jason Torney (Rch).
DALE KICKETT (Fre) was suspended for two matches when found guilty of striking Clay Sampson (Ade).
BRAYDEN LYLE (PA) faced a charge of striking Shane Crawford (Haw) The Tribunal however found the case not sustained.

The AFL on Monday (6th) launched an inquiry into an incident which left PAUL BARNARD (Ess) unconscious.

AFL chief executive WAYNE JACKSON on Monday (6th) said: “We will absolutely, unequivocally and very happily play our Grand Final, preliminary and other finals, and a minimum of 41 games a year for the next 35 years at the MCG.” — Herald Sun.

This followed a Saturday story in The Age that the MCG was under threat as the premier venue for AFL football, once Docklands is built.

It is understood the august body, the MCG Trust, may soon undergo sweeping changes.

On Tuesday (7th) RICK LEWIS, the AFL Investigation Officer interviewed Essendon and St Kilda players over the Sunday MCG incident. The AFL latter announced there was insufficient evidence to refer the matter to the Tribunal.

Barnard was stretchered after being knocked out 40m behind the play. Essendon coach KEVIN SHEEDY was bemused over the decision: “It’s obvious he (Barnard) ran into a lamp post. I would like the AFL now to take all the lamp posts off the middle of the MCG” — The Australian.

St Kilda, unhappy with comments made by the Essendon club, indicated they would take up the matter with the AFL.

The League announced the final two matches would be played in 1999 at Victoria Park, once the site of Aboriginal corroborees before the building boom of the 1850’s.

The Brittania FC was the first football club to play regularly at Victoria Park after it opened in March 1882.

Vic Park, the remaining ‘suburban’ football ground will host its 881st and final League match, but will remain the administrative and training base of the Collingwood club — until who knows when.

JUSTIN CHARLES (Rch) presently serving a 16-week suspension for steroid use has been called to appear before the Australian Olympic Committee.

Also banned for 16 weeks by the Australian Baseball Federation, Charles played an Olympic sport — basketball, with Williamstown in 1996-97, He faces a two-year ban by the AOC.

<> PETER SCHWAB, the AFL’s director of umpires warned clubs, the men in white will closely watch for off-the-ball incidents and ‘rough-house’ tactics … after two rounds, the Darwin-based Centrebet for the flag, ranked West Coast at 4/1, North 6/1 and Sydney 7/1 … despite Hawthorn’s worst losing run in 50 years (10 defeats), coach KEN JUDGE was given the support he needed when Hawk prez IAN DICKER guaranteed Judge would remain — he is contracted to the end of 2000 …

<> A Melbourne supporter donated 22 ice jackets to be used when the Demons play in Brisbane on Monday (13th) afternoon. The AFL is monitoring forecasts and may change the 2.10pm start to a 7.40pm bounce down — they can do so 24-hours before the scheduled start …

With a nation in desperate need of drought-breaking rains, the sporting capital has embraced its newest icon – rugby league.

Playing in the 20-team NRL, the Melbourne ‘Storm’ played to an overflow 21,522 at Olympic Park last Friday night (3rd) when the ‘Storm’ remained undefeated, beating North Sydney 24-16. The fledgling Melbourne club have won their first four matches.


Swans new record against Geelong
Ayres: Cats 'pathetic'
Western Bulldogs feast on Pies
Daniher's Demons beat the heat

ROUND 3 — Fri-Sat-Sun, April 11-12-13.
MILESTONES — CHRIS LEWIS (WCE) became the second Aboriginal footballer and the second Eagle to play 200 League matches … TONY LIBERATORE (WB) reached 200—the 1990 Brownlow winner (also the 1984 Morrish, and two Gardiner Medals) became the ninth Bulldog to attain the double-century. ‘Libba’ was playing his 162nd successive game … STEPHEN REILLY (Gee, now Fre) played his 100th, while SCOTT CHISHOLM (Fre), ADEM YZE (Mel), LUKE DARCY (Fsc-WB) and PETER BELL (Fre, now NM) all reached their 50th matches …

MICHAEL MALTHOUSE gained his 200th win as a League coach with Fsc (1984-89) and West Coast (1990-98) … St Kilda’s NATHAN BURKE and AUSTINN JONES each played their 50th consecutive game …no AFL games were played on Good Friday.

<||> Richmond and Hawthorn drew 39,954 for the twilight MCG Saturday contest. The Hawks raced away with a seven goal opening quarter and led by a solid 42-8 margin. The Tigers however proved to be ferocious opponents and took charge in the last quarter. The Hawks failed badly to defend their early advantage as BENNY GALE, BEN HOLLAND and BEN HARRISON emerged as match-winners for Richmond. Though the scores changed in the dying minutes, a pivotal blunder by RICHARD TAYLOR (H) caused a turnover which resulted in a goal for the Tigers, who won by that margin, RICHMOND 15.13-103 (B.Holland 5, Harrison 4, Campbell 3) best, Prescott, Holland, Rogers, HAWTHORN 15.7-97 (Chick 4, N.Holland 3) best, N.Holland, Lloyd, Chick — the loss extended Hawthorn to 11 defeats.

<||> The Scraggers beat Collingwood by 34pts in the early Saturday game played at Optus Oval (27,116) — it may well have been by 10 goals, as the Westerners had the ball most of the day. The Bulldogs kicked 6.14 in the last half to marginally extend their 28pt half-time lead. Their commitment to the ball, hard-running through the midfield, better in the ruck, better in the forward division, left the Pies well to the rear. SCOTT WEST again was an outstanding performer for the top-of-the-ladder Dogs, WESTERN BULLDOGS 16.23-119 (Smith 3) best, West, Romero, Dimattina, COLLINGWOOD 13.7-85 (Watson 3) best, Michael, McDonald, Brown.

<||> Game-long rain at Football Park on Saturday night failed to frustrate North who proved themselves a class above Port. The Roos even with the slippery ball were impressive in the first term with 7.1 — three of the goals coming from BRENT HARVEY a late inclusion. Port had a bad first half, with loose checking providing many chances for the Kangas. North finished off their long-kicking direct game and were far easier victors than just 29pts, NORTH 15.8-98 (Harvey 5, Abraham 4) best, Harvey, Bell, Scott, PORT 10.9-69 (Tredrea 3) best, Primus, Kingsley, Lyle — crowd: 27,615.

<||> The rain and gloom of a Sunday Waverley was a far cry from the MCG of last September as the grand finalists faced each other again. St Kilda coming off their 89pt thumping by Essendon found Adelaide easy pickings. In the hard conditions, the Saints were led well by STEWART LOEWE. If he had a point to prove he did so, hauling in 10 excellent marks and was effective whether in the ruck or on the forward line. NICKY WINMAR relished his new role off the half-back line, while NATHAN BURKE at ground level, was back to his best. 20,320 saw ST KILDA 12.10-82—best, Loewe, Harvey, Winmar, ADELAIDE 8.12-60—best, Bickley, Pittman, McLeod — crowd: 20,532.

<||> In the SCG (29,613) Sunday sunshine, Sydney annihilated Geelong by 103 points. The Swans kicked their highest score of 188 contests (155pts in 1933 and 1978), and only fell short by a goal of their 1948 record win. The Cats were rated “pathetic” by coach GARY AYRES, as their effort proved – Geelong after 11 behinds did not goal until the 26th minute of the second quarter. Sydney ground the Cats’ pride into the turf with a 9.2 finish – just a point shy of how they ended their 1933 clash at Albert Park.

Sydney’s pressure skills and tackling were terrific with a wide range of contributors — NICKS, ROOS, McPHERSON, DUNKLEY out of defence to the sweeping midfield of KELLY, O’LOUGHLIN, SCHWASS while ruckman GREG STAFFORD played a mature game, SYDNEY 24.16-160 (Cresswell 3, Lockett 3, O’Loughlin 3, Barry 3) best, McPherson, Nicks, Cresswell, GEELONG 7.15-57 (Riccardi 3) best, Riccardi, Mensch, Colbert.

<||> The Eagles made is seven in a row in the regular Westside Derby contests against Fremantle. Only 34,557 were at Subiaco on Sunday when in good conditions the Dockers by a goal kicked their best score of the series. Mid-game the Dockers provided a close contest but the Coasters were never in serious danger. The game was highlighted by two standouts, from FRASER GEHRIG (WCE) and JAMES CLEMENT (Fre). Clement kicked five goals for the Dockers. Proving everyone can have a “bad day”, the previous week when playing for South Fremantle in the Westar Rules comp. Clement got just one kick, WEST COAST 14.10-94 (Gehrig 5, Braun 3, Phillip Matera 3) best, McIntosh, Gehrig, Braun, FREMANTLE 10.7-67 (Clement 5) best, Norrish, Clement, O'Reilly.

<||> In warm and humid conditions (27 and 79%) at the Gabba on Monday afternoon (17,161), Melbourne buried the hopes of Brisbane with a solid opening. The Brisbane side showed no signs of improvement to their recent performances as the Demons exerted their control of proceedings, and were ahead by more than six goals at half time.

A change to the Brisbane game was apparent after the long break, and though the Lions crept as close as seven points early in the last term, crucial free kicks against Tristan Lynch and Akermanis brought goals and the buffer Melbourne needed. The winning result in Brisbane sends a warning — the “Daniher Demons” are stoked up and will trouble many. The sixth successive failure, telegraphs difficult times are ahead for the Lions — MELBOURNE 15.10-100 (Smoker 4) best, S.Febey, Smoker, Ingerson, BRISBANE 12.15-87 (Johnson 4) best, Voss, Lawrence, Johnson.

<||> When Essendon kicked five unanswered goals in the second half of the opening quarter then kicked away again in the second term, most of the 68,177 at the MCG on Easter Monday believed the result was a foregone conclusion with the Bombers leading 70-35 at half time.

Overcast skies and threatening clouds did nothing to dampen the spirit of Carlton, who went into the game with three late changes as captain Craig Bradley, Justin Murphy and Glenn Manton withdrew from the selected line-up. Essendon were also without their captain James Hird (hamstring) and Paul Symons.

The Blues characteristically lifted their intensity after half-time as they tried everything to get back into the game, coming back from 37pts down. With the Bombers still leading by 17pts into the last quarter, the fans were delivered with far-from-text-book, but totally crowd-pleasing footy with a grandstand finish. With only a point the difference in favour of the Bombers, they often succeeded in maintaining possession and wound the clock down. Carlton with two late desperate lunges at goal hurriedly kicked the ball high and to no advantage. The siren relieved the exhausted Dons and Blues players who recorded the 255th one-point League result from 11,381 matches, ESSENDON 14.15-99 (Mercuri 3, Cockatoo-Collins 3, Lucas 3) best, Bomford, Mercuri, Blumfield, CARLTON 14.14-98 (Pearce 4, Whitnall 3, Camporeale 3) best, Sexton, Ratten, Rice.

Many records flowed from Sydney's thrashing of Geelong on Sunday at the SCG. Beside the obvious high's — it was the first time in 50 years where Geelong have been goalless in a first quarter against South Melbourne and Sydney. The last time was in 1948's round 19 at Albert Park, when South opened with 6.1-37. In that match, South went on to win by 96pts, 21.15-141 to 6.9-45.

<> Last Sunday handed Geelong the biggest defeat the club has suffered in 193 games. In the opening round of 1990 at Waverley, Hawthorn gave them a 115pt thrashing, 28.24-192 to 11.11-77.

<> The previous Swans record score of 23.17-155 was kicked on September 2nd in 1933 when Bob Pratt kicked nine goals, a contribution bigger than Geelong's 6.10-46. In 1978, when South Melbourne equalled their record score of 155pts, it was indeed to that time the highest VFL losing score. Geelong that day won with 26.11-167 when Larry Donohue kicked eight goals of the big score.

<> Published crowds for the three-day Easter split round three totalled 264,833 — in arrears of the 1997 record for the round of 296,994. The three week total of 798,785 is three per cent down on the same time last year.

A two-hour deluge on Good Friday flooded the SCG rooms of the Sydney Swans, affecting their gym, quarters for coaches and medical area. Also at risk was $70,000 of sophisticated video equipment … <> JOE MISITI (Ess) is considering legal action against the MCC and AFL — Joe broke his jaw playing the March 7 Ansett Cup match. He slipped on a cricket pitch prepared for a following Sheffield Shield game … <> an AFL night game is planned for Good Friday 1999 … <> in the next fortnight the Essendon board will recommend if the Bombers should go to Docklands or stay at the MCG — if it’s Docklands, Essendon members by a vote will have the final say …

Of the three bookings made in round three, two charges did not reach the AFL Tribunal.

When video reviews were carried out on Tuesday, field umpire TIM SHEARER withdrew his charge against Brisbane's TRISTAN LYNCH.

Similarly, LEIGH COLBERT (Geelong) had his charges of striking dropped only minutes before his scheduled appearance. Umpires TROY BURTON and STEVE POWER withdrew their charges after viewing videotape of the incident.

In the remaining case, Melbourne teen-defender BRENT GRGIC pleaded guilty to striking NIck Trask (Bri) and was penalised for two matches.

DAMIEN DRUM, assistant to Rodney Eade in Sydney was named coach of THE ALLIES in their July 10th game at the Gabba versus Victoria – the bench will be six, the same used in the Ansett Cup …

<> Responding to criticism, the AFL will not schedule early-season day games at the Gabba next year. Where possible, they will be played at night, or drawn elsewhere …

<> The League will look at two items from R3 – time-wasting or “winding-down-the-clock” by Carlton, and BENNY GALE (Rch) “cramping” before teammate PAUL BRODERICK goaled – the Tigers won by 6pts over the Hawks.

<> Brisbane coach JOHN NORTHEY without a win since last August was under pressure —asked, he said: A coach’s job is always under threat, not from the club but by the media …

<> AFL chairman RON EVANS stated attendances to the first twilight matches were “somewhat disappointing” …


Sydney beats the Perth hoodoo
700th win for the Saints
Fans pass first million mark

ROUND 4 — Fri-Sat-Sun, April 17-18-19
MILESTONES — BRETT ALLISON (NM) achieved his 200th game ... 100 matches arrived for MICHAEL VOSS (Bri), LUKE BEVERIDGE (Mel, Fsc, now StK) and JUSTIN PECKETT (StK) ... 50 games for JASON WILD (Col) and BRAYDEN LYLE (WCE, now PA) ... ST KILDA won their 700th League contest since 1897 ... SYDNEY won their first game in Perth since 1987 ... STUART MAXFIELD played his 50th for the Swans ... PAUL HUDSON (Haw, now WB) kicked his 300th goal in League footy ...

<> The WESTERN BULLDOGS won their fourth straight game — the club's best opening to a season since 1961 .… in the 128 times the Cats and the Scraggers have met, they've played 56 of them at Geelong. Between 1925 and 1940, Footscray beat the Pivotonians on only one occasion at the old Corio Oval, and that was in 1928. Last Saturday brought only the 10th occasion that the Tricolours have won in Geelong. … <> SYDNEY by defeating West Coast, won their first game in Perth since Sunday April 12 1987. In games played at both the WACA and Subiaco the Harboursiders had lost on seven visits against the Eagles and three times versus the Dockers. MARK BAYES (Sydney) played in the Swans' 1987 win. Returning to the senior side on Saturday night, Bayes played his 237th senior game, equalling the champion tally of South's favourite son BOB SKILTON (1956-71).

<> The Friday MCG attendance of 78,259 for the Pies–Tigers contest ranks fourth of night attendances in home-and-away fixtures. The biggest is 88,066 to Collingwood and Essendon on Friday, July 24 1992 … <> PAUL BROWN (Gee) returned to the Cats' line-up for his 84th match. He played one game in 1996, suffering a patella tendon injury, and no senior games in 1997 — against the Bulldogs Brown picked up 21 possessions ... <> MITCHELL WHITE (WCE) was back in the Eagles squad, 51 weeks after suffering a knee injury against Melbourne at the MCG in 1997s round five — used off the bench against the Coathangers, Mitchell had 11 disposals … <> Crowds for the 4th Round totalled 285,649. Progressive numbers for the first four rounds — 1,084,434.

<||> With their reputation on the line, Collingwood responded in positive fashion for a huge Friday night audience of 78,259 at the MCG. Even though the Pies were suspect without captain GAVIN BROWN and speedster PAUL WILLIAMS both absent through injury, the Magpies running power as a unit blasted the Tigers off the park with a seven-goal to nil opening quarter.

NATHAN BUCKLEY revelled the conditions, picking up as many possession in the first quarter as he had for the whole game the previous week. He finished 40 disposals for the evening. The Rocca brothers capped Collingwood's great outing off with nine goals between them.

With the Tigers producing their full repertoire of mistakes, it left open the question — was this the Collingwood we could expect to see in the weeks to come? — COLLINGWOOD 20.13-133 (A.Rocca 5, S.Rocca 4, Watson 3) best, Buckley, Monkhorst, A.Rocca, RICHMOND 12.16-88 (Daffy 5) best, Daffy, Gaspar, Torney.

<||> Geelong on a great Kardinia Park surface on Saturday (26,301) found the top-of-ladder Bulldogs a shade the better. The close final margin of 15pts measured the difference between the two. The Cats gave a vastly improved performance and were always close. The differences were the great ruckwork of SCOTT WYND for the Dogs, the possessions gathered by BRAD JOHNSON and another great contribution from SCOTT WEST out of the centre.

Geelong were ably led by GARRY HOCKING and BARRY STONEHAM, though 'Budda' got the rough end of the whistle several times, while Stoneham's influence was curbed in the last half by the close-checking DANNY SOUTHERN.
CHRIS GRANT (WB) had his game soured when reported but produced three great last goals to seal it for the Dogs. The report for striking LEIGH COLBERT (Gee) in the third was felt to be 'soft' and may well-be withdrawn — BULLDOGS 14.10-94 (Grant 3, Hudson 3) best, Johnson, Grant, West, GEELONG 11.13-79 (Lynch 3) best, McGrath, Pickering, Stoneham.

<||> The Hawks put on a repeat performance by booting away with a seven goal opening for the second week in a row. The end result however was the same – they lost. The game stood out with two applause-winning performances, by PETER EVERITT for the Saints and JASON DUNSTALL's leadership of the Hawks. Everitt's hardness to the contest was measured by St Kilda coach STAN ALVES as the difference which led to them getting the points. Dunstall's 7.1 including three in the last term gave the Hawks every opportunity. Though they lost their 12th successive game, the feeling was that Hawthorn had regained their pride.

The third term surge-back when St Kilda with five goals had the Hawk defence under siege was the turning point. It was here that Everitt took control over a Hawthorn which lacked the injured Paul Salmon. With a tight and thorough last half, the Saints got out of jail by eight points — ST KILDA 20.9-129 (Everitt 4, Heatley 3, Loewe 3) best, Everitt, Peckett, Loewe, HAWTHORN 18.13-121 (Dunstall 7.1, Krummel 3) best, Dunstall, Krummel, S.Crawford. crowd: 36,117.

<||> A close-to-capacity Saturday night WACA crowd 27,059 watched an early finals preview as both West Coast and Sydney played at full pace. It was a top standard game, where great skills were on display.

The Swans (without a win in Perth since 1987) applied a pressure game with total commitment by numbers to the ball. They were tactics in reverse used so often by the Eagles to devastate opponents. FRASER GEHRIG stood tall in the West attack with six goals for the night, yet was overshadowed by TONY LOCKETT who enjoyed a return to form.

The frantic pace brought a constantly changing scoreboard with Sydney only emphasising their control over the Eagles in the closing stages. WAYNE SCHWASS sizzled again for the Harboursiders to confirm their shrewd pre-season trade — he had 32 disposals and his five fine goals produced the winning edge.

GREG STAFFORD dominated the ruck contests for Sydney, while PAUL KELLY was at his typical best. For the Eagles, CHAD MORRISON and BEN COUSINS played top games, well-supporting Fraser Gehrig — SYDNEY 18.10-118 (Lockett 7.1, Schwas 5) best, Schwass, Stafford, Kelly, WEST COAST 14.15-99 (Gehrig 6) best, Gehrig, Morrison, Kemp.

<||> Steady rain throughout Sunday afternoon at Football Park failed to lessen the fervour of 41,476 spectators nor the on-field intensity of a hard, close contest. Reigning premiers Adelaide had their colours lowered again (they are now 1+3) as Port ground out a nine-point win in Showdown 3.

The match opened at a ferocious pace when many players were given strong attention. Port were again slow to start, allowing the Crows to kick the first three goals then the Power evened the contest, whereby scores in the difficult conditions were level at the long-break.

The last half saw Adelaide fail to realise their efforts where in the third term just 1.6 was their return. Indeed after half-time, Port kicked 5.2 to the Crows 2.11 and it was Port's ability to create goals out of nothing which brought about their narrow but deserved win — PORT 11.7-73 best, Kingsley, Primus, Lyle, ADELAIDE best, Ricciuto, Bassett, Smart.

<||> The fans voted with their feet to the beat of the Demon drum as 27,508 squeezed into the boutique Optus Oval on Sunday afternoon. With two wins from their first three games, the improvement in the Melbourne of 1998 was confirmed when they came back from three goals down in a gripping last quarter to narrowly down the Navy Blues by two points.

The victory however may come at a heavy cost. Star forward DAVID NEITZ has a suspected broken left ankle, while the evergreen JIM STYNES in his 244th consecutive League game suffered a suspected broken hand.

Carlton with two narrow losses (one point and two points) slumped to 13th, while Melbourne in what was considered a tough opening six weeks have their third win from four games, and jumped to fourth spot on the ladder — MELBOURNE 10.12-72 (Schwarz 3) best, Leoncelli, S.Febey, Yze, CARLTON 10.10-70 best, Hamill, Whitnall, Silvagni.

<||> How come? Most would ask. A fortnight before, Essendon had defeated St Kilda by 89pts on the same day Fremantle were thrashed by Adelaide to the tune of 93pts. So, maybe Kevin Sheedy was right – that the media had overrated the Bombers.

It most certainly looked that way at Waverley (26,241) on Sunday as the Dockers ran the Dons off their feet and were convincing 24pt victors. Essendon played like flat lemonade while Freo were full of fizz. With three top marking forwards in JAMES CLEMENT, PETER MANN and DANIEL BANDY, only Freo's inaccuracy saved the Bombers from a more inglorious defeat.

The focus of the many good players which Fremantle had fell on SHAUN McMANUS, MATTHEW BURTON, BRAD DODD, GARY DHURRKAY and SCOTT CHISHOLM — the Dockers were up, Essendon were badly down. Injuries to JOE MISITI (Ess) groin, and STEPHEN O'REILLY (Fre) hamstring will sideline both for several weeks — FREMANTLE 14.16-100 (Clement 5) best, McManus, Bandy, Dodd, ESSENDON 11.10-76 (Lucas 6) best, Lucas, Bewick, Blumfield.

<||> In spite of boasting a better forward line, North Melbourne as predicted never nailed Brisbane in the Sunday clash at the MCG watched by a small 22,688. Several times in the early stages the Roos threatened to do so but the Lions always stayed in touch.

The Brisbane trio of MICHAEL VOSS (playing his 100th), STEPHEN LAWRENCE and SHAUN HART collectively worked hard and racked up 85 disposals between them — it kept the Lions within striking distance until the end of the game.

WAYNE CAREY, playing chiefly at centre half-back had a wonderful match, but it was the scoring power of COREY McKERNAN and midfielder SHANNON GRANT which kicked the Roos to a 17pt win. The Lions won on the stats sheets in every department. Though they failed to win, the light at the end of the tunnel burned a little brighter for coach John Northey who may soon be shouting Pizza's for the boys — NORTH 21.11-137 (McKernan 5, Harvey 4) best, Carey, Archer, Grant, BRISBANE 17.8-120 (Johnson 5, Bradshaw 4) best, M.Voss, Lawrence, Johnson.

The AFL Tribunal on Monday (20th) night deliberated for only 10 minutes to hand down a two match suspension to CHRIS GRANT (Western Bulldogs).

This followed a hearing lasting almost an hour and-a-half as Grant (who pleaded not guilty) was defending the charge of striking LEIGH COLBERT (Gee) with an arm to the head during the third term of Saturday's match between the Cats and the Bulldogs at Kardinia Park.

Chairman BRIAN COLLIS, QC said the AFL Tribunal had found the action "reckless" and the charge laid by umpire DEREK HUMPHERY-SMITH had been sustained.

The Western Bulldogs chairman DAVID SMORGAN emerged from a later meeting with Grant and club football manager PAUL ARMSTRONG to announce, the club appeal to the AFL.

The Bulldogs lodged the Appeal on Tuesday together with prescribed $15,000 bond required under the recently introduced rules.

Carlton had both STEPHEN SILVAGNI and BRAD PEARCE suspended at the sitting of the AFL Tribunal on Tuesday (21st). Others to suffer were MARTIN PIKE (NM), JASON BALL (WCE) and MARCUS SEECAMP (Mel). Only one player of the six fronting the judiciary escaped – DAMIEN HARDWICK (Ess) was found not guilty of striking BRAD DODD (Fre).

Silvagni, despite a passionate plea from Carlton's football manager COL KINNEAR was outed for the second time of his 234-match career. His previous senior suspension (of one week) was in 1991.

Suspensions imposed —
STEPHEN SILVAGNI (Car) one week for striking David Schwarz (Mel)
MARCUS SEECAMP (Mel) three matches for striking Brad Pearce (Car)
BRAD PEARCE (Car) one match for striking Marcus Seecamp (Mel)
MARTIN PIKE (NM) three matches for striking Richard Champion (Bri)
JASON BALL (WCE) three matches for striking Daryn Cresswell (Syd).

<> Melbourne's veteran ruckman JIM STYNES had surgery to his left hand on Monday night for the injury suffered in Sunday's match at Carlton. The amazing Irishman played in every game for Melbourne from July 25 1987 and achieved 244 consecutive matches.

<> Swelling to the broken left ankle sustained by Melbourne's DAVID NEITZ last Sunday will slow his surgery process. Neitz at best is expected to be sidelined for at least 12 weeks.

<> X-rays on Tuesday confirmed Geelong's GARRY HOCKING suffered a broken thumb last Saturday. He played on to the finish that day, and will undergo a fitness test on Friday …

<> "television against the gate" is fast become the norm — Sydney will do so yet again for their blockbuster meeting against the Bulldogs next Sunday, while Adelaide's important clash against Geelong at Football Park will challenge the faith of their fans — the Crows are up against a live telecast into Adelaide of the Melbourne–Port game from the MCG ...

<> a field umpire from the Melbourne metropolitan Southern Football League was reported at a Saturday reserves game. DARREN PICKETT was banned for four years for striking out after a player spat at him — Doveton Eagles player DARYL REIGER was suspended for two weeks for retaliating ...

<> OBITUARY — ALF POTTER, a pioneer of sport in the Australian television industry passed away peacefully at Geelong Hospital on Sunday (19th) aged 78.
Alf worked with 3DB before joining HSV-7 where he graduated from technician to the director of outside broadcasts. He directed the 1956 Olympic Games coverage and went on to head Seven's coverage of VFL football, remaining with HSV until his retirement in 1985.

The AFL Appeal Board met for the first occasion on Wednesday evening April 22 under chairman Peter O'Callaghan, QC, assisted by former AFL tribunal members John Schultz and Brian Bourke. The Monday decision of the AFL Tribunal suspending Western Bulldog player CHRIS GRANT for two matches was upheld following a three-hour hearing. Chairman O'Callaghan said the tackle by Grant on Geelong's Leigh Colbert was reckless.

The Bulldogs called on film director and video expert JOHN LYONS who told the hearing the telephoto lens on cameras distorted what the viewer actually saw in televised games and replays. Lyons said: "I don't think you can trust video evidence at all."

RON REED writing in the Herald Sun — "His evidence didn't get Bulldogs Chris Grant off — his conviction and two-week suspension for striking were confirmed — but it certainly gave football something serious to think about. It might not stop at football, either."

The Appeal Board ruled the Bulldog challenge was neither frivolous or vexatious and the $10,000 surety lodged on Tuesday be returned. The cost of $5,000 for an appeal to be heard is required to be met by the club making the application.


81,542 see Anzac Day special
900th League victory to Melbourne
Injury ends Stynes' record run
Sydney take over leadership

ROUND 5 — Fri-Sat-Sun, April 24-25-26.
MILESTONES — Injury omitted JIM STYNES from the Melbourne team for the first time since July 25 1987 — three breaks in his left hand ended his record-breaking 244 consecutive matches ... Collingwood's SAVERIO ROCCA passed 400 League goals ... GAVIN WANGANEEN (Ess 127, now PA) and TIM McGRATH (NM 7, now Gee) reached their 150th League games ... PETER MANN (NM 9, now Fre) played his 100th, while 50 matches arrived for ANDREW SCHAUBLE (Col), SHANE PARKER (Fre) and RONNIE BURNS (Gee) ... MELBOURNE in their 1927th League contest since 1897 gained their 900th victory ... BRISBANE played their 250th game ...

DAVID PARKIN coached his 450th League match — his coaching career started in 1977 with Hawthorn. He has twice coached Carlton, also Fitzroy ... TONY LOCKETT kicked his 200th goal at the Sydney Cricket Ground

HAWTHORN posted their first win following 12 successive defeats. It was their worst run since 22 losses across the 1949-50-51 seasons … <> GEELONG have reached their lowest placing on a premiership table since the club was formed on July 18 1859. The Cats started off the 1994 season at 13th place then rose to finish fourth and play off in the Grand Final. This season they commenced at 13th, rose to 8th place then returned to 13th after their 103pt loss in Sydney. Their failure to the Bulldogs next weekend sent the Cats to 14th, and their 26pt loss in Adelaide on Sunday lowered them another spot to 15th … since premiership points were first awarded by the VFA in 1887, Geelong have never held a placing as low as 15th.

<> MELBOURNE with their fourth-in-a-row are enjoying their best start since 1994. Then, the Demons won their first five engagements — they had the bye in round 3 of 1994 ... <> CARLTON have had worst start to a new season since 1990 when they were 1+4 after the first five rounds — the Blues then won their next four games, but still finished a lowly eighth for the year, missing the Final Five ...

<> Melbourne's SHANE WOEWODIN wrote himself into footy folklore on Sunday with a dazzling solo run at the Mecca. Late in the third quarter against Port at the MCG, Woewodin in defence blocked for a teammate but gathered the ball himself just outside of the 50 metre arc. Eluding two efforts to halt his run, Woewodin ran through the cricket pitch area bouncing the ball five times before entering Melbourne's attack zone — from 48 metres he left-footed the Demons 11th goal. It was one of the great "runs" and recalled those of legend by three Collingwood players — the run by RAY GABELICH in the 1964 playoff, PHIL MANASSA in the 1977 grand final and the run by MICK McGUANE in 1994s second round.

<> STEPHEN PATTERSON (Collingwood) registered a rare feat when kicking for goal against Essendon at the MCG — from the boundary line to the Jolimont end Patterson's ball in succession hit both goal posts — he only got one behind.

<> ST KILDA recorded its second successive win over Carlton — the first time the Saints have achieved this since 1965-66 ... <> GEELONG continued their horror-trip to Adelaide — the Cats have failed on seven visits to Football Park since 1991, six defeats by Adelaide, once to Port ... <> published crowds for the weekend created a new Anzac round record. The total for the eight matches reached 295,240. This topped the 278,707 set for the three days of Friday-Saturday-Sunday, April 25-26-27 in 1997. Totals for the first five rounds are 1,379,674.

<> The 8.2-50 kicked by the Bulldogs was not the best finish by the Bulldogs against the Swans. Footscray on Saturday, May 15 1979 kicked 9.7-61 at the Western Oval against South when the Bulldogs went on to win by 48pts, 22.17-149 to 14.17-101.

<||> The Tigers with a powerful first half were still disappointing as their poor conversion allowed West Coast to stay in touch. It was not surprising that the Eagles though lacking their usual precision bounced back to tie the game up by the half-time break at 51pts-all.

Beyond the break, the Eagles started to hurt with injuries suffered by Kemp, Cousins, Worsfold, then White. As West Coast ran out of options, Richmond continued to work hard. They were well led by the returning MATTHEW KNIGHTS (after suspension) while MARK MERENDA did many special things — RICHMOND 12.14-86 (Merenda 3) best, Daffy, Campbell, Knights, WEST COAST 10.11-71 (Morrison 3) best, Kemp, Gardiner, McIntosh — crowd: 34,837.

<||> AFL players and officials together with the big MCG crowd of 81,542 paid their respects with a minute's silence in honour for the fallen on Anzac Day.

Though the tradition is just four years old, The Collingwood–Essendon Anzac Day special again returned a crowd-pleasing spectacle. The Bombers early were razor-sharp in attack with MATTHEW LLOYD kicking four of their first eight goals as they stretched their lead to 20pts in the second quarter. The Pies brought their game together after half-time with a combination of a great team effort from Buckley, Wright, Crosisca, Patterson, newcomer BRAD FULLER and Michael.

SAVERIO ROCCA as he has often done in past games against Essendon had a splendid second half booting 7.4 in a match-winning performance.

Collingwood held the Bombers to a goalless third term, then maintained their drive to post a 20pt win in a far from memorable but a pleasing and close struggle — COLLINGWOOD 15.18-108 (S.Rocca 7.4, Fuller 3) best, Patterson, Buckley, S.Rocca, ESSENDON 12.16-88 (Lloyd 4) best, Wellman, Bewick, Blumfield.

<> Hawthorn for the third week straight were quick from the blocks – then choked again. Close to half-time the Hawks were 64pts up.

Len Johnson in The Age wrote: It was Dunstall, Dixon and many others who provided the inspiration when it was needed. The Hawks had let the doubts creep back largely through their own inaction. Faced with Brisbane's revival in the third term they stopped running, stopped presenting themselves as targets, stopped thinking.

The Hawks recovered in the last term to register their first win since last year's 14th round — Brisbane's effort was ordinary, even taking into account their third -quarter comeback — HAWTHORN 18.16-124 (Dunstall 6, Holland 4, Lord 3) best, Dunstall, Holland, Hay, BRISBANE 12.11-83 (Leppitsch 5, D.Scott 3) best, Leppitsch, Lappin, Power.

Fremantle coach Gerard Neesham described the Anzac night win over North at the WACA (26,335) as "clearly, that's the finest win we've had as a club."

<||> The Dockers were an efficient and spirited outfit who led most of the game against the Roos. The midfield held sway over their highly-ranked visitors as many Kangas showed signs of being leg-weary.

Twice in the final term, North threatened to steam-roll the Dockers, but Freo showed great character in not yielding, but fighting back for a great win. CRAIG CALLAGHAN was a forward tower while the four goals from CLIVE WATERHOUSE presents the view that the Dockers may have been under-valued. Whether they can stand the brilliance of their new place under the spotlight will be gauged by next Saturday's visit under lights to Footy Park — FREMANTLE 16.8-104 (Waterhouse 4) best, Waterhouse, Kickett, Fletcher, NORTH MELB 12.15-87 (Grant 4, Carey 3) best, Stevens, Martyn, Pickett.

<||> In gloomy Sunday conditions at the MCG (21,726) Melbourne recorded their fourth successive win and climbed to third place (equal second) on the ladder as they gave Port Adelaide a solid defeat.

Melbourne captain TODD VINEY sizzled from the midfield, while JEFF WHITE with 13 marks emerged in his continuing maturity as a leading ruckman. Port were never in the game and struggled to get the ball into attack. Even had they succeeded in getting the ball near goal, their forward's lacked discipline. SCOTT CUMMINGS had another poor outing and must be close to being axed.

For rookie coach Neale Daniher, it was a positive conclusion even without several key players. The way his youngsters stepped up to leading roles will bring a warm glow and the fans back to the MCG. For Port, the effort was close to a disaster — MELBOURNE 14.18-102 (White 4) best, S.Febey, Viney, PORT 6.17-53 – best, Wilson, Fiegert, Morton.

<||> In frequent driving rain, St Kilda played to the best of its ability in the difficult conditions to grind out a 22pt win over Carlton on Sunday for a hardy 31,955 spectators at Waverley.

Martin Blake in The Age commented: Scarcely anything separated these two teams as they fought a torrid, attritional battle ... maybe St Kilda was a fraction more polished, especially with its ground kicking. But in truth, there was nothing in it ... once again, St Kilda had done enough to extract a win when it could so easily have lost.

Carlton lacking forwards made hard work of it. One of the winners of the day was ROBERT HARVEY for St Kilda. Though tagged by Carlton captain CRAIG BRADLEY, Harvey was back to his Brownlow best with 39 possessions — ST KILDA 13.10-88 (Mitchell 4) best, Harvey, Beveridge, Young, CARLTON 9.12-66 (Camporeale 3) best, McKay, Camporeale, Rice.

<||> For what had been billed as a Blockbuster contest, Sydney won hands-down on the scoreboard in the first three quarters. The game produced only rare sparkle and was a fizz. It however produced four highlights and involved two Brownlow medalists — the booking of Sydney captain PAUL KELLY in the third term ... a career-threatening knee injury to TONY LIBERATORE who was stretchered off late in the third term ... BRETT MONTGOMERY's skyscraper second quarter grab for the Doggies which will vie for Mark of the Year ... the 8.2-50 finish by the Bulldogs.

The 36,505 SCG attendance saw the Coathangers firmly in control by 49pts at the last break after the home side had confidently led at every turn. The end margin of only 16pts diminished the leadership Sydney had claimed.

Sydney coach RODNEY EADE gained no satisfaction from his fifth successive win saying the opening quarter was their worst 30 minutes of the season. TERRY WALLACE on the prospect of losing Liberatore said it was a tragic blow for the Bulldogs — SYDNEY 14.15-99 (Lockett 4, O'Loughlin 3) best, Kelly, Cresswell, O'Loughlin, WEST.B'DOGS 12.11-83 (Hudson 3) best, Romero, Southern, Garlick.

<||> Adelaide gained their second win of the season in a rugged affair at Footy Park on Sunday for 39,974 fans. Geelong remain winless in Adelaide and slipped to second last (15th) — their lowest-ever ranking.

Rugged at times, the Crows exerted their superior midfield presence in the second half led by MARK RICCIUTO and outscored the Cats 8.7 to 4.4.

From their already weakened forward line, Adelaide's win was costly losing replacement spearhead MARK STEVENS who injured the cruciate ligament in his right knee which brings a certain end to his season. Later, centre half-forward IAN DOWNSBOROUGH crashed heavily after marking and suffered concussion, ADELAIDE 12.15-87 (Jameson 3) best, Rehn, Ricciuto, McLeod, GEELONG 8.13-61 – best, Sholl Sanderson, Corrigan.

1990 Brownlow Medal winner TONY LIBERATORE had his left knee reconstructed on Monday night (27) but declared he wants to return to the game with the Western Bulldogs next year.

Playing his 165th consecutive match (202 overall) against Sydney at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday, Liberatore suffered a career-threatening injury during the third quarter.

Bulldogs football operations manager PAUL ARMSTRONG speaking on ABC Radio said: "We'll certainly support him whatever he decides to and if he wishes to play on after this, there'll certainly be a position on our list for him."

Liberatore had his right knee reconstructed in 1990 and was playing again barely six months later.

When he left hospital on Thursday (30th) the Bulldogs announced that Liberatore will be retained for the rest of 1998 "as a boundary rider of sorts, dispensing wisdom and counsel to players on the Western Bulldogs' bench" — The Age (May 1).

ANTHONY ROCCA (Col) was suspended for two matches by the AFL Tribunal which sat on Monday (27th). Rocca who pleaded not guilty was found to have applied a late charge on Essendon's Joe Misiti in the MCG game on Anzac Day.

From the same match, PETER SOMERVILLE (Ess) who admitted he struck Damien Monkhorst (Col) received the heaviest penalty of the sitting when he was suspended for three matches.

In the other case heard, childhood mates JUSTIN LEPPITSCH (Bri) and MARK GRAHAM (Haw) both received one match for striking each other.

<> Umpires' director PETER SCHWAB warned his charges that those who defaced footballs to make gripping the ball easier will face a one-match suspension. The practice was discovered when a photograph appeared in the Sunday edition of The Age (19th) after the Geelong–Bulldogs match showing the match ball with deep markings. The incident was further highlighted on Monday's Talking Footy

<> The League announced the Grand Final in the Olympic Games year of 2000 will be played at the MCG on Saturday September 2. Should the premiership decider be drawn and a replay necessary, the venue will be Waverley Park. The move will accommodate the earliest League grand final since 1916 – Ansett Cup games will be rescheduled to January and February.

Sydney captain PAUL KELLY appeared before the AFL Tribunal on Tuesday (28th) to answer the charge of striking PAUL DIMATTINA from the Western Bulldogs club.

Kelly in evidence said he reacted instinctively when he felt pressure from Dimattina's hand grabbing at his thigh, causing pressure on his testicles. "I've been squeezed a few times and it's not comfortable so before that happened I wanted him out of the way. I suppose I had a motive (to punch him) but I am very disciplined — I have a fairly hard time all the time."

The hearing lasted over an hour before AFL Tribunal chairman Brian Collis, QC, and his panel Brian Le Brocq and Emmett Dunne. Their finding cleared Kelly of striking Dimattina to the body.

DION SCOTT (Bri) pleaded guilty to charging ruckman Paul Salmon (Haw). Scott's apology to Salmon and his 10-season (66 games) unblemished record relieved him with only a one-match suspension.

ANTHONY ROCK (NM) pleaded not guilty but was suspended for one match for tripping Jason Norrish (Fre). It was the second penalty this year for Rock.

The Essendon board on Tuesday  (28th) voted to play seven home games at the new Docklands Stadium. A vote of approval will be put to members at a meeting in June …

On Wednesday SCOTT CUMMINGS (PA) was suspended for two matches. Charged from video, Cummings though pleading not guilty was found to have charged SHANE WOEWODIN (Mel) on Sunday.


Log jam for leadership
Demons end Sydney's 5-game run
Carlton 15th – lowest placing ever

ROUND 6 — Fri-Sat-Sun, May 1-2-3.
MILESTONES — BARRY STONEHAM (Gee) achieved his 200th senior game — he was the 250th player to reach this level of League service and the 19th Geelong player to do so ... MARK BICKLEY (Ade) played his 150th, while 50 games arrived for SIMON GARLICK (Syd 44, now WB) and ADAM SIMPSON (NM) ... TONY SHAW enjoyed success in his 50th game as an AFL coach when the Pies beat Carlton for the first time since Easter Monday in 1994 ... KATRINA PRESSLEY became the first female goal umpire appointed to a senior League match. The 27-year-old Pressley signalled the opening score in the Brisbane v Richmond match at the Gabba on Friday May 1st ...

ST KILDA's recovery from a 27pt deficit half way through the last quarter in Perth ranks with the greatest of victories the club has enjoyed in its history.

<> Carlton lost their fifth successive game, their worst run since they lost the first five of 1989 … The Blues have slumped to 15th, their lowest-ever placing in League football. Carlton have been 14th on three previous occasions. Last year they were ranked 14th after their 59pt defeat in Sydney by the Swans, and at the start of the 1994 season, they were 14th following two opening defeats to Adelaide then Collingwood. That year, the Blues recovered to be one of the leaders, finishing the home-and-away series in second place behind West Coast, eventually finishing fifth.

<> MELBOURNE won their fifth straight — a Demon best since winning their first five engagements of 1994.

<||> Friday night at the Gabba drew an almost sellout crowd of 19,219. The embattled Brisbane club after eight successive defeats won through to record their first victory since the first Saturday of last August. The Lions broke away in the first half and the heavy rain which followed made the Richmond task impossible. The Tigers in spite of one of the best-equipped attacks and the successful return of star-forward MATTHEW RICHARDSON kicked only five goals in the first three quarters and were no match for a pumped-up Brisbane outfit.

DARRYL WHITE and MICHAEL VOSS led the Brisbane charge with SHAUN HART and MARCUS ASHCROFT prominent. In defence RICHARD CHAMPION teamed well with DANNY DICKFOS and STEVEN LAWRENCE stemming many Tiger forward moves — BRISBANE 13.8-86 best, White, Ashcroft, Dickfos, RICHMOND 7.9-51 best, B.Gale, Prescott, Broderick.

<||> Near-perfect Autumn conditions brought 69,963 to the G on Saturday for the first Blues-Pies twilight fixture. The Magpies produced an explosive start to the contest and thereafter the Navy Blues were always in catch-up mode. Carlton's lack of effective forwards again proved their downfall as they slipped to their fifth successive defeat and their history-setting lowest-ever placing at 15th on the ladder. Coach David Parkin used a merry-go-round of placements in their forward zone to no effect.

SAVERIO ROCCA enjoyed the absence of Carlton's Silvagni (injured) yet his return of only 4.4 for the Pies could have been better. A striking charge against 'the Big Sav' before half-time may see him join his brother Anthony on the sidelines. DAMIEN MONKHORST in the ruck produced one of his best matches and was crucial to Collingwood ending a seven-loss streak against the Blues. SCOTT RUSSELL, PAUL WILLIAMS and NATHAN BUCKLEY added to the solid nature of the Pies' victory — COLLINGWOOD 14.12-96 (S.Rocca 4) best, Monkhorst, Buckley, Williams, CARLTON 9.13-67 best, Camporeale, Rice, McKay.

<||> The AFL Tribunal in a way had an effect on Saturday's result at Kardinia Park (23,267). New Geelong forward BRETT SPINKS returned from a three-week outing while Hawthorn's regular full-back MARK GRAHAM was absent on a one-week "holiday". Spinks (ex West Coast) revelled without a specialist minder, booting three goals in the opening term, ending with 6.2 for the day.

Reporting on the match, Ashley Brown in The Age: "The Cats dominated around the midfield — and in the ruck, where coach Gary Ayres chose to counter PAUL SALMON's expected dominance by running JOHN BARNES at him at centre bounces and then, a few moments later switching Barnes to the wing and running the athletic DAVID MENSCH with Salmon around the ground. The often-maligned Barnes played by far his best match for the season."

Tight right into the last term before the Cats broke away, Geelong twice in the match produced goals which brought surprise cartwheels from RONNIE BURNS, then BRAD SHOLL — GEELONG 13.12-90 (Spinks 6.2, Burns 3) best, Barnes, Spinks, Pickering, HAWTHORN 10.13-73 (Dunstall 4, Lord 3) best, Lord, Robran, Harford.

<||> Essendon blistered through four goals in the first eight minutes, and after that a crowd-pleasing dog fight resulted at Optus Oval on Saturday for 24,813 spectators. As quickly as the Dons had won the advantage Western came back hard when it was their turn to dominate.

The eight point margin was typical of the contest, as one side, then the other were on top. A notable performance came from Norwood's SIMON EASTAUGH in his second outing. Essendon's ruck replacement for the suspended Somerville gained 22 possessions and after a lengthy apprenticeship with Richmond Reserves and last year's SANFL premiers, the 24-year-old made his mark on the key post.

For the Doggies, first-gamer NATHAN BROWN with 25 possessions enhanced his prospects — WESTERN BULLDOGS 13.19-97 (Kolyniuk 3) best, Cameron, West, Brown, ESSENDON 13.11-89 (Lucas 4) best, Lucas, Wellman, Eastaugh.

<||> Under Saturday night lights at Football Park (30,519), Port Adelaide were too direct, and too organised for Fremantle. Port exposed the inefficient chip-and-run game of the Dockers.

GAVIN WANGANEEN gave the Power remarkable leadership from the midfield, and it was unquestionably his best return for this season.

The Port defence were masters of Footy Park and their experiment with a forward set-up of the up-and-coming teenagers WARREN TREDREA and PAUL EVANS may bring flexibility and greater productivity in an area where Port have had their problems. Freo must work to correct their mistakes as their brief moment in the spotlight after wins over North and Dons has now been extinguished — PORT 13.18-96 best, Kingsley, Bond, Paxman, FREMANTLE 9.6-60 best, Burton, Callaghan, Wills.

<||> Adelaide coach MALCOLM BLIGHT after the Sunday result said it was probably 30 years since he'd seen six or seven holding-the-ball decisions in one quarter of football. A great contest was decided by a free against the big Crow SHAUN REHN after he was tackled and penalised for holding the ball. North's forward pocket PAUL EVANS from his free chip-passed to an unguarded PETER BELL who goaled from 30 metres, regaining the lead for the Kangas with only 43 seconds of the game left.

Only 23,041 were witness to a terrific struggle between Adelaide and North at the MCG in top Sunday conditions. North sprinted away kicking 7.4 to 2.3. Down 31 points at the first break, Adelaide produced two great quarters in kicking 13 goals to five, to lead by 18pts at the last change.

North dug deep and again came back from a seemingly hopeless position to take the points in a very good game — NORTH MELB 15.16-106 (Sholl 3) best, Carey, Grant, Pickett, ADELAIDE 15.12-102 (Jarman 4) best, Rehn, McLeod, Ricciuto.

<||> Frequent rain created a level playing field at the SCG on Sunday — the new Melbourne Demons delivered the goods, Sydney were not at home and were comprehensibly beaten. Even had Lockett been included (he withdrew with a virus) it is doubtful the Coathangers would have been more competitive against Melbourne who did the simple things — putting their body on the line, and being hardest to the ball.

Starting with four unanswered goals Daniher's Demons quickly established their dominance and while the undefeated Harboursiders came back, they were never able to match the commitment of a more determined Melbourne. Overall, it was a hard slog, but the Demons are on a roll, winning their fifth-straight and rising to equal leadership — MELBOURNE 12.8-80 (Lyon 3) best, Viney, Yze, Hopgood, SYDNEY 8.13-61 best, Cresswell, Schwass, Stevens — crowd: 25,951.

<||> Sunday at Perth's Subiaco Oval was a hot May day in the high 20's with a big 36,406 attending. In a tightly contested first half, the Saints (four late changes robbed them of Loewe, Burke, Thompson and Hall) gradually overhauled West Coast with a strong but erratic second term to lead by 16pts at half time.

West swung many positional changes with Jakovich finding himself not in defence but forward, then in the ruck. The third term had the Eagles looking like premiership material and after several unsuccessful moves it was ANDREW DONNELLY who responded. The Coasters added an avalanche of goals, 8.3 to 2.5, to gain a strong advantage at the last change over.

Then it was St Kilda's turn in what will prove a memorable final term. Against a three-goal breeze, they came from the dead and down 27pts with only half the quarter left. The Saints kicked goal-after-goal but still trailed until former Docker GAVIN MITCHELL (StK) on the forward line laid a tackle on Eagle defender ASHLEY McINTOSH (WC) and was awarded a free kick for a holding-the-ball decision. With only a minute left, Mitchell slotted his only goal for the day and took a quality victory by two-points after the Saints had kicked 8.0 in the last — ST KILDA 18.13-121 (Healy 6, Everitt 6) best, Everitt, Healy, Harvey, WEST COAST 18.11-119 (Donnelly 5, Gehrig 4) best, Jakovich, Donnelly, Banfield.

Collingwood full-forward SAVERIO ROCCA pleaded not guilty to charging Carlton defender DEAN RICE but admitted he struck his opponent to the back of the head claiming it was accidental to stop the Blues backman from marking.

The AFL Tribunal sitting on Monday night (4th) cleared Rocca of an offence and he will be available to line up against Sydney in Friday night's clash at the MCG.

Carlton on-baller FRASER BROWN and Brisbane defender RICHARD CHAMPION weren't as lucky. Brown was found guilty to having struck SCOTT RUSSELL (Col) with a forearm to the head and was suspended for two matches.

Champion, booked for charging JOEL BOWDEN (Rch) last Friday night at the Gabba was also found guilty, and stood down for two matches.

<> Talks began between the parties to alter the 40-year MCC-AFL agreement. The Melbourne Cricket Club are seeking to include pay-TV rights and multimedia revenue in the deal. Hinging on the negotiations is the ability of the MCC to finance debt on the Great Southern Grandstand and redevelopment of the 42-year-old Olympic Stand for the 2006 Commonwealth Games …

Honesty from the front office
AFL umpiring director PETER SCHWAB in a rare example of honesty by the "front office" responded publicly on Monday (4th) to several controversial umpiring decisions made in the sixth round. Decisions made during both the North v Adelaide match at the MCG and the West-Saints game at Subiaco were pivotal to results.

In Perth, a review of a second quarter incident where a kick from PETER EVERITT (StK) was signalled as a major caused goal umpire PETER JEFFERS to be stood down from this week's appointments. Jeffers was found to have been in error of awarding the goal. Player Everitt was quoted saying: "Yeah, no way was it a goal. It missed by a mile."

Holding-the-ball decisions in the final minute in the last quarter of both the MCG and Subiaco matches resulted in goals being kicked from free kicks, and last-gasp wins recorded by North Melbourne and St Kilda.

SHAUN REHN (Adelaide) was penalised by umpire JOHN HARVEY for holding the ball in North's forward pocket. EVAN HEWITT (NM) quickly passed to PETER BELL (NM) who goaled and which moments later ended in victory to the Kangas by four points. Rehn was judged to have had reasonable time to have ridded himself of the ball, and though a "grey area" the free kick was judged to be fair.

In Perth with less than a minute remaining, West Coast defender ASHLEY McINTOSH in a pack was penalised when he dragged the ball under him and was legally tackled. The resulting free-kick for holding-the-ball was given to GAVIN MITCHELL (StK) who obtained a goal and the Saints winning by two points.

<> A football fan lost her damages claim against the Melbourne Cricket Club in the County Court on May 1. JANINE GRAHAM had attended the Essendon-West Coast final at the MCG on September 12, 1993 when she been struck on the shoulder by a full can of beer thrown by a spectator. Following a four-day trial a jury of four men and two women decided the MCC had not been negligent ...

The AFL Players Association announced their new chief executive is ANDREW DEMETRIOU.

JUSTIN MADDEN writing in The Sunday Age (3rd) said: "As a businessman with a law background, it would appear he has all the appropriate credentials but it will be his experience as a league footballer that will be more important. Those experiences will throw light on the nuances, the subtleties, the passion and the insanity that is league footy."

Andrew played 106 games for North Melbourne and Hawthorn between 1981-88.

<> OBITUARY – ARCHIBALD (Archie) KNOTT passed away on April 16 aged 82. A tall man of his era, "Smiler" was a valuable player with both Fitzroy and St Kilda between 1938 and 1945, playing 49 League matches.

Born and raised in Abbotsford he attended Lithgow Street State School, Archie was a member of a prominent sporting family. Brother Dan played with Collingwood and Richmond (22 games, 1940-41, 1943, 1947) while George was a champion walker and represented Australia at the Rome Olympics in 1960.

Video charges against both SIMON MINTON-CONNELL (WB) and BEN DIXON (Haw) were dismissed at the Tribunal hearing on Tuesday (5th).

The Bulldog had been been reported for striking MICHAEL PRIOR (Ess) with a fist to the head in the second quarter of the Saturday game at Carlton. Following evidence, the Tribunal dismissed the charge.

BEN DIXON (Haw) faced the offence of allegedly charging Geelong's LIAM PICKERING. The charge on video evidence was dismissed.

ADELAIDE have been banned from using its motorised cart to carry injured players off the field — the AFL has ruled players must be removed by trainers on a stretcher.

It’s a curious ruling. cardiac massage could be performed on the cart by a doctor, which would be impossible on a stretcher …

Hawthorn became the sixth club in two years to be fined for breaches of the salary cap.

Stephen O'Reilly reported in The Age: "The Hawks, fined $45,000, were penalised for a series of violations between 1991 and 1996 to join Essendon, North Melbourne, Richmond, Geelong and Collingwood as clubs to have been caught flouting the cap in recent seasons."

While it is the administrations led by Trevor Coote, John Lauritz, Geoff Lord and Peter Hudson that have been found guilty by the League, there will be no concessions for those currently in charges, according to Hawthorn chief executive of three months, Michael Brown.


Port's record win at Carlton
Round proves a tipster's nightmare
Eagles lose their 4th on-the-trot

ROUND 7 — Fri-Sat-Sun, May 8-9-10.
MILESTONES —PORT ADELAIDE kicked 25.15-165, their highest score in 29 games of AFL football ... TODD VINEY (Mel) played his 200th senior game ... CHRIS NAISH (143 Rch, now PA) his 150th ... 100 games for SHANE CRAWFORD (Haw) and TONY WOODS (Fit, Col, now Haw) ... 50 games to MICHAEL PRIOR (Ess), DANIEL CHICK (Haw) and DANIEL METROPOLIS (WCE) ... MATTHEW HOGG after 59 games with Footscray (1988-91) played his 100th for Carlton, while DARREN JARMAN following his 109 with Hawthorn (1991-95) played his 50th for Adelaide.

<> WEST COAST lost their fourth successive match for the second time in the nine season (1990-98) tenure of coach MICHAEL MALTHOUSE. The last time the Eagles suffered a similar string of defeat was in 1996 when they lost R2-3-4-5. In 1989, the last of the two-year stint of WA legend JOHN TODD, West Coast lost six on-the-trot from round six to round 11 — the low point of their 270 League matches since 1987.

<> BRISBANE in their 15th contest at Waverley since 1987 won for third time at the venue. It was their first victory there since their defeat of the Saints, 94-R19, ending a string of six losses at the Park. Brisbane's other win at Waverley was versus Fitzroy, 89-R21 … <> PAUL BRODERICK following 131 consecutive games with Fitzroy and now Richmond was dropped from the Tigers line-up for the Melbourne game. His run started in round 10 of 1992 … <> the 89pt loss to Port Adelaide ranks 8th of Carlton's "Big Defeats" in League football. The Blues' biggest loss in the League was on Saturday May 28 1983 when North defeated them by 111pts at the Arden Street Oval, 29.19-193 to 11.16-82 … <> The 10 goals by TONY LOCKETT equalled the 1935 best by a Swan against Collingwood when BOB PRATT kicked 10.6 at the Lake Oval, Albert Park in the 12th round. The 10.1 by 'Plugger' was the 20th occasion he has kicked 10 goals or more in a League match. This time, Lockett kicked 1-4-2-3 to reach his ten … <> The 7.7-49 on Sunday was the lowest MELBOURNE score versus Richmond for 33 years, since 65-R1-MCG when the Demons kicked 7.5-47.

<||> Hawthorn produced a sustained, disciplined effort against Freo at the WACA to crush the Dockers by 42pts. Most of the 22,037 crowd on Friday night had long departed before the final siren. Though the Hawks relaxed from their 61pt last-break advantage they succeeded in shaking off their mental problems of fading out.

Alan East reporting in The Age on comments from winning coach Ken Judge: "Judge was spot-on with his tribute to the spirit and character of his Hawks; players such as Aaron Lord, Richard Taylor, Rayden Tallis, Angelo Lekkas and Shane Crawford were hard at it all game. Their intensity, especially when they knocked Fremantle's speed and spirit with the first seven goals, was huge and they could be forgiven for a brief respite when the Dockers rallied with four unanswered goals.

Champion forward JASON DUNSTALL spent the greater part of the match nursing an ice-packed right knee (it was tendonitis) – not the one which has undergone two reconstructions. Whether a first quarter incident involving Dunstall and Jones (Fre) will bring closer scrutiny is awaited.

The stinging defeat suffered will do little to gain respect for the Dockers in their home-town, or as the saying goes — "perfect one day, pathetic the next" — HAWTHORN 15.9-99 (Dunstall 3, Dixon 3) best, Salmon, S.Crawford, Tallis, FREMANTLE 8.9-57 best, Jones, Norrish, Gale.

<||> On Friday night, the match originally scheduled in the draw for Waverley then switched to Vic Park, was played at the MCG. For a big 57,894 (the greatest ever to watch the Pies and Swans in a home-and-away game) the Magpies were supreme, landing killer-punches in the opening quarter. Holding a 25pt margin, a 10-goal victory by the Woods over Sydney was on the cards with NATHAN BUCKLEY already having 10 possessions.

The Swans kicked eight unanswered goals to turn the deficit into a 22pt lead as Kelly, Maxfield, Nicks and Schwass regained control of the midfield. With Stafford recovering to make the ruck battle with Monkhorst an even affair, Sydney dictated proceedings and the man-mountain TONY LOCKETT completed much of the good work despite his troublesome knee.

Lockett went on to kick his 20th double-digit tally of his 241-game career with 10.1 for the night — he was the icing on a deliciously enjoyable victory by a classy side; the Harboursiders by percentage retained top place — SYDNEY 18.7-115 (Lockett 10.1, O'Loughlin 3) best, Lockett, Stafford, Kelly, COLLINGWOOD 12.7-79 (Watson 4) best, Buckley, Patterson, Crosisca.

<||> Port Adelaide registered its biggest AFL win and kicked its highest score when it defeated Carlton on Saturday at Optus Oval (16,058) by a thumping 89pts. The Blues, who won the premiership with 23 victories of 25 games in 1995 were taken apart by the young Port line-up who kicked 15 goals to three in the second half.

The star for Port Adelaide was 19-year-old WARREN TREDREA who kicked 8.4 in his eighth League game. His great story had a note of disappointment when Tredrea dislocated a knee cap late in the game, but the damage is less than first feared and he should return after a short layoff. Earlier Port lost their key ruckman MATTHEW PRIMUS with a knee injury – his return may be longer. DARREN MEAD also suffered concussion in the first half.

The Carlton side now clearly in rebuilding mode, fell to 16th position at the bottom of the ladder — PORT ADELAIDE 25.15-165 (Tredrea 8.4, Lockwood 3, Morton 3) best, Tredrea, Lade, Stevens, CARLTON 11.10-76 (Pearce 5) best, Sexton, Pearce, Ratten.

<||> JARROD MOLLOY returning for his first game since his knee reconstruction provided the lift Brisbane were looking for when he kicked three goals in the opening term of the contest against St Kilda at Waverley (23,960) on Saturday. The Saints who started well in the first 15 minutes were overcome by uncertain handling, erratic disposal and poor decision-making.

Len Johnson in The Age reported: "Brisbane, on the other hand, began to grab every chance offered. Still, it seemed St Kilda would find enough to win after a second quarter in which ROBERT HARVEY cut loose. As in the first quarter, the momentum was a while building, but once the Saints got on top they were away."

Brisbane with a strong win worked hard in the third building a lead with 7.1 to 1.0. Taking a 27pt break into the last quarter, they withstood a challenge then held the Saints out for a creditable 17pt win — BRISBANE 15.9-99 (Molloy 6, Hart 3) best, Molloy, Hart, Hilton, ST KILDA 11.16-82 best, Harvey, Winmar, Jones. Brisbane's victory was emotionally celebrated by the players following the recent trauma of the Alastair Lynch appearance at the Tribunal.

<||> Jake Niall in The Age reported that Geelong's strong defence and slight edge in skill enabled it to survive a late and unexpected last challenge by Essendon in the Saturday night game at the MCG which drew a crowd of 56,093.

"The Cats led by 18pts at three-quarter time and by 23pts 12 minutes into the last quarter. Given that this was a low-scoring affair and that the Dons had had only 11 scoring shots, the match appeared as good as over. But the Bombers, who had been dormant since the second quarter, lifted. Quick goals to DEAN SOLOMON, MARK MERCURI and DUSTIN FLETCHER reduced the margin to five points 18 minutes in the term."

"The critical moment came with two minutes remaining. The Cats led by four points when MATTHEW LLOYD took a fine mark at centre half-forward. He quickly handballed to a running JUSTIN BLUMFIELD who kicked a shocker straight to Geelong's MICHAEL MANSFIELD. The ball quickly rebounded to the other end, when opportunist JASON SNELL goaled with less than a minute left. Any chance the Bombers had of a late miracle was snuffed when the unfortunate Blumfield missed a shot for goal from 15 metres." — GEELONG 12.7-79 (Spinks 5, Snell 3) best, Graham, McGrath, Sholl, ESSENDON 11.4-70 best, Mercuri, Lucas, Caracella.

<||> In "100 minutes of football" the 39,057 parochial crowd at Footy Park on Sunday had nine minutes of nail-biting as West Coast surged home from a 29pt deficit. The result went to Adelaide by a tight eight points, but it was evident a lot of hard work is ahead of both the Eagles and the Crows if they are to be worthy contenders this season.

Ii was a willing struggle in good conditions with Adelaide in front by almost six goals at the start of the last quarter before the Sandgropers with a strong wind behind them clicked and the Crows wilted.

Both coaches Malcolm Blight and Michael Malthouse warned against continuing to over-rate their sides. For the Eagles, it was their fourth defeat on-the-trot and down to 12th place, while the Crows are after seven are 3+4 and outside the Eight in 9th position — ADELAIDE 11.13-79 (Eccles 4, Jarman 3) best, Rehn, Ricciuto, Connell, WEST COAST 10.11-71 best, Jakovich, Waterman, Morrison.

<||> How can a side remain goalless for half the game, and run home victors by seven goals? Richmond have the answer but few of the 46,217 who watched Sunday's MCG game would provide an plausible explanation.

Melbourne were flat as a tack following their five wins from the first six games with the most potent of statistics revealing not one of their key forwards David Schwarz, Garry Lyon, Shaun Smith or Russell Robertson took a mark against Richmond. They seemed painfully reminiscent of the wooden-spoon team of 1997.

Linda Pearce observed in The Age: "Yet that was also a credit to   Richmond. Its defence, led in the absence of the injured Paul Bulluss by Darren Gaspar, Scott Turner, Jason Torney and first-gamer Andrew Kellaway, was watertight. Matthew Knights and Wayne Campbell were sweeping forward from half-back and Matthew Rogers, Nick Daffy and Ben Harrison were also getting plenty of the ball."

The Tigers kicked 8.4 to one goal in the last term to overrun a very tired Demon outfit — RICHMOND 13.13-91 (Richardson 3) best, Knights, Rogers, Gaspar, MELBOURNE 7.7-49 best, Viney (in his 200th), Shanahan, Ingerson.

<||> The Western Bulldogs continued to display their characteristic aggression when they gained a thorough 28pt victory over North Melbourne at Carlton on Sunday. For most of the encounter the scores were close, and the lead changed regularly. The skills of the day were not great but the game delivered all the 22,058 who were at Optus Oval could have hoped for — scores were twice level and 16pts the widest margin in the first three quarters.

The strength of the Bulldog midfield of Romero, West, Johnson, Brown and Montgomery was the edge, despite the hard work for the Roos provided by Grant, Bell, Stevens and Rock.

The Doggies burst away in the final term and though North maintained their effort they were overrun by the sheer tenacity of the Westerners who kicked 8.2 to romp away and retain equal League leadership, BULLDOGS 16.15-111 (Grant 4, Hudson 3, Montgomery 3, Southern 3) best, West, Romero, Brown, NORTH 12.11-83 (Carey 4) best, Grant, Stevens, Archer.

The Monday (11th) sitting of the AFL Tribunal was a mixed bag.

Essendon forward MATTHEW LLOYD was not required to appear after his striking charge was withdrawn following the scrutiny of video evidence.

However, Lloyd's teammate ANDREW BOMFORD drew a citing from video of the same match. Bomford was found to have been reckless of jumping into Geelong's RONNIE BURNS and was suspended for two matches.

Hawthorn's JASON DUNSTALL departed the Tribunal visibly angry after his charge of striking Fremantle's ANTHONY JONES was adjourned another 24 hours. A video link with Perth could not be obtained, denying Jones the opportunity to see the video evidence.

Differences at Windy Hill between senior coach KEVIN SHEEDY and assistant coach MARK THOMPSON became public. Michael Stevens in the Herald Sun (12th) stated: "Three independent sources have confirmed Thompson told McMahon (Essendon president) and Jackson (Essendon CEO) he could no longer work with Sheedy."

Graham McMahon admitted Thompson and Sheedy had argued but strongly denied Thompson had approached him on the issue.

A meeting of the club's football coaching unit met to settle the differences, however it is believed what remains is an "uneasy truce."

<> In Adelaide, Sturt following their Saturday victory over front-runners West Adelaide hit top place on the SANFL premiership table for the first time since 1983's 17th round. That was also the year of their most recent grand final appearance. The Double Blues are 5+1 from their first six games.

Tribunal #2 —
At the AFL Tribunal on Tuesday night (12th) Hawthorn legend JASON DUNSTALL was cleared of striking ANTHONY JONES (Fre).

The hearing which lasted an hour saw Hawthorn successfully argue that Dunstall's hand was open at all times in his clash with Jones — umpire JOHN HARVEY refused to budge on the issue of whether Dunstall's hand was open.

The Tribunal. headed by Brian Collis, QC, took only seconds to deliver a not guilty verdict.

Radio ratings for the Melbourne market were released on Tuesday (12th). In the major time-slots REX HUNT and the 3AW team were clear winners, ahead of Triple M and 3LO with Magic 693 not far away.

3AW MMM 3LO Magic
Fri 12.5 7.0 9.6
Sat 14.3 9.4 8.3 8.5
Sun 11.0 9.6 8.6 7.4

A five-hour sitting of the AFL Tribunal on Wednesday (13th) failed to reach a conclusion in the Alastair Lynch drug case. Legal experts and witness made up 21 people who attended.
Tony Peek, the AFL communications manager after the hearing read a statement attributed to tribunal chairman Brian Collis, QC — "The tribunal has sat for some five hours in an endeavour to finalise this matter. Unfortunately it cannot be reasonably concluded this day and has had to be adjourned until next Wednesday at 5pm which is the next suitable day for all parties concerned. That's the end of the statement and we are not in a position to make any further comment."
Earlier, Brisbane chairman Noel Gordon foreshadowed the possibility the matter may be headed for the Supreme Court. Speaking on Channel 10 news Gordon said, "I understand there has been some reticence in regard to witnesses appearing here. I'm not sure where the pressure has come from, but I'll leave the viewers (to) make their own decisions in regard to that."

MIKE SHEAHAN in the Herald Sun (14th) broke the story that Sydney may trump the MCG as the biggest stadium in the country early next century.

"Stadium Australia, developer of the Olympic 2000 stadium at Homebush, is 'seriously considering' retaining number at 110,000 after the games."

Originally, Homebush was to have been refashioned after the 2000 Games to provide 80,000 seats for the rugby codes and 72,000 for Australian Football.

Sheahan noted that Stadium Australia might be motivated by the 'bragging rights' associated with the biggest stadium in Australia with Ken Edwards, Stadium Australian md saying: "It might be nice to be able to say mine's bigger than yours."


Classy 'Dogs gain one-game break
Adelaide under the hammer
Pies-Demons provide Sunday thrills

ROUND 8 — Fri-Sat-Sun, May 15-16-17.
MILESTONES — JIM STYNES (Mel) achieved his 250th game … 150 games for NIGEL SMART (Ade) and BRETT RATTEN (Car) … 100 games SHAUN REHN (Ade) … 50 games by seven players MATTHEW BURTON (Fre), JEFF FARMER (Mel), DANNY DICKFOS (Bri), MATTHEW FRANCIS (Rch 19, now Col), TRISTAN LYNCH (Bri), JASON NORRISH (Fre), while PETER CAVEN following his 39 with Fit and 18 with Syd played his 50th for the Crows …


PORT ADELAIDE from their record-setting club record of 25.15-165 in round 7, slumped to post the lowest score of the season so far, 5.15-45 … <> Geelong enjoyed its fifth consecutive victory over Fremantle … <> North and Sydney at the MCG drew the biggest crowd to see the pair in a home-and-away match. Previous highest was 31,037 78-R11 at Waverley … <> the Bulldogs won their third successive outing over Hawthorn — the best in 43 years against the Glenferrie boys … <> The McDONALD brothers added another page to League records. The three brothers ANTHONY and JAMES for Melbourne and ALEX for Collingwood participated in the one match on Sunday at the MCG … <> CARLTON lost their seventh on-the-trot, their Longest Losing Sequence since 1988-89 when they lost their last two games and the first five of 1989. In a season, the Blues last dropped seven in 1955, R5-6-7-8-9-10-11. The seventh defeat also brought the longest run of failure in DAVID PARKIN's 453-match coaching career extending back to 1977 … <> three interstate sides Brisbane, Fremantle and Port Adelaide, kicked a combined total of 29 goals 55 behinds — 8.22, 6.18 and 5.15.

<||> The Friday opener at the MCG (35,384) would be looked back on as a good game played out by two desperate teams. A highlight was the ferocity Brisbane displayed in the second quarter when DION SCOTT and the unit were on fire. The Lions unfortunately were unable to sustain the pace as Essendon found a greater measure of desperation in the last half to run out 14pt winners. At this time, it's difficult to assess how far either will go in the premiership race.

Len Johnson reported in The Age: "The Lions kicked atrociously, kicking only eight goals from 30 scoring shots (six more than Essendon). But no fewer than nine of those behinds were rushed through by a desperate Essendon defence. The Dons' backline worked tirelessly all night, with the unheralded PETER BERBAKOV achieving a notable victory over JARROD MOLLOY."

SEAN WELLMAN and DAMIEN HARDWICK were also excellent in the Bomber defence. Apart from the three goals from DION SCOTT in the first half, Brisbane lacked a winning attacker all night — ESSENDON 12.12-84 (Alessio 4) best, Alessio, Hardwick, Misiti, BRISBANE 8.22-70 (D.Scott 3) best, M.Voss, C.Scott, Ashcroft.

<||> Kardinia Park on Saturday afternoon brought difficult conditions for Geelong and Fremantle and the 19,449 who attended. The ball proved slippery and hard to control in the drizzle and the wind. Geelong turned a two-point lead at quarter-time, but took an eternity to capitalise on kicking with the wind. Yet by the end of the quarter, Geelong had gone to a 29pt lead and seemed to have the match in its keeping.

By the time Waterhouse scored 10 minutes into the third, it had almost been two full quarters since the Dockers' first goal. Freo worked hard and with only the last term left had reduced the margin to only 11pts.

The Cats however proved steadier in the last term and though lacking a dominant forward got home by 22pts — GEELONG 12.4-76 (Lynch 3) best, Mensch, Barnes, Sanderson, FREMANTLE 6.18-54 best, Fletcher, Norrish, Kickett.

<||> North and Sydney left no doubts they are top-four teams, serving up one of the best games of the season on Saturday before 43,400 at the MCG. Rohan Connelly noted in The Age: "The Roos emerged from a hard, tough but skilful contest with a tremendous 10-point win over the ladder leader after clawing their way back from three goals down early in the third quarter."

In contrast to the 1996 grand final contest, the Roos jumped to an early lead but were overrun by the Coathangers in the second for Sydney to break clear by 17pts at half time. Injuries may have taken a toll on the Harboursiders with both JOHN STEVENS (groin) and ROBBIE AHMAT (hamstring) not returning for the second half, while TONY LOCKETT still nursing a knee injury was on the bench early in the last.

The Kangas took control midway in the last after another burst of brilliance from WAYNE CAREY who rammed home two quick goals, and another added through Abraham. The Swans will derive some positives despite defeat in the form of big forward BRENT GREEN (four goals) and young utility JASON SADDINGTON. One report dampened Sydney's finish as ANDREW DUNKLEY was booked for striking Carey. Let's hope the Tribunal look closely at the video for what brought about the scuffle — NORTH MELB 15.15-105 (Carey 4, Blakey 3) best, Archer, King, Blakey, SYDNEY 14.11-95 (Green 4, Kelly 3) best, Stafford, Kelly, Schwass.

<||> In chilly Saturday night conditions, only 20,063 attended Waverley to watch a poor-standard game, marred by appalling disposal. Jake Niall in The Age observed: "The Saints gained a handy break early in the first quarter (when they kicked four goals in eight minutes), and maintained it for most of the match, extending it slightly in the last."

PETER EVERITT was the instigator of St Kilda's early burst. He kicked a goal, won a couple of decisive hit-outs in the middle – including a perfect palm to NATHAN BURKE that led to a GAVIN MITCHELL goal – and won three centre free kicks, two resulting in goals.

Port's inability to kick goals (only five from 20 shots) resulted from the Saints' strong defence unit led by SHANE WAKELIN, MAX HUDGHTON, JUSTIN PECKETT and STEVEN SZILLER proving far-too strong. ROBERT HARVEY (StK) continued in outstanding fashion with another 35-possession game — ST KILDA 10.12-72 (Mitchell 3) best, Mitchell, Peckett, Harvey, PORT ADELAIDE 5.15-45 best, Heuskes, Stevens, Lade.

<||> One of the bigger crowds so far (37,361) packed the Subiaco Oval on Sunday to watch Carlton, winless from the past half-dozen starts set the early pace. BRETT RATTEN (in his 150th) gave the Blues a solid start but they soon lost the momentum with a midfield shuffle after captain CRAIG BRADLEY left with a hamstring strain.

The Coasters took control and were cruising home with a 44pt lead 10 minutes into the last. Then West hit a brick wall and Carlton swept back with six unanswered goals to fail by only eight points. Other than Carlton's great finish, the game was a yawn and maintains the doubt whether West Coast can make the finals for a ninth successive year — WEST COAST 12.20-92 (Cousins 3) best, Cousins, Read, Kemp, CARLTON 12.12-84 (Pearce 5, Hamill 3) best, Ratten, Hulme, Lock.

<||> Two factors came out of the Waverley (34,541) game on Sunday — even with bad knees JASON DUNSTALL is still a champion, and the Western Bulldogs are a very classy outfit. Dunstall, the Hawthorn legend kicked six goals in the first quarter (at 3, 12, 18, 20, 21 and 28-minutes) to give his side a huge start. He finished with 8.0 for the day before departing the game early in the last quarter.

The Bulldogs absorbed the first shock wave, then coolly went away to record an efficient 40pt victory. With skills and dash through the midfield, the Doggies took control of the game with SCOTT WYND delivering an enormous effort from his dominance, taking 12 marks, while SIMON GARLICK and ROHAN SMITH had a powerful influence on the result with their thrusts into the forward line — WESTERN BULLDOGS 21.10-136 (Brown 4, Grant 3, Hudson 3) best, Wynd, Garlick, Southern, HAWTHORN 14.12-96 (Dunstall 8.0) best, Dunstall, Tallis, Robran.

<||> Shades of the glory days returned during a gripping last quarter of the Pies-Demons clash on Sunday at the MCG when 57,425 showed up. The Magpies in the dying minutes had reduced Melbourne's 21pt lead to a single point. It was a "tooth-and-nail" job as the two Rocca brothers almost pulled the game back for Collingwood — Anthony hit the post and Big Sav was off line.

Martin Blake reporting in The Age — Yet Melbourne too, would have been rated as unfortunate had it lost ... the Redlegs drew match-winning performances from three young, inexperienced players ... one came from 18-year-old BRENT GRGIC who marked 12 times when shifted from defence to centre half-forward; TRAVIS JOHNSTONE, 17, who came off the bench to kick four goals; ANDREW LEONCELLI, whose gather of a loose ball near the members' wing deep in the last quarter, was followed by a dash along the boundary, then a long clearing kick which doused Collingwood's fire.

The Magpies were close to having it right — they drew fine performances from NATHAN BUCKLEY and PAUL WILLIAMS in the midfield, while the Roccas kicked seven goals between them — MELBOURNE 17.12-114 (Smith 5, Farmer 3) best, Stynes (his 250th), Grgic, Johnstone, COLLINGWOOD 16.15-111 (S.Rocca 4, A.Rocca 3) best, Buckley, Crosisca, Williams.

<||> A warm 22, and brilliant sunshine at Footy Park on Sunday made hot, hard work for both sides. The Tigers found another way to thrill their fans when they flogged the reigning premiers with a great last quarter — Richmond from a 19pt deficit doubled their score to win by 13pts.

Alan Shiell reporting from Adelaide eye-balled five players responsible for Richmond's revival — midfielder MATTHEW ROGERS, ruckman BRENDON GALE and forwards NICK DAFFY, MATTHEW RICHARDSON and JOEL BOWDEN. Adelaide early moved like a winner 20 minutes into the third quarter but thereafter were outscored 9.4 to 3.4 and Richmond breezed through the Crows' half-back line.

The Tigers rose, Adelaide fell away to the displeasure of coach MALCOLM BLIGHT who failed to see the match out, leaving the coach's box with five minutes to go — RICHMOND 14.8-92 (Bowden 3, Holland 3) best, Rogers, B.Gale, Daffy, ADELAIDE 11.13-79 (Jameson 6) best, Jameson, Koster, James.

The Hawthorn Football Club Social Club recently conducted a poll to name the 10 Best Hawks of All Time.
On the occasion of the club's 125th anniversary, a panel of four past presidents, three ex-chairmen of selectors, two former coaches and a past captain (all of whom were not identified) looked back on almost 800 players who have represented Hawthorn in their 74 seasons of League football since 1925.
The selection resulted in the following listing —
1 - LEIGH MATTHEWS, 332 games, 915 goals, 1969-1985
2 - GRAHAM ARTHUR, 232 games, 201 goals, 1955-1968
3 - PETER HUDSON, 129 games, 727 goals, 1969-74 & 1977
4 - DERMOTT BRERETON, 189 games, 427 goals, 1982-1992
5 - MICHAEL TUCK, 426 games, 320 goals, 1972-1991
6 - JIM BOHAN, 131 games, 145 goals, 1938-1946
7 - PETER KNIGHTS, 264 games, 201 goals, 1969-1985
8 - JASON DUNSTALL, (at May 8, 1998) 261 games, 1224 goals, 1985-1998
9 - BRENDAN EDWARDS, 109 games, 29 goals, 1956-61 & 1963
10 - COL AUSTEN, 91 games, 6 goals, 1940-43 & 1946

Another "it wasn't a goal" blunder caused the rarely-seen "crossed-flags" signal on Saturday night at Waverley. NICKY WINMAR to the scoreboard end in the second quarter watched his kick slew away but it was signalled as a goal. Field umpire CRAIG DURHAM overruled goal umpire PETER HERRICK who on Monday was suspended for two matches ...

<> Adelaide coach MALCOLM BLIGHT couldn't bear to watch the closing stages of the Crows' performance against Richmond — with five minutes left, he left the coach's box and headed for the change rooms — later in the week, Blight was warned that coaches are not allowed anywhere but the designated area near or on the interchange bench while a match is in progress ...

<> Carlton coach DAVID PARKIN was attacked by six larrikins in a car park near the MCG Gallery of Sport last Friday night (15th) as he departed the Essendon-Brisbane game at half-time. Parkin was jostled, hit from behind, and had his car kicked. The incident was reported to police and drew moves which may see security increased …

Prior suspensions for striking offences counted against ANDREW DUNKLEY (Syd) when he faced a striking charge on WAYNE CAREY (NM) at Monday's (18th) AFL Tribunal. A confession by Carey – "I probably overacted and didn't do Andrew any justice" – nor was the contact forceful, failed to save the Sydney defender.

Tribunal chairman BRIAN COLLIS, QC, found the Swans' vice-captain action was reckless and rubbed Dunkley out for three-matches "because of prior convictions".

Dunkley in his 127 games has twice received two-match suspensions for striking during each of the two recent finals series.
GAVIN MITCHELL (StK) had his charge of striking Port captain GAVIN WANGANEEN dismissed, while West Coast rookie PHILLIP READ pleaded guilty to striking AARON HAMILL (Car) with the 18-year-old Eagle punished with a one-match penalty.

Hawthorn player RAYDEN TALLIS after the game against Western had scratches under his left eye and on his neck and chest. The player was understood to have spoken twice to umpire DAVID ACKLAND who lodged a notice of possible investigation. The AFL ruled that no further action would be taken on the incident.

To avoid further controversy, at a players' meeting on Tuesday (19th) Western Bulldogs coach TERRY WALLACE ordered his players to present their nails for inspection by medical staff before each game. Wallace said the constant controversy over scratching tactics had become a frustrating distraction.

<> In the last quarter on Saturday at Kardinia Park, Fremantle forward CLIVE WATERHOUSE (Fre) was paid a mark by the controlling umpire TIM SHEARER when he collected a low skimming kick. Veteran umpire PETER CAREY ran in from a distance and after consultation Shearer reversed his decision. Video replays were not conclusive if the ball had been taken cleanly but Shearer was within metres of the incident. AFL umpires’ boss PETER SCHWAB ruled: "I have instructed the umpires that if both are 100 per cent sure, but their opinions conflict, the decision of the controlling umpire in the zone should stand".

AFL Commission chairman RON EVANS at the Regent Theatre ballroom on Saturday evening (16th) announced six names to be added to the Australian Football Hall of Fame, and the elevation of Collingwood's GORDON COVENTRY to Legend of the Game status. The new members are —
JACK CLARKE, 206 games, 1952-62, East Fremantle
TERRY DANIHER, 313 games, 1976-92, South Melb and Essendon
KEN FARMER, 224 games, 1419 goals, 1929-41, North Adelaide
FRED FLANAGAN, 163 games, 182 goals, 1946-55, Geelong
ALLAN RUTHVEN, 222 games, 442 goals, 1940-54, Fitzroy
LEN THOMPSON, 301 games, 1965-80, Col, SM, Fit
Coventry joins Ron Barassi, Haydn Bunton senior, Roy Cazaly, John Coleman, Jack Dyer, Graham Farmer, Leigh Matthews, John Nicholls, Bob Pratt, Dick Reynolds, Bob Skilton, Ian Stewart and Ted Whitten senior as Legends of the Game.

The Alastair Lynch drug hearing will continue into a fourth sitting after the AFL Tribunal failed to hand down a decision at a four-hour Wednesday hearing.

At the fourth hearing on Thursday (21st) ALASTAIR LYNCH gave evidence for four-and-a-half hours — more than 18 hours of evidence, argument and submissions have been heard. The Tribunal will continue the hearing on Monday (25th).


'Dogs maintain outright leadership
Tony Lockett passes 1200 goals
Freo darken Saints' 1900th game

ROUND 9 — Fri-Sat-Sun, May 22-23-24.
MILESTONES — ST KILDA played their 1900th League game … STAN ALVES became only the second man (after Allan Jeans) to coach the Saints in 100 games … JOHN WORSFOLD (WCE) played his 200th … 150 games for MICHAEL MANSFIELD (Gee) ... 100 to COREY McKERNAN (NM) and PETER EVERITT (StK) … 50 games for ANTHONY ROCCA (22 Syd, now Col), ANDREW McGOVERN (20 Syd, now Fre), ALEX McDONALD (46 Haw, now Col), DARREN GASPAR (21 Syd, now Rch) and CHAD MORRISON (WCE).

<> CARLTON suffered their eighth consecutive defeat — equalling their run of 1898-99 and entering the zone of their 14-game run of defeats of 1901-02.
<> Geelong and West Coast failed to goal in the first quarter at Kardinia Park. The most recent instance was on Sunday August 4 1996 at Princes Park when Richmond and Brisbane didn't goal in the second quarter. Before that it was in 1991s 17th round when at three-quarter time on July 13th Essendon 6.6-42 trailed Richmond 7.15-57. Both failed to major in the last term, ending with Tigers 7.18-60, Dons 6.7-43.
<> Last Saturday was the first goalless quarter at Kardinia Park since the opening round of 1965 when Geelong 0.0 were behind Footscray 0.1 at the first change. On the same day both Hawthorn and Collingwood were pointless in the first quarter.
<> TONY LOCKETT (Syd) kicked his 21st bag of 10 goals or more. He also broke the Swans' goalkicking record against Hawthorn. His 11.6 topped the eight goals kicked by BOB PRATT in 1935, LAURIE NASH in 1936 and KEN EVANS in 1940. It was his 61st game for Sydney and his second goal on Sunday was his 300th for Sydney.
<> North Melbourne in their 129th meeting with Carlton recorded their best run of four-straight wins over the Blues, topping their three victories of 1973-74 and 1975-76.
<> SYDNEY became the first club in 1998 to pass 1000 points. They did so in the last quarter when 'Plugger' kicked his ninth goal.
<> Published crowds for the weekend round totalled 235,452.

In St Kilda's 1900th League game, and STAN ALVES' 100th as coach the turning point on Friday night at the WACA (22,803) came seven minutes into the third term when Freo trailed 7.6 to 3.14. From a marking contest STEWART LOEWE (StK) had his right knee buckle under him and the reaction to the injury slammed his head into the knee. In the same passage of play an accidental elbow from a Freo defender caused a gash to Loewe's head which required eight stitches. Loewe was stretched in a neck brace and took no further part. Later examination revealed the fear of a knee reconstruction for the powerful forward. (by Monday, Loewe was cleared of serious damage).

Fremantle became the dominant force, kicking 11 goals to six in the last half to storm home over the Saints for a 15pt victory. The win was based around the power exerted by MATTHEW BURTON (Fre) the 210cm ruckman who gained fine support from rover CRAIG CALLAGHAN and the durable ADRIAN FLETCHER — FREMANTLE 14.21-105 (Holland 3) best, Burton, Fletcher, Holland, ST KILDA 13.12-90 (A.Thompson 4) best, Harvey, A.Thompson, Jones.

<||> North extended Carlton's losing-run to eight games with a solid 41pt win over the Blues at Optus for 20,205 fans on a windy Saturday. Rain was always threatening and the gloom surrounding Carlton deepened after their goalless (0.5) opening. The Blues have not suffered a worse run since 1901.

In the scrappy, congested game, the Kangas flooded Carlton's forward lines in the first and third quarters when the Blues had the wind. North with the advantage slammed on 7.4 in the last to grind Carlton and settle a few old scores — NORTH MELB 17.13-115 (Longmire 4, Abraham 3, Bell 3) best, Longmire, King, Bell, CARLTON 10.14-74 best, Silvagni, Ratten, Brown.

<||> Strong winds and late rain at Kardinia Park on Saturday (19,848) was the setting for Eagles' captain JOHN WORSFOLD's 200th game. West Coast made a few sentimental changes with the inclusion of CHRIS LEWIS and TONY EVANS, significant to the long association of the trio since formation of the club in 1987.

The match produced a goalless first quarter as both the Cats and Eagles managed only 0.3-3 apiece. It was the first occasion since 91-R17-WH when the Dons and Tigers both failed to goal in the final term.

To set up their victory West Coast kicked four unanswered goals in the second term and maintained control for the balance of the contest — WEST COAST 9.11-65 best, Cousins, Evans, McIntosh, GEELONG 5.14-44 best, Colbert, Barnes, Mensch.

<||> Essendon for the MCG Saturday twilight game at the MCG (49,580) regained captain JAMES HIRD after six weeks absence. Hird who gathered 20 possessions and seven marks, had an engrossing duel with rising Melbourne youngster SHANE WOEWODIN and enjoyed a dominant midfield presence.
DARREN BEWICK (Ess) after appearing lame in the first half kicked three goals in the third term to give his side the advantage in a decisive burst.
The stronger Bomber midfield was the critical factor of the contest in which Melbourne after the long break never really threatened. The strengthening of the Essendon unit serves a warning to those above them on the table — ESSENDON 18.14-122 (Bewick 3, Lloyd 3) best, Bewick, Calthorpe, Misiti, MELBOURNE 12.12-84 best, Johnstone, Leoncelli, Yze.

<||> Richmond and the Bulldogs delivered a crowd-pleasing contest for 36,428 at Waverley on Saturday. Until three-quarter time, the game was evenly balanced then Western turned on a fiery finish to shake off the persistent Tigers.

The Bulldogs through PAUL HUDSON and MATTHEW DENT, kicked two goals in the first five minutes of the last, then JOSE ROMERO (20 kicks, 3 goals) gave them a two-goal break. The Doggies again displayed pin-point delivery off the foot to a teammate as their class and confidence continues to grow — WESTERN BULLDOGS 13.10-88 (Romero 3) best, Johnson, Romero, Southern), RICHMOND 11.9-75 (Richardson 4, Evans 3) best, Gaspar, Knights, Campbell.

<||> The impact of Adelaide's failure against Richmond the previous week was apparent by their Saturday night display at the Gabba for 19,509 fans. The Crows' backline was again outstanding, holding Brisbane to a miserable six goals for the evening. The Lions had their chance in the early part but could never seize the moment.

Adelaide killed the contest with a great second term of 7.3 to lead by eight goals at half time, 11.6 to 3.6. SHAUN REHN (Ade) maintained his great form and managed to be everywhere at once. Though Brisbane benefited from a reduced injury list, their front-runners were hassled by Adelaide's tackling, height in defence and the ruck dominant duo of Rehn and Pittman. The dampener for the Crows was the report on NIGEL SMART for striking — ADELAIDE 14.14-98 (Jarman 4) best, Rehn, Tregenza, Jarman, BRISBANE 6.14-50 best, M.Voss, Lappin, McRae.

<||> Two of the great full-forwards the game has produced TONY LOCKETT (Syd) and JASON DUNSTALL (Haw) were opponents for possibly the last time, in near-perfect conditions at the SCG on Sunday for a big 31,420 spectators. Lockett before half-time became the third player to reach 1200 goals with his fourth for the day — from a classic lead to a Kelly pass and a dead-eye shot from 45 metres on the outer boundary. 'Plugger' finished the game with a sensational 11.6 (six goals, two behinds in the last), and got the match-ball as a souvenir.

Hawthorn had worked so hard yet trailed by 23pts at 19 minutes into the third. Persistency paid off and the Hawks with five goals surged back to lead the Swans by a goal, 10 minutes into the last term. Then Lockett took the spotlight and in 13 minutes kicked five goals (and Barry got his second), before 'Plugger' ended affairs with another 1.1 — it was an awesome display by the man-mountain of 244 games.

The match was further highlighted by the workrate of TROY LUFF, the Swans' inspired choice at full-back for the suspended Dunkley — SYDNEY 17.15-117 (Lockett 11.6) best, Lockett, Cresswell, Luff, HAWTHORN 11.14-80 (Dunstall 4, Dixon 3) best, S.Crawford, Holland, Dixon.

<||> In slippery conditions after heavy rain, Football Park (35,659) became another graveyard for Collingwood's hopes as they slid to a 17pt defeat at the hands of Port Adelaide. After being on level terms in the low-scoring affair, the AFL Magpies were caught napping by costly turnovers to an inspired Port.

Port's much-criticised spearhead SCOTT CUMMINGS after a wretched first half produced four last-half goals — if it was his last chance as the pundits had predicted, Cummings answered in the most positive manner.

PAUL WILLIAMS and NATHAN BUCKLEY for the Pies, each an immaculate kick, missed running shots early in the last quarter when Collingwood had closed to within 13 points. The most critical of statistics showed ANTHONY ROCCA (Col) in his 50th game had one kick for the game — PORT ADELAIDE 11.14-80 (Cummings 5) best, Lade, Stevens, Cummings, COLLINGWOOD 9.9-63 (S.Rocca 3) best, Buckley, Williams, Patterson.

The AFL Tribunal on Monday (25th) cleared Brisbane co-captain ALASTAIR LYNCH of any wrongdoing after he admitted taking a banned substance to combat chronic fatigue syndrome.

Starting May 7, after five sittings and 20 hours of hearings, the AFL Tribunal comprising chairman BRIAN COLLIS, QC, ELAINE CANTY and SHANE MAGUIRE by a 2-1 decision in a 12-page declaration found on all the evidence presented during the hearing, "it would be unjust to inflict extremely severe and harsh punishment upon Alastair Lynch (i.e. that he was a 'drug cheat' ...) for acting upon advice that was wrong or arguably so ..."

Stephen Linnell said in The Age: "According to evidence presented during the hearing, Brisbane's medical officer, Dr Alan McKenzie, called the Australian Sports Drug Agency drugs in sport hotline in February 1966 and 'received advice that DHEA was not a banned substance under the AFL drug code'.

"According to the tribunal's finding, on 2 March this year, Lynch was advised by an ASDA official that he could continue taking DHEA as long as his testosterone levels remained within prescribed limits, and that he could apply to the AFL to use the drug for therapeutic purposes".

The ASDA strongly denied it provided incorrect information about DHEA to Lynch or his doctor.

Alastair Lynch speaking later in the evening on Channel Seven's "Talking Footy" expressed he would continue to explore with the AFL the possibility to use DHEA to maintain his quality of life.

Charges from round nine matches heard on Monday (25th) resulted in Adelaide's NIGEL SMART being outed for two games for striking CRAIG McRAE (Bri), while MATTHEW DENT (WB) was punished with a three week suspension.

It was Dent's fourth suspension in as many years. Dent was found guilty of striking DAMIEN RYAN (Rch) on Saturday at Waverley Park.

A tripping charge against Richmond's ROBERT POWELL was withdrawn after video evidence was reviewed on Monday.

DEAN SOLOMON (Ess) faced two reports at the AFL Tribunal on Tuesday (26th). He was suspended for two games and fined $1000. Solomon was punished for striking PAUL HOPGOOD (Mel) and a later incident for wrestling ADAM YZE (Mel). Yze was also fined $1000 for wrestling Solomon.

<> Speculation on a return to Melbourne ended when MICHAEL MALTHOUSE signed on the dotted line with the Eagles who have secured him until the end of the 2001 season … <> JUSTIN CHARLES (Richmond) already under a 16-match suspension handed down by the AFL last September for using the banned steroid boldenone, has now been banned for two years by the Australian Olympic Committee despite the fact he no longer plays an Olympic sport … <> SYDNEY were fined $2000 after a Hawthorn trainer at the SCG on Sunday alerted field umpires. AFL admin manager ROD AUSTIN said: "A Sydney trainer had an earpiece and was delivering messages." The AFL rules ban the use of any communications device between the coach's box and training during games. Austin further confirmed there had been 11 official complaints about runners overstaying their presence on the field this year … <> AFL memberships are on the rise — SYDNEY have passed the 30,000 figure, while ST KILDA have reached 22,000 (8,870 in 1995) a valued advance on last year's 16,610 … <> The Seven Network's new football variety show "Live and Kicking" debuted strongly last Wednesday night (20th), with a peak audience in Melbourne of 853,000 and an average of 792,000 viewers. It recorded a peak rating of 38 in Melbourne, averaging the mid-30s and peaked at 37 in Adelaide and 31 in Perth. The Nine Network's "The Footy Show" averaged 524,000 viewers on Thursday night — The Age, May 26 … <> Brisbane utility DARYL WHITE revealed that following their 48pt defeat last Saturday night coach JOHN NORTHEY behind closed doors offered to stand down ...

A 189-page document which took nine months to produce by a seven-member taskforce headed by West Australian QC and League commissioner TERRY O'CONNOR, was unveiled by AFL Chief Commissioner WAYNE JACKSON in Sydney at the Convention Centre of the Centrepoint Tower on Wednesday May 27.

Jackson sounded a note of warning on the unhealthy state of Australian Football in the NSW and the ACT — "The success of the Sydney Swans should not hide the fact that Australian Football is all tip and no iceberg."

AAP reported in The Sydney Morning Herald — "The major recommendation of the task force is to lift the insignificant numbers of junior footballers in the region and improve the quality of Sydney's local senior league (SFL) in time for the dismantling of the AFL reserves competition at the end of 1999."

The report continued: "There are 12,000 junior Australian footballers in NSW and the ACT. Only 2,600 of them registered in Sydney compared with 100,000 soccer players, 45,000 in rugby league, 42,000 in basketball and 11,500 in rugby union."


Super Saints slaughter Sydney
Top four leaders crash
'Sav' and 'Piggy' boot big bags

ROUND 10 — Fri-Sat-Sun, May 29-30-31.
MILESTONES — WAYNE CAMPBELL (Rch) played his 150th senior game ... 100 games for SIMON TREGENZA (Ad) and DUSTIN FLETCHER (Ess) .. it was the 50th game for ANTHONY INGERSON (Mel).

<> NORTH MELBOURNE suffered its 850th League defeat on Sunday … <> both Geelong and Carlton scored their first centuries for the season. For Geelong it was 39 years since such a drought was experienced when in 1959 the Cats failed to kick three figures in the first 12 matches … <> Carlton's 100-plus was its first century since Round 19 last season — a gap of 12 consecutive matches  <> St Kilda's won for the seventh successive time at the SCG. Their big score against Sydney on Saturday night sits well among the range of results when you consider the Swans haven't beaten the Saints at the SCG since 1989. In the 90s, Sydney have only beaten St Kilda twice in 14 starts — once in 1996 and 1997 — both were at Waverley … <> SAVERIO ROCCA's 11.1 was the 40th occasion a Collingwood player has kicked 10-goals or more in a League game. It was the 13th time Saverio Rocca has kicked seven-goals or more in a game for the Magpies.

<> On Friday night at the WACA rookie goal umpire DAVID SHAWCROSS set a new record. Shawcross (after 61 WAFL games) in his first AFL assignment signalled the first 19 goals of the match — 16 to the scoreboard end, eight by the Dogs in the first term, followed by eight from the Eagles in the second. After the long break, the first three goals of the second half were kicked to the city end where Shawcross had moved. Umpires of the night awarded David the match ball.

<||> A crowd of 28,193 on Friday night at the WACA witnessed an extraordinary two quarters of football. The Doggies were supreme at the opening and held a 48pt quarter-time lead of 8.4 to 0.4 following SCOTT WYND's textbook ruckwork and the midfield combination of JOSE ROMERO, BRETT MONTGOMERY and SCOTT WEST.

The second term was equally as stunning as West Coast sparked by the ruck effort of JASON BALL and the taming of Romero and West by DEAN KEMP and MICHAEL BRAUN. The Eagles took the lead just before the half-time siren, 8.6 to 8.5. The first 16 goals of the game were all kicked to the scoreboard end.

The last half was an even battle with the West withstanding a solid challenge by the Dogs to win an amazing night of footy by 13pts — WEST COAST 16.17-113 (Morrison 4, Gehrig 3) best, Ball, Gehrig, Braun, BULLDOGS 15.10-100 (Hudson 5, Grant 3) best, Hudson, Wynd, Romero.

<||> Carlton and Brisbane, the two under-achievers of 1998 faced each other at Optus (18,317) on Saturday. The Blues recorded their best opening of the season with 6.2 and held on strongly to break their eight-game losing streak.

Carlton were in front by seven goals at one stage and in the pattern of the game, the Lions fought back. Given that Bradley, Ratten, Murphy and Camporeale were in touch, its easier to understand how the Blues kicked 17 goals. Carlton by percentage stayed on the bottom, joining the Lions on 2+8. Four players were booked in the game — CARLTON 17.9-111 (Camporeale 3, Murphy 3, Hulme 3) best, Camporeale, Ratten, Hulme, BRISBANE 12.15-87 (White 3, Lappin 3) best, M.Voss, Hart, A.Lynch.

<||> Despite wonky knees, for the second time in three weeks, JASON DUNSTALL kicked Hawthorn's first six goals and seven of its first eight for the Hawks to almost steal the result over Essendon in the twilight game played at Waverley (41,780) on Saturday. Not until the 25 minute mark of the third quarter did a second Hawk kick a goal.

Hawthorn often dominated general play but Essendon found something and it was a pity the match ending as it did. Goal-umpiring came under the spotlight again when a kick from JUSTIN BLUMFIELD (Ess) appeared to shave the goal post yet was given the all-clear after consultation with two boundary umpires and field umpire TIM SHEARER.

SHANE CRAWFORD (Haw) did a good job of containing Essendon captain JAMES HIRD while JONATHAN HAY (Haw) was effective on MATTHEW LLOYD (Ess) — ESSENDON 13.15-93 (Lucas 3) best, Wellman, Lucas, Caracella, HAWTHORN 13.9-87 (Dunstall 9.2) best, Dunstall, S.Crawford, Hay.

<||> "The engine room is where games are won and lost these days and it was Richmond that had half-a-dozen players stoking the furnaces all day while Port Adelaide was running on the equivalent of a half-bag of briquettes" — was how Charles Happell in The Age reviewed the Saturday game (31,225) at the MCG.

The Tigers were wasteful and their five-goal margin would have been greater had it not been for an off-target MATT RICHARDSON who took 15 marks but kicked only 4.7.

The Tigers now at 5+5 lost DUNCAN KELLAWAY when his left knee crumpled in the second term. A reconstruction will keep him out for the rest of the year. WAYNE CAMPBELL was again in brilliant form collecting 39 possessions — RICHMOND 13.19-97 (Richardson 4, Holland 3) best, B.Gale, Daffy, Richardson, PORT 9.13-67 best, Lyle, Francou, Eagleton.

<||> St Kilda were slick, efficient and ruthless as they devastated a lethargic Sydney outfit at the SCG on Saturday night. The winning margin of 101pts was the largest from 183 contests dating back to 1897. Most of the 36,180 present had long departed as the Saints margin mounted toward three digits. MARK RAY in The Sydney Morning Herald reviewing the match: "From the opening moments of the game, St Kilda seemed to have the ball on its fingertips. Every bounce seemed to go its way and every mistake seemed to be made by Sydney".

STEVEN SZILLER put his his stamp on the game in the second when he kicked four goals for the Saints, finishing with 6.2. Midfielder ROBERT HARVEY gave another classic Brownlow performance with 38 possessions in a match where St Kilda were so dominating. Sydney were truly pathetic and the scoreline flattered them — ST KILDA 24.10-154 (Sziller 6, Heatley 4, Brown 3, Sierakowski 3) best, Harvey, Sziller, Everitt, SYDNEY 8.5-53 (Lockett 4, O'Loughlin 3) best, Luff, Seymour, Lockett.

<||> The Demons suffered their third comprehensive thrashing in four weeks when they were overrun by Adelaide at Football Park on Sunday, before a crowd of 40,844. Against Adelaide's tight defence Melbourne were starved and managed just eight goals. Up by 20pts at the last change, Adelaide coach Malcolm Blight stirred his charges to a big win recalling their recent last term capitulation to the Tigers.

Two of the most telling aspects of the match was the strength of Crow ruckman SHAUN REHN and Adelaide's accuracy in the first half. JEFF WHITE did an outstanding job for Melbourne and battled manfully against Rehn and throughout the match around the ground. Already without two major play-makers (Andrew McLeod injured and Nigel Smart suspended) the Crows will wait anxiously on the Tribunal after DARREN JARMAN was booked for striking — ADELAIDE 17.9-111 (Jarman 3) best, James, Bond, Tregenza, MELBOURNE 8.10-58 best, White, Woewodin, S.Febey.

<||> Victoria Park, the remaining bastion of "suburban footy" welcomed 23,188 of the faithful on Sunday when Fremantle stood tall against the Magpies taking the result down to the wire. A singularly great one-man performance by SAVERIO ROCCA in kicking 11.1 (from 13 marks, 14 kicks) proved the difference as Collingwood following three successive losses crept home with a seven-point win. The rangy MATTHEW BURTON did a superb job in the ruck for Freo who into the third led by 28pts and looked capable of causing the upset.

Then NATHAN BUCKLEY began to break clear and eight-straight inspired the Magpies. But the Dockers were still not done and several late goals still gave them a sniff. Only the crunching collision between RICHARD OSBORNE (Col) and ADRIAN FLETCHER (Fre) which broke Fletcher's collarbone seemed to halt their run — COLLINGWOOD 19.5-117 (S.Rocca 11.1) best, S.Rocca, Buckley, Richardson, FREMANTLE 17.10-112 (Hunter 5) best, Burton, Fletcher, Norrish.

<||> GARRY HOCKING on Sunday returned to the Geelong side after five weeks absence through suspension and a broken right thumb. Playing with a moulded guard against North, his presence at the MCG (35,595) guided Geelong to their first century of the season and an important win over the out-front Kangas. Hocking had a blinding last term when he had 8 kicks (of his 23) and 6 handpasses (of 12). Together with LEIGH COLBERT, JOHN BARNES out of the middle and with PETER RICCARDI and DAVID MENSCH having plenty of the ball, it was Geelong's best performance of the season.

Though WAYNE CAREY was always dangerous, overall North were ragged, leading coach DENIS PAGAN to comment the Roos had "too few contributors when it mattered the most" — GEELONG 17.12-114 (Spinks 5, Stoneham 3) best, Hocking, Colbert, Riccardi, NORTH 13.13-91 (Carey 4) best, Carey, Blakey, Harvey.

<> The experiment of AFL twilight matches with a Saturday 3.40pm bounce-down will conclude with the Round 11 Geelong v Carlton match at the MCG. No further twilight games will be programmed this season … <> BRETT LOVETT (Melbourne) retired on May 27 after 13 seasons and a senior service of 235 games from 1986 to Round 19 of 1997. Lovett suffered with a chronic pelvic injury … <> The lengthy period of preparation by full-forwards in taking their kick at goal came under review. Director of umpiring PETER SCHWAB said his charges would be watching: "I think we should be very conscious of how long they are actually taking" — in the Port-Pies game at Football Park, SCOTT CUMMINGS (PA) averaged 50 seconds for each of his five goals … <> Port runner DAVID ARNFIELD was fined $1000 for "coaching" in the match against Collingwood. AFL guidelines demand runners only deliver messages. This follows the fine of $2000 imposed upon Sydney for a similar offence in the same round … <> To avoid a clash with the VCE English examination, the date of the 1998 National Draft has been moved to Sunday November 1. The venue is expected to be Melbourne Park.

Adelaide's DARREN JARMAN was found guilty of striking SHANE WOEWODIN (Mel) when the AFL Tribunal sat on Monday (1st). Jarman was suspended for three matches and will miss crucial contests against the Western Bulldogs, Essendon and Collingwood.

The charge of striking Woewodin with a right forearm to the head made by field umpire MARK NASH was sustained. Chairman BRIAN COLLIS took the unusual step of commenting that the tribunal did not consider the offence overly serious. It is estimated the highly-paid Adelaide star will suffer a loss of up to $40,000 from his suspension. Jarman made his sixth appearance from the past seven years and adds to his one week suspension in 1995 as a Hawthorn player and two weeks in 1997 with Adelaide.

In other cases, DANNY DICKFOS (Bri) and JUSTIN MURPHY (Car) were each fined $1200 for wrestling, while ANTHONY FRANCHINA (Car) was cleared of striking ANDREW BEWS (Bri). Earlier, JARROD MOLLOY (Bri) had his charge of striking withdrawn, following a review of video evidence.

Results are awaited of investigations into a spitting incident said to involve a Western Bulldog player at the WACA on Friday night.

<> The Homebush Stadium will remain at more than 100,000 seats after the 2000 Olympics Sydney's Daily Telegraph (2nd) noted "this issue will be discussed and will be on-going over the next 12-18 months." A capacity of up to 110,000 at Homebush would attract key events including rugby's Bledisloe Cup and maybe even the AFL grand final …

<> Essendon members will vote on June 15 to support or reject the proposed move as an anchor-tenant at the new Docklands Stadium.

<> Essendon estimates it will receive about $1.2 million in additional revenue each year by moving to Docklands. The Bombers would have control of up to 43,000 of the 54,000 Docklands seats on match day in their seven 'home' games. Four 'blockbuster' events would be played at the MCG. The club would also be housed regularly at the big-capacity MCG in many 'away' encounters.

SCOTT BURNS (Col) and MICHAEL BROWN (Fre) were each suspended for two matches from separate incidents in the second quarter when their two clubs met at Victoria Park last Sunday.

Burns though pleading innocence was found guilty of striking CRAIG CALLAGHAN (Fre) while Brown was also found guilty of having struck ALEX McDONALD (Col).

<> Channel Seven in Sydney have dumped the Sydney Swans from prime-time for the rest of the season … Last Saturday's SCG game on a one-hour delay to 8.30pm started with the lowest rating (251,000 viewers) of the four channels. As the margin blew out viewers left Seven faster than fans departing the SCG. By the finish, AFL footy had less than 100,000 viewers left.

<> The Brisbane board sat in emergency for four hours on Wednesday (3rd) reviewing the status of coach John Northey who fronted the board and was asked to give reasons why he should be retained as coach … as recently as May 26, Brisbane chairman Noel Gordon stated that Northey would retain his job until the end of the season.

<> The AFL ruled no action will be taken following allegations Bulldog midfielder NATHAN BROWN had spat into the crowd during the pre-match warm-up at the WACA last Friday night.


Bulldogs clear leaders at half-way
Dons dump Sydney by 10 goals
332,294 create new round record

ROUND 11 — Fri-Sat-Sun-Mon, June 5-6-7-8.
MILESTONES — Attendances for the Queen's Birthday holiday split round totalled 332,294 — a new League record for a single round. It tops the 329,369 for the Easter split round in 1997 ... 100 games were enjoyed by NICK DAFFY (Rch) and JAMES HIRD (Ess) ... 50 matches were celebrated by BRENDAN KRUMMEL (WCE, Fre, now Haw) ... the 100th AFL match was played at Football Park in Adelaide.

<> MCG crowds for the Friday night (62,866), Saturday (41,222) and Monday (58,369) totalled 162,457 … <> The Waverley Park attendance of 71,488 for the St Kilda-Richmond match on Monday was the 22nd occasion the 70,000 barrier has been broken at the venue since the opening on Saturday Apr 18 1970. The two games on the weekend drew almost 103,000 to Waverley … <> The 62,866 on Friday night was the second biggest crowd to watch an Essendon v Swans game. The record of 69,237 was set in the 21st round of 1996, also at the MCG. The red-and-white last defeated Essendon at the MCG in the 1923 Second Semi-Final … <> North kicked 19.12-126 to down the Magpies on Monday – the same score they kicked at Victoria Park in 1993 and the MCG in 1994 – three times from the past eight contests.

> Round 11 was highlighted by a number of goals which will be shortlisted for Goal of the Week, or the season. At Subiaco on Sunday, 120-gamer ANDREW WILLS (Fre) in the opening 14 minutes took the ball just outside the defensive 50 then weaved and evaded with six bounces before slotting his 111th career goal. Equally as exciting was a mirrored effort by Melbourne's 20-year old JEFF FARMER whose third goal of the day in the first quarter at Waverley was a torpedo from 55 metres.

<||> Essendon boasting a formidable forward set-up of MATTHEW LLOYD, JAMES HIRD (his 100th), SCOTT LUCAS and STEVE ALESSIO were comprehensive winners of the Friday night MCG game which drew a big 62,866. The soft going after rain failed to deter the Bombers bursting away with a 50pt opening and they were never challenged by the Swans who have swiftly fallen into a hole.

As players return from injury, the Dons had strong contributors everywhere — Eastaugh, Berbakov, Calthorpe, O'Connor. Of Sydney, PAUL KELLY was one of the few Harboursiders who held his head high, with five goals from the forward flank — ESSENDON 24.16-160 (Lloyd 5, Lucas 4, Alessio 4, Hird 3) best, Hird, Lucas, Lloyd, Alessio, SYDNEY 15.10-100 best, Kelly, Saddington, Cresswell.

<||> The last twilight game was played in frequent rain on Saturday at the MCG to 41,222 fans. After a poor start to the season, Geelong swept to their fifth victory from their last six starts with a 17pts win over Carlton. The wet conditions and swirling wind made scoring difficult and in a familiar story for Carlton this season, Geelong got whatever easy goals there were to be had; Carlton always had to work hard for their rewards. Though they lost, the Blues rose from the dreaded bottom position. For the Cats, it was their third hard-fought MCG victory of recent weeks, after wins over North and the Dons.

LEIGH COLBERT played a blinder for the Cats with 36 possessions from the centre square and across half-back, while BRAD SHOLL, JOHN BARNES and BARRY STONEHAM were effective while MARTY McKINNON recalled from the Reserves came off the interchange bench to kick three last-term goals — GEELONG 12.8-80 (Stoneham 3, McKinnon 3) best, Colbert, Sholl, Mansfield, CARLTON 9.9-63 (Whitnall 3) best, Brown, Camporeale, Silvagni.

<||> Melbourne quickly erased the doubts on their ability to be a major contender for this year's finals when they put the Hawks away early with a seven goal to two opening in the Saturday game (31,365) at Waverley Park.

The strong Demon victory after successive losses without the injured TODD VINEY, DAVID NEITZ and GLEN LOVETT demands attention. JEFF WHITE's skill in the ruck and the dazzling JEFF FARMER led a smooth attack topped off by GARRY LYON (four goals). The Dees after starving Hawthorn's JASON DUNSTALL were out by nine goals at one stage, then settled back for a lazy 47pt win — MELBOURNE 18.9-117 (Farmer 4, Lyon 4, A.McDonald 3) best, Farmer, White, Lyon, HAWTHORN 10.10-70 (Holland 4) best, Holland, S.Crawford, Taylor.

<||> West Coast continued its steady march as they gained a two-point win over Port in a gritty Footy Park contest on Saturday night. The tense last quarter battle was highlighted by BEN COUSINS' (WCE) recovery after kicking into the man-on-the-mark to goal and when DARRYL POOLE's checkside kick for Port hit the goalpost with only seconds to play.

The wintry conditions for 28,284 fans gave them few moments to cheer in an error-filled first half by both sides. The Eagles improved after half-time but made no impact on the scoreboard, and it came down to a genuine slogging last term, which could have gone either way. If you had asked Port coach JOHN CAHILL why the Power had lost, he may have made the point that West Coast got 25 frees, Port 15 — WEST COAST 8.9-57 best, Cousins, Waterman, Metropolis, PORT 7.13-55 best, Morton, Francou, Lockwood.

<||> Sunshine and the manicured Subiaco surface provided a perfect setting yet just 17,452 turned out to watch Sunday's encounter. Just when it seemed things could not possibly get worse for Brisbane and John Northey, along came Fremantle.

Brad Elborough reported in The Age: "The result for the Lions of the 71-point defeat by the Dockers is bottom place on the AFL ladder, their inspirational captain Michael Voss sidelined for the rest of the year and added pressure on coach Northey. The 1996 Brownlow Medalist broke both the tibia and fibula bones in his right leg when spoiling the Dockers' Shane Parker in the dying minutes of the opening term".

Playing without spirit Brisbane was badly beaten, managing just 1.4 to the Dockers 11.10 after half-time, potentially placing Northey's head on the chopping block — FREMANTLE 17.19-121 (Callaghan 3) best, Dodd, Jones, Sinclair, BRISBANE 7.8-50 (C.Scott 3) best, Hart, A.Lynch, T.Lynch.

<||> Cold, but clear conditions welcomed 21,165 to Carlton on Sunday. For the second week in a row, the Western Bulldogs were in supreme first quarter form kicking eight-straight. Then, in what is becoming a trend, Adelaide fought back to be only two points down at half-time.

Ashley Browne reviewing the match in The Age noted the Dogs were made of stern stuff. "What was a two-point ball game became a 67-point blowout. Kicking to the scoring end in the third term, Wallace's men added six goals to one to give themselves a 35-point buffer for what was expected to be a grandstand finish. But kicking to the graveyard that was the Heatley Stand end in the final quarter, the Bulldogs rattled on another seven goals to two. The Demons had been slain, and the football world had again been put on notice". Class had again won the day for the Westerners. At the half-way mark the Dogs lead the table on 9+2, one game clear of St Kilda — WESTERN BULLDOGS 24.11-155 (Kolyniuk 5, Johnson 4) best, Kolyniuk, Romero, Johnson, ADELAIDE 13.10-88 (Vardy 5) best, Koster, Vardy, Rehn.

<||> The Magpies carried all before them in the opening quarter of their Queen's Birthday Monday contest against North at the MCG. A threatening forecast still brought 58,369 to the G and the black-and-white army were on their feet cheering. They however overlooked the star power which North were still to expose. A blinding 8.2 in the second set the Kangas on their way. In the end it was WAYNE CAREY and WINSTON ABRAHAM who extinguished the Magpie hopes. Three telling goals late in the third term off the boot of Carey extended North's lead to 24pts.

King Carey was at his rampant best with 11 marks, 20 touches and four goals — it was a powerful display, as were the silky skills exhibited by Abraham, a very cool pick up from Fremantle.

The 29-point defeat did not please Collingwood coach TONY SHAW who said: "Players are getting good money to play as forwards and when you miss goals from 25m out directly in front, it just kills the players up the ground". Get set for the axe — NORTH MELB 19.12-126 (Carey 4, Crocker 3, Harvey 3) best, Carey, Abraham, King, COLLINGWOOD 13.19-97 (S.Rocca 4, Watson 4) best, Richardson, Crosisca, Watson.

<||> Richmond had a powerhouse opening before a huge Waverley attendance of 71,488 on the Queen's Birthday Monday, kicking the biggest first term of the season of 8.6-54 with MATTHEW RICHARDSON booting four goals.

St Kilda though trailing by 34pts showed no panic and in workmanlike style set out to retrieve the situation. Their intensity and passion increased and they steadily reduced the margin to just 11pts by half-time. The departure of BRENDAN GALE (Rch) with a corked thigh at half-time opened the way for PETER EVERITT (StK) to take over. The Saints flexed their muscles from the small three-point deficit at the last break and hit the lead for the first time eight minutes into the final term. St Kilda overwhelmed the Tigers and won running away by 27pts and take over second place on the ladder, a game behind the Bulldogs — ST KILDA 21.11-137 (Burke 3, Everitt 3, Heatley 3) best, Burke, Harvey, Young, RICHMOND 16.14-110 (Richardson 4) best, Campbell, Knights, Rogers.

Wednesday’s Tribunal
Geelong full-back BEN GRAHAM charged in Saturday's game against Carlton was joined by JEFF FARMER (Mel) and DARRYL POOLE (PA) at the Tribunal on Wednesday (10th). Farmer and Poole were cited following the video reviews of Round 11 matches.

Graham was found guilty of disputing an umpire's decision and escaped suspension but was fined $1500.

Farmer, who may have kicked the goal of the year against Hawthorn on Saturday, pleaded to not guilty to having hit SHANE CRAWFORD (Haw) with a round arm motion. The Melbourne midfield wizard was found guilty of striking Crawford and suspended for three matches. The severe sentence would have taken into account a 1997 two-week suspension for striking and a 1995 indiscretion for making an insulting gesture.

A guilty plea from Port's DARRYL POOLE saved him from a harsh penalty. He was suspended two matches for striking PETER MATERA (WCE) with a fist to the body during the first quarter of Saturday night's game at Footy Park.

The Brisbane board after some eight hours of discussion announced late Wednesday (10th) that JOHN NORTHEY had been sacked and ROGER MERRETT appointed coach for the balance of the 1998 season.

The decision ended weeks of media speculation to Northey's tenure and the dismal performances from his charges. The 71pt thrashing Brisbane suffered from Fremantle at Subiaco on Sunday finally brought down the coach.
Merrett who was assistant coach and in charge of the Lion cubs in the QSFL competition takes over Brisbane on the bottom of the ladder with a 2+9 record from the first 11 matches. Merrett's appointment is to the end of this season and he said in a press conference: "I've got 11 weeks to put some pride and passion back into this place."

John Northey at 54 departs the AFL coaching scene after a 315-game career from 1985 with Sydney, Melbourne, Richmond and Brisbane. He achieved a 49.84% success rate with 157 wins, 154 defeats and four draws.

Northey's departure was not a unanimous decision and it was rumoured some Board members may resign as a result of the decision. Northey according to club sources will be paid out the rest of his $250,000 contract, due to expire at the end of the season.

The Queen's Birthday Monday match at the MCG brought to light the subject of colour clashes of guerney's. Collingwood and North wearing similar vertical stripes caused GAVIN BROWN the Magpie captain to handball to an opponent which resulted in a goal for the Roos. Brown admitted after the game his second quarter handpass was a case of mistaken identity. A close review to introducing alternate strips will be undertaken by the League, according to ops manager IAN COLLINS.

<> In an AFL revamp, TONY PEEK becomes corporate affairs and communications manager, focussing on strategic planning of League operations. JENNY COOKE becomes media relations manager while ROBYN BALME from the SANFL is the new public relations manager.


Saints outclass Collingwood
Swans & Demons in horror slide
Lockett kicks 50 for 13th time

ROUND 12 — Fri-Sat-Sun, June 12-13-14.
MILESTONES — The 700th League match was played at Waverley Park when Collingwood met St Kilda on Sunday … MARK MERCURI (Ess) reached game 100 … 50 matches for MATTHEW PRIMUS (Fit, now PA), WINSTON ABRAHAM (Fre, now NM), BEN COUSINS (WCE), and BRAD WIRA (Fre, now WB).

ST KILDA won their fifth successive encounter against Collingwood – the greatest run by the Saints in 190 contests since 1897 …
<> Geelong kicked 27 goals without answer from Melbourne — true!. In their previous meeting in 1997s eighth round the Cats kicked the last 12 goals to win by 79pts. Last Saturday Geelong kicked the first 15 goals of the MCG game, going on to a 95pt victory — and in so doing recorded 27 unanswered goals against the Demons. It was also Geelong's seventh consecutive win against Melbourne since 1994 and in the last four contests have contained the Redlegs to scores of 56pts or less.
<> TONY LOCKETT (Syd) with his third goal on Saturday reached 50 goals in a season for the 13th occasion. It equalled the achievement of Collingwood legend GORDON COVENTRY. Others in the record category of 50 Goals in a Season are — JASON DUNSTALL (Haw) 11 times, while STEPHEN KERNAHAN (Car) and JACK TITUS (Rch) each did so 10 times.

<||> West Coast wrapped up their fifth successive victory when they overcame a gritty Hawthorn outfit on Friday night at the WACA in front of 27,112 fans. It was mostly fine apart from brief drizzle near the end of the first quarter. The Eagles went into the game without GLEN JAKOVICH and DEAN KEMP then lost GUY McKENNA with a shoulder injury only seven minutes after the start.

The Hawks started brightly and gained the early break then the Eagles steadied and for the balance of the contest it was always close. BEN DIXON with six goals filled the breach left by JASON DUNSTALL when the star-forward was well-held by ASHLEY McINTOSH. The Eagles gained great drive from the influence of FRASER GEHRIG (5 goals) while MICHAEL GARDINER did well in the ruck against the Hawk veteran PAUL SALMON — WEST COAST 19.9-123 (Gehrig 5, Heady 3) best, McIntosh, Braun, Heady, HAWTHORN 17.6-108 (Dixon 6) best, Dixon, Crawford, Graham. Though the Hawks entertained on Friday night, by the end of the round they were back to bottom place.

<||> Carlton's season took on a brighter note when they were confident winners at home (23,226) on Saturday over the struggling Sydney outfit. The Coathangers lost PAUL ROOS (jarred knee) in the first term then JASON MOONEY (groin) soon after, but neither would have changed the course of history.

Carlton deep into the third term went out to a five-goal lead and though Sydney came back in spite of several terrible errors, the Blues held on to win running away. BRAD PEARCE with five goals eclipsed the returning ANDREW DUNKLEY while MATTHEW ALLEN with 34 hit-outs enjoyed ruck dominance over a flagging GREG STAFFORD — CARLTON 14.16-100 (Pearce 5, Hamill 4) best, Hamill, Allan, Manton, SYDNEY 11.8-74 (Luff 3, Lockett 3) best, Cresswell, Nicks, O'Loughlin.

<||> Melbourne's first goal of the game didn't come until GARRY LYON booted one 28 minutes into the second term and by then the 41,567 on Saturday at the MCG had seen Geelong play an almost perfect half of football. Winning their sixth from the past seven outings, Geelong produced 22 goals from 10 scorers, lifting their percentage from 92 to 102 with a 95pt victory and boosted themselves from ninth to fifth place.

A foot injury and a report for JAMIE SHANAHAN (and a later two-week suspension) plus the prospect of losing DAVID SCHWARZ for three weeks with a hamstring added to the woes of Melbourne. Geelong also suffered when BEN GRAHAM was thought to have broken his right arm after colliding with teammate TIM McGRATH in the final quarter — GEELONG 22.9-141 (Spinks 4, Snell 4) best, Hocking, Sholl, Colbert, MELBOURNE 7.4-46 best, Lyon, Yze, Smoker.

On Monday, BEN GRAHAM underwent surgery to repair ruptured tendons and ligaments near his elbow — he is expected to miss the balance of the season.

<||> Essendon after four successive wins were hot favourites to destroy the myth they can't win at Footy Park. The big 40,700 crowd on Saturday night were given a treat and a heart-pumping finish on a crisp but fine winter's night. Against all odds and with many of their stars sitting on the sidelines, Adelaide won through in a thrilling last quarter for a two-point victory.

It was obvious both clubs were playing for high stakes. The game was highlighted for different reasons — big games for the Crows which MATTHEW ROBRAN and MARK RICCIUTO delivered; the return of MICHAEL LONG for Essendon after his second knee reconstruction and kicking three goals; plus the loss of the exciting forward MICHAEL PRIOR (Ess) with a left knee injury in the first term. ADELAIDE 15.18-108 (Robran 3, Vardy 3) best, Robran, Thiessen, James, ESSENDON 15.16-106 (Long 3) best, Calthorpe, Olarenshaw, Caracella.

<||> It was overcast but fine on Sunday for the reduced-capacity Gabba as work on new grandstands allowed in only 15,924. Following their traumatic week the Lions came back from a 26pt deficit with only 10 minutes left in the game. Critical errors and a whole lot of passion gave Brisbane only a draw, but it was a mind-shattering defeat for Port, despite the two premiership points.

It was a tight match throughout, with both sides sharing the lead. Port went into the last term ahead by seven points and after kicking four goals in the first 14 minutes appeared certain of victory. Brisbane fought back from 26pts down and with only seconds remaining signs that the Port defence was flagging were confirmed when 18-year-old STUART DEW with a terrible kick-out found the arms of the Lion's SHAUN HART who kicked straight to level the scores. It was the first time since 1944-45 that two teams had drawn at consecutive meetings — BRISBANE 18.15-123 (Johnson 3, Hart 3) best, Lawrence, C.Scott, Hart, PORT ADELAIDE 18.15-123 (Morton 4, Cummins 3) best, Primus (his 50th), Dickie, Morton.

<||> Chilly, but a great winter's day with sunshine brought another big 50,578 to Waverley on Sunday. They saw St Kilda continue their steady march as leading contenders when they outclassed Collingwood for a convincing 35pt success. The Pies blew away their chances with an inaccurate 2.11 in the first half when they were always harassed by a the swath of a great St Kilda defence brilliantly led by DARRYL WAKELIN. The Pies did better in the last term, but by then it didn't matter.

PETER EVERITT maintained his prominence as the lynch-pin around the ground for the Saints, winning the ruck and always following with neat pick-ups and direct passes, gaining 20 kicks and 26 handpasses for the match. STEWART LOEWE returned from injury with five goals while others who the Woods could not contain were ROBERT HARVEY (33 touches), NATHAN BURKE (28) while full-forward HEATLEY enjoyed a return to form with four goals — ST KILDA 17.15-117 (Loewe 5, Heatley 4) best, Everitt, Heatley, Harvey, C’WOOD 11.16-82 (Watson 5) best, Buckley, Watson, Godden.

<||> Richmond kept a tight grip on the North's major playmakers in the Sunday MCG contest played in good conditions to an attendance of 43,497. The Tigers showed the way in a match where the Kangas were expected to grasp a big opportunity to cement themselves as one of the major forces.

North's lack of speed in the midfield was again exposed as their Tiger opponents MATTHEW KNIGHTS, NICK DAFFY, PAUL BRODERICK and MATTHEW ROGERS were clearly on top. Richmond were also provided with great service from DARREN GASPAR who restricted North's 'King' WAYNE CAREY to only 12 touches, while WAYNE CAMPBELL contained the Roos' prolific on-baller ANTHONY STEVENS.

The Tigers joined a group of six including North on 7+5 — with the thought that Richmond can only get better, while the Kangas are still trying to find their way back to the path — RICHMOND 19.13-127 (Richardson 4, Powell 3, Broderick 3) best, Daffy, Rogers, Gaspar, NORTH MELB 14.8-92 (Carey 3) best, Harvey, Grant, Blakey.

<||> The Western Bulldogs controlled most of the Sunday game at Carlton (16,487) against a willing and honest team of Dockers — but in the long haul, the Dogs were the masters. Until half-time, Freo were in with a chance but the Tricolours though fading in the last quarter were clear victors.

The competition leaders received top contributions from SCOTT WEST (33 possessions) and dual forwards ROHAN SMITH and PAUL HUDSON. Innovative Bulldogs coach TERRY WALLACE departed from the norm and called on former captain Footscray captain STEVE WALLIS to prepare the team for Sunday's match. Wallis had charge of training on Wednesday and Friday's sessions and sat in the coach's box on gameday — the team delivered for the 261-gamer. WESTERN BULLDOGS 18.14-122 (Smith 5, Grant 3, Hudson 3) best, Croft, Grant, Romero, FREMANTLE 15.6-96 (Clement 3) best, O'Reilly, Gale, Sinclair.

In a fallout out to the sacking of coach JOHN NORTHEY, two directors of the Brisbane board ALAN PIPER and BEN MacDONALD resigned on Thursday (11th) in protest to the off-field style leadership provided by chairman NOEL GORDON.

Gordon just survived a no-confidence challenge at the Wednesday morning board meeting which later sacked Northey and installed ROGER MERRETT as coach for the balance of the season.

Piper as vice-chairman (and a member of the board since 1991) at his departure was critical of Gordon's style of leadership. He cited a number of instances where Gordon had let the club down. These included Gordon's comments made during the Alastair Lynch drug case, when Gordon accused the AFL of 'dirty play' and the strained relationship which now existed between Brisbane and the AFL.

Piper was the architect of the QAFL's bid which won the VFL licence for the Paul Cronin group in 1986 and has been a strong financial supporter of the club throughout its existence.

Essendon members voted in support of the club's decision to play seven "home" matches at the new Docklands Stadium from the year 2000.

A sometimes rowdy meeting held at the Moonee Valley racecourse reception facility on Monday night (15th) drew 1800 people.

Final voting resulted in 4048 for, with 1076 against the proposal for Essendon to become the anchor-tenant at Docklands. Approval required only a 40% majority of members.

<> AFL chief WAYNE JACKSON told a National Press Club luncheon in Hobart last Wednesday (10th) that Tasmania must have a new stadium and a single football commission before the AFL will consider holding pre-season or regular League matches there.

Monday’s Tribunal
Monday's sitting of the AFL Tribunal suspended both Melbourne's JAMIE SHANAHAN and Fremantle's SCOTT CHISHOLM for two weeks.

Shanahan was found guilty of striking Geelong full-forward BRETT SPINKS with a fist to the head in the final quarter of Saturday's match at the MCG.

From the Sunday game played at Carlton, the Dockers' SCOTT CHISHOLM after pleading not guilty was found to have struck Western Bulldog CHRIS GRANT with an arm to the head.

FRASER BROWN (Car) was fined $1500 and PETER FILANDIA (Syd) $1200 when they were found guilty of wrestling one another in the final quarter of Saturday's game at Carlton.

Final membership figures for the 1998 season were published by the Herald Sun































NTH MELB 20,196 19,368






















Tuesday’s Tribunal
Key Richmond midfielder WAYNE CAMPBELL received a one-match suspension when found guilty of a tripping charge.

Campbell fronted the Tribunal on Tuesday (16th) on a video charge of having tripped North's DAVID KING.

Carlton's FRASER BROWN was found guilty of wrestling Sydney's TROY COOK and fined a further $1200. Brown the previous night had been fined $1500 for wrestling PETER FILANDIA (Syd). Both actions came during the Carlton-Sydney game on Saturday.

Fremantle BRODIE HOLLAND was cleared of a charge of kneeing JOE ROMERO (WB) from Sunday's match at Carlton.

<> Charges for tickets for the 1998 final series were announced. Seats for the Grand Final will be $75, a rise of $5 from 1997 with concessions jumping to $40 (a $3 increase). Tickets for the Preliminary Final will cost each adult $45 ($42 last year) and concessions $24 ($22). Tickets for the Qualifying and Semi-Finals will be $26 (a $1 rise) with concessions at $15.

<> Channel Seven called the Richmond-North game on Sunday from their South Melbourne studios. Seven's regular MCG box was allocated to Optus Vision which had exclusive rights to the game and the footy network rejected the offered alternative for their commentators SANDY ROBERTS and IAN ROBERTSON.

<> An AFL Legend of the Game has become a victim of the downturn in the Asian economy. "Polly" Farmer has been forced to quit his Southway Auto Lodge in Perth with losses of almost $600,000. Now 63, Farmer is broke, homeless and living with with his children. Former Geelong teammates JOHN WATTS and BOB DAVIS have formed a committee to raise money for Farmer. The star of VFL and WAFL football in 356 senior games spanning 1953 to 1971 recently had the $400 million northern city bypass tunnel project in Perth named after him, the Graham Farmer Freeway.


A round of major upsets
Saints rise to equal leadership
Jason Dunstall reaches 1250 goals

ROUND 13 — Fri-Sat-Sun, June 19-20-21.
MILESTONES — GLEN JAKOVICH (WCE) and STEVEN KOLYNIUK (Fsc-WB) played their 150th games … MATTHEW CLARKE (Bri) and SHAYNE BREUER (Gee, now PA) their 100th … MARTIN McKINNON (Ade, now Gee) his 50th.

STEPHEN SILVAGNI (1985-98) played his 240th senior game for Carlton — one more than his father SERGIO recorded with the Blues (1958-71) … NATHAN BUCKLEY played his 100th match for the Pies … 50 games were achieved by PAUL SALMON with Hawthorn, DEAN RICE with Carlton and BRAD WIRA with Footscray-Bulldogs …


JASON DUNSTALL (Haw) passed 50 goals in a season for the 12th time in his career spanning 267 matches and 1250 goals since 1985.

<> In a weekend of upsets, for the first time since Port Adelaide entered in 1997 all six non-Victorian sides recorded victories in the same round. At the other end of the scale, the Western Bulldogs suffered their third interstate defeat of the year when they lost to Port.

<> Adelaide defeated Collingwood in Melbourne for the first time in their 12th meeting … Hawthorn defeated North for the first time since 1993, following nine consecutive losses …

<> Friday night at the G produced the best of the round by far for 45,277 fans. Essendon captain JAMES HIRD lasted only the first 90-seconds of the game when he again tore his left hamstring from a marking contest.

<||> In the cold but fine conditions, PETER MATERA (WCE) starting from the bench reproduced the brilliance he displayed in the Coasters earlier premiership seasons kicking 7.3 for the night and providing the Eagles with the difference for them to win their sixth consecutive match.

But overall, it took a lot more hard work elsewhere for the Eagles to survive. The Dons had many hard-workers in Calthorpe, Hardwick and Barnard, while Wellman was in control of Gehrig, and first-gamer JUDD LALICH (Ess) gave GLEN JAKOVICH (150th game) a heap of worries. From level-pegging at half-time, the second half was a see-sawing affair as BEN COUSINS, ASHLEY McINTOSH and CHRIS WATERMAN as well as Matera emerged with great efforts. The contest thrillingly went down to the wire and not until the closing moments did the Eagles clinch it through a JASON BALL goal — WEST COAST 11.17-83 (Peter Matera 7.3) best, Peter Matera, Cousins, Kemp, ESSENDON 11.6-72 best, Mercuri, Lucas, Berbakov.

<||> Adelaide defeated Collingwood in Melbourne for the first time in eight attempts when they met on Saturday at the MCG — 34,630 attended. The Magpies went in with one-third of their line-up changed, attempting to turn their losing streak around. The game became a slogging, scrappy affair in the cold swirling wind with the Crows enjoying their early breaks chiefly from TROY BOND who proved an elusive first-half goalsneak with four majors.

Collingwood tried hard and got to within four points early in the last quarter but couldn't break through the tight Adelaide defence where NIGEL SMART was prominent, turning back many strong attacks. It was Bond again who provided the sealer for the Crows when close to the final siren he launched himself at an incoming ball, marking on his chest and kicking his fifth for the day — ADELAIDE 11.13-79 (Bond 5) best, Smart, McLeod, Bond, COLLINGWOOD 10.10-70 best, Buckley, Burns, S.Rocca.

<||> Brisbane threw off its easy-beat tag when they grasped the game at Kardinia Park by the scruff of the neck on Saturday afternoon (21,833) and caused one of the major upsets of the season when they comprehensibly defeated the strongly-favoured Geelong. It was a Brisbane performance full of pride for the Lions now coached by ROGER MERRETT.

Stephen Rielly in The Age reported: SHAUN HART and CRAIG McRAE were outstanding in the early going, attacking the football as Merrett promised his players would. McRae, like JUSTIN LEPPITSCH at full-forward ..."

"Inexplicably, Geelong's loss was the third this season at Kardinia Park. Not so difficult to understand were the reasons for Brisbane's victory – Geelong coach GARY AYRES mused later, 'quite frankly, it looked they were the side out there striving for the finals ..." — GEELONG 15.16-106 (Leppitsch 4) best, Leppitsch, Hart, A.Lynch, GEELONG 12.8-80 (Burns 3) best, Hocking, Mensch, Barnes.

<||> Wind-swept Waverley catered for 23,845 hardy souls on Saturday afternoon as Hawthorn burst through to win their first game against North since 1993, and a run of nine successive failures. After a series of set-backs when victory was often within their grasp the win provided a great tonic in an otherwise forgettable season for the Hawks.

PAUL SALMON (Haw) effectively beat North's COREY McKERNAN in ruck contests but it was the steel which Hawthorn displayed which captured the spotlight. SHANE CRAWFORD continued his range of good performances, well-supported by NICK HOLLAND.

The narrow defeat handed the Kangas their third straight loss and the game plan devised by former Roo PETER GERMAN (now Hawthorn's Reserves coach) ended Hawthorn's five-year losing streak, HAWTHORN 17.12-114 (Holland 4, Lord 4, Dunstall 3) best, Salmon, Holland, Lord, NORTH MELB 17.10-112 (Carey 4, McKernan 4, Roberts 3) best, Carey, Archer, Roberts.

<||> Rain from the day eased during the first quarter of Saturday night's clash at Football Park (28,746). The game resulted in Port winning their first game for five weeks when in uncharacteristic fashion the League leaders the Western Bulldogs crumbled to kick the season's lowest score of 5.9.

Port after a narrow loss to the Eagles (57-55), then the draw with Brisbane played good old-fashioned football and a fighting victory typical of the tradition of their 128-year history. Port's pressure game never allowed the Bulldogs any freedom to develop their damaging run. In contrast using a tall-forward line-up, Port got the ball down first from wingman DONALD DICKIE, midfielder JOSH FRANCOU, the diminutive (175cm) DANNY MORTON and classy rookie NICK STEVENS. Port gained top efforts from ruckman MATTHEW PRIMUS (his first since May 7), DARREN MEAD, ADAM KINGSLEY and STUART DEW. For the Bulldogs it was a night of horrors while for Port their hopes for a place in the finals is well-alive — PORT ADELAIDE 11.7-73 (Cummings 3, Dickie 3) best, Dickie, Breuer (his 100th), Wanganeen, BULLDOGS 5.9-39 best, Kretiuk, Wynd, Romero.

<||> St Kilda in spite of pouring rain cruised to an effortless 85pt win over a disappointing Melbourne at the MCG on Sunday for a crowd of 35,055. For a second week (95pt loss to Geelong in R12) the Demons returned to their old ways and were outclassed in all departments.

As noted in The Age: "Injuries and suspensions to experienced players such as David Schwarz, David Neitz, Jamie Shanahan, Glenn Lovett and Stephen Tingay have robbed the Demons not only of their own talents, but increased the pressure on the younger heads in the side to the point that the youthful zest Melbourne had in abundance early in the season is looking tired and sore now". Jim Stynes (Mel) playing his 254th game on Sunday injured the medial ligament of his left knee. An examination on Monday indicated Stynes may be sidelined for up to six weeks.

The Saints welcomed the return to form by forward JASON HEATLEY and all-round received a great effort led by PETER EVERITT, NATHAN BURKE and ANDREW THOMPSON — ST KILDA 19.13-127 (Heatley 5) best, Everitt, Burke, A.Thompson, MELBOURNE 5.12-42 best, Yze, Leoncelli, Smoker.

<||> From Sunday's opening bounce at the SCG, Sydney threw off the shackles of terrible recent performances with dedicated passion in tackling and delivery at a rate which stunned the Tigers.

Mark Ray in The Sydney Morning Herald reported BRETT O'FARRELL enjoyed a great debut for the Swans: "The 20-year-old from East Sandringham, preferred to Stefan Carey as Greg Stafford's replacement in the ruck, won his duel with Brendon Gale there and showed good skills across the forward line. He kicked two goals (one with his first kick in AFL footy), took eight marks and then topped off a big day by being concussed in a collision with Paul Bulluss that had him stretchered off the ground in the last quarter. The somewhat disappointing crowd of 28,445 gave O'Farrell a rousing roar, so rousing that he emerged from treatment downstairs to watch the final minutes from the interchange bench. TROY LUFF was again superb, calm and solid in his defensive play and constructive in his passing towards the centre of the ground".

Mid-way into the second term after the lead had changed five times, the Harboursiders went out to lead by 15pts at half-time, and were never seriously threatened thereafter. PAUL KELLY was again inspirational for the Swans, with a sigh of relief they may had turned a corner, SYDNEY 16.6-106 (Kelly 4, Lockett 4) best Nicks, Luff, Warfe, RICHMOND 13.13-19 (Richardson 5) best, Daffy, Broderick, Powell.

<||> Freo and the Blues fought out a scrappy encounter to a small 23,899 fans at Subiaco on Sunday. The match never reached a standard expected of the AFL with many skills errors though a tricky wind did play a part in many of these.

The down-on-form Freo captain PETER MANN produced two efforts which inspired the Dockers — a goal from from the boundary in the second term, then another at a critical point of the last quarter which regained the lead for his side. Carlton earlier had found both BRAD PEARCE and LANCE WHITNALL useful forwards but Fremantle just had enough to sneak over the line in what was realistically a forgettable game, and one which STEPHEN SILVAGNI in a notable 240th appearance kicked out on the full in the dying minutes from which the Dockers goaled to seal the match — FREMANTLE 10.16-76 best, Mann, O'Reilly, Dodd, CARLTON 10.8-68 (Whitnall 3) best, Manton, McKay, Allan. The loss returned Carlton to bottom place on the ladder.

<> Two high-profile footballers received reminders of their worth from two journalists last week. Dermott Brereton in The Age and John Townsend in The West Australian respectively questioned the value Essendon's JAMES HIRD and West Coast's PETER MATERA. Hird lasted barely 90 seconds in Friday's game before retiring with a recurrence of a hamstring injury. In the same game, the Eagles' Matera coming off the bench (replacing his injured brother Phillip) and responded to the spray with a personal-best of 7.3 against the Bombers.

<> Adelaide's TONY MODRA will be back to full training this week. Injured in 1997s First Preliminary Final, Modra's return game could be in Round 17 on Friday July 24 versus Freo at Subiaco.

<> MICHAEL VOSS on long-term recovery of his broken right leg is now coaching the Lions Cubs in the QSFL competition. At 22, it is understood Voss is the youngest coach to head a QSFL (or a QAFL) side. The vacancy was left by the upgrading of ROGER MERRETT to the senior Brisbane post.

Monday’s Tribunal
The AFL Tribunal on Monday (22nd) handed a two-match suspension to Sydney ruckman STEFAN CAREY and a $1200 fine to Essendon's DAMIEN HARDWICK.
Carey was found guilty of striking PAUL BULLUSS (Rch) with a fist to the head in Sunday's game at the SCG. Carey's suspension of two matches was the first of his 29-game AFL career. He will miss contests against Adelaide and Fremantle.
North Melbourne on-baller ANTHONY STEVENS pleaded not guilty to the charge of striking RAYDEN TALLIS (Haw). The Tribunal found the charge not sustained. In wrestling charges, SHANNON GRANT (NM) and CRAIG TRELEVEN (Haw) were cleared, while from the Friday night game MICHAEL BRAUN (WCE) was cleared of wrestling DAMIEN HARDWICK (Ess). Hardwick however pleaded guilty to wrestling Braun and was fined $1200.

Rex Hunt and the 3AW team held a solid lead over their three rivals when radio ratings for the Melbourne market were released on Tuesday.

3AW MMM 3LO Magic
Sat 17.0 13.2 9.3 6.3
Sun 14.0 11.9 9.7 5.0

Directors of the nine SANFL clubs on Monday (22nd) adopted a SA Football Commission recommendation to pay the first $1 million of the AFL license fee on behalf of the Port Adelaide club. The decision is in keeping with the concession made to the Adelaide club after their formation in 1991.

The $3 million balance of Port's licence fee to the AFL is due in five annual payments of $600,000 from October 1999 until 2003. The Adelaide club will complete its licence fee schedule with $600,000 being paid in the next two years.

Eighty percent of the profits derived from the AFL operations of Adelaide and Port flow back to the SANFL clubs.

<> JOE KELLY, the man who coached Footscray to their first VFL final passed away on June 17 at the age of 91.

Joe played 137 games as a wingman with Carlton between 1926 and 1934 and is listed among their 100 greatest players. He later coached Footscray for three seasons and in his first year took the Bulldogs to third place and the 1938 First Semi-Final in which they lost to Collingwood.

Kelly also coached South Melbourne in 1941-42-43-44 during which the Swans made it to the preliminary final in 1942. At the 1956 Olympic Games held in Melbourne, Joe proudly coached an Amateur squad in an exhibition game of our Australian game to the world.

<> CLARRIE SHIELDS, who was a selector of Footscray's only premiership side in 1954 passed on last Sunday while holidaying on the Gold Coast, aged 84.
Shields played with Footscray, Collingwood, Camberwell and St Kilda. He accumulated 46 senior League games between 1935 and 1943 and captained Collingwood Reserves for more than 100 games.


St Kilda go to the top
Six clubs in equal third place
Jason Dunstall breaks a collarbone

ROUND 14 — Fri-Sat-Sun, June 26-27-28.
MILESTONES — DAVID KING (NM) played his 100th senior game ... 50 AFL matches were celebrated by TYSON EDWARDS (Ade), MATTHEW LLOYD (Ess), SCOTT LUCAS (Ess), GAVIN MITCHELL (Fre, now StK) and CRAIG TRELEVEN (Haw).

<> MELBOURNE won their first game in Perth since 1990. The Sunday win at Subiaco also ended eight successive failures against the Eagles since 1994  … the attendance of 35,238 was the second-biggest crowd to see the Demons in WA, vying with the 35,623 of 1990 at Subi … <> RICHMOND enjoyed a host of new records in their Saturday meeting at the MCG against Fremantle in a 90pt victory. The previous best winning margins by the Tigers were, 5, 5 and 7 points … <> FREMANTLE's 90pt loss to Richmond was their third-heaviest defeat in the AFL. The Dockers lost to Collingwood by 100, 97-R15-VP — to Adelaide by 96pts, 96-R7-FP — and again to Adelaide by 93pts, 97-R2-FP.

<> COLLINGWOOD completed June without a win — the Magpies have not won a game in the month of June during the tenure of present coach TONY SHAW in 1996, 1997 or 1998.

<||> Following two successive failures North bounced back on Friday night at the MCG (48,618) when they returned to their efficient best and lead most of the match to be 18pt victors over a mistake-ridden Essendon side. It was North's fourth win from the past five meetings with the Dons.

North at one stage stretched out to a 40pt margin and while the two 50-gamers MATTHEW LLOYD and SCOTT LUCAS battled gamely for the Bombers, the Roos made more effective use of the ball and were deserved winners — NORTH MELB 19.13-127 (Harvey 5,) best, King, Harvey, Archer, ESSENDON 16.13-109 (Lucas 4, Lloyd 4) best, Alessio, Calthorpe, Mercuri.

By the second quarter, Hawthorn were confident leaders by six goals over the Blues at Carlton (25,529) on Saturday — Dunstall had kicked 1.1 when from a contest at the ball he went to ground and Carlton full-back Silvagni fell across him. The Hawks champion and captain suffered a broken right collarbone in his 268th match in which he has kicked 1252 goals – 47 goals short of the Gordon Coventry record. Dunstall turns 34 in August.

Whether Dunstall's loss from the contest had a psychological effort on his teammates may carry little weight, but as so often happened in games this season, the Hawks stuttered and allowed Carlton to dominate the last half. The Blues lifted their workrate and delivered crisply to forward BRAD PEARCE who returned another good haul of 6.4. Carlton and the Hawks swapped places, with Hawthorn returning to the bottom and facing their first wooden-spoon since 1965 – CARLTON 13.14-92 (Pearce 6.4, Whitnall 3) best, Bradley, Ratten, Pearce, HAWTHORN 11.10-76 (Holland 3) best, Kappler, Krummel, McCabe.

<||> Richmond maintained their grasp on a place in the top eight with a thorough 90pt victory over Fremantle at the MCG on Saturday afternoon to a crowd of 25,723. The aerial dominance of Richmond's forward brigade set the Tigers up from the start when MATTHEW RICHARDSON kicked three majors in the first 15 minutes.

The boost to Richmond's percentage cannot be overestimated (they rose from 100.4 to 107.9) and with six of their remaining games scheduled for the G. The future for the Tigers looks rosy — but for the Dockers, without changes to their culture and ability they will remain the AFL's problem child — RICHMOND 23.7-145 (Richardson 7.1, Plapp 3, Holland 3, Ryan 3) best, Daffy, Richardson, Knights, FREMANTLE 8.7-55 best, O'Reilly, Holland, Bond.

<||> Tight, tough and close – good, but not great, was how 49,706 saw the Waverley clash on Saturday. Billed as a "grand final preview" the Saints and Bulldogs gave as good as they took with the result coming down to a tense conclusion and only a 15pt margin.

The swirling Waverley breeze brought an early advantage to St Kilda and the outcome may have been achieved in the second term when with great grit they held the defiant Bulldogs at bay. Though the Dogs had a mortgage on possession in the run home, although the Westerners crept to within eight points, it may have been a critical decision when Dog-forward JAMES COOK within scoring distance was forced to turn-over the ball after teammate TODD CURLEY bumped Saint defender MAX HUDGHTON to the ground — it became a clearing kick, not a shot at goal.

As JAKE NIALL reported in The Age – The Saints did not play well in that last quarter but, importantly they kept their nerve ..." – ST KILDA 12.15-87 (Everitt 3) best, Loewe, Harvey, Winmar, BULLDOGS 10.12-72 (Cook 3) best, Grant, Kretiuk, Garlick.

The win took St Kilda to the head of the ladder by one game on 11+3 — the Tribunal hearing on the charge against PETER EVERITT is another game in itself.

<||> Rain and wind on a cold Saturday night at Footy Park (32,431) prevented either Port or the Cats turning on a spectacle – but it was tight throughout with both sharing the lead in the last quarter with Port only gaining a break in the closing minutes. They maintained Geelong's failure to win a match at Football Park against either the Crows or the Power.

Port won the game by employing similar tactics which brought their win the previous week over the Bulldogs – a direct route to goal. The home side were treated to big games from NATHAN EAGLETON, DONALD DICKIE, ADAM KINGSLEY, WARREN TREDREA and the returning DAVID BROWN. The Cats from the 37 players they have used in the first 14 rounds would take heart as several youngsters continue to emerge – JAMES RAHILLY, CLINT BIZZELL and CAM ROBERTS — PORT ADELAIDE 13.13-91 (Tredrea 3) best, Stevens, Wanganeen, Primus, GEELONG 10.13-73 (Burns 4) best, Sholl, Hocking, Burns.

Caretaker coach ROGER MERRETT continued the improvement rate of his new charges when Brisbane produced a cracking 52pt victory over Collingwood at the BCG (17,275) on Sunday afternoon. The Magpies from the mid-week club turmoil were the early front-runners but were enveloped by a determined Brisbane attack in the second term when DARYL WHITE added three of his four goals.

NATHAN BUCKLEY was Collingwood's best as usual and in spite of close attention from BRAD SCOTT, the Pie leader obtained 31 possessions. Though the Woods came back early in the third, Brisbane went on to overrun Collingwood for a blowout win, delivering the ninth loss of the season for the Pies, with hopes for the finals all but a memory — BRISBANE 19.21-135 (White 4, Leppitsch 3) best, Lappin, Akermanis, Ashcroft, COLLINGWOOD 12.11-83 (Buckley 4, S.Rocca 4) best, Buckley, Williams, Russell.

<||> Fine, cool conditions on Sunday at the SCG (30,735) gave the reigning premiers the opportunity to emphasise their class over the confidence-torn Sydney squad who slumped to their fourth defeat from five games. The Crows led by as much 51pts before half-time and though the Swans displayed a greater commitment during a 20-minute passage, the Harboursiders were outclassed.

The result brought Sydney coach RODNEY EADE to acknowledge Adelaide as the most skilful side in the competition, and the strong prospect the Crows could win back-to-back premierships. Eade said: "To be honest they've got more talent overall than us – they've got some super-skilled players"—Adelaide on percentage climbed to third place; the Swans are now a precarious seventh – ADELAIDE 18.16-124 (Marsh 3, Ricciuto 3) best, Rehn, Ricciuto, James, SYDNEY 12.15-87 (Cresswell 3) best, Dunkley, Nicks, Luff.

CHIP Le GRAND in The Australian of the Sunday game at Subiaco (35,238) said: "A gallant Melbourne thumbed its nose at reputation, form and experts to produce one of the upsets of the season with a startling 17-point win over West Coast ...". The win ended a six-win streak by West Coast and brought Melbourne first win in Perth since 1990.

Melbourne coming off two hidings and wounded by injury also lost ANTHONY INGERSON and PAUL HOPGOOD from the selected side. West Coast early threatened to take control but their haphazard disposal kept the Demons well in touch to half-time. With some of the Eagle playmakers fading, SHAUN SMITH provided a turning point eight minutes into the second half when he goaled and Melbourne were only four points down. Rising to the occasion defender ADEM YZE produced a 12-possession third term as JEFF WHITE and TODD VINEY worked hard for the Demons to go into the last with an 11pt lead.

Melbourne maintained their commitment throughout the final quarter bringing coach NEALE DANIHER to observe: "We are not a team of stars. We need everyone contributing and we got that today" — MELBOURNE 14.12-96 (J.McDonald 4, Robertson 3) best, Yze, Viney, White, WEST COAST 11.13-79 (Heady 3) best, McIntosh, Waterman, McKenna.

Monday’s Tribunal
St Kilda ruckman and Brownlow Medal prospect PETER EVERITT maintained his clean record when he was cleared of a striking charge by the AFL Tribunal on Monday (29th) night.

Pleading not guilty, the Tribunal after just six minutes found Everitt had no case to answer. He had been charged by umpire VINCE SERCIA with striking the head of Rohan Smith (WB). It was Everitt's sixth appearance before the Tribunal since his AFL debut in 1993.

Fremantle on-baller BRAD DODD in the 14th match of his excellent debut season pleaded guilty to striking Richmond's NICK DAFFY at the MCG on Saturday. For the offence Dodd was punished with a two match suspension.

<> Collingwood president KEVIN ROSE on Monday (29th) confirmed negotiations had taken place to the prospect of the Packer media empire taking a substantial sponsorship interest in his club. Michael Horan in the Herald Sun (30th) quoted: 'They're very interested,' an enthusiastic Rose said yesterday. He said the club had dealt with JAMES PACKER and Nine network managing director and chief executive David Leckie.

Seven Network chairman KERRY STOKES told The Age that Seven would not tolerate involvement by Packer, his company PBL or any of its subsidiaries.

Pay TV coverage of AFL football was jeopardised when Optus Vision's sports programming supplier was placed in provisional liquidation on Monday (29th).
SportsVision supplied – Sports AFL, two Sports Australia channels and ESPN to 180,000 subscribers of Optus, half of the number from Victoria. The original partners in Sports Vision were the Seven Network, Optus Vision, the US-based ESPN and Kerry Packer's PBL.

Optus Vision claimed current programming would not be affected but it is understood talks held may bring a move to the rival Foxtel pay TV network.

The Herald Sun on Tuesday (30th) reported the AFL were closely watching developments. Ian Collins, AFL operations officer said the AFL had not been given a guarantee that the Sports AFL service would continue.

<> Warwick Hadfield reported in The Australian (2nd) — that Australian sport looks set for a major wrangle as the Melbourne Cricket Club seeks a slice of broadcasting rights.

Melbourne lawyer DAVID GALBALLY, QC, suggested a determination over who owns and controls the broadcast of what comes out of a sports ground may ultimately be decided in the High Court.


North hammer St Kilda
Nationwide rain keeps score low
Top eight battle continues

ROUND 15 — Fri-Sat-Sun, July 3-4-5.
MILESTONES — GEELONG played their 1950th League contest ... KEVIN SHEEDY with game number 415 equalled DICK REYNOLD's coaching record (1939-60) at Essendon ... TONY LOCKETT (StK, now Syd) played his 250th senior game ... STUART MAXFIELD (Rch, now Syd) played his 150th ... ALEX McDONALD (Haw, now Col) his 100th ... while 50 games were achieved by JAMES COOK (Car, now WB), ROHAN WARFE (Fit, now Syd), MATTHEW LAPPIN (StK) and JONATHON ROBRAN (Haw).

<> Two sides failed to score in a quarter. CARLTON were scoreless in the second quarter against Richmond — for the first time in 109 matches. Not since 94-R1 at Football Park against Adelaide (when the Blues lost) have Carlton been held pointless in a term.

<> HAWTHORN in the final quarter against Adelaide failed to add to their three-quarter time score. It was the first occasion in 25 years that the Hawks have been pointless in the closing term – last time was 73-R9 versus St Kilda at Moorabbin.

<> Sydney's win over Fremantle on Sunday was their first success at Subiaco Oval since April 12 1987. It ended losses against West Coast in 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1995 and 1997, plus their 1996 failure against the Dockers. It was also Sydney's first victory against Fremantle.

<> GARRY LYON (Mel) in his 216th match reached 400 career goals ... SIMON MINTON-CONNELL (Car, Syd, Haw, now WB) playing his 110th game kicked his 300th goal … <> difficult conditions at Football Park on Sunday resulted in 12.21 of the 13.25 scored by both sides being kicked to the southern end. … <> the 44,806 to watch the Magpies and Cats on Sunday was the slimmest crowd to see the two at the MCG since Saturday July 29 1989 when 35,217 saw the Pies hand Geelong their heaviest defeat (21pts) of the year …

<||> Carlton though hampered by the late withdrawal of Silvagni, Bradley and Manton burst out of the blocks, kicking four goals in the opening nine minutes.

Thereafter it was one-way traffic as Richmond thrashed their arch-rival in the Friday night contest to a big 66,287 at the MCG. The Tigers stepped up their claim for a finals berth with a blistering display while Carlton struggled in most departments. NICK DAFFY (Rch) was clearly best afield while both MATTHEW RICHARDSON and JUSTIN PLAPP (his second game) with five goals each were clear winners on the forward line. It was surprising that the Tigers 62pt margin wasn't greater — RICHMOND 20.12-132 (Richardson 5, Plapp 5) best, Daffy, Knights, Gaspar, CARLTON 11.4-70 best, Rice, De Iulio, Murphy.

<||> Saturday was a beautiful winter's day and a 27pt victory ended Essendon's run of three successive losses when in front of 37,685 at the G they withstood a strong finish from Port Adelaide.

The Bombers attacked the ball strongly and enjoyed a dominant midfield and the ruckwork of STEVE ALESSIO and were never seriously threatened. Port, sparked by WARREN TREDREA (four last quarter goals) staged a belated resurgence to bring life into what had been a fairly pedestrian display from the Power. One of the keys to the game was the chemistry between MICHAEL LONG and CHE COCKATOO-COLLINS for the Dons — ESSENDON 16.12-108 (Cockatoo-Collins 3, Lloyd 3) best, Calthorpe, Misiti, Cockatoo-Collins, PORT ADELAIDE 12.9-81 (Tredrea 4) best, Wanganeen, Mead, Eagleton.

<||> Waverley was in near-perfect condition for the big Saturday contest for which only 36,557 attended. North with WAYNE CAREY playing a dominant role crushed St Kilda by a morale-shattering 67pts which tipped the Saints off top position.

The Roos after twin-defeats brought their season back on track when they grasped the moment in punishing one of the major contenders. The Saints were bulldozed with WINSTON ABRAHAM kicking four goals for the Kangas in the opening term. In the long haul, it became the King Carey Show as the champion collected 26 possessions, kicked six goals and beat five opponents, one of whom was STEWART LOEWE who got the Bronx cheer from the fans when he took one of his rare marks near the final siren. NATHAN BURKE was one of the few 100% triers for the Saints who tumbled back to second — NORTH MELB 22.13-145 (Carey 6, Abraham 5, Grant 3, McKernan 3) best, Carey, King, Simpson, ST KILDA 12.7-79 best, Burke, Harvey, Thompson.

<||> The Dogs and Demons had a tightly-fought contest in the good conditions at Carlton on Saturday (20,782). There were few highlights in the low-scoring affair in which neither side played well until the final quarter.

When BRETT MONTGOMERY was switched to the Bulldogs' centre half-forward post the Westerners finally gained control. With three-last quarter goals from Montgomery, the Dogs doubled their score and went on to win by 18pts.

Melbourne lacked a potent forward, while the Bulldogs would have been happy at getting the points, but would have impressed few by their showing — WESTERN BULLDOGS 12.11-83 (Grant 3, Montgomery 3) best, Grant, Johnson, Montgomery, MELBOURNE 9.11-65 best, Tingay, White, Leoncelli.

<||> A game-long drizzle produced slippery conditions on Saturday night at the Gabba (15,369). It was an error-filled game — however the Eagles made fewer mistakes and came out winners by 27 points.

For almost half the match, Brisbane failed to break through for a goal – from the middle of the second quarter until half way into the last. The Eagles had several solid contributors in DEAN KEMP, CHRIS WATERMAN and CHAD MORRISON but both sides searched hard to find an effective route to goal. The Sandgropers hold on to their high rank, while ROGER MERRETT as Brisbane coach tasted defeat for the first time — WEST COAST 11.10-76 best, Peter Matera, Kemp, McIntosh, BRISBANE 6.13-49 best, Lawrence, Champion, Akermanis. Andrew Williams (WCE) in his debut League game was reported for tripping.

<||> Football Park for the early Sunday game produced cold, wet and windy conditions when the third-placed Crows proved too good for the bottom-ranked Hawks. Adelaide's champion ruckman SHAUN REHN towered in contests around the ground and was the effective difference.

Alan Shiell in The Age reported: "It was like watching 36 men trying to play with a bar of soap on an ice-skating rink, and the wonder that 38,430 people braved a strong northerly wind and non-stop rain to witness it".

In the end, Hawthorn failed to score in the final term and were held to the lowest tally of the season — ADELAIDE 9.14-68 best, Rehn, James, Bickley, HAWTHORN 4.11-35 best, Holland, S.Crawford, Barker.

When their major playmaker NATHAN BUCKLEY withdrew with a neck injury, Collingwood were at long odds to halt their four-game losing run when they faced Geelong on Sunday at the MCG for a slim 44,806 which attended on a bleak day.

With wholesale changes to their line-up Collingwood turned to youth, sweat and toil to regain their pride. Martin Blake in The Age reported: "Collingwood's day was best summarised by the fact that when an otherwise forgettable game came down to a hectic final 15 minutes, when Geelong made its inevitable thrust and regained the lead for the first time since the second quarter, the Magpies had no Buckley to turn to, and both Roccas were benched on a dirty day for tall, marking players".

"It was an arm wrestle from the start and on reflection, it was Collingwood's burst of four unanswered goals in the second quarter, based around delightful ruck work from the veteran DAMIEN MONKHORST, that decided the game".

Geelong let a critical opportunity slip; Collingwood's win was thoroughly deserved — COLLINGWOOD 10.11-71 best, Monkhorst, Burns, Williams, GEELONG 9.7-61 (Hall 3) best, McGrath, Riccardi, Bizzell.

<||> Following seven fruitless journey to Subiaco Oval dating back to 1989, Sydney scraped home over Fremantle on Sunday for a small crowd of 21,042. The game was highlighted by TONY LOCKETT's 250th League game since 1983 with both St Kilda and Sydney. His six goals was a valuable contribution to the Swans' win. Lockett increased his career tally to 1228 goals.

The contest was physical with three suffering concussion — PETER FILANDIA (Syd) and two Fremantle players JESS SINCLAIR and JASON NORRISH. Sinclair suffered the effects after a heavy clash when legitimately met by TROY COOK (Syd) in the second quarter. The incident produced a series of flare-ups, from which the Swans powered away with a match-winning term of 5.2.

Sydney are a long way from their early season form, while the Dockers desperately need a forward line — SYDNEY 13.4-82 (Lockett 6, O'Farrell 3) best, Cresswell, O'Loughlin, Lockett, FREMANTLE 10.9-69 best, Bond, Maher, Toia.

The Melbourne Cricket Club through its regular newspaper column advised "MCG patrons that raised umbrellas are banned in all areas of the MCG from Friday July 3. Disposable plastic ponchos are on sale at SSL catering outlets and the Gallery of Sport souvenir shop for $2.50 (not $3 as reported elsewhere). There is of course no restriction on folded umbrellas coming into the ground".

Daryl Timms in the Herald Sun reported (3rd) The Breakaway Group continues its effort to purchase the 88ha Waverley Park site to build the world's first sporting theme park. The newspaper on Saturday (4th) followed with a front-page story by Terry Brown indicating the original vision from when Waverley was first designed may be surpassed to reach a capacity of 160,000.

Transportation to the venue may be eased with a planned monorail linking rail lines at Glen Waverley, Ferntree Gully and Huntingdale.

Head of Breakaway IAN BENNETT said with just Hawthorn as the tenant football club Waverley could survive economically . "We have just done a major feasibility study and it looks very good," Bennett said. The Breakway Group had the finance to buy the ground knowing development will exceed the $33 million offered and indeed have plans for up to $350 million to be spent.

The theme park is one of seven options presently under review as the AFL aims to raise the $30 million needed to buy into the Docklands Stadium.

A report from consultants Arthur Anderson is expected to be presented to the AFL by mid-July.

A long-term deal has been finalised between Seven and Optus to secure continuation of AFL football on pay-TV. Seven will produce two or three sports channels which will include the AFL, rugby league, tennis and golf. A majority of AFL games will continue on Optus as well as one match each week exclusive to pay-TV.

Monday’s Tribunal
Two Fremantle players faced the AFL Tribunal on Monday for offences from Sunday's game against Sydney at Subiaco.

BRODIE HOLLAND (Fre) though pleading not guilty was suspended for two matches for striking DARYN CRESSWELL (Syd) with an arm to the head in the second quarter.

JAMES CLEMENT (Fre) was cleared of the charge of having wrestled ROHAN WARFE (Syd) to the ground.

ANDREW WILLIAMS (WCE) playing his first AFL match was found guilty of tripping SHAUN HART (Bri) in the Saturday night match as the Gabba. Williams was outed for one game.

Tuesday’s Tribunal
North Melbourne's journeyman JASON McCARTNEY was suspended for three weeks at Tuesday's (7th) sitting of the AFL Tribunal.

McCartney was charged from a video review of the Saturday match at Waverley and was found guilty of striking PETER EVERITT (StK).

Four previous suspensions from his 90-game League career with Collingwood (38 games), Adelaide (37) and North (15) didn't help his cause. McCartney was found to have struck Everitt to the side of the head in the first quarter. It is ironic that Everitt escaped penalty from a similar incident the previous week.

ESSENDON head a list of 10 AFL clubs facing fines and back payments for their failure to declare fringe benefits paid to their players and employees.
Essendon expect to be hit with a tax bill of $220,000 as part of an audit of all clubs expected to net the Taxation Office with up to $2 million in back payments. The ATO have examined the financial affairs of some 800 past and present AFL players and subjected about 40 to an audit.

Speaking on Channel 7's Today Tonight program the Tax Commissioner MICHAEL CARMODY said it was important clubs and players pay their share of tax. "While many are meeting their responsibilities, there are others who I guess, aren't providing a good role model for their fans" — The Age, July 8.

North Melbourne lodged an appeal on Wednesday against the three-match suspension handed down to JASON McCARTNEY by the AFL Tribunal on Tuesday night. It is the second appeal since the League established the review process late last year.

McCartney's appeal will be heard by the independent board chaired by PETER O'CALLAGHAN, QC, at 5.30pm on Monday (13th).


Victoria are still the leaders
SA stake claim for shot at the Vics

STATE OF ORIGIN — Fri-Sat, July 10-11.
A rash of mid-season injuries to key players reduced the quality of all four State of Origin teams in the matches set aside for the seasonal event. Victoria played The Allies in Brisbane on Friday night, while South and Western Australia again locked horns at Football Park on Saturday in a late-afternoon start.

Attendances at the two State contests amounted to only 32,181 — 13,977 in Brisbane and a tardy 18,204 in Adelaide, again bringing to question the support of both the football community and the public to the concept.

The pursuit of further State of Origin contests which cost some $800,000 to stage will be examined closely by the AFL. It is however expected that South Australia will play Victoria at the MCG in the middle of next season while The Allies and Western Australia will meet in either Brisbane or Sydney. Beyond 1999 it becomes a very doubtful commodity. In the year 2000 to meet requirements for the staging of the Sydney Olympic Games, the League season will have an earlier start and be finished before the middle of September, leaving little space for State games.

The concept devised by LEON LARKIN of the Subiaco club and first staged in WA in 1977 may have outlived its usefulness. State of Origin football was taken by the rival Rugby League code to an "art-form" with classic confrontations being staged each year between NSW and Queensland. For Australian Football, the State of Origin now appears to be on its last legs.

<||> On Friday night at the Gabba to a crowd of 13,977, VICTORIA (coach Leigh Matthews) 22.16-148 (Everitt 7.1) best, Rohan Smith, Peter Everitt, Garry Hocking, Stewart Loewe, Brad Johnson, THE ALLIES (coach Damien Drum) 14.11-95 (Hudson 3, Burns 3) best, Shane Crawford, Ronnie Burns, Daryn Cresswell, Darryl White, Justin Blumfield.

<||> In Adelaide at Football Park on Saturday evening with a 4.40pm start, SOUTH AUSTRALIA were comfortable victors over WESTERN AUSTRALIA by 36 points — SA 22.11-143 (Michael O’Loughlin 5, Matthew Robran 5, Darren Jarman 3) best, Michael O’Loughlin, Matthew Robran, Nigel Smart, Nick Holland, Nick Daffy, WA 16.11-107 (Jeff Farmer 3, Andrew Donnelly 3) best, Peter Bell, David Sierakowski, Brad Wira, Winston Abraham, Jeff Farmer. In the curtain-raiser, the SANFL 17.13-115 defeated WESTAR RULES 10.10-70.

<> No AFL football was played in Melbourne on the weekend of July 11-12. The MCG instead hosted the rugby Bledisloe Cup game. Australia 24 defeated New Zealand 16 before a crowd of 75,127 …

<> The new concept of "virtual advertising" caused the MCC to refuse entry of Channel 7 cameras to the MCG last Saturday before the Bledisloe Cup match. The issue was resolved only when the network agreed it would not use virtual advertising during its telecast.

The Herald Sun reported (13th) – "Virtual advertising allows Seven to superimpose signage for one product with the logo over another. The MCC claims this will cost it millions of dollars in advertising revenue".

<> AFL Chief Executive Officer WAYNE JACKSON released a statement on Monday (13th) on the matter of Virtual Advertising.

"This afternoon, I met with the Chairman of the Seven Network, Mr Kerry Stokes concerning comments in this morning's press by the MCC in relation to virtual advertising.
"Mr Stokes acknowledged that Seven has an agreement with the AFL under which Seven cannot use virtual advertising without the prior approval of the AFL.

"The AFL does not intend to grant approval to Seven for use of the technology. As a result and because of the agreement between Seven and the AFL, there can be not threat to matches at the MCG as indicated by the MCC this morning," Mr Jackson said.

The North Melbourne club failed in its attempt to have the suspension of defender JASON McCARTNEY overturned when the AFL's Appeals Board met on Monday (13th).

Appeal Board acting chairman BRIAN BOURKE sustained the three-match penalty of July 7th handed down by the AFL Tribunal, saying "we consider the striking (offence) in the circumstances was both reckless and unnecessary."
North were granted a refund of their $10,000 surety as the Appeal Board found the appeal was neither frivolous nor vexatious.


Dog and Saints break away at top
Paul Kelly injury shatters Sydney
Sheedy sets new Bomber record

ROUND 16 — Fri-Sat-Sun, July 17-18-19.
MILESTONES — KEVIN SHEEDY became the longest serving coach in the 126 year history of Essendon when he coached his 416th match ... STEWART LOEWE (StK) played his 250th game – he was also reported ... RICHARD CHAMPION (Bri) reached his 150th ... GARY DHURRKAY (Fre) his 50th.

<> The WESTERN BULLDOGS in their 650th League victory kicked 11.2-68 in the first quarter against Brisbane at Princes Park — it was the highest opening for the Footscray-Bulldogs in their 1471st League game since 1925. The Doggies final score of 27.15-177 against Brisbane achieved the third-highest League score for the boys from the Western Oval. On Saturday TERRY WALLACE coached the Bulldogs for the 50th time and the match marked the 100th time the Tricolours had played at the Carlton ground.

<> TONY LOCKETT kicked 12 goals in a League match for the seventh time. It was the 68th occasion that 'Plugger' has booted seven goals of more from his 251 matches and the 21st occasion he has registered double-digits. So far this year his big games have been – 10.1 versus Collingwood in round seven, 11.6 against Hawthorn in round nine, and his 12.1 over Port Adelaide on Sunday at the SCG. He has 74.25 from his 15 games this season and a career total of 1240 goals.

<> ST KILDA won at Kardinia Park for the first time since 1988 after seven consecutive losses to the Cats. Saturday was the second in-a-row for the Saints over Geelong, the first time St Kilda have achieved this since 1977-78 ... Saturday was the 50th occasion the Saints have played at Kardinia Park since their first time on May 2 1941 ... <> COLLINGWOOD defeated Hawthorn at Waverley for the first time since 1989 — indeed, it was Collingwood's first win at the Park against allcomers since 1993 …

Carlton overcame a poor start and swept to a stunning upset victory over Adelaide in good conditions on Friday night at Football Park for a near sell-out 42,713.

Alan Shiell reported in The Age – "The Blues won a thriller by four points after outscoring the Crows 15.3 to 10.4 in the last three quarters after they trailed by 25pts at quarter time. The crowd had to wait until 13 minutes into the second quarter before being able to greet TONY MODRA with a huge roar as he sprinted off the bench for his first game since his left knee was reconstructed after last year's (First) Preliminary Final. Modra duly goaled with his first kick at the 26 minute mark".

Carlton were sharp and effective with captain CRAIG BRADLEY gaining 37 possessions while FRASER BROWN (34 touches), JUSTIN MURPHY (30) and BRETT RATTEN 25 were prominent in a victory which puts Adelaide back in the melting pot — CARLTON 16.9-105 (Whitnall 4, Allan 3) best, Allan, Bradley, Whitnall, ADELAIDE 16.5-101 (Ricciuto 3) best, Bickley, Ricciuto, Smart.

<||> St Kilda broke through a mental barrier by posting their first success at Kardinia Park since 1988 with a 24pt win over a Geelong outfit which lacked the necessary polish. The match was played in sunshine and good conditions for a crowd of 26,879.

Jake Niall reporting in The Age – "...(the) game followed a pattern that must be depressingly familiar to Geelong supporters in 1998. The most pointed example of Geelong's inability to convert play in to goals came in the opening minutes of the last quarter — in retrospect, the defining moment in this tight but unmemorable match.

"The Saints got their ball movement right when it was absolutely necessary — in the last quarter. The Cats struggled, fought and persisted but were never smooth". STEWART LOEWE (StK) playing his 250th was reported for striking Geelong captain BARRY STONEHAM to the head in the third quarter. Stoneham was hospitalised for three hours and will sport a shiner to his left eye at Monday's Tribunal — ST KILDA 15.10-100 (Everitt 4, Heatley 4) best, Everitt, Harvey, Burke, GEELONG 10.16-76 (Colbert 3) best, Hocking, Snell, McGrath.

<||> Collingwood inflicted an 86pt thrashing upon Hawthorn on Saturday night in the brisk conditions at Waverley for a solid 39,325 fans. It was the first occasion the Magpies had beaten the Hawks at the Park since 1989 and their first win there against allcomers since 1993.

The game produced one of Collingwood's best performances for the year and a substantial boost to percentage but more importantly keeps them within range of a finals berth. DAMIEN MONKHORST, SHANE WATSON and SAVERIO ROCCA proved the difference with 12 goals between them. The loss consigns Hawthorn to an almost certain wooden spoon – their first since 1965, COLLINGWOOD 19.10-124 (Watson 5, S.Rocca 5) best, Williams, Monkhorst, Crosisca, HAWTHORN 4.14-38 best, Krummel, J.Crawford, Dixon.

<||> Though the Dockers stayed in touch for much of the game, Melbourne proved the better side at the MCG in good conditions on Saturday where 20,365 attended.

Freo's early use of a direct, long-kicking game was negated by their lack of forwards. It took until the third term for Melbourne to get the edge when GARRY LYON kicked two goals (he finished with four) and STEVEN TINGAY provided great run out of the backline. LUKE TOIA was a strong contributor for the Dockers while PAUL MAHER is his second game was lively but in the overall, the Demons had more legs, MELBOURNE 16.10-106 (Lyon 4, Neitz 3) best, Tingay, Yze, Lyon, FREMANTLE 13.5-83 (Maher 3) best, Toia, Callaghan, Norrish.

<||> A lowly 16,131 at Carlton watched the Bulldogs blast away with their best opening (11.2-68) of their 1471 League matches and canter away for their 650th League victory when Brisbane on Saturday were found wanting and deserved their 91pt thrashing.

"The Lions' forwards were lamentably poor" Martin Blake observed in The Age, "Justin Leppitsch starved of opportunities and Daniel Bradshaw showing himself devoid of confidence ... From quarter-time, the Bulldogs were allowed to cruise, and when Wynd and Smith showed up with niggles they were quickly benched".

Displaying a hunger reminiscent of the grounding Bulldog coach TERRY WALLACE had earned with Hawthorn, the Westerners were ruthless in victory, BULLDOGS 27.15-177 (Grant 4, Montgomery 4) best, Montgomery, Grant, Romero, BRISBANE 13.8-86 best, C.Scott, Ashcroft, Bamford. It was Wallace's 50th game as coach of the Doggies.

<||> The biggest crowd of the season packed the MCG on Sunday afternoon – 83,773 came to watch Essendon's KEVIN SHEEDY break Dick Reynolds' coaching record and see his Bombers of 416 games record a story-book finish to eclipse the Tigers by 19pts.

Sheedy's Essendon kicked six goals in the opening term and broke away to a 28pt lead. The second quarter however provided the twist as Richmond so thoroughly beaten early stopped the high possession rate the Bombers had enjoyed chiefly via MARK MERCURI and DARREN BEWICK. Richmond responded with MATTHEW KNIGHTS, PAUL BRODERICK and BEN HARRISON conspicuous as the game was tied-up at half-time, Essendon 7.5-47, Richmond 6.11-47.

To curb the big and effective Tiger forward MATTHEW RICHARDSON, Sheedy moved SEAN WELLMAN on to him. SCOTT LUCAS and MATTHEW LLOYD started to capitalise of the opportunities which came their way mid-way into the third term and the momentum moved back to Essendon.

STEPHEN RIELLY in The Age summed up the end of the tale — "... with three more goals from Lucas and Lloyd and a fourth from the silky Mercuri, (Essendon) dominated as they had done in the very beginning and, for dramatic emphasis, held Richmond goalless. Richardson even played on after the final siren, 15 metres from goal, to end the afternoon with a fittingly bizarre flourish".

ESSENDON 14.10-94 (Lucas 4, Lloyd 3) best, Wellman, Bewick, Hardwick, RICHMOND 10.15-75 (Richardson 5) best, Richardson, Daffy, Bulluss.

<||> After five minutes of Sunday's SCG game Sydney's inspirational captain PAUL KELLY limped from the ground and attendance from medical staff failed to convey to the crowd of 29,325 the seriousness of a leg injury. By the end of the game however, the shattering impact emerged that Kelly will require a knee reconstruction and be absent for up to 12 months.

The Coathangers after a terrific 7.2 started to tire toward the end of the third term as injuries to Kelly, Dunkley, O'Loughlin and Cresswell started to bite. Port who had led at half-time staged another comeback with the last three goals before orange time and closed the gap at three-quarter time to 26pts.

But Port had no effective counter to Lockett who added a further three goals, plus two from Lewis for the Swans to record their best win since May 24.
Tony Lockett finished with 12.1. It was the 68th occasion in his 251 games he had kicked seven goals or more; the seventh time he had kicked 12 in a game and the 21st time he had recorded double-figures — SYDNEY 18.10-118 (Lockett 12.1) best, Lockett, Schwass, Crouch, PORT 12.12-84 best, Wanganeen, Tredrea, Lade. The victory lifted the Harboursiders from seventh to fourth place.

<||> North captain WAYNE CAREY took only one quarter to set up an important win over West Coast on Sunday at Subiaco witnessed by a big 36,463. Carey from his seven kicks in the second term potted four goals (3 of them in 7 minutes) and sent the Roos into the second half with 20pt advantage. Carey beat GLEN JAKOVICH who was dragged then his replacement ASHLEY McINTOSH and finally anyone who challenged him. It was another memorable Carey performance.

North won the physical contests, the tactical battles and the points with the Eagles finishing with a lengthy injury list — Kemp (shoulder), Jakovich (ankle), Wooden (hamstring), Metropolis (cut head), Gehrig (leg) and Peter Matera (hip). It caused Eagles coach MICK MALTHOUSE to call for an extended interchange.

Injuries and inaccuracies cost West Coast dearly when 11 gettable shots failed to return a goal. While both sides were out of puff at the end, fittingly Carey marked over a persistent McIntosh five minutes from the final siren and kicked his fifth — NORTH MELB 13.16-94 (Carey 5) best, Carey, King, Archer, WEST COAST 11.14-80 (Gehrig 3, Read 3) best, Banfield, Ball, Cousins.

PENELOPE DEBELLE in The Age on Saturday (11th) revealed the Carlton FC and the Melbourne Cricket Club have been in discussions for eight months over breaking the AFL's power to give Channel Seven exclusive rights to broadcast games.

Speaking on Friday at the Sturt Football Club in Adelaide, Carlton president JOHN ELLIOTT said a battle over television rights was about to begin. He claimed he had convinced the MCC that clubs could get as much as $100,000 a game by allowing a TV operator other than Channel Seven into the MCG.

Elliott was reported as saying the AFL had acknowledged to him privately that the venture operator had the right to stop people coming into the MCG. His comments were made in the context of a broader attack on the AFL and the way it was managing the game.

Elliott was particularly critical of the "squandering" of $100 million on the Docklands stadium.

"Who'll want to play at Docklands?" he asked.

General managers of AFL clubs at a meeting held in Melbourne on Friday (17th) were warned of a pending audit by the League. Figures on memberships tabled mid-June were up by 40,470 to 422,815 for the current season. AFL football operations manager IAN COLLINS said some membership figures could be inflated.

<> Port Adelaide on-baller DANNY MORTON will miss the rest of the season after being admitted to hospital on Thursday (16th). Morton fell heavily on his neck in the Saturday night match against Western Bulldogs on Saturday June 20. He faces surgery to correct problems.

The Docklands Stadium at a high of 52,000 seats has long been regarded as being too small — the AFL has addressed that with a request to the developers to investigate if the capacity can be boosted by 13,000 to 65,000.

The lure of 65,000 is expected to greatly increase the prospect of more member clubs being attracted to become featured tenants at the facility.

Monday’s Tribunal
St Kilda co-captain STEWART LOEWE suffered a three match suspension by the AFL Tribunal on Monday (20th) night.

Loewe was judged to have been "reckless" in his action of striking Geelong captain BARRY STONEHAM with an arm to the head during the third quarter of the match at Kardinia Park on Saturday.

In the other cases heard, JASON AKERMANIS (Bri) pleaded guilty of striking MATTHEW DENT (WB) and was suspended for one match. Charges of wrestling against both Akermanis and Dent were withdrawn.

Earlier on Monday a striking charge against St Kilda defender DARRYL WAKELIN was withdrawn.

Grand Final umpire JOHN (JACK) WILLIAM IRVING, OAM, lost his battle with cancer and passed away aged 72 on Thursday July 16.

Jack born August 14, 1925, played 45 games in the 1940s with Port Melbourne in the Association. After suffering a knee injury he switched to umpiring in 1947 in the VFA junior grades before going on to umpire 180 senior VFA games including 15 finals and five consecutive Association Grand Finals from 1953 to 1957.

He joined the VFL in 1958 and in five seasons umpired 80 League games including the 1960 and 1962 Grand Finals.

Irving became a Life Member of the VFL in 1986 and in 1987 was awarded the Order of Australia for his services to football.

Jack, affectionately nicknamed 'Roughie' was farewelled on Tuesday (21st) and cremated at a private ceremony.

Tuesday’s Tribunal
On Tuesday, North Melbourne strongman GLENN ARCHER was cited on video evidence by field umpire Hayden Kennedy. At the Tribunal that evening Archer was suspended for two matches for attempting to trip PHILLIP READ (WCE) by the leg in the second quarter at Subiaco on Sunday.

Glenn Archer became the first League player to be suspended on the charge of "attempting" to trip.

Archer, the 1996 Norm Smith medalist, who pleaded not guilty received his fourth suspension for a total of seven matches. He has been found guilty on a variety of charges including intentionally tripping, attempting to strike, abusive language and kneeing.

In the other cases heard on Tuesday, TODD VINEY (Mel) was cleared of striking LUKE TOIA (Fre) ... SHANE CRAWFORD (Haw) was found guilty of striking SCOTT BURNS (Col) and suspended for one match ... JOHN BARKER (Haw) pleaded guilty to striking JASON WILD (Col) and was suspended for one game ... DAVID CALTHORPE (Ess) was cleared of attempting to trip PAUL BRODERICK (Rch) ...

SCG Trust chief NOEL NEATE announced Wednesday (23rd) Sydney's biggest sporting arenas, the SCG and the Sydney Football Stadium will be non-smoking from the start of the coming cricket season.

The SCG members' area has been non-smoking for some time but now all areas including stands and bars will be off-limits. Smoking in private and corporate boxes will be at the discretion of the hirer.

Neate said he expected Australia's other major sporting venues, such as the MCG and WACA Ground, to follow Sydney's lead.


Carlton's 29-goal bonanza
Essendon climb to 8th place
Sydney's first win at the Gabba

ROUND 17 — Fri-Sat-Sun, July 24-25-26.
MILESTONES — PAUL ROOS (Fit, now Syd) became the seven player in League history to reach 350 games … WAYNE SCHWASS (NM, now Syd) played his 200th … a trio played their 150th – BEN HART (Ade), BRETT HEADY (WCE) and PAUL WILLIAMS (Col) … LEIGH COLBERT (Gee) reached 100 matches …

The second quarter in the Carlton-Bulldogs game on Saturday lasted 39 minutes 46 seconds — the longest duration of added time recorded at 19m 46s.

The previous longest League game on record was the second term of the South Melbourne v St Kilda game at the Lake on Easter Monday April 15 1968 which lasted with 25 minutes play and added-time of 12m 38s, ending at 37m 38s.

<> The Saturday night game at Football Park had a first term with 14 goals lasting 36 minutes 17 seconds — the longest AFL quarter played at the venue according to 'Fritz' Freeman, the ABC's Adelaide statsman … another unusually long quarter was experienced at Subiaco on Friday night when the third term lasted 37 minutes 50 seconds.

<> Hawthorn in their 1500th League game (1925-98) suffered their 800th defeat ... Fremantle scored their first win over Adelaide ... Sydney posted their first victory at the Gabba ... CARLTON's 11.2-68 was their biggest second term against the Bulldogs, but a long way behind their 1975 best of 14.1-85 versus Essendon … GRANT VERNON who hails from WA, umpired his 309th career game (WA and AFL) on Friday night passing the record of umpiring WAFL-great RAY MONTGOMERY.

<||> An unexpected high-injury toll marred the Friday meeting at Subiaco Oval (18,876) as Fremantle lost both PAUL MAHER and LUKE TOIA to critical knee injuries in the first half – both will require reconstructions. In the third term Adelaide lost KANE JOHNSON with concussion and seven minutes later PETER CAVEN with a back injury.

From a scrappy start, Freo just wouldn't lay down, while Adelaide left it to too few. The finish was tense as one could expect as the Dockers delivered a solid blow to Adelaide's prospects when they took a one point victory.

The game was highlighted by two stand-out performances. DARREN JARMAN kicked 8.1 for the Crows, while ADRIAN FLETCHER missing for eight weeks from the Freo line-up with a shoulder injury returned off the bench with a three-quarter tally of 26 disposals. Jarman's performance may be remembered for his out-of-bounds on the full in the last minute which could have won the game — FREMANTLE 14.14-98 (Brown 4), best, Bond, Norrish, Wills, ADELAIDE 15.7-97 (Jarman 8.1) best, Ricciuto, Jarman, Koster.

<||> Premiership contenders Western Bulldogs received a savage thrashing at Carlton on Saturday (26,911) in the misty, almost foggy conditions when the Blues kicked the highest score of the season, and LANCE WHITNALL booted 8.1 from centre half-forward.

Carlton took a stranglehold on the game in the first quarter, then proceeded to make a mockery of the contest with 11.2-68 in the second term which lasted just a tick under 40 minutes. Carlton's pressure and aggression were paramount to their best victory so far for the season, though the loss of forward BRAD PEARCE (knee) may be costly.

The standard of the Bulldogs will show if they can bounce back; for Carlton, the days of being a chopping-block may have ended — CARLTON 29.11-185 (Whitnall 8.1, Hamill 4) best, Whitnall, Brown, Murphy, WEST.B'DOGS 15.15-105 (Hudson 3), best, West, Grant, Johnson.

<||> Victoria Park for its 878th League game was slickened by rain just before the first bounce. Early in the game Collingwood played with plenty of spirit, but the class of West Coast, even without several of their stars would not be denied. For two-and-a-half quarters, the Eagles and Magpies kicked alternate goals then Collingwood in the last term gave 23,293 of the faithful hope when they moved to within two goals.

The defensive work of the Eagles overall proved the better, with the Pie forwards rarely getting free for an uncontested mark. The downside was the failure of SAVERIO ROCCA to convert – from 11 kicks his return was just three behinds.

Collingwood now 7+10 seem certain to miss the finals for the fourth successive year – their worst effort since 1940-44. WEST COAST 13.8-86 (Banfield 3) best, Cousins, Schofield, Braun, COLLINGWOOD 9.11-65 best, Schauble, Williams, Burns.

<||> Following the mid-week controversy over the lack of free kicks North captain WAYNE CAREY is given, on Saturday at the MCG (36,042) he won no frees against Melbourne, but took eight marks, had 21 kicks and booted 8.4.
Coming off a hard game against the Eagles, North may have suffered a let-down, but in spite of the slippery conditions the way the Kangas finished over the Demons sound ominous signals for other finalists.

Melbourne stayed with the Roos for three quarters and at one stage in the third term looked as though they may have stolen the game. The final minutes of the match saw the Demons wilt to the physical and professional pressure of a very good side – NORTH MELB 22.20-152 (Carey 8.4, Grant 5) best, Carey, King, Grant, MELBOURNE 13.9-87 (Neitz 4, Lyon 3) best, M.Febey, Neitz, White.

<||> On Saturday night at Footy Park (30,104) Port and the Hawks provided 30,104 fans with a free-flowing opening which produced 14 goals and a quarter lasting 36 minutes 17seconds.

Reviewing the match in The Age ALAN SHIELL noted: "Hawthorn often looked the more accomplished side than the one that had won only three of its previous 16 games. It refused to surrender every time Port tightened the screws, and when NICK HOLLAND kicked his fifth goal six minutes before the finish, the Hawks trailed by only 14 points."

But Port was good enough to score again and earn a hard-fought victory by 21 points, greatly assisted by three goals efforts from NATHAN EAGLETON and STUART DEW — PORT ADELAIDE 18.11-119 (Eagleton 3, Dew) best, Kingsley, Eagleton, Lade, HAWTHORN 15.8-98 (Holland 3, Chick 3) best, Salmon, Holland, Treleven.

<||> The Gabba was drab and overcast on Sunday — at half-time the lights were on as the drizzling returned. Many of the 15,475 who attended didn't stay to the finish as Sydney turned up the heat on a disappointing Brisbane outfit — the final margin for the Swans was 10 goals obtaining Sydney's first win at the Gabba.
Sydney with PAUL KELLY absent for only the fourth time since 1990 were led by ANDREW DUNKLEY and treated by a dominant PAUL ROOS playing his 350th League game, plus another lazy seven goals from TONY LOCKETT who took his season to 81.26 and a career tally of 1247 goals.

The Swans with WAYNE SCHWASS in his 200th game back in touch, controlled the midfield and gained a boost with the returning GREG STAFFORD in the ruck. TROY LUFF was important when the game was alive (11 touches in the second term) while Cresswell, Lewis, O'Loughlin and Dunkley all played a part in the big win.

Brisbane battled honestly in the first half, but as the game grew longer, they were overwhelmed as the margin blew out to 60pts — SYDNEY 22.17-149 (Lockett 7.1, Lewis 3) best, Schwass, Roos, Cresswell, BRISBANE 14.5-89 (White 4) best, C.Scott, Lappin, Kennedy. The game was notable for the return of former Fitzroy captain BRAD BOYD (Bri) playing his first game after 14 months of injury.

<||> Before Sunday's first bounce, JUSTIN CHARLES (Rch) back after 16-weeks suspension (for anabolic steroid use) gave away a free kick when he clash angrily with MICHAEL MANSFIELD (Gee). Then in the first 20 seconds, Geelong captain BARRY STONEHAM tore a calf muscle and as he left the ground was reported for striking PAUL BRODERICK (Rch). Stoneham remained on the bench for the rest of the day. Broderick was also booked for retaliating.

In the remaining 119 minutes or so, the Tigers and Cats provided the MCG crowd of 44,222 with plenty of physical clashes in the wet-weather conditions. It was a low-scoring slog and only a desperate workrate by the Tigers held Geelong out. Twice in the final term the Cats regained the lead but first Richardson, then Powell, were in the right place, at the right time, and brought Richmond back to life.
Geelong coach GARRY AYRES said: "One has to lose, unfortunately that was us today" — RICHMOND 10.7-67 (Evans 3) best, B.Gale, Campbell, Gaspar, GEELONG 8.10-58 best, Sholl, Bizzell, Colbert.

<||> The Bombers and Saints staged a good old-fashioned battle in greasy conditions at Waverley on Sunday for a big 50,778 spectators. It was a bruising, brawling match with many solid bumps traded but no reports on the day.
A telling, vital statistic was that St Kilda were in their forward zone 21 times more than the Dons yet emerged with fewer goals. With Loewe missing (courtesy of the Tribunal) Everitt was kept in check and strive as they did, Winmar and Burke gained little return for their effort.

Martin Blake for his summary in The Age — "Essendon did precisely what any team hoping to beat St Kilda must do. The Bombers largely closed down the game, filling spaces and close-marking St Kilda's go-to men in midfield. Sean Denham wore Nathan Burke and beat him, although Justin Blumfield and later David Calthorpe could not contain Robert Harvey, who was magnificent all day ... Essendon earned the points. The Bombers were hard at the football throughout even if they made mistakes"... ESSENDON 14.6-90 (Lloyd 4, Bewick 3, Long 3) best, Misiti, Lloyd, Berbakov, ST KILDA 13.9-87 (Heatley 3) best, Harvey, Hudghton, Everitt.

Monday’s Tribunal
Carlton captain CRAIG BRADLEY received leniency from the AFL Tribunal on Monday when he faced a charge from his 281st League match.

Bradley pleaded not guilty to charging JOE ROMERO (WB) in the third quarter at Carlton last Saturday. Following a lengthy deliberation, Tribunal chairman Brian Collis, QC, said the hearing had taken into account Bradley's brilliant career in imposing the unusual penalty.

Bradley was penalised with a two-match suspended sentence. The sentence will include finals, pre-season and Ansett Cup matches until the end of 1999. From his four prior Tribunal appearances, Bradley had been guilty on only one occasion. In 1993 he received one match for stomping on — Jose Romero.
Craig Bradley is still eligible for the Brownlow under current rules — "if the player is not suspended or disqualified from participating in a match."

In other cases on Monday, ANTHONY FRANCHINA (Car) was suspended for two matches for striking PAUL HUDSON (WB) ... while Geelong's BARRY STONEHAM and Richmond's PAUL BRODERICK were cleared of striking each other.

Earlier on Monday — the case laid against BRETT MONTGOMERY (WB) of charging Carlton's Craig Bradley was withdrawn, while following video reviews, GARRY LYON (Mel), MARCUS SEECAMP (Mel) and CHRIS WATERMAN (WCE) were cited from the weekend.

<> TIM WATSON who in 1977 at 15 years 305 days played the first of his 307 games for Essendon is to be inducted into the club's Hall of Fame.
He was captain of the Bombers in 1989-90-91 and won their best and fairest in 1989 and 1990.
He retired in 1991 but returned for two further seasons in 1993-94 and was a member of three premiership-winning teams in 1984, 1985 and 1993.
Watson is now a valued-member of the Channel Seven news and game team.

<> The Australian reported: MATTHEW HALL, a Melbourne man who has contracted HIV issued a statement through his lawyers on Friday (24th) saying he had tried to raise the issue with the VAFA in a confidential manner before AFL operations manager Ian Collins publicised it.

"Unfortunately, because of .. Ian Collis' comments about the case, confidentiality was not kept," Mr Hall said. "This was not my choice and I believe that Ian Collins was irresponsible."

ABC Radio reported, the Victorian AIDS Council commended the media for the way it has handled the case. President of the Victorian AIDS Council, Leigh Johns, says football players talking to other players about HIV is a big plus in peer education.

Dr Bruce Mitchell, who wrote the AFL Medical Officers' Association position statement on the prevention of thermal injuries four years ago, told the FOOTBALL AUSTRALASIA conference on reducing the injury list in Melbourne on Friday (24th) that heat injury was a problem with fatal consequences.

The Age
team noted: "Matches in Brisbane and Perth in the early part of the past two seasons have taken a toll on visiting clubs. Last year, St Kilda was thrashed by Brisbane in the second round at the Gabba in a match played in high heat and humidity."

It is also the opinion of several AFL clubs that the League could be open to legal action should it continue to program games in hot and humid conditions.

The AFL vigorously denied Mitchell's claims. Ian Collins, AFL gm of football operations, said the League was not negligent. "We don't believe that to be the case," he said. Dr Mitchell is a medical officer, not a lawyer."

<> The Australian reported on July 24: Australia's football and cricket codes have agreed to principles to curb the use of drugs in sport, including a two-year ban for serious first-time offences involving steroids.

The meeting involved the AFL's Ian Collins, cricket's Malcolm Speed, Rugby Union chief John O'Neill and Rugby League head Neil Whittaker.

Admission prices for the 1999 season were announced by the AFL on Monday (27th)

Adult prices will be $13.50 with a concession priced at $7.50. Club membership tickets are up from $87 to $90.

AFL club membership for all Victorian-based clubs in 1999 will be extended to allow members to go to all home games as well as five Victorian away games. The new category ticket will be priced at $130.

Tuesday’s Tribunal
At Tuesday's Tribunal, former Melbourne captain GARRY LYON was cleared of an attempted to trip charge.

MARCUS SEECAMP (Mel) received a two-match suspension after pleading guilty to striking BRETT CHANDLER (North). It was the fifth occasion Seecamp had been suspended in his 116-game career since 1991. Evidence possibly reduced the sentence when it was revealed the pair were the best of mates. Chandler had been a teammate of Seecamp for two years at Fitzroy and they're going on a fishing trip to New Zealand later in the year.

CHRIS WATERMAN (West Coast) did not give evidence before the Tribunal withdrew a video charge of tripping SCOTT CROW (Collingwood).


Lockett trails Coventry by 43 goals
North climb to second place
Dons pip Blues before 70,969
Abraham's Mark of the Year

ROUND 18 — Fri-Sat-Sun, July 31-August 1-2.

MILESTONES — Manuka Oval became the 33rd venue for League football since 1897 … DAVID PARKIN reached his 300th game as Carlton coach (1981-85 & 1991-98) — it was his 463rd in League coaching circles since 1977 … PAUL BRODERICK (Fit, now Rch) reached his 200th game … 50th games were recorded by JAMES CLEMENT (Fre) and JEFF WHITE (Fre, now Mel) … RICHMOND played their 1800th League game since 1908 …

TONY LOCKETT in his 253rd League game with both St Kilda and Sydney (1983-98) kicked 9.2 at Kardinia Park against Geelong, 8.1 to half-time. His third goal brought him to 1250 goals ... his 6th took him past the 1252 goals kicked by Hawthorn's JASON DUNSTALL ... the day's tally took Lockett to 90 for the season and a career total of 1256, within 43 goals of the GORDON COVENTRY (Col) record. 'Plugger' has indicated he will play on until at least the 2000 season.

<> In the dying minutes of the third term in Saturday's game at Manuka Oval in Canberra, WINSTON ABRAHAM (NM) produced a spectacular mark in front of goal which will become one of the great photo images of the code for all time. Abraham's feat was later judged as Mark of the Year.

<> Richmond's 4.10-34 against Hawthorn was the lowest score of the season to date and the lowest kicked by the yellow-and-black in 104 matches at Waverley since 1970 … the lowest by the Tigers versus the Hawks was 2.20-32, 75-R15 at Princes Park ... Richmond matched their second-lowest in games against Hawthorn – they also kicked 4.10-34 in 63-R10 at Punt Road …

<> Melbourne's first quarter tally of 7.4-46 was the highest opening of its 20 matches against Brisbane since 1987 ... the final margin of 95pts was the biggest by Melbourne over Brisbane — previous best were 77pts in 1996 and 85pts in 1997 … Sydney recorded their first win over Geelong at Kardinia Park since the 21st round on August 25 1990 ... West Coast in the 'Western Derby' enjoyed their eighth consecutive win over Fremantle … NORTH became the first of the season to kick over 2000 points ... at the other end, the Brisbane defence were the first to concede 2000 points.

Rain failed to deter 40,832 attending the MCG on Friday night. The first 30 seconds took PAUL WILLIAMS (Col) out of the contest — he was stretchered after receiving a solid knock from STEPHEN POWELL (WB).

Collingwood in the first term made the Bulldogs appear vulnerable and not until the second quarter did the Tricolours trademark fast-paced, hard-running style game slip into gear. In just 30 minutes, Western kicked eight goals to one, seven in a 10-minute burst and put the game out of reach for the Pies.

The Woods did get as close as 24pts in the third, and though many of the Bulldogs were down on the night, their class and thoroughness proved them the stronger — WESTERN BULLDOGS 16.14-110 (Kolyniuk 4, Lane 4) best, Johnson, Kolyniuk, Smith) COLLINGWOOD 10.7-67 best, Burns, Patterson, Watson.

<||> Sydney produced its best team display in many weeks when they blasted Geelong in a murderous first half at Kardinia Park in fair conditions on Saturday for 23,137. The Swans led by 76pts at half-time, 15.3 to 2.5 with TONY LOCKETT to then having kicked 8.1, becoming the second-greatest goalkicker in League history.

Geelong regrouped for the second half but wasted much of their effort with inaccurate finishing. For the fifth time this season, the Coathangers conceded more scoring shots than their own, yet still won handsomely. It was Sydney's first win at Geelong since August 25 1990.

WAYNE SCHWASS (Syd) produced his third excellent game in as many weeks — the ones in which Sydney have been missing their inspirational leader PAUL KELLY — SYDNEY 19.7-121 (Lockett 9.1, O'Loughlin 3) best, Schwass, Lockett, Luff, GEELONG 12.15-87 (Snell 3) best, Mansfield, Riccardi, Colbert.

<||> Melbourne produced their most prolific performance of the season on Saturday, booting 22 goals against a very disappointing Brisbane outfit to a slim roll-up of 16,518 at the MCG. The Demons were encouraged for the weeks ahead with great displays from STEPHEN TINGAY, GARRY LYON and JEFF FARMER.

The failure of Brisbane who suffered a 95pt thrashing will apply pressure upon the likelihood of caretaker coach ROGER MERRETT having his appointment extended. After the match, Merrett was quoted: "There are a number of players who really have to ask themselves some questions about their commitment to playing AFL football." – MELBOURNE 22.19-151 (Farmer 6, Lyon 5) best, Tingay, Farmer, Woewodin, BRISBANE 8.8-56 best, C.Scott, Wirth (first game), Champion.

<||> This match originally scheduled for the MCG was moved to Manuka Oval in Canberra and became only the second AFL game played for match points in the nation's capital. It also marked the first morning League game since 1938 and the fourth pre-noon start following the first in 1899 and two others in 1920.

Though under-manned on paper, North before a near-capacity crowd of 11,321 took over the contest in the second term when they booted 7.8 to 1.3 and were only marginally challenged by Port thereafter. It was a scrappy affair where North superstar WAYNE CAREY was blanketed by Port's DARREN MEAD. Instead, it became the MARK ROBERTS show who brought down 10 marks and enjoyed 30 possessions. The win lifted the 1996 premiers to second position on the ladder.

In the dying minutes of the third term WINSTON ABRAHAM (NM) produced a spectacular mark in front of goal which will become one of the great photo images of the code for all time — NORTH MELB 18.23-131 (Roberts 3) best, Roberts, Abraham, Grant, PORT ADELAIDE 10.16-76 (Lockwood 4) best, Mead, Lockwood, Dickie.

Abraham's feat was eventually judged Mark of the Year.

<||> In a critical clash on Saturday night at Football Park (40,670), Adelaide surprisingly cantered away to win by 70pts. The Crows led by 27 at half time, then brushed the insipid Saints aside in the second half.

ALAN SHIELL reporting in The Age: "It is a long time since the Saints, now with a 12+6 win-loss record, have been made to look so inadequate in so many positions. This was their third loss in the past four games, following their 66pt and three-point defeats by North and Essendon, and they will have to rely on putting the shattered pieces together ..."

"Adelaide grabbed control of the game with a blistering 11-minute burst that produced five goals in the second quarter — and into a fairly strong northerly wind. The Crows, now 10+8, unleashed some of their slickest, most irresistible football this season. The Crows' powerful start to the third quarter virtually ended the Saints' hopes of a comeback." ADELAIDE 19.23-137 (Vardy 4, McLeod 3) best, Ricciuto, Connell, Rehn, ST KILDA 10.7-67 (Heatley 4) best, Harvey, Hudghton, Burke.

<||> "In sport, there is honourable defeat by a worthy opponent. Then there is bitter, irreconcilable defeat, when you give up what is rightfully yours. That's how it was for Carlton against Essendon" — MARTIN BLAKE reported in The Age. A big crowd of 70,969 were at the MCG on Sunday.

"It was a game controlled by Carlton throughout, even if the scoreboard didn't reflect that superiority until early in the final quarter. The Blues had more of the ball, and they carried it inside their 50-metre arc numerous times more often than Essendon. When the Blues kicked three consecutive goals in the first eight minutes of the final quarter, they held a 25pt lead – it seemed to be plenty."

"Essendon kicked the last five in 15 minutes of daylight robbery. But who said there was meant to be justice in football?" — ESSENDON 12.12-84 (Lloyd 6) best, Lloyd, Hardwick, Mercuri, CARLTON 11.12-78 best, Brown, Koutoufides, Allan.

<||> Hawthorn the rank-outsiders, produced the upset of the round when they sat the Tigers on the seat of their pants with a stunning six-goal victory in front of 37,297 at Waverley on Sunday. With three goals in the opening six minutes the Hawks were never threatened by a Tiger side overcome by lethargy. Richmond had everything to play for and failed miserably — it was not the performance you would expect from a team with a top-four spot to play for.

Hawthorn's intensity was too strong as their sheer hard work reduced all effective Tiger strengths. PAUL SALMON dominated the ruck, then dropped back to repel many Richmond attacks.

As LEN JOHNSON noted in The Age: "Whatever the explanation, Richmond was flatter than a pancake. It was not until Richardson kicked their fourth goal late in the last quarter that the Tigers edged past their lowest-score against Hawthorn (2.20 in 1975)" — HAWTHORN 10.10-70 (Dixon 3) best, Salmon, S.Crawford, Treleven, RICHMOND 4.10-34 (Richardson 3) best, Evans, Knights, Gaspar.

<||> Slippery conditions from rain in Perth failed to halt West Coast's dominance over Fremantle on Sunday to 37,145 fans at Subiaco — the Eagles notched their eighth consecutive victory in the 'Western Derby' series.

After being written off by many critics, CHRIS LEWIS oozed class in 207th League game for the Eagles when he came from the bench late in the first term. His four goals for the day brought his career tally to 252.

Though Freo coach GERARD NEESHAM defended his young side, MICHAEL MALTHOUSE for West Coast was more scathing saying the Dockers "had run out of excuses" — WEST COAST 15.9-99 (Lewis 4, Fester 3) best, McKenna, Lewis, FREMANTLE 8.12-60 best, S.Parker, Norrish, Mann.

Monday’s Tribunal
Carlton's ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES was suspended for one match by the AFL Tribunal on Monday night.

Koutoufides was found guilty of attempting to trip PETER BERBAKOV (Ess) during the first quarter on Sunday at the MCG. 'Kouta' will serve the one week by missing the game against Melbourne at the G on Saturday.

The 25-year-old last missed the seniors in 1994 when he played Reserves in rounds 5, 10 and 11. Monday was his first appearance before the Tribunal and came following 100 consecutive First 18 games with the Blues.

The Herald Sun reported: "The AFL couldn't find enough tables (for pre-match rubdowns in Canberra) so the capital's sex industry chipped in.

Among the tables is a leather and oak number with stirrups attached and a rack at one end."

<> The Herald Sun on Wednesday (5th) reported: The Australian Tax Office will be serving notice on all 16 AFL clubs for tax evasion. The ATO is seeking to recover some $2 million in back payments and fines, with some clubs facing a tax bill of more than $200.000 — failure to declare fringe benefits and income tax emerged as the major problems for the clubs.

The Age revealed: "TABCORP is believed to have presented the League with a proposal that would give the AFL a slice of the increasingly lucrative betting market", STEPHEN LINNELL reported on Wednesday (5th). The proposal is understood to provide the AFL with a greater opportunity of punters to place bets between matches, even quarters, of football. The target would include ways of utilising new technology, such as the Internet, for football wagering.

Football betting is a growth industry — punters spent $14 million on AFL matches last year — up more than 300 per cent from six years ago.


Saints struggle; Bulldogs downed
Nine into Eight, won't go

ROUND 19 — Fri-Sat-Sun, August 7-8-9.
MILESTONES — LEON CAMERON (WB) played his 150th  … TODD CURLEY (Col, now WB) his 50th … SEAN WELLMAN played his 50th for Essendon, plus 34 with the Crows ... MICHAEL MALTHOUSE coached his 350th League game (Footscray 135, West Coast 215).

JAMES WALKER, the great-grandson of the legendary GORDON COVENTRY (Collingwood 1920-37) made his League debut with Fremantle, and kicked a goal in his first game. His origin was North Ballarat Under 18's and James has graduated through senior ranks with East Perth. On Friday night he finished with 19 possessions …
<> MELBOURNE had its biggest win over Carlton for 43 years — the last big one was by 65pts on Saturday June 5 1955 … <> the game at Carlton on Saturday produced the closest margin between Geelong and the Bulldogs for 41 years — on July 6 1957, Footscray 9.11 beat the Cats 9.10 at Western Oval …

<||> North won the toss and kicked with a stiff breeze but were were countered with a strong opening by the Lions in the Friday night game played in good conditions at the Gabba for 14,973 onlookers. The Kangas in the long haul were too good, but their victory came with considerable pain. Three knee injuries to GLEN ARCHER, MARK ROBERTS and MARTIN PIKE plus a broken thumb for BRETT ALLISON had all four sitting on the bench by three-quarter time.

Most of the Brisbane players showed plenty of fight but North had control of the midfield, with MATTHEW CAPUANO strong at the centre bounces against MATTHEW CLARKE. Good drive for the Roos was also gained through PETER BELL, ANTHONY STEVENS and WINSTON ABRAHAMS.

While Brisbane's internal problems continued to boil, North overcame a plucky effort by the Lions and consolidating with their sixth successive victory — NORTH MELB 15.23-113 (Carey 3, Grant 3) best, Stevens, McKernan, Abraham, BRISBANE 12.14-86 (Lawrence 5) best, Lawrence, C.Scott, Kennedy.

<||> Melbourne lifted its flagging percentage with a strong second half against Carlton in firm MCG conditions on Saturday for an attendance of 39,704. With a 10pt half-time lead, Melbourne added eight goals to two in the run home to swamp the Blues by 49pts.

DAVID SCHWARZ and GARRY LYON with a collective 11 goals and a firing STEPHEN TINGAY, the Demons rising skill levels through the midfield and favoured with running ability blew Carlton away. It prompted Carlton's DAVID PARKIN to predict that if Melbourne make the finals: "that might have the capacity to cause a bit of havoc..." — MELBOURNE 16.17-113 (Schwarz 6, Lyon 5, Farmer 3) best, Tingay, Lyon, Schwarz, CARLTON 8.16-64 (Allan 2) best, Brown, Ratten, Rice.

<||> Hawthorn gained their first twin-victories for the season when they devastated St Kilda by ten goals on Saturday at Waverley for a gallery of 32,286.
Ashley Brown in The Sunday Age: "It started in the midfield where KEN JUDGE got his match-ups right and the game plan was carried out to perfection. The Hawks ran the ball up the centre all afternoon, at times befitting a training drill".
Hawthorn in the second term kicked seven goals to one and went on from there in spite of a 36-possession game from ROBERT HARVEY who was well beaten on the day by the damaging Hawk captain SHANE CRAWFORD. The Saints from ladder leaders six weeks ago, are in strife — HAWTHORN 19.14-128 (Lord 6, Holland 3, Dixon 3) best, S.Crawford, Salmon, Woods, ST KILDA 10.9-69 (Everitt 3) best, Everitt, Harvey, Winmar.

<||> After a run of six successive defeats, 12th-placed Geelong provided one of the upsets of the round when they pipped the Western Bulldogs in the Saturday sunshine at Carlton on Saturday for 17,535 supporters. It was the League's 257th one-pointer.

"The Cats prevailed by just a solitary point, rushed through in the final minute of the game, but the damage it did to the Bulldogs' morale, and their hopes of securing a top-two spot at the end of the home-and-away season, was inestimable", CHARLES HAPPELL assessed in The Sunday Age.
Though the Dogs led at every change, the second half was played at a more intense level, with the lead changing six times before the fateful final minute — GEELONG 14.13-97 (Wood 4) best, Bizzell, Hocking, Riccardi, BULLDOGS 13.18-96 (Hudson 4, Kolyniuk 3) best, Cameron (his 150th), Romero, Kolyniuk.

<||> In top almost balmy Saturday night conditions at Subiaco, one of the best home crowds (28,444) attended to see the Dockers. Both the Bombers and Freo produced bursts — the Dockers kicked five goals during eight minutes of the second term, while Essendon clapped on six in 12 minutes of the third.
Essendon's strong opening (7.3 to 2.2) during which captain JAMES HIRD enjoyed a successful return with the first two goals, held the Bombers in good stead after Freo had closed to within seven points in the third. The six unanswered goals for Essendon which followed allowed the visitors to hold Freo at bay.

JAMES WALKER, the great-grandson of the legendary GORDON COVENTRY made his League debut with Fremantle, and kicked a goal in his first game. His origin was North Ballarat Under 18's and has graduated through the ranks with East Perth. On Friday night he finished with 19 possessions. ESSENDON 18.11-119 (Lloyd 5, Lucas 3, Mercuri 3) best, Mercuri, Hird, Calthorpe, FREMANTLE 12.14-86 (Hunter 2, Fletcher 2) best, O'Reilly, Norrish, Fletcher.

<||> A good crowd of 57,303 on Sunday turned out at the MCG to see traditional rivals Richmond and Collingwood meet for the 179th time. Though the match was a disappointment, the Tigers preserved their record of not losing two in a row this year. That record, as well as the Tigers' so-so form, suggest they will finish in a position where one defeat in the finals will be enough to put their season away.

GREG BAUM reported in The Age: Since neither were at their best and since Richmond nor Collingwood have a better idea than to bomb it high to its superstar full-forward, it made for pretty unfulfilling football. SAVERIO ROCCA (Col) was wasteful, while MATTHEW RICHARDSON (Rch) kicked just one goal and missed one from less than 10 metres. Richmond's most productive quarter was the one he spent on the bench after receiving a suspended fracture of the cheekbone before three-quarter-time.

In the end, the workrate of Broderick, Knights, Campbell and Harrison gave the Tigers an extra 60 possessions, which should bring victory to even the most inefficient team — RICHMOND 12.14-86 (Plapp 4) best, B.Gale, Bowden, Campbell, COLLINGWOOD 9.13-67 (S.Rocca 2, Mangin 2) best, Monkhorst, Burns, Crosisca.

<||> "It was a game of attrition, a good old-fashioned arm wrestle" was how Sydney coach RODNEY EADE summed up Sunday's encounter for 30,934 enthusiasts at the SCG. The match was played in surprisingly good conditions following the deluge Sydney had suffered in the two previous days. Against a desperate Swans defence, the Eagles trailed for most of the game which marked the 350th in League coaching circles for MICHAEL MALTHOUSE.

Played with the intensity of a final, the third quarter typified the commitment by both sides when no scores were recorded for a 14-minute period as the ball rebounded from one 50-metre arc to the other. The Coathangers led for most of the game but in typical West Coast fashion they clawed back and hit the front in the last term to lead by four points.

Sydney with four behinds levelled in the 24th minute. LEO BARRY emerged from a group of desperate, wrestling players to handball to an unmarked Lockett. With opponents charging toward him, Lockett with a two-handed thump slapped the ball to MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN five metres from the pack who had the time and temperament to snap the winning goal — SYDNEY 10.14-74 (Lewis 2) best, Seymour, Schwass, Orchard, WEST COAST 9.14-68 (Braun 2) best, McKenna, McIntosh, White.

<||> "Showdown 4" became a blowout for the Crows when they met Port in the late Sunday game at Footy Park which drew 46,850, the biggest Adelaide crowd of the year. The reigning premiers pulverised Port in the last half, going on to a 74pt victory which boosted percentage and lifted the Crows to 5th place, level on 44pts with the Dons, Eagles, Tigers and Demons.

The loss was rated by Port coach JOHN CAHILL as "the most humiliating defeat we've had in the AFL". Adelaide boasted a rampant midfield where MARK RICCIUTO was dominant; a potent forward line where PETER VARDY and DARREN JARMAN were brilliant and rebounding backlines marshalled again by BEN HART and NIGEL SMART.

Too ferocious and too skilled, the Crows reaped their second 20-goal plus tally this season — ADELAIDE 22.12-144 (Vardy 7.7, Jarman 4, McLeod 3) best, Ricciuto, Vardy, Connell, PORT 10.10-70 (Chalmers 3) best, Dickie, Wanganeen, Breuer.

<> After 22 years of coverage by SBS, the Seven Network are poised to sign a 10-year $25 million deal with Soccer Australia. Seven will have free-to-air and pay-TV rights to the Socceroos' and Olyroos' internationals and the national Ericsson Cup fixtures.

It is expected a one hour highlights package will be screened on Seven each Sunday morning with one Ericsson Cup match per week being screened by the ABC network.

<> After 245 senior games, MARK BAYES will retire at the end of the season as the fourth longest-serving Swan in the history of the South Melbourne-Sydney club

He joined the Under 19's in 1984 and made his senior debut against Richmond the following season when Sydney were coached by John Northey.

Restricted buy nagging leg injuries since 1996, Bayes has played only nine senior matches off the bench this season.

Bayes is headed in games for the Swans' club only by John Rantall 260 (1963-1979), Mark Browning (175-1987) and Steve Wright 246 (1979-1992).

Majors players in the Docklands Stadium, including AFL and Victorian Government officials, hosted the corporate launch of the stadium for 500 executives from various business organisations at the Melbourne Town Hall (10th).

Contenders for the naming rights of Docklands are believed to include Telstra, and two of the AFL's major corporate sponsors, Coca Cola and McDonalds.
The winning bidder is expected will pay at least $5 million annually, with the bids expected to close at the end of this month, STEPHEN LINNELL reported in The Age.

Optus Communications are believed to have paid $700,000 for the right to rename the Carlton venue of Princes Park, while the ANZ Bank are understood to have outlayed between $1-$2 million for Brisbane's ANZ Stadium.

Construction of the $435 million stadium, due to be completed in time for the 2000 Ansett Cup series, remains on time and within budget.

The 54,000-seat stadium may yet undergo late changes. The AFL are believed to be pressing to increase its capacity to 65,000.

Tuesday’s Tribunal
When the AFL Tribunal met on Tuesday night, five players faced charges following a video review of all matches from Round 19.

<> DAMIEN MONKHORST (Collingwood) was suspended four matches for striking MATTHEW RICHARDSON (Rch)

<> SCOTT CROW (Collingwood) was found not guilty of charging DARREN GASPAR (Rch)

<> JUSTIN PLAPP (Richmond) pleaded guilty to striking GAVIN BROWN (Col) and was suspended for one match

<> STEPHEN TINGAY (Melbourne) accused of charging PETER DEAN (Car) was found to have no case to answer

<> BRETT SPINKS (Gee) who faced a charging offence against LUKE DARCY (WB) had his case dismissed and escaped penalty.

Less than two years after breaking into the market, the Triple M commentary team headed by EDDIE McGUIRE has scored a notable lead over arch-rivals Rex Hunt and Sam Newman of 3AW in the important Saturday time-slot. The latest radio ratings were released on Tuesday.

3AW MMM 3LO Magic
Sat 15.2 13.1 11.2 6.9
Sun 10.9 13.5 9.2 4.4

<> Plans to upgrade the MCG (noted in the Diary, Nov. 1997) in anticipation that Melbourne will gain the 2006 Commonwealth Games, have been broadcast in the most recent edition of MCG News mailed to MCC members.

KELLY RYAN reported in the Herald Sun: The new grandstand boosting the MCG's seating capacity to about 105,000 will replace the Olympic Stand and extend across the top of the histroric member's pavilion. The development could also include up to 60 rooms for overnight accomodation and club members.
Work may start on The Great Northern Stand in 2002.

Meanwhile, casual workers at the MCG have agreed to scrap penalty rates on Sunday and public holidays in exchange for a flat hourly fee — about 900 workers have also agreed to dump overtime.


Saints slide
Roos & Dogs in lead
Demons replace Tigers in top eight

ROUND 20 — Fri-Sat-Sun, August 14-15-16.
MILESTONES — STEVEN FEBEY (Mel) played his 200th League game … ASHLEY McINTOSH (WCE) his 150th … NIGEL LAPPIN (Bri) his 100th … GLENN FREEBORN (NM) his 50th …

<> STEWART LOEWE (StK) in his 251st game passed 500 career goals with four against Carlton … <> ADELAIDE at their seventh attempt won their first contest at Kardinia Park … <> RICHMOND on their seventh visit against West Coast have still to beat the Eagles in Perth in 12 seasons of trying.

<> COLLINGWOOD kicked 11-straight behinds versus Essendon on Saturday at the MCG — falling short of the League record. In 1919 at Corio Oval, GEELONG 0.18-18 were beaten by ST KILDA 6.10-46.

In 1921 at the Junction, the Saints repeated the feat losing to FITZROY, 0.18-18 to 6.8-44.

In 1928 on May 26 at Geelong's Corio Oval, Fitzroy were 1.13 at half-time. The Maroons added 14 behinds before kicking their next goal in the last quarter — FITZROY despite having two more scoring shots lost 2.27-39 to the Cats 19.8-122.

<> KARDINIA PARK on Saturday featured a giant portable video screen at the northern (scoreboard) end. Suspended from a crane, the eight metres by six screen carried vision and replays supplied by Channel Seven. Time was sold to advertisers to defray the cost. The innovation may become a feature at League grounds outside of the MCG, Waverley, Football Park and the SCG … GEELONG lost their fifth consecutive match at Kardinia Park for the first time since 1945. The Cats suffered six consecutive defeats in 1945 losing in rounds 8-10-13-14-16-18.

<> CHRIS MAINWARING at 32 played his 194th League match for West Coast on Sunday, 41 games after suffering a knee injury at Geelong on April 5 1997.

<> Attendances for the 20th round produced 262,308 – a new record against the previous best of 245,514 for eight games in 1997.

<||> North emphasised its claims to the minor premiership with a blistering assault on the hapless Fremantle Dockers in the Friday night opener at the MCG for only 19,429 addicts. WAYNE CAREY led the charge as North romped home to a thumping 104pt victory, winning its seventh successive game.

Len Johnson in The Age noted: "Carey's eight-goal tally could have been higher but for some poor finishing. He out-scored Fremantle off his own boot, anyway, and set up several more goals for his forwards." ANTHONY ROCK (after one game in the Reserves) got four goals while SHANNON GRANT with three were members of the 10 Kangas who contributed to the 22-goal tally — NORTH MELB 22.19-151 (Carey 8.3, Rock 4, Grant 3) best, Carey, King, Simpson, FREMANTLE S.Parker, Dodd, Sinclair. David King (NM) was reported for striking Craig Callaghan (Fre).

<||> A great crowd of 64,480 were at the MCG on Saturday as Essendon in fine conditions registered their sixth successive win. Collingwood had every chance, going into their forward zone on 15 occasions in the last term yet gained a miserable return of 1.9-15 for their efforts.

"In truth, Essendon might have put the match beyond Collingwood's reach in the first quarter" reported Charles Happell in The Age. "Then, its own wastefulness kept the Pies in the match."

"The Pies outscored the Dons in each of the next two terms and if not for a succession of blunders in the final term – the result might have been quite different." ESSENDON 16.13-109 (Hird 4, Lloyd 3) best, Wellman, Hird, Calthorpe, COLLINGWOOD 14.15-99 (S.Rocca 4) best, Tape, Buckley, S.Rocca — it was the Magpies' four-straight defeat, and only three wins from their past 14 outings.

<||> At their seventh attempt, Adelaide finally posted a victory at Geelong in the fine Saturday conditions at Kardinia Park for 22,384 of the faithful. Geelong, lacking leadership, key defenders and quality forwards held onto the Crows to half time, but after the break, Adelaide cruised away to record a 74pt victory for the second week in a row.

"TONY MODRA, playing his first full match for the year, kicked five of his six goals in the second half" Linda Pearce reported in The Age. "He took two of his spectacular grabs as Adelaide piled on 14 goals to three after the main break and reduced Geelong to a fumbling mess."

ADELAIDE 18.10-118 (Modra 6, Vardy 4) best, McLeod, Ricciuto, Modra, GEELONG 6.8-44 best, Sanderson, Sholl, Wood.

<||> Waverley was the setting on Saturday for a game between two top-rated rivals – 32,577 watched the contest between the Bulldogs and Sydney. After trailing by 16pts at quarter-time, the Coathangers took control in the middle of the game, leading by 8pts at the long break and by 12 at the last change.

MARK RAY in his Sydney Morning Herald review: "But the Bulldogs took the lead with 11 minutes to go, surrendered it due to Tony Lockett's 7th and last goal, then regained it through a Paul Hudson goal with only three-and-a-half minutes left. With Scott West taking the ball out of the centre time again and Hudson make full use of that possession, the Bulldogs hung on to win by two points."
"Sydney's tackling was superb but the physical demands, coming after an equally intense game against West Coast, seemed to drain the Swans of energy in the tense final quarter" — BULLDOGS 15.9-99 (Cook, Kolyniuk 4) best, Hudson, West, Kretiuk, SYDNEY 15.7-97 (Lockett 7.1) best, Lockett, O'Loughlin, Saddington.

<||> A game low on skills and excitement was a mean return for the 14,738 who attended the Gabba on Saturday night. Neither side goaled in the second quarter from a match possibly saved by performances from SHANE CRAWFORD for Hawthorn and STEVEN LAWRENCE of Brisbane. The Hawks posted their third win on-the-trot, a far cry from their error-filled ways of earlier this season and they stand a good chance of finishing the year with five-straight. Brisbane in contrast continue as the problem child of the season with little to rally them with hopes toward 1999 and for whoever their coach may be — Brisbane seem certainties to end with their third wooden spoon since 1987.  HAWTHORN 13.16-94 (Chick 4) best, S.Crawford, Barker, Chick, BRISBANE 7.17-59 best, Lawrence, Boyd, White.

<||> Melbourne had GARRY LYON, GLENN LOVETT and BRETT GRGIC withdrawn through injury before the bounce of the early Sunday afternoon match against Port Adelaide at Footy Park – the game drew an attendance of 28,660. It's hard to imagine a game played in two distinct halves — Port at half-time should have been goals in front from their 14 opportunities against the Demons, who in perfect conditions were lethargic and had a dreadful first half.

After the long break, Melbourne found its rhythm and slammed Port in the run home to record their fourth win in five games. It was notable that Port had been over-run for a third consecutive week and placed to question whether coach JOHN CAHILL will gain a third year in charge at Alberton. Alan Shiell observed in The Age: "This Port squad is lacking – or not showing – the physical and mental strength that made Port such a feared, successful campaigner in the SANFL ..."

The results of the weekend allowed Melbourne to slip back into the top eight - Daniher's Demons will have to combine at a far greater level if they are to stay there — MELBOURNE 14.10-94 (Schwarz 4, Viney 3, Kowal 3) best, Viney, S.Febey (his 200th), Tingay, PORT ADELAIDE 14.10-94 (Tredrea 3) best, Mead, Tredrea, Dickie.

<||> "It is true that St Kilda was guilty of self-mutilation through the petulant, self-indulgent antics of Nicky Winmar, an all-time great of the club but a flawed diamond. Yet as important to the result as that performance was, so too was the fact the Carlton took on St Kilda at its own game. And won handsomely" – the telling assessment by Martin Blake in The Age. The media was universal in its condemnation of Winmar's responsibility and his on-ground war with Carlton's ANTHONY FRANCHINA, and several wearing the Blue guernsey during the Sunday game at the MCG which drew 42,120 onlookers. In the sunset of his career, Winmar nearing 33 played his 227th and possibly last League match.

CRAIG BRADLEY and FRASER BROWN sizzled in Carlton's midfield with a thorough combination of game-long understanding. It provided a channel for the athletic STEPHEN SILVAGNI to display his versatility as 'the full-back of the century" kicked five goals from full-forward. The Blues destroyed St Kilda out of the middle and had a huge supporting cast to a thorough victory, handing the Saints their fourth-successive defeat — CARLTON 19.20-134 (Silvagni 5, White 3) best, Bradley, Brown, Allan, ST KILDA 15.14-104 (Loewe 4) best, Loewe, Peckett, Burke.

<||> A healthy 37,920 followers were in the bright sunshine of Subiaco Oval on Sunday to watch West Coast lift to fifth place with a comprehensive defeat of a battle-scarred Richmond. The Tigers desperately missed the injured Richardson, Holland, Gaspar, Merenda and the suspended Plapp.

The signs were ominous as early as midway through the first quarter, and though trailing by two points at the first break, the Eagles kicked 7.4 in the second term. By the third quarter, West Coast had tipped the Tigers over and raced to hold a 44pt by the last change. On the key duels, JASON BALL (WC) and BRENDON GALE (R) had a superb ruck-battle. The athletic Eagle took the honours, with terrific marking and around-the-ground work. Gale wasn't disgraced, and was equally determined in attack. MATTHEW KNIGHTS in spite of an early knock battled gamely for the Tigers — WEST COAST 16.16-112 (Fewster 3), best, Ball, Cousins, Read, RICHMOND 11.7-73 best, Knights, Bulluss, Harrison.

<> The Herald Sun reported: The art of jailed former tycoon Alan Bond has received the thumbs-up from a Perth brothel owner, who has paid $25,000 for his Matera Magic.

The oil painting of dashing West Coast Eagles half-back Peter Matera was taking pride of place at the exclusive Langtrees brothel in Victoria Park.

Brothel owner Mary-Anne Kenworthy said: "It's got a bit of depth. But I would have preferred a back shot so we could see more of Matera's butt."

The AFL on Friday (14th) approved separate applications for protective equipment made by three clubs. They will be worn by DAVID SCHWARZ (Mel), TONY LIBERATORE (WB) and CHRIS MAINWARING (WC).

The braces may be worn under the conditions they are — (a) appropriately padded and covered, (b) are flesh-coloured and do not carry advertising.

The AFL through its ops manager IAN COLLINS would continue to monitor protective equipment to ensure it did not have the potential to cause injury to other players.

The Western Bulldogs resubmitted a modified version of a knee brace which Tony Liberatore had been denied from using when he returned to the game following his knee reconstruction on Saturday August 8.

Monday’s Tribunal
North Melbourne's DAVID KING was cleared of striking at the only case heard by the AFL Tribunal on Monday (17th)
King was reported by field umpire Hayden Kennedy for striking Craig Callaghan (Fre) during Friday night's game at the MCG. Tribunal chairman Brian Collis dismissed the charge, saying it was not sustained by evidence.

Following speculation lasting all of the season, the Fremantle club on Monday (17th) informed coach GERARD NEESHAM his services would not be required.
Neesham, the inaugural coach of the Dockers in the first four seasons since their 1995 entry to the AFL competition will remain in charge for the last two rounds versus Port Adelaide and Hawthorn.

Tuesday’s Tribunal
Brisbane forward JUSTIN LEPPITSCH fronted the AFL Tribunal on Tuesday, facing a charge laid from video evidence of Saturday night's game.

Leppitsch pleaded not guilty but received a two week suspension for having struck BRAD LLOYD (Haw) with a forearm to the head. The useful forward has kicked 25 goals to lead the Brisbane list, but his season will end early, missing the last two rounds. Leppitsch was also suspended earlier this year from the round five game against Hawthorn — he then bagged one week for striking MARK GRAHAM.

STEPHEN REILLY reported in The Age that the AFL Rules committee will review whether the laws relating to "charging" and "rough play" need to be redefined.

Given the recent interpretation by the Tribunal of the existing definition of "charging" the League is concerned players in the act of taking possession of the ball can now be legally "charged".

Umpires are now considering whether or not to make use of the cover-all unduly rough play law in future, instead of laying "charging" reports which they believe can now be too easily stepped around.

A "charge" is defined in the manual as "violently meeting a player who is not within five metres of the ball, is not in the act of taking possession or ... is within five metres but not in the immediate contest and would not reasonably expect such contact".

Violent contact with any player who has marked the ball, is attempting to mark the ball, has disposed of the ball or is shepherding a team-mate is also included in the rule.

<> St Kilda's 12-season veteran NICKY WINMAR trained with his club at Waverley on Tuesday night under the gaze of a media hoard. As a disciplinary measure to his bizarre performance at the MCG on Sunday against Carlton, the Saints have already telegraphed Winmar will be downgraded and play Reserves on Saturday.

The St Kilda match committee still have to determine a penalty for the two compulsory training sessions which Winmar missed this week.

<> TONY MODRA, the Coleman Medalist of 1993 signed a two-year contract with Adelaide on Wednesday (19th) which secures him in a Crow guernsey until the end of 2000 .

The deal was reportedly worth $300,000, plus performance benefits.


North in 1500th game wins 8th in-a-row
327,869 is second highest round
Tony Lockett kicks his 6th century
Jason Dunstall retires

ROUND 21 — August 21-22-23-24
MILESTONES — GRAHAM WRIGHT (Col) played his 200th game (1988-98) and announced his retirement … 1997 Brownlow winner ROBERT HARVEY (StK) also reached the 200 mark … a quad of 50-gamers PAUL LYNCH (Gee), SHANE ELLEN (Fsc, now Ade), MARK ORCHARD (Col, now Syd) and BRENDAN KRUMMEL (WCE, Fre, now Haw) … NORTH played its 1500th League game and won for the eighth consecutive time, second only to their nine victories from the 1977 Grand Final replay until the 8th round of 1978 — the Kangas also became the first club to defeat Adelaide on three successive occasions at Football Park …

<> CARLTON won by 55pts to record their biggest victory over COLLINGWOOD since the opening round of 1976 when the Blues won by 57pts at Princes Park – the year the Pies won their only wooden spoon.

The victory measured in club-to-club contests played at the MCG is topped by two successive meetings in finals. In 1931 in the First Semi-Final the Blues thrashed Collingwood by 88pts when Harry 'Soapy' Vallence kicked 11.3 from full-forward. The next year, they met in the Preliminary when Carlton recorded a 75pt win and 'Soapy' hit the jackpot again, this time with 11.9 for the Blues in their score of 23.19-157.

<> COLLINGWOOD have hit 14th place for the first time since early 1995 (rounds 2-3-6 and 9). Any finish lower than their 12th in 1976 and 1987 will bring the famous Magpies their lowest placing of their 2063 League matches since 1897 … <> PORT ADELAIDE won for the first time in Perth.

<> The 22nd round will feature the 200th League match played for premiership points at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The first was on Saturday May 23 1903 when Collingwood played Fitzroy to a crowd of some 20,000 — the first game to be played for match points outside of Victoria.

Twelve VFL games were played at the SCG (two of them featuring South Melbourne in 1980 and 1981) before the Swans became the Harboursiders in 1982. Sunday against Collingwood will be the Swans' 188th home game at the Sydney Cricket Ground. It will also mark the 1950th League appearance of the red-and-white colours in League ranks.

<||> Rain started as the teams entered the MCG arena on Friday night and it got heavier after the bounce. A throng numbering 67,157 attended to watch a great struggle between the Dons and the Bulldogs. Both sides were intent to emphasise their presence and control with physical pressure.

The Westerners had a decisive advantage in the midfield and running department, but were wasteful up forward. The Bombers, once again, remained close by dint of their persistence, superb efficiency and the talents of young full-forward MATTHEW LLOYD who booted six goals.

JAKE NIALL in his Age review of the match said: The final minutes were thrilling, with the result not settled until a free kick was paid to CHRIS GRANT (WB) 50 metres from goal. He passed to JAMES COOK, who kicked the sealing goal from a tight angle with seconds left. In his comeback game, TONY LIBERATORE (WB) was prominent in the early action. He appeared to move remarkably well for a player who had a knee reconstruction after round five. BULLDOGS 14.17-101 (Cook 4) best, Wynd, Johnson, Montgomery, ESSENDON 13.12-90 (Lloyd 6, Hird 3) best, Lloyd, Johnson, O'Donnell.

<||> A major pre-match dust-up involved all 44 players after Brisbane broke through their banner at the MCG on Saturday. For almost 30 seconds the two teams jostled before doing their warm-ups. It was possibly the best action the 27,912 fans saw for the next 150 minutes.

Brisbane's thoroughly miserably season continued and the contest proved that Richmond had a lot more to play for. The Tigers finished off with 9.2 in the last quarter and a thumping 77pt victory to maintain their grip on a place in the Eight. MARK MERENDA playing his first game since May 17 tormented a succession of opponents with a classy tally of 5.3. He was ably supported by AARON JAMES who booted five-zip. RICHMOND 24.11-155 (Merenda 5, James 5) best, Merenda, Daffy, Campbell, BRISBANE 11.12-78 (Akermanis 3) best, C.Scott, Ashcroft, Kennedy — it was Brisbane's seventh-straight defeat.

<||> In the difficult Waverley Park conditions of strong winds and rain on Saturday, St Kilda, coming off four successive losses and a week of the media spotlight over Nicky Winmar set up their victory over West Coast in a low-scoring, dogged affair for a turnout of 26,895.

Though it was only a four-goal opening, the commitment of the Saints to hold the Eagles scoreless was pivotal. West Coast through their seasoned performers of BRETT HEADY and CHRIS LEWIS got them into the game in the second term but their spirit was countered by strong performances for the Saints by TONY BROWN, ROBERT HARVEY, BRETT KNOWLES and AUSTINN JONES.

ROHAN CONNELLY observed in The Age: ... the last stages of the third term produced two crucial goals to leave St Kilda with its nose in front and, in a desperate final term, the Saints added two more while a wasteful West Coast could kick only 1.5 for the quarter ... ST KILDA 9.9-63 (Brown 3) best, Brown, Harvey, Knowles, WEST COAST 7.13-55 best, Cousins, McIntosh, Peter Matera.

ABC Radio statsman JACK CAMERON recorded the ball was out-of-bounds 36 times in the first quarter ... in his 200th game ROBERT HARVEY (StK) wisely disposed his 35 possessions.

<||> The AFL's two most recent premiers were locked in a battle worthy of a final on Saturday night to a packed house of 43,297 at Football Park. Adelaide opened in cracking style with the first three goals in the first eight minutes while North sprayed valuable chances. The Roos then found target and with 15 minutes of ruthless efficiency rounded off the opener with six goals and be 18pt leaders. The Crows and Kangas clawed at each other for the rest of what was an enthralling game.

WAYNE CAREY's five goals provided the crucial, classy difference in the enthralling battle — he kicked 5.3 created several others, took nine marks, had 17 kicks, gave 11 handpasses. And, it was Carey who got the ball to PETER BELL who goaled and provided the sealer — NORTH MELB 14.21-105 (Carey 5) best, Carey, King, Bell, ADELAIDE 13.14-92 (Modra 3) best, Goodwin, Hart, Smart.

<||> On the receiving end themselves so frequently, it was Port Adelaide's turn to ravaged another of the nest when they belted Fremantle at Subiaco on a near-perfect Sunday for only 20,412 of the faithful.

After half-time, the game turned into a rout as Port march away with a 53pt win. ALAN EAST summarised for The Age: Port, which son so impressively with "half a good team", will only get better as coach John Cahill mixes some more experience in with his crop of brilliant youngsters. Emerging starts like Bowen Lockwood, Warren Tredrea, Brendon Lade, Nathan Eagleton and Peter Burgoyne all stood tall in the forward line ... PORT ADELAIDE 19.10-124 (Tredrea 6, Dew 3) best, Lockwood, Francou, Tredrea, FREMANTLE 10.11-71 (Hunter 3) best, Burton, Norrish, Fletcher.

<||> Carlton maintained its progress of improvement when they savagely defeated their arch-rival Collingwood by 55pts at the MCG on Sunday. Almost half of the 60,741 who attended went home early to escape the embarrassment of seeing a dispirited Collingwood disintegrate further. With their 14th defeat from 21 games, the Pies are likely to finish at their lowest-ever position and will miss the finals for a fourth consecutive season.

The target of team-building at Carlton appears to have been accomplished as many fine young players emerge. It prompted reappointed coach DAVID PARKIN to report: "My objective in the '98 season was to find out who could play and who wanted to play and I think I have an absolute clear picture of our total list."

The prospects for Collingwood and TONY SHAW (even if he continues as coach) is far from rosy. The embarrassment of the Magpie performance was typified when the perfectionist NATHAN BUCKLEY, under no pressure in the second quarter hit the goal post from 10 metres out — CARLTON 17.16-118 (Camporeale 5) best, Camporeale, Whitnall, Koutoufides, COLLINGWOOD 8.15-63 best, Michael, Buckley, Burns.

<||> Two clubs who have both had a forgettable season provided the Sunday contest for 28,833 spectators on Sunday. It was an error-filled encounter of which Ashley Browne recorded for The Age: What cost Geelong the match was the third term, when it managed only one goal with the wind, to Hawthorn's three. After hanging tight in the second term when the Hawks repeatedly threatened to kick away, PETER RICCARDI levelled the scores for Geelong inside three minutes of the third term following a typically graceful left-foot snap.

But 20 minutes of sustained attack yielded nothing more, and the Hawks were able to seal it with time-on goals to BEN DIXON, AARON LORD and NICK HOLLAND. A three-goal lead with the wind still to come in the final term was worth about seven on a normal day.

HAWTHORN 11.18-84 (Dixon 4, Lord 3) best, Graham, Dixon, Lekkas, GEELONG 8.15-63 (Riccardi 3), King, Hocking, Riccardi.

<||> A very hungry Melbourne side were too proficient and swept to a confident victory over Sydney in the only Monday night contest of the 1998 season for a very strong MCG attendance of 52,614. The Demons took a firm grip on a place in the eight, jumping to fifth position, a game in front of four clubs — Adelaide, West Coast, Essendon and Richmond. With all of the permutations possible, Melbourne look certain to feature in their first major series since 1994.

Though defeated Sydney retained their third place on percentage. Now the equal of the Saints and Demons, the Swans seem safe in the top four but must beat Collingwood on Sunday to obtain the right to a home final.

The major highlight of the evening was the 100th goal of the season kicked by Sydney's TONY LOCKETT on the cusp of three-quarter time. It came from a free kick for holding, 20 metres from goal. On a 45 degree angle, Lockett kicked truly for his sixth career century, equalling the record of Hawthorn's JASON DUNSTALL. The resulting crowd invasion caused a seven-minute hold-up.
Trailing badly by 31pts, the Swans strived hard to get back into the game early in the last term when five goals were kicked by both sides in 10 minutes. Melbourne however were equal to the task and with both scoring 6.4, the Demons enjoyed a comfortable win, 17.12-114 (Farmer 4, Neitz 3) best, Viney, M.Febey, Tingay, SYDNEY 12.11-83 (Lockett 4) best, O'Loughlin, Schwass, Luff.

Live AFL telecasts will remain, but Optus Vision's saturation football coverage appears set to be reduced, once Channel Seven takes over the pay-TV coverage.

Seven takes over from Sportsvision on September 1, reported ASHLEY BROWNE in The Age. Sydney sports-writer and editor STEVE CRAWLEY was appointed Wednesday (19th) to run Seven's pay-TV operation.

Crawley spent his first day on the job in Melbourne planning next year's football coverage. The live games (about 20 each year) are certain to stay, but the Sports AFL channel will be merged with Sports Australia.

Contracts with the NRL and Soccer Australia seem certain to dramatically reduce the presence of AFL on pay-TV.

Crawley offered hope, quoting the News-Fox honcho — "Rupert Murdoch used to say that you cover football until you drop, and then cover some more ..."

AAP on Saturday (22nd) reported the AFL announcement that the Australian-Gaelic Football international series will be revived for each of the next four years in partnership with Ireland's Gaelic Athletic Association. It regenerates the concept first introduced between the two countries in 1984.
Australia last hosted the series in 1990 when Melbourne veteran JIM STYNES represented Ireland which the Irish won 2-1. Stynes has been named to assist the preparation of the Australian team and this time will play for Australia.

The naming of the ALL-AUSTRALIAN TEAM on September 14 will now carry even greater significance, as for the first time the selected team will play two matches scheduled for Dublin's Croke Park on the Sundays of October 11 and 18. Both matches will be televised to Australia by the Seven Network.

The All-Australian Team of 1998 will be coached by current Victorian coach LEIGH MATTHEWS and the AFL Coach of the Year.

Under the arrangements, Ireland will visit Australia in 1999 and 2001, with Australia set to travel again to Ireland in 2000.

In addition to the senior tours there will also be a series of matches played each year at Under 17 level between the Australian Institute of Sport and AFL Academy against the Irish Under 17 team, of which the first series of games were played in Ireland in April this year.

Collingwood flew into a first-class sponsorship deal when it announced on Thursday (20th) a three-year, $2.5 million arrangement with EMIRATES airline. The Emirates logo will front the Pies' guernsey for home matches and on the back and shorts for away matches.

High-profile commentator EDDIE McGUIRE revealed in his Herald Sun column on August 22 the AFL have begun negotiations with radio stations for broadcast rights for the years of 1999-2000-2001.

McGuire stated: the AFL aims to grant one AM licence, one FM licence, and a Geelong licence, while a national broadcaster will also be allowed to broadcast games.

The highly-successful innovation of coverage via the nationwide ABC News Radio Network has broadened the number of listeners to AFL football around Australia since first introduced in 1996 when it was anchored by TIM FLYNN.

Recent rating figures for AFL football broadcasts by PNN from the Sydney and Brisbane markets drew ratings which surprised many.

McGuire reported the AFL are now conscious of how big radio broadcasting has become over the past two years and want radio stations to nominate how much they are prepared to pay.

A separate fee is expected to be asked for games broadcast across the Internet on the World Wide Web.

STEPHEN LINNELL in The Age noted: A confidential report into the future of Waverley Park is believed to have put its market value at close to $70 million – significantly greater than previous estimates.

The AFL Commission met Monday (24th) to further discuss the Waverley issue. If Waverley is sold, the debt-free League would use $30 million of its proceeds to fulfil its commitment to Docklands, a stadium the League will own outright in 25 years.

<> The League will concentrate on taking its 1999 pre-season Australia-wide, shelving for the time-being the international push.
Though end-of-season matches have already been approved for London and Dublin, Ansett Cup matches and pre-season practice games next year will focus on Darwin, Canberra and Tasmania.

Tuesday’s Tribunal
Sydney captain ANDREW DUNKLEY became the first player to face a charge of "engaging in rough play in breach of the rules of Australian Football" when the AFL Tribunal sat on Tuesday night. The charge resulted from a third quarter incident against Melbourne's MATTHEW FEBEY in Monday night's game at the MCG.

Dunkley pleaded not guilty to "engaging in rough play" – a charge which is meant to define the rule previously known "unduly rough play" – it entered the rule book in February this year.

The Australian reported: Field umpire HAYDEN KENNEDY reported Dunkley because the contact to Febey was late – "fractionally" after the Melbourne had disposed of the ball — to the head, and also because Dunkley had jumped in the air.  The Tribunal found in Dunkley's favour.

Wednesday’s Tribunal
Investigations into the pre-match melee before Saturday's Richmond-Brisbane match at the MCG resulted in six players facing charges when the AFL Tribunal sat on Wednesday (26th) night.

All pleaded guilty and were handed fines totalling $17,000 for their part in the fiery 25-second incident —
<> Alastair Lynch (Bri) $4000
<> Danny Dickfos (Br) $3000
<> Nigel Lappin (Bri) $2500
<> Chris Johnson $2000
<> Aaron James (Rch) $3000
<> Paul Bulluss (Rch) $2500.

In another hearing, DARRYL WAKELIN (StK) was found guilty of charging BRETT HEADY (WCE) in Saturday's match at Waverley. The Saints key defender was suspended for two matches.

<> The 15-match Ansett Cup series for 1999 was released Tuesday (25th). All matches will be played within our shores, with games listed for Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin and Hobart beyond the traditional venues of Waverley, Football Park, Subiaco and the MCG. North Melbourne have chosen to be known as the "Kangaroos" or the "North Kangaroos" beginning the 1999 season.

Ansett Cup prizemoney will be increased from $475,000 to $600,000, with the winner receiving $125,000 for the series which starts at Subiaco on Thursday February 11, a week earlier than previous years.

STEPHEN LINNELL reported in The Age: The AFL will challenge one of the great traditions of the game in next year's Ansett Cup ... the League has told umpires to throw the ball up during general play. The age-old practice of bouncing the ball will only be executed at centre bounces – either at the start of a quarter or after a goal has been kicked.

The length of quarters for the pre-season competition will be reduced to 17 minutes 30 seconds, plus time-on.

Hawthorn captain and goalkicking legend JASON DUNSTALL announced his retirement on his Channel Seven TV program Live and Kicking on Wednesday night.

Twelve days past his 34th birthday, Dunstall will play his 269th and final match for the Hawks against Fremantle at Waverley on Saturday.

In his 268 matches since 1985, the man from Coorparoo kicked 1252 goals at an accuracy rate of 66%.

In a nice touch, Dunstall had fellow champion spearhead TONY LOCKETT sitting next to him as he made his retirement known to a big TV audience — it rated 25's, a terrific result for the show.

Dunstall extracted a promise from Lockett to "blow away" Gordon Coventry's record of 1299 goals which has stood since 1937.

Lockett presently on 1268 goals from his 256 games promised — "I'll do it for you".


367,974 sets new round record
North & Bulldogs – as good as it gets
Bombers survive; Tigers dumped
Collingwood finish in 14th place

ROUND 22 — Fri-Sat-Sun, August 28-29-30.
MILESTONES — The bonanza of matches in the 22nd round brought a new record attendance figure for the eight games of 367,974. It passes the previous greatest of 329,369 set in the opening round of four days in 1997.

For the first time in League history attendances to the 176 games of the home-and-away series totalled 6,119,164 at an average of 34,768 per game.
Reported crowds for the 21st and 22nd rounds totalled 695,835 — an average of 43,490 at the 16 matches.

STEPHEN TINGAY (Mel) celebrated his 150th senior game … 100 games for MARK GRAHAM (Haw) and MARTIN PIKE (Mel, Fit, now NM) … 50th games by JASON TORNEY (Rch), TODD CURLEY (Col, now WB) and LUKE McCABE (Haw) … ANDREW GOWERS retired, playing his 49th for Brisbane, also 89 with Hawthorn, 1988-94 … the 200th match for premiership points since 1903 was played at the SCG ... HAWTHORN played their 200th match at Waverley.

<> NORTH MELBOURNE won their ninth consecutive game, equalling their club record set in 1977-78. The Kangaroos as minor premiers also collected the AFL's McCLELLAND TROPHY, named in memory of the VFL President from 1926 to 1955 … <> the Roos and the Dogs on Friday drew 68,050 – the largest attendance to watch their 130 contests since 1925, topping the 56,112 which saw the 1985 First Semi-Final between the two … <> ADELAIDE at their sixth attempt recorded their first win in Perth over West Coast.

<> NEALE DANIHER in his debut season as Melbourne coach has delivered one of the greatest rises recorded in League footy. From wooden-spooners at 16th place in 1997, Melbourne rose to 4th place at the end of the minor series and will play in the finals for the first time since 1994.

Daniher's feat recalls TOM HAFEY who catapulted Collingwood to the 1977 Grand Final and Replay, after the Pies finished last in 12th place with the wooden spoon in 1976 under MURRAY WEIDEMAN.

<||> It was hard to believe nothing was at stake other than pride and top place on the ladder, but North and the Bulldogs produced one of the most thrilling matches of the 1998 season when they met on Friday night at the MCG for a bumper crowd of 68,050.

LEN JOHNSON reported in The Age: North began the game after eight straight wins. The Bulldogs, while not quite as impressive in the past two months, have been at or near the top for the whole season and had prevailed in close encounters.

North coach DENIS PAGAN again was able to shuffle his men around to counter the Bulldogs' pace advantage. Carey played in the midfield in the third term, winning a fair amount of the ball. BYRON PICKETT and WINSTON ABRAHAM provided vital pace in the central corridor at either end.

North again demonstrated its ability to win from seemingly hopeless positions. Out-paced and outplayed in the first half, they reduced that in the third, before the two teams slugged out a thrilling last quarter. North produced seven goals to snatch victory from the Dogs with the lead changing five times and level on several occasions — no-one could doubt these were the two top sides of the year — NORTH 17.11-113 (Carey 4, Harvey 3) best, Stevens, Carey, Pike (his 100th), BULLDOGS 16.12-108 (Grant 4, Hudson 4) best, Grant, Romero, Johnson.

<||> Geelong didn't make the finals – but they sure as hell forged the fortunes of Essendon as the Cats scored one of the upsets of the season with a 10 point victory over the Bombers to a Saturday MCG attendance of 61,089. The pathway was paved with gold for the Dons but turned to stone when a committed band of youngsters (with many senior members missing) kicked Geelong's second-highest score of the year.

Essendon, with almost a full list had a strong grip of the match, leading by 26pts with the second quarter almost half gone. The Cats lifted and were almost level at half-time. After that, the Bombers fell into disarray as Geelong found accuracy, and lifting their workrate, went for the hardball led with dash by GARRY HOCKING. and PAUL LYNCH in only his eighth game of the year who launched him with five goals. JAMES HIRD and MATTHEW LLOYD were but two of the four-quarter players the Dons could call on — GEELONG 19.13-127 (Lynch 5, Burns 3) best, Hocking, Burns, Lynch, ESSENDON 18.9-117 (Lloyd 6, Hird 3) best, Hird, Lloyd, Barnard. For 24 hours, the Dons were gone for the year. As results fell, the Bombers survived and fell into the Eight.

<||> Hawthorn on a springlike Saturday ended the season in style – kicking the highest final quarter of the year; posting their fifth successive win, and provided a worthy departure for champion full-forward JASON DUNSTALL. There were 39,735 to see 'Piggy' play his 269th game and with but two goals for the day, end his career as the third greatest goalkicker of the game on 1254 goals.

Many of his former teammates and friendly opponents visited the rooms before the match to bid farewell to the League legend. Hawthorn coach Ken Judge remarked the day had such an emotional impact, it took his charges to half-time to settle down.

Of yes, there was a game — Hawthorn flogged a disappointing Fremantle by 89pts in the 88th and farewell match for departing coach GERARD NEESHAM — he was said to be too emotional to speak with the media after the game, HAWTHORN 22.17-149 (Lord 6, Chick 4) best, Lord, S.Crawford, Graham, FREMANTLE 9.6-60 best, Callaghan, Fletcher, Burton.

<||> Subiaco Oval had a blustery win and was slippery following rain on Saturday night when a sturdy throng of 37,388 saw Adelaide at their sixth attempt record their first win in Perth over West Coast. The Eagles survived to maintain their presence in every season of the nine-year tenure of coach MICHAEL MALTHOUSE.

Following a tight first half, the Crows applied pressure and though wasteful at times threatened to blow the Eagles away, leading by as much as 38 points – a defeat by 39 or more points would have seen West Coast's percentage fall behind the Bombers. The Coasters fought back and reduced the final margin to just 25, but key hamstring injuries to PETER MATERA, GUY McKENNA and GLEN JAKOVICH (ankle) cloud their finals chances. Adelaide enjoyed the class of ANDREW McLEOD but, his early exit raise a question mark on his fitness, ADELAIDE 15.16-106 (Modra 4) best, Ricciuto, M.Stevens, Goodwin, WEST COAST 12.9-81 Read, McIntosh, Kemp.

<||> Brisbane and the Saints met in another Saturday night contest where 14,993 were packed into the reduced capacity of the Gabba. After a forgettable first half in which they kicked 3.12, Brisbane appeared as wooden as the spoon they would soon embrace. The down-on-form Saints seemed to be doing enough to suggest they would take over in the last half.

TIM ATKINSON reported in The Age: "It was toward the end of the third term that Brisbane, like a wounded Lion, kicked forward, mainly due to the aggression of half forward DANIEL BRADSHAW. During the first half he had been unable to gain any possessions against the solid defence of GAVIN MITCHELL who had 10 to his name".

Bradshaw started outmarking his opponent, kicked two and quickly booted his third to start the final term, followed by Nigel Lappin and Marcus Ashcroft. Suddenly, Brisbane shot to a 21pt lead. It came down to a storming Saints' finish, with AUSTINN JONES punching two late goals, with a third from MATTHEW LAPPIN – STEWART LOEWE then missed everything from 50. With only 30 seconds left, Brisbane cleared but BRETT COOK marked and booted goalwards. Players dived, the siren went and, a split second later, Loewe got his foot to the ball and watched it clear the hands of rover SHAUN HART, but it was too late — BRISBANE 12.20-92 (Bradshaw 4) best, Ashcroft, Boyd, Lappin, ST KILDA 13.13-91 (Everitt 3) best, Everitt, Harvey, Jones.

<||> A big crowd of 76,387 were drawn to the MCG on Sunday – the scenario, Melbourne already in the finals fall to the Tigers who make the Eight and deprive Essendon. With only the short break from Monday night's game against Sydney, it was expected the Demons would take it easy — they did, by a margin of 76 points.

"Melbourne extinguished Richmond quickly and ruthlessly. Less than a minute had passed when GARRY LYON swept on to a loose ball, extracted himself from the traffic and drilled his only goal of the day. At the next bounce, STEPHEN TINGAY came off his wing at breakneck speed, took the ball with him and found JEFF FARMER with his probing kick for another goal".

"Richmond's defence collapsed under the pressure. Farmer and Neitz, who emerged as the game's outstanding player, booted five goals each". Farmer brought the house down by climbing on the backs of SCOTT TURNER (R) and Lyon in the first quarter, then soon after launched himself another storey higher to take the mark of the day. Tiger coach JEFF GIESCHEN was quoted: "To capitulate like that was very disappointing — MELBOURNE 19.19-133 (Farmer 5, Neitz 5) best, Neitz, Farmer, White, RICHMOND 8.9-57 (Richardson 4) best, Knights, Broderick, Merenda.

<||> As late as the 28-minute mark of the last quarter, Collingwood had a chance to win the game — Sydney stumbled over the line from a gallant Pie outfit to claim third position and a home final. A crowd of 35,814 watched from the SCG seats, taking the season attendance to 347,034.

Statistically, "Collingwood took 38 marks more than Sydney and most of those came straight from the boot of a Swans player" reported MARK RAY in The Age. "Add a stream of sloppy passes towards full-forward TONY LOCKETT and even more wild shots at goal and you would be forgiven for thinking the Swans had decided to save the career of Collingwood coach TONY SHAW. After the game, Swans coach RODNEY EADE said his team's sloppy disposal and poor decision-making resulted from a lack of concentration".

SYDNEY 18.11-119 (Lockett 5, O'Loughlin 4) best, O'Loughlin, Schwass, Lockett, COLLINGWOOD 16.11-107 (A.Rocca 3, Wild 3) best, Buckley, Wild, Crow.

Sydney face the Saints at the SCG on Saturday night — last time it was a 101pt win for St Kilda. It may be a similar result, if the Swans play as they did against the Magpies.

<||> Carlton rounded off their late-season surge when they won the fifth of their last seven matches with a thumping 54 point win over Port Adelaide at Football Park on Sunday to 34,518 of the faithful. The final result was cemented early when the Blues blasted in 9.3 in the opening stanza.

ALAN SHIELL noted for The Age: "Having humiliated the Blues by 89 points in the seventh round, the Power was subjected to a thorough going over and limped away a sore and sorry loser".

Carlton basically did as they pleased, sending PETER DEAN into retirement after a 15-season 248-game career with the club — CARLTON 21.12-138 (Camporeale 3, De Iulio 3, Silvagni 3, Whitnall 3) best, Camporeale, Brown, Bradley, PORT ADELAIDE 12.12-84 (Burgoyne 3) best, Eagleton, Dickie, Burgoyne.

JIM KRAKOUER who retired from AFL football in 1991 has been awarded $90,000 damages for an injury suffered in a 1989 game.

Krakouer 'wrenched' his knee while playing for North Melbourne in a match against Fitzroy at the MCG on Saturday July 23 1989. Krakouer did not play football for another two years. He joined Footscray in 1991, but played only seven matches.

Council for Krakouer, Dyson Hore-Lacy, QC, told the County Court in Melbourne on Friday (August 28) the payout was the first time in Australia an elite sportsman had claimed damages for injuries receiving on a playing surface.

Krakouer sued North Melbourne (his employer), the League (the match's organiser) and the Melbourne Cricket Ground Trust (manager of the MCG) for pain and suffering and economic loss.

Hore-Lacy said outside court "people are becoming more aware that they have the right to take action if the sporting venue is inadequate".

Essendon player JOE MISITI is presently suing the AFL for damages. A County Court writ against the League was issued in May. Misiti broke his jaw at the MCG in an Ansett Cup match against North on Saturday March 7.

<> The Board of the Geelong FC resigned en masse on Saturday (August 29). An election will be held in December. To provide for the club's intentions to expand its gaming operations, rewritten articles of association will be put to a vote of members in October. An election is expected in December.

<> The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Anti-Discrimination List commenced hearing an application by MATTHEW HALL on Monday (August 31). Hall is seeking to overturn a decision of the VAFA who have banned him from playing football with the Old Ivanhoe Grammarians on the basis on his HIV status.

Counsel for Hall, Jack Rush, QC, said evidence would be given from expert witnesses to show the chance of infection was one in 125 million or at the very most one in eight million.

<> The long-expected appointment of Sydney assistant coach DAMIEN DRUM to coach Fremantle for three seasons was announced on Monday (August 31).
Drum replaces Gerard Neesham, four-year coach for the Dockers.

Damien Drum was in Perth by early Tuesday morning for discussions before returning to Sydney for the Swans' Qualifying final preparations on Saturday.

<> The Magpie Board on Monday night confirmed TONY SHAW will continue to coach Collingwood in 1999, the last year of his contract.

President of the club KEVIN ROSE in making the announcement said: "The Collingwood FC is annoyed and disappointed that the necessary process of reviewing the 1998 year and planning for the future has been disrupted by the leaking of confidential information and persistent speculation and rumor."
It was widely speculated that DAMIEN DRUM who Collingwood sought chose the Fremantle appointment rather than the position at Victoria Park.

Monday’s Tribunal
Western Bulldogs full-forward JAMES COOK and Richmond forward BEN HOLLAND were each suspended at hearings held by the AFL Tribunal on Monday night (August 31).

Cook pleaded guilty to charging ROBERT SCOTT (NM). The Tribunal found a suspension of two matches was appropriate for the "violent" contact.

BEN HOLLAND (Rch) was found guilty of misconduct in kneeing DARREN KOWAL (Mel) and suspended for two matches. FABIAN FRANCIS (PA) was fined $1200 for wrestling JUSTIN MURPHY (Car) – a like charge against Murphy was not sustained.

The charge made against MATTHEW KNIGHTS (Rch) was withdrawn on Monday following a video review of the incident by the reporting umpire.

Ladder after Round 22
W L D F A % Total
1 NORTH MELB 16 6 2486 2117 117.4 64
2 WEST.B'DOGS 15 7 2353 2019 116.5 60
3 SYDNEY 14 8 2283 2143 106.5 56
4 MELBOURNE 14 8 2009 1956 102.7 56
5 ADELAIDE 13 9 2172 1763 123.2 52
6 ST KILDA 13 9 2148 2104 102.1 52
7 WEST COAST 12 10 1940 1773 109.4 48
8 ESSENDON 12 10 2250 2071 108.6 48
9 Richmond 12 10 2018 1926 104.8 48
10 Port Adelaide 9 12 1 1928 2017 95.6 38
11 Carlton 9 13 2018 2109 95.7 36
12 Geelong 9 13 1777 1963 90.5 36
13 Hawthorn 8 14 1992 2083 95.6 32
14 Collingwood 7 15 1968 2167 90.8 28
15 Fremantle 7 15 1739 2277 76.4 28
16 Brisbane 5 16 1 1860 2453 75.8 22


North roll on to 10-straight wins
Melbourne blow Adelaide away
Knife-edge win in Sydney slush
Bulldogs end Eagles' era

QUALIFYING FINALS — Fri-Sat-Sun, September 4-5-6.
MILESTONES — North Melbourne recorded its 10th successive win to create a new club record — greater than the nine victories enjoyed from the 1977 Replay to round 8 of 1978.

Essendon and West Coast were eliminated from the fight for the premiership following results of the four Qualifying Finals.

<> Essendon's 8.12-60 when going down to North on Friday night was the Bombers lowest versus the Kangas since their 7.9-51, 78-R21 at Waverley … A new crowd record in meetings between Adelaide and Melbourne was established at 60,817 which watched the 1QF.

<> SYDNEY after eight attempts beat St Kilda for the first time at the SCG since 89-R19 … the WESTERN BULLDOGS registered their biggest winning margin against West Coast. The 70pt win topped their 42pts of 93-R21 at Subiaco. The Sunday score of 18.13-121 equalled their 18.13-121 kicked at the Western Oval in R11 in 1987.

<> TONY LOCKETT (Syd) was presented with the COLEMAN MEDAL by Carlton champion STEPHEN KERNAHAN before the start of the Second Qualifying at the SCG on Saturday night.

Awarded to the player kicking the most goals in the home-and-away series, it was Lockett's fourth Coleman, having won it previously with Sydney in 1996. As a St Kilda player, Lockett also gained the honour in 1987 and 1991.

The hurried presentation made in wet conditions drew criticism that the medal bearing John Coleman's name deserves more dignity.

<||> FOURTH QUALIFYING: What the media tagged the "marshmallow war"– on comments made by Essendon coach KEVIN SHEEDY against two North administrators after their contest in the 14th round, finally took place on Friday night when 71,154 attended the MCG. Essendon to its credit, laid to rest any suggestion that it was "soft" as had been interpreted by Sheedy.

North went into the match (played in continuous rain for three quarters) seeking its 10th win in a row, while Essendon was still smarting from a last-round loss to Geelong. The Dons dominated the first quarter when it took the Roos 15 minutes before they entered their 50 metre arc. The first half was tight, with just five goals — three for the Dons, two for the Kangas.

LEN JOHNSON in The Age reported: A magnificent third quarter by WAYNE CAREY enabled North to overturn Essendon's five-point lead at half-time and seemingly take control of the match — the North skipper dominated as the rain pelted down.

North looked as if it had the winning break at -time leading by 19pts, which stretched to 26pts when Harvey kicked the first goal of the final term. As the rain stopped, Essendon came on with goals to Bewick, Young then Bewick again with the margin reduced to seven points. Carey then outmarked Wellman from behind to slot home his fifth goal and all but seal the result. The Roos extended this to 22pts by the finish — NORTH MELB 11.16-82 (Carey 5) best, Carey A.Stevens, Bell, ESSENDON 8.12-60 best, Mercuri, Lucas, Hird.

<||> FIRST QUALIFYING: Saturday afternoon was a good day with some sunshine as 60,817 were drawn to the MCG. Melbourne proved they are genuine premiership contenders when they demolished reigning premier Adelaide. Daniher's Demons got off to flyer, booting six goals to two in the opening quarter with JEFF FARMER leading the way with two goals in two minutes.

Adelaide applied the brakes in the second term, but had little effect on the scoreboard. By mid-way into the third, the Melbourne juggernaut had blown the margin out to 51pts and became notable for the one-man show staged by DAVID NEITZ who was flying.

The forward-line combo of Neitz, Schwarz and Lyon was imposing while the wizardry of Farmer still have the fans shaking their in disbelief with the spectacular things he performs, game-after-game — MELBOURNE 17.13-115 (Farmer 6, Neitz 6) best, White, Neitz, Farmer, ADELAIDE 9.13-67 best, Edwards, Smart, Jarman.

<||> SECOND QUALIFYING: Early rain and third-use of the SCG on Saturday night presented both Sydney and St Kilda with difficult, slippery conditions. It was a sell-out crowd but many stayed home for the live telecast with only 36,976 turning out.

Throughout it was always tight as two out-of-form sides struggled in the slush. The Coathangers led most of the contest then the Saints grabbed the lead early in the last quarter with a scrambled goal to NICKY WINMAR. The final minutes were a gripping, tense struggle as the Swans forced ball-ups and boundary throw-ins, neutralising the Saints whenever they tried to attack.

Sydney were blessed by having MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN. As Mark Ray reported for The Age-Sydney Morning Herald — "(he) kept the Swans ahead in the early stages with a brilliant display of skills ... he saw less of the ball later in the game but his influence in the first three terms were decisive. A special game by a special player" — SYDNEY 12.17-89 (O'Loughlin 4) best, O'Loughlin, Lewis, Filandia, ST KILDA 13.9-87 (Heatley 3) best, Harvey, A.Thompson, S.Wakelin.

<||> THIRD QUALIFYING: Sunday at the MCG was dry and in good condition but only 43,025 attended. The Western Bulldogs were emphatic 70pt victors over West Coast which exited the Eagles out of the race.

Martin Blake in The Age observed: There was a distinct feeling of the changing of the guard about the game as West Coast slumped to its worst performance of a season in which it had not been previously beaten by more than 25 points. The Bulldogs were slick and poised, just as the Eagles used to be. The Eagles fumbled and turned the ball over, just as the Bulldogs used to do.

For a time, West Coast matched the Bulldogs in the midfield and for overall possession. But the Eagles were light years behind ... Malthouse could only dream of a way to post a respectable score. None of his talls could make an impact and his crumbers were equally as quite ... West took the ball inside 50m of 55 occasions (only two fewer than the Bulldogs) for a pathetic seven goals.

The Bullies were disciplined and ran the ball with speed and precision setting-up a likely scenario which most footy fans have been expecting – a North-Dogs playoff — WESTERN BULLDOGS 18.13-121 (Minton-Connell 5, Grant 4) best, Grant, Croft, Montgomery, WEST COAST 7.9-51 best, Read, Cousins, Gardiner.

Norwich Rising Star Award
North Melbourne's BYRON PICKETT on Tuesday was announced the winner of the 1998 AFL Norwich Rising Star Award. The six judges awarded him the maximum five votes, to score him a perfect 30 votes.

Pickett now 21, was North's fifth selection in the 1996 National Draft. Originally from Port Lincoln in SA, he played reserves football for Port Adelaide in the SANFL before being drafted by the Kangas.

Pickett was presented with his $20,000 prize by AFL chief WAYNE JACKSON and IAN FORSYTH, gm of Business Development with Norwich Union Australia.

The six-member panel of selection was KEVIN BARTLETT, NEIL KERLEY, ROSS GLENDINNING, GERARD HEALY, LEIGH MATTHEWS and AFL chief executive WAYNE JACKSON as non-voting chairman.

Pickett joins an illustrious list of winners since the Norwich Rising Star Award was introduced in 1993. The first winner was NATHAN BUCKLEY (Bri, now Col), 1994–CHRIS SCOTT (Bri), 1995–NICK HOLLAND (Haw), 1996–BEN COUSINS (WCE) and 1997–MICHAEL WILSON (PA).

Final votes in the 1998 Award — 30–Byron Pickett (NM), 19–Nick Stevens (PA), 13–Warren Tredrea (PA), 12–Jason Saddington (Syd), 6–Jess Sinclair (Fre), 4–Jonathon Hay (Haw) 2–Michael Braun (WCE), Evan Hewitt (NM), 1–Darren Milburn (Gee), James Rahilly (Gee).

It was noted that the three first placegetters in the 1998 award were all groomed by Port Adelaide.

The MORRISH Medal for the best player in the TAC Under 18s was won by NSW-ACT Rams player LENNY HAYES. Recruited to the Rams from Sydney club Pennant Hills, Hayes polled 21 votes to win by one from PAUL GNATT of the Oakleigh Chargers.
In AFL Reserve Grade, SIMON ARNOTT (Sydney) won the GARDINER Medal with 14 votes for the season, finishing two votes ahead of a trio of rivals who all polled 12 votes –DARREN KOWAL (Mel), PETER WALSH (Mel) and SIMON MINTON-CONNELL (WB).

Port Adelaide axed one of its favourite sons when president GREG BOULTON announced at Alberton on Friday (4th) that coach JOHN CAHILL's two-and-a-half year AFL coaching contract would not be renewed.

Alan Shiell for The Age reported it as "football's most dignified sacking of a coach."

A search will begin for a replacement with MARK WILLIAMS, assistant to Cahill being tipped as a likely successor.

<> Swift changes following discussions on Monday and Tuesday night place media personality EDDIE McGUIRE as the next president of the Collingwood club.

In a deal cut in the board room, a four-man ticket headed by The Footy Show anchor McGuire of BRAD COOPER, IAN McMULLIN and ALEX WAISLITZ will fill vacancies caused by the resignation on Monday by BOB ROSE, and the agreement by BARRY PRICE and RICHARD STREMSKI to step aside, while PETER WHITE will not seek reelection.

As he intended, KEVIN ROSE will step down as President but is expected to remain on the board together with PETER HAMMOND and JACK KENNEDY.
Ratification of the proposal is expected to be put to the members at an extraordinary meeting of the club, on a likely date of Friday October 9.
Stremski will step into the shoes of Graeme Allen who vacated the post as general manager of Collingwood on Tuesday to take up a position with Leigh Matthews in Brisbane.

BRAD COOPER heads FAI Home Securities, former Collingwood player IAN McMULLIN is an executive with the Spotless Group and ALEX WAISLITZ is a member of the investment arm of Pratt Industries and the son-in-law of Richard Pratt.

LEIGH MATTHEWS was appointed coach of the Brisbane club on Monday (7th). His contact for a three-year period is believed to be worth $1.5 million.

Casualties from the recent problems experienced by Brisbane are expected to be football manager SCOTT CLAYTON and ROGER MERRETT.

Merrett coached Brisbane in a caretaker role for the last 11 rounds of 1998 after he replaced JOHN NORTHEY who was sacked.

Matthews will enjoy wide-reaching control of Brisbane's football management.

On Tuesday, GRAEME "Gubby" ALLAN stepped down from his gm role at Collingwood to accept the post in charge of the day-to-day running of the Brisbane FC under Matthews.

Tuesday’s Tribunal
PHILLIP READ (WCE) was the only player to appear at the AFL Tribunal on Tuesday (8th).

Read who pleaded guilty, received a two match suspension for tripping STEVEN KOLYNIUK (WB) during the third quarter of Sunday's Qualifying Final at the MCG.

Supported by the AFL Commission, the NMFC announced the North Kangaroos will play five premiership matches in Sydney next year – North will play four "home" matches and one "away" match in both 1999 and 2000 then increase that to six matches from 2001 to 2003.

The venture forms flexible fixturing arrangements which would have the Roos play up to 15 games at the MCG and the remaining two home-and-away matches at other interstate venues.

The formula is for an initial five-year agreement with the AFL, which will be reviewed by both parties after two years.

The announcement drew a word of caution from the Sydney club with KELVIN TEMPLETON its CEO suggesting the Swans believed a slower initial entry by a second club into Sydney 'might have been more appropriate'.


Demon bandwagon rolls on
Melbourne go to 7-straight wins
End of the road for Saints & Swans

SEMI-FINALS — Saturday, September 12.
MILESTONES — Daniher's Demons continued their journey of success with a seventh-straight victory when they easily accounted for St Kilda in the First Semi-Final on Saturday. Melbourne's seven victories have been by an average margin of 53pts. They will play North (undefeated in 10 matches) in the Second Preliminary.

Three Sydney players featured in milestones — DALE LEWIS his 150th match … TROY LUFF 100 ... MATTHEW NICKS 50 … while ANTHONY INGERSON (Ade, now Mel) reach his 50 games  … PAUL ROOS (Fit, now Syd) played his 356th and final League game. He played 269 with Fitzroy (1982-94) and 87 with the Swans (1995-98), kicking a career tally of 289 goals.

St Kilda suffered a dismal finish to their season. After their R14 victory over the Bulldogs on June 27 the Saints were top of the ladder … of their following 10 contests, they won only two (R16 v Geelong by 24pts, R21 v West Coast by 8pts), and were eliminated by Melbourne in the First Semi-Final to finish sixth.

<||> FIRST SEMI-FINAL: Light rain greeted the start of the match, which later turned to bright sunshine for the great Saturday throng of 88,456 at the MCG. Both the Demons and the Saints experienced early jitters when seven behinds were kicked before the first goal. St Kilda in the wet conditions led at the first change and with a 14-point break in the second term seemed likely to go on with it. However, it was the Saints who faltered, not the young Demons.

The dazzling JEFF FARMER sparked, kicking three goals in six minutes as Melbourne piled on eight unanswered goals overwhelming St Kilda in superb fashion and extending the dominance they have exhibited for seven-straight weeks.

Farmer with JEFF WHITE, the FEBEY boys and STEPHEN TINGAY relished the physical clashes in the midfield as the Saints ran out of options. ASHLEY BROWN in The Age recorded: the St Kilda big men hardly fired a shot. STEWART LOEWE again was found wanting, PETER EVERITT's alarming late-season form slide continued one week too long, while JASON HEATLEY, DAVID SIERAKOWSKI and BRETT COOK were rarely a factor.

The Melbourne forward line functioned smoothly without GARRY LYON (a late withdrawal). DAVID NEITZ was an early culprit with his inaccuracy, while DAVID SCHWARZ provided a physical presence that often kept the ball in the Demon forward line. But, for flair, he yielded to Farmer who kick-started the turnaround — MELBOURNE 15.17-107 (Farmer 4) best, Farmer, White, Schwarz, ST KILDA 7.14-56 best, Burke, Harvey, Jones — Melbourne with their seventh-straight win dispatched the Saints, who suffered a tremendous lapse of form, losing eight of their last 10 games.

<||> SECOND SEMI-FINAL: Heavy rain before the match on Saturday night turned the SCG into a slippery dip as 37,498 braved Sydney's storms. Adelaide displaying a greater level of skill worked hard in the wet for a comfortable 27-point victory, to advance into a Preliminary Final.

Sydney managed to keep the pace but were always behind the Crows who are still valid contenders for the flag, despite the lapse against Melbourne the previous week. The Swans were dealt a fatal blow when DARYN CRESSWELL was taken from the game in the first quarter with concussion and did not return, while one of their remaining play-makers MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN suffered a shoulder injury before half-time.

Adelaide's pin-point passing left no doubt who enjoyed the higher level of wet-weather skill. The killer-punch to Sydney was delivered by PETER VARDY's three third-term goals within five minutes. A brief rally came in the last term when TONY LOCKETT took his only mark of the match which brought his single goal. It was an efficient win for the Crows in the poor conditions — ADELAIDE 14.10-94 (Vardy 6, James 3, McLeod 3) best, Vardy, Smart, McLeod, SYDNEY 10.7-67 (O'Loughlin 3) best, O'Loughlin, Lewis, Schwass. Adelaide advanced to the Prelim, an unsatisfied Sydney ending their year at fifth position.

All-Australian team of 1998
North Melbourne's WAYNE CAREY was named Captain of the AFL Australian Team of 1998 announced on Monday (14th). It was the fifth occasion since 1993 that Carey has been selected and his second honour as Captain.

Reigning Brownlow champion ROBERT HARVEY (StK) with his sixth All-Australian selection was named vice-captain.


The selected team:

B: David King
North Melb
Ashley McIntosh
West Coast
Glenn Archer
North Melb
HB: Nathan Buckley
Sean Wellman
Nigel Smart
C: Matthew Knights
Scott West
Shane Crawford
HF: Paul Hudson
Wayne Carey (Capt)
North Melb
Mark Ricciuto
F: Ben Cousins
West Coast
Tony Lockett
Matthew Lloyd
Foll: Peter Everitt
St Kilda
Todd Viney
Robert Harvey
St Kilda
IC: Chris Grant
Andrew McLeod
Shaun Rehn
Anthony Stevens
North Melb
  Coach of the Year
Terry Wallace
Umpire of the Year
Andrew Coates

The highest individual honour in the VFL – The Liston Trophy – was dominated by Werribee's MICHAEL FROST when the count was conducted on Monday (14th).

Frost from his 18 home-and-away appearances with the Bees polled 32 votes with eight best-on-ground performances.

Michael played 24 games for Footscray and St Kilda from 1992 to 1994. At 27, Frost has no ambition to return to AFL ranks.

Tuesday’s Tribunal
St Kilda's BARRY HALL was suspended for four matches by the AFL Tribunal on Tuesday (15th) on being found guilty of kneeing STEVEN FEBEY in the head during Saturday's First Semi-Final at the MCG.

Hall who earlier this year copped a three week suspension for kneeing in a practice match has attended anger management classes.

Tribunal chairman BRIAN COLLIS suggested that had Febey been hurt from the incident, Hall's penalty may been more severe.

WAYNE CAREY was named Captain of the Australian team to play two Tests under composite rules against Ireland at Croke Park in Dublin on October 11 and 18, under coach LEIGH MATTHEWS.

The 23-man squad is —
Adelaide: Ben Hart, Andrew McLeod, Shaun Rehn, Mark Ricciuto, Nigel Smart;
Carlton: Scott Camporeale, Stephen Silvagni;
Collingwood: Nathan Buckley;
Essendon: Matthew Lloyd, Sean Wellman;
Hawthorn: Shane Crawford;
Melbourne: Jeff Farmer, David Neitz, Jim Stynes, Todd Viney;
North Melb: Wayne Carey, Anthony Stevens;
Richmond: Wayne Campbell;
St Kilda: Peter Everitt, Robert Harvey (vice-capt);
Sydney: Michael O'Loughlin;
Western Bulldogs: Brad Johnson, Rohan Smith;
Emergencies: Nathan Eagleton (PA); Nick Holland (Haw), Adam Yze (Mel).

ANDREW OSBORN won the SANFL's highest honour when the count for the Magarey Medal was held at the Adelaide Convention Centre on Tuesday (15th) evening. The Panther captain failed to poll a best-on-ground vote, but accumulated 16 votes from seven second preferences and two third's. He took South Adelaide's total in the coveted award to nine medals, won by six players across the 101 years since the medal was first awarded in 1898.

Osborn, 25, was a member of Port Adelaide's inaugural squad but a back injury denied the rover reaching an AFL game. His remarkable comeback also focussed the improvement the Panthers enjoyed in 1998.

Top votes in the 1998 Magarey —
16 — Andrew Osborn (South Adelaide).
13 — Brodie Atkinson (Sturt), Simon Feast (Sturt), John Cunningham (Norwood).
12 — Simon Crayshaw (South Adelaide), Adam Richardson (West Adelaide).

Retrospective Magarey's were awarded to players of the past who failed to win under the countback system. Those recognised were:
1915 – Samson 'Shine' Hoskins (Port Adelaide), Charles Perry (Norwood).
1920 – Victor York Richardson (Sturt).
1921 – John Karney (West Torrens), Charles Adams (Port), Walter Scott (Norwood).
1925 – Peter Bampton (Port Adelaide).
1939 – Alan Crabb (Glenelg).
1957 – Jim Deane (South Adelaide).
1967 – Don Lindner (North Adelaide).

Former Essendon captain GARRY O'DONNELL has become a casualty of the reduction of player lists from 40 to 42 for 1999. Since his debut in 1987, O'Donnell played 243 matches for the Bombers and captain of the club 1996-97 before standing aside for JAMES HIRD to assume the mantle in 1998.

Though first denied, coach KEVIN SHEEDY speaking Tuesday night on 3AW confirmed O'Donnell would be dropped from Essendon's list.

The club on Wednesday through its chief executive PETER JACKSON apologised to O'Donnell saying the club would investigate the leak, which had deprived O'Donnell of "a more dignified retirement".

RICK OLARENSHAW will exit Essendon to seek other pastures, while RYAN O'CONNOR is also considering his future at Windy Hill.

The final radio ratings for the 1998 season were released on Tuesday (15th) which returned the 3AW team led by Rex Hunt to leadership over MMM – the Eddie McGuire team had taken in the previous survey.

3AW MMM 3LO Magic
Sat 14.1 12.7 11.4 4.7
Sun 14.3 9.9 8.9 4.1

The Age reported on Thursday (17th) that Sydney full forward TONY LOCKETT is being sued by up to 10 dog breeders. The owners are expected to claim $250,000 for alleged breach of contract and conspiracy that Lockett was fraudulently involved in greyhound substitution.

Lockett following a police investigation faced 46 charges over the alleged substitutions. The charges were dropped last year by Victoria's Director of Public Prosecutions due to a lack of evidence.

<> AFL Commissioner GRAEME SAMUEL speaking to the Y Club, a Melbourne business group on Wednesday (16th) indicated a task force would be formed to examine the viability of a second team in Brisbane.

Samuel was quoted: "Unquestionably, the time will come to replicate the situation we have in South Australia and West Australia, by the provision of two teams in Sydney and ultimately, Brisbane".

AFL football manager IAN COLLINS on Wednesday (16th) confirmed the League had agreed to allow Channel Seven to use virtual advertising during overseas matches in London and Dublin next month.

St Kilda will play the Western Bulldogs at The Oval in London on Saturday October 10, while two Tests against Ireland will be played in Dublin on the Sundays of October 11 and 18.

Collins said the October matches provided a perfect opportunity for the League and Seven to test the technology.

STEPHEN LINNELL reported in The Age: Virtual advertising had been used during July's telecast of the Bledisloe Cup at the MCG. The advertising appeared 10 times during the match, for between two and 10 seconds. The Australian Broadcasting Authority found Channel Seven did not breach the commercial television code of practice. The ABA found the ads were easily recognisable as commercials, were not intrusive and did not interfere with the game's broadcast.


Roos end Demons fairy-tale run
Adelaide shatter the Bulldogs
Harvey wins his second Brownlow
Saints sack Stan Alves

PRELIMINARY FINALS — Friday-Saturday, September 18-19.
MILESTONES — MARK ROBERTS (Syd, Bri now NM) played his 200th ... BRAD JOHNSON (WB) his 100th ... it was MALCOLM BLIGHT's 200th match as a non-playing coach with North Melbourne, Geelong and Adelaide.

FROM THE WEEKEND – North Melbourne advanced to their second Grand Final in three years when they brought Melbourne's seven-game run to an end in the First Preliminary on Friday night.
Daniher's Demons nevertheless recorded the greatest rise in the 16-club competition, from wooden-spooners of last year to fourth place in 1998.

Adelaide on Saturday denied the Bulldogs for the second successive year. However, this time it wasn't a two-point nailbiter but a thumping 68pt thrashing.

The results places the AFL's two most recent premiers in a head-to-head battle which promises to be a knockout.

Melbourne's 12 individual goalscorers in a team tally of 12 goals on Friday night is a League record — it tops the 11 by Collingwood v Footscray, 1978-R19-VP.

<||> SECOND PRELIMINARY – Good conditions at the MCG on Friday night greeted players and the throng of 73,719 who attended the "last one" before the "Big One". Melbourne's JEFF FARMER one of the stars of the finals produced one of his 'speckies" in the opening minute but was off-target from 30 metres. It was a pattern which would follow the Demons for most of the night. Both North and Melbourne suffered from tardy starts, but then the Kangas began to apply the pressure in a tough and relentless manner.

COREY McKERNAN emerged from his dark season and together with MARK ROBERTS playing his 200th League game, the Kanga duo together with SHANNON GRANT became the most damaging players in attack. The many forward options which had won games for the Redlegs dried up as GLENN ARCHER, MICK MARTYN and JASON McCARTNEY turned the defensive screws. WAYNE CAREY was not the dominant factor being held in check by JAMIE SHANAHAN and though the Demons were well served by valiant efforts from TINGAY, WOEWODIN, VINEY, the FEBEY's and INGERSON, North were always out of reach.

Melbourne lost no friends but the odds were too great — NORTH MELB 17.12-114 (Grant 4, Allison 3) best, Blakey, Stevens, Bell, MELBOURNE 12.12-84 best, Tingay, Viney, Woewodin. Melbourne's 12 individual goalscorers in a team tally of 12 goals is a League record. It tops the 11 by Collingwood v Footscray, 1978-R19-VP.

<||> FIRST PRELIMINARY FINAL: A Saturday of 20 degrees and bright sunshine brought otherwise perfect conditions except for a large muddy centre patch at the MCG — 67,557 attended. For a second season, Adelaide in one game destroyed the dreams of the hard-working Western Bulldogs.
STEPHEN RIELLY reporting in The Age: The magnitude of Adelaide's victory will allow some to believe the winner was extraordinarily good, the loser abominable and therefore the match was neither a contest nor a reflection of the true worth of either side. In truth is was both and only a misrepresentation in the sense that it exaggerated a gulf that very definitely exists between the two teams.

Two Adelaide players were superb – ANDREW McLEOD and MATTHEW ROBRAN who between them produced as many goals as the Bullies could muster, exposing the defensive deficiencies of Western.

The Bulldogs who were overwhelming favourites were again destroyed, heaping more finals misery on the club — Adelaide get the chance to become the first club to win back-to-back flags since Hawthorn in 1988-89 — ADELAIDE 24.17-161 (McLeod 7.0, Robran 6) best, McLeod, Robran, Rehn, BULLDOGS 13.15-93 (Hudson 5) best, S.West, Johnson (his 100th), Romero.

Brownlow Medal
St Kilda's ROBERT HARVEY won his second successive Brownlow Medal when the 71st annual count of the prestigious award was conducted at the Crown Casino in Melbourne on Monday night.

Harvey became the 11th multiple winner of the Medal and received his latest trophy by presentation from former North Melbourne champion KEITH GREIG the last to win the Brownlow in two years in 1973-74.

Harvey polled 32 votes to win by eight from NATHAN BUCKLEY (Collingwood) with SCOTT WEST (Western Bulldogs) third on 23 votes.

St Kilda coach STAN ALVES on Sunday was in Adelaide watching likely prospects play in the two SANFL semi-finals at Football Park. Back in Melbourne by eleven that night at the Brighton residence of president ANDREW PLYMPTON, Alves was told the club were unhappy with his performance during the season; he no longer held the respect of some of his players and was asked to resign. He refused

On Monday, the 1997 Coach of the Year was sacked by the St Kilda club.

The deeply wounded Alves has sought legal advice to the terms of his severance — it is understood his earnings for the final year of his contract in 1999 were worth some $220,000.

The Saints are scheduled to play the Western Bulldogs at The Oval in London on Saturday October 10th. Assistant coach PETER BANFIELD is likely to take charge of the tour.

Alves did not attend the Brownlow victory of Robert Harvey, at the request of the club.

Late Monday night on Talking Footy, St Kilda president Plympton said a replacement for Alves may be announced as soon as Wednesday September 30.

ROHAN CONNELLY reported in Saturday's Age (19th) that senior players are planning to front the Essendon board with a call for the sacking of coach KEVIN SHEEDY.

At least 80 per cent of players are believed to be in favour of replacing Sheedy who is understood to be perched with board support at 6+6 and would require the casting vote of Bomber prez GRAEME McMAHON to hold his post.

The board are due to meet next on September 29. A decision to replace Sheedy would require an estimated pay out of $400,000 for the last year of his contract.

MARTIN FLANAGAN recorded an important event in The Age.

On Thursday (17th) a monument to THOMAS WENTWORTH WILLS, now commonly described as the Father of Australian Football, was unveiled outside Moyston oval only a kilometre or so from the grand homestead his father Horatio constructed at Mount Ararat, three years following John Batman's founding of Melbourne.

There is every reason to believe that Tom Wills playing with Djabwurrung children observed a team game played at tribal gatherings and described as Aboriginal football by a Scottish settler, James Dawson.

The Tom Wills memorial, which was built from Harcourt granite by the Stawell firm of Cray Brothers, was the idea of Moyston identity, FRED HOMBURG (otherwise known as "Barry from the Bush"), and was jointly funded by the Westpac bank and its staff in the region.

In attendance at the ceremony was Uncle Jack Kennedy, a direct descendant of Dick-a-Dick, one of the Aboriginal players coached by Tom Wills which became the first Australian cricket team to tour England in 1868 where they recorded victory in 14 of their games. Kennedy unveiled the Tom Wills memorial with AFL historian Col Hutchinson.

As Flanagan noted: "It is a handsome tribute to a proud, solitary man whose unique contribution to the cultural and sporting life of this nation was overlooked for so long".

Wednesday’s Tribunal
A charge laid following the weekly video review was heard by the AFL Tribunal on Wednesday (23rd) against Western Bulldogs player TONY LIBERATORE .

'Libba' pleaded guilty to having struck Adelaide defender PETER CAVEN during the last quarter of Saturday's First Preliminary Final at the MCG.

The Tribunal suspended Liberatore for one match – the first suspension of his 206 senior games. His penalty will be served this weekend in the Reserves Grand Final between Essendon and the Bulldogs in which he was eligible to play.


Adelaide clinch back-to-back flags
Last half strangles the Kangaroos
Mc Leod wins second Norm Smith medal

GRAND FINAL — Saturday, September 26.
MILESTONES — CRAIG SHOLL (NM) played his 200th senior game ... final crowd figures were released showing that 6,691,897 spectators watched the 185 matches of the 1998 season. … Adelaide created a first in 102 seasons of League footy — the Crows became the first club outside of the top two finishing the season to win consecutive premierships.

FROM THE GRAND FINAL — Adelaide achieved their second successive premiership with a stunning last half against North Melbourne. They were "gone" for all money at the long-break, and by 3.45pm most commentators suggested Crow fans should head for Bordertown on the trip back home. Adelaide had been swamped by the Kangas and were trailing badly by four goals and it might well have been eight.

However, the devastation North could have reaped upon the Crows when they controlled everything in the second quarter was not reflected on the telltale scoreboard — the Roos yield was a wasteful 2.11 for the term — even so, the 'wise' assessments predicted North would power ahead after the long break.

From there, Adelaide produced a glorious comeback which resulted in one of the great premiership victories. Backing the hunch that North couldn't maintain the momentum, the Crows found the spirit and suddenly Adelaide had runners everywhere with Andrew McLeod, Mark Stevens, Kane Johnson, Andrew Eccles, Simon Goodwin and James Thiessen producing the speed and sparkle, and North were found wanting. Darren Jarman repeated his effort from the previous Grand Final, flexing his considerable muscle in creating goals which deeply wounded the Kangaroos.

Adelaide continued their surge bringing up the first two goals of the last term and while the Roos closed the gap the Crows raised the stakes with a super effort to blow the final margin out to 35pts, far wider than anticipated.

Muhammad Ali, Legends, Crows, on that ‘one day in September’
Clear skies and 20 degrees welcomed 94,431 to the MCG on Saturday for one of the better Grand Finals of recent memory. The throng were entertained with one of the more pleasing pre-match displays which included a motorcade of newly installed Legends of the Game and players who had recently retired. A vintage Rolls Royce carried the visiting guest MUHAMMAD ALI, one of the greatest sportsmen of the 20th century.

North went in as hot favourites with 11 successive wins and an unchanged line-up. Adelaide made only one alteration omitting Chad Rintoul for youngster Ben Marsh as Adelaide entered their fifth "on-the-road" contest of as many weeks. In a swirling, difficult wind North started well and Carey was conspicuous with two marks in the opening minutes but the 'King' was astray from an important shot. Possibly one of the most crucial factors of the game came from the ability of Adelaide's Peter Caven in restraining Carey's dangerous influence to a miserly five marks for the day, and a single (but spectacular) goal. Caven finished with 20 possessions and nine marks.

North almost buried the Crows before half time – the Roos' second term was remarkable, but only two goals came from 13 shots, when the Adelaide defence may have been overlooked for the work they did to keep their side in it – still with a chance though behind by four goals at the long break, 4.3 to 6.15.

If Adelaide coach Malcolm Blight has a credo that "footy is fun" and "take your chances" when you get them, then his charges followed them in the second half to a 't'. Suddenly the Crows found their wings, and their vision and skill as the running players swept past the Kangas. Within 17 minutes of the third term the Crows drew level and contained North to only two goals. With the difference just two points at the last change, the fans waited for North to rebound.

Two opening goals in the last quarter put Adelaide further in front. North though tiring were still a chance and had Carey majored at a critical moment, maybe the Kangas heads would've lifted. They didn't, as Adelaide finally went away to record an easy 35pt victory – their second successive AFL Cup and a bonanza for the bookies as the Crows buried the red-hot favourite. From 'imposters' at 12th place in 1996 to two winning Grand Finals under Malcolm Blight, is quite a record.

Adelaide were served superbly by the versatile ANDREW McLEOD while PETER CAVEN can proudly wear his premiership medallion for his job on Carey. DARREN JARMAN again delivered five goals in an award-winning outing (although they only seem to come about once a year) ... SHAUN REHN played an effective, measured and proud role in the ruck and around the ground in his 48th consecutive appearance since his second knee reconstruction ... there were many others who sparkled in the second half – SIMON GOODWIN, KANE JOHNSON, NIGEL SMART (recovering from a heavy knock to the head in the second term) who went forward to kick three goals in the second half ... North on the other hand had so many players who started well, but faded — BYRON PICKETT, ANTHONY STEVENS, MICK MARTYN and WINSTON ABRAHAM were not on the list — they at least fought it out all the way.

ADELAIDE 15.15-105 (Jarman 5, Smart 3) best, McLeod, Jarman, Rehn, NORTH MELB 8.22-70 best, Stevens, Martyn, Pickett.

Grand Final umpires
The Umpires Panel for the Grand Final was posted by the AFL.
Field: Andrew Coates (161st game), Hayden Kennedy (179), Darren Goldspink (179); emergency: Bryan Sheehan. Boundary: Shane Jensen, Darren Wilson, Peter McDonald; emergency: Michael Hane. Goal: Anthony Black, Mark Powell; emergency: Michael Heinrichs.
Grand Final presenters
Richmond champion ROYCE HART presented the Premiership Cup and player medallions to the winning team.

Dual Brownlow Medalist KEITH GREIG presented the Norm Smith Medal to Adelaide's ANDREW McLEOD as the player judged best on the ground.

<> Adelaide in 1998 used 37 players
<> BEN HART, KYM KOSTER and SHAUN REHN played in all 26 games
<> The Crows had two players suspended in the season – DARREN JARMAN (three matches), NIGEL SMART (two matches)
<> Adelaide after half-time kicked 11.12 to North's 2.7
<> North's 8.22 was the most inaccurate scoreline in a Grand Final since Collingwood's 9.24 in 1980.
<> North Melbourne kicked 2.8 to the southern scoreboard end
<> The match provided the biggest turaround since Hawthorn led Essendon by 25pts at half time in the 1984 Grand Final
<> The two-point margin at three-quarter time was the closest Grand Final margin going into the last quarter since 1967.
<> Adelaide became the first club in the Nineties to win back-to-back premierships – last club to do so was Hawthorn 1988-1989
<> ANDREW McLEOD became the first player to win successive Norm Smith Medals – Hawthorn's GARY AYRES won two, in 1986 and 1988
<> Adelaide became the first club to win from 5th position
<> The Crows highest placing during the season was third position – at round 2, round 14 and round 15
<> Adelaide in 26 games kicked 376 goals, 343 behinds. 2599 points. Their defence allowed 300 goals, 308 behinds, 2108 points.
<> DARREN JARMAN was top scorer with 45 goals, 29 behinds
<> Adelaide in the concluding five weeks of the season played at Subiaco, MCG, SCG, MCG and MCG
<> Six members did not play in the 1997 premiership – MARK RICCIUTO, PETER VARDY, JAMES THIESSEN, MARK STEVENS, ANDREW ECCLES and BEN MARSH.


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