Footystats Diary, footy's best kept secret, 1999 Review
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1999 Review
October 1998 to September 1999

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The 307-game Essendon champ TIM WATSON was appointed coach of St Kilda on Monday September 28.

Watson, at 37, takes on the Saints in his first venture into senior coaching ranks. He replaces STAN ALVES who was surprisingly sacked following four valuable seasons (1994-98) after getting the club into their first Grand Final since 1971 and to a sixth-place finish this year.

The much-awaited confirmation that KEVIN SHEEDY will coach Essendon into a 19th season was announced by the club late on Tuesday September 29.

The Essendon board met first with senior players at 4pm Tuesday, then following four hours of deliberations released the news about 11pm.

Club prez GRAEME McMAHON said: "The board will work with Kevin to identify what measures are required to ensure the club achieves on-field success in the future".

The Essendon board were hopeful of retaining the services of MARK THOMPSON as assistant coach however he resigned on October 13 to become assistant to DENIS PAGAN at North Melbourne.

Recently retired Essendon veteran GARY O'DONNELL, together with former Footscray and Brisbane player MICHAEL McLEAN were appointed Tuesday Sept 29 as assistant coaches to Leigh Matthews in Brisbane.

MATTHEW ARMSTRONG was later named as the third assistant coach.

NICKY WINMAR has played his last game with St Kilda.

The 33-year old veteran of 230 games, 283 goals since 1987 has been told, his services are no longer required.

GREG DENHAM reported in The Age on Sept 30 "that Winmar's dismissal was not solely as a result of a directive from new coach TIM WATSON, who has already told the club that he will tighten discipline among the players."

Another departure from St Kilda is NORM GOSS, chairman of the match committee in 1997-98 who follows in the wake to the sacking of senior coach STAN ALVES and Reserves coach PETER RUSSO.

Survivors at Moorabbin are: GARY COLLING (development manager), PETER BANFIELD (assistant coach) and PHIL ANSTEY (football manager).

An estimated 120,000 people continued the celebration of Adelaide's latest AFL premiership victory on Tuesday Sept 29 with a city street parade.

Also recognised were Adelaide winners of other national titles, netball champions the Thunderbirds, the men's and women's basketball teams, the 36's and the Lightning, and world aerobics champion PATSY TIERNEY.

It is a remarkable achievement for South Australia, the state with the lowest population on the Australian mainland.

Up to 50,000 euphoric Adelaide fans turned out Sunday at Wayville Showgrounds to welcome the Crows home.

A tour of the AFL Cup and featured players to country centres around South Australia will be made in November.
Adelaide topped off its premiership week by announcing a three-year extension of its sponsorship deal with the Toyota Motor Corp. Toyota will sponsor the Crows to the end of 2001.

As a prelude to the trading period which began on October 1st, the annual "gab-fest" between the 16 AFL clubs was conducted in the boxes of the John Elliott Stand at Carlton on Wednesday Sept 30.

Draft picks have been swapped, exchanged and players traded, and many will find new career paths when trading concluded on Thursday October 8. The National Draft will be held in Melbourne on November 1.

Viewing figures across Australia for the Channel Seven coverage of the 1998 Grand Final peaked at 3,061,000 but were down on the 1997 figure of 3,311,000.

1998 Grand Final–source Channel 7

AFL nationally


AFL Melbourne


AFL Sydney


AFL Brisbane


AFL Adelaide


AFL Perth


The AFL and the AFL Players' Association on September 30 jointly announced finalisation of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement covering conditions for AFL Players through until the end of 2003.
The agreement was reached over a series of discussions which commenced last December. Key features of the agreement are:

<> Total player payments will be $68 million in 1999, up from $63 million.
<> Players will have a minimum end-of-season break of eight weeks.
<> The minimum draft age will be raised from 17 to 18 for the 1999 National Draft (players must be 18 or older at January 1 2000. Clubs may select one 17-year-old each at this year's National Draft.
<> Minimum base players payments will rise from $20,500 to $35,000.
<> Match payments will increase from $1500 to $1750.
<> A Veterans' List will be established – maximum of two players per club, nominated by January 1 each year ... players to be at least 30 years old, with 10 years continuous service at one club ... once nominated, the player remains on the list until retirement.
<> The establishment of a long term injury list – long term is defined as eight weeks or more ... clubs can add a rookie to their list to replace a player on the injury list.
<> Players will be allowed to negotiate their own deals to wear particular brands of football foots.
<> Players will be allowed to receive marketing and promotional income which will not be counted under the salary cap, providing it is approved by the AFL.
<> Lists will remain at 40 in 2000, reducing to 39 in 2001, but still with up to six rookies.
<> The AFL and the AFLPA will contribute up to $25 million to players' education, retirement and training over five years. The AFL will contribute $3 million to the fund in 1999. Thereafter the AFLPA will fund the player welfare scheme through a five per cent contribution from total player payments.

ANDREW McLEOD the twin Norm Smith Medalist will rest for six weeks but will not require further surgery. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Sept 30th when a general clean-out and trimming of a cartilage was performed.

He withdrew from the All-Australian team touring Ireland but was cleared to resume training with Adelaide on November 16.

The man who holds the record of 244 unbroken League matches from 1987 until 1998 announced his retirement.

JIM STYNES on Saturday Oct 3rd told an audience of the Melbourne faithful of his decision at the count of the 1998 best and fairest awards at the Grand Hyatt.

Recruited from Ireland, Stynes played a total of 264 senior matches in his 12 seasons with the Demons.

<> An increase of Football Park's capacity is on the planning board. A new $10 million grandstand would add a further 5000 seats to the present ceiling of 47,500. The SA Premier Mr Olsen is expected to continue talks with the SANFL …
<> ALAN JOYCE, the man with a 62% success rate as Hawthorn premiership coach and as a quality leader until deposed by the Bulldogs in 1996 has returned to a senior football role. Joyce has taken up the post as Chairman of Selectors with Richmond. He started at Punt Road on October 8 …
<> NEALE DANIHER received a reward after boosting Melbourne from wooden spooners of 1997 to fourth place in 1998. The Demons have extended Daniher's existing contract by a further year — the former Bomber will coach the Dee's until the of 2000 …
<> ROSS SMITH, the former North Melbourne defender has been named assistant coach to GARY AYRES at Geelong. In 1998, Smith coached the Bendigo Diggers in their first VFL season after leading Ainslie to the ACTAFL premiership in 1997 ...
<> DARREN CROCKER, recently retired from North has won appointment as playing coach of Port Melbourne in the VFL ...
<> MARK THOMPSON, former captain and assistant coach to Kevin Sheedy resigned from Essendon on Tuesday and by Wednesday had been appointed as Reserves coach and assistant to DENIS PAGAN at North Melbourne. Thompson completes a full-hand at Arden Street — also assisting Pagan are Tony Elshaug, Norm Dare and Tim Harrington …
<> in another move, STEVE MALAXOS is the new deputy to Rodney Eade in Sydney, replacing Damien Drum who got the nod at Fremantle. Malaxos after a short stint with Hawthorn in 1985 was part of the West Coast Eagles 1987 debut in the national competition and played a total of 75 games (1985 & 1987-90). More recently the 37-year-old has been assistant coach at East Fremantle and part of the regular commentary team on ABC Radio with 6WF in Perth …
<> at Port Adelaide, the appointment of former West Adelaide coach GEOFF MORRIS completed the team assisting MARK WILLIAMS. Morris will take up a newly-created position as development coach and assisting as a match committee member and skills coach. PHILLIP WALSH who played with Collingwood, Richmond and Brisbane is assistant coach of the Port trio.
<> Well known local identity RON WATT has been appointed as Geelong's development coach. Watt more recently coached North Shore to four premierships in the Geelong Football League …
<> MATT RENDELL who played 177 games with Fitzroy and Brisbane (1981-92) has been appointed as assistant coach at Melbourne …

Port Adelaide won their 35th SANFL Premiership on Sunday October 4 in perfect conditions at Football Park to a great attendance of 44,838.

Sturt, the minor premiers under coach PHIL CARMAN went into their first grand final for 15 years, and during the greater part of the exciting contest seemed to have enough to notch their first SANFL premiership since 1976.

However, after the Double Blues led by four points at the 12 minute mark of the final term the resilient Port clapped on the pressure to sweep away to their eighth premiership of the past 11 seasons.
Port were playing in their fifth successive grand final.

BRETT CHALMERS possibly in his last senior appearance was a key player of the Magpie victory and was accorded the honour of the JACK OATEY MEDAL as best afield in the grand final.

The Western Bulldogs with an eight-goal burst in the third quarter easily took out the Australian Football Cup in the match played against St Kilda at The Oval in London on Saturday October 10.

Played in good conditions, the Doggies who were two points down at the long break slammed on six unanswered goals in a dominating third term before the Saints regained their poise.

Both sides were without many of their star players, but the make-up with a large smattering of Reserve players put on a classy exhibition.

The match catered to the wishes of a large number of Australian visitors and ex-pats who were joined by a smattering of curious English spectators in the crowd of approximately 11,000.

TODD CURLEY with four goals and LEON CAMERON with three were the major contributors for the Bulldogs, while NATHAN BROWN was clearly one of the best performers on the day, Bulldogs 15.5-95, Saints 10.12-72.

An improved Ireland were confident victors in the Second Test played Croke Park in Dublin on Sunday October 18 for a near-capacity crowd of 35,221.

Ireland were more polished in the conditions and did not tire as they had in the First Test. Handling the round wet ball following rain before the game proved the downfall of the Australians who had led at half-time, 37-36.

Ireland won the International Rules series sponsored by Coca-Cola on aggregate after their one-point defeat by the All-Australian side in the opening match.

With the Test aggregate of the two meetings 128-118, Ireland won the series.
First Test: Australia 2.13.11—62, Ireland 2.14.7—61, crowd: 22,900.
Second Test: Ireland 4.12.7—67, Australia 2.10.4—56, crowd: 35,221.

The future of the International Rules series will be tested again when Ireland visit Australia at the end of 1999.

<> It was revealed Sydney's champion full forward TONY LOCKETT married his childhood sweetheart Vicki Peel on October 19. The vows of the Ballarat pair were taken by a Gold Coast celebrant Kitty Lyons at Cabarita Beach, a small north coast NSW town where Lockett is known to own two properties …

<> Sacked coach STAN ALVES issued a Supreme Court writ against the St Kilda FC on October 20 claiming lost wages, plus damages and costs of over $240,000.

The claim alleges comments made by St Kilda president ANDREW PLYMPTON at the time of Alves' sacking have "severely damaged" the former coach's reputation and future employment prospects.

Alves, dismissed on September 21 was contracted until October 31, 1999 and his dismissal allegedly ignored a requirement he be given 30 days written notice. His announcement of termination came only 10 days after St Kilda's unsuccessful finals campaign.

(Note: In November the two parties reached an out-of-court settlement).

<> Mark it down on the calendar — Brisbane, Carlton, Hawthorn and Richmond had their first training sessions for the 1999 season on Monday October 26.

<> AAP reported that on October 28 in Darwin, a Northern Territory footballer was found guilty and suspended for smearing blood into an opponent's face.

JOHN DARLING of the Wanderers club was suspended for seven weeks for smearing his blood into the face of ROD HOARE in an NTFL reserves grade match played on Sunday October 18.

On the suggestion of lightness of the sentence, NTFL gm GREG TRAPPETT said there had been evidence that Darling had been concussed at the time he smeared the blood.

It is believed to be the first occasion such an action has drawn a penalty in Australian sport.

EDDIE McGUIRE, the anchor-man of Channel Nine's popular Thursday night Footy Show got the present he wanted for his 34th birthday.

One thousand Magpie members at the Camberwell Civic Centre on Thursday October 29 gave McGuire and his three associates overwhelming approval and for changes to be made to Collingwood's articles of association, allowing the McGuire ticket to take control.

Following resignations by Peter White, Richard Stremski, Bob Rose and Barry Price, the four-man group of McGuire, Brad Cooper, Ian McMullin and Alex Waislitz filled the vacancies.

Former president KEVIN ROSE (who stood aside for McGuire) together with JACK KENNEDY and PETER HAMMOND will complete the new board.

Formal elections will take place at Collingwood's AGM in December.



TERRY DANIHER and ROBERT SHAW will return to Windy Hill as assistants to senior coach KEVIN SHEEDY.

Daniher bowed out after 313 senior VFL-AFL games (with South Melbourne and Essendon) and the Bombers Reserve grade premiership in 1992. TD only finished his playing career when at 41 he led the Wagga Tigers in September to their fifth premiership of the past six seasons in the Riverina FL — it was a last-gasp win over Turvey Park.

Shaw who played 51 games with the Bombers (1974-81) was assistant to Sheedy from 1988 before taking on Fitzroy for four seasons from 1991-94. He then moved to the Adelaide club in seasons 1995-96. This year he coached the Under 18 Tassie Mariners in Hobart.

Rejected by St Kilda as having passed his "use-by-date" NICKY WINMAR now 33-years old, was taken up by the Western Bulldogs with their second at number 30 when the National AFL Draft was held in Melbourne on Sunday November 1 to a big TV audience.

Several players found new homes, but left on the AFL shelf until at least the pre-season draft in February were North Melbourne's ANTHONY ROCK, Collingwood's TONY FRANCIS, Adelaide's CLAY SAMPSON and Richmond's PAUL BULLUSS.

Together with Winmar, others who will play in new colours in 1999 are —
RYAN O'CONNOR, moving from Essendon to Sydney
DAMIEN RYAN (Richmond) to St Kilda
JACOB ANSTEY (Carlton) to St Kilda
GARY DHURRKAY (Fremantle) to North Melbourne
while both ILIJA GRGIC and SHANE CLAYTON will seek favours at their third club.

Grgic who played with Footscray and then West Coast was chosen by Essendon. CLAYTON a former Fitzroy player, moved to Brisbane, but in the draft now tries his luck at Arden Street with the Kangaroos.

JAKE NIALL in The Age made the keen observation — "For the AFL, the most pleasing stat might have been this: of the 83 players taken (in the draft), eight were Aborigines. More than 50 Aboriginal players will be on club lists in 1999."

LEIGH COLBERT was appointed captain of Geelong for 1999.

Drafted by the Cats with their first selection in 1992 the classy utility from South Bendigo has been a permanent fixture of the Geelong line-up in 105 games and vice-captain for the past two seasons. He has also represented Victoria on two occasions.

The 23-year-old Colbert takes over from BARRY STONEHAM and follows a long line of recent captains at Kardinia Park.

The Cats had their first official training run on November 4.

Geelong have ditched the much criticised 'away' guernsey used in 1998. The traditional navy blue and white hoops will be incorporated in a new design for 1999. It will be used in 'away' games with the regular hoops appearing at all home matches at Kardinia Park.

The widely respected GEOFF CHRISTIAN died in Perth on November 7 aged 64.

Author of the definitive history of the game in Western Australia – The Footballers first published in 1985 and again in 1988, Christian was a board member of the WA Football Commission and enjoyed a life-time career in journalism. He was also a commentator of events in the world of football with 6PM, 6KY and more recently with ABC Radio on 6WF and across Australia on the ABC's NewsRadio network.

Christian was No.1 ticket holder of the West Coast club.

<> Deposed St Kilda coach STAN ALVES will return to ABC Radio in 1999. The ABC announced their radio commentary team for next season with Alves' return to the special comments position he held from 1990 to 1993.

PETER BOOTH who is scheduled to retire from the ABC mike in June hands over the leadership role.

TIM LANE has DWAYNE RUSSELL as his new partner in the lead commentary roles. PETER BOOTH and CLINTON GRYBAS will team for other commentary duties.

<> Following the gong it recently received in the 1998 Victorian Tourism Awards, the Australian Football League has captured the Major Festivals and Events category of the 1998 Australian Tourism Awards …

<> The JON ANDERSON page in the Herald Sun reported North Hobart after 117 years is to undergo a name change.

They will become the HOBART DEMONS to spark marketing interests and re-new their profile. The club has won 27 premierships — a record in senior football second only to the great SANFL Magpies, Port Adelaide.

<> The Age reported Melbourne bookmaker NORM SHORT has installed Adelaide at a short 9/2 to take their third successive premiership – the North Kangaroos and the Western Bulldogs are second favourites at 8/1. Carlton after the release of a favourable draw have firmed into 20/1 – you can get 50/1 for Hawthorn, Collingwood 66/1, with Freo on 100/1. Best around for West Coast is 10/1.

Freo were the last club to announce their best & fairest award on Nov 14.


ADELAIDE – Mark Ricciuto

BRISBANE – Chris Scott

CARLTON – Fraser Brown

COLLINGWOOD – Nathan Buckley

ESSENDON – Damien Hardwick

BULLDOGS – Scott West

FREMANTLE – Jason Norrish

GEELONG – Peter Riccardi

HAWTHORN – Shane Crawford

MELBOURNE – Todd Viney

NORTH MELB – Wayne Carey

PORT ADELAIDE – Adam Kingsley

RICHMOND – Nick Daffy

ST KILDA – Robert Harvey

SYDNEY – Michael O'Loughlin

WEST COAST – Ashley McIntosh

WEST.B'DOGS – Scott West

<> The Premiers were the last to start pre-season training — Adelaide re-grouped on November 16 after an extended holiday ...

THE 1999 DRAW …
Abandonment of twilight fixtures and the increase of prize money for winning the flag were key items when the 176-match draw for 1999 was announced on November 18.

The premiers will receive $250,000 for winning the Grand Final.

The break-down of the 176-match home-and-away series call for —
Thursday Night — 2 games
Friday Night — 22
Saturday Day — 47
Saturday Night — 39
Sunday Day — 63
Sunday Night — 2
Monday Day — 2

The 1999 draw programs 112 day games and 64 at night. 58 matches will be played at the MCG, but only 21 for Waverley Park. The split –
MCG — 58
Football Park — 22
Waverley Park — 21
Subiaco Oval — 16
Carlton — 16
Sydney Cricket Ground — 15
BCG (Gabba) — 11
Kardinia Park — 9
WACA Oval — 6
Victoria Park — 2
The last six matches in Perth will be played at the WACA. The last game before extensions to Subiaco Oval begin will be played in round 16 on July 18.

SCOTT RUSSELL one of last surviving players from the Pies' 1990 premiership was delisted by Collingwood — the sacking follows protracted discussions over new contract terms. Russell now 28, despite his hefty asking price of some $180,000, the 182-gamer is expected to be well-sought ...

<> The North-Kangaroos are opening a Sydney office at the SCG ... <> Sydney captain PAUL KELLY, was recovering following a hernia operation — they said he'll be up and running after Christmas ... <> REX HUNT calling cricket! — that's right! — Melbourne's 3AW give competition to ABC Radio in covering the Australia-England Test from the MCG in December ...

<> Geelong's JOHN BARNES suffered a cut to the head and neck injuries in a two-car collision in North Melbourne on November 23.

<> On the same day, Brisbane's Brownlow Medalist MICHAEL VOSS went under emergency surgery following an accident at his Mt Gravatt home.

Still recovering from a broken leg, Voss almost lost the first joint of his middle finger when it became jammed between his four-wheel drive and a heavy trailer. The successful operation which inserted three pins is likely to see Voss back to training soon after Christmas. He hopes to resume playing in March.

<> DAVID CALTHORPE will be Brisbane's first selection (second overall) in the AFL's February pre-season draft.

Calthorpe rejected an Essendon offer and accepted terms of a three-year arrangement with the Lions.

Brisbane's commitment paves the way for Fremantle (who have first pick in February) to take up the out-of-contract Richmond player ASHLEY PRESCOTT .

<> Tax commissioner MICHAEL CARMODY released the finding of an 18-month probe into the payments players are receiving from AFL clubs. Already 14 out of 40 players investigated have been ordered to pay fines and taxes — the combined bill is expected to exceed $1 million.

<> PAUL BULLUSS discarded by Richmond is training with the Hawks ... <> both JASON WATTS (WB) and TONY FRANCIS (Col) are doing their pre-season with St Kilda ... <> SEAN SIMPSON (Gee) is moving along with Richmond ... while Melbourne invited MATTHEW MANFIELD (Rch) to train with them ... <> ANTHONY ROCK has joined his old mate DARREN CROCKER for a pre-season with the 'Borough's at Port Melbourne — still with hopes he'll be picked up by an AFL club in the February pre-season draft ...

<> ROSS GLENDINNING is the latest personality to exit the Channel Seven commentary team along with TIM WATSON and LEIGH MATTHEWS, both now in the coaching stakes. Glendinning after 10 years with Seven will remain in the media — he has accepted a role with ABC Radio in Perth replacing STEVE MALAXOS who is now assistant to Rodney Eade in Sydney …

Terry Wallace signed a three-year $1.1 million deal with the Western Bulldogs which will keep him in plenty of footballs through to the end of 2001.

MARK ROBINSON in the Herald Sun estimated the deal puts Wallace in touch of Adelaide coach MALCOLM BLIGHT (believed to be on $500,000 p.a.) and LEIGH MATTHEWS who is understood to be going around with Brisbane for a cool $400,000.

A legend of Richmond's premiership days of the 1970s has joined Collingwood. NEIL BALME is the new football operations director at Victoria Park. His appointment will relieve DAVID WHEADON who will work more closely with coach TONY SHAW and his assistant DANNY FRAWLEY.

Balme will oversee the entire football operations sector.

The dual premiership coach of Adelaide MALCOLM BLIGHT will be made a life member of the Australian Football League.

Blight with a service of 416 games as a player and coach will receive the honour at the AFL Annual Meeting in February.

Others to be recognised are — JOHN ELLIOTT (Carlton prez), RON CASEY (North prez), players JOHN BLAKEY (Fit-NM), JASON DUNSTALL (Haw), RICHARD OSBORNE (Fit-Syd-Fsc-Col), PAUL SALMON (Ess-Haw) and 300-game umpire PETER CAREY.

Elections at Geelong installed FRANK COSTA as new president. The Costa ticket gained control when ADAM TRESCOWTHICK, GARETH ANDREWS, GREG GILES, GLYNN HARVEY and champion full-forward DOUG WADE were elected. An independent candidate HELENE BENDER filled the seventh vacancy.

Former power-broker REX GORELL failed to gather the numbers and finished eighth in the voting.



The NATIONAL RUGBY LEAGUE competition was further reduced to 17 clubs when the Adelaide Rams closed their books on December 1st — two days later the Gold Coast Chargers withdrew from the 1999 season.

The reduction brings to five the number of major Rugby League clubs to have shuttered in the past 14 months — Perth Reds, South Queensland Crushers, and the Newcastle Hunter Mariners, are now joined by Adelaide and Gold Coast.

The recent merger between Illawarra and St George will leave the NRL with a difficult 17-member group.

<> West Coast's longest serving player GUY McKENNA has been appointed captain for 1999. The 29-year old McKenna of 235 games (1988-98) will succeed the recently retired John Worsfold. GLEN JAKOVICH and MITCHELL WHITE have been selected as deputies to McKenna.

<> Following recent investigations by the Australian Tax Office and MICHAEL EASY, a special AFL investigator, the League are seeking to fill two positions in the primary role of investigating salary cap breaches.

The upgrading of the League's investigation policy follows the probe by Easy during which 10 Essendon identities were quizzed on financial dealings during 1993-95. The Herald Sun revealed those questioned included — Tim Watson, Paul Salmon, Michael Long and Gavin Wanganeen.

AFL Football Operations manager IAN COLLINS on November 30 in Hobart delivered the final report for the restructure of Tasmanian football. The AFL will provide $1.3 million for the transition, which will integrate all Tasmanian football bodies.

PETER HODGEMAN, MHA, was named Chairman of Football Tasmania for a three-year term. The board will also comprise a cross-section of existing football bodies in Tasmania, PETER DANIEL (former State coach), DOUG HARVEY (Clarence FC), DAVID TEMPLETON (former NTFL president) and JOHN HOSKEN (former South Launceston FC vice-president).

BRUCE GREENHILL, a member of the ABC Radio Sports Team was appointed g.m. of Football Tasmania.

The island state will comprise three zones and each body including the Tasmanian State Football League will operate as separate entities. Reserves football will be retained for at least a further 12 months.

Following a tour of the facility on December 2nd by key officials of the St Kilda club led by president ANDREW PLYMPTON the Saints were poised to become the third anchor tenant of Docklands.

Karen Lloyd in The Age reported: Plympton said the club was considering packages that would mean the Saints playing between seven and nine games at Docklands and possibly earning the club anywhere between $1.4 million and $2.5 million a year.

Carlton were fined $43,820 and excluded from the pre-season draft.
The penalties announced on December 7 by the AFL Commission resulted from a breach of salary cap rules in 1998. The fine of $43,820 represents 70 per cent of the amount the Blues were over their allocated cap of $3.275 million.

It was the second heavy fine in five years that Carlton had suffered for salary cap breaches.
The loss of their pre-draft selections will result in Carlton entering the 1999 season with a senior list of only 38 players, plus the two veterans Craig Bradley and Stephen Silvagni.

ANDREW BALAAM on December 10 became the fourth CEO of Geelong in less than two years.

Balaam was named as an interim replacement following the sacking of PHILLIP NUNN who had 22 months remaining on his contract.

Following the departure of GREG DURHAM in March 1997, NEIL KING lasted only 10 weeks before being replaced by Nunn who had been at Geelong since 1992 and the CEO since November 1997. Balaam had assisted Nunn during his tenure.

The Blues posted a profit of $232,885 up by $8000 on 1997. The membership of Carlton reached a new club record in 1998 of 25,402.

Port Adelaide though down on crowds traded well for an $818,927 profit, 85% of which is distributed to SANFL clubs.

Profits so far announced —
Carlton — $232,885
Collingwood — $205,000
Essendon — $770,415
Geelong — $818,927
Hawthorn — $331,000
Melbourne — $54,677
Port Adelaide — $818,687
Richmond — $305,111
West.B’dogs $383,000

The world-famous Melbourne Cricket Ground was on the verge of being relaid with a synthetic surface.

CAROLINE WILSON reported in The Age the MCC were close to concluding negotiations with an American firm, the Motz Group.

The MCC's general manager DR JOHN LILL said: "...we find the surface bounces properly for football and has no adverse effect of the players."

The mixture of synthetic carpet fibres and established grass can be speedily laid and any change would be made during the five-day window between the AFLs 2000 Grand Final in time for Olympic soccer matches scheduled for the MCG.

The AFL investigation into a number of issues involving the Essendon club continues.
The Commission is unlikely to consider the report by Michael Easy the AFLs Special Investigation Officer before late January.

Collingwood clinched a new three-year deal with NATHAN BUCKLEY and named him their new captain on December 17.

EDDIE McGUIRE announced the signing that night at Collingwood's AGM held at Victoria Park. The 26-year old Buckley with three Copeland trophies (1994-96-98) to his credit is expected to scale down his media exposure.

Hawthorn named SHANE CRAWFORD to take over the captaincy following the retirement of JASON DUNSTALL.

PAUL SALMON and NICK HOLLAND the deputies of 1998, will be joined by MARK GRAHAM as vice-captains.

<> A 14-month saga between the Collingwood club and Viatel Communications ended on December 11 when proceedings in court were "dismissed without prejudice to the right of any party to apply for reinstatement". There was no order for costs against either party.

<> Geelong CEO PHILLIP NUNN sacked on December 10 will start on January 18 as Carlton's finance manager. He will assist Stephen Gough on a range of issues.

<> Former AFL supremo ROSS OAKLEY is the latest personality to join Collingwood.

At a day-long strategy meeting on December 18, Pie prez EDDIE McGUIRE announced Oakley will take on a consultancy role, assisting CEO John May.

<> ROBERT WALLS was appointed to coach Victoria in the next State of Origin contest.

Victoria will meet South Australia at the MCG on Saturday May 29 in what will certainly be the last Origin contest until at least 2001. No State of Origin fixtures have been planned in the shortened season of 2000 when the Olympic Games in Sydney will occur.

Walls now a featured columnist in The Age, coached four League clubs in 347 matches between 1981-97 – Fitzroy, Carlton, Brisbane and Richmond.

<> RUSSELL MORRIS is the latest to be told Channel Seven will not require his services in 1999. Morris, the former St Kilda and Hawthorn player has been a member of the Seven team for the past four seasons as a boundary rider, and panellist on the Footy Panel each Sunday. Also said to be under threat is the popular PETER McKENNA.

Meanwhile, JASON DUNSTALL will add Friday night commentary duties to his workload at Seven next season. Already he is anchorman of Seven's Wednesday night Live and Kicking.

Bulldog coach TERRY WALLACE is the new sidekick to MIKE SHEAHAN on Channel Seven's Talking Footy.

In an announcement made on December 18 "Plough" takes over the spot vacated by LEIGH MATTHEWS. Wallace is understood to have beaten rivals who included STAN ALVES, ROBERT WALLS and GERARD HEALY.

Graduating to League ranks from VFA club Camberwell, it was with Hawthorn where Wallace won acclaim as a top centreman in his 174 games (1978-86). He then transferred to Richmond for 11 matches in 1987 before completing his playing career with 69 games at Footscray (1988-91).

Terry took over the coaching role during the 1996 season and proceeded to lift the Western Bulldogs to successive Preliminary Final appearances in 1997 and 1998.

The membership of Essendon  reacted strongly to the turmoil the club has been immersed by voting out five directors. Elections for the Essendon board were declared at the AGM held on December 17. Former players DON McKENZIE, KEN FLETCHER, DARYL GERLACH and CHARLIE PAYNE, as well as long-serving board member BRUCE HEYMASON lost their positions.

On a board reduced from 13 to 11, new directors will be BEN DUNN (a stockbroker and former corporate lawyer), BRAD TEAL (a real estate agent) and PAT LEGGETT.

ROHAN CONNOLLY in The Age noted: "The election was conducted against a backdrop of scandal caused by AFL investigator Michael Easy's probe into Essendon's payments to its players between 1993-95 – including stars Tim Watson, Paul Salmon and Michael Long. The deposed directors all served on the committee during that period …"

The new MCG Trust was announced on December 22.

It will be chaired by JOHN WYLIE (md Credit Suisse First Boston), GRAEME JOHN (md Australia Post), JANE HANSEN (Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre trust member), JOHN HARVEY (CEO Price Waterhouse A'asia), MIRANDA MILNE (CEO Legal Practitioners Liability Committee), BRUCE THOMPSON (md Hewlett Packard) and LINDSAY THOMPSON (past Trust chairman and former Liberal premier) who was the only member retained from the former 20-member MCG Trust.

Former Richmond player JUSTIN CHARLES sued BRAD HARDIE in a writ filed in the West Australian Supreme Court on December 24 seeking damages to comments made between the 1985 Brownlow Medalist and WA footy identity MAL BROWN during a November 20 exchange on Radio 6PR.



<> STEWART LOEWE stepped down from the vice-captaincy at St Kilda …
<> TONY LIBERATORE inked a six-figure 12-month deal with the Bulldogs …
<> MELBOURNE repeated their pre-season of ’98 with players attending Caulfield Grammar for four weeks from 6.45am to 4pm each day with both classroom and on-field training runs …
<> 74 AFL players drug-tested since November 1st received the all-clear – the AFL will test 400 players this year …
<> a bill of $115,995 from the Australian Tax Office deeply reduced the profit of the Western Bulldogs to $266,636 …
<> newly-installed Hawthorn captain SHANE CRAWFORD suffered a knee injury in training at Glenferrie on January 25 …

The AFL concluded a 15-year agreement to play matches at the Homebush Olympic Stadium.

The NSW Government and the Australian Football League will contribute costs to configure the stadium for both cricket and football believed to be as much $25 million. The AFL are expected to program up to 11 matches a year from 2001.

The NSW Treasury will provide $6 million from the existing Olympic budget and a $3 million loan to Stadium Australia who are contracted to run and profit from Homebush until 2030.

The AFL will contribute $6 million and a $10 million loan from ANZ will fund "reconfiguration" of the stadium to an oval. Seating for AFL games and cricket at Homebush is expected to be 78,000, compared to the crush limit of 42,000 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Meanwhile, the Sydney club on January 22 announced it had signed a 10-year deal with the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust to play at least seven matches a year there until 2010.

On January 22 Sydney station 2GB announced it would dump rugby league to call AFL matches.

2GB will cover Sydney Swans matches both interstate and from the SCG with a commentary team led by triple Brownlow medalist BOB SKILTON, former Sydney player DAVID MURPHY and the experienced radio journalist TIM FLYNN.

Flynn has lengthy radio experience in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney and presently spearheads sporting coverage on ABC Radio at both NewsRadio and in breakfast on 2BL.

Only two Sydney radio stations will be left to cover rugby league, the ABC through 2BL and 2UE.

ROY MASTERS reporting in The Sydney Morning Herald: "Swans officials said radio coverage would complement Channel Seven's telecast of AFL matches ... the Swans have accounted for a 96 per cent increase in home viewing, with between 200,000 and 300,000 Sydneysiders watching Seven's telecast of Swans matches".

Respected ABC Radio commentator TIM LANE will host Seven’s Talking Footy program in 1999, replacing BRUCE McAVANEY.

McAvaney after four seasons stepped aside as anchor due to pressure of commitments, with the forthcoming Olympics applying pressure.

<> January as one of the quietest “news” months closed as –Sydney’s PAUL KELLY returned to light work following his knee reconstruction …
<> Adelaide’s JOHN REID turned down Geelong’s offer for the CEO  job …
<> three AFL clubs, St Kilda, North Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs were still searching for sponsors …

Hawthorn easily accounted for Richmond in a full-scale practice match played at North Hobart Oval on Sunday January 31.

The Hawks enjoyed a multi-pronged attack led by NICK HOLLAND who kicked 6.2 while DANIEL CHICK bagged 5.1 in their 69pt defeat of Richmond before an enthusiastic crowd of 10,521.
HAWTHORN 19.9-123 (Holland 6, Chick 5, Dixon 2, Salmon, Treleven, O'Farrell, Thompson, Woods, Cox) best, Holland, Chick, Croad, RICHMOND 7.12-54 (Richardson 2, Blurton 2, Broderick, Evans, Greenham) best, Tivendale, Ottens, Harrison.



Essendon fined $388,274
Salary cap excess was $514,000
The AFL on Friday (5th) revealed the Essendon club for the period from 1992 to 1995 exceeded the salary cap limit by $514,531.

Fines imposed by the AFL on the club including the $112,000 for the 1995 exposure will total $388,274.

Essendon were excluded from the pre-season and rookie drafts on February 9 and will not be permitted to take part in the first two rounds of the 1999 National Draft on October 31.

The AFL chief executive WAYNE JACKSON said the current administration of president GRAEME McMAHON and PETER JACKSON (their CEO) had fully co-operated with the AFL investigation conducted by MICHAEL EASY. In fact, the investigation followed the voluntary disclosure by the Essendon FC following the appointment of Peter Jackson in May 1996. No salary cap breaches subsequent to 1996 were discovered.

The investigation by Easy discovered undisclosed football payments for the period 1992-1996 were $651,494 but when permitted margins of error and allowances were taken into account, total payments exceeding the salary cap were $514,541. AAP reported breaches of the salary cap included such payments to players as home renovations, study fees, sign-on bonuses and provisions for motor vehicles.

Mr Wayne Jackson said: The AFL has made a conscious decision not to penalise any of the players in question because we believe the ultimate responsibility rests with the club to ensure all of its employees comply with the rules."

The Australian Tax Office requested a copy of the findings in the 200-page report by Michael Easy to the AFL.

AFL superstar WAYNE CAREY was tipped to become the first player to earn One Million Dollars in a season.

Ricky Nixon of Flying Start was working with Kangaroos chief execuive Greg Miller to conclude a deal through to the end of the 2002 season. Renegotiation of Carey's current four-year deal may yield $750,000 in 1999, $1 million the following year and $1.1 million by 2002.

Clubs can now pay players for on-field and off-field employment with only the the on-field money counting in the AFL salary equation.

The AFL pre-season and rookie drafts were held in Melbourne on February 9.

GREG DENHAM said in The Age: "Though small in numbers, the calibre of the draft was high with six of the 14 players drafted having played in premiership teams".

High priority selections on the listings were DAVID CALTHORPE (Brisbane), GLENN FREEBORN (Collingwood), CLAY SAMPSON (Richmond), SCOTT RUSSELL (Sydney), TONY FRANCIS (St Kilda)   and ANTHONY ROCK (Hawthorn) have all played in grand final winning sides in the 1990s. Sampson at 22 will wear his third set of colours having played 37 matches over four seasons, 13 with Melbourne (1995-96) and 24 with Adelaide (1997-98).

Overlooked in the draft were Adelaide ruckman AARON KEATING, Geelong's SEAN SIMPSON and Richmond's injured defender PAUL BULLUSS. Their League careers may have finished.

Four clubs did not participate in the non-compulsory draft, Carlton, Essendon, Geelong and West Coast.

Elections to the Brisbane club resulted in ALAN PIPER (chairman) and his ticket of BEN McDONALD, MIKE PELLY and TONY KELLY being voted into office.

ANGUS JOHNSON is the fifth new board member who while delighted with the appointment of Leigh Matthews as coach declared there is "still room for improvement".

As a final duty after nine years, out-going president NOEL GORDON, who did not stand for re-election, announced the Brisbane club on a turnover of $16.8 million returned an operating profit of $445,744 after abnormal items, for a trading profit of $184,148 for season 1998.

The AFL launched a $25 million, five-year campaign to address greater retirement benefits for players, and establish a code of conduct for off-field incidents.

The code of conduct, developed between the League, the AFL Players Association and the 16 clubs, will be broad in content, but specific in penalties.

One of radio's biggest deals was concluded early February with 3AW signing football commentator REX HUNT to a three-year deal netting him more than a million dollars.

3AW program director STEVE PRICE concluded arrangements which include Hunt calling the Sydney 2000 Olympics for the station and the Southern Cross Network.

It is estimated Rex will enjoy $350,000 per year for the next three seasons.

On February 17, Channel Seven and 3AW reached agreement for Hunt to call four Saturday night Melbourne games for Seven this season.

<> The Herald Sun reported (11th) the MCG will become a non-smoking venue from the start of the 1999 AFL season. Football Park in Adelaide, and the Subiaco and WACA venues in Perth are already AFL smoke-free.

<> SCOTT PALMER recorded in Sunday's (14th) Herald Sun — The AFL has ordered pre-match inspections of grounds by competing clubs as a precaution against further legal action from injured players.

<> Seven Pay Television on March 1st will launch C7 Sport. The cable sports channel expect AFL pay-TV subscribers should receive at least 30 live matches this season. Seven Pay TV has not ruled out the possibility of their service also being available on Foxtel within two years. C7 Sport also holds the pay-TV rights to the 2000 Olympics. Cable viewers in Sydney and Brisbane are also receiving all Ansett Australia Cup matches live.

<> The Western Bulldogs became the sixth club in less than a year to be found guilty of a salary-cap breach — they have been fined $5300 by the AFL.

<> Carlton coach DAVID PARKIN in late January spent four days in hospital where he went under tests for the debilitating Meniere's disease. The 56-year old Parkin on Feb 5 declared he had been cleared of the disease. He is taking medication for a build-up of fluid in his inner-ear.

<> Captains appointed — ADELAIDE: Mark Bickley, vice-captain Nigel Smart, deputy v-c Mark Ricciuto ... FREMANTLE: Chris Bond, deputy vice-captains Jason Norrish and Matthew Burton ... ST KILDA: Nathan Burke, deputy vice-captains Robert Harvey and Darryl Wakelin ... ESSENDON: James Hird, vice-captains are Michael Long, Sean Wellman, Mark Mercuri and Matthew Lloyd ...

<> The tragedy of pre-season knee injuries mounted —

The injury to CRAIG NETTELBECK while playing in an intra-club game with the Bulldogs appears to have ruined the prospects of him resuming his 78-game League career (1990-97). Nettelbeck failed to play a senior match with the Demons in 1998.

<> Richmond captain MATTHEW KNIGHTS is battling a debilitating groin complaint — osteitis pubis, an inflammation of muscle attachments to the pubic bone. The Essendon trio of MARK MERCURI, JOE MISITI and RICK OLARENSHAW have also suffered the injury, while young Melbourne ruckman LEIGH NEWTON had his '98 season ruined because of it.

<> Officially, there will be no more "North Melbourne" — the club board decided to play and trade as the "Kangaroos" — Herald Sun, Feb 10.

<> SYDNEY on revenues of $15.9 million, up from $13.3m last year announced (Feb 24) an operating profit of $625,000. Only four years ago, the Swans in 1995 had the lowest club-sourced revenue of $2.8m.
Membership rose to 31,089 an increase of 56%, while sponsorship income was up by 37% to $5.9m.

<> MIKE SHEAHAN resisted offers from Channel Nine and will stay on the couch with Talking Footy for at least another two years.

<> ESSENDON in a six-page letter from president GRAEME McMAHON explained to its 19,158 members the background to the salary cap breaches which recently drew substantial penalties.

The Herald Sun (Feb 25) reported McMahon said: he could not begin to fathom 'the gross stupidity displayed by whoever ultimately decided to reject the salary cap moratorium'.

<> CARLTON posted a $5000 reward for the irreplaceable memorabilia stolen from the Optus Oval office of chief executive Stephen Gough in December.

The collection dating back more than 100 years has an estimated market value of $50,000.

Commissioner David Shaw steps aside
League profit $2.1 million
AFL Commissioner DAVID SHAW following a meeting on February 16 stepped aside pending an AFL investigation to the officials involved in Essendon's breach of the salary cap. Shaw was president of the Bombers from 1993 to 1997 in the period the salary cap breaches occurred.

Essendon in a significant development on Thursday (17th) wrote to their former (1989-96) chief executive ROGER HAMPSON, waiving its confidentiality agreement to allow him to assist the League in its enquires.

The AFL at its Annual General Meeting on February 16 revealed its revenue for 1998 reached $92.4 million, an increase of almost $10 million. Dividends to each of the 16 members clubs was increased by $50,000 to a total of $1.87 million. After distribution, the League enjoyed an operating profit of $2.1m.

Sponsorships for 1998 reached a record $8.4m, with record sales of AFL merchandise coming in at $110 million.

Eight new AFL life memberships were conferred — Adelaide coach MALCOLM BLIGHT, Carlton president JOHN ELLIOTT, Kangaroo president RON CASEY, players JOHN BLAKEY (Fit-NM), JASON DUNSTALL (Haw), RICHARD OSBORNE (Fit-Syd-Fsc-Col), PAUL SALMON (Ess-Haw) and 300-game umpire PETER CAREY.

Geelong trainer GEORGE CLARKE was the recipient of the Jack Titus Award for service to the game. Clarke ended his career in 1997 after serving a marathon 792 games. He started in 1964 and became head trainer in 1979.

Following the devastating injury to captain LEIGH COLBERT, Geelong at first decided four vice-captains would share captaincy duties for the 1998 season. This judgement however was reviewed.

GARRY HOCKING, BRAD SHOLL, TIM McGRATH and MICHAEL MANSFIELD were chosen to share the leadership. However, on Wednesday (24th) Geelong determined GARRY HOCKING would be acting captain for the season.

A left knee reconstruction removes Colbert from the 1998 season, together with teammate MARC WOOLNOUGH. Both players suffered injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the practice match against Brisbane played at Southport on Saturday Feb 6.

A disc of hard rubber, measuring 90cm centimetres in diameter, made of synthetic grass with a rubber base supported by a concrete foundation below the playing surface became the centre of attention as the AFL came under pressure on reasons of how the injury occurred to Adelaide's SHAUN REHN in the Ansett Cup fixture of Friday night (19th) at Football Park.

The disc was placed in the turf in 1996 by the AFL to assist umpires to get higher and straighter bounces.

Following a request from the AFLPA  the synthetic bounce pads were removed from Football Park, Kardinia Park, Subiaco Oval and Waverley Park. Natural turf replaced the pad at Waverley before the Monday night (22nd) Cup game between Hawthorn and Brisbane. Discs had not been used on grounds that cater for cricket — at the MCG, SCG, the BCG nor at Carlton.

JAKE NIALL in The Sunday Age (21st) quoted GREG GRIFFIN, Shaun Rehn's solicitor: "Quite, clearly, he slipped on the plate. Griffin said the synthetic disc, or bounce pad, was dangerous and should be removed. "On Friday night we saw how dangerous the plate is."

Griffin said he did not want to see Adelaide's back-up ruckmen DAVID PITTMAN and LUCAS HERBERT, both clients of his, exposed to the risk of a bounce pad injury. "Obviously I wouldn't like those two exposed to any potential injury like that."

Griffin said legal action may also hinge on the extent and consequences of Rehn's injury, whether, for example, the third knee reconstruction robbed him of mobility. "If the injury is worse than anyone is hoping then we might have to look at over avenues." There might be a suit "if he doesn't come back the same player," Griffin said.

SCOTT PALMER and PAUL KERMODE in Sunday's (21st) Herald Sun reported: The AFL already faces two legal claims by Essendon's JOE MISITI and former Carlton player LUKE O'SULLIVAN. Both are seeking compensation for injuries they allege were caused by playing conditions.

Recently, former North Melbourne player PHIL KRAKOUER reached a settlement worth some $90,000 over his 1987 injury at the MCG.

Rehn's left knee was operated on in Adelaide on Saturday night (20th) by orthopaedic surgeon Wilson Leigh, who twice reconstructed Rehn's right knee. The recuperation period is estimated at eight months.

At a Wednesday (24th) news conference in Adelaide, Rehn would not be drawn on the bounce pads or the prospect of legal action. He was quoted: "I'm not saying anything about my future".

A neck injury which will require major surgery has forced the retirement of CHRIS WATERMAN. The 177-game veteran (1988-98) kicked 77 goals and was a member of the 1992 and 1994 premierships of West Coast ...
<> PETER MATERA (WCE) may miss the opening following further surgery to a troublesome ankle ...

<> A Friday-Saturday (26-27) AFL strategy meeting held in Kilmore injected a one-off $3 million to boost Victorian football at grassroots level. This follows a report prepared by KEN GANNON the VFL chief exec, IAN COLLINS, and former tribunal chairman NEIL BUSSE.

<> The AFLPA is striving to break tradition and have players represented by lawyers at Tribunal hearings. The Association said in a newsletter to its 700 members, that since 1986 the number of players found guilty has jumped from 50% to 73% in 1998.

ANDREW DEMETRIOU the AFL Players' Association CEO said: "There is a lot at stake nowadays with most players fulltime footballers. The question of lawyers being able to appear at the tribunal is a legitimate one." — The Australian, Feb 26.

<> CARLTON after two seasons, sold its soccer club to Network Sports Limited on February 25 in a deal said to be over $1 million. The round ball Ericsson Cup club will vacate Optus Oval possibly for Olympic Park; undergo a change of name — but the popular navy blue and white colours will be retained.

<> Collingwood president EDDIE McGUIRE launched the Magpies' new corporate image, with a $3000-a-table black-tie dinner on Saturday (27th) at an exclusive Orrong Road address in Toorak — home of Magpie board member ALEX WAISLITZ.

Hosted by Triple M colleague of McGuire BRIGITTE DUCLOS, former champions which included LOU RICHARDS, PETER McKENNA, BOB ROSE, ROSS DUNNE, PHIL CARMAN, TONY SHAW and CRAIG KELLY received the red-carpet treatment — so did the dinner guests.

Former Carlton player LUKE O'SULLIVAN issued a writ against the AFL and the Blues claiming unspecified damages for a knee injury suffered in a Foster's Cup pre-season game in 1993.

The Blues played Footscray on Saturday February 13 that year on a Waverley surface which drew a lot of flak and brought about the exit of BARRY CAPUANO who was then GM of League football operations.

Footystats Diary at the time recorded — in the "we've had better weeks department" the AFL were blasted from all quarters over the condition of Waverley Park for the opening matches of the Foster's Cup – two major injuries suffered by Carlton players resulted in coach DAVID PARKIN commenting (in The Age) – "somebody like Luke O'Sullivan ought to turn around and sue them".

Six years later — it's happened.

ANDREW PHILLIPS was the other Carlton player who suffered a knee injury in the same 1993 match. Scheduled Foster's Cup games at the Park were moved to Carlton and Kardinia Park over the next fortnight before the surface was restored for Cup matches. The next game was not played at Waverley until Wednesday March 3 when Hawthorn met Richmond.

Late Friday (5th) at Fremantle Oval 13,000 watched West Coast maintain their hoodoo over Freo with another thorough victory.
TONY MODRA made an inauspicious debut with Freo and from limited opportunities gained, one kick, one handpass. In failing light, the game was called off midway through the last quarter, possibly to the relief of the Dockers.
WEST COAST 13.10-88 (Rintoul 3, Cousins 2, Fewster 2, Cummings 3, Gehrig, Braun, Fletcher, Williams, best, Crabb, Peter Matera, McIntosh, FREMANTLE 4.5-29 (Walker 2, Black, Callaghan) best, Callaghan, Walker, Wira.

<> In steamy Melbourne conditions following six successive days of 30-plus degrees, Collingwood won their first Optus Challenge when they downed the Blues by 22pts at Carlton in front of 8000 fans late Friday afternoon (5th).
A scare went through the Magpie camp when SAVERIO ROCCA already carrying a heavily strapped right knee went down early in the second quarter after contesting with Carlton's LANCE WHITNALL. Rocca limped off to return 10 minutes later but did not take part in the second half.
COLLINGWOOD 8.11-59 (Brown 2, M.Richardson, Buckley, Williams, Watson, Kinnear, Crow) best, Buckley, Crow, Watson, CARLTON 5.7-37 (Backwell 2, Vance, Whitnall, Murphy) best, Whitnall, Backwell, Camporeale.

<> The week-end visit to Melbourne by a large contingent of Port players and support staff took them to Victoria Park on Friday afternoon (5th) where 2000 of the faithful saw them in a practice hit out against Essendon players.
Many stars were rested including JAMES HIRD who completed a private training session at Windy Hill.
DEAN WALLIS playing at full back and DEAN RIOLI were among those to come under notice in the Bombers win over four 20-minute quarters.
ESSENDON 10.15-75 (Lloyd 3, Bewick 2, Rioli 2, Mercuri, Misiti, Jacobs) best, Rioli, Wellman, Misiti, PORT ADELAIDE 8.11-59 (Dew 2, Chalmers, Tredrea, Lade, Evans, French, Carr) best, Fiegert, Eagleton, Schofield.

<> On Saturday (6th) in the match played on the Gold Coast at Southport in front of 12,000, LEIGH MATTHEWS and his staff made an embarrassing entry when Brisbane were caught with too many players on the field in the third quarter. Had it been a premiership match they would have had their score wiped off the board.
In a severe blow from the hit out, Geelong captain LEIGH COLBERT and teammate MARC WOOLNOUGH both suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage to their left knees — tests confirmed both will miss the season for reconstructions.
BRISBANE 8.9-57 (McRae 2, Molloy 2, Ashcroft, Heuskes, White, Lappin) best, Leppitsch, Kennedy, Akermanis, GEELONG 7.9-51 (Bizzell, Mooney, Bamford, Arnott, Mensch, Wood, T.Lynch) best, Sanderson, Bizzell, Bamford.

<> The Kangaroos fielding a squad of greater power and depth easily accounted for Sydney in the Saturday (6th) trial played at Monarch Field Campbelltown. The thermometer hit 35 degrees as 18 Roos contributed their 22 goals.
KANGAROOS 22.12-144 (Carey 2, Dhurrkay 2, Welsh 2, Grant 2, Imbi, Capuano, Chandler, Abraham, Longmire, Harvey, King, Motlop, Clayton, Kingsley, Bell, Pike, Scott, Rawlings), SYDNEY 9.7-61 (O'Connor 2, Kirk, Bomford, Reynolds, Goodes, Filandia, Lewis, Ahmat).

<> Nicky Winmar sizzled against his old side as an almost full-strength Bulldog side downed St Kilda by 25pts in the practice match played on Saturday (6th) for about 6000 onlookers at the Trevor Barker Sandringham Oval.
The match however brought worries for the Westerners with injuries to BRETT MONTGOMERY, STEVE KRETIUK, NATHAN BROWN and JOSE ROMERO.
WESTERN BULLDOGS 11.14-80 (Hunter 4, Cameron 2, Grant 2, Johnson, West, Darcy) best, Grant, Hunter, Darcy, ST KILDA 7.13-55 (Heatley 4, Everitt, S.Sziller, Cranage) best, S.Sziller, Heatley, Everitt.

<> Darwin was a hot and steamy 27 degrees on Saturday night (6th) following showers. Richmond though trailing at half-time, went away to an easy win over Northern Territory. A crowd of 10,000 attended Marrara Oval – RICHMOND 10.9-69, NT 3.5-23.

<> Watched by a crowd of 6932, Melbourne used 25 players and Adelaide fielded 27 in an exciting practice match played on Friday night (12th) at Football Park.
Adelaide had two late chances as BRODIE ATKINSON and CHRIS LAMB missed from close in. Melbourne had JEFF FARMER, DAVID NEITZ and DAVID SCHWARZ showing patches of brilliance close to goal.
MELBOURNE 11.12-78 (Robertson 4, Neitz 2, Farmer 2, Carter, A.McDonald, Leoncelli) best, Robertson, Neitz, Farmer, ADELAIDE 11.7-73 (Beinke 2, Picioane, Koster, Robran, Perrie, Bickley, Ricciuto, Goodwin, Caven, Rehn) best, Atkinson, James, Eccles.

<> The Kangaroos in their practice match against Port on Saturday (13th) may have recorded a solid win, however they may have lost talented midfielder BRETT CHANDLER for up to four months. Chandler suffered a broken right leg in the trial played at Alberton Oval for almost 8000 supporters.
KANGAROOS 19.4-118 (C.Sholl 4, Carey 3, Mellington 3, Dhurrkay 2, Grant 2, Welsh 2, Abraham, Bell, Harvey) best, Stevens, King, B.Sholl, PORT ADELAIDE 10.6-66 (Lade 4, Eagleton 2, Fiegert 2, Tredrea, Evans) best, Lade, Kingsley, Eagleton.

<> Geelong were impressive in their 64 point practice match victory over St Kilda at North Hobart Oval on Sunday (14th) — 8575 attended.
The Saints were competitive until half-time, but fell away in the second half, particularly in the last quarter when the Cats kicked eight goals to one.
GEELONG 16.18-114 (Burns 3, P.Lynch 2, Mooney 2, Wood 2, Arnott, Bamford, Kilpatrick, King, Mensch, Riccardi, B.Sholl) best, Milburn, King, Bamford, Burns, Arnott, ST KILDA 7.8-50 (Everitt 2, Heatley, Cranage, Traianidis, D.Wakelin, S.Wakelin) best, Traianidis, D.Wakelin, Healy, Francis, Baker.

<> West Coast thrashed an undermanned Collingwood by 60pts in a practice match played in 36 degree heat at Subiaco Oval on Friday afternoon (26th).
LEE WALKER returned following his fourth knee reconstruction. Playing at full-forward Walker provided a good marking option for the Pies.
WEST COAST 14.19-103 (Kemp 3, Morrison 3, Banfield, Gehrig, Braun, Cummings, McKenna, Jones, Read, Fletcher) COLLINGWOOD 6.7-43 (Wasley 2, M.Richardson, Gardiner, Smith, Walker), crowd: 3535.

<> Essendon with a relatively strong side survived by just six points in a Saturday night (27th) practice match played at Waverley.
Bomber vice-captain SEAN WELLMAN was reported DANIEL BANDY (Fre) in a fiery melee which developed at three-quarter time.
A positive for Essendon was the good game from the frequently-injured captain JAMES HIRD.
ESSENDON 14.13-97 (Lloyd 2, Lucas 2, Hird, Solomon, Jacobs, Johnson, McAlister, Mercuri, Wellman, Lalich, Rioli, Alessio) best, Misiti, Mercuri, Wellman, FREMANTLE 13.13-91 (Modra 2, Callaghan 2, Waterhouse 2, Bandy, Anderson, Clement, McManus, Brown, Walker, Holland) best, Callaghan, Harding, O'Reilly.

Adelaide met Geelong at Bennett Oval in Whyalla on Saturday afternoon (27th) for a good crowd of 8,821. With DAVID PITTMAN and BEN MARSH sharing the key ruck duties the Crows enjoyed a return to form with a good share of their major players on the field.
Captain GARRY HOCKING in his first major outing played a half for the Cats.
ADELAIDE 11.12-78 (Pittman 3, Burton 2, Ricciuto 2, Liptak, Downsborough, James, Atkinson) best, Ricciuto, Atkinson, James, GEELONG 9.13-67 (Mooney 3, Burns 2, Bizzell 2, Arnott, King) best, Milburn, Sanderson, Corrigan.

<> It was only a practice match in a Victorian country city but on Sunday (28th) Carlton blitzed Melbourne with an astounding last-quarter barrage of 12.7 to run out easy winners.
The 8,000 strong crowd at Princes Park Maryborough saw the Demons who had controlled the first three quarters slump in an amazing turnaround from a 41pt margin to a 35pt defeat.
CARLTON 22.17-149 (Lappin 8, Backwell 3, Murphy 2, Hulme 2, Hamill 2, De Iulio 2, Silvagni, Thompson, Brown) best, Lappin, Brown, De Iulio, MELBOURNE 17.10-112 (Neitz 4, Schwarz 2, Woewodin 2, Robertson 2, Farmer 2, Longmuir 2, Johnstone, Rigoni, McDonald) best, Woewodin, Neitz, Chisholm.

After a highly successful 10 years at the helm of West Coast, BRIAN COOK became the new chief executive of Geelong on February 22. At a simultaneous press conference, Cook announced his resignation in Perth as Geelong president FRANK COSTA confirmed the appointment. Cook is the fifth man in two years to sit in the chair at Kardinia Park.

The 43-year old Cook, who along with Brisbane's ANDREW IRELAND is the longest-serving chief executive in the League — he played at reserves level for Hawthorn before making four senior appearances with Melbourne in 1977.

CLEAVER BUNTON, AO, OBE — Cleaver was known as "Mr Albury" and though a brother of the triple Brownlow Medalist Haydn, Cleaver never played League football. However, he gave a lifetime of service to football in the Albury area with the Ovens and Murray FL, as a football commentator with 2AY for more than 20 years as well as serving in administrative roles with the VCFL. Mr Bunton was mayor of Albury from 1945 and remained in office — expect for six-week break in 1960-61 until September 1972. He was again elected mayor in 1974 until his resignation in August 1976. He passed away January 20 aged 96.

FRED FITZGIBBON — The former Carlton player of 96 games (1942-48) passed away on January 24 aged 82. Fred was suspended in a game he didn't play in. He had received three matches from an incident in the 1945 Preliminary final against Collingwood. The following week, sitting on the bench watching the famous 'bloodbath' Grand Final versus South Melbourne, Fitzgibbon in his overcoat rushed onto the ground to join in a last quarter melee. Nine players were reported from the Grand Final and Fred received an additional four weeks suspension for his part.

HERBERT BUTLER — Played 25 League games with Carlton (1935-38, 1941 and 1944). He passed away in a drowning accident on January 27 aged 83.

PAT KELLY — A rugged back-pocket for North Melbourne in their losing Grand Final of 1950, Kelly played 105 games (1945, 1948-55). He was a member of one of the toughest backlines of the era. Kelly was accorded life membership in 1954 and also played in North's 2nd 18 premiership of 1947. He passed away February 10 aged 74.

VIN ENGLISH — Remembered as a fine centre half-back, with a good pair of hands and a great kick, he played 115 games with Carlton (1950-56). He passed away February 4 aged 69.

GEORGE CAMAKARIS — President of South Melbourne during turbulent times of 1977-78, he was a loyal servant of the Swans for many years. MIKE SHEAHAN in the Herald Sun reported that only days before his passing, George accompanied Craig Kimberley, Jack Marks, Noel Gould and Michael Raft to Canberra where the Swans played Collingwood at Manuka Oval on February 13.
George Camakaris peacefully passed away of February 20. His funeral was conducted the day his Sydney club proudly posted a healthy profit.

The AFL experimented with several new rules in 1998 Cup matches — the centrepiece, umpires threw the ball up except after a goal when they will bounce the ball in the centre of the ground ... matches of four 17 minute quarters ... two runners for each club will be permitted, although only one may be on the field at any time and exit and enter through the interchange area ... six interchange players to be used ... the rule governing how a player brings the ball back into play when beyond the goal or behind line will be relaxed – players will not have to bring the ball back into play over the man on the mark, but only in the general direction of the mark and can play-on providing they have first crossed the line into the field of play.

<> Hawthorn gave a solid opening performance with a 46 point victory over Fremantle in the first match of the Ansett Cup series played at Subiaco Oval on Thursday night (11th).
Two youngsters, ADRIAN COX and TRENT CROAD were potent for the Hawks with ANGELO LEKKAS and RICHARD TAYLOR also under notice for the brown and gold.
Fremantle fans will have to wait for their expected improvement under new coach DAMIAN DRUM. The previous week the Dockers suffered a 59pt drubbing in a practice game against West Coast.
HAWTHORN 14.12-96 (Cox 3, Treleven 3, Lord 2, O’Farrell, Chick, Lloyd, Dixon, Rawlings, Holland) best, Croad, Lekkas, Treleven, FREMANTLE 7.8-50 (Modra 3, Black 2, Sinclair, Bandy) best, Callaghan, Sinclair, Prescott.

<> On Friday night at the Gabba (13th) for a big rollout of 16,318 fans, Brisbane in often-heavy rain thoroughly dispatched an under-manned Carlton by 59pts.
The Lions gave every indication that under Leigh Matthews they will return as a force when the premiership competition begins on March 29.
BRISBANE 12.15-87 (Lawrence 2, Shattock, Ashcroft, N.Lappin, Johnson, McRae, Headland, Heuskes, Bradshaw, Notting) best, Ashcroft, Leppitsch, Black, CARLTON 4.4-28 (Whitnall 2, Allan, M.Lappin) best, Murphy, Christou, Camporeale.

<> Late Saturday (13th) in Canberra for a packed 13,313 at Manuka Oval Canberra, though Collingwood dominated the first half, Sydney with MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN starring with five goals from the forward flank took over mid-match.
The Pies lacking many regulars staged a revival but still have a long way to go. It was the Swannies first opening round win in a Cup game since 1995.
SYDNEY 12.13-85 (O’Loughlin 5, Cresswell 2, Lewis, Lockett, Ahmat, McPherson, Saddington) best, O’Loughlin, Kirk, Dunkley, COLLINGWOOD 11.8-74 (Lane 5, Lockyer 2, Buckley, Gardiner, Williams, A.McDonald) best, Buckley, King, Williams.

<> In energy-sapping 28 degree heat, the Bulldogs and Bombers staged a fine contest for a crowd of 14,211 at Marrara Oval in Darwin on Saturday evening (13th).
The Dogs displayed an exciting brand of footy and with greater options up-forward enjoyed a 28pt success.
WESTERN BULLDOGS 18.12-120 (Grant 3, Smith 3, Hunter 3, Martin 2, Winmar 2, Garlick, Hudson, Montgomery, Cameron, Powell) best, S.West, Smith, Grant, ESSENDON 14.8-92 (Lloyd 3, Lucas 2, Blumfield 2, Rioli 2, Eastaugh, McVeigh, Moorcroft, Heffernan, Ramanauskas) best, Young, Blumfield, Symons.

<> Richmond started the second week of Cup matches with a polished display over West Coast at Waverley on Thursday night (18th).
The margin was only 17pts but the wasteful Eagles were again dispatched early from the night series. SCOTT CUMMINGS with three of West Coast's six goals was a hopeful sign in a forward line which otherwise struggled.
RICHMOND 8.15-63 (Richardson 2, Campbell, Ottens, Proctor, Chaffey, Hollands) best, Campbell, Chaffey, Hilton, WEST COAST 6.10-46 (Cummings 3, Ball, Jones, Banfield) best, Gardiner, Morrison, Banfield.

<> On Friday night (19th) tragedy struck Adelaide ruckman SHAUN REHN early in the first term of the Crow-Power contest at Football Park. In front of a huge 40,577, Rehn went down clutching his left knee. Rehn at 27, after two right knee reconstructions, is now out of the 1999 season. Reconstruction of his left knee was performed in Adelaide on Saturday (20).
The tragic injury overshadowed Port Adelaide's efficient 36pt win.
PORT ADELAIDE 13.15-93 (Dew 4, Eagleton 2, Lade 2, Dickie, Fiegert, Schofield, Cockatoo-Collins, Tredrea) best, Eagleton, Dew, Wanganeen, ADELAIDE 8.9-57 (Eccles 3, B.James 3, Ricciuto 2) best, Eccles, James, Ricciuto.

<> The Kangaroos powered away from Geelong to win by a thumping 73pts on Saturday evening (20th) at Waverley for 13,514 supporters.
The match marked a record 33rd night appearance for JOHN  BLAKEY (K), overtaking the 32 games by Hawthorn's CHRIS LANGFORD. Only in the second quarter when they drew within four points were the Cats a match for the Roos. The Kangas remain strong favourites to take another Ansett Cup.
KANGAROOS 20.14-134 (Dhurrkay 4, Harvey 3, Scott 2, Carey 2, King 2, Blakey, Clayton, Bell, A.Stevens, McKernan) best, King, Bell, Archer, GEELONG 9.7-61 (Sholl 2, Mensch 2, King, Snell, Lynch, Corrigan, Bamford) best, Milburn, Sholl, McGrath.

<> A crowd of 16,321 watched at Waverley on Sunday night (21st) as St Kilda withstood a determined challenge to down Melbourne by 21pts.
In the first half the Saints were in control but then a sustained fightback by the Demons narrowed the margin to only one point with a few minutes remaining. Late goals by Heatley, Traianidis and Brown steadied the ship to give debutant coach TIM WATSON his first victory.
ST KILDA 12.9-81 (Heatley 3, Brown 2, Campbell, Everitt, Peckett, Hayes, Loewe, Sziller, Traianidis, Young, Elliott) best, Burke, Thompson, Loewe, MELBOURNE 9.6-60 (Neitz 3, J.McDonald 3, Schwarz, White, Longmuir) best, J.McDonald, Rigoni, Leoncelli. From video, umpire Chris Mitchell cited JAMIE SHANAHAN (Mel) for allegedly tripping LENNY HAYES (StK) in the second quarter. NICK CARTER (Mel) was cited for allegedly striking SHANE WAKELIN (StK) in the last quarter.
At Tuesday's Tribunal both Shanahan and Carter were found guilty as charged, each receiving suspensions of two premiership matches.

<> Hawthorn continued their match-winning run when they comfortably defeated Brisbane in the first of four semi-finals at Waverley on Monday (22nd).
The last defeat the Hawks suffered was on July 25 last year. BEN DIXON contributed six goals in an impressive showing. However, hamstring injuries to PAUL SALMON and BRETT O'FARRELL and a broken right ankle for JADE RAWLINGS put a dampener on the victory.
HAWTHORN 14.8-92 (Dixon 6, Lord 2, Holland, Hay Treleven, O’Farrell, Daniltchenko, Cox) best, Treleven, Dixon, Graham, BRISBANE 10.9-69 (Lappin 2, McRae, Akermanis, Headland, Black, White, Notting, Lawrence, Molloy) best, Kennedy, Hart, Black.

<> Goals were at a premium in a drab Thursday night (25th) contest in cool and windy conditions at Waverley Park. Sydney and the Bulldogs ran the whole gamut — if there was a mistake to be made the slim attendance of 8,948 addicts saw them all.
The Western Bulldogs made fewer mistakes than the Harboursiders and were 28pts in front at the siren. They advance to meet Hawthorn next week in a semi-final.
WESTERN BULLDOGS 9.9-63 (Grant 3, Alvey 2, Cameron, Dimattina, Martin, Powell) best, Dimattina, S.West, Johnson, SYDNEY 4.11-35 (Bomford, O’Loughlin, Crouch, Cresswell) best, Russell, Bomford, Dunkley.

<> Port Adelaide powered its way into the semi-finals with a crushing 45pt victory over Richmond on Friday night (26th) at Football Park. The roll-up of just 16,935 witnessed the potential force which Port may translate into more frequent wins when the premiership season begins.
Port held the Tigers scoreless in the first and goalless in the third quarter, while the wind-assisted opening of 7.5 to nil by the Power was an irresistible margin which Richmond never challenged.
PORT ADELAIDE 16.16-112 (Tredrea 3, Cockatoo-Collins 2, Francou 2, Fiegert 2, Schofield, Chalmers, Francis, Eagleton, Burgoyne, Kingsley, Evans) best, Chalmers, Mead, Eagleton, RICHMOND 10.7-67 (Plapp 3, Broderick 2, Daffy, Harrison, James, McKee, Chaffey) best, Harrison, Campbell, Kellaway.

<> St Kilda with a strong finish on Saturday (27th) narrowly defeated the Kangaroos by nine points in an entertaining Ansett Cup clash. Played at North Hobart Oval on a great day, the dampener was the small assembly of only 7,815.
The Roy Cazaly Stand was half-empty as in a tight last term the lead changed nine times. Ruckman PETER EVERITT put the Saints ahead with a goal at the 23-minute mark, then SAM CRANAGE sealed it with his first major two minutes later.
ST KILDA 13.17-95 (Sziller 3, Traianidis 3, Heatley 3, Loewe. Healy, Cranage, Everitt), best, Burke, Loewe, A.Thompson, KANGAROOS 13.8-86 (Carey 3, Harvey 2, Welsh 2, Dhurrkay, Pike, Capuano, Simpson, King, McKernan) best, Harvey, Capuano, Simpson.


MARCH 1999

The AFL Tribunal on Tuesday (2nd) cracked down on players reported on seven charges from a melee during the three-quarter time break of a practice game between Essendon and Fremantle.

The Saturday night (Feb 27) ruckus developed soon after the siren sounded as spectators came onto the park at Waverley. Charges were laid by field umpire DAVID HOWLETT following a video review.

Newly-appointed Essendon vice-captain SEAN WELLMAN was suspended one match for striking DANIEL BANDY (Fre). Bandy was also suspended one match.

From charges of wrestling, Essendon's BARRY YOUNG and MARK MERCURI together with Fremantle captain CHRIS BOND were each fined $1500 — ADAM RAMANAUSKAS (Ess), MICHAEL BROWN (Fre) and MICHAEL CLARK (Fre) were found not guilty of wrestling.

From other incidents, DEAN SOLOMON (Ess) was suspended for three matches for striking DANIEL BANDY (Fre), while from a Reserves match, Bomber ruckman ILJA GRGIC was suspended one premiership game for tripping BEN MOORE (Rch).

Melbourne calls for AFL probe
In an unprecedented move on Monday (March 1st), club president  JOSEPH GUTNICK publicly revealed he had requested a full League probe be conducted into Melbourne's financial dealings with its players for the period 1994 to 1998.

It is believed the Demons excess to the AFL's salary cap will run to more than $800,000. This will place the Melbourne club with the prospect of substantial fines and the loss of participation in forthcoming drafts. The League has the capacity to fine a club up to three times the amounts involved.

Mr Gutnick in a statement released said: "The board of the Melbourne Football Club believes that the club has a fundamental duty to its members, supporters, players and employees, and to the game itself, to ensure that the club conducts itself with complete honesty and public openness. It is for this reason that the AFL and the public has been informed of the breaches."

AFL chief executive WAYNE JACKSON said: "We commend the Melbourne Football Club, through its President, Mr. Joseph Gutnick, for bringing these matters to our attention and for taking what we believe is very appropriate action."

On Tuesday (9th) JOSEPH GUTNICK announced he will chair a Melbourne sub-committee to investigate the breach. MICHAEL EASY was scheduled to start his AFL inquiry beginning Wednesday (10th).

The 'final draft' of an AFL report released on Friday (5th) offers Victorian AFL clubs the opportunity to retain their Reserves beginning with the 2000 season.

The cost of an individual licence for an AFL club to field teams in the Victorian Football League (VFL) competition will be $85,000. Clubs that choose to form an alliance with an existing VFL club will contribute $25,000.

The VFL comprises clubs from the former VFA (Victorian Football Association) and use of the old VFL banner was applied in 1996.

Between 12 and 20 teams are expected to play in the VFL competition from 2000 depending on the number of AFL clubs to take up a licence. Existing clubs of the TAC Under 18 competition will be aligned to VFL clubs under a new administration structure titled Football Victoria. Players to be eligible for the National Draft will need to play at least one game in the new VFL or the Under 18 competition.

The Ansett Australia Cup next season will become a round-robin event. The series will start and finish three weeks earlier due to the 2000 Olympics.

Expansion of the pre-season Cup to 27 matches will see Waverley Park retained to provide grounds to play on from mid-to-late January. Docklands Stadium is not scheduled to be available until February 1 next year.

The 16 AFL clubs will be split into four groups with the leader of each group after preliminaries playing off in a finals series.

Victorian Premier JEFF KENNETT announced Thursday (4th) that Carlton and Collingwood would play an exhibition match on New Year's Eve to welcome the new millennium.
The event to be televised nationally will be played one day after the scheduled finish to the Boxing Day Test match. The Government will provider the winner's prize — The Millennium Cup.

”Philosophical differences" between the boards of the West Australian Football Commission (WAFC) and Indian Pacific Limited (IPL) brought the resignation of West Coast chairman MURRAY McHENRY on Friday (5th).

AAP reported: McHenry said he had sacrificed his position to ensure football manager TREVOR NISBETT took up the the job as acting chief executive. This follows the departure of BRIAN COOK from the CEO post to join Geelong.

Nisbett after his caretaker period is over intends to nominate for the fulltime job.

MICHAEL SMITH, the m.d. of a Perth marketing consultancy will replace McHenry as chairman of West Coast.

<> Hawthorn charged into the Ansett Cup grand final with a hard-fought 10pt win over the Western Bulldogs on Friday night (5th) before a healthy turnout of 24,175 at Waverley Park.

JAKE NIALL reported in The Age: In a tight, entertaining match in which both sides had short periods on top, the Bulldogs led at each break, but never by more than a goal.

Both sides were well served by their key forwards, CHRIS GRANT (WB) and NICK HOLLAND (H), who booted three goals each.

HAWTHORN 10.11-71 (Holland 3, Chick 2, Dixon 2, Taylor, Thompson, Graham) best, Crawford, Graham, Lekkas, BULLDOGS 8.13-61 (Grant 3, Croft 2, Hudson, Darcy, Garlick) best, Grant West, Dent.

<> Following their easy defeats of Adelaide (by 36pts) and Richmond (45pts) in the lead-up games, Port Adelaide recorded one of their best efforts since being admitted to the AFL when they downed St Kilda on Saturday night (6th) at the MCG. Port will play the Hawks in the grand final for the Ansett Cup.

The sparse 16,081 fans in the giant stadium watched Port take control after an even first quarter. The Power were brilliantly led by GAVIN WANGANEEN and were well served in the midfield by LYLE, FRANCOU and EAGLETON.

The Saints played without the injured PETER EVERITT and only three late goals gave their score respectability.

PORT ADELAIDE 10.11-71 (Dew 3, Cockatoo-Collins 2, Burgoyne 2, Eagleton, Lade, Stevens) best, Wanganeen, Mead, Burgoyne, ST KILDA 7.7-49 (Heatley 2, Thompson, Carr, Loewe, Elliott, Walton) best, Walton, Knowles, Francis.

<> Five AFL rostered practice matches were played on Saturday (6th).
<> Melbourne kicked away with four goals in six minutes in the last term, aided by the special skills of JEFF FARMER to down Sydney in the practice game played on early Saturday evening at Lavington Oval near Albury. A late-afternoon storm cut the crowd by half.
MELBOURNE 9.8-62 (Farmer 3, Neitz, Johnstone, M.Febey, R.Robertson, Rigoni, Beams) best, M.Febey, Seecamp, SYDNEY 5.8-38 (Lewis, Cresswell, Filandia, Bomford, Campbell) best, Schwass, Lewis, Dunkley. Crowd: 3000.

<> Geelong had control of most of the contest at Kardinia Park on Saturday afternoon. MATTHEW KNIGHTS, the Richmond captain back from a groin injury played the first half but is still below peak fitness.
GEELONG 16.10-106 (Barnes 3, Bamford 3, Burns 2, King, McGrath, Arnott,Mensch, Harley, Milburn, Wojcinski, Lynch) best, Sholl, Bamford, McGrath, RICHMOND 12.10-82 (Ottens 2, Holland 2, Bowden, Powell, McKee, Broderick, Biddiscombe, Moore, Tivendale, Rombotis) best, Bowden, Kellaway, Tivendale.

<> The new coaching team at Fremantle enjoyed their first success in the trial played at Subiaco Oval.
FREMANTLE 13.17-95 (Modra 4, Taylor 3, Holland 2, Black, Waterhouse, Schell, O'Reilly) best, Carroll, Modra, Callaghan, ADELAIDE 7.12-54 — no Adelaide details available.

<> West Coast amid their internal admin problems returned to form in the Saturday afternoon trial at Waverley with a win over Carlton. The valued speedster BEN COUSINS (WC) left the field in the final term with a knee, but will be okay.
WEST COAST 16.14-110 (Cummings 4, Ball 2, Gehrig 2, Fletcher, Kemp, Gardiner, Embley, Cousins, Read, Wooden, Wirrpunda) best, White, McIntosh, McKenna, CARLTON 13.8-86 (Silvagni 4, Hamill 4, Porter, Hulme, Backwell, Massie, Lappin) best, Bradley, Hamill, Brown.

<> On Saturday night at Waverley, MATTHEW LLOYD and SCOTT LUCAS were on target for the Bombers with seven and five goals respectively in their 26pt win over the Lions.
ESSENDON 15.10-100 (Lloyd 7, Lucas 5, Hird, Alessio, Doering) best, Lucas, Lloyd, Hird, BRISBANE 9.20-74 (Molloy 4, Johnson 3, Notting, Kennedy) best, Leppitsch, Lappin, Scott. Crowd: 1500.

<> On Sunday afternoon at Victoria Park, a crowd of some 5,000 saw the Kangaroos resting many stars, comfortably defeat Collingwood. The Pies suffered four important injuries — Brown (finger), Crosisca (elbow) Walker (groin) and Schauble (ankle).
KANGAROOS 17.11-113 (Welsh 5, Kingsley 4, Mellington 2, Hewitt 2, Pike, Clayton, Lange, King) best, King, Welsh, Kingsley. COLLINGWOOD 11.15-81 (Buckley 2, Licuria 2, Orchard, Williams, Wasley, Walker, Davis, Lane, Crow) best, Buckley, Licuria, Wasley.

Football is big business
A report commissioned by the AFL shows Australian Football contributed $1.708 billion to the national economy last season.

PATRICK SMITH commented in The Age: "Football employs 5003 people, nearly 14 million people watched it in 1998 and 448,410 played it.

The report was based on financial statements from 177 football organisations for the three years from 1996.

Victorian clubs spend the bulk of their money on player payments ($47 million), social functions ($27 million) and salaries and wages ($27 million).

There are more than 1650 senior clubs and 1300 junior clubs in Australia."

The report, the second in the decade by the AFL, also showed increases in player numbers in Queensland (by 10.5 per cent) and NSW (eight per cent), while the rise in Victorian numbers between 1992 and 1998 was a 2.4 per cent increase.

The 5003 people employed by the game in 1998, 24 per cent were full time; 25% part time and 51% on a casual base.

Of the 360,150 players registered in clubs and schools — 67,803 participated in Auskick, there were 3,175 women players, 14,532 play nine-a-side, while 2750 were classified as veterans.

Hawthorn crush Port
A full strength Hawthorn crushed Port Adelaide in the Ansett Cup grand final played before 49,874 at Waverley on Saturday night (13th). Port after successful lead-up games were embarrassingly bad. Goalless in the first half, they failed to score their first major until the 14th minute of the third quarter and trailed by 57 points at the last change.

Played in intermittent rain and windy conditions, the ball hardly crossed Hawthorn's half-back line. The $125,000 first prize purse was pretty safe in Hawthorn's coffers by half-time when they led 6.6 to 0.2. Hawthorn ruckman PAUL SALMON returning from a hamstring injury was voted best-on-ground and received the Michael Tuck Medal.

The victory brought the ninth night trophy for Hawthorn. Their last success was in 1992, which followed their major title of the 1991 AFL Premiership.

  1/4 time 1/2 time 3/4 time Final
HAW 2.1-13 (11) 6.6-42 (40) 11.8-74 (57) 12.11-83 (47)
PA 0.2-2 0.2-2 2.5-17 5.6-36

GOALS: HAW: Holland 2, Lord 2, Chick 2, Salmon, Treleven, Dixon, Vandenberg, Collica, Graham. PA: Cockatoo-Collins 3, Tredrea, Mead.
BEST: HAW: Salmon Treleven, Crawford, Hassall, McCabe. PA: Francou, Wanganeen, Kingsley, Cockatoo-Collins.
MICHAEL TUCK MEDAL: Paul Salmon (Haw).
UMPIRES: Gavin Dore, Mark Nash, Hayden Kennedy.

It was reported that five PUMA-sponsored clubs will wear "baggier" shorts this season. Brisbane, Sydney, Hawthorn, St Kilda and West Coast are the five clubs. The move from the tighter AFL shorts came in response to feedback from players and were trialled by North Melbourne last year.

<> GEELONG announced a three-year major sponsorship deal with the oil giant worth some $300,000 each season on Friday (19th) which will result in Kardinia Park being renamed as SHELL STADIUM.
The arrangement is understood will in no way affect Geelong’s 74-year partnership with FORD — believed to be the longest sponsorship anywhere in sport.

<> Melbourne ruckman JEFF WHITE had surgery to repair minor cartilage damage in his left knee — he will miss the opening rounds.

<> Rugby league claimed a new world record crowd when 104,583 attended the public opening of the Olympic Stadium at Homebush on Saturday (6th). The previous best for a Sydney sporting function was 78,056 for the 1965 grand final at the SCG.
A crowd of 102,575 attended at match at Bradford's Odsal Stadium in England in May 1954.
The 121,696 to pack the MCG for the 1970 Carlton-Collingwood VFL grand final retains the Australian record.
Match crowds of more 100,000 attended VFL finals the MCG on 20 occasions between 1970 and 1986. The last six-figure Grand Final was 101,861 in 1986 when Hawthorn defeated Carlton.

<> The "Legends" match played at Whitten Oval for the past two years will move to Football Park in Adelaide on Friday May 28. MAL BROWN will coach the All-Stars, while SAM KEKOVICH will be in charge of Victoria. The annual "Legends" concept raises money for the E J Whitten Foundation for Prostate Cancer Research. The May 28 match will be telecast by Channel Nine.

<> BRISBANE on Monday (15th) reappointed ALASTAIR LYNCH and MICHAEL VOSS for a third year as co-captains. Sharing vice-captaincy duties will be BRAD BOYD, CHRIS SCOTT and CRAIG LAMBERT.

<> Without a sponsor within days of the start to the premiership season, the WESTERN BULLDOGS club lowered their asking price from $1 million to $750,000 — club prez DAVID SMORGON was reported as "optimistic" with the Dogs still in "intense negotiations" with several high-profile companies. MAZDA and AAPT SmartChat showed recent interest — AAPT dropped out while Mazda opted to be a major sponsor of the Kangaroos.

<> The knee injury toll so far —

<> To further smarten its image, the AFL issued strict guidelines to all member clubs in a document titled "AFL and the Media". Coaches in particular has been reminded that "Supporters don't want trite, bland statements".

<> In the on-going AFL investigation into salary cap breaches by MELBOURNE, interviews were scheduled with high-profile Demon players TODD VINEY, GARRY LYON, DAVID SCHWARZ, DAVID NEITZ, STEPHEN TINGAY and the retired JIM STYNES.

The AFL Tribunal on Wednesday (10th) suspended STEVEN KOLYNIUK for two premiership matches for striking DANIEL HARFORD (Haw) during the Ansett Cup semi-final.

It was the fourth occasion from his 161-games (1987-98) Kolyniuk has been outed for striking.

<> Six AFL rostered practice matches were played on Saturday-Sunday, March 13-14.
<> In a scrappy Saturday affair at Carlton, FRASER BROWN produced a b.o.g effort for the Blues in their nine-point win over the Saints. St Kilda rested both NATHAN BURKE and PETER EVERITT as a precaution.
CARLTON 15.8-98 (Brown 2, Manton 2, McKay, Ratten, Whitnall, M.Lappin, Sexton, Camporeale, Murphy, Bradley, Allan, Beaumont, DeIulio) best, Brown, Camporeale, Bradley, ST KILDA 13.11-89 (Heatley 5, S.Wakelin 2, Cook 2,.Thompson 2, Sziller, Loewe) best, Harvey, Heatley, D.Wakelin.

<> A strong second half gave Essendon a comfortable margin over the Eagles at Subiaco Oval for 6,168 fans.
ESSENDON 17.10-112 (Lloyd 3, Bewick 3, Lucas 3, Hird 2, Berbakov 2, Mercuri, McVeigh, Fletcher, Blumfield) best, Grgic, Bewick, Symons, WEST COAST 12.9-81 (Cummings 2, Ball 2, Morrison 2, Kemp, Jones, Rintoul, Cousins, Fletcher, McKenna) best, Kemp, Bellotti, Cousins.

<> At Victoria Park, the Demons and Dockers tried many from their lists. ANDREW NICHOLSON performed well in the ruck for Melbourne against Freo's MATTHEW BURTON. Nicholson is the logical choice to replace the injured JEFF WHITE when the season starts.
MELBOURNE 11.12-78 (Neitz 4, Yze 2, Schwarz, Johnstone, Woewodin, Farmer, J.McDonald) best, Yze, J.McDonald, Tingay, FREMANTLE 10.9-69 (Callaghan 3, Taylor 2, Modra 2, Burton, Dodd, Waterhouse) best, Prescott, Burton, Callaghan.

<> Almost 7,000 attended Penola’s McCorquindale Park in for the Saturday trial which brought worrying injuries to key Adelaide players on the eve of the start of the season.
ADELAIDE 8.13-61 (Robran 2, Edwards, James, Burton, Johnson, Eccles, Hart) best, Hart, Bickley, Ricciuto, KANGAROOS 6.3-39 (McKernan 2, Welsh, Bell, Abrahams, A.Stevens) best, King, Abraham, Pike.

<> DALE LEWIS (broken left arm) and MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN (left thigh) were important casualties for the Swans in their trial against Brisbane played at Monarch Field Campbelltown. TONY LOCKETT gave his best showing for the year with six goals.
SYDNEY 12.10-82 (Lockett 6, O'Connor 2, Stafford, Schwass, Nicks, Cook) best, Schwass, Lockett, Cook, BRISBANE 10.7-67 (C.Johnson 2, Bartlett 2, Scott, B.Voss, Clarke, Picken, Heuskes, Rusca) best, C.Johnson, Bartlett.

<> At York Park in Launceston a heavy pre-season campaign took Richmond into their seventh practice match. The Tigers controlled most of the proceedings against a Bulldog outfit which had 16 regulars missing from the action.
RICHMOND 12.14-86 (Richardson 4, Kellaway 3, Campbell 2, Rogers, Biddiscombe, Knights) best, Kellaway, Gaspar, Knights, WESTERN BULLDOGS 9.10-64 (Hudson 2, Curley 2, Dooley 2, Plunkett 2, Ellis) best, Wynd, Hudson, Curley. Crowd: 7,425.

<> A bumper crowd of 15,500 were at the Queen Elizabeth Oval in Bendigo on Sunday (14th). The Pies found SHANE WATSON on fire with five goals in the second quarter allowing them to cruise away to an easy practice match win.
COLLINGWOOD 13.5-83 (Watson 5, Tarrant 2, Brown 2, Lane 2, Richardson, Crow) best, Buckley, Watson, A.Rocca, GEELONG 8.15-63 (Harley 2, King, Snell, Burns, Bamford, Stoneham, Hocking) best, Hocking, Bamford, Riccardi.

Essendon’s GARY MOORCROFT, booked on video evidence following the Saturday (13th) practice match against West Coast at Subiaco Oval was suspended for three matches for striking ROWAN JONES (WC) in a first quarter incident. The action by Moorcroft was noted as "reckless" by Tribunal chairman BRIAN COLLIS at the hearing on Wednesday (16th).

The 19-year old Jones played on until half time. Hospital x-rays later found his jaw was broken.

Football Siberia averted
A decision by the ABC's Parliamentary News Network (PNN) not to continue its national coverage of AFL matches on NewsRadio across Australia brought a strong reaction from the League.

Following several days of intense discussions in Sydney between AFL Corporate Affairs & Communications Manager TONY PEEK and ABC's head of sport PETER LONGMAN resulted in the restoration of the NewsRadio coverage. Indeed an expansion to the Australia-wide presentation of AFL matches will be enjoyed for the next three years.

The AFL had threatened to withdraw ABC radio's coverage of this year's premiership season.

On Thursday (18th) it was announced the ABC will increase its coverage by adding 2CN Canberra on Friday and Saturday nights, while on Saturday 2CN will add additional AFL content to its programming.

AFL Chief Executive Officer WAYNE JACKSON said the AFL was delighted with the outcome. "We regard the national coverage of our competition via the ABC as vital and really appreciate the support we have had from the ABC management in reaching this outcome".

Other elements of the ABC's coverage across Australia will include —
<||> Full coverage on Friday night, Saturday afternoon, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.
<||> Full coverage on Friday night and Saturday night in Tasmania. The ABC covers the TFL on Saturday and Sunday with AFL updates.
<||> Full coverage on Friday and Saturday nights via NewsRadio in the Northern Territory and full coverage on local radio on Saturday afternoon.

The ABC has also agreed to expand its coverage of the AFL finals series by broadcasting finals on September 11 and September 18, and the Grand Final on September 25, on all local stations around Australia.

The Herald Sun, ROGER HAMPSON, former Essendon CEO, accusing the AFL of funding breaches by Sydney — "Look at the year Sydney took off ... they recruited Lockett said to be on somewhere between $330,000 and $500,000; Roos went there for a quarter of a million; Maxfield went there for $165,000 ... The salary cap went up only about $300,000 so how the hell did the Sydney Swans stay under the salary cap?"

The Advertiser — "The measure of Australian football's impact on the Australian and SA economy now has been quantified – $1.708 billion and 5003 jobs Australia-wide; $293 million and 834 jobs in SA without counting players, coaches and umpires in the employment category. More than $49 million is spent directly on football-related activities in SA, $93m indirectly."

The Herald Sun, leading writer TREVOR GRANT — "As some people around the club have been saying for some time, John Elliott needs Carlton more than Carlton needs John Elliott these days."

The Herald Sun, TONY DE BOLFO — Financial institution Colonial is believed to have secured the multi-million-dollar naming rights to Docklands stadium.

Colonial is understood to have won the bidding war from Vodaphone, the international telecommunications company, who are a secondary sponsor of one of the site's tenants, the Western Bulldogs.

The stadium's naming rights are reportedly worth between $3-5 million a year for the next 10 years.

LAIRD SMITH — Remembered as a nippy rover, Smith played 122 League matches with St Kilda (57 games, 77 goals, 1934-38) and Richmond (65 games, 73 goals, 1939-41 and 1945). Became Secretary of the Geelong club 1947-51 then at St Kilda from 1952.

Jules Feldmann and Russell Holmesby in The Point of it All (Playright Publishing, 1992) recorded that in May 1954 during his term of office at the Junction Oval, Laird Smith announced a deceased supporter made a bequest as far back as 1911, leaving 20 sovereigns with instructions one was to be given to each of the 20 members of St Kilda's first premiership side. The Saints won their only premiership in 1966. Mr Smith passed away peacefully on the Gold Coast on February 27.

JOHN THOMPSON — Born and raised in Benalla, it was however from Ararat he was recruited by Richmond in 1959. From his full-time job he travelled 800km each week but went on to become vice-captain of the Tigers in his 65 games (1959-63). He was well known in the legal world and was heavily involved in Rotary and the racing industry. He passed away in a Queensland hospital on February 11, just hours before his grand-daughter was born in the same place.

Former Collingwood ruckman LEN THOMPSON on March 24 identified himself as the seller of his Brownlow.

AAP reported he is financially at the thin edge of the wedge and expected $500,000 from an auction of his 1972 Medal and other Collingwood memorabilia. This would enable him to do the things he wants with his family.

Thompson played 303 League matches – 270 with Collingwood (1965-78), 20 with South (1979) and 13 with Fitzroy (1980).

The AFL claimed a first with the release of its 1999 advertising (24th). Vision for the TV campaign features Russian cosmonaut SERGEI ADVEEV on the space station Mir.
It was shot in February and beamed back to the Russian Space Agency’s mission control near Moscow. It’s believed to be the first time a sports organisation has used a space station to shoot a television commercial.

The Western Bulldogs on Thursday (25th) announced a three-year sponsorship deal with telecommunications company Vodaphone.

Bulldog prez DAVID SMORGAN said the agreement involved a base payment and a profit-sharing business program with Vodaphone but refused to give specific details.


Brisbane and Port big winners
Lions – from wooden spoon to top
321,666 attend opening round

ROUND 1 — Thu-Fri-Sat-Sun, March 25-26-27-28.
MILESTONES — St Kilda captain NATHAN BURKE played his 250th game … MATTHEW RICHARDSON (Rch) 100 … with 50 arriving for MATTHEW CAPUANO (Kan), WADE CHAPMAN (Syd) …

<> MARK MERCURI (Ess) on Thursday produced the first goal for the premiership season six minutes into the first quarter  … <> with 9.5-59 in the last term, Essendon produced their best finish in 207 games against Carlton.

<> A new non-holiday opening round record of 321,666 was created; short only to the 329,369 for the start of the 1997 season.

<> Footy fans gave JIM STYNES a marvellous MCG farewell before the Melbourne-Richmond game.

<> Players who made their AFL debut – Ade: Brett Burton, David Gallagher, Lucas Herbert; Car: Brett Backwell, Ben Thompson; Col: Nick Davis, Cameron Venables; Ess: Mark Johnson, Mark McVeigh; Haw: Kris Barlow, Michael Collica, Adrian Cox; Mel: Chris Lamb, Luke Ottens; PA: Barnaby French, Jared Poulton; StK: Ben Walton; WCE: Andrew Embley.

<||> The 70,501 who attended the MCG opening on Thursday night were treated to a tight struggle in good conditions over the first three quarters. However, in the run home Essendon stormed away to skittle the Blues by 39pts.

Chief concern for Carlton was their lack of forwards with only LANCE WHITNALL a beacon, while Bomber captain JAMES HIRD, chiefly minded by STEPHEN SILVAGNI seemed to lack energy most of the night.

With both sides tiring near the final changeover, Carlton switched SILVAGNI to the forward line who looked dangerous before the Dons opened the floodgates and sprinted away to win by a handsome margin – ESSENDON 16.14-110 (Lloyd 3, Lucas 3) best, Mercuri, Fraser, Fletcher, CARLTON 9.17-71 (Camporeale 4) best, Murphy, Beaumont, Bradley.

<||> Ideal conditions were the order for a great Friday night clash to a modest 33,674 patrons at the MCG.
The Kangas with 15.5-95 had their biggest-ever half-time score against the Cats, yet went down by a goal in a great finish. Each side produced waves of dominance, but Geelong after the long break were clearly the more determined, adding 14.2 to 6.4.

The Roos stopped running in the final burst, also losing Carey with a groin strain for at least two weeks – GEELONG 22.9-141 (Mensch 4, Arnott 3, Mooney 3) best, Arnott, Hocking, Graham, KANGAROOS 21.9-135 (Carey 4, Welsh 4, McKernan 4) best, Bell, Blakey, Carey.

<||> On Saturday afternoon the Demons and Tigers fought out a contest at the MCG in which the final margin was only 17pts. But there was a much clearer difference to style, strength and class between the two than the scoreboard showed.

The 47,620 which attended again saw Melbourne’s JEFF FARMER weave his magic — his six goals a telling factor in the result – MELBOURNE 14.20-104 (Farmer 6, Grgic 3, Neitz 3) best, Farmer, Woewodin, Neitz, RICHMOND 13.9-87 (Holland 4, Campbell 3) best, Rogers, Holland, Campbell.

<||> The Bulldogs lost two keys from their squad early; SCOTT WEST and SCOTT WYND both were out of the Saturday night Football Park contest with concussion. They still however ground out a valuable 13pt victory over Adelaide for a big 39,135 fans.

Tragedy again struck the Crows when ruckman BEN MARSH went down eight minutes into the first term — a ruptured ACL in his left knee, the same injury SHAUN REHN suffered on February 19th will sideline Marsh the rest of the season.

In the windy conditions, the Crows were soundly beaten in the midfield and with a vital loss of ruck power will be under the pump to defend their title – WEST.B’DOGS 12.13-91 (Hudson 4) best, Brown, Smith, Garlick, ADELAIDE 12.6-78 (Ricciuto 3) best, Hart, Thiessen, McLeod.

<||> The humidity of the Gabba on Saturday night may have been a factor, as Brisbane overpowered a distinctly out-of-touch St Kilda. The 89pt victory in front of 20,172 lifted the Lions from their spoon of ’98 to top of the first round ladder.

Former Fitzroy captain BRAD BOYD led the Lions again with both VOSS and LYNCH out of the Lions’ line-up. His exciting 29-possession game and 4.2 was a boost for the wonderful team game Brisbane produced. The match-ups in defence left the Saints with little space and a 250th game for Saints’ captain NATHAN BURKE he would choose to forget. It was St Kilda’s fifth successive loss to Brisbane at the Gabba – BRISBANE 23.14-152 (White 5, Boyd 4, Johnson 3, Hart 3) best, Boyd, Scott, White, ST KILDA 10.3-63 (Traianidis 3, Heatley 2, Healy 2) best, Traianidis, Harvey, Francis.

<||> Sunday brought cold and damp conditions to the MCG, when 48,620 watched the Hawks gain their 10th successive win (counting Ansett Cup matches). Neither Hawthorn nor Collingwood were able to develop consistent play in the conditions. Missing was the fluency which the Hawks enjoyed during the Ansett Cup.

The Magpies won much of the ball, but failed to convert where their forwards were tightly checked. Hawthorn had just a little bit extra in reserve when it counted –
HAWTHORN 10.14-74 (Dixon 3) best, Croad, Graham, Holland, COLLINGWOOD 8.11-59 (M.Richardson 2, Lane 2, S.Rocca 2) best, Orchard, Buckley, Wild.

<||> West Coast had their ninth straight win over Freo in the local Derby, but had to withstand a barnstorming finish. The Eagles with their usual cool approach enjoyed first-half control and led by 40pts at the last change.

The 32,680 at Subiaco on Sunday roared to life in the final term when the Dockers in the last 15 minutes did everything but steal the game. The terrible start and poor conversion rate brought Freo within four points, but still short of a win over the Eagles – WEST COAST 15.12-102 (Cummings 4, Phillip Matera 3, Morrison 3) best, Kemp, Wirrpunda, Morrison, FREMANTLE 13.20-98 (Black 2, Callaghan 2, Burton 2) best, Sinclair, Callaghan, O’Reilly.

<||> Port relished the good state of the SCG and floored the Swans with a devastating start on Sunday. Though billed as a sell-out, only 28,264 went through the gate. At their fourth attempt, it was Port’s first win versus Sydney.

The Coathangers came back to within 11pts in the late part of the game, it would have been daylight robbery had Port been denied.

Port showed they are well placed to take the next step up the tree — the Swans have a lot of work to do if they want stay up with the pace.

The day marked – Sydney’s first opening round game at home in 10 years … Port’s first win in an opening round … the return of PAUL KELLY after knee surgery – PORT ADELAIDE 17.13-115 (Schofield 5, Cockatoo-Collins 3, Tredrea 3) best, Wanganeen, Kingsley, Tredrea, SYDNEY 12.14-86 (Lockett 3, Russell 2, Barry 2) best, Cresswell, Crouch, McPherson.

Norwich Rising Star
BRISBANE youngster SHANE O’BREE was the first nominee for the $20,000 Norwich Rising Star Award.
He collected 27 possessions in his debut game against St Kilda.

18 PLAYERS FINED $47,000
The AFL Tribunal reacted strongly to two incidents at the sitting held on Tuesday (30th). 18 players received fines totalling $47,000 for their part in melees in the West Coast-Fremantle and Collingwood-Hawthorn matches at the weekend.

In a separate hearing JESS SINCLAIR (Fre) received a two game suspension for striking BEN COUSINS (WC).

The complete list of fines imposed —
$4000 – MARK GALE (Fre)
$1000 – TRENT CROAD (Haw).

It was announced on March 30 that financial giant Colonial had secured naming rights to the $430-million Docklands project for 10 years.

From the opening next February the venue will be called Colonial Stadium.


Essendon's 2000th League game
Injuries bite Dons, Pies & Swans
Collingwood at 16th, lowest-ever

ROUND 2 — Thu & Sat-Sun-Mon, April 1 & 3-4-5.
MILESTONES — ESSENDON played their 2000th League contest. The Bombers join Collingwood (96-R3-SCG) and Carlton (97-R8-PP) in reaching the milestone … STEPHEN SILVAGNI (Car) played his 250th … MATTHEW ROGERS (Rch) 100 games … Carlton captain CRAIG BRADLEY played his 288th League game, passing JUSTIN MADDEN to become the third longest-serving player to wear a Blues guernsey – BRUCE DOULL 356 games (1969-86) and JOHN NICHOLLS 328 (1957-74) are the top two … DARREN BEWICK (Ess) in his 197th game, kicked his 300th goal …

The AFL followed tradition and no matches were programmed on Good Friday.

Collingwood lost their eighth successive premiership match. The most recent run-of-outs by the Pies to equal this span was in 1996 when they lost R7-R14 inclusive. The current failure sent Collingwood to 16th, their lowest-ever placing on an AFL-VFL premiership table.

Total crowds published for the split Easter round totalled 306,196 — it was only the ninth time in League history the 300,000 total has been broken. The figure however fell short of the Easter record established for the 1997 opening which totalled 329,369. Crowds in the 1999 season are subject to AFL audit.

<> GEELONG became the first club to concede 20 goals in two successive matches yet were victors in both ... the Cats against the Bulldogs had 15 goalkickers, short only to the 16 goal-scorers recorded by Essendon in their 88-R9-MCG versus Brisbane game.

<> A new record for the WESTERN  BULLDOGS. Their 20.14-134 against Geelong on Saturday is the Doggies highest losing score of all 1481 League games since 1925.

<> The Kangaroos were defeated for the second successive week by the same score. Both Geelong in the first round and Essendon at the MCG kicked 22.9.

<> The tragic toll of injuries continues to mount. On Thursday evening Essendon captain JAMES HIRD in his 110th AFL game suffered a recurrence of stress fracture problems to his right foot. Surgery this week will end his season. Hird since his 1996 Brownlow Medal win has played just 22 of 48 Essendon games.

On Monday, Collingwood captain NATHAN BUCKLEY following an accidental knee to the face in the first 13 minutes suffered a broken jaw likely to sideline him more than a month.

RYAN O'CONNOR in his third game for Sydney damaged the medial ligament in his left knee, leading to his absence for at least 10 weeks. The Swans already devastated by injury also lost the still-to-play SANFL protege RYAN FITZGERALD who seriously damaged his right shoulder in the Reserves.

<> The Kangaroos lost their second game of the season, plummeting them to 14th position. Only once before after  7-R4) have the Arden Street boys been this low.

<||> The split Easter round commenced at the MCG on Thursday night. It was overcast and cool but otherwise good conditions prevailed with 48,383 attending. The Kangaroos went into the match without several of their regulars — Roo captain WAYNE CAREY was absent through a groin injury; also missing were GLENN ARCHER, MATTHEW CAPUANO, MARK ROBERTS and DAVID KING.

Essendon continued from where they left off the previous week when they disposed of Carlton by 39pts. The Roos in recent years have been a bogey side for the Bombers but a new aggression was apparent as they set the tone with an eight goal opening.

The fitness of the Bombers and the co-ordination of their forward line proved a handful for the Kanga defence who were non-plussed by the direct, long-kicking game. Though both had the same number of scoring shots the 35pt margin proved the difference in class between the two on this occasion.
In his 197th game DARREN BEWICK (Ess) kicked his 300th goal – ESSENDON 22.9-141 (Alessio 4, Bewick 3, Long 3, Lloyd 3) best, Hardwick, Fletcher, Wellman, KANGAROOS 15.16-106 (Sholl 4, Abraham 2, Lange 2, McKernan 2) best, Bell, Grant, Pickett.

<||> Saturday was a glorious Melbourne autumn day when 40,462 rolled-up to the G for the afternoon game. Both sides enjoyed a quarter of dominance — the Tigers in the first, Sydney in the second; the last half was a struggle for both.

Richmond were inspired by a game-long effort by forward MATTHEW RICHARDSON — from 12 marks he produced four goals, not a big tally, but a telling one. Sydney already with a long injury list (they were without Lockett, Lewis and O'Loughlin to name three) also lost recent Essendon recruit RYAN O'CONNOR early when his season ended with a damaged medial ligament — the Swans however didn't have a totally bleak day. Their second quarter (after a sleepy start) was a good effort when they kicked eight of the nine goals scored to grab a 12pt lead by half time.

The match was always in the balance throughout the last half. Only in the last second of play did Richmond seal it with a goal from PAUL BRODERICK to give them a 12pt win – RICHMOND 15.18-108 (Richardson 4, Holland 3) best, Daffy, Richardson, Rogers, SYDNEY 13.18-96 (Crouch 3, Kelly 2, Goodes 2) best, Crouch, Schwass.

<||> One of the best contests of recent times was the view of commentators when the Cats and Bulldogs met at Carlton in good conditions on Saturday. The free-flowing, high-scoring contest for 22,162 spectators produced 44.25 for the match. Of this, 22.4 was kicked to the Robert Heatley Stand end.
In a great individual performance, the 21-year-old Bulldog forward NATHAN BROWN kicked 7.1 up to the 22nd minute of the third quarter.

CHARLES HAPPELL at Optus Oval for The Age reported: It was the overall excellence of the Geelong performance — epitomised by TIM McGRATH in defence and the tireless work of DARREN MILBURN, BRENTON SANDERSON and GLENN KILPATRICK in the midfield — that won the day.

Less than a goal separated the teams at each of the first three changes, but Geelong managed to kick the last three goals of the match to produce the final and greatest, margin of the day — 21 points … The Cats had 15 goalscorers, short only to Essendon's 16 in the 88-R9-MCG match versus Brisbane ... GEELONG became the first club to concede 20 goals in two successive matches yet were victors in both ... the Bulldogs' 20.14-134 is a new highest losing score for the club – GEELONG 24.11-155 (Mooney 4, Burns 3) best, Milburn, Sanderson, Kilpatrick, BULLDOGS 20.14-134 (Brown 7.1, Winmar 3, Johnson 3) best, Brown, Smith, Johnson.

<||> An assembly of 29,932 were present at Subiaco Oval on a clear and warm Saturday night. After trailing at each break, West Coast came home strongly to be 10pt winners over the Lions.

FRASER GEHRIG for the Eagles had an absorbing duel all night with Brisbane's rookie TIM NOTTING but broke away to kick two crucial goals from nine possessions and six marks in a wonderful last quarter effort.

Against a determined Brisbane, the Eagles grouped nine players who were aged 21 years or under to which coach MICHAEL MALTHOUSE pointed up the beginning of a new era. The Lions were brilliantly led out of the centre by CRAIG LAMBERT who totted up 29 possessions and the returning captain MICHAEL VOSS who gave a classy display. However, Brisbane simply ran out of legs, not assisted by a lengthy air journey which took them seven and a half hours to reach Perth – WEST COAST 11.17-83 (Gehrig 5, Cummings 2) best, Cousins, Gehrig, McIntosh, BRISBANE 11.7-73 (Johnson 2, M.Voss 2) best, Lambert, Clarke, Heuskes.

<||> On the same day the Dogs and Cats had delivered 44 goals in a game, the Crows and Hawks at night produced just 16 goals. The conditions at Waverley for players and the throng of 29,135 was clear and crisp — with no cloud cover the ball was slippery.

JAKE NIALL for The Age reported: The Crows won the game not from any electrifying performances up forward. More, it was their strength in defence that strangled the life, and eventually the game, out of Hawthorn. Adelaide managed to restrict the Hawks to just two goals after half-time.
Hawthorn's forwards were shut down, and goals came at a trickle for most of the night. Adelaide fielded a team without 1998 grand final players Caven, Connell, Ellen, Goodwin, Johnson, Marsh, Rehn and Vardy – such is their injury list.

The four point loss brought Hawthorn's winning run to an end – their first defeat since July 25 last year – ADELAIDE 8.12-60 (Jarman 2, Pittman 2) best, Thiessen, Pittman, Ricciuto, HAWTHORN 8.8-56 (single goals) best, Crawford, Lekkas, Salmon.

<||> Sunday at Football Park was overcast following heavy overnight rain. A crowd of  28,384 watched the season's two newest coaches pitted against each other. Viewed as a scrappy, easily forgettable match, the highlight was the return to Footy Park of TONY MODRA who by the five minute mark of the second term had booted his first four goals for the day.

Freo burst from the blocks and suitably jolted, Port found their confidence and proceeded to put the game away. Mid-way through the last quarter, Port led by seven goals but a late lapse opened the door when the Dockers slammed on six goals and the margin was reduced to only 13pts. Fremantle following their strong start went to sleep in the second term as BRAYDEN LYLE, FABIAN FRANCIS and PETER BURGOYNE sparked the Port midfield.

Port notched their fourth successive win over the Dockers. Though Port have won their first two, the road ahead starts to get rougher over the next five weeks – PORT ADELAIDE 17.12-114 (Tredrea 3, Lade 3) best, Lyle, Burgoyne, Primus, FREMANTLE 15.11-101 (Modra 6) best, Norrish, Kickett, Fletcher.

<||> Proving a week is a long time in football, St Kilda smarting from an 89pt thrashing blitzed Melbourne with a first half barrage in the Sunday match played in warm and windy conditions at Waverley. The Saints were 65pts up at half-time and the match all but over for the 37,232 fans.

The first half command by St Kilda showed on the stats sheets which recorded 194 disposals to 105, and by then STEWART LOEWE at centre half-forward had taken 12 marks. A predictable fightback by Melbourne eventuated in the third term when the deficit was cut to 31pts but the task was beyond them in the long haul.

While the Saints were clear winners, the Demons received great effort from GUY RIGONI and MATTHEW FEBEY who between them delivered 55 possessions. St Kilda captain NATHAN BURKE was a late withdrawal. ST KILDA 19.16-130 (Mitchell 5, Heatley 3) best, Loewe, Traianidis, McLaren, MELBOURNE 13.6-84 (Schwarz 3, Johnstone 3) best, Rigoni, Johnstone, Robertson.

<||> Traditional rivals Carlton and Collingwood met for the 218th occasion since 1897 on Easter Monday at the MCG to a bumper 70,506. The match started in sunny and warm conditions but by three-quarter time the lights were on under threatening skies.

The first quarter was part of the tradition, fast and fierce as the Pies gained the upper hand. At the 13 minute mark from an accidental knee to the head, Collingwood captain NATHAN BUCKLEY took his kick but soon left the field. A broken jaw to Buckley will sideline him four to six weeks.

The Magpies moved away and seemed to have the measure of the off-target Blues yet the Carlton boys surged back to tie it up by the long break. Carlton took over proceedings in the last half and though STEPHEN SILVAGNI playing at full-forward in his 250th left play with a hamstring, the Blues with ADAM WHITE under notice together with LANCE WHITNALL had more forward options than the flagging Pies. White had a blinder in the third term with 11 disposals.

Though Collingwood have their problems with a lack of talent, NICK DAVIS in his second game served notice he has a promising career ahead of him. Carlton on the other hand may move up the table but, pressure games to come from sides with class will reveal just how far the Blues may travel – CARLTON 15.22-112 (Whitnall 3) best, White, Bradley, Camporeale, COLLINGWOOD 12.11-83 (M.Richardson 2, S.Rocca 2, Crow 2) best, Brown, A.Rocca, Davis.

The first two Youth Tests were played between Australia and Ireland. The Under 17 squads played 15-a-side under International Rules agreed to between the Gaelic Athletic Association and the AFL.
Australian used the round ball freely to record a 21-point win in the curtain raiser played at Waverley on Sunday April 4 while on the following Wednesday (7th) Australian wrapped up the series in a further contest played at Deakin Reserve Shepparton.
Scores in the opening two Tests — AUSTRALIA 2.17-10 (73pts) d IRELAND 5.3-13 (52pts) at Waverley. At Shepparton, AUSTRALIAN 4.20-17 (101pts) d IRELAND 2.10-7 (49pts).
A third Test will be played in Adelaide on Sunday April 11.

Former Fremantle captain PETER MANN was suspended for two matches by the AFL Tribunal on Tuesday (6th). Mann faced a charge of striking BRAYDEN LYLE (PA) arguing he attempted to block. Lyle testified he was struck in the throat region and received a black eye from the incident.
It was Mann's third suspension — he was outed one game in 1997 for charging and received a two game penalty for striking last season.

SCOTT BURNS (Col) from a video charge faced the Tribunal on Wednesday (7th) and was suspended two games for tripping Scott Camporeale (Car) in the third quarter of Monday's game. Tribunal chairman BRIAN COLLIS QC stated: "Tripping seems to be becoming a more prevalent matter. It's the type of incident that can lead to serious injury to a player."

To be determined — PETER EVERITT (StK) cited on a racial vilification incident against SCOTT CHISHOLM (Mel). The matter will either proceed to mediation between the parties, or be referred to the Tribunal.

Racial Vilification
Following the April 4 match at Waverley, St Kilda ruckman PETER EVERITT two days later was called upon by the AFL to answer a racial vilification act against Melbourne's SCOTT CHISHOLM. A four hour meeting between the parties on Thursday (8th) failed to resolve the issue.

Everitt had been cited for referring to Chisholm as a "petrol sniffer", calling him a "black c---" and other abusive remarks during the Sunday match.

Everitt became the first AFL player to be suspended on a racial vilification charge. At a press conference on Friday (9th) Everitt in a public apology announced that following discussions he had agreed to a self-imposed four-match ban (sanctioned by the League) and the requirement to donate $20,000 to an Aboriginal community project. The AFL also imposed a suspended two-match ban if found guilty of a future racial offence.

Everitt two years ago (97-R8-MCG) was involved in a heated verbal skirmish with Essendon's MICHAEL LONG. The matter was resolved via confidential mediation on Tuesday May 20 1997.

Tribunal Appeal
Collingwood unsuccessfully appealed the two-match suspension imposed upon vice-captain SCOTT BURNS for tripping Carlton's SCOTT CAMPOREALE.

The appeals board Peter O'Callaghan, QC, John Schultz and Gavin Francis on Friday (9th) deliberated for 35 minutes before upholding the suspension.


Dons, Port, Eagles, Cats undefeated
Lloyd bags 13 goals for Bombers
Blues beat Dogs at own game

ROUND 3 — Fri-Sat-Sun, April 9-10-11.
MILESTONES — MARCUS ASHCROFT (Bri) played his 200th match ... 150 arrived for both MATTHEW KENNEDY (Bri) and FRASER BROWN (Car) ... 100 for GLENN MANTON (21 Ess, now Car 79), DAVID MENSCH (Gee), JASON MOONEY (97 Syd, now Gee) and JASON McCARTNEY (38 Col, 37 Ade, now NMK) ... 50 matches by ANGELO LEKKAS (Haw), SHANE WOEWODIN (Mel) and DAVID BOURKE (Rch) ... TONY MODRA (Ade, now Fre) in his 121st game passed 450 goals ...

Total crowds published for the third round were eventually found to be 256,356 — the final figure from Victoria Park came several days after the game.

<> Essendon's MATTHEW LLOYD with 13 goals 4 behinds beat Sydney (9.14) off his own boot at the MCG on Saturday. It produced the AFL's biggest bag of goals in almost three years (since 96-R19, when Jason Dunstall kicked 14.2 against Footscray at Waverley) and etched the Lloyd name alongside the great forwards of the Essendon club. Indeed, it was the best any Essendon player has ever kicked at the MCG beating TED FREYER's 12.4 in 1935.

<> It was Essendon's seventh successive win at the MCG against the Swans — indeed the last time the red-and-white beat the Dons at headquarters was in 1923.

<> Collingwood lost their ninth consecutive premiership match — equalling their worst run in 2,066 games of League footy.
In 1982 the Pies lost from round 13 to 21 inclusive. Master statistician COL HUTCHINSON this week passed on a pearler bit of trivia — two present-day coaches Collingwood's TONY SHAW and Port's MARK WILLIAMS played in all of the nine losing matches recorded by the Magpies in 1982.

Sparked on by historian STEPHEN RODGERS, we conducted a search using the "Ruckman" software  on where another side had gone from wooden spooners of one year to top place on the ladder at the start of the following season. Remember, that Brisbane from 16th place last year achieved this when they thrashed St Kilda in the opening round.

Only once before has it occurred. Essendon in 1907 following the sectional rounds finished with only five wins from the 17 matches played and collected their first wooden spoon.

In the first round of 1908, Essendon were sound victors over newcomers University in the battle of the co-tenants at East Melbourne Cricket Ground. The Dons won by 11 goals, 14.11-95 to the Students 3.11-29, taking them to the top of the ladder to start the new season.

In most things there is a parallel. In 1908, Essendon maintained their good form to finish second and played off for the premiership, losing in the Grand Final to Carlton.

Will Brisbane follow a similar pathway in 1999 — or go one better?

<||> A still, clear night drew 46,173 to the G for the Friday night opener. Though selected, for a second week Roo captain WAYNE CAREY did not take the field.

The Roos bounced away quickly and had three goals on the board in the first six minutes. From that point Richmond outscored the Kangas. The Tigers had more possessions, more centre takeaways, more entries inside 50, more scoring shots and more frees, yet still lost by 10 points.

Richmond ran the Roos ragged in the second quarter, going out to a 15pt lead. The momentum began to swing back to the Roos in the third as Blakey, Grant, Simpson and Bell lifted their workrate while Martyn put a stopper to Ben Holland.

Inside time-on in the last term it was only four points the difference when Richmond's BRAD OTTENS who had kicked four goals dropped a mark; the Kangas swept the ball back for GARY DHURRKAY to kick his third to seal it for the Roos and give them their first points for the season – KANGAROOS 15.10-100 (Dhurrkay 3, Welsh 3) best, Simpson, Pickett, A.Stevens, RICHMOND 13.12-90 (Ottens 4) best, Knights, Chaffey, Ottens.

<||> Saturday was near perfect as 50,324 attended the MCG to watch MATTHEW LLOYD kick 4, 2, 5 and 2 through the four quarters to total 13 goals 4 behinds for the game and etch his name into Essendon history.

Lloyd took 14 marks and saw off five Sydney opponents. CHARLES HAPPELL reported for The Age: Lloyd's 13 goals came from every which way: off the ground, outside 50 metres, on the acutest of angles, but mostly they came after strong, contested marks against a series of bedraggled opponents — the best of which came late in the first quarter over a pack of three flightless Swans. His individual tally was 14pts more than Sydney could manage.

The Bombers set up their victory from the midfield where MARK MERCURI, JUSTIN BLUMFIELD, DARREN BEWICK and skipper MICHAEL LONG all got plenty of the ball, and used it to telling effect. The performance of 20-year-old first gamer DEAN RIOLI promoted from the rookie list, was also eye-catching.

Essendon enjoyed a host of positives from the match — for the undermanned, winless Swans, the problems are worrying with further hammerings on the cards – ESSENDON 22.17-149 (Lloyd 13.4) best, Lloyd, Mercuri, Blumfield, SYDNEY 9.14-68 (Luff 2, Carey 2, Kelly 2) best, Carey, Kelly, Barry.

<||> Renamed under a new sponsorship deal, Geelong's Shell Stadium welcomed 27,417 on a good Saturday. The Demons entered the match strapped for height, given the absence of White, Shanahan, Lyon and Brett Grgic.

After Geelong had ran amok in the second quarter, JAKE NIALL recorded for The Sunday Age: The Cats had everything in their favour. But, sparked by skipper TODD VINEY's return to the field (he had been rested during the second quarter), the enthusiasm of youngsters TROY LONGMUIR and LUKE OTTENS, and the hard running of GUY RIGONI and best afield MATTHEW FEBEY, the Demons gradually whittled at Geelong's lead. By three-quarter time the deficit had been cut to 13pts.

After 10 minutes of the final term, the scores were level. What followed was a bobbing finish, with the Cats stretching their necks in front when it really counted, late in time-on. The tight victory gave Geelong a 3+0 start – GEELONG 14.13-97 (King 3, Mensch 3) best, Hocking, Kilpatrick, Mensch, MELBOURNE 12.19-91 (Tingay 3) best, M.Febey, Yze, Viney.

<||> Subiaco Oval on Saturday night (22,552) was generally good, punctuated with a burst of mid-game rain. The much-awaited first win for Docker coach DAMIAN DRUM failed to arrive as Hawthorn sustained their hot form. The match was there for the taking, if Fremantle had been good enough — they led by two goals in the third quarter. Hawthorn then mastered the contest and kicking eight of the game's last nine goals swept to a blowout 34pt win.

ANGELO LEKKAS with a 34-possession game was best afield for the Hawks, while PAUL SALMON played an outstanding role in the ruck contests. The much-valued BEN DIXON was stretchered in the second term after twisting his left ankle. The Hawthorn camp however are sure he'll be ready for their next outing – HAWTHORN 16.16-112 Lord 3, Chick 3) best, Lekkas, Crawford, Harford, FREMANTLE 11.12-78 (Modra 3) best, Prescott, Bond, Wira.

<||> Port Adelaide continued their dream opening with a solid win over Brisbane at the Gabba on Saturday night in warm but good conditions for an attendance of 21,092.

Port exploded with a great start (7.4 to 2.2) and though the Lions came back to within nine points in the third term, Port were always able to answer with critical goals when the occasion called.

Brisbane refused to give in with CRAIG LAMBERT (26 possessions) and CHRIS SCOTT (24) giving them plenty of opportunities but always struggled for a consistent goalscorer. Their overuse of the ball was a major factor. Still in the balance in the last, decisive breaks from the centre by Port clinched the result.

Port ruckman MATTHEW PRIMUS was stretchered off after only 16 minutes of the match with a ruptured ACL in his left knee certain to end his season; Port officials believe the standard of the Gabba was a contributing factor to the injury – PORT ADELAIDE 15.13-103 (Schofield 3) best, Kingsley, Burgoyne, BRISBANE 11.14-80 (Hart 2) best, Lambert, Ashcroft, C.Scott.

<||> Sunday night was a warm one on the great surface of Football Park where a big 41,708 watched a remarkable statistic recorded. The Adelaide wizard DARREN JARMAN gained only three possessions for the match and all resulted in third quarter goals which buried St Kilda.

Though Adelaide are dual-premiership winners, the year has yet to begin for them. The first half was a lack-lustre effort by the Crows and only by kicking six goals to three in the third quarter did they achieve their win – it gave them just enough in the end to get over the line.

St Kilda with the absence of the suspended PETER EVERITT heavily relied on the capacity of STEWART LOEWE at centre half-forward. However his seven marks did little and though their possession rate was superior they could not covert this to the scoreboard, as wayward shooting cost them dearly – ADELAIDE 14.12-96 (Jarman 3, Robran 3) best, Eccles, Robran, Koster, ST KILDA 11.15-81 (Mitchell 2) best, Sziller, Traianidis, Elliott.

<||> Billed as the second-last match at the suburban Victoria Park, there were many vacant spaces as only 19,441 attended on Sunday with the event receiving live telecast status into the Melbourne area.

Collingwood predictably got away to a sharp start and just as certain were not strong enough to halt West Coast's superior success record at Abbotsford. The Eagles worked themselves into the game then dominated proceedings after half time. The defeat brought Collingwood's ninth successive failure in premiership matches, the equal of their worst-ever League run of outs posted in 1982.

The midfield playmakers spearheaded by BEN COUSINS out of the centre, with SCOTT CUMMINGS at full-forward (seven goals) and ANDREW WILLIAMS (4 goals) were big winners for West Coast.

Several beer cans were thrown by Collingwood supporters toward umpires and Eagles forward SCOTT CUMMINGS during the third and fourth quarters. The Pies said they would investigate banning cans at their last game in Round 22 – WEST COAST 16.15-111 (Cummings 7.3, Williams 4)  best, Cummings, Banfield, McIntosh, COLLINGWOOD 11.9-75 (Patterson 2, Lane 2, Licuria 2, S.Rocca 2) best, Wasley, King, Licuria.

<||> Carlton on home turf scored a major upset when it beat the Western Bulldogs at their own game on Sunday for a solid group of 27,649 spectators. In the good conditions the Doggies may have entered their 50-metre zone more times than the Blues, but Carlton were steadier.

It was a fierce contest with Carlton never allowing the Bulldogs to dictate the terms as they have so often done in recent seasons. Despite an off-target 2.7 to 0.2 in the second term, the Blues took the lead and were never headed. Forwards of both sides failed to make a great impact but for Carlton it was their 150-gamer FRASER BROWN together with JUSTIN MURPHY (27 touches), BRETT RATTEN, ANG CHRISTOU and SIMON BEAUMONT who were penetrating with their disposal.

Carlton coach DAVID PARKIN rated the contest as one of the "hardest" he's been connected with in his 40-year involvement in the game – CARLTON 15.15-105 (Backwell 3) best, Murphy, Beaumont, Ratten, BULLDOGS 15.13-103 (Hudson 4, Darcy 3) best, Wynd, Cameron, S.West.

Collingwood's PAUL LICURIA was suspended two matches by the AFL Tribunal on Monday (12th). Licuria was found guilty of striking MICHAEL BRAUN (WCE) at Victoria Park on Sunday.
From the same game ANTHONY ROCCA (Col) faced a video charge of striking MICHAEL GARDINER (WCE). The younger Rocca escaped with a not guilty verdict.
A video review of the Carlton-Bulldogs match on Sunday resulted in umpire HAYDEN KENNEDY pressing seven charges against six players.

At the Tuesday (13th) hearing the following penalties were applied by the AFL Tribunal —
MATTHEW ALLEN (Car) pleading guilty to wrestling — $1200 fine
SCOTT WYND (WB) pleaded not guilty to wrestling — $1500 fine
FRASER BROWN (Car) pleaded not guilty to striking Jose Romero (WB) – Brown was suspended for two matches
JUSTIN MURPHY (Car) pleaded not guilty to engaging in rough play against Brett Montgomery (WB) – Murphy was suspended for one match
JUSTIN MURPHY (Car) pleaded not guilty to wrestling — $3000 fine
CHRIS GRANT (WB) pleaded not guilty to wrestling — $1500 fine
ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES (Car) pleaded not guilty to wrestling — $1500 fine.

A previous fine of $1200 against Carlton's JUSTIN MURPHY for wrestling Danny Dickfos (Bri) in the Saturday May 30 1998 (R10-PP) match drew a heavier penalty on this occasion for a second offence.

JED BOWTELL, The Age Green Guide — on reviewing the improvement of the AFL web site also added —
"Let's not forget The Age's own site, Footy 99, which also continues to take Mathew (sic) Burton-sized strides forward. It contains match reports, the ladder, fixture, news, photographs and opinion polls, plus columns by the paper's footy expert. There are also audio snippets (RealAudio format) ..."


Collingwood's record 10th defeat
Bombers lowest in 44 seasons
Eagles and Cats top the ladder

ROUND 4 — Fri-Sat-Sun, April 16-17-18.
MILESTONES — COLLINGWOOD suffered their 10th consecutive defeat in premiership matches – the longest losing span in the Magpies' 2,067 League matches ... ESSENDON kicked a game-long 3.5-23 – their lowest tally for 44 years ... GEELONG at their ninth attempt won their first premiership match at Football Park ... KYM KOSTER (Ade) played his 100th game ... ROBERT SCOTT (NMK) played his 100th for the Roos, also 132 with Gee ... 50th games for WADE CHAPMAN (Syd), PAUL BARNARD (Ess), JUSTIN BLUMFIELD (Ess), GREG HARDING (Fre), SCOTT BAMFORD (Fit, Bri, now Gee) ... STEVEN KING (Gee) ... SCOTT CUMMINGS (Ess, PA, now WCE) passed 200 career goals in his 81st game ...

<> After four rounds the Eagles boasting a big 146.1 percentage lead the Cats who are on 117.1%. Essendon, Port Adelaide and Carlton with 3+1 fill third, fourth and fifth places on the ladder then Brisbane, Hawthorn and Richmond on 2+2 in the remaining positions down to eighth place.

Outside the top eight  also with 2+2 are Melbourne, St Kilda and Adelaide. From 12th place 1+3 game are Western Bulldogs, Kangaroos and Sydney. Filling the bottom two places are Fremantle and Collingwood, both yet to win a game.

Six of last years finalists including the premiers Adelaide, fill positions in the bottom half of the AFL ladder.

Total crowds published for the fourth round: 267,015 — below the 1997 R4 record of 316,244 and in arrears of last season's 285,649.

<> Sydney won by two points in the greatest last half comeback recorded in 204 League matches at the SCG. The Kangaroos had led by eight goals deep into time-on of the second quarter but Sydney reduced the half-time margin to 36 points, 9.7-61 to 3.7-25 then went on to their first win of the season … <> Undefeated ESSENDON against WEST COAST at Subiaco on Sunday were scoreless in the second quarter for the first time in 19 seasons — last time was versus North Melbourne 80-R12-AS … <> Essendon's final score of 3.5-23 at Subi was the 26th occasion the Dons have kicked 23pts or less in their 2002 League matches since 1897. It was Essendon's lowest tally for 44 seasons since their 2.11-23 versus Footscray in 1955s fourth round at the Western Oval. It was the lowest League score since 96-R16-WO when Footscray kicked 3.4-22 versus Brisbane 4.12-36.

<||> The Friday night opener was played in generally good but slippery conditions – rain in the final quarter became steady at times as the 46,289 fans were treated to a ripper of an MCG finish. appeared to have Hawthorn's measure but then it became a gripping arm-wrestle.

It came down to the last few moments as recorded by Dwayne Russell for the Sunday Age — With 30 minutes on the clock, Farmer (M) could have sealed victory again, but dropped a mark in Melbourne's forward pocket. A minute later he could have kicked a winning score but tried to handball into the goal square, and Michael Collica (H) cut it off. Scores were still level.

Melbourne then tried to scramble a behind but the ball hit the point post. In the 32nd minute Melbourne forced a ball-up in its goal square. Russell Robertson (M), on and off the bench for a quiet night, leapt over the pack to thump through a point.

But there was still a minute left. With Melbourne players still finishing their high fives, Crawford (H) hit a chest with his 27th possession from a back pocket and Hawthorn raced the ball down and kicked high inside 50 for one last throw of the dice.

Stephen Tingay (M) took only one mark in the second half but the Demon picked a perfect time to take it — Melbourne was home by a point. MELBOURNE 12.13-85 (Schwarz 3) best, Schwarz, Longmuir, Walsh, HAWTHORN 12.12-84 (Chick 4, Krummel 3) best, Crawford, Chick, Salmon.

<||> Overcast but good conditions were the order at Optus Oval for Saturday afternoon with a small 19,100 in attendance. The Dockers did what were expected of them and gave Carlton a torrid time in a tight first half when the Blues only with goal on half-time gained a margin of seven points.

The Dockers resistance after the break disappointingly fell away and Carlton with intelligent use of the inter-change bench took control to be leaders by as much as eight goals early in the last term.

With many absentees through suspension and injury, Carlton with a 3+1 start are well-placed. For Fremantle, there seems nothing can stop additions to their nine-game losing streak – CARLTON 19.7-121 (Lappin 3, Hulme 3, Ratten 3) best, Bradley, Camporeale, Lappin, FREMANTLE 14.8-92 (Waterhouse 3, Taylor 3) best, Kickett, Clement, Norrish.

<||> A crowd of 49,609 were at an overcast MCG on Saturday. In good conditions the Tigers sent Collingwood back to the bottom of the ladder with a 50pt victory. The 10th successive defeat in premiership matches created the longest run of outs in League footy for the famous Magpies.

Richmond extended their lead in every quarter and while the Pies clearly lack depth, they have a share of good developing talent though need a heavier workrate from many of their senior members. Where Collingwood had been competitive for much of their previous three losses, they were rudderless and quickly out of the contest by making embarrassing unforced errors.

The Tigers boasted 14 goalkickers for the match and may have had more but for many squandered opportunities. NICK DAFFY and MATTHEW KNIGHTS both with 28 possessions were devastating – RICHMOND 22.14-146 (Holland 4) best, Knights, Rogers, Daffy, COLLINGWOOD 14.12-96 (Patterson 2, Williams 2, Watson 2, Lane 2, S.Rocca 2) best, Brown, Freeborn, King.

<||> For the third time in as many weeks the Western Bulldogs had victory snatched from their grasp when underdogs St Kilda recorded a fighting eight point victory at Waverley in overcast but good conditions on Saturday afternoon.

A good roll-out of 33,581 fans saw the Saints lead at the first break yet were in arrears for the next two quarters as the Bullies looked set to wrap up another four premiership points. St Kilda however never gave in and frequently provided flashes of brilliant play but were wasteful with many of their opportunities.

It was still anyone's into time-on when Magpie reject TONY FRANCIS who had worked hard throughout bobbed up to snare the deciding goal for the Saints, as the Dogs rued the day, when another got away. St Kilda are 2+2 while the Bulldogs share the cellar with other 1998 finalists, the Kangaroos and Sydney – ST KILDA 16.11-107 (Heatley 3, McLaren 3) best, Peckett, McLaren, Young, BULLDOGS 15.9-99 (Hudson 4, Johnson 3, Cook 3) best, Wynd, S.West, Winmar.

<||> Persistent rain at the Gabba on Saturday night provided a greasy surface as 21,360 watched a gritty first half. Level at the first break and only two-points in it at half time proved how even the battle was.

However, after half-time Brisbane swept all before them kicking 11 goals to two to post a resounding 61pt victory over Adelaide. The turning point was the introduction of Brisbane's MATTHEW CLARKE into the contest when the Crows' lone ruckman DAVID PITTMAN was rested for the third term. The Lions from their great defenders of Leppitsch, Kennedy and Heuskes gave the Crows none of the ball as midfielders Champion, Black and McRae took control. It was a lack-lustre effort by the premiers and provided distressing signals for Adelaide coach Malcolm Blight – BRISBANE 17.13-115 (Black 3) best, McRae, Ashcroft, Heuskes, ADELAIDE 8.6-54 (Jarman 4) best, Eccles, McLeod, Johnson.

<||> There was a lot more to the SCG clash than the premiership points on Saturday night. Conditions were good and the SCG Trust had replaced the 2000 seats destroyed in the devastating hailstorm which hit Sydney the previous Wednesday — however on a good night just 29,617 attended.

The Kangas as the "new kids on the block" were anxious to swell membership numbers for their push into the Sydney market, just as the winless Swans were equally determined to protect and secure their hard-won territory.

The under-manned Sydney were seemingly dealt a death-blow when their No.1 ruckman GREG STAFFORD was stretchered in the opening nine minutes with a left knee injury. The Roos seemed certain to hand the Coathangers their fourth defeat when they controlled the first half, leading by eight goals into time-on before the half-time siren.

Inspired by STUART MAXFIELD from the centre in the third quarter, and brilliantly led by Captain Courageous PAUL KELLY, it was fitting that these players provided the two last quarter goals in the dying minutes that sank the fortunes of the Kangaroos. Sydney won by two points in the greatest last half comeback recorded in 204 League matches at the SCG. It was the Swans first win of the season, and another embarrassing last half fadeout by the Roos – SYDNEY 10.12-72 (Maxfield 2, Kelly 2, Stevens 2) best, Maxfield, Kelly, Warfe, KANGAROOS 10.10-70 (Carey 2, C.Sholl 2) best, Bell Carey, Archer.

<||> Sunshine on Sunday welcomed 34,570 to Football Park where two unbeaten sides Port and Geelong faced each other.

The Geelong machine suffocated Port in a surprisingly lop-sided contest to win their first match in Adelaide at the ninth attempt. From defence Graham, Sanderson and McGrath were outstanding, together with drive from the midfield through Hocking, Kilpatrick and Pickering, plus the elusive and effective Burns and on-ballers Bamford and debutant Wojcinski.

The Cats were always in control and there was little evidence of the pace advantage Port had been credited with in the opening rounds. Geelong confirmed their leadership position following wins over pre-season flag favourites the Kangaroos, Bulldogs, then Melbourne, and the improving Port.
PETER KRUPKA in The Australian reported: "Given his outstanding start to the season, Hocking must be emerging as an early favourite for the Brownlow Medal and his performance after a quiet first quarter, again won praise of (Geelong coach Gary) Ayres." – GEELONG 17.13-115 (Bamford 3) best, Hocking, Pickering, Kilpatrick, PORT ADELAIDE 10.14-74 (Bond 2) best, Wanganeen, Lyle, Schofield.

<||> The undefeated Eagles and Bombers locked horns in the cauldron of Subiaco Oval on a fine Perth Sunday of 26 degrees with 32,893 attending. After 23 meetings Essendon led 14+9 but from six contests at Subi had won only once in 1995.

In an extraordinary turnaround of form Essendon after booting 22.17 against Sydney the previous weekend kicked their lowest score for 44 years, since their 2.11-23 versus Footscray at the Western Oval in 1955s fourth round ... it was the 26th occasion the Dons had scored 23pts or less in their 2002 League games and their lowest since 1.12-18 versus St Kilda (5.5-35) at the Junction Oval in 1923s 10th round ... they were held scoreless in the second quarter for the first time since 80-R12-AS versus North ... Essendon went from the 17 minute mark of the first when they scored their second goal until 19 minutes into the last before their third and last goal of the day was kicked.

On the day West Coast were supreme in every department, MATT PRICE in The Australian recorded: "BEN COUSINS and MICHAEL BRAUN dominated midfield, defensive veterans GLEN JAKOVICH and GUY McKENNA were impassable, and MICK MALTHOUSE's trust in youth looks a better investment than booming Internet stocks."

In the opening 10 seconds of the match Essendon lost acting captain MICHAEL LONG with broken ribs after he was met with a hip-and-shoulder from Eagle DREW BANFIELD, then crunched by CHAD RINTOUL (WC). MATTHEW LLOYD who kicked 13.4 the previous week, bagged only one and after half-time at Subi played as a loose man on the half-back line. Eagles coach Malthouse said his side were still rebuilding and asked "all my boys to remain humble" following their 74pt victory. West Coast went to top place on the ladder – WEST COAST 15.7-97 (Cummings 4, Phillip Matera 3) best, Cousins, Braun, Read, ESSENDON 3.5-23 best, Wellman, Alessio, Hardwick.

From a video review, umpire MATTHEW NORDEN charged Geelong captain GARRY HOCKING with tripping Port Adelaide captain GAVIN WANGANEEN in the second term of Sunday's match at Footy Park.

The AFL Tribunal on Tuesday (20th) sustained the charge and suspended Hocking for two matches.
Before the incident Hocking who three times has finished third in counting was a 7/1 favourite for this years Brownlow Medal.

From his 228 matches, Hocking has been charged on 10 occasions and suspended five times. This was his third tripping offence which was taken into account when the Tribunal assessed the penalty.

Essendon salary cap investigation
Report to remain "confidential"
AAP on Tuesday (20th) reported the AFLs controversial report into salary cap breaches at Essendon is unlikely to be made public.

A probe by AFL lawyer JEFF BROWNE found that "certain people" knew of salary cap breaches at the club between 1995 and 1996 and some were involved in the breaches.

A statement from AFL chief WAYNE JACKSON revealed little due to legal constraints — "The AFL Commission has, in accordance with legal advice, written to the AFL club appointees on a strictly confidential basis and on the condition that the recipients agree to treat the information contained in the letter as confidential information."

The future of AFL commissioner DAVID SHAW who was president of Essendon during the period of breaches appears to now lie with the clubs, who can remove him by calling a special meeting and then voting to remove him. The AFL did not set a deadline for clubs to reply to the report but revealed that:
"Certain people were involved in breaches of the AFL rules relating to the salary cap or total player payments in 1995 and 1996."

Former Essendon football manager DANNY CORCORAN has already been reprimanded by the AFL for his role in the breaches. Corcoran is now football manager of the Melbourne club.

The other significant development in the long running saga was that the AFL announced it would no longer pursue individuals who were working with Essendon at the time of the breaches but were now no longer involved with the AFL.

GRANTLY BERNARD, Herald Sun — "Western Bulldogs coach TERRY WALLACE believes Melbourne sports fans have lost their reputation as Australia's best.

Worse than that, Wallace believes Adelaide fans, not content with boasting several national sporting titles, such as the AFL and NBL, are now more passionate and effective in their support than Victorians."

RICHARD COLLESS, Sydney FC chairman on their two point win over the Roos — "This was a seriously important match for this football club." — quoted by MIKE SHEEHAN on Talking Footy.

<> MICHAEL LONG (Ess), taken out in the first ten seconds of Sunday's game at Subiaco by a hip-and-shoulder from Eagle DREW BANFIELD, then crunched by CHAD RINTOUL (WC) and suffered broken ribs. The acting Essendon captain to the already injured leader JAMES HIRD, is expected to miss at least three weeks. The incident received video scrutiny however no charges were laid.

<> The AFL Player Agents' Board on Thursday (15th) ruled out action against player manager ROBERT HESSION. Hession was asked to explain comments he made to TV reporters following the racial vilification incident between St Kilda's PETER EVERITT (managed by Hession) and Melbourne's SCOTT CHISHOLM.

<> Current Melbourne football manager DANNY CORCORAN was reprimanded by the AFL on Monday (19th) for his part in the 1996 breaches of players rules when he held the same position at Essendon. The League warned Corcoran his club would lose its third round draft choice if he was involved in further breaches.


Cats blast Blues by 50pts
West Coast maintain leadership
Pies gain honour, without the points

ROUND 5 — Fri-Sat-Sun, April 23-24-25.
MILESTONES — DENIS PAGAN coached the Kangaroos for the 150th time … RICHMOND suffered their 850th League defeat and their 200th loss at the MCG … COLLINGWOOD lost their 11th consecutive premiership match … FREMANTLE suffered their 10th successive defeat … DARREN BEWICK played his 200th game for Essendon … MICHAEL SYMONS (Ess) his 100th ... 50 games arrived for FABIAN FRANCIS (PA), ANDREW THOMPSON (StK), DANIEL McPHERSON (Syd), PAUL DIMATTINA (Fsc-WB) … all matches of the Anzac round honoured the fallen of past Wars with pre-match ceremonies …

<> Published crowds for the fifth round totalled 277,644 – almost 20,000 in arrears of the Anzac split round record of 295,240 set in 1998. Totals for the five rounds of 1999 are 1,428,877 at an average per game of 35,722.

<> GEELONG's 50-point victory was short only to their 70pt win at the venue over Carlton 33 years ago in Round 18 of 1966 — it matched their 50pt win over the Blues at Princes Park 103 seasons ago in 1897.

<> The score of 17.13-115 is proving popular. It's been the winning tally kicked four times in the first five rounds. Once by Port Adelaide and Brisbane and twice by Geelong in successive weeks of Round 4 and Round 5.
17.13-115 has now been registered on 80 occasions in the 11,582 League matches played since 1897. During that time Geelong have registered the 17.13-115 scoreline on 11 occasions, eight times as a victor, three times as a loser.

<> The Bulldogs 9.2-56 finish on Friday night fell short of their 1985-R18-P effort of 9.5-59 over the Tigers. In their 128th club-to-club contest, they equalled their 9.2-56 of 82-R9-MCG.

<> ADELAIDE with 23.17-155 registered their highest score of 14 contests with Sydney, topping their 24.10-154 of 94-R3-SCG. The margin of 81pts was short only to other shellackings the Crows have handed out to the Coathangers at Footy Park — 90pts in 1996 and 89pts in 1997.

<> BRISBANE in their sixth contest with Fremantle registered their biggest victory of 55pts — topping the 25pts of 96-R6-S. From 16 contests in Perth since 1987 it was Brisbane's third win in the West from 10 games at Subiaco, six at the WACA — they previously had defeated the Eagles 96-R2-WCA and the Dockers 96-R6-S.

<||> The MCG enjoyed fine and cool conditions on Friday night when 43,043 attended. Chastened by three successive losses, the Western Bulldogs powered away in the last half against Richmond to gain a whopper of a victory by 62pts.

The Doggies were back to their ruthless best as CHRIS GRANT and PAUL DIMATTINA (his 50th game) found form. Dimattina finished with 29 possessions while the Dogs' midfield of Scott Wynd, Scott West (32 touches), Tony Liberatore and Adam Contessa (up from the rookie list) were all solid contributors. After wasting many chances during the second quarter (5.6), the Westerners found their target in adding 14.6 to 5.3 after the long break. Conversion in front of goal (missing in recent weeks) returned with Cook, Hudson, Smith and Scott West going through the big opening for a collective 14 goals.

Many of the Richmond stars went missing with Knights, Daffy and Campbell having little impact – BULLDOGS 21.17-143 (Cook 5, Hudson 3, Smith 3, S.West 3) best, Wynd, M.West, Dimattina, RICHMOND 12.9-81 (Holland 4, Blurton 3) best, Campbell, Bowden, Blurton.

<||> The clash of undefeated Geelong and the Blues drew a big 31,189 to Optus Oval on an almost perfect football Saturday afternoon. The Cats even without the suspended Hocking and the injured Barnes extended their remarkable start to the season with their fifth-straight win.

Carlton though two points up at quarter time were no match thereafter. CHARLES HAPPELL in The Sunday Age reported: "On a perfect autumn day, the Blues did not kick a goal in the second quarter, managed only one in the final term and kicked only nine majors, three of them coming in the opening 12 minutes. Only one player –ADAM WHITE –kicked more than one goal."

DARREN MILBURN had a day out for Geelong while defenders and midfield players in CLINT BIZZELL, BEN GRAHAM, MICHAEL MANSFIELD and TIM McGRATH were superb. The classy ex-Swan JASON MOONEY continues to demonstrate what a valuable acquisition he is to the Cats' forward line.

Carlton's JUSTIN MURPHY appeared to badly injure his left knee in the first term. Examination proved not as serious as first thought, but he will be out for a least three weeks – GEELONG 17.13-115 (Mooney 4, Stoneham 3) best, Mooney, King, Mansfield, CARLTON 9.11-65 (White 2) best, Bradley, Ratten, Beaumont.

<||> Waverley boasted good sunny conditions on Saturday afternoon and 27,370 responded to watch a re-born West Coast outfit with a wonderful blend of youth and experience put away a promising Hawthorn by a margin of 26pts.

West Coast lost both GLEN JAKOVICH and FRASER GEHRIG in the first quarter. The Hawks opened strongly with three majors in the first eight minutes “but what happened in the next 70 minutes wasn’t pretty. Eagle midfielders used the ball much better than Hawthorn. Eagle forwards SCOTT CUMMINGS and MITCHELL WHITE led and marked much better than their Hawk counterparts” reported JAKE NIALL in The Age.

After treading water the past couple of seasons, West Coast seem back to their stifling best — no side so far has managed a century against them. For the Hawks, some good times ahead, but there are a lot still wearing “L” plates. It was the fifth successive win for the Eagles and they retained top position – WEST COAST 14.10-94 (Cummings 6, White 4) best, White, Peter Matera, Cummings, HAWTHORN 9.14-68 (Lord 4) best, Lord, Krummel, Dixon.

<||> From a woeful first half (2.9 to 7.7) Port Adelaide fought back gamely against Melbourne who were worthy victors of a lack-lustre affair at the G on Saturday afternoon. The Demons in the dry conditions spent much of the time in cruise control and it was a yawn for the 24,533 fans.

Star of the day was Melbourne forward DAVID NEITZ who kicked six goals, but it was also the midfield led by GUY RIGONI (23 touches), ANDREW LEONCELLI (27) and STEPHEN TINGAY (29) who chopped Port up but failed to bury them.

Still below the form they displayed last year, Melbourne on 3+2 have room for improvement. Port on the other hand face their third straight loss when they come up against the efficient Adelaide in Round 6 – MELBOURNE 13.12-90 (Neitz 6, Tingay 2) best, Tingay, Leoncelli, Neitz, PORT ADELAIDE 9.12-66 (Dew 3) best, French, Burgoyne, Francis. Report: FABIAN FRANCIS (PA) reported for striking TODD VINEY (Mel). On Monday (26th) Francis pleaded guilty to the charge and was suspended for two matches.

<||> The Kangaroos' Sydney experiment got away to a rainy, wind-swept start at the SCG on Saturday night when an 'official' crowd of 12,011 was posted, after a figure of 11,314 had been semaphored; it ended as a real 11,706.

On such a miserable night the outcome of a Roo success seemed unlikely at half time when they trailed the Saints by 19pts. St Kilda with HEATLEY, HARVEY and LOEWE looking dangerous kicked five goals in the second term while the Roos scrambled for their couple of goals. After lacking intensity the Kangaroos were transformed in the last half and GLEN ARCHER, better known for his play on the backline stepped up forward to be an inspirational target in the absence of the injured Carey.

It came down to a gripping arm wrestle with a desperate Roo side holding out from the Saints by just two points. The Kangas are still far from the side they were last season. St Kilda will have to learn to defend more strongly under pressure – KANGAROOS 14.8-92 (Abraham 3, Archer 3) best, Archer, Bell, McKernan, ST KILDA 13.12-90 (Heatley 4, McLaren 3) best, Harvey, McLaren, Mitchell.

<||> The Sunday contest under clear skies and 24 degrees drew Football Park's biggest crowd so far this year of 42,641. Until half-time the under-strength Sydney side were within striking distance of the Crows, but were swamped after the long break to be thrashed by 81pts.

Adelaide in their first day game for the season were outstanding. "In the end, we were swamped by talent," rued Sydney coach RODNEY EADE, reflecting on the overwhelming way in which the Crows piled on 15.8 to 4.4 after half-time to record their highest score — 23.17-155 — in 14 matches against the Swans.

ALAN SHIELL in The Age reported: Twelve Adelaide players kicked goals, with defender-turned-full-forward MARK STEVENS leading the way with six and DARREN JARMAN bagging three — and dishing out several others in a return to his brilliant, inspirational best. In short, the Crows had so many more players doing something worthwhile ..."

Sydney, hamstrung without Lockett, Stafford, Carey, Lewis, Seymour and O'Connor on a 1+4 start are in desperate straits. Against Adelaide they fielded a team in which 14 players had played 50 games or less. Adding to this, WAYNE SCHWASS from video was reported for tripping ANDREW McLEOD – ADELAIDE 23.17-155 (Stevens 6, Jarman 3) best, Jarman, Stevens, Ricciuto, SYDNEY 11.8-74 (Kelly 3, O’Loughlin 3) best, Kelly, Schwass, Goodes.

<||> The Bombers and Magpies met in the fifth of their now traditional Anzac Day contests. A throng of 73,118 attended the G in fine Sunday conditions. With an Essendon opening of 7.3 to 1.1, the 11th successive defeat to Collingwood seemed assured.

The fact that Collingwood's SAV ROCCA was out of the game with back spasms after only 16 minutes stretched the gap between the two sides in the first half-hour to be embarrassing.

So what happened? asked ROHAN CONNOLLY in The Age: "Collingwood made a couple of timely moves, namely GAVIN CROSISCA on to the rampaging Lucas, and PAUL WILLIAMS back into the middle. They worked a treat, the Bombers, sensing a stampede also, got a little too cocky for their own good, and in the finish only staved off what would surely have been, given the circumstances, one of the more embarrassing defeats in their recent history."

"Essendon regained possession, just a little composure, and breathed one huge sigh of relief when the (final) siren sounded. The Bombers had broken through on Anzac Day, but in a manner that wouldn't have given them any great satisfaction. Collingwood walked away without the points, but with plenty of honour." – ESSENDON 15.18-108 (Lloyd 6, Lucas 3) best, Lloyd, Mercuri, Lucas, COLLING-WOOD 15.10-100 (Williams 5) best, Williams, King, Godden.

<||> On Sunday night, 24,044 followers at Subiaco watched Brisbane slam in two five-goal bursts, one in each half to be resounding 55pt winners over a disorganised Fremantle. The victory lifted the Lions to fourth place on the ladder.

MATTHEW CLARKE for Brisbane dominated the ruck contests, supported by a hungry midfield led by MARCUS ASHCROFT (27 possessions), NIGEL LAPPIN (27) and CRAIG LAMBERT (23). JARROD MOLLOY was no slouch with five goals from seven kicks.

The defeat extended Freo's losing record to 10 on the trot. Brisbane now confidently face four of the next five games at the Gabba – BRISBANE 15.18-108 (Molloy 5, McRae 3) best, Lambert, M.Voss, Lawrence, FREMANTLE 7.11-53 best, Bond, Prescott, Gale.

If something happens in football, there usually seems to be a parallel. MATTHEW LLOYD kicked 13.4 for Essendon in Round 3 then the following week in their next match against West Coast the Bombers managed just three goals at Subiaco.
Master statscian COL HUTCHINSON has found a parallel. In 1921s Round 12 HORRIE CLOVER kicked 13.3 for Carlton against St Kilda at the Junction Oval — 22.10-142 v 5.14-44.
The following Saturday, Carlton went to the Brunswick Street Oval where against Fitzroy in a low-scoring encounter they managed just 3.6-24 for the day against the Maroons 4.15-39.

The AFL and the Australian Sports and Drug Administration on April 21 announced more than 200 AFL players had been tested since the end of last season with none returning positive tests for performance enhancing drugs.

<> While IAN COLLINS, AFL football operations general manger admitted: "we can't tell people how to run their lives away from football", the League is looking to widen its racial and vilification policy to also target club officials, as well as incidents that happen outside of games.
AAP on April 21 reported Collins stating: "I think players are saying 'how come we're governed so strictly and then other people, who may or may not represent a club in an official capacity say things which don't come under scrutiny."

<> Hawthorn's stunning off-field turnaround in the three years since it almost merged with Melbourne was recognised at Waverley on Saturday (24th) when the AFL made a special presentation to the club for becoming the first Victorian team to sign 30,000 members.
Membership is important to AFL clubs as unlike gate receipts, which are shared with rival clubs and the AFL, all revenue goes directly to the club.

<> HIV positive VAFA footballer MATTHEW HALL was cleared to continue playing following a landmark decision in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal on April 23.
Hall, diagnosed as HIV positive in 1996, won his appeal to allow him to play with Amateur club Old Ivanhoe Grammarians.
The VAFA refused to register him, claiming his HIV status was a risk to teammates. Tribunal president Justice Murray Kellum said the risk of transmission of infection to another player was "very low."

<> West Coast captain GUY McKENNA signed a new three-year deal — it ties him to the Eagles until the end of 2001, when he will be 32.

FABIAN FRANCIS was reported for striking Melbourne captain TODD VINEY during the second last Saturday's match at the MCG. On Monday (26th) at the AFL Tribunal, Francis pleaded guilty to the charge and was suspended for two matches.

Sydney midfielder WAYNE SCHWASS was charged from video with tripping Adelaide's ANDREW McLEOD. The Tribunal on Tuesday (27th) dismissed the case. It found video evidence could not sustain the charge.

Collingwood coach TONY SHAW and Hawthorn football manager JOHN HOOK were each fined $1000 from incidents understood to involve comments made to umpires during matches of Round 4.
Both were sent 'please explain' letters by the AFL and the fines resulted from complaints laid. No details were made available when the fines were announced on Monday (26th).

JEFF WELLS, Herald Sun — Some of these (press box) desperates had been watching Aussie rules at the SCG since the mid-'80s and it looked very much like one of those old Swans 6000 crowds to them.
Howls of derision went up when the 12,011 was hoisted. There was almost as much tension waiting for the next crowd figure as there was in the outcome of the game.

DOUG ROBERTSON, The Advertiser — reporting on the Anzac Day SANFL clash at Adelaide Oval: For the 100th time in its history, Port posted 100 points or more against Sturt in kicking 16.7 (103) to 12.13 (85). But the Magpies - who scored just one point in the final quarter - almost spoiled their own party as the Blues stormed home to narrow the margin from 56 points at the last break.

Commissioner Shaw resigns
Bowing to pressure, DAVID SHAW resigned from the AFL Commission on Friday April 30.

Shaw was president of Essendon from 1993 until he joined the Commission in 1997. On his departure Shaw repeated his denial of knowing about the Bombers salary cap breaches.

The Essendon club have drawn AFL fines totalling $388,274 for salary cap breaches — $112,000 for a 1995 exposure and a further $276,274 for exceeding the salary cap limit by $514,531 for the period 1992 to 1995.

Shaw played 177 games for Essendon from 1959 and was a member of the club's 1962 and 1965 premiership sides.


Hawks & Cats stage another thriller
Eagles swamp the Bulldogs
293,188 set new round record

ROUND 6 — Fri-Sat-Sun, April 30, May 1-2.
MILESTONES — HAWTHORN recorded their 700th League win … GARY AYRES coached Geelong for the 100th time … PORT ADEL-AIDE played its 50th AFL match … SCOTT WYND led the Bulldogs for the 100th occasion … MATTHEW KNIGHTS (Rch) played his 200th … 150 games arrived for PETER RICCARDI (Gee) and CHRIS BOND (Car, Rch, now Fre) … 50th matches for DANIEL BANDY (Fre), PETER BERBAKOV (Ess) … 50th consecutive matches were played for Port Adelaide by JOSH FRANCOU, BRENDON LADE and DARREN MEAD … AARON LORD played his 50th for Hawthorn, also 32 Gee (1994-96) … SYDNEY won their 100th match at the SCG (includes one as South Melbourne in 1981-R17) ..

<> Published attendances for Round 6 were 293,188. This figure shattered the previous record of 265,108 in 1993s sixth round.
Published attendances for the first six rounds total 1,722,065 at an average per game of 35,888.

The published crowd at the Gabba on Saturday night was 21,753. Two other AFL attendances are greater; the 1996 Second Qualifying versus Essendon on Friday September 6 1996 drew 21,964, while on Saturday September 14 1996 the Second Semi-Final versus Carlton attracted 21,767.

The Brisbane Cricket Ground crowd record is 26,574 for a rugby league test match between Australia and England in 1932. This will be pressed when the BCG rebuilding program is completed.

<> The Western Bulldogs were scoreless in the first quarter at Subiaco. It was the 82nd occasion the Doggies have been pointless during all quarters of their 1,485 League premiership games since 1925.
For the 31st time the Tricolours were pointless in the first quarter. They have also failed to score 20 times in the second quarter, 13 in the third and 18 times during the fourth quarter.

<> West Coast's three consecutive weeks at the top of the ladder (R4-5-6) is the best the Eagles have enjoyed since 1994. In their last premiership season, they held top position for 16 weeks of the 24 round season.

<> For the fourth time in five seasons Hawthorn won a Kardinia Park cliff-hanger.

<||> Conditions on Friday night at the MCG were fine and cool with a roll-out of 43,777 fans. It was an evening when dual-Brownlow winner ROBERT HARVEY dazzled for St Kilda.

Carlton coach DAVID PARKIN said that his boys would have struggled to put a tackle on Harvey in a telephone box, DWAYNE RUSSELL reported in The Age.

STEWART LOEWE was also in fine touch in the ruck for St Kilda who though they trailed early, came back and took over from the Blues who had many chances but fiddled and fumbled. The Saints kicked 5.4 to Carlton's 0.5 to lead by 33pts at the last change — stretching this to 48 points 11 minutes into the final term. The big positive for the Saints beyond the dominance of their big four — Harvey, Burke, Loewe and Francis, was the display by their next two tiers of players – ST KILDA 14.15-99 (Walton 3) best, Harvey, Young, Carr, CARLTON 7.16-58 (Silvagni 3) best, Koutoufides, Silvagni, Bradley.

<||> The Hawks and Geelong on a fine Saturday afternoon at Kardinia Park provided 27,341 spectators with another nail-biting two-point finish. Neither side lack commitment or passion but it was Hawthorn for the fourth time in five contests who came away with a victory by 6pts or less.

CHARLES HAPPELL for The Age said: While Geelong again had 10 goalkickers and kicked a serviceable 98 points, the free-running, high-scoring game that had been so evident in the opening five rounds was ground down by the Hawks' tenacious tackling and relentless pressure. Tony Woods took Darren Milburn out of the game with a disciplined tagging game, Jonathan Hay was brilliant at half-back and forced David Mensch's removal from the ground in the second quarter, while Croad was equally good against the resting ruckmen Steven King and John Barnes, before doing some damage of his own in the final quarter.

The former Hawthorn champion GARY AYRES, now Geelong coach was surprisingly philosophical about the result, saying his team had not done anything seriously wrong. He said it had made small mistakes at the wrong times – HAWTHORN 14.16-100 (Chick 3, Barlow 3) best, Hay, McCabe, Taylor, GEELONG 14.14-98 (Mooney 4, Burns 2) best, Mooney, Riccardi, Burns. Report: Ronnie Burns (Gee) for striking Richard Taylor (Haw) in the first quarter. Burns was suspended for two matches.

<||> Players on a fine Saturday afternoon gave 59,458 MCG patrons one of the more spirited openings to a game for quite some time. Richmond dominated play in the first term, but the Tigers found themselves only one- point in front at quarter time.

Essendon regained control with a strong second quarter but the Tigers were always within striking distance. Even at the 17 minute mark of the final quarter, the difference was only seven points yet with a scintillating burst the Bombers kicked five goals in 12 minutes to win their fifth match by a blow-out 35-point margin.

JAKE NIALL summed it up in The Age: Richmond did not lose to Essendon by 35 points in another last quarter fade-out because it wasn't committed. It lost for the same reason it has not played final since '95 — skill. Or to be precise, because it didn't have enough and the Bombers had more, especially when it mattered the most – ESSENDON 17.11-113 (Lloyd 3, Moorcroft 3, Young 3) best, Heffernan, Young, Lloyd, RICHMOND 11.12-78 (Richardson 4) best, Richardson, Bowden, Gale.

<||> West Coast registered its sixth consecutive victory with a powerhouse 72pt win over the Western Bulldogs in great Saturday night conditions at Subiaco Oval for 32,370 onlookers. The Eagles stunned the Dogs holding them scoreless in the opening term and maintained their dominance of the contest throughout.

It was blistering, cohesive football, and gave ominous signs for other clubs as West Coast did so without the injured Jakovich and Gehrig. PHIL MATERA was a live-wire with five goals and received plenty of support from MICHAEL BRAUN, DEAN KEMP and PHIL READ in the midfield, defenders ASHLEY McINTOSH and DAVID WIRRPUNDA, and full-forward SCOTT CUMMINGS. BEN COUSINS teamed superbly with 19-year of ruckman MICHAEL GARDINER.

Most of the regular Bulldog forwards were toothless and we may well be seeing the emergence of an Eagles outfit as "better" than their title winning units of 1992 and 1994 – WEST COAST 18.16-124 (Phil Matera 5, Cummings 4) best, Cousins, Gardiner, Phillip Matera, BULLDOGS 7.10-52 best, Johnson, S.West, Powell.

<||> The Lions enjoyed a dream start for their Saturday night hitout against Melbourne in fine conditions at the Gabba – a near-record 21,753 attended.

Again fielding close to their best side, Brisbane improved their match-win ratio to 4+2. BILL McDONALD reporting for The Age: It was the Lions' run that beat Melbourne in the end. Turnovers and a lack of forward line options contributed. DAVID SCHWARZ was Melbourne's leading possession winner, and equal top scorer with three goals ... four unanswered goals (by Brisbane) in the space of 10 minutes in the final term season sealed a spot in the top four.

Brisbane's physical game (under coach LEIGH MATTHEWS) and their defence was a feature — JUSTIN LEPPITSCH could be playing his way into a Victorian jumper – BRISBANE 14.9-93 (Lappin 3, Lawrence 3) best, Heuskes, Akermanis, Lappin, MELBOURNE 10.10-70 (Schwarz 3, Beams 3) best, Schwarz, S.Febey, Walsh.

<||> Showdown 5 at Football Park was played in good Sunday afternoon conditions when a close-to-capacity 45,615 attended and a local TV audience of some 400,000 watched in South Australia. Though Adelaide easily defeated Port, coach MALCOLM BLIGHT attacked his Adelaide players for their uninspiring win against patchy opposition. It was their wastefulness that drew his criticism.

Port's poor kicking and lamentable skill errors contrasted with Adelaide's accurate finishing. MATTHEW ROBRAN, DARREN JARMAN and MARK STEVENS contributing 10 of the Crows' 18 goals but it was chiefly with two goal bursts — three in nine minutes late in the first quarter and four within seven minutes midway through the third that secured the premiership points for the Crows. Port merely have to look at the scoreboard to realise the match was there for the taking – ADELAIDE 18.7-115 (Robran 5, Stevens 3) best, Robran, Bickley, McLeod, PORT 12.15-87 (Tredrea 3, Cockatoo-Collins 3) best, Kingsley, Dickie, Burgoyne.

<||> Over three quarters, Collingwood and the Kangaroos were goal for goal — the Roos however landed their killer punch in the first term in the Sunday afternoon contest in good conditions at the MCG which drew 38,245 fans.

The Kangas determined start was proof they were not going to be the first victim after Collingwood's 11-straight losses. The Roos were fierce early, ROHAN CONNOLLY reported in The Age: Hard to believe ... given the 5.1 to 0.4 quarter-time scoreline, is that Collingwood entered its forward 50 16 times to the Roos' 12. It was the gap in efficiency that became a real chasm.

For Collingwood there were at least signs of hope, Besides CLINTON KING, CHRIS TARRANT played easily his best AFL game in a surprise match-up with the Roos' ADAM SIMPSON, who was prolific, nevertheless, with 29 possessions. Youngsters HEATH SCOTLAND and CRAIG JACOTINE also showed more good signs ... which Collingwood has to take to heart in the absence of any team success – KANGAROOS 21.11-137 (Blakey 3, Abraham 3) best, Stevens, Abraham, Simpson, COLLINGWOOD 16.13-109 (Brown 3) best, Michael, Tarrant, King.

<||> RICHARD HINDS reporting from the SCG for The Age said: The game was nine minutes old, TONY LOCKETT had taken his third mark and, if you could find a tarpaulin that was not tied to a storm-damaged roof, you would have thrown it up around Fremantle full-back STEPHEN O'REILLY, who was sprawled on the ground in the Swan full-forward's wake.

Lockett was back with a vengeance for Sydney kicking all four of their first quarter goals and the 24,629 in the Sydney sunshine relished it. Plugger finished with five, and a report for wrestling O'Reilly in the second term — the Swans also got the points, but it wasn't easy, proving that Lockett is not a cure-all.

Sydney trailed by 17 points nine minutes into the third quarter after over-use of the ball and sloppy skill errors. They got back into the game by kicking four unanswered goals but missed four others before the last break. You could say Fremantle lost the game, even though TONY MODRA burst back to form with six big ones. Sydney also lost SIMON FEAST with a knee injury, further depleting their stock of big men – SYDNEY 15.10-100 (Lockett 5, Maxfield 3) best, Nicks, Lockett, Schwass, FREMANTLE 11.9-75 (Modra 6) best, Modra, Michael, Harding.

The AFL Tribunal on Monday (3rd) imposed a $4500 fine upon Sydney forward TONY LOCKETT and a warning that a third such offence will mean a suspension.

At his 14th appearance before the Tribunal, LOCKETT was found guilty of wrestling Fremantle full-back STEPHEN O'REILLY in the second term of Sunday's match at the SCG.

Before Sunday's charge Lockett had been found guilty four times in the past decade. A prior wrestling charge in 1997 drew a 'one-week of annual salary' fine estimated to have cost him $5200.

In other cases — BRETT EVANS (Rch) was suspended two matches for the rare offence of head-butting PAUL BARNARD (Ess) ... RONNIE BURNS (Gee) was outed two matches for striking RICHARD TAYLOR (Haw).

CRAIG ELLIS (WB) at Tuesday's (4th) hearing was suspended one match for striking BRENDAN FEWSTER (WC). Adelaide's MARK STEVENS on Tuesday had his trip charge withdrawn.

PETER HUG died while playing for Sale against Traralgon on Saturday May 1. From a routine marking contest, the 23-year old Hug fell to the ground and was pronounced dead shortly after at the LaTrobe Regional Hospital.

The son of the popular Collingwood and South Melbourne ruckman (1961-71) it was the third tragic death in the Hug family.

Ernie Hug Jr died at 34 in 1978 when a tree fell across the bulldozer he was operating. A year earlier his father was killed when his car was hit by a train at a level crossing near Sale.

The Kangaroos were fined a total of $24,000 for a number of breaches from the Round 5 match against St Kilda at the SCG on Saturday April 24.

Offences breaching AFL guidelines, included failure to exit the field after delivering a message, 'coaching', using a trainer to deliver a message and failing to follow the direction of the emergency umpire.

A suspended penalty of $12,000 will remain in place for the rest of the season.

MARK HARDING and DAMIAN BARRETT, Herald Sun Sunday — While the fierce opening minute was pale in comparison to the infamous Richmond-Essendon clash at Windy Hill in this round 25 years ago, it was still one of the more passionate opening 60 seconds since video charges have been allowed.

<> NEIL KERLEY a member of the AFL Hall of Fame is recovering from a stroke suffered early on Monday May 3. "Knuckles" at 64 is positive he will quickly return to his Channel Seven duties as match-day boundary rider.

<> Football Park is set for wider use during the Ansett Cup next season. To accommodate the Sydney Olympics, the AFL are programming the 2000 season from January 29 to September 2.

With the MCG, SCG, BCG and WACA unavailable because of cricket commitments and Subiaco still in re-development, Football Park will become a prized neutral venue.

The Ansett Cup next year will move from a knock-out to a round-robin series with the 16 clubs split over four-team pools. Qualifying games will span the weekends of January 29, February 5 and 12, then semi-finals on February 19 and the grand final on February 26.

AFL premiership games will commence on March 11.

<> MIKE SHEAHAN revealed in the Herald Sun that AFL supremo WAYNE JACKSON was targeted late last year as a possible replacement for NRL chief exec NEIL WHITTAKER.

Jackson said: "I'm not prepared to confirm or deny it."


Kangas thump the Crows
Saints inflict Eagles first defeat
Freo taste a victory

ROUND 7 — Fri-Sat, Sun, May 7-8-9.
MILESTONES — DEAN KEMP (WCE) played his 200th game … 50th matches for MARK GALE (Fre), MICHAEL WILSON (PA), BEN HOLLAND (Rch) … 50th games for their current clubs were played by JASON HEATLEY (WCE, now StK), MARTIN PIKE (Mel, Fit, now NMK) and PAUL HUDSON (Haw, now FWB) … COLLINGWOOD's losing run extended to 13 matches … FREMANTLE ended an 11-game losing streak.

<> The biggest Queensland crowd to attend a match involving the Brisbane club will soon be broken. 22,023 were at the Gabba on Saturday night closing on the club's highest of 22,512 set at Carrara Oval on Easter Sunday 1987 versus Fitzroy. The previous best figure for the BCG was on Friday September 6 1996 with 21,964 (not the 22,003 often quoted) at the 2nd Qualifying versus Essendon.

<> BRISBANE played their seventh successive match under lights (an all-time record)—the Lions also played two night games in the Ansett Cup …
In R8 when Brisbane play their first day match—it will be Richmond's 10th consecutive match at the MCG (another all-time record, by any club, at any venue).

<> The KANGAROO's 10.3-63 in the first term against Adelaide was the third best club opening of 1,511 League matches played since North Melbourne joined the VFL in 1925.
It was the biggest opening of 103 seasons of Round 7 games—and the fourth highest start in the 1,861st game played at the MCG ...

<> SYDNEY's third term 9.2-56 against Hawthorn on Sunday is topped by 13 other big third quarter scores by the Swans in their 1,959-game history—their best third term was in 1934 at Albert Park in R13 when they kicked 13.2-80 to Carlton 3.1-19.

<> A release from the Carlton club informed media that Friday night at the MCG was JOHN ELLIOTT's 350th match as Prez of the Blues. Lucky break, we could have missed that stat!

<> Figures stated 248,660 saw the Mother's Day weekend matches. The R7 record was set in 1996 with 305,573. The grand final re-match on Sunday drew only 22,006 – the lowest of 20 crowds in 1999 to attend MCG matches.

<||> Balmy Friday night conditions drew 52,103 to the MCG. In a good contest Carlton consigned Richmond to the cellar with a fighting 20pt win. The slightly built MATTHEW LAPPIN (a St Kilda discard) was the match hero for the Blues popping through five goals as Richmond suffered their third-straight defeat.

The two combatants engaged in another fierce opening as the Tigers zoomed out to a four-goal lead in the opening 19 minutes. Richmond's aggression at the man and the ball unsettled the Blues. A positive Carlton turned the tide in the third quarter kicking six goals to two to establish a match-winning 21pt break by three quarter time. The Tigers over-run in the past two games displayed great qualities as they fought back to within six points but steadying goals from Whitnall and Brown saw the Blues kick away to the siren.

Richmond at 2+5 dropped to 14th, while the Blues now on 4+3 gained breathing space in 9th place – CARLTON 18.10-118 (Lappin 5, Silvagni 4) best, Camporeale, Allan, Lappin, RICHMOND 14.14-98 (Richardson 5) best, Richardson, Daffy, Bourke.

<||> Saturday's MCG match between Melbourne and Essendon delivered a high-scoring first-half shoot-out which brought 24 goals to the scoreboard. The 51,722 were treated to a showpiece display in cool and overcast conditions.

MATTHEW LLOYD gave a superb effort for the Bombers (7 goals) while JEFF FARMER delivered his wizardry (6 goals) for the Demons. There were many highlights which included Lloyd's crunching second quarter elbow which concussed teammate BLAKE CARACELLA rather than the intended SHANE WOEWODIN (Mel). DAVID SCHWARZ and DAVID NEITZ were in the spotlight for the way in which they fired for the Demons.

It was tight right into the last quarter, then the discipline of Essendon fell away as ruckman JEFF WHITE and captain TODD VINEY reaped the spoils for Melbourne. The Demons swept to a blow-out 21pt win. If these two can give a repeat performance in the finals — book early! – MELBOURNE 20.14-134 (Farmer 6, Neitz 4) best, Neitz, Farmer, Leoncelli, ESSEN-DON 17.11-113 (Lloyd 7.0) best, Misiti, Lloyd, Mercuri.

<||> St Kilda were ferocious in the opening minutes and extended their control over the Eagles to win their fourth consecutive contest, bringing West Coast's first defeat when they were held to their lowest score of the season. It was a dour Saturday afternoon struggle at an overcast Waverley Park for 28,240 fans.

The much-heralded Eagles forward line were shut-down by the determined St Kilda defence – they strangled West Coast just as they done to so many other sides in the past. BARRY HALL was the dominant forward for the Saints while STEWART LOEWE (13 marks) stood firm while ROBERT HARVEY (34 touches) and STEVEN SZILLER (28) were prominent.

West Coast coach MICK MALTHOUSE said he was disappointed for DEAN KEMP who played his 200th game. "We let ourselves down in virtually every area." – ST KILDA 9.14-68 (Hall 3) best, Hall, Sziller, Loewe, WEST COAST 7.6-48 (Phillip Matera 2) best, Wirrpunda, McIntosh, Jakovich.

<||> In a scrappy game in front of a new record Gabba crowd of 22,023, Brisbane enjoyed an impressive but unspectacular 34pt victory over the winless Pies on Saturday night.

The Pies still ravaged by injury were lucky that the Lions kicked so poorly – in one patch they gained just three goals from 12 set shots. Their grip on the game however was strong with Clarke and Keating running rough shod in the ruck. Voss, McRae and Lappin provided enormous run through the midfield, and Heuskes, Leppitsch and Akermanis led a miserly defence.

Lion coach LEIGH MATTHEWS summed it up: "We won without playing really well." – BRISBANE 13.18-96 (Lappin 3) best, Lappin, McRae, M.Voss, COLLINGWOOD 9.8-62 (Freeborn 3, Oborne 3) best, King, Burns, A.Rocca.

<||> Turning a 10pt deficit into a 45pt triumph — the Western Bulldogs in the last half blasted Port Adelaide off Football Park in good Saturday night conditions. It brought Port's coach to say "I thought it was as much a gutless effort as I've seen for a while" ... rare, brutal honesty from MARK WILLIAMS. The failure rate of Port was reflected in the poor crowd of 28,525.

Coming off their 72pt thrashing in Perth, the Doggies blitzed Port with LUKE DARCY (22 hit-outs) and SCOTT WYND dominating the ruck; playmaker SCOTT WEST (23 touches), midfielders STEPHEN POWELL (28 disposals) and SIMON GARLICK driving the ball forward where the dangerous PAUL HUDSON was a handful for the Port defence. The win took the Dogs to a more-hopeful 3+4, while there were few positives for Port, apart from the continued emergence of WARREN TREDREA – BULLDOGS 18.12-120 (Garlick 3, Hudson 3) best, Darcy, S.West, Hudson, PORT ADELAIDE 10.15-75 (Tredrea 4) best, Tredrea, Stevens, Bond.

<||> Sydney recaptured its confidence with a stirring third quarter 9.2-56 effort against Hawthorn — it lifted the Swans to their third win for the season in fine but overcast conditions on Sunday afternoon at the SCG for 25,823 onlookers.

Down by as much as 21pts late in the second term, the Swans found Hawthorn's height in attack and tight midfield hard to overcome, but there were signs they were starting to break the shackles. After half time, Sydney came out breathing fire and kicked six unanswered goals in 10 minutes to build a lead of 40pts on two occasions.

Despite the cool energy of Hawk captain SHANE CRAWFORD (33 possessions), TONY LOCKETT kicked another lazy five goals and four to DARYN CRESSWELL, it was also the efforts from WAYNE SCHWASS, NIC FOSDIKE and GERRARD BENNETT that delivers optimism for the Swans – SYDNEY 20.11-131 (Lockett 5, Cresswell 4) best, Schwass, Cresswell, Bennett, HAWTHORN 16.7-103 (Salmon 3, Thompson 3, Croad 3) best, Crawford, Thompson, Harford.

<||> Down by 38pts early in the second term on Sunday at Subiaco (17,620), Fremantle ran Geelong off its legs before overwhelming the Cats in the final quarter to win by 17 points.

Freo slammed on 15 goals to nine after quarter time with TONY MODRA in another quality performance kicking six goals for the third time in six weeks. The midfield battle between SHAUN McMANUS and Geelong captain GARRY HOCKING was a beauty with the Docker coming out the winner on the day.

Adrian Fletcher, Luke Toia and McManus seized control in the third term and though the Cats were hard to put away and always came back, it was the finishing by Fremantle that reeled in their first win after 11 successive defeats. The Dockers this time were "The Shockers" – Geelong coach GARY AYRES rightly rated it "by far our worst performance." – FREMANTLE 16.20-116 (Modra 6) best, McManus, Modra, Fletcher, GEELONG 15.9-99 (Bamford 3) best, Arnott, Hocking, Pickering.

<||> In less than a quarter the pumped-up Kangaroos blew away the Crows in the first meeting of the two since last years Grand Final. With an eight-goal lead it effectively was no contest from the first break. A miserly 22,006 were at the MCG on Sunday – the smallest of 20 crowds to attend the G this season.

The Roos' first term of 10.3 was their third best in 1,511 matches and the highest by any team in 103 seasons of R7 games. The team that kicked 8.22 in last September's decider punted through 22.9 on this occasion. The Roos were so direct, so emphatic in their red-hot 56pt demolition.

The Age recorded: "If one player sparked the Roos' 10-goal start, it was probably PETER BELL. Lining up in the back pocket on Bell, BRETT JAMES gave the small man too much space, letting him escape to kick two first-term goals and help establish the Roos' quick lead." Bell found the ball on 24 occasions. There were other Kanga highlights – BRAD SHOLL at full-forward with six goals and COREY McKERNAN's second term mark which revived 1996 memories of his class. The Roos without Carey had a real day out for their 3rd straight – KANGAROOS 22.9-141 (Sholl 6) best, Harvey, Stevens, Grant, ADELAIDE 12.13-15 (Jarman 3, Ricciuto 3) best, Connell, Hart, Ricciuto.

Essendon's CHRIS HEFFERNAN received his first suspension at Monday's (10th) Tribunal. The Bomber midfielder pleaded guilty to a video booking for striking JAMES McDONALD (Mel) and was suspended for two matches.

Richmond on-baller NICK DAFFY and Carlton defender BEN NELSON were found guilty of wrestling. Daffy (his second wrestling offence) was fined $2500 and Nelson for his part (his first offence) $1500.

On Tuesday, Geelong's BRAD SHOLL was found not guilty of tripping JESS SINCLAIR (Fre) on Sunday in Perth.

MICHAEL MALTHOUSE, The Australian — Dermott, forget your prejudices and look at the facts.
There are six non-Victorian clubs in the 16-team AFL and two of them have won four of the past 10 premierships – not an outrageous proportion.

It’s a magnificent competition and everyone – Dermott and I included – is well paid for our association with it.

We’re a long, long way from September but if, in Dermott`s worst nightmare, Adelaide plays West Coast in a grand final the Melbourne Cricket Ground will be jam packed.

Naturally, hordes of Crows and Eagles fans would travel across. But there`d also be tens of thousands of Victorians. I can't wait.

MICHAEL DAVIS, The Australian — TONY SHAW is likely to step aside as coach of Collingwood if the Magpies lose to Fremantle at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday.


Collingwood end the drought
Roos swamp the Hawks
Eagles take two-game break
Adelaide on a slide

ROUND 8 — Fri-Sat-Sun, May 14-15-16.
MILESTONES — MICHAEL MALTHOUSE recorded his 150th victory as coach of West Coast … the BRISBANE club played their 275th match … 200 senior matches arrived for SCOTT WYND (FWB) and CRAIG LAMBERT (Rch, now Bri) ... 150 games for STEPHEN PAXMAN (Fit, now PA), TONY FRANCIS (Col, now StK) … 100 for STEVEN KRETIUK (FWB), DAVID SCHWARZ (Mel) … 50 games for AARON HAMILL (Car) and CLIVE WATERHOUSE (Fre) … ROHAN SMITH (FWB) played his 100th consecutive game for the Bulldogs, starting R2 1995 … WAYNE CAREY (NMK) passed 500 career goals in his 190th match …

<> West Coast took a two-game lead at the top of the ladder. Master statistician COL HUTCHINSON confirms the last club to hold this advantage after R8 was FITZROY in 1983. The Lions led 7+1 ahead of five clubs level on 5+3 – North, Hawthorn, Essendon, Carlton and Geelong. It was the year Bernie Quinlan sparkled with 188 goals and the Lions went through to the First Semi to finish fourth. Before folding in 1996 Fitzroy twice made the finals in 1984 (5th) and 1986 (3rd).

<> The Western Bulldogs victory on Saturday notched their best successive run over Melbourne for 45 years — equalling four consecutive wins of 1931-33 and 1953-54.
<> The Bulldogs 64pt win was their 7th-best versus Melbourne — it was big, but still a long way behind the 120pts in 85-R15-WO.

<> In the 100th match played between the Swans and Geelong at Kardinia Park since 1941, Sydney recorded their highest winning margin of 41pts — topping their 34pt win in 98-R18.

<> The score of 19.11-125 was Port Adelaide's third biggest tally of their 52 AFL matches — topped only by 25.15-165 v Carlton in 98-R7-PP and 18.21-129 v Geelong in 97-R3-FP.

<> The Roos made it 10 wins from the last 11 games against Hawthorn. The past 15 years have seen two waves of dominance. Since the two last drew in 85-R13-MCG, the Hawks won the next 14 until North turned the tide in 94-R3-MCG.

<> St Kilda's 43pts over Essendon ranks 10th of their top margins against the Dons in 189 meetings since 1897. It was the GWM since 75-R12-M when the Saints won by 68pts.

<> West Coast's 54pt win was an equal third-best from their 15 meetings with Adelaide. The 135pt victory in 95-R19-S ranks the best, followed by 65pts 91-R14-S and another 54-pointer in 96-R10-S. The Crows have won only once over the Eagles from their six visits to Perth – by 25pts in 98-R22-S – a win which depended on cementing their place in the 1998 finals.

<> Published figures stated 241,446 watched R8 matches — short of the 1998 record of 288,182.

“Pluggermania” brought the AFL to reschedule start times of R9 matches on Sunday to provide a TV double-header – the Brisbane v Geelong game at the Gabba will commence at 12.40pm followed by the Sydney v West Coast match from the SCG at 3.20pm. Lockett requires another six goals to become the League's Greatest Goalkicker.

Tony is within sight of joining the greats on another front — he has kicked at least one goal in each of his last 96 AFL matches from Saturday May 29 1993 when he kicked five goals against West Coast at Waverley.

Players down the years to score in consecutive matches are —
120 games –PETER McKENNA,  (Col), 1968-R1 to 1974-R4
98 games – GORDON COVENTRY (Col), 1932-R1-1937-R11
97 games –DICK LEE (Col), 1910-R9 to 1918-R9

<||> St Kilda dominated Essendon for most of the Friday night game in fine and mild conditions at the MCG for a large audience of 62,928. The Bombers trailed by 28pts midway through the last quarter and were led back by their returning captain MICHAEL LONG. The Bombers pulled with 16pts but were then overrun by the Saints who went on to be comfortable victors by 43 points.

NATHAN BURKE and ROBERT HARVEY were outstanding for the Saints who won in almost every department but did not break the game open until the closing stages when late goals to Heatley, Everitt, Hall and Loewe killed off the Bombers. The most telling stat was provided by ABC Radio which recorded hitouts for the match, 44 to 18 in favour of the Saints.

For the third straight week St Kilda restricted their opposition to seven goals. After the final siren Bomber coach KEVIN SHEEDY kept his brigade behind close doors for 40 minutes. The Saints with their third-straight win go to 5+3 – ST KILDA 13.16-94 (Hall 5, Loewe 2) best, Harvey, Hall, Burke, ESSENDON 7.9-51 best, Long, Hardwick, Barnard.

<||> Single-digit temperatures on Saturday brought Victoria's lowest May reading for 22 years. At a bleak MCG neither rain nor wind dampened the relief which Collingwood enjoyed when they broke the drought of defeat after a record 13 failures. With captain NATHAN BUCKLEY back from a broken jaw and seemingly playing in four positions, the Magpies were too thorough for the Dockers — 26,339 watched their 40pt victory. Collingwood started the last half with only a one point lead and it was in the third term when Fremantle consigned itself to the bottom rung with its inability to break through.

The Pies got better as the game grew longer and came home with a joy that only a team without a win since last July could savour. The Dockers need all the help they can muster, including the AFL's contribution – COLLINGWOOD 14.15-99 (Patterson 4, Buckley 3, A.Rocca 3) best, Patterson, Buckley, King, FREMANTLE 8.11-59 (Modra 6) best, Modra, McManus, Sinclair.

<||> Wind and rain on Saturday afternoon at Carlton limited the crowd to 18,226. It was only eight degrees but the Bulldogs returned to their competitive best with a red-hot 64-point demolition of Melbourne.

The Doggies set it up in the first term booting four goals before the rain set in and their confidence grew. The Demons could not blame their game-long lack of enthusiasm to the late withdrawal of David Neitz (hamstring) nor James McDonald (thigh) – only a week before they had slugged it out with Essendon in a tremendous display, yet against the Dogs they rarely threatened and their workrate fell away dramatically

The confident Bulldogs played a direct game and hammered it home when Melbourne capitulated in the last quarter – BULLDOGS 17.15-117 (Cook 3, Hudson 3, Winmar 3) best, S.West, Liberatore, Wynd, MELBOURNE 7.11-53 (Farmer 2) best, Yze, Viney, White.

<||> In chilly Saturday night conditions at Football Park (30,557), Port answered their critics (they were called "gutless" by their coach) with a slick and impressive 39-point win over a lack-lustre Carlton. Illness to Koutoufides and Brown deeply reduced the capacity of the Blues to be competitive.

To record that Carlton were inept would be a disservice to the efficient and straight-shooting Port who were lifted by the inclusion of several new faces (Bode, Naish, Harwood) to replace a growing injury list. WARREN TREDREA (PA) displayed his emerging talent with three goals and marked well in contests at centre half-forward. Port's win following four successive defeats lifted them back into the Eight, at the expense of the Crows – PORT 19.11-125 (Tredrea 3) best, Tredrea, Francou, Schofield, CARLTON 13.8-86 best, Ratten, Bradley, Lappin.

<||> Waverley Park was bitterly cold on a rainy Saturday night when a brave 21,114 fronted to watch the Kangaroos easily defeat the Hawks. 'King' Carey with three goals for the Roos in the second quarter was back with an impressive night tally of seven goals.

The Kangas had a dominating midfield trio of Simpson, Bell and Harvey while the Hawks continued their downward spiral with many players struggling. Hawthorn however did have their toilers — Crawford, Croad, Harford and Taylor but after half-time against a Roo onslaught of eight goals to two, the Kangaroos were too impressive. With their fourth successive win the Kangas return to familiar territory at third place — the Hawks are now 14th – KANGAROOS 15.11-101 (Carey 7.1) best, Simpson, Carey, Bell, HAWTHORN 7.7-49 (Holland 2) best, Croad, Harford, Taylor.

<||> Coming off their first defeat of the year, West Coast posted a thumping nine-goal victory over Adelaide in fine Perth conditions on Sunday afternoon for 32,484 at Subiaco Oval. The struggling Crows were overwhelmed by an aggressive Eagle outfit, who were without the injured Cousins, Kemp and Gehrig.

PETER MATERA (WC) relished his role around centre-bounce contests raking up 20 possessions in the first half (29 overall) while SCOTT CUMMINGS and PHILLIP MATERA continued their forward double-act with another 11 goals. Adelaide's usual front-runners were down badly as their group struggled to get the ball past the half forward line.

The final term was little more than training run as the Eagles blew the margin out to 54pts. The current premiers cannot find form and can little solace from the fact that compared to this time last year — they are one game up. West Coast went to a two-match break at the top – WEST COAST 19.12-126 (Cummings 7.3, Phillip Matera 4) best, Peter Matera, Cummings, Rintoul, ADELAIDE 11.6-72 (Burton 3) best, McLeod, Johnson, Pittman.

<||> TONY LOCKETT needs another six goals to become the AFL's greatest goalkicker. With a six-goal haul he moved closer to a date with destiny in Sydney's convincing 41pt win against Geelong played in fine and cold weather to 21,581 Sunday spectators. It was the 100th contest between the two at Kardinia Park since 1941 and the Swans biggest margin in that span.

Sydney maintained their improvement despite the late withdrawal of their inspirational captain PAUL KELLY (tendonitis). Stepping into the breach were Schwass, Maxfield, O'Loughlin, Cresswell and Luff, even though Geelong at half-time threatened to turn the tide. Lockett kicked three goals in the opening 15 minutes and with a further couple in the second quarter Tim McGrath replaced Ben Graham.
Cresswell acting as a decoy forward took the spotlight (three goals) as the Swans raced away in the third with efficient use of the ball. In spite of a second Cat flurry, Sydney were comprehensive victors. For the Cats, a worrying third-straight loss; it was also their seventh defeat of the past eight "home" games.

Lockett reached 97 consecutive games of kicking a goal in each match – SYDNEY 21.15-141 (Lockett 6, Cresswell 3, Russell 3) best, Schwas, Lockett, O’Loughlin, GEELONG 14.16-100 (Stoneham 3, Mensch 3) best, Barnes, Stoneham, Kilpatrick.

<||> Richmond led by 50pts 16 minutes into the second term — in the 23rd minute of the last quarter Brisbane hit the lead by two points. The Tigers in front of 28,217 fans in the chilled sunshine of the MCG on Sunday won by 16 points, to end a week of speculative media hype upon Richmond's hierarchy from the president down to the bootstudder.

In an absorbing contest MATTHEW RICHARDSON emerged a hero for the Tigers with his nine marks, 17 kicks and six goals. His Brisbane adversary JUSTIN LEPPITSCH could also have been the hero; instead the Lion red-head kicked 3.5 from his seven marks and 14 kicks when moved forward midway in the second term. The Lions and Tigers came in waves — Brisbane found gaping holes in the Richmond defence to get within two points 18 minutes in the third period; then the Tigers swept to lead by 13 at the last break.

Still the Lions persisted and took the lead, but as observed by coach LEIGH MATTHEWS: "we didn't play a really good, technically tight game game when we got in front" — the Tigers came back again to win by 16. Richmond coach JEFF GIESCHEN may not be emulating Jack Dyer and smelling roses just yet, but he's got a good whiff of Daphne – RICHMOND 21.9-135 (Richardson 6, Bowden 3, Hilton 3) best, Richardson, Rogers, Bowden, BRISBANE 17.17-119 Johnson 3, McRae 3) best, Johnson, Leppitsch, C.Scott.

Geelong veteran BARRY STONEHAM faced the seventh report of his 216 matches (1986-99) at Tuesday's (18th) hearing. From video, he pleaded guilty and was suspended four matches for striking GERRARD BENNETT (Syd) in the third term of Sunday's clash at Kardinia Park.

From the Saturday night meeting at Football Park Carlton's DEAN RICE and Port's CHE COCKATOO-COLLINS were charged with fighting each other. Both pleaded guilty to the second quarter incident. Rice on his first charge in 13 seasons was treated more leniently and received a one match suspension. COCKATOO-COLLINS was handed a two-match suspension.

JAKE NIALL on May 14 reported in The Age: Former North Melbourne player ADRIAN McADAM has been suspended for two-and-a-half seasons for threatening and abusing an umpire and for "conduct detrimental" to the Central Australian Football League and football.

McAdam was suspended by the Alice Springs-based competition until the end of the 2001 season and banned from attending matches at Alice Springs' Traeger Park for the rest of 1999 after a tribunal hearing on Thursday (13th). McAdam and his club, South Alice Springs, walked out of the tribunal hearing in protest, leaving the case to be heard without any evidence from him or his advocate.

In a development unrelated to the suspension, the umpire involved in the clash with McAdam had told the tribunal that McAdam racially abused him.

Following the procedure established by the AFL for racial vilification cases — the CAFL tribunal order McAdam to first try to resolve the matter by mediation within the next 28 days.

McAdam's case was believed to be a first. However, AAP reported: CAFL chairman STEVE MENZIES said two Aborigines have been charged by the CAFL with racial abuse in the last five years, but both were cleared.

To avoid a clash with a FIFA soccer match being played on the Saturday in Sydney, the League has moved the R11 night game from that day. The Kangaroos will now play West Coast in an SCG day match starting at 12.40pm on the Queen's Birthday holiday Monday, June 14.


Eagles spoil the SCG party
Tigers – 'singing in the rain'
Cats crash again

ROUND 9 — Fri-Sat-Sun, May 21-22-23.
MILESTONES — DENIS PAGAN claimed his 100th win as coach of the Kangaroos … ANDREW DUNKLEY (Syd) played (and was reported in) his 150th game … 50th games for MAX HUDGHTON (StK), BRENT HARVEY (NMK), MARK STEVENS (Ade), MARK FRASER (Col, now Ess), PETER VARDY (Ade) and ANTHONY McDONALD (Mel) … ANDREW GOWERS made his 50th appearance for Brisbane — he also played 89 for the Hawks between 1988-94 …

<> Western Bulldogs at the 126th meeting kicked their highest score against Collingwood. Their 19.12-126 topped by two points the 18.16-124 scored 76-R20-WO.
It was the Doggies third-straight versus the Pies equalling those of 1961-62 and 1985-86. Their best run against the Victoria Park boys was six games across 1942-46.

<> The 2.1-13 by Hawthorn was their lowest half-time score against Essendon in 134 contests since 1925. The previous lowest at the long break was 2.3-15 in 1932 at Windy Hill.

<> Carlton's 7.2-44 opening against Melbourne equalled their efforts against the Demons of 67-R4-MCG and 77-R18-P, but fell short of their 7.6-48 in 34-R8-PP. It was the first win by the Blues since 1996-R4 after a run of three by the Redlegs.

<> Brisbane's rollicking opening of 8.3-51 against Geelong was the best of their 18 meetings since 1987. Previous best was their 6.2-38 in the second round of 1987 at Kardinia Park. The Lions 57pt margin fell short of their 66-point win at Carrara in 1990. Brisbane extended their run to three successive wins against the Cats.
Geelong's last win against Brisbane at the BCG was by one point in 1993.
The Gabba on Sunday boasted a new record crowd of 22,948.

<> St Kilda with 8.4-52 against Port at Waverley on Sunday booted the highest second term score so far in 1999.

<> West Coast won their third game at their 10th visit to the SCG — their last win in Sydney was in 1993. The 36,783 that saw the game was the best SCG crowd for the season.

<> Geelong became the first club of the season to reach 1000 points — it was a double-bunger — the Cats in R9 were also the first club to have 1000 points kicked AGAINST them ...

<> MATTHEW LLOYD (Ess) reached 200 career goals in his 68th game — he has kicked 42.20 in the first nine matches.

<> Published figures stated 260,112 watched R9 matches — a new record for Round Nine fixtures. Previous top was 1997s figure of 254,764.

<||> The Magpies opened strongly but in the overall the better finishing of the Bulldogs was the key to them obtaining their third successive victory and go into the State of Origin break on 5+4. The Friday night opener at the MCG for 44,457 fans was played in mild conditions, though a little soft underfoot.

ANTHONY ROCCA was the forward focus for the Pies—pulling down great marks and booting five goals but his costly misses from close in were critical to whether Collingwood could have gone on with it. While Pie captain NATHAN BUCKLEY (38 touches) gave a marvellous display and was rampant in the midfield, SCOTT WEST for the Dogs was unobtrusively more effective.

Danger-forward PAUL HUDSON (five-straight goals) proved that accuracy for the Bulldogs was the difference. To the Punt Road end, the Woods kicked 3.13—most of them offline from within 30 metres – BULLDOGS 19.12-126 (Hudson 5) best, S.West, Hudson, Johnson – COLLINGWOOD 12.16-88 (A.Rocca 5) best, Buckley, Williams, Jacotine.

<||> Carlton, belted by Port the previous week kicked seven goals in the first quarter against Melbourne and after surviving a second quarter challenge were comfortable winners. Under overcast skies, and occasional rain, 24,669 at Carlton saw the Blues display increased strike power.

BRAD PEARCE came off the bench and gave the Blues his best return for some months. On several occasions the ease that Carlton went forward looked like a training drill. The Blues played with tremendous spirit which the Demons could not overcome. MATTHEW ALLEN delivered a great big man's game while CRAIG BRADLEY off the half-back line was in superb touch.

Melbourne simply failed to deliver and their four late goals flattered them in the final margin – CARLTON 15.7-97 (Pearce 3) best, Allan, McKay, Koutoufides, MELBOURNE 9.10-64 (White 2, Rigoni 2) best, Viney, Tingay, Yze.

<||> Under heavy clouds the lights were on at Waverley (46,479) on Saturday by half time but already Essendon had turned them off for Hawthorn. Though still not playing at their peak, the Bombers cruised in for a 10-goal win over a Hawk outfit which has gone from bad to worse.

The Dons were slicker and keener—the polished Bewick, the rapid-fire delivery of Moorcroft and the determination of Young—they treated Lloyd to a feast of opportunities. He finished with five goals and maintained goalkicking leadership with 42 for the season and reached 200 career goals in his 68th match.

Whether the Bombers have improved is still to be tested by sterner opposition. The fall off in the Hawks performance since their win at Geelong in R6 is alarming. Hawthorn's half-time score of 2.1 was their worst effort in 134 games against the Dons since 1925 – ESSENDON 15.17-107 (Lloyd 5, Moorcroft 4) best, Moorcroft, Young, Lloyd, HAWTHORN 7.5-47 (Rock 2) best, Lekkas, Hay, Rock.

<||> In good Saturday night conditions at Subiaco Oval (24,218) Freo in a third quarter rally drew within two points but always the Kangas had enough in reserve to deliver a century of victories for coach Denis Pagan.

PETER BELL sparkled for the Roos against his old side with a 32-possession, four-goal game (and maybe three Brownlow votes) despite the efforts of three opponents. The Kangas made it five-straight with the aerial strength of Carey, McKernan, Capuano and Archer at the forefront. The loss of SHAUN McMANUS and JASON NORRIS in the first half did nothing to ease the Dockers pain – KANGAROOS 17.14-116 (Grant 5, Bell 4) best, Bell, Pickett, Simpson, FREMANTLE 12.14-86 (Black 3, Modra 3) best, Black, Fletcher, Kickett. Report: Wills (Fre) for striking Simpson (Kan) in the final quarter. Wills was found guilty and received a one-match suspension.

<||> Adelaide was deluged with 40mm of rain and lightning cut power to emergency level at three-quarter time of Saturday nights contest at Football Park. In half-volume light, 38,151 fans watched Richmond driven by a collective spirit and the skills of Daffy, Knights, Richardson and Campbell claimed an heroic 11-point victory over the Crows. Alan Shiell recorded in The Age: one of the most enduring memories of this season may well be the joyous scenes of Richmond's drenched players and coach Jeff Gieschen doing their "singing in the rain" act in front of appreciative Tiger fans ..."

Adelaide led at every change but the Tigers staged a come-from-behind win with MATTHEW RICHARDSON the last quarter hero for a second week. Throughout it was a tight contest—the Tigers maintained their focus while the Crows struggled in the slippery conditions. Adelaide blew their chances when they failed to capitalise on countless opportunities in the first half. A six-goal-to-three second half lifted the Tigers to victory with NICK DAFFY providing the spark with 36 possessions for the match – RICHMOND 12.6-78 (Campbell 3, Richardson 3) best, Daffy, Richardson, Campbell, ADELAIDE 9.13-67 (Jarman 2, Edwards 2, Vardy 2) best, James, Smart, Vardy.

<||> Brisbane maintained its second place on the ladder when they steamrolled Geelong before a new record Gabba crowd of 22,948 on Sunday afternoon. It was overcast, humid and several showers made it slippery. CRAIG McRAE ran amok for the Lions kicking five goals in the first half as the Cats slunk to their fourth successive defeat.

Even though Brisbane were without Lambert, Boyd and Brad Scott, it mattered little as they controlled every facet of the game. Craig McRae blitzed Cat debutant DAVID CLARKE in the first term as the Lions put on a record opening versus Geelong of 8.3. In contrast, the Cats finished with 2.8 for a 57pt thrashing and a long winter ahead – BRISBANE 22.12-144 (McRae 5, Johnson 3) best, C.Scott, Ashcroft, Hart, GEELONG 11.21-87 (Burns 3) best, Kilpatrick, Graham, Rahilly.

<||> That St Kilda failed to win by 100 points is the biggest surprise—so complete was their first-half control of Sunday's contest in wet and miserable conditions for players and spectators which numbered 22,232 at Waverley Park.

Port marginally improved after the long break but the Saints overall were so clinical with BARRY HALL (four goals) and STEWART LOEWE leading perfectly and JASON TRAIANIDIS and ANDREW THOMPSON turning ground-level balls into six-pointers.

Port from previous efforts may be a better side than this contest showed but the Saints made them look like a rabble in the first half—MARK ROBINSON for the Herald Sun: the South Australians were poor, atrociously so …” – ST KILDA 18.11-119 (Hall 4) best, Harvey, Young, Everitt, PORT 7.15-57 best, Tredrea, Francou, Poulton.

<||> A close to sell-out 36,787 were treated to a great Sunday contest between two top sides at the SCG. It was a superb game of skilful, non-stop footy in soft conditions after substantial morning rain. The focus was on TONY LOCKETT who crept within three goals of overtaking the Coventry record but it was also his two critical misses from 35 and 40 metres in the last quarter which contributed to West Coast taking the points. The match was viewed on TV by a record 944,000 in Victoria and the biggest Sydney audience since the 1996 grand final—almost 2.4 million Australians watched.

MARK RAY in the Sydney Morning Herald identified the weakness in the Swans' game: ... 'the Eagles broke away from the Swans in each of the last three quarters. In a close game those lapses were crucial.'  The Eagles with three late goals won by 13 points, after the Swans had squandered final quarter opportunities with 3.7 to 4.2.

Intense and tough, the highs for the Eagles were the uncanny ball-getting skills and pin-point deliveries of BEN COUSINS and PETER MATERA. For the Swans, the dash and determination of PETER FILANDIA in defence; the inspirational play of skipper PAUL KELLY (four goals) and the never-say-die spirit of TROY LUFF – WEST COAST 14.10-94 (Cummings 5, White 3) best, Cousins, Peter Matera, White, SYDNEY 11.15-81 (Kelly 4, Lockett 3) best, Filandia, Kelly, Saddington.

At the Tribunal on Monday (24th) ANDREW WILLS (Fre) following an unblemished nine AFL seasons of 131 games was suspended for one match on being found guilty of striking ADAM SIMPSON (Kan).

In an unusual ruling, the Tribunal decided Wills will be allowed to play for East Fremantle this weekend and will serve his suspension the following week when AFL matches resume.

At Tuesday's hearings, ANDREW DUNKLEY (Syd) and SCOTT CUMMINGS (WC) were each fined $1500 on wrestling charges from Sunday. Dunkley was found not guilty of striking Cummings.

Also from the the SCG game PETER MATERA (WC) pleaded guilty to striking MATTHEW NICKS (Syd) and was suspended for two matches. He will miss the June 6 game against Carlton and the Monday June 14 match in Sydney against the Kangaroos.

It is only the second time of his 192 games (1990-99) that Peter Matera has been suspended. He received a two-match penalty for striking in 1993.

In the final case, LUKE GODDEN (Col) was found not guilty of striking MATTHEW ROBBINS (WB).

Ansett Airlines on Monday lodged a verbal complaint with the League against player behaviour experienced when the Kangaroos returned to Melbourne on Sunday night from Perth.

Leading Roos' players WAYNE CAREY, GLENN ARCHER and football manager GEOFF WALSH offered their apologies in person to Ansett Airlines at a meeting in Melbourne on Tuesday morning.

The AFL however are expected to pursue an explanation over the incident from the Kanga club.

MIKE SHEAHAN, Herald Sun — While West Coast and Sydney produced an epic at the SCG ... that result did nothing more than underline the Eagles' standing as a power, more precisely, a renewed power, while the Swans clearly are much better than their 13th place suggests.

A focus on fake footy memorabilia netted a 33-year-old North Melbourne man. He was bailed to appear in the Magistrates Court on August 3.

<> Police have also recovered $60,000 in sports memorabilia stolen from the AFL’s Gallery of Sport at the MCG and the Carlton and Collingwood clubs.

<> A 36-year-old Doncaster man was charged with alleged offences occurring between November 1997 and March this year. John Hall was released on bail to face court again on June 7.


Curtain comes down on Origin
Vics do it easy over Croweaters

STATE OF ORIGIN – Saturday, May 29.

MALCOLM BLIGHT presented the cup bearing his name to the winning captain GARRY HOCKING of Victoria at the end of Saturday's match.

The E J Whitten Medal for Victoria's best player was presented by Ted Whitten Jnr to BRENT HARVEY.

The Fos Williams Medal for the best South Australian player was presented to ANDREW McKAY by Stephen Williams son of Fos and present coach of the SANFL Port Magpies.

<> South Australia played Victoria in a State match for the 114th time.

Prior to the formation of the VFL in 1897 South Australia had met the Victorian Football Association (VFA) on 13 occasions between 1879 and 1894. Overall, from 1879 until 1980, SA met the VFA 35 times with the Association winning 18 times, the SA combination 17.

From their first meeting in July 1899 to May 1979, the Victorian Football League (VFL) played South Australia 97 times — the VFL were victorious on 74 occasions, the Croweaters 21, with two matches in 1928 and 1946 ending in draws.

The two states met in the State of Origin concept for the first time at Subiaco Oval on Saturday October 6 1979. Since that time the two have met on 17 occasions with the honours favouring Victoria, 10 games to seven.

<||> The final State of Origin match of this century between SA and Victoria was played in miserable conditions on Saturday afternoon at the MCG. Rain fell from 11am until after the final siren. Only a brave 26,063 witnessed a good display by the best available practitioners of our code.

Victoria were comfortable winners as they dominated possession after SA had gone to an early two-goal lead. JAKE NIALL reported in The Age: Victoria was powered by its smaller, ground-level specialists: Bulldogs BRAD JOHNSON, SCOTT WEST and ROHAN SMITH, Carlton's BRETT RATTEN and skipper GARRY HOCKING. The smallest and best afield was BRENT HARVEY, who booted five goals and was too slick for both his Kangaroo teammate BYRON PICKETT and ANDREW McKAY.

The players most responsible for wrestling control of the match from SA in the first quarter were Smith and in particular, DAVID KING. By the second quarter the Vics had control of the midfield, were winning the ball from those ugly packs and the die was pretty much cast.

VICTORIA 17.19-121 (Brent Harvey 5.1, Matthew Lloyd 3.2) best, Brent Harvey, Brad Johnson, Garry Hocking, David King, Scott West, SOUTH AUSTRALIA 10.7-67 (Josh Francou 2.1, Nick Holland 2.1, Brett James 2.1) best, Byron Pickett, Andrew McKay, Craig Bradley, Josh Francou, Ben Hart.
E J Whitten Medal: Brent Harvey (Vic.)
Fos Williams Medal: Andrew McKay (SA).

Umpires: Brett, Allen, Scott McLaren, John Harvey. Report: Darren Mead (SA) for striking Peter Riccardi (V) in the first quarter. Mead was suspended one match. Port appealed the suspension—the Appeals Board dismissed the application.

Curtain raiser: SANFL 12.11-83 d VFL 8.11-59.

<> Carlton coach DAVID PARKIN was presented with the Victorian Sport and Recreation Industry Award by Sport Minister TOM REYNOLDS at a special ceremony held in Melbourne on May 27.

<> Channel Seven's BRUCE McAVANEY announced he will return to Adelaide with his wife and young family at the end of the football season. McAvaney the country's best know sports commentator recently signed a new four-year contact with the network.
His move will not interfere with his appearances as anchor to Sunday's Sportsworld program. He will continue to call Friday Night Football, Sydney home games, as well as his major role at the Sydney Olympics for Seven.

<> ADRIAN McADAM had his 2 year sentence (for using threatening language and poor conduct) overturned (Diary R8) by the Central Australian Football League in Alice Springs. A new sub-committee appointed to review decisions of the CAFL Tribunal reduced McAdam's suspension to a six-game ban. In protest, CAFL umpires staged a one-day strike on May 30.

<> The AFL announced both the Pre-Season and Rookie Draft will be held On Tuesday December 21. The exchange period leading up to the National Draft will extend from Tuesday September 28 until Tuesday October 5.

<> A new collective bargaining agreement between the AFL and the AFLPA will grant players a mid-week day off in every week from next season.

<> The AFL salary cap in 2000 will increase to $4.75 million per club — a jump of $500,000 or nearly 12 per cent. Total player payments at the 16 clubs will rise to $76 million, more than three times the 1990 figures of $22.527 million. In 1998 the $100,000 barrier was earned by 583 AFL players.

<> Tasmanian football was dealt a blow when the Southern Cats folded on May 31 with debts of $100,000. A bye will result for the rest of the 1999 season. The Cats only formed in 1998 quit only hours after the Football Tasmania announced next year's competition will be reduced from eight to six clubs. Football Tasmania chairman PETER HODGMAN said each club needed about $300,000 to be viable and an eight-team competition was financially unsustainable.

<> Despite a call by 1998 All-Australian coach LEIGH MATTHEWS to schedule future matches at rectangular fields, the two Tests against Ireland under International Rules in October will be played at the MCG and Football Park.
The First Test in Melbourne is booked for Saturday October 8 and the Second in Adelaide a week later on October 15.

<> Geelong were handed a $20,000 fine by the AFL in failing to lodged registration papers for LIAM PICKERING for their round one match against the Kangaroos within the required deadlines. The Cats could have lost the four premiership points which they won but the League was satisfied they made an oversight rather than acting deliberately.

<> Autumn ended with record low rainfalls for most of Victoria. Melbourne had their lowest rainfall for the 32 months to the end of May, compared with any other 32 months for the same period. Melbourne had 153mm for autumn, compared with an average of 164mm. (Herald Sun, June 2).

<> Geelong will play a minimum of three home matches a year at Docklands Colonial Stadium for the next 10 years. They will play at least seven games at Geelong.

<> The AFL imposed a $20,000 fine upon the Kangaroos for player misconduct and inappropriate behaviour on an Ansett Airlines flight from Perth on May 24. Players had reportedly refused to turn off mobile phones and abused cabin crew.

PETER HUDSON was inducted as the 15th Legend of the Game at a ceremony conducted at the Regent Theatre Ballroom in Melbourne on Friday May 28.

Hudson who kicked 727 goals in 129 games for Hawthorn (1967-74 +77) joins Ron Barassi Jnr, Haydn Bunton Snr, Roy Cazaly, John Coleman, Gordon Coventry, Jack Dyer, Graham Farmer, Leigh Matthews, John Nicholls, Bob Pratt, Dick Reynolds, Bob Skilton, Ian Stewart and Ted Whitten Snr.

Eight former players inducted to the AFL Hall of Fame were: Hawthorn premiership defender GARY AYRES, fellow Hawk DERMOTT BRERETON, South Melbourne's 1970 Brownlow medalist PETER BEDFORD, dual Collingwood best and fairest winner PETER DAICOS, dual Magarey medalist BOB HANK, three-time Collingwood century goalkicker PETER McKENNA, former captain and five-time Fitzroy best and fairest GARRY WILSON and dual Sandover Medal winner STEPHEN MICHAEL.

MICHAEL KENT, former chairman of the Tasmanian Football League, Hobart Mercury — "Without an AFL team we are frigging around with a state league, the teams just can't afford it ... It costs $300,000 a year to have two teams travelling the state and all up the seven teams left in the league now most likely owe more than $3 million."

IAN COLLINS, AFL football operations, on the $20,000 fine against the Kangaroos — "The AFL wishes to send a very strong message to the Kangaroos, and to every club, that poor behaviour while on official sanctioned AFL business will not be tolerated in any form. We would hope this message is clearly received across the competition."


Lockett claims goalkicking record
Hawks-Tigers; Roos-Port in thrillers
Carlton down Eagles at Subi

ROUND 10 — Fri-Sat-Sun, June 4-5-6.

MILESTONES — In the Sydney winter sunshine before a packed SCG of 41,280 spectators TONY LOCKETT became the greatest goalkicker of League history at 1.11pm on Sunday.

He exceeded GORDON COVENTRY's 62-year-old record of 1299 goals with the third of his nine-straight for Sydney against Colling-wood which took him to 1306 goals.

He had marked on his chest from a pass by captain Paul Kelly. Lockett then drop-punted awkwardly on an acute angle from 30 metres out in front of the Members Stand but it floated through for his 1300th goal.

History will record — “It's Paul Kelly from in front of the Members with a beautifully weighted kick and he finds the chest of the big bloke. Plugger goes back. Just inside the 50, about a 45-degree angle ... the siren sounds for quarter time—he mindfully measures the distance, and from 30 metres—it's an awkward kick, but it floats through—his third for the quarter and it's 1300 goals for Tony Lockett ...”

Tony's 9.0 was the 73rd time he had kicked seven goals or more (StK 53, Syd 20) and the 13th occasion he had kicked nine goals in a match. Of his 1306 goals, he kicked 898 for St Kilda (1983-94) and 408 to date for Sydney (1995-99).

150th matches for JAMIE SHANAHAN (StK, now Mel) and DARYN CRESSWELL (Syd) … 100 games for BRAD SHOLL (NM, now Gee), PAUL HOP-GOOD (Mel), STEVEN ALESSIO (Ess), ASHLEY PRESCOTT (Rch, now Fre) … 50 matches for BEN HARRISON (Car, now Rch), STEVE LAWRENCE (Bri), BRETT JAMES (Col, now Ade) … while STEPHEN PAXMAN played his 50th for Port; also 102 for Fitzroy (1991-96).

<> Fremantle in their 98th AFL match registered their best-ever first half. The Dockers 12.7-79 at half-time against Melbourne topped their 11.8-74 v Essendon, 97-R12 at Subiaco ... Freo won their first at the MCG at their 11th visit ... their final score of 22.12-144 topped their previous best versus Melbourne of 17.22-124 at 97-R7-WCA ... the margin was one point short of their win at the WACA in 1997 ...

<> TONY MODRA's 10.2 is the highest individual tally kicked for the Dockers — greater than the 8.5 scored by JOHN HUTTON in 95-R6-WCA versus Sydney ... it was Tony's best since his 13.3 for Adelaide in 94-R1-FP versus Carlton ... it was the fifth time Modra has scored 10-goals or more —
13.4 — 93-R16-FP v Richmond
13.3 — 94-R1-FP v Carlton
11.4 — 92-R23-FP v Geelong
10.3 — 93-R1-MCG v Richmond
10.2 — 99-R10-MCG v Melbourne

<> ESSENDON beat the Crows at Football Park for only the second time – their other win in seven visits was 92-R14 ... the 48pt win on Friday was their second-best against the Crows ...

<> ADELAIDE's fourth-straight loss is their worst run since Malcolm Blight became coach. Under Robert Shaw they lost their last five games of 1996 ...

<> On Saturday, ST KILDA won only their fourth game at Geelong of the past quarter of a century. From 1975 the Cats and Saints have met 23 times at Kardinia Park with St Kilda only winning in 1977, 1983, 1998 and 1999.

<> ST KILDA's five-straight parallels their run last season of R10-11-12-13-14. Their best streak is their nine games without loss in 1997, up until the Grand Final defeat by Adelaide.

<> 17 of the 132 League contests between HAWTHORN and RICHMOND since 1925 have been won by six points or less — Saturday brought the ninth such victory for the Hawks. Last year at the MCG in Round 3, the Tigers did it for an eighth occasion, 15.13-103 to 15.7-97. The Hawks and Richmond have never played a drawn game—maybe next time?

<> West Coast had only two goalkickers in their 12.12-84 against Carlton 15.11-101 on Sunday at Subiaco. Expert statsman STEPHEN RODGERS was quick with the info it was the 25th recorded occasion this has occurred in League football. It was indeed the second time the Eagles had performed the feat—last time was also against Carlton in Round 13, 1989 when West Coast 5.11-41 (Andrew Lockyer 3, Chris Lewis 2) lost to the Blues 9.10-64 at Princes Park.

The most immediate occasion this stat was recorded was in 1991 by, Carlton 6.12-48 (Mark Arceri 3, Jon Dorotich 3) when they lost to Adelaide 7.13-55 in Round 17 at Princes Park.

<||> Fremantle won their first MCG contest at their 11th attempt in fine and cool Friday night conditions for a modest crowd of 19,178. The Dockers midfield savaged Melbourne and defeated the preliminary finalists of last season by an outstanding nine goals. It was a thorough display to record Fremantle's 34th win in League company. More importantly it was a breakthrough in winning their eighth on-the-road contest—their first since 98-R4 versus Essendon at Waverley.

Big man DANIEL BANDY gave his former teammate JEFF WHITE a mauling while up-forward TONY MODRA recaptured his brilliance with 10.2, the best individual haul for Freo from their 98 games in the AFL—Modra kicked seven in the first half and his tally included the last eight straight.

Freo applied intense pressure throughout and split the Demons wide open kicking the first five goals in the opening 11 minutes. Melbourne are a shadow of the form which made them one of the exciting teams of 1998—will the turnaround arrive, or have they blown this year away? – FREMANTLE 22.12-144 (Modra 10.2, O’Reilly 3, Waterhouse 3, Shipp 3) best, Bandy, Modra, Fletcher, MELBOURNE 13.12-90 (Farmer 3) best, Viney, Schwarz, Leoncelli.

<||> Rain fell at Footy Park (39,389) on Friday night as the Bombers cruised in over an undermanned Adelaide—the Crows fell away again and their eight-goal defeat brought their fourth successive loss, the widest failure rate during Blight's tenure as coach.

Essendon lifted by the six-goal haul by BLAKE CARACELLA went to 7+3 and strengthened their place in the top bracket. Kicking into a strong breeze at the start, the Bombers set up their lead with four goals and captain MICHAEL LONG giving them superb drive in the middle of the ground. Though losing key forward SCOTT LUCAS with a broken leg midway into the opening term it failed to sway the Dons.

Adelaide had seven players without a touch in the first quarter and Blight expects no quick fix to the injury woes and poor form of the Crows—"It looks pretty dark and desolate really ..." – ESSENDON 16.13-109 (Caracella 6) best, Caracella, Long, Misiti, ADELAIDE 8.13-61 (McLeod 2) best, James, McLeod, Burton.

<||> Geelong in the game at Kardinia Park on Saturday (22,906) recaptured much of the drive which brought them five victories to open the season. Under a heavy cloud cover the Cats came from behind to find winners all around and were poised to end St Kilda's run of four wins.

The Saints kicking into a strong breeze were trailing by 25pts a minute into the final quarter, with many feeling spent after heavy buffeting from the Cats. ROBERT HARVEY climbed off the floor and gave an inspiring display, gathering nine possessions in the last term. Everitt lifted, as did Walton and Burke, while Hall maintained the strong focus he had all day. Adding 6.3 to 1.4, the Saints in a pivotal match were runaway winners for their fifth-straight. For the Cats, their fifth-straight defeat and yet another home ground capitulation – ST KILDA 18.10-118 (Hall 4) best, Harvey, Loewe, Everitt, GEELONG 16.12-108 (Burns 4, Mansfield 3) best, Riccardi, Barnes, Sholl. Report: Hocking (G) for charging Harvey (S). Hocking was cleared.

<||> Saturday served up a gloomy day at the MCG, with mid-game rain which fell more heavily toward the end. 45,382 of the faithful were served with a nail-biting finish.

Tight throughout, the match was highlighted by two factors—a devastating game from PAUL SALMON as he demolished three Tiger opponents and collected 26 hit-outs ... MATTHEW RICHARDSON who gave Richmond the outstanding statistics of 21 kicks, 18 marks and eight handballs. However, most of Richo's possessions were outside of the 50 and no-one at home to finish off his great efforts. His own off-the-boot record of 1.4 was a huge let-down. Elsewhere, it took a suspect call by a goal umpire to rile NICK HOLLAND out of his recent lethargy as he found space to kick 3.3 for the Hawks. Though there were many mistakes, it was exciting—a tonic for the Hawthorn; another let-down for Richmond –
HAWTHORN 12.15-87 (Holland 3, Chick 3) best, Salmon, Lekkas, Chick, RICHMOND 11.15-81 (Ottens 2, Daffy 2) best, Richardson, Daffy, Broderick.

<||> After seven hours of rain the Gabba was a lake of water throughout the Saturday night contest for a brave crowd of 17,665—ROHAN CONNOLLY in The Age ruled the conditions were so bad: "Football was only narrowly spared its first death by drowning".

On an oval more prepared for water polo, the Bulldogs won because they were harder at the ball in a game rated by Brisbane coach LEIGH MATTHEWS as "Russian roulette". The Lions lost Brownlow medalist MICHAEL VOSS at half time with a knee strain said to be worse than was reported. The result was overshadowed by controversial video charges against the Bulldogs' TONY LIBERATORE who on Tuesday was suspended three games for 'clawing' an opponents face, but escaped a kicking charge – BULLDOGS 9.12-68 (Smith 2, Cook 2, Cameron 2) best, Garlick, Wynd, Grant, BRISBANE 6.8-44 best, Leppitsch, Akermanis, Lawrence.

<||> Lockett needed three goals on Sunday to reach 1300 and thrilled the 41,280 fans packed into the SCG in fine and sunny conditions—he did so by quarter time with the Swans playing positive, spirited footy to hold a commanding 37pt lead over Collingwood at the first break.

It seemed all over for the Pies, but they seized the initiative as the Swans lost their focus. Collingwood gained momentum when Sav Rocca came on in the second term as they sliced through the Sydney defence and drew within nine points. The Woods put in a gutsy effort and in spite of Lockett kicking another four in the third, Collingwood were still in with a faint chance at the last break.
The Swans then exploded with five unanswered goals in 10 minutes and with MATTHEW NICKS displaying his exceptional talent through the midfield, Sydney cantered away to a blow-out 51pt victory. Plugger finished with nine on a glorious day for the code in the Harbour City, or as Channel Seven's BRUCE McAVANEY recorded: "It won't be duplicated—this is unique—this is happening in Sydney ... it is a day as a broadcaster I will never forget ..." – SYDNEY 22.13-145 (Lockett 9.0, Maxfield 2, Fosdike 2, O’Loughlin 2) best, Nicks, Lockett, Seymour, COLLINGWOOD 14.10-94 (S.Rocca 4, Brown 3) best, Buckley, Burns, Williams.

<||> Fine Subiaco conditions were enjoyed on Sunday afternoon for a great 33,313 patrons. Carlton as a 3/1 chance twice came back after West Coast went out to commanding leads in both the second and third quarters when they led by 26 and 24pts.

The Eagles midfield of Cousins, Braun and Banfield were as hard-working as ever, raking up 80 touches between them but Carlton were always in there. The Blues gained super-service from both MATTHEW ALLEN and CRAIG BRADLEY while forward  opportunities were scooped up by AARON HAMILL, SIMON BEAUMONT and BRAD PEARCE. Carlton hit back and took the lead by three-quarter time and held on grimly to record a 17pt win in one of their best efforts for the year. To many, a win at Subiaco is worth eight points—the Blues will be more than happy with this four-pointer. A unique record, SCOTT CUMMINGS eight and PHILLIP MATERA four were the only goalkickers for West Coast – CARLTON 15.11-101 (Hamill 5, Whitnall 3) best, Koutoufides, Allan, Beaumont, WEST COAST 12.12-84 (Cummings 8, Phillip Matera 4) best, Braun, McKenna, Cousins.

<||> Dark clouds, some rain, a lowly MCG attendance of 16,429 (no doubt affected by the early telecast from Sydney) denied many in seeing one of the better contests of the season to date. On paper it may have appeared little more than a quiet stroll down Collins Street for the Kangas, yet both Port and the Roos delivered a match of tough and skilful football.

Port took their game to a new level—their forwards dominated from the first bounce with BOWEN LOCKWOOD kicking three goals in the first quarter. Two young South Australians gave great performances on the day—KENT KINGSLEY (from Woodville-West Torrens) made a startling debut with 6.2 for the Roos, while WARREN TREDREA revealed more of his immense promise with five goals for Port Adelaide.

How much can you cram into a last term of 30 minutes—11 goals, seven changes of lead, and as ROHAN CONNELLY observed in The Age: "and a couple of the most controversial decisions of the season". And what of the final 23 seconds—scores were 126-all, when Umpire Mitchell deemed Port's FABIAN FRANCIS dipped a knee into SHANNON GRANT—he found BRENT HARVEY who kicked a point to give the Roos the lead. Then, a final goal by DAVID KING for a seven-point win to the Kangas. The steam in the showers failed to match that which came out of the ears of Port coach MARK WILLIAMS at the media conference – KANGAROOS 20.13-133 (Kingsley 6, Sholl 5) best, Simpson, Kingsley, Sholl) PORT 18.18-126 (Tredrea 5, Lockwood 4) best, Francis, Burgoyne, Tredrea.

“There’s only one Tony Lockett …”
generates a million dollar frenzy

The SCG on Sunday June 6 was flooded by 3000 fans when Tony Lockett kicked his third goal of the match to become the greatest goalkicker in VFL-AFL history—fortunately 38,280 other spectators who were present remained in the stands to celebrate the breaking of Gordon Coventry's 62-year-old record of 1299 goals. There was irony that Sydney's opponent for the day was Collingwood, as the crown was passed from a Magpie champion to a new football legend.

The record goal was kicked by Plugger soon after the siren sounded for quarter-time. He had marked on his chest from a pass by captain Paul Kelly. Lockett then drop-punted awkwardly on an acute angle from 30 metres out in front of the Members Stand but it floated through for his 1300th goal. The normal break extended to 15 minutes before play resumed in the second quarter.

Security men recovered the historic Sherrin from where it landed in front of the Bradman Stand in less than half-a-minute. Graeme Diamond, a Sydney Swans member since 1982 who handed over the ball (estimated to be worth $75,000) received a signed letter and the following day was presented with an autographed Swans jumper during a media huddle and re-enactment for the television cameras at the SCG.

Following the match in which Lockett kicked nine goals-straight in Sydney's 51pt victory, Australian Football's newest icon was driven in a red 1963 Cadillac El Dorado convertible around the arena where from every corner he was feted by his adoring fans to the tune and words of "There's only one Tony Lockett" booming from the band on the ground. Lockett was accompanied on his lap of honour by his Sydney minder Terry Bartley. The joyful occasion was made even more memorable when his wife Vicki and the children of their union, Courtney, 4, and Chloe, 2, joined the parade in the closing stages.

Comparisons after the match with Don Bradman and Phar Lap were quickly dismissed by Lockett, saying he thought both "had a few lengths on me" and added as an afterthought, grinning "...especially Phar Lap".

The ball he kicked his 1300th goal will be mounted and presented to Plugger at Sydney's next home match on June 27. In the meantime, more than $1 million worth of trade-marked "Tony Lockett" and "Plugger" official memorabilia, mugs, signed posters, guernseys and books were moving off the shelves at a fast clip. The frenzy for a piece of the moment ranged from a limited-edition framed and signed jumper at $699, to the $29.50 cap and the $9.95 beer glass. One signed guernsey had already brought $3500 at a charity auction in Dubbo.

The North Ballarat club that groomed Tony Lockett from a kid of 12 announced a life-sized bronze monument will be erected outside their clubrooms to honour Ballarat's latest sporting hero. A ticker-tape parade awaits a hero to the city of his birth.

The AFL concluded arrangements pivotal to the code. A five-year agreement between the League and the AFL Players' Association was announced on June 3. The same day the AFL indicated all gate profits from next season will go to home teams.

The League announced that gate sharing would be abolished from next season with home clubs meeting all match-day costs as well as receiving 100 per cent of the profits. The League is also considering taking control of reserved seat prices, which can cost as much as $40 in Sydney and Perth.

Player manager RICKY NIXON praised the AFL and its commissioners for pursuing far-reaching welfare issues in the 100-page collective bargaining agreement.

Players have won —

<> increased payments (minimum wage of $36,000 base salary plus $1800 per game in 2000, rising to $37,000 and $1900 in 2001)...
<> better annual leave entitlements (eight weeks, plus extra week after five years service and two weeks extra after 10 years) ...
<> one day off a week (between Monday and Friday) ...
<> retirement fund ...
<> a pay scale for signing memorabilia ...
<> insurance provisions against injuries.

AFLPA chief executive ANDREW DEMETRIOU said a significant portion of the $12 million provided by the League over the next three years would go towards a retirement fund for players, with budgeting for welfare issues, education and training programs.

BRETT HEADY, a renowned big game player retired at 29—citing ongoing back-related hamstring problems. He is the 12th player from the Eagles 1992 premiership side to hang up his boots. Heady played only one game (R1) this season for 156 games and 237 goals between 1990 and 1999.

STEPHEN RIELLY in The Age (June 6) reported: The Swans could be playing as many as 15 of their 22 home-and-away matches in Sydney by the 2001 season. The AFL Commission is committed to introduce football on a weekly basis in Sydney, rather than on alternate weeks, as part of its bid to improve the code's standing in the nation's biggest city and most lucrative potential market.

MIKE SHEAHAN in the Herald Sun (June 8) reported: "GEELONG is losing ground in the struggle to service its $7 million debt and is in a 'dangerous' position."
The AFL has been advised and the club is in discussion with their bankers. Geelong are expecting a trading loss of $500,000 this year. Last season the Cats traded in the black, announcing a profit of $818,927, however that figure included contributions of $500,000 from the AFL and $350,000 from the City of Greater Geelong.
The Carlton club have a debt of $12 million, but are servicing it comfortably.

The AFL flagged again — the probability of a night Grand Final when television rights are next negotiated ... WAYNE JACKSON and IAN COLLINS had met church leaders on the contentious issue of playing football on Good Friday ... the closing of the Colonial Stadium roof at Docklands — Jackson: "Why in the world, if that game was played at Colonial, would we not close the roof on the Saturday morning? ...

Umpires director PETER SCHWAB stated he believed two free kicks were wrongly awarded in the last quarter of the Roos-Port game on Sunday ... Port coach MARK WILLIAMS was fuming after the match, which drew a 'please explain' request from the League ...

Bulldog veteran TONY LIBERATORE was suspended for three matches by the AFL Tribunal on Tuesday June 8.

Liberatore faced a charge of misconduct against Brisbane forward CRAIG McRAE in Saturday night's match played at the Gabba. The 1990 Brownlow winner was found guilty of having clawed an opponents face. On a second charge Liberatore was found not guilty of kicking MICHAEL VOSS (Bri).

In other cases, BARRY YOUNG (Ess) and TYSON EDWARDS (Ade) were found guilty of wrestling. Edwards' first offence drew a fine of $1200 while Young for his second wrestling offence received a $2500 fine.

ADAM YZE (Mel) received the "benefit of the doubt" on his striking charge against LUKE TOIA (Fre) from Friday night's match

Geelong captain GARRY HOCKING was also cleared of charging ROBERT HARVEY (StK). Chairman Brian Collis QC criticised the rule under which Hocking had been charged—"the action, while within the rules, does not come within the spirit of the game nor does it come within the guidelines of the umpires. We find this law is extremely difficult to administer and find this conduct should be done away with."

STEPHEN RIELLY, The Age — ... the Western Bulldogs and St Kilda, both of whom are heading to Docklands next year, confirmed that their memberships had fallen this season despite sustained on-field success.
The Kangaroos have been one of the two most successful teams of the decade but for all that have seen little, if any, gain over their Victoria rivals in terms of popularity or corporate clout.
Their traditional slice of the support pie has remained largely unchanged despite a premiership and preliminary final appearances in four other seasons.

MICHAEL MALTHOUSE, West Coast coach on Lockett’s record: That is about as interesting to me as the worms crawling through the grass at Subiaco Oval.

WAYNE JACKSON, AFL CEO, at a June 4 business luncheon in Adelaide — "We don't think in the long term there'll be 10 teams in Melbourne. We want a second team to relocate to Sydney in the next five years. We want about eight teams in Melbourne in the longer term, the next 10 years or so. We don't see any more than two teams in Adelaide and Perth, two in Queensland, two in Sydney and eight in Melbourne."

BRIAN COOK, Geelong CEO, Herald Sun, on the Cats' $7 million debt crisis — "It's dangerous; like being on a see-saw. I think it will come down on the right side. The financial position hasn't been good here for some years. I wouldn't call it critical, but it's not a very good position to be in."


Kangaroos – seven straight
Eagles, Dons, Roos are joint leaders
Hawks & Dogs in 126th draw

ROUND 11 — Fri-Sat-Sun-Mon, June 11-12-13-14.
MILESTONES — 200 games by CHRIS GRANT (FWB) … 150th for JOHN BARNES (Ess, now Gee) ... JOHN BLAKEY played his 150th for the Kangas, also 135 with Fitzroy … 100 games for BEN DOOLAN (Syd, now Ess) … 50th game by DONALD DICKIE (PA) … MATTHEW DENT played his 50th for the Bulldogs, also 47 with Fitzroy … STEWART LOEWE (StK) in his 266th match reached 200 goals at Waverley Park, 512 goals overall … ADELAIDE slumped to their lowest-ever placing at 14th of their 196 AFL matches following their fifth successive loss—they held 13th spot in 1998 both at R4 and R6, then went on to win their second premiership …

<> No reports were made from the Round. Master statistician COL HUTCHINSON went back four years to find the last time there was clean slate—it was the 20th round of 1995. From that round CRAIG KELLY (Col) was due to face a misconduct charge for striking JASON DUNSTALL (Haw) however the report was withdrawn following video scrutiny and therefore did not enter the records.

<> Essendon's 9.2-56 against Geelong on Friday night was the biggest start of 193 contests dating back to 1897 but only 14th on the scale of Bomber opening quarters—the top is 11.3-69 v North, 88-R1-WH ... the 14 goals by the Dons and Cats in the first quarter is well behind the League record set by Melbourne and North Melbourne in 91-R1-MCG when both kicked 9.1 for a first term of 18.2 ...

<> Brisbane at their 12th visit to play Carlton at Princes Park defeated the Blues for the first time in 10 years—last time Round 10, 1989—the day a 50 metre drop punt from Warwick Capper brought a three point victory for Brisbane and toppled Robert Walls from the coaching position of Carlton.

<> Port Adelaide's 4.8-32 v Richmond 3.12-30 was the lowest winning score and lowest points of 62 since 89-R13-WH when Essendon 3.10-28 defeated Footscray 3.5-23, a points total of 51. Five years before that in 84-R17-WO, Essendon 4.10-34 beat Scray 3.14-32.

<> The Port-Richmond match produced single goalkickers for both teams. Expert statsman STEPHEN RODGERS noted this was the first occasion this had occurred since Round 22 1981 in the Collingwood (4.9) versus Fitzroy (8.11) match at Victoria Park. The 1981 surprise result also recorded only the second time this century the Magpies at three-quarter time had not reached double-figures. Against Fitzroy they were 1.3-9 at the last break — previous time Round 3 1901 at Albert Park when they were 0.8-8 versus South Melbourne 9.4-58.
<> The half-time score of Port 3.5-23, Tigers 1.4-10 on Saturday night at a wet Football Park was the AFL's lowest at the long break since Monday night August 25 1997 when Collingwood 3.3-21 led Adelaide 2.7-19 also at Footy Park. Of note from recent seasons is Brisbane's 2.3-15 against Footscray 1.1-7 at half time on Saturday July 20 1996 in the slush of Whitten Oval.
<> It was Port's lowest final tally from 55 League games.
<> Richmond in their League history have now kicked 30 points or less on 30 occasions. The 3.12-30 was their poorest since they kicked 3.11-29 versus Footscray 15.17-107, 89-R20-WO. The Tigers 0.8-8 against St Kilda 12.19-91 at the Junction Oval on August 12 1961 remains their lowest on record.

<> Hawthorn and the Bulldogs played their second draw of 134 League contests since 1925. Their first was in Round 7, 1996 at Whitten Oval, 8.9-57 each.

<> The 126th League draw occurred—21 rounds and nine finals intervened making 177 games during the period since the last in 98-R12-BCG when Brisbane and Port Adelaide each kicked 13.15-123.

<> In Sydney, the Kangaroos won their fifth on-the-trot over the Eagles. The Eagles won at Subiaco in Round 10, 1996 and have not beaten the Roos outside of Perth since their 37pt win at the MCG in Round 6, 1994.
<> The Kangaroos posted their seventh successive victory — the best of 1999.

<> Collingwood have lost all 13 matches played in the month of June during Tony Shaw's four years as coach.

<> Forwards were checked across games of the 11th Round when scoring was held to the lowest tally of the season—1322 points. The best efforts were the five goals by MATTHEW LLOYD (Ess), DEAN RIOLI (Ess) and JASON MOONEY (Gee).

<||> Essendon further dented Geelong's fortunes with a 33pt victory in fine and cool conditions on Friday night at the MCG for a big crowd of 61,783—it was the sixth-straight defeat suffered by the Cats and dumped them out of the top Eight.

A booming 9.2 start by the Dons set the mark and though the Cats were close to the pace and staged many challenges, Essendon simply out-muscled Geelong. Yet there were many who considered the Bombers gained a "soft" win and failed to effectively knock out the Cats when great opportunities were presented.

Rioli in only his eighth game for the Dons (five goals) displayed skills normally gained only through a lengthy apprenticeship. The most interesting move of the game came from Geelong who shifted Ben Graham from full-back to full-forward where he kicked four while Jason Mooney continued his marvellous season with another five majors. Lloyd maintained his effectiveness for the Bombers with 11 marks and five goals from full-forward.

Essendon's line-up will get a thorough test in the clash with Brisbane under lights at the Gabba on Saturday night – ESSENDON 21.11-137 (Rioli 5, Lloyd 5, Alessio 3, Caracella 3) best, Misiti, Fletcher, Rioli, GEELONG 15.14-104 (Mooney 5, Graham 4) best, Hocking, Graham, Barnes.

<||> The Brisbane Lions gained a rare "on-the-road" victory when they over-powered Carlton after quarter-time to win at Princes Park over the Blues for the first time in 10 years—24,235 were present under cloudy skies with occasional sunshine.

The Blues powered away in the first term leading by 32pts then suffered a relapse. The Lions gained control from the high proportion of skill errors by Carlton and taking the lead by half time, it was surprising that Brisbane failed to win by a wider margin, so great was their control. They did so after two innocent clashes left Michael Voss with a deep head cut and Craig Lambert with a fractured cheekbone.

Voss returned swathed in a head bandage to lead a disciplined and composed Brisbane unit and they rattled Carlton but while resisting pressure the Lions failed to put it on the scoreboard. The Lions advanced to 7+4 and held fourth place while the Blues tentatively grip eighth position – BRISBANE 13.16-94 (A.Lynch 4) best, White, Lawrence, Leppitsch, CARLTON 12.6-78 best, Koutoufides, Allan, Hulme.

<||> Most pundits expected the big Waverley arena would leave the Swans wanting. Far from being the case, Sydney ran and ran all over to end St Kilda's five-game winning streak. A big 46,880 watched in cloudy conditions as it took the Swans 24 minutes to score their first goal. But from there they never stopped surging ahead and jumped into the Eight.

Saints' coach TIM WATSON was scathing: "some of our players had heads the size of boarding house puddings" but that detracted from the impressive performance by Sydney who are still restricted by injury to both Stafford and Dunkley. LEO BARRY instigated many smart moves for Sydney while the 19-year-old ADAM GOODES would have to be a strong contender for the Norwich award with his 18 kicks, 14 marks and three majors—he had direct involvement with five of Sydney's six third quarter goals.

ROBERT HARVEY went untagged by the Swans and collected 36 touches for the Saints but he had teammates who had games they would much rather forget – SYDNEY 15.12-102 (Goodes 3, Lockett 3) best, Goodes, Schwass, Barry, ST KILDA 10.13-73 (Everitt 2, Hall 2, Jones 2) best, Harvey, Burke, D.Wakelin.

<||> Originally scheduled as a Saturday night SCG contest, the match was moved to Monday afternoon to avoid a clash with a soccer match at the official opening of the Olympic Stadium at Homebush. The Eagles and Roos went into the game as 7/2 equal-favourites for the flag. The hard-nosed Kangaroos impressed the 15,230 crowd with firm control of the contest and winning their seventh-straight.

The Kangas won by much more than the 20pt margin and did so in sunshine but blustery conditions with a great team effort and little contribution from King Carey. Jakovich and Carey blanketed each other—by three-quarter time Jako hadn't had a kick, nor Carey a mark. There were many scrappy passages as players were pressured and numerous times the ball failed to find its target.

Abraham and McKernan provided a passage to goal with each contributing four goals for the Roos. Grant (30 possessions) along with Bell and Archer gave added bite. CHRIS MAINWARING was a late Eagle replacement for MICHAEL GARDINER (stomach upset) and the 33-year old in his 197th League game returned impressively with 19 touches. He was well-supported by Read, McIntosh, White and Morrison, but the Kangas proved better on the day – KANGAROOS 12.12-84 (Abraham 4) best, Grant, Abraham, A.Stevens, WEST COAST 9.10-64 (Read 2, Williams 2) best, White, McIntosh, Mainwaring.

<||> Pouring rain at Football Park on Saturday night brought the lowest scoring League contest for 10 years, and the second-lowest AFL attendance (25,753) in Adelaide. Constant rain with a cold, blustery wind could not have made conditions much worse for Port and the Tigers.

It was always going to be a night for backmen, not forwards, and both teams stacked their backlines when going against the strong wind. The well grassed surface though not under water was slippery and players did well to retain their footing, let alone trying to produce skills with a ball which was like a piece of soap.

The scoreline and the margin was indicative of the terrible conditions – PORT 4.8-32 best, Kingsley, Dew, Lade, RICHMOND 3.12-30 best, Knights, Bowden Rogers.

<||> Fine and firm conditions were experienced at Subiaco Oval (23,814) on Sunday when Fremantle advanced further to a position of respectability with a complete victory over a flagging Adelaide—the Crows have suffered defeat in the past five games.

The Dockers winning twice as much of the ball blasted the Crows with their best opening of 99 AFL matches and Modra kicking three goals. With a commanding 33pt lead Freo found themselves under fierce attack as Adelaide's runners came into play in the second term—McLeod, Smart and Koster stood out as the Crows swept back. After half-time Freo regained control as Holland off the flank starred, kicking four himself and having a hand in several others. Parker and Carroll played a tight defence and did not allow the Crows to threaten again. ADRIAN FLETCHER was outstanding with 34 touches and was clearly best-on-ground. The problem now for the Dockers is to build on the momentum they have created. For Adelaide, injuries have blown their season and triple flags seem a spent dream – FREMANTLE 18.14-122 (Holland 4, Modra 4) best, Fletcher, Black, Parker, ADELAIDE 12.11-83 (McLeod 3) best, Koster, Ricciuto, James.

<||> In bitingly cold conditions with late rain, 18,977 at Carlton were treated to a nail-biting finish when the Bulldogs and Hawthorn tied only for the second time of their 134 contests.

In the spirited match, three performances stood out—the 200th game for the Dogs by CHRIS GRANT at centre-half forward; LUKE DARCY in the ruck against Hawthorn's PAUL SALMON; and SHANE CRAWFORD's gutsy leadership around the ground (18 possession in the first half). The Hawks had led all day until BRETT MONTGOMERY (WB) levelled the scores with four minutes to play. In the last few thrilling minutes the ball rebounded with desperate movement when each had opportunities with Hawthorn being denied with a heart-stopping denial of a rushed behind—the goal umpire started to signal then the umpire called play on—it was the last opportunity for either to break the deadlock. They split the four premiership points and had the hollow feeling a tie always brings – BULLDOGS 10.16-76 (Grant 3, Winmar 2, Montgomery 2) best, Darcy, Powell, Grant, HAWTHORN 11.10-76 (Lord 3) best, Crawford, Lekkas, Woods.

<||> The 40,031 which attended was modest compared with many previous Queen's Birthday contests at the MCG—Collingwood and Melbourne evoke great memories but in reality, the Pies were now on the bottom, Melbourne were in a three-game losing patch at 14th place.

In good conditions with occasional bursts of sunshine it was far from a great game. Matching their ladder positions—many errors, turnovers and wayward shots on goal and while there was not much pumping of blood it was a close finish. The Magpies played a rugged brand of football and won the ball frequently but turned it over with monotonous regularity. They are in a team-building phase and such mistakes are expected.

Melbourne fumbled and bumbled and only hit the lead at three-quarter time. The last term resulted in the Demons with a faint edge in class getting the points to keep their faint finals hopes flickering – MELBOURNE 13.11-89 (M.Febey 2, Lyon 2, Neitz 2) best, Woewodin, Walsh, M.Febey, COLLINGWOOD 11.12-78 (Lane 4, S.Rocca 4) best, Monkhorst, Lane, A.Rocca.

Geelong captain GARRY HOCKING announced that in a promotional deal with a manufacturer of cat food he has for one week changed his given names by deed poll to "Whiskas". It is expected to return up to $70,000 to the cash-strapped Cats club, $20,000 to Hocking and $10,000 to an animal shelter.

The AFL Players' Association executive ANDREW DEMETRIOU was amused saying Hocking's deal was a great marketing initiative. The judgement however wasn't universal. The AFL were seeking to exclude the practice in future while most commentators in the Friday June 18 match were expected to refer to Hocking rather than the cat food.

MIKE SHEAHAN on Channel Seven's compelling Talking Footy expressed: "We're talking AFL football—this is the elite sporting competition in the country, and to me there are no pluses for this".

Chronic hamstring injuries have finally taken Melbourne's GLENN LOVETT from the game after just 127 matches (1987-99). Lovett was restricted to only one game in both 1998 and 1999 before calling it a day. Glenn was Demon vice-captain in 1995, won their best & fairest in 1992 and wore the Victorian guernsey in 1993.

Received a letter from "RussellJ" of Footscray asking if there was a parallel with the fortunes Geelong have recorded this year—winning the first five, then losing the next six.

The answer comes in reverse. In the eight-team VFL competition of 1905, Geelong lost their first six games to South Melbourne, Essendon, Fitzroy, St Kilda, Carlton and Collingwood. They then won the next five versus Melbourne, South, Essendon, Fitzroy and St Kilda.

The Pivotonians from Corio Bay proceeded to lose their next four contests (which included after Round 14, three round-robin sectional finals of the day) to Carlton, Collingwood, Melbourne and Essendon—beat Fitzroy, then lost to St Kilda to finish at sixth place for the season.

JOHN ELLIOTT, Carlton prez– "…at the end of the year 2003, when we have paid off the Legends Stand, we are going to reduce the seating prices at Carlton to somewhere between $3 and $5."


Hawthorn in the greatest comeback
Eighth straight for the Kangaroos
Eagles, Bombers, Roos clear on top

ROUND 12 — Fri-Sat-Sun, June 18-19-20.
MILESTONES —The SOUTH MELBOURNE-SYDNEY club celebrated its 125th anniversary (June 19 1874) with their biggest victory at Princes Park for more than 57 years ... FREMANTLE played its 100th AFL game ... TONY LOCKETT (StK, now Syd) reached 100 consecutive matches kicking at least one goal—extending back to Round 10 1993 ... LOCKETT with two goals on Sunday passed BOB SKILTON's 412 to become the second-highest goalscorer for the Swans ... WAYNE CAREY passed JOHN LONGMIRE's 511-goal record to become the greatest goalkicker for the North Melbourne-Kangaroos club ... CHRIS JOHNSON (Fit, now Bri) played his 100th game ... 50th games for LUKE TOIA (Fre), PHILLIP MATERA (WCE), CLARK KEATING (Bri) ... BRAD SHOLL played his 100th game for Geelong (also 2 NM), BEN HARRISON played his 50th for Richmond (also 2 Car) ... NICKY WINMAR (StK, now WB) passed 300 career goals in his 241st match ...

<> HAWTHORN in the match against ST KILDA at Waverley were 63 points down at the four minute mark of the second quarter when Stewart Loewe (StK) kicked his second goal—11.4-70 to 1.1-7. The Hawks’ recovery to win by 13 points, 17.7-109 to 14.12-96 is the greatest comeback in 103 seasons. (see box).

<> St Kilda's opening term of 9.4-58 was the biggest quarter of 133 contests versus Hawthorn, and gave the Saints a 51pt lead, their greatest margin against the Hawks at the first break.

<> Hawthorn kicked 10.0-60 in the third term (the best third quarter to date of the season). It was the Hawks best third quarter since 11.10-76 against Fitzroy 91-R21-PP which equalled their 12.4-76 of 85-R7-PP versus St Kilda.

<> Collingwood in their 12 matches of 1999 have led at quarter time yet lost on five occasions—R2 v Car, R3 v WCE, R7 v Bri, R11 v Mel and R12 v Ade. In R1 they were level at the first break with the Hawks, and also went down in that match.

<> Collingwood in their 2075th League game since 1897 became the first club to achieve 25,000 goals. The Magpies "for" and "against" totals are —
25,012 goals, 27,313 behinds, 177,385 points
21,886 goals, 24,532 behinds, 155,848 points.

<> Fremantle failed to win a third on-the-trot—the span of three victories, 96-R22 and 97-R1-R2 remains the best by the Dockers.

<> The Kangas and Demons fought out the 260th one-pointer since 1897. The match provided the rarity of the losing team kicking two goals more than the victor. It was Melbourne's second one-pointer of the season—they defeated Hawthorn 12.13 to 12.12 in Round 4. The Kangas one-point win was their third such victory over Melbourne—also 1953-R3 at Arden Street and 1985-R6 at the MCG.
<> The Kangaroos have now won 20 of their past 24 contests. Their losses in the span starting from Friday night June 26 1998 when they beat Essendon, 19.13-127 to 16.13-109 have been by 35, 6, 39 and 2 points.

<> The Swans and Carlton proved another tough meeting. In the 1990s of 15 contests Sydney have won eight, the Blues seven.
<> Sydney's 27pt victory (12.16-88 to 8.13-61) was their greatest margin over Carlton at Princes Park for 57 years.

<> High scoring in the first 12 rounds is down on last season. To the end of Round 12 in 1998, 73 scores over 100pts had been kicked—in 1999 the level has been reduced to 64 centuries.

<> The 13,513 attendance at Carlton to see the Bulldog-Freo match is the smallest for a League premiership contest since 11,321 at Manuka Oval when the Kangas played Port in Canberra on Saturday August 1 1998 and the 11,706 at the SCG for the Kangas versus Saints game on Saturday night April 24 this year.

The greatest comeback of all
Hawthorn on Saturday June 19 1999 produced the greatest comeback in the history of the AFL when it overcame a 63 point deficit to beat St Kilda at Waverley Park.
This is how the Hawks did it.

Second Quarter
4 min mark: St Kilda's Stewart Loewe kicks his second goal for the term to give his side a 63 point lead, 11.4-70 to 1.1-7.

8 mins: Paul Salmon marks and goals from 40 metres, 2.2-14 to 11.4-70.

11 mins: Hawk rover Anthony Rock snaps a goal that bounces through after eluding Saints defender Max Hudghton, 3.2-20 to 11.5-71.

18 mins: Hawk Aaron Lord snaps out of a pack and goals from 40 metres, 4.2-26 to 11.5-71.

Third Quarter
1 min: Nathan Thompson marks and goals from 40 metres to give the Hawks hope, 5.4-34 to 11.6-72.

6 mins: Thompson marks again and goals from 25 metres as Hawks fans sense the comeback is on, 6.4-40 to 11.7-73.

9 mins: Salmon marks strongly and goals from 30 metres, 7.4-46 to 11.7-73.

14 mins: Daniel Harford snaps a miracle goal from 30 metres and celebrates by raising a clenched fist to jubilant Hawks fans, 8.4 (52) to 11.7 (73).

15 mins: Loewe kicks a goal for the Saints from a free kick, 8.4-52 to 12.7-79.

17 mins: Harford exchanges handballs with Richard Vandenberg and kicks another team lifting goal on the run from 45 metres, 9.4-58 to 12.7-79.

19 mins: Thompson kicks his third for the quarter as the Hawks close to within 15 points, 10.4-64 to 12.7-79.

22 mins: Michael Collica goals from 35 metres after Saints' badboy Peter Everitt gives away successive 50 metre penalties. Everitt is dragged, Hawks fans go wild and the margin is only nine points, 11.4-70 to 12.7-79.

25 mins: Thompson passes to Nick Holland who goals from 25 metres as the Hawks get to within a kick, 12.4-76 to 12.7-79.

30 mins: The Saints look to be steadying after Jason Heatley kicks their second goal in three minutes following one on the run from Everitt, 12.4-76 to 14.7-91.

32 mins: Holland goals after the three-quarter time siren to cut the margin to three points after Lekkas had immediately answered Heatley's goal, 14.4-88 to 14.7-91.

Final Quarter
10 mins: Holland puts the Hawks in front for the first time as their fans almost lift the roof of Waverley Park, 15.5-95 to 14.9-93.

23 mins: Both teams miss a succession of chances with St Kilda's Jason Traianidis hitting the post on the run from 35 metres leaving the Hawks clinging to a one point lead, 15.7-97 to 14.12-96.

24 mins: Ben Dixon inspires one of the loudest roars at an AFL ground when he goals on the run from 50 metres, 16.7-103 to 14.12-96.

29 mins: Holland seals the comeback to end all comebacks when he marks and goals from 15 metres, his fifth of the day. Hawk fans go berserk and Saints' fans file out in stunned silence.

Final scores: Hawthorn 17.7-109 to St Kilda 14.12-96.

<||> Other than light rain before the match, a swirling breeze was a major factor in the cool conditions for the Friday night opener at the G for 36,013. Richmond further eroded Geelong's confidence as they controlled the midfield for most of the game sending the Cats to their seventh successive defeat.

MATTHEW RICHARDSON inspired the Tigers again with 13 marks and 6.5 for the night. But it was the devastating form by NICK DAFFY in the first half (26 touches overall) and the great tag on Geelong captain GARRY HOCKING by DUNCAN KELLAWAY which provided key factors for the win. BEN GRAHAM was swung in attack by the Cats—however, Geelong's 1.4 to nothing in the first 14 minutes of the last quarter when the game was there for the taking was crucial. Richmond swept back in the final 15 minutes to kick five unanswered goals to go away with a powerful 35 point win. Geelong failed to get home—depriving a sub-editor of the headline—Cats win by a whisker.

Indeed, few mentioned the promotional ploy intended by Garry Hocking for this match – RICHMOND 15.11-101 (Richardson 6) best, Richardson, D.Kellaway, Ottens, GEELONG 9.12-66 (Graham 3) best, Sholl, Graham, Corrigan.

<||> With ROBERT HARVEY in brilliant starting form the Saints stormed away kicking their best-ever quarter (9.4-58) in 133 meetings against the Hawks. Facing a deficit of 51pts at the first break Hawthorn were gone for all money, and many of the 36,381 in the grey but fine conditions at Waverley were expecting the Saints to win by three digits. They went further ahead kicking the first two goals of the second term to lead by 63 points after four minutes.

FRANK RUSSELL in The Australian recorded: But one of the most remarkable turnarounds in history ensured this match would long remain in the minds of those who saw it, and that it would feature in the nightmares of the St Kilda faithful ... Hawthorn coach Ken Judge said that he had seen signs in the second term that his young team was about to turn the game around ... the Hawthorn resurrection initially looked to be nothing more than the inevitable reflex action of a side so comprehensively outplayed in the opening stanza ... the St Kilda backline, often the buttress in their winning run a few weeks back—suddenly had no run ...

Hawthorn lifted themselves to new heights of endeavour to record the greatest comeback in 103 seasons of League football—kicking 10-straight in the third quarter to win by 13 points in an unforgettable game – HAWTHORN 17.7-109 (Holland 5, 3) best, Thompson, Holland, Croad, ST KILDA 14.12-96 (Loewe 3) best, Harvey, Young, Jones.

<||> Under grey skies only 13,513 were at Carlton expecting the improved Fremantle to make a game of it against the resourceful Bulldogs. The Dogs kicked away strongly and went on to win by the six goals they led by at quarter time.

Until the final siren the Dockers trump card TONY MODRA was starved as the Doggies captain SCOTT WYND dropped back into the defensive hole after ruck contests, to strangle forward opportunities. CLIVE WATERHOUSE stepped up for Freo with five goals but the effectiveness of stand-in forward NICKY WINMAR and ROHAN SMITH (four goals each) and BRETT MONTGOMERY from the flanks for the Westerners was too much to overcome. Also rampant for the Dogs were midfielders Dimattina, Johnson, Garlick and Powell who each picked up more than 20 possessions. Cold, hard and clinical was used to describe the Dog victory—Freo would agree – BULLDOGS 17.13-115 (Winmar 4, Smith 4) best, Wynd, Dent, Grant, FREMANTLE 11.13-79 (Waterhouse 5) best, Fletcher, Waterhouse, Gale.

<||> Dry, windless Saturday night conditions at the Gabba embraced a new record attendance of 24,989 but the home-town fans had little to cheer about as sloppy work by the Lions on the forward line handed Essendon an 18pt win.

In a low-scoring game, the Bomber defence led by Fletcher, Wellman, Prior and Hardwick were dominant with Lion co-captain ALASTAIR LYNCH held goalless and benched after another disappointed return of three behinds from four kicks. The Lions went into their forward zone 64 times to Essendon's 44 yet lost by three goals.

GARY MOORCROFT (the smallest afield) was a standout for the Bombers with three goals on the night—two of them when it counted most in a tight second term. Brisbane's midfield struggled as Bomber veteran MICHAEL LONG zipped past them collecting 24 touches while DEAN RIOLI delivered another impressive showing. The three last-named Bombers will all visit the Tribunal—Long for being struck, Rioli for tripping and Moorcroft for striking – ESSENDON 13.11-89 (Lloyd 3, Moorcroft 3, Rioli 3) best, Hardwick, Fletcher, Long, BRISBANE 9.17-71 (Champion 2) best, Champion, Black, McRae.

<||> On a crisp Adelaide night, Football Park was spared rain as the Crows were able to get over the line from potential wooden-spooners Collingwood in front of the biggest crowd of the round—36,737. The win was crucial for Adelaide to keep their hopes for the Eight alive.

But the Crows won in a far from convincing fashion. Though the Pies led by two goals at half time already they were reduced in effectiveness with three playmakers injured—Buckley (hip), Williams (ankle) and Monkhorst (calf) and two quarters from Sav Rocca which yielded an alarming 2.5. Adelaide trailed at every change and clawed their way to their first win in six games by Jarman and McLeod sparking with five goals each as first-year player BRETT BURTON and BEN HART assisted in keeping Adelaide in the game.

Collingwood moved closer to a victory—"The kids were sensational again" hopeful coach TONY SHAW said after the match. The Pies are still without a win in a June game for four seasons under Shaw – ADELAIDE 14.15-99 (Jarman 5, McLeod 5) best, Burton, Hart, McLeod, COLLINGWOOD 14.10-94 (S.Rocca 3) best, Betheras, Lane, Crosisca.

<||> The dynamic PETER MATERA returned after two weeks suspension with a best-afield performance for West Coast in Sunday's fine weather at Subiaco Oval for 32,596 fans. The Eagles handed an 11-goal thrashing to Port Adelaide, romping away with eight of the last nine goals.

Peter Matera collected 30 possessions, sweeping through the midfield in characteristic fashion—when he left the game late in the dying minutes, the Perth crowd gave him a standing ovation. After successive defeats by Carlton and the Kangas, the Eagles regained leadership of the table (Essendon were top for 18 hours) with many of their old guard in top form—GLEN JAKOVICH (who slotted a booming goal late in the third), DEAN KEMP, ASHLEY McINTOSH and CHRIS MAINWARING (until injured). One of the few winners for Port was CHE COCKATOO-COLLINS who had the better of GUY McKENNA. Though Port found it difficult to penetrate the Eagles defence. West Coast coach MICHAEL MALTHOUSE rated them: "I will be terribly surprised if they don't make the eight" – WEST COAST 21.11-137 (Metropolis 4, Cummings 4) best, Peter Matera, Jakovich, Kemp, PORT ADELAIDE 11.6-72 (Cockatoo-Collins 3) best, Steinberner, Francis, Paxman.

<||> A blustery wind under skies tinged with blue welcomed the Swans to Princes Park for the 95th time against Carlton which resulted in only their 20th win there over the Blues. A fair attendance of 26,006 watched the Red-and-White sweep to their best victory over Carlton for 57 years at what is now also called Optus Oval.

In a sometimes painful arm-wrestle, there was little more than a goal between the two until the last quarter. Fittingly it was PAUL KELLY who got Sydney on a roll in the opening minute of the last quarter, brushing off an ANDREW McKAY (C) tackle to kick a goal over his shoulder. Plugger got his second, then TROY LUFF who had a super game in defence took a DALE LEWIS handball to goal, putting the game out of Carlton's reach. BRAD SEYMOUR also played well for the Swans while SCOTT CAMPOREALE who took out WAYNE SCHWASS collected 30 possessions for the Blues.

Carlton's STEPHEN SILVAGNI (the "full-back of the century") and Sydney's TONY LOCKETT (now the most productive "full-forward of the century") tangled possibly for the last time. The umpires seemed to put away the whistle whenever the ball neared the two—Silvagni ended with three kicks, two handballs (and no goals); Plugger had five kicks, one handball and kicked two goals three behinds. The two for Lockett made him the second-highest goalkicker for the Swans on 413, passing Bob Skilton, but still well adrift of Bob Pratt's 681 – SYDNEY 12.16-88 (Maxfield 3) best, Kelly, Luff, Cresswell, CARLTON 8.13-61 (Pearce 3) best, Beaumont, Ratten, Camporeale.

<||> The swirling wind around the MCG was crisp on Sunday afternoon when 28,350 turned out. Melbourne with three goals in the first six minutes of the last quarter led the Roos by 19pts and they looked home for the upset of the round.

After goals for the Roos to Harvey and Archer cut the Demon lead to six points, no further goals were scored in the remaining 10 minutes—the Kangaroos overtook the undermanned Melbourne side with a succession of behinds (2.10 in the fourth quarter) to get out of jail for the second time in three weeks and steal a one point victory. There was no doubting Melbourne's spirit, plugging gaps after the last-minute withdrawal of captain TODD VINEY (knee), GARRY LYON (back) and MARCUS SEECAMP (hamstring) but the Roos had that extra bit with their small brigade coming to life when it counted.

COREY McKERNAN dominated the centre bounces for the Kangas and dispatched Melbourne's JEFF WHITE ... WAYNE CAREY though not 100% fit still pulled in nine marks and helped himself to 4.4 for the day – KANGAROOS 12.21-93 (Carey 4) best, Carey, McKernan, King, MELBOURNE 14.8-92 (Neitz 3) best, Leoncelli, Hopgood, Schwarz.

1999 Membership figures were published on Monday (21st) and in the table below are compared with the figures charted in the AFL’s 1998 Annual Report —



ADELAIDE 42,120 41,985
BRISBANE 16,931 16,108
CARLTON 25,719 25,402
COLLINGWOOD 32,358 27,099
ESSENDON 29,858 27,099
FREMANTLE 24,896 22,186
GEELONG 21,032 19,971
HAWTHORN 32,120 27,649
MELBOURNE 19,713 17,870
NM-KANGAS 22,080 20,196
PORT ADEL 37,166 38,305
RICHMOND 29,049 27,092
ST KILDA 20,793 23,204
SYDNEY 31,175 31,089
WEST COAST 36,212 37,496
WEST.B'DOGS 20,491 20,064


441,711 422,815

RICHMOND are soon expected to formalise a deal with the Melbourne Cricket Club which will secure the Tigers' future at the MCG for a further 20 years. Richmond have played 394 matches at the G since they left Punt Road in 1965, and 477 overall since they entered the League in 1908.

Speculation circulated that the QSFL club Southport may seek affiliation to play in the Adelaide-based SANFL competition as a stepping stone to the AFL. Southport boast 50,000 members at their social facilities on the Gold Coast.

TREVOR NISBETT was appointed the new CEO of West Coast. Nisbett who joined the Eagles as football manager in 1989 has been acting CEO following the move of BRIAN COOK to Geelong.

The AFL Tribunal ruled on four senior cases when it sat on Tuesday (22nd).
GARY MOORCROFT (Essendon) was found guilty of striking Brisbane's SHAUN HART in the second quarter of Saturday's match at the Gabba and was suspended for three matches. It is Moorcroft's second suspension of the season. He also received a three match penalty from a practice match incident.

DEAN RIOLI (Ess) was found guilty of tripping ADAM HEUSKES (Bri) in the first quarter and was outed for one match. Rioli's suspension would make him ineligible for the Norwich Union Rising Star Award—he was the Round 7 nomination.

STEVEN LAWRENCE (Bri) was found guilty of striking MICHAEL LONG (Ess) and received his first career suspension of one match.

Hawthorn's RICHARD VANDENBERG who pleaded not guilty of tripping TONY FRANCIS (StK) was cleared of the charge.

Essendon appealed the Rioli suspension and in a landmark decision the AFL Appeals Board in a 90-minute hearing on Thursday (24th) overturned the penalty.

The Appeal Board comprising chairman PETER O’CALLAGHAN, QC, JOHN SCHULTZ and BRIAN BOURKE took only three minutes to uphold Rioli’s appeal.

They accepted the evidence of PATRICK McLAUGHLIN, a lecturer on biomechanics at Victoria University, that Rioli had not been in control of his actions when he made contact with Heuskes due to being pushed into the contest by Brisbane player Darryl White.

RAY POULTER, one of Richmond's great centre half-forwards passed away on June 15 aged 70.
Poulter, educated at Richmond Technical School played 170 games between 1946 and 1956, kicking many of 351 goals with booming left-foot torpedo punts. He led the goalkickers at Punt Road with 51 in 1949 and 56 goals in 1950.

Embattled Collingwood coach TONY SHAW on Thursday (24) announced he would not coach the Magpies in 2000. He will complete his four-year stint when the Woods play their final (863rd) game at Victoria Park on Saturday August 28.
The holder of a record 313 matches at Collingwood (1978-94) and captain of the drought-breaking 1990 premiership team, though lacking the success in his four seasons as coach of the Pies, his place in club history is assured.

The first Melbourne radio ratings for the 1999 season covering a full period were released on Tuesday (22) which showed 3AW a sound leader –

Friday (7-12) 11.0 8.5 8.7
Saturday overall (12-6) 15.4 12.5 12.0
Saturday call (2-4.30) 18.2 14.5 13.8
Sunday overall (12-6) 11.2 11.0 9.7
Sunday call (2-4.30) 13.9 13.3 12.3


Collingwood shatter the June hoodoo
Bombers and Dogs in a cliff-hanger
Darren Jarman, 9-straight in a losing side

ROUND 13 — Fri-Sat-Sun, June 25-26-27.
MILESTONES —MARCUS ASHCROFT played his 150th consecutive game with Brisbane dating back to Saturday August 22 1992 against Sydney at Carrara Oval—his career total (1989-99) is 210 with Brisbane ... 200 games for DAMIAN MONKHORST (Col) ... 150 games SHAUN HART (Bri), GLENN ARCHER (NMK) and MICHAEL LONG (Ess) ... 100 matches for DARREN KOWAL (Mel), SEAN WELLMAN (Ade, now Ess), DAVID CALTHORPE (Ess, now Bri), BRENTON SANDERSON (Gee) ... 50th game by BRAYDEN LYLE (PA) ...

<> ESSENDON were recorded with an extraordinary 11 "rushed" behinds against the Bulldogs. Going back five seasons no two-digit figure for any club can be found.

<> The Kangaroos won their fifth successive game against Carlton—their best run of 130 contests since 1925. It passed the three successive wins the Roos enjoyed 1973-74 and 1975-76—during the span North beat the Blues six times in seven games.
<> Carlton's 8.5-53 was the lowest versus the Kangas for 10 years. In 1989-R12 the Blues won 7.9-51 to 5.10-40 at Princes Park. Another 53-pointer of interest was 47 years ago when Carlton and the Roos only kicked five goals each in one game—in 1952-R13, the Blues won 5.23-53 to North 5.8-38 at Princes Park.
<> In the past 30 years, only once in 140 games at the MCG have Carlton kicked a final score lower than on Saturday night. In 1987-R13, the Blues kicked 6.7-43, but it was a winning score versus Richmond 4.3-27.

<> Geelong again lost at home—the Cats have won only once from the past 10 matches on Corio Bay. The win was against Melbourne this year in Round 3.

<> Collingwood's win ended the five-game run by the Saints across 1996-1998.
<> During Tony Shaw's four seasons as coach, Collingwood won one of 15 matches played in the month of June—1996 (4), 1997 (3), 1998 (4), 1999 (4).

<> Brisbane's Sunday opening of 6.4-40 was the third-best against the Swans since 1987—their 10.7-67 at the Gabba in 1993 remains their best first quarter over Sydney.

<> Adelaide's DARREN JARMAN surpassed his previous personal best by kicking nine-straight goals (3, 2, 3, 1) against Melbourne at the MCG on Sunday. His previous best was 8.1 versus Fremantle at Subiaco in 1998-R17.

<> Freo and the Tigers fought out the 261st League one-pointer at Subiaco—the third one-pointer for the season and the second in two weeks. Richmond's MATTHEW RICHARDSON in the match gave another powerhouse performance, kicking 6.6, from 15 marks and 22 kicks.
Richmond from the one-point result climbed into the Eight on percentage, at the expense of Carlton.

<||> A hefty crowd of 55,230 at the G on Friday night were treated to a gritty display from two of the season's front-runners, Essendon and the Western Bulldogs. The Bombers lost both their full-back and full-forward, Lloyd (ankle) and Fletcher (knee) from the contest by quarter time and both possibly for several further matches.

It was tough, relentless stuff by both sides throughout and the Dons went a long way to answering their strongest critics by their gutsy effort when down to the bare 18 men. Many of their players will suffer the effects of the hard slog further than the final siren. The last quarter recorded a lead change on 11 occasions and scores were level twice.

The Bulldogs were tenacious—CHRIS GRANT dominated in the first half before being subdued by SEAN WELLMAN (E) playing his 100th; MATTHEW ROBBINS was a standout in the midfield, while ROHAN SMITH on the forward line kicked five telling goals. No-one will bet which way their next meeting will go—it was a very close call for both – ESSENDON 10.20-80 (Caracella 3) best, Misiti, Mercuri, Heffernan, BULLDOGS 11.10-76 (Smith 5, Grant 3) best, Smith, Grant, Garlick.

<||> Geelong suffered another tell-tale loss at home when the Eagles swept to a powerful 44pt victory before 19,093 in fine and sunny conditions on Saturday—it was the Cats' eighth successive loss and their ninth defeat from the past 10 home matches.

West Coast swept to a commanding lead by quarter time and the balance of the match further emphasised Geelong's deficiency in skill judgement. The Coasters were filled with efficiency as their established players controlled proceedings. No longer a promising player, BEN COUSINS displayed qualities of a champion of today, and further strengthened his Brownlow prospects as he cut through Geelong with 27 disposals. The relentless Eagles maintain their leadership role – WEST COAST 16.16-112 (Cummings 4, White 3, Phillip Matera 3) best, Cousins, Wirrpunda, White, GEELONG 9.14-68 (Burns 5) best, Burns, Mooney, Sholl, Graham.

<||> St Kilda suffered another soul-destroying loss when Collingwood broke their June-hoodoo on a fine and sunny Saturday at Waverley for 40,790 fans. The Pies won the first of 15 matches played in the month of June across four seasons under departing coach TONY SHAW.

Though the Saints were without ROBERT HARVEY (a late exclusion) they were four goals up at half-time yet capitulated to Collingwood, who boasted a mixture of youthful exuberance and the guiding hand of more experienced heads including DAMIEN MONKHORST playing his 200th for the Pies.

The Saints again failed in the third quarter as their lack of confidence became apparent. The Woods seized their opportunities and though only a kick separated the two early in the last term the emotionally charged Pies went away to win by 21 points – COLLINGWOOD 15.13-103 (Tarrant 4, Brown 4) best, Michael, Buckley, Burns, ST KILDA 11.16-82 (Everitt 2, Mitchell 2, McLaren 2) best, McLaren, Burke, Loewe.

<||> Within two minutes of the start of the Saturday night match at Football Park (28,739), Hawthorn lost their most important tool PAUL SALMON—he clashed with Port's WARREN TREDREA and took no further part. Without Salmon, the Hawks lacked direction but were kept in the game by inaccurate kicking from the Power despite the fine clear conditions.

Port led from start to finish and for Hawthorn it was a big disappointment after their huge success the previous week. Port led the way inside the packs and played with intensity. However, they only put the Hawks away in the last quarter for a moderate win by 20 points – PORT 8.17-65 (Cockatoo-Collins 3) best, Burgoyne, Lade, Mead, HAWTHORN 6.9.45 (Chick 2) best, Taylor, Crawford, Thompson.

<||> The Saturday night throng of 36,558 at the MCG witnessed a fierce opening as the Blues hit the Kangaroos with everything but the Great Southern stand. Carlton kicked the first five goals and it seemed, how far the Blues—however, they added only three more before the final siren and lost by six.

The Roos went on a rampage outscoring the Blues 13 goals to three for the rest of the game to run out convincing 36pt winners. They gathered momentum in the second term with Peter Bell, Shannon Grant and Anthony Stevens providing drive through the middle. Roo coach DENIS PAGAN summed up his team's approach: "Over the last couple of weeks, when we've been challenged, we've certainly responded in a most, um, brutal manner."

In the light fog which covered the MCG the Kangaroos posted their eighth successive win – KANGAROOS 13.11-89 (Grant 3, Abraham 3, Dhurrkay 2) best, Grant, A.Stevens, Bell, CARLTON 8.5-53 (Whitnall 4) best, Ratten, Whitnall, Beaumont.

<||> Brisbane in their 10th visit to the SCG buried Sydney with a third-quarter burst when they kicked away with six unanswered goals to win their third 'away' game for the season. The muddy conditions made for a congested game in front of 25,528.

The Lions delivered one of their best performances of the year with CLARK KEATING playing a masterful role in the ruck and kicking three valuable goals against a struggling Swan defence. JUSTIN LEPPITSCH used his speed and skill at both ends—driving the Lions into attack one minute then popping up to take a big grab on the forward line. DES HEADLAND made a great debut for the Lions, goaling with his first kick and he seems assured of a good future. It was a disappointing showing by Sydney following six wins from seven starts. The Lions go into the top four, while the Swans may start to struggle to hold their place with the leaders – BRISBANE 20.13-133 (Molloy 3, Keating 3, Lappin 3) best, Leppitsch, Lappin, M.Voss, SYDNEY 15.8-98 (Lockett 4) best, Goodes, Schwass, O’Loughlin.

<||> The Subiaco crowd of 22,865 on Sunday saw a match riddled with turnovers and the Tigers in a tension-packed final quarter grab a last-gasp victory over Fremantle. MATTHEW RICHARDSON continued his succession of great performances with another best-afield showing—in the first 10 minutes he had taken five marks and slammed home two goals.

In spite of the big opening from Richmond, the Dockers came into their own in the second term when DANIEL BANDY racked up 14 possessions and Freo took a 13pt lead at the long break. Richo turned it on in the third with a further six marks and 11 kicks which yielded only 2.3, but it was enough for the Tigers to go into the last term eight points up.

The final quarter was as tight as one could want—level four times and five lead changes—with 90sec left a misdirected kick landed with BEN HOLLANDS who under enormous pressure goaled from the right forward pocket to bring home a one-point win for Richmond, and elevation to eighth place – RICHMOND 19.13-127 (Richardson 6, Holland 3) best, Richardson, Campbell, Knights, FREMANTLE 19.12-126 (Water-house 4, Willis 3, Michael 3) best, Fletcher, Waterhouse, Bandy.

<||> A more desperate Melbourne got back into the race for the finals with a confidence-lifting three-goal win over Adelaide in fine and windless conditions at the MCG on Sunday for a crowd of 22,371. The Demon forward pair of DAVID SCHWARZ and DAVID NEITZ with a total of eight goals finished the fine work upfield from JEFF WHITE, SCOTT CHISHOLM and ANDREW LEONCELLI. Also stepping up a notch for the Demons was TRAVIS JOHNSTONE.

DARREN JARMAN played a lone hand for the Crows kicking with laser-like accuracy a personal best of nine-straight, but his great effort was ruined by otherwise poor shooting from Adelaide. Melbourne after half-time were the more desperate and blanketed many key playmakers expected to provide Adelaide with greater spirit. It was a fine team effort by Melbourne who will next be tested by the Eagles under lights at Subiaco on Saturday – MELBOURNE 16.13-109 (Schwarz 5, Neitz 3) best, Schwarz, Johnstone, Neitz, ADELAIDE 13.13-91 (Jarman 9.0) best, Jarman, Burton, Bassett.

The AFL Tribunal dealt with four cases at its hearings on Tuesday (29th).

Geelong captain GARRY HOCKING at his 12th Tribunal appearance and his third this season pleaded not guilty to a charge relating to him standing on the leg of DAVID WIRRPUNDA (WC) in the last quarter of Saturday's game at Geelong. The Tribunal found Hocking to be not guilty.

Essendon full-back DUSTIN FLETCHER was found guilty of the charge of kneeing Western Bulldogs ruckman LUKE DARCY to the head and was suspended for three matches.

Adelaide captain MARK BICKLEY was suspended for one match after being found guilty of striking Melbourne's BEN BEAMS. It was Bickley's second suspension of 177 games since 1991.

In a brief hearing, Carlton's DARREN HULME on pleading guilty was fined $1200 for wrestling Kangaroo defender DAVID KING.

AFL Football Operations Manager IAN COLLINS on Friday (25th) announced the Board for Football Victoria had been formed – the body responsible for all strategic areas in developing the game within Victoria. Former head of the Tribunal, NEIL BUSSE, was named Chairman.

A nominations committee was jointly established by the AFL, Victorian Football League (VFL), Victorian Country Football League (VCFL), Victorian Metropolitan Football League (VMFL) and Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA) with the Board members approved by the AFL Commission.

“Football Victoria will assume control of next season’s expanded VFL competition, as well as all strategic areas related to developing the game,” Mr Collins said.

JOHN CAHILL, one of Port Adelaide’s famous sons and the club seem headed for the Supreme Court over allegations Cahill leaked confidential player information to rival clubs.

Cahill after playing 267 matches with the Magpies coached Port for 18 seasons, including 10 SANFL premierships and was their inaugural AFL coach when they entered the national competition in 1997. He was replaced at the end of 1998 and presently works in the media with Adelaide radio station MMM.

The Age newspaper confirmed two clubs, Geelong and Fremantle had written to Port Adelaide in relation to John Cahill.

Cahill's lawyer Greg Griffin said he expected defamation proceedings would commence against Port  on Thursday.

The former Essendon, West Torrens and Sturt player died suddenly on June 27 aged 59 while holidaying on the Mediterranean island of Corsica.

Noted for his prodigious drop kicks, after 64 matches (1956-60) with the Bombers including the 1957 and 1959 losing VFL grand finals he transferred to SANFL club West Torrens at the age of 21. Bob captained the Eagles for three seasons until crossing to Sturt.

In 121 games under coach Jack Oatey between 1966 and 1971 he led the Double Blues to five successive premierships. Shearman, a noted half-back also captained SA to their memorable MCG victory over Victoria in 1963.

The St Kilda centreman who played 156 matches (1941 & 1943-52) passed away on June 27 aged 79. Bray had an amazing record in Brownlow Medal counting as second in 1947 (beaten by two votes), third in 1949 (three votes) and third in 1952 (two votes). He also finished fifth and eighth. Harold twice won the St Kilda best & fairest award in 1945 and 1947.

Sydney Lord Mayor FRANK SARTOR on July 1st presented the ceremonial keys to the city to TONY LOCKETT to mark his achievement on becoming the AFL’s all-time goalkicker.

The Sydney full-forward is only the third individual footballer to be presented with the keys, following rugby league legend CLIVE CHURCHILL and rugby union great DAVID CAMPESE and only the fifth individual sportsman along with former Formula One champion SIR JACK BRABHAM and yachtsman IAIN MURRAY.


Roos fight back for 10th straight
After 13 seasons, 100th to Dean Wallis
Craig Bradley plays his 300th

ROUND 14 — Fri-Sat-Sun, July 2-3-4.
MILESTONES — CRAIG BRADLEY (Carlton) played his 300th match—the 35th to achieve this in League football and only the third player for the Navy Blues ...   PETER SOMERVILLE (Ess) played his 150th ... 100 matches for DEAN WALLIS (Ess), DAMIEN HARDWICK (Ess), MATTHEW CROFT (FWB), AUSTINN JONES (StK), ADAM HEUSKES (Syd, PA, now Bri) ... 50 games for JOHN STEVENS (Syd), ROBERT POWELL (Rch), BRETT MONTGOMERY (WB), SHAUN McMANUS (Fre), JOEL BOWDEN (Rch), NATHAN EAGLETON (PA) ... WEST COAST played their 300th AFL game ... The SWANS played their 200th game at the Sydney Cricket Ground ... LEIGH MATTHEWS in game 238 as an AFL coach with Collingwood (1986-95) and Brisbane (1999) suffered his 100th defeat ...

Attendances reached 283,061 for the eight games of Round 14 to exceed the 1997 record of 282,401.

<> The KANGAROOS posted their 10th successive victory—22 wins from their past 26 outings. The best run of success for the Arden Street boys was registered last season winning 11 on end—Adelaide broke the run in the Grand Final.

<> ADELAIDE kicked a new top score of the season – 25.9-159 which included four "rushed" behinds. It topped the Crows' 23.17-155 versus Sydney in Round 5 and Geelong's 24.11-155 against the Bulldogs in Round 2.

Dean Wallis: 100 games in 12 years, 49 days
Three Essendon players celebrated milestones in the Round—PETER SOMERVILLE his 150th (1988-1999), while DAMIAN HARDWICK (1994-99) had his 100th alongside DEAN WALLIS (1987-99).

The remarkable thing is that Wallis took seven seasons longer than his teammate Hardwick to attain his century. Dean Wallis in his 13th season with Essendon is the longest continuous serving player of attachment to one club to achieve his 100th game.

It is the longest span taken to reach a century in League footy for more than 70 years. Dean Wallis however is four years faster than it took JIMMY JACKSON.

Jackson played one game with St Kilda in 1909, then 93 matches with Collingwood in the seasons of 1910-15 and 1920. He then played with Hawthorn in the VFA in 1921-24 and finally reached 100 League games in 1925 as captain of Hawthorn when they entered the VFL. Jackson took 16 years and 43 days to reach 100 VFL matches; Wallis did it in 12 years and 49 days. Overall, Jackson played 116 games in the League until he retired in 1926.

<> Sydney's 8.2-50 opening quarter on Sunday (their biggest of the season) was the fifth eight-goal start in 133 games against the Bulldogs. The top was Round 4 1986-SCG when they led by 46pts at the first break, 8.7-55 to 1.3-9.
In the previous times the Red-and-White went on to big victories by 89, 78, 76 and 108pts unlike Sunday, when they suffered an inglorious defeat, surrendering a 40pt lead at quarter time.

<> Carlton played their 2,050th League game.

<> Three successive weeks with One-Point Results! — the first time this has occurred since 1958 when there were one-pointers in Rounds 4-5-6.

<||> Slippery conditions were the order under misty rain at the MCG on Friday night where 29,462 watched a one-point result. Port kept their finals aspirations alive when they clipped the Magpies.

Collingwood in an excellent start set the tone with veteran GAVIN BROWN having a hand in most of their five first-quarter goals. After Sav Rocca, Tarrant and Freeborn had given the Pies plenty of the ball, the pendulum started to swing Port's way just before half time when Tredrea in a low scoring game bagged his first. After being goalless for a quarter and a half the Magpies swept back in the dying stages, kicking four goals to almost snatch victory. Collingwood captain NATHAN BUCKLEY was fired up all evening, collecting 39 possessions and as Port and the Pies traded goals in the final quarter it was very tight, with the Power just holding on to make it three wins from their last four games – PORT 12.16-88 (Chalmers 2, Eagleton 2, Wanganeen 2) best, Wanganeen, Tredrea, N.Stevens, COLLINGWOOD 13.9-87 (Freeborn 4) best, Buckley, Burns, Tarrant.

<||> The Roos and the Lions turned on a top pressure contest on Saturday afternoon at the MCG in overcast but windless conditions. Only 24,189 witnessed a highly skilled spectacle.

The Roos were behind most of the game as the Lions with a dominating midfield of MICHAEL VOSS, SIMON BLACK and SHAUN HART (who racked up 80 possessions between them) set up the opportunities. However, Brisbane's forward thrust through Molloy (four goals) and Champion (three) was just not enough.

COREY McKERNAN and WAYNE CAREY in the last half negated the centre-of the-ground influence by the Lions for the Kangaroos to come from behind at half time to win under those conditions for the fourth time this season. The greedy and great two-point victory was their fifth win by less than 12 points this season. As the Roos won their 10th straight—Brisbane made a booking for a top four spot in the finals – KANGAROOS 15.12-102 (McKernan 4, Carey 3) best, McKernan, A.Stevens, McCartney, BRISBANE 15.10-100 (Molloy 4, Champion 3) best, M.Voss, Black, Champion.

<||> On a grey Saturday afternoon at Waverley Park, a bumper 43,614 saw the Saints in slippery conditions break their three-week bogey to spring back into contention with a solid 41pt victory over a disappointing Richmond.

With the scoreboard showing their wastefulness of 4.12, the Saints held a slender one-point lead at the long break. Then big-bad-bustling BARRY HALL with strong marking rose for the Saints to kick five of his six goals after half time. The long-term signings by Richmond during the week of Richardson, Daffy, Knights and Campbell may have dampened enthusiasm as apart from Campbell, the others had quiet games with Richo well held by SHANE WAKELIN – ST KILDA 13.18-96 (Hall 6) best, Hall, Harvey, RICHMOND 8.7-55 (Plapp 2, Richardson 2) best, Campbell, Holland, Plapp.

<||> "The Eagles were flat but Melbourne were flatter" reported MATT PRICE in The Australian. The Saturday night contest at Subiaco Oval for 33,541 though played in good conditions was a lack-lustre affair. A highlight of the game was the contribution from the Eagles' forward-duo SCOTT CUMMINGS and PHILLIP MATERA—their eight goals (four a-piece) took their efforts to 96 (47.29%) of the 203 goals kicked in 14 games.

Only on one occasion did Melbourne appear a threat—early in the third term during a period of dominance only 1.3 was the result. MICHAEL BRAUN was alive for the Eagles and with ASHLEY McINTOSH and GLEN JAKOVICH resuming to their best, they skipped away to a thorough but dull win – WEST COAST 16.16-112 (Cummings 4, Phillip Matera 4) best, Braun, Jakovich, Phillip Matera, MELBOURNE 11.11-77 (Robertson 3) best, White, Leoncelli, Hopgood.

<||> The Bulldogs on a beaut Sunday afternoon enjoyed a tenacious victory at the SCG and exposed Sydney as the "great pretenders". Every side who are 40pts up at quarter time and get rolled, deserve to be ridiculed. The SCG crowd of 28,420 saw the fighting Westerners win with vigour, spirit and a belief in their ability never to be beaten. In contrast, Sydney coach RODNEY EADE will remain mystified why his charges lost.

Following a near-to-perfection opening of 8.2-50 to 1.4-10, the undisciplined effort by Sydney after quarter time will be pivotal to them missing the finals. BRAD JOHNSON sparkled on the wing for the Doggies while STEPHEN POWELL and CHRIS GRANT were lively on the forward line. Their ferocious tackling and skills overtook the Swans who though given other chances, but blew those away by kicking 1.9. The Doggie victory can only swell the Westerners with pride – BULLDOGS 18.15-123 (Grant 3, Powell 3, Winmar 3) best, Johnson, Smith, Grant, SYDNEY 14.17-101 (Lockett 3) best, Kelly, O’Loughlin, Nicks.

<||> Essendon cruised through the match which had been billed as a danger game—the Bombers at the MCG under clear Sunday skies for a good 35,273 were comfortable victors over Fremantle. MARK MERCURI (E) was a standout performer on the day with 24 touches and three goals.

BARRY YOUNG and JOE MISITI were also fine contributors for the Dons while one of the highpoints of the day came late when DEAN WALLIS in his 13th season kicked two goals in his 100th senior game. In a triple celebration PETER SOMERVILLE played his 150th and DAMIAN HARDWICK his 100th. Key playmakers for Dockers, CLIVE WATERHOUSE and ASHLEY PRESCOTT were blanketed while TONY MODRA was restricted to only two goals. With Lloyd, Hird, Fletcher and Lucas (among others) still to return and bolster the outfit, Essendon can only get better and sitting equal-top with a 2 game buffer, it is a mean feat – ESSENDON 16.12-108 Alessio 3, Mercuri 3) best, Mercuri, Solomon, Long, FREMANTLE 10.12-72 (Michael 2, Modra 2, Wills 2) best, Fletcher, Wills, Michael.

<||> Fine and windy conditions were experienced at Waverley Park on Sunday when 48,353 saw Carlton captain CRAIG BRADLEY play his 300th game. His team were easy winners over a disappointing Hawthorn in a match marred by a high rate of errors.

Hawthorn coach KEN JUDGE summarised the match—noting that 36 per cent of his team's disposals were turned over to Carlton—"that's one in every three kicks ... that's pretty ordinary". LANCE WHITNALL was a standout for the Blues with 12 kicks, 10 marks, four goals, and he had a hand in three more. For Hawthorn, it took them more than three quarters to kick three goals and only a late three made the scoreboard respectable. ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES played a constructive game for the Blues and with 27 touches was best afield.

Hawthorn captain SHANE CRAWFORD copped a fair bit of physical punishment which drew further comment from Judge, while JONATHAN HAY was one of the few other Hawks who could hold his head high – CARLTON 13.11-89 (Whitnall 4) best, Allan, Ratten, Koutoufides, HAWTHORN 7.13-55 (Lekkas 3) best, Salmon, N.Thompson, Graham.

<||> Adelaide had kicked the highest score of the season, defeated Geelong by 63 points, Jarman booted another six goals and they were one game out of the top Eight ... on the prospect of defending its premiership "I don't give a rat's toss to be frank" coach MALCOLM BLIGHT was quoted saying after the match. Footy Park was in great condition on Sunday afternoon for a customary 40,209 patrons.

Adelaide dominated the match, extending their lead as the game grew longer. DARREN JARMAN gave another showpiece (benched in the second for discipline) kicking five goals (of his six) in the last quarter. Newcomer KEN McGREGOR showed promise with BRETT JAMES and MARK STEVENS under notice, but the Crows' mid-field disposal frequently let them down in spite of their forward accuracy.

Geelong, after a blazing start to the season when they were considered premiership contenders, slumped to their ninth successive defeat and 14th place. The Cats have yet to win against the Crows at Football Park in seven attempts – ADELAIDE 25.9-159 (Jarman 6, Liptak 4, Vardy 4) best, Liptak, Vardy, James, GEELONG 14.12-96 (Graham 3, Clarke 3) best, Graham, Milburn, Arnott.

Former Port Adelaide coach JOHN CAHILL launched Supreme Court action against his old club on Tuesday (6th). His lawyer GREG GRIFFIN seeks an order to have Port Adelaide hand over documents provided by other AFL clubs relating to the issue.

Geelong and Fremantle have said they have written to Port Adelaide on the matter but no details of the letters have been revealed.

Port must respond to the application within 21 days.

The NARRE WARREN Chamber of Commerce on the developing Mornington Peninsula is revamping its shopping centre to attract customers from a nearby complex.

They will be home to the first AFL theme shopping centre boasting —
<> a Brownlow Walk of Fame with plaques honouring all 73 winners
<> goalposts marking the gateway
<> murals featuring AFL mascots
<> a centre-bounce grandstand
<> a Premiership tribute wall.

AFL history will be enshrined in the streetscape to be developed over the next five years. Stage one will be unveiled on Thursday July 15.

The demanding life of a commentator was emphasised as ABC Radio's GLENN MITCHELL called the West Coast-Melbourne game from Subiaco on Saturday night then little more than 12 hours later was on the other side of the country at the Sydney Cricket Ground presenting the Sydney-Bulldog match. No doubt Glenn lined-up back in Perth on Monday morning for a chat in the breakfast program.

Mediation took place last week over an incident which occurred in the June 26 St Kilda-Collingwood match, reported the Herald Sun. The matter arose during a second quarter scuffle between St Kilda's BARRY HALL and Collingwood's ANTHONY ROCCA. Under the AFL's confidentiality rules, neither the League, players involved nor their clubs are obliged to comment.

AFLPA Code of Conduct
AFL players will face fines of up to $10,000 under a code of conduct released by the AFL Players' Association on Monday (5th). Fines range from as little as $100 (for wearing an incorrect uniform or failing to attend a training session) to as high as $10,000.

The new code takes into account areas already dealt with by club and League rules and brings them under one umbrella document.

Under the code, players will be forced to pay for any damage caused to AFL or club facilities. The property of other providers, including hotels, bus and airline operators, is also covered by the clause.

At the insistence of the AFL, players will be fined $5000 if they fail to attend the Brownlow Medal dinner. Failure to attend other events, including after-match functions, guernsey presentations, best-and-fairest dinners, annual general meetings, club balls, family days and authorised autograph sessions, will attract fines of between $250 and $1500. Clubs will enforce the code and decide punishments when it is breached.

Vilification on the grounds of racial, religious or sexual orientation, publicly commenting on umpires or tribunal matters and substance abuse are outlawed, but the code bows to the League and the punishment the tribunal hands down on those issues.

Half of all money collected in fines would be given to the AFLPA's chosen charity, Reach Youth, while the rest would go to the clubs.

The Tribunal heard the single report made from Round 14 on Tuesday, July 6th.

Port's ROGER JAMES was cleared of the video charge of striking SCOTT BURNS (Col). After an hour-long hearing the Tribunal found the video evidence was inconclusive.

MANUKA OVAL in Canberra will receive a $9 million upgrade providing the ACT with a first-class venue for AFL football and cricket. Seating will be increased from 3700 to 9300, with the ground's overall capacity remaining about 14,000.

A new stand will be built at the northern end to provide AFL and ACB-standard dressing room and player facilities.

Corporate and members' facilities will be improved with an extra storey added to the Bradman Pavilion.

The ACT Government will provide $8 million for the redevelopment with the Federal Government adding a further $1 million. Work is expected to be completed by the end of 2000.

Former Collingwood defender PETER EAKINS died in Perth on Sunday (4th) aged 52, following a long battle with cancer.

An All-Australian centre half-back from Subiaco who won the Tassie Medal in the 1969 interstate carnival he was recruited to Collingwood where he played 32 matches in 1970-71-72, before prematurely retiring at only 25 due to knee and back problems.

During his VFL career he worked as a crime reporter for The Herald. He became a successful hotel operator on his return to Perth.

He is survived by his wife Ros and son Timothy, 15.


Top three tumble
Four clubs are equal fifth
Umpire Peter Carey makes a mark
Blight resigns as Crow coach

ROUND 15 — Fri-Sat-Sun, July 9-10-11.
MILESTONES — GUY McKENNA (WC) played his 250th, the first Eagle to achieve this level ... 100 games for BEN GRAHAM (Gee) ... PAUL BARNARD (Ess) played his 50th for the Bombers (also 11 Haw) ... in their 200th AFL match ADELAIDE suffered their 100th defeat ... in a reflex action, experienced umpire PETER CAREY in his 299th game marked the ball in the first quarter at Subiaco Oval. He blew his whistle and bounced the ball to restart play ... for the second time this season the round received no reports ...

<> The three leaders West Coast, Essendon and the Kangaroos were all beaten. The fall of results however brought no change to the front-runners who enjoy a two-game buffer over their rivals.

<> From a half-time deficit of 33 points, the Brisbane club on Saturday night staged the biggest last-half comeback of their 282 League matches, and in so doing there is a remarkable parallel to their winning achievement against Hawthorn in 1995.

The Lions on Saturday were 33pts down at half time—the biggest lead a club has held over them at the long break from which Brisbane have recovered to win. With an outstanding third quarter of 9.4-58 to one behind, the Brisbane Lions swept back and went on to a 31-point victory, 13.14-92 to Hawthorn 9.7-61.

The third quarter of 9.4-58 by the Brisbane Lions was big, but fell short of their best for that quarter which remains as 10.2-62 versus Fitzroy, Round 20 1996 at Princes Park.

Hawthorn's 0.1-1 in the third term was the smallest tally of all 84 quarters they have played against Brisbane since 1987.

In Round 16 1995 at the Gabba, Brisbane at half-time had trailed the Hawks by 31pts, and by 45 at three-quarter time. The Lions (or the Bears of the day) were down by 46 points a minute and-a-half into the final term, then came home to beat Hawthorn by seven points in "The League's Greatest Comeback", 14.20-104 to 14.13-107.

<> West Coast have not defeated Richmond in an MCG night game since 1990.

<> Sydney claimed victory following five successive losses at the MCG. In the five-season span of 1995-99, the Swans have won on five occasions from 14 visits to headquarters.

<> Adelaide's seven-point win in 1991 remains their only victory over the Blues at Carlton from nine attempts.

<> Geelong ended its nine-match losing run, the equal of —
1918, R4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12
1941, R3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11
1944-45, R15-16-17-18, R1-2-3-4-5.

Collingwood have only played at Geelong on four occasions in 12 seasons—the last Magpie win there was in Round 11 1988 on the Queen's Birthday Monday, 16.7-103 to 9.10-64 when 35,322 packed into Kardinia Park.

<> The Bulldogs' 47pt lead over the Kangaroos on Sunday fell shy of their best-ever half-time margin which is 57 points, 11.12-78 to 3.3-21, Round 15 1971 at Waverley – final, Fsc 22.31-163, NM 11.5-71.

<> The Kangaroos run of 10 successive wins came to an end—greater than their nine of 1977-78 (GFR, R1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8) but short of the 11 matches in 1998 (R14-15-16-17-18-19-20-21-22, 4QF, 2PF).

<> Essendon at their ninth visit to Football Park failed—the Bombers have lost six times and won on three occasions— versus Adelaide (92-R14, 99-R10) and once v Port (97-R2).

Adelaide accepts resignation by Blight
Media outlets on Wednesday (14th) were shocked when Adelaide chairman BOB HAMMOND announced his club had reluctantly accepted the resignation of dual premiership coach MALCOLM BLIGHT.
Blight will step down at the end of the season for personal reasons.
"I'm pretty tired actually," Blight told a press conference.
"I have been going for 30 years in this game now and when we started to review the season and talk about the year 2000 and what the club should do . . . I just couldn't get my whole mind around it."

<||> Richmond caused one of the upsets of the season when they comfortably accounted for West Coast, the ladder leaders for the past 11 weeks. The 29-point win was gained in fine but often slippery conditions at the MCG on Friday night for 32,564 fans.

The Tigers were big starters kicking four goals in the opening seven minutes. But the Eagles recovered chiefly through the efforts of defenders DAVID WIRRPUNDA and GUY McKENNA (playing his 250th) and appeared to have the measure of Richmond as they went away in the second term to lead by 16pts at the long break. The Tigers worked their way back due to some excellent midfield work from WAYNE CAMPBELL (41 touches for the night), paving the way for good work from MATTHEW ROGERS and CLAY SAMPSON.

MATTHEW RICHARDSON gave the Tigers another fine game with six goals. Though West Coast admittedly were under-manned without Cousins, Peter Matera and Gehrig it was a telling defeat—the Eagles haven't beaten Richmond in a night game at the MCG since 1990. From their last 10 visits to headquarters (1996-99) West Coast have won only twice – RICHMOND 16.8-104 (Richardson 6) best, Campbell, Richardson, Gale, WEST COAST 11.9-75 (Cummings 3) best, McKenna, Wirrpunda, Mainwaring.

<||> The prospect of Adelaide defending its premiership darkened further when they were pummelled by the Blues at Princes Park under winter sunshine on Saturday afternoon—22,720 attended. Carlton gave one of its best performances for the season with BRAD PEARCE at full-forward returning five goals.

The Blues in a 10 goal to four last half tore the injury-racked Crows to shreds with MATTHEW ALLAN earning plenty of applause with 38 hitouts, 21 touches and 11 marks—a great day for the athletic ruckman. In the midfield JUSTIN MURPHY dominated with 37 disposals. For the match Carlton gathered a remarkable 402 possessions to Adelaide's 255—such was the gap in class. STEPHEN SILVAGNI restricted the in-form DARREN JARMAN to just four touches and two goals.

Carlton retained eighth place while the Crows slid back down to 12th and while only two games from their Eight, they are a mile off the pace – CARLTON 20.16-136 (Pearce 5, Whitnall 4) best, Allan, Koutoufides, Silvagni, ADELAIDE 13.10-88 (Burton 4, Vardy 4) best, Koster, Smart, Bickley.

<||> Bottom-placed Collingwood made a rare visit to Geelong to play the Cats who were on a nine-game losing streak—it was never meant to be a show-piece but the result was a cliff-hanging three-point result for the 24,395 fans in good Saturday afternoon conditions.

The Magpies with a seven-goal opening and SAV ROCCA having a day out with seven goals to three-quarter time it seemed that the statistically worst team in the League would hold on for their third win of the season. Both coaches at the last break sought the passion of their fans to awake their players with each taking their squads to opposite ends of the field. JOHN BARNES took a speckie within moments of the re-start and kicked a major for Geelong to draw within 14 points ... DAVID MENSCH missed two gettable shots and when ANTHONY ROCCA goaled for the Pies the margin was back to 18pts. Then, JASON SNELL got his fourth for the Cats and RONNIE BURNS bagged a gem—another from STEPHEN KING and Geelong were within a point.

With 19 minutes gone DAVID MENSCH took a pass from King and snapped a goal—the Woods had two more chances but only one behind resulted and the Cats clung on until the siren. The unlikely question was posed—can Geelong win the remaining seven games and make the finals? Stay tuned ... GEELONG 19.14-128 (Snell 4) best, Arnott, Riccardi, Corrigan, COLLINGWOOD 19.11-125 (S.Rocca 7.2) best, S.Rocca, Buckley, A.Rocca.

<||> Melbourne with only two wins from their past eight outings faced Sydney who were similarly embarrassed after their Bulldog debacle. The winter sunshine welcomed 35,500 to the MCG on Saturday afternoon.

After an even two quarters, Sydney produced a good second half against a disappointing Demon effort and finished off the game with a pounding 7.4 to 0.3 to be big winners by a wide 51-points. Stevens, Saddington, Filandia, Cresswell, Kelly and Schwass gave the Swans ascendancy in the midfield which overwhelmed Melbourne with a 99 to 64 possession count in the last quarter.

To avoid confusion between the sides, Sydney wore red-and-white hooped socks, seen only once since the South Melbourne days—in the Centenary rematch in 1996 against the Redlegs – SYDNEY 18.17-125 (Ahmat 4) best, Stevens, Nicks, Saddington, MELBOURNE 10.14-74 (Neitz 3) best, Chisholm, Shanahan, White.

<||> The Saturday night match at Subiaco will be remembered for a single chest mark of the yellow ball taken not by a player—but by a central umpire!
The incident (but not the possession) at the 22-minute mark of the first quarter will be recorded and recalled in years to come by far more than the 24,411 who were present when 42-year-old umpire PETER CAREY (his 299th game) entered the colourful history of League football.

Fremantle maintained their ascendancy over the Saints with a creditable 23pt win. St Kilda (without Harvey) lost both Everitt and Sierakowski to injury during the match but that cannot atone for their lamentable kicking in the third term (2.8) and the bounding spirit of the Dockers. The 20th birthday of ANDREW SHIPP was celebrated in tandem with near-veteran ADRIAN FLETCHER who totalled 57 possessions between them for Freo. Though in line for the finals, the Saints delivered a puzzling stat—having lost to all three bottom sides, Hawthorn (14th), Fremantle (15th) and Collingwood (16th) – FREMANTLE 16.11-107 (Modra 5) best, Fletcher, Bandy, Black, ST KILDA 12.12-84 (Mitchell 3) best, A.Thompson, Burke, Hudghton.

<||> The Brisbane Lions were swamped by Hawthorn's opening with SHANE CRAWFORD in stunning form—in the first half he was the dominant player with 25 touches. A Saturday night crowd of 22,758 were at the Gabba which was soft after pre-match rain.

The Lions trailed by 33pts, the biggest half-time deficit they had faced. Coach Matthews swung the changes at the break and as SIMON BLACK started to contain Crawford, Brisbane emerged with MATTHEW CLARKE dominating ruck contests forcing Salmon to the bench. The move of JASON AKERMANIS from defence to the wing was important with his delivery to the Lions' forward line. Brisbane went on a goal-scoring rampage adding 9.4 to one behind in the third term. Their control went unchallenged, sweeping them to a quality 31-point victory to parallel their great 1995 defeat (as the Bears) over the Hawks.

Hawthorn kicked the first five goals and three majors against the flow of play in the second term—their ninth and last did not arrive until 90 seconds from the final siren – BRISBANE 13.14-92 (Akermanis 2, Molloy 2, Power 2) best, Akermanis, Kennedy, Black, HAWTHORN 9.7-61 (Croad 4) best, Crawford, Taylor, Graham.

Heavy early fog cleared to fine but slippery conditions on Sunday at Football Park where both Port and the Bombers were under-manned by injury.  A strong turnout brought 34,671 spectators.

PETER KRUPKA in The Australian reported: "Desperate to keep alive their finals chances, Port out-marked, out-tackled and out-manoeuvred Essendon in almost every department with their rebound from defence ... the statistics tell the story of the match: Port's 91 marks to Essendon's 47 highlighting the aerial advantage of Brett Chalmers, Barnaby French and Brendon Lade as the match wore on." Port ended the six-match winning run of the Bombers and climbed to equal fifth spot, but outside the Eight on percentage.

Port midfielder NATHAN EAGLETON received a knock early in the game and without an opponent near him collapsed several minutes later. He was stretchered, yet following thorough examination returned briefly in the third but sat out the last quarter. On Monday he was diagnosed as suffering Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome which affects the electrical system of the heart. He will undergo surgery for the complaint – PORT ADELAIDE 14.15-99 (French 3) best, Francou, Francis, Burgoyne, ESSENDON 9.8-62 (Misiti 2, Alessio 2, Heffernan 2) best, Alessio, Mercuri, Fraser.

The Western Bulldogs on Sunday stamped themselves as one of the leading contenders for this year's premiership when they burst the Kangaroo bubble of 10-straight victories with an impressive 42pt victory in front of 44,683 fans. The Doggies were too fierce and competitive and led by 11 goals at one stage—it was a comprehensive win with a classic performance from CHRIS GRANT. The top Dog forward kicked six without a miss and delivered his best bag since 95-R15 at Western (Whitten) Oval when he kicked 7.3.

The Dogs were dynamic with SCOTT WYND dominant in ruck contests while SCOTT WEST, NATHAN BROWN, BRAD JOHNSON, MATTHEW ROBBINS, PAUL DIMATTINA and STEPHEN POWELL gave great service in a huge team effort.

Many Roos worked hard—Simpson, McKernan, King, Bell and Pickett—but wasn't enough and proved a great day for the Dogs – BULLDOGS 23.12-150 (Grant 6, Montgomery 4) best, NG Brown, S.West, Johnson, KANGAROOS 16.12-120 (Dhurrkay 3) best, Simpson, Bell, Carey.

For the second time in the season Round 15 brought no senior reports. There was also a clean slate in Round 11 on June 11-12-13-14.

Master statistician COL HUTCHISON confirms the most recent time we had two rounds without reports in a season was in 1995 when Round 6 and Round 20 were clean. Other years without reports for two rounds were: 1994, 1992 and 1988.
To achieve a triple whammy—three rounds without a report, the last time this occurred was in 1983.

Essendon, Carlton and Collingwood announced on July 8 they are likely to field their own teams in the revamped VFL competition next year.

St Kilda and Richmond were also expected to follow suit, with the Kangaroos mulling over whether they might base their reserves into the Ovens and Murray League in north-eastern Victoria.

The other prospects after the reserves end this season will be the Western Bulldogs forming a dual alliance with existing VFL sides Williamstown and Werribee; Hawthorn may link with Box Hill, while Melbourne were understood to be talking with Sandringham, Springvale and Port Melbourne.

The Lions will roar again with the Brisbane Lions granting approval for the use of the name to create the Coburg Fitzroy Lions.

National Under 18 championships
WA & Queensland take titles
The 1999 AFL Under 18 National Championships were conducted in Brisbane and the Gold Coast region between July 3 and 10.

Western Australia took out its first Division One title since 1985 when it defeated the favoured Vic Metro at the Gabba in the curtain-raiser to the Brisbane-Hawthorn match on Saturday July 10th. In light rain, both sides demonstrated the pride and passion held for state guernseys in a thrilling last quarter.

Queensland, coached by former Sydney Swans captain Mark Browning scored a convincing 33-point win over defending Division Two champions NSW-ACT in heavy conditions at Coorparoo on Friday.

Third & Fourth: SA 6.5-41 d Vic Country 7.13-55.
DIVISION TWO—QUEENSLAND 13.12-90 defeated NSW-ACT 8.9-57.
Third & Fourth: Tasmania 13.13-91 d Northern Territory 7.7-49.


Koops pleads guilty of taking pethidine
Verdict: no penalty on player
STEVEN KOOPS, the 20-year-old Fremantle player on Friday (16th) appeared before the AFL Tribunal in Melbourne and pleaded guilty to a charge of testing positive to the banned substance pethidine.

Koops was randomly tested by the Australian Sports Drug Agency on May 12, the day after having an athroscopy on his right knee. During the operation Koops had been administered with the painkiller pethidine.

The tribunal's decision was:

1. In view of the guilty plea it is not open to the tribunal to find that there were exceptional circumstances pursuant to section 13:2 of the code that would enable the tribunal to determine that a doping offence has not occurred.

2. We find that Steven Koops has committed a doping offence under the Anti-Doping Code.

3. The sanction in relation to this particular offence for a first offence is a ban of up to three months.

4. In this case we have found, pursuant to section 12.10 of the code; (a) a positive test resulted from reasonable therapeutic activity at the prescription and direction of a duly qualified medical practitioner; (b) the player has established to the satisfaction of the tribunal that he did not know that he had taken or been administered the relevant substance; (c) the player has acted reasonably in all the circumstances.

5. As a consequence of these matters the tribunal does not impose any sanction against the player.

The AFL supported the decision of the tribunal, but stressed the hearing would have been avoided if Fremantle's medical staff had informed the League of the operation.

Fremantle may be fined $5000 for its failure to notify the League.

Special note: In 2002 –

The AFL Tribunal on Monday (April 29, 2002) overturned a 1999 conviction and cleared the name of Fremantle's STEVEN KOOPS.

Under extraordinary circumstances, Koops on July 16, 1999 pleaded guilty to the AFL Tribunal on the charge of testing positive to the banned substance pethidine. He was randomly tested on May 12, 1999 by the Australian Sports Drug Agency, the day after having an arthroscope on his right knee. During the operation Koops had been administered with the painkiller pethidine.

The Tribunal in 1999 found Koops guilty as was his plea, but although no sanctions were applied, his name was entered to an ASDA register of doping offenders.

Since that time, the Fremantle club who were fined $5000 by the AFL for failing to notify the League of the surgery has worked hard to clear the name of Steven Koops.

DARYL TIMMS reported in the Herald Sun: Although the AFL Tribunal cleared Koops, he still faces a battle to have his name removed from official ASDA documents which show him as a drug offender. Fremantle is expected to make a submission to ASDA, outlining the extraordinary circumstances of the case. An ASDA spokesman said it could be difficult to remove Koops' name because of legislation.

The AFL has introduced rules changes to stop players, in similar circumstances as Koops, from being drug tested.


Herald Sun rates Matthews the best

The Herald Sun for six days from July 12 to 17 presented an attractive series of daily liftouts covering the Top 200 Footballers of the Century and the Top 20 Coaches of the Century.

Herald Sun football writers Mike Sheahan, Trevor Grant, Geoff Poulter, Bruce Matthews, Scott Gullan, Michael Horan, Jon Anderson, Michael Stevens, Ron Reed, Mark Stevens, Mark Robinson, Daryl Timms and Leo Schlink each nominated their top 200 players and top 20 coaches.

The results of their findings were published on Friday and Saturday.

The leaders of the Top 200 Footballers of the Century were:


LEIGH MATTHEWS (Hawthorn (1969-85)
2 TED WHITTEN Sr (Footscray 1951-70)
3 GARY ABLETT (Haw 1982, Geelong 1984-96)
4 GRAHAM 'Polly' FARMER (East Perth 1953-61, Geelong 1962-67, West Perth 1968-71)
5 WAYNE CAREY (North Melbourne 1989- )
6 IAN STEWART (Hobart 1962, StK 1963-70, Rch 1971-75)
7 JOHN COLEMAN (Essendon 1949-54)
8 TONY LOCKETT (StK 1983-94, Syd 1995- )
9 JOHN NICHOLLS (Carlton 1957-74)
10 HAYDN BUNTON SR (Fitzroy 1931-37, 42)

The leaders of the Top 20 Coaches of the Century were:


NORM SMITH (Fitzroy 1949-51, Melbourne 1952-67,
South Melbourne 1969-72)
2 JOCK McHALE (Collingwood 1912-49)
3 MALCOLM BLIGHT (North Melbourne 1981, Woodville 1983-87
Geelong 1989-94, Adelaide 1997- )
4 RON BARASSI (Carlton 1965-71, North Melbourne 1973-80,
Melbourne 1981-85, Sydney 1993-95)
5 ALLAN JEANS (St Kilda 1961-76, Hawthorn 1981-87, 89-90,
Richmond 1992)
6 KEVIN SHEEDY (Essendon 1981- )
7 DAVID PARKIN (Hawthorn 1977-80, Fitzroy 1986-88,
Carlton 1981-85, 91- )
8 TOM HAFEY (Richmond 1966-76, Collingwood 1977-82
Geelong 1983-85, Sydney 1986-88)
9 JOHN KENNEDY (Hawthorn 1960-63, 67-76, North Melbourne 1985-89)
10 LEN SMITH (Fitzroy 1958-62, Richmond 1964-65)



Essendon take top place
Doggies brilliant comeback
Tony Modra passes 500 goals

ROUND 16 — Fri-Sat-Sun, July 16-17-18.
MILESTONES — CHRIS MAINWARING (WC) played his 200th game ... 100 games for JASON NORRISH (Mel, now Fre) ... 50 matches for ADAM KINGSLEY (PA) ... ANTHONY ROCCA played his 50th for Collingwood, also 22 Sydney ... TONY MODRA became the 35th player to kick 500 League goals in his games with Adelaide and Fremantle.

<> MATTHEW RICHARDSON with 7.1 kicked the best by a Tiger against Melbourne since PHIL EGAN booted the same tally in a day game at the MCG Round 19 1988.

<> Adelaide held the Bulldogs to their second goalless opening of the season, 0.3 to 4.4 — which makes the comeback to victory in the last term impressive.
The three-quarter time margin was 40 points in favour of Adelaide and the Bulldog win by two points provided the greatest comeback ever by the Bulldogs.
The biggest previous deficit the Tricolours had faced and won from in their 1495 League matches, was in Round 21 1983 at Moorabbin when the Doggies trailed St Kilda by 39 points, 12.12-84 to 7.3-45. Footscray won the match by six points, 16.4-100 to 13.16-94.
<> DARREN JARMAN with further five goals in his 190th game (Haw, now Ade) reached 300 career goals.

<> The Saturday night Kangaroos-Cats game at the SCG was in competition with a 'sold-out' rugby league game at the adjacent SFS and a live-to-air rugby union tri-nations match on the Seven Network. The South Sydney-Brisbane NRL game drew 19,426—the AFL crowd at the SCG was 10,676.
<> WAYNE CAREY for the 10th time kicked seven goals or more in a game. His 9.3 against the Cats at the SCG was short only to his 11.2 in Round 10 1996 versus Melbourne at the MCG. This week will be Carey's 199th game. His goal-career tally is now 528.
Carey with his 9.3 registered the best by a Roo against Geelong—previous best was SYD DYER who kicked eight goals in Round 4 1946 at Kardinia Park.

<> TONY LOCKETT (Syd) for the 104th consecutive game kicked a goal—which started Round 10 1993. PETER McKENNA the Collingwood champion did so in 120 games, from the opening round of 1968 to Round 4 1974.

<> ESSENDON's seven goal lead at half-time on Sunday was the greatest margin they had held over Carlton at the long break for 98 years. In Round 7 1901 at the East Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Dons 10.7-67 led the Blues 2.3-15 at half time. The 'Same Old' went on to win that day 15.15-105 to 3.7-25.

<> At their 10th attempt FREMANTLE decisively won their first Western Derby against West Coast in the last match to be played at Subiaco Oval for the season. Construction at the Perth venue will bring a fully-seated oval for 43,500 patrons when it re-opens next May. Remaining games of both West Coast and Fremantle in 1999 will be played at the WACA Oval.

<> 279,628 attended the round—the second highest for Round 16 but falling short of the 1998 record of 294,974.

<||> The Friday night opener at the MCG was played in good, mild conditions and brought Richmond’s fourth win from the past five games. The Tigers took time to find their feet in front of 44,898 but greatly exposed Melbourne’s lack of attacking power.

Richmond controlled the match with MATTHEW RICHARDSON again turning in a powerful forward-line display. His seven goals for the night (27 in the past five games) largely contributed to the 25 point win. The Demons were without drive from both the Febey brothers and Tingay, and while Richmond exerted pressure and fierce tackling it failed to achieve the expected advantages.

Though it was a strong victory—the surprise is, Richmond's margin could have been far greater – RICHMOND 15.17-107 (Richardson 7.1) best, Richardson, Campbell, Gale, MELBOURNE 13.4-82 (Farmer 3) best, Kowal, Viney, Ward.

<||> Saturday afternoon conditions for an audience of only 22,268 at Waverley were fine and mild—the strong breeze to the Wellington Road end gave few problems. The Brisbane Lions maintained their desire to finish in the top four with a workmanlike display, sending St Kilda to their fifth defeat from the past six matches, and the bleak prospect of a tough draw to finish on.

Less than a kick separated the two in the first half then the Lions started to get their free-flowing game going. As the Saints continue their downward spiral, the Lions midfield and ruck strength improves. Lowlights however for the Lions was the loss of ruckman MATTHEW CLARKE who is likely to miss four weeks with a broken bone in his left hand; MICHAEL VOSS jarred a knee–but should be okay for the next match.

Two controversial third quarter goal umpiring decisions (10 minutes apart) resulted in both flag-wavers COLIN HOOD and CRAIG CLARK being dropped for the next round. Each team were awarded a goal, though on both occasions the ball was clearly touched well before the goal line – BRISBANE 16.11-107 (Keating 3) best, Black, Keating, Leppitsch, ST KILDA 10.8-68 (Hall 3) best, Jones, Burke, Francis.

<||> In a spectacular last quarter comeback the Western Bulldogs put paid to Adelaide’s hopes of defending their premiership with a spine-tingling two-point victory at the MCG on Saturday before 27,747 spectators in mild conditions.

The Crows, responding to the midweek resignation of coach Malcolm Blight were on song for a solid win leading by 40 points at the last change. In one of the great revivals in 103 seasons of League footy the Bulldogs kicked 6.7 to one behind, only taking the lead for the first time in the match at the 31-minute mark of the final quarter.

From an almost impossible position, the Bulldogs found that something extra for the last quarter—CHRIS GRANT though held early produced several inspiring marks while PAUL HUDSON who was barely sighted proved his worth ... LUKE DARCY came off the bench to deliver the goal which the levelled the scores. Overall STEPHEN POWELL was one Doggie who gave effort across four-quarters.

Adelaide's MARK STEVENS dislocated his knee cap and will miss at least a fortnight – BULLDOGS 14.15-99 (Cook 5, Smith 3, Hudson 3) best, Powell, Johnson, Cook, ADELAIDE 14.13-97 (Jarman 5, Beinke 2) best, Smart, Hart, Burton.

<||> The SCG on Saturday night was muddy in the centre and soft overall from heavy Sydney rain during the week. The response to the Kangaroo's Sydney experiment was a promising crowd of 10,676. 

The conditions failed to deter a skilful, accurate and powerful display from the Kangaroos who were 55-point victors over an often meek Geelong outfit. WAYNE CAREY (‘The King’) with strong marking and great pace delivered a notable performance with nine goals (seven to half time), yet when Geelong’s TIM McGRATH went onto him he was more restrained in the last half. Carey, Peter Bell, Glenn Archer and Anthony Stevens well served the Roos. After half-time, the Kangas had seven different kickers who added goals – KANGAROOS 22.11-143 (Carey 9.3, Scott 3) best, Carey, Grant, A.Stevens, GEELONG 13.10-88 (Houlihan 3) best, Sholl, Lowther, Houlihan.

<||> The near to gale force winds at Football Park on Sunday spoiled the contest as a spectacle for a strong turnout of 30,750. It came down to a tight eight-point victory for Port Power who climbed over and replaced Sydney in the top Eight.

Never more than a couple of kicks separated the two in what was a hard slogging affair. A 15-point buffer at the last change may have seemed enough to take Sydney over the line but Port came on strongly and despite both sides flooding the defence areas the Power narrowly took the points.

The Swans are now in the danger zone of missing the finals. The result of a striking report in the first quarter against Swan captain Paul Kelly will be critical to their prospects – PORT ADELAIDE 10.12-72 best, N.Stevens, Lade, Mead, SYDNEY 9.10-64 (Lockett 4) best, Schwass, Nicks, Cresswell.

<||> Carlton were handed a game-long battering on Sunday at the MCG where Essendon controlled the contest. The Blues were comprehensively embarrassed in front of 66,207 fans and their finals prospects greatly dimmed. It was another occasion that Carlton were found out not to be of the standard required.

Essendon even though still suffering under the absence of key players through injury were dominant, producing 12 goalkickers in their big score. MARK MERCURI sizzled in the midfield for the Dons while their under-rated defence led by SEAN WELLMAN, DEAN SOLOMON and ANDREW UKOVIC was a brick wall which the Blues could not penetrate.

Carlton's lack of forward's received a further set back when BRAD PEARCE suffered knee strain and may miss two games – ESSENDON 23.8-146 (Lloyd 4, Walls 4, Moorcroft 3) best, Mercuri, Bewick, Ukovic, CARLTON 9.16-70 Camporeale 4) best, Camporeale, Lappin, Beaumont.

<||> Waverley Park was fine and cloudy on Sunday when a big 40,319 watched the Magpies secure their third win of the season over Hawthorn who continue to disappoint. The Pies though leading by 46 points at half-time twice allowed the Hawks to get within 13 points when shades of previous Magpie fadeouts during their lean 1999 were raised.

Collingwood held out the Hawks and went on to win by 32 points. Pie captain NATHAN BUCKLEY gave an outstanding performance with 35 kicks, six marks, eight handballs and three goals, while GAVIN BROWN was a strong contributor.

SAVERIO ROCCA made his last appearance for the year before a knee operation on Tuesday, timed to ready him for 2000 and the new Magpie coach. Vice-captain SCOTT BURNS with a hamstring strain may miss up to three weeks – COLLINGWOOD 18.16-124 (Buckley 3, Brown 3, S.Rocca 3, Michael 3) best, Buckley, Brown, Michael, HAWTHORN 14.8-92 (Lord 4) best, Salmon, N.Thompson, Crawford.

<||> Fremantle turned the tables on West Coast in the Western Derby played under heavy cloud cover at Subiaco Oval on Sunday when a good rollout brought 36,763 fans.

It was the first success by the Dockers over the Eagles at their 10th attempt. Freo slaughtered the Eagles’ midfield while TONY MODRA with 6.2 from full forward became the 35th League player to pass 500 career goals with Adelaide and the Dockers.

Heavy rain in the last term failed to halt the Dockers who extended their 30 point lead at the last change to a resounding 47 point victory. CHRIS MAINWARING played his 200th for West Coast – FREMANTLE 17.17-119 (Modra 6, Wira 3) best, Fletcher, Norrish, Kickett, WEST COAST 11.6-72 (Cummings 3) best, Banfield, Wirrpunda, Cummings.

Melbourne veteran GARRY LYON at 31 announced his retirement on Monday (19th). Persistent back problems brought an end to his great service of 16 seasons for the Demons in 226 games, 426 goals since 1986.

Following 21 appearances in 1998 when Melbourne made the finals, Lyon was restricted to only two matches this year before yielding to the inevitable.

His place in the history of the Melbourne club is assured. His 226 games places him (equal) sixth on the list of longest serving players for the Redlegs and 426 goals ranks him second only to the 546 kicked by the legendary Norm Smith who played for Melbourne between 1935 and 1948.

Lyon's profile in the media with 3AW, the Herald Sun and Channel Nine is expected to continue—or will coaching call him in 2000?

Ansett Cup 2000
Games set for Wellington and Darwin
A new-look Ansett Cup pre-season series will commence with the 'Millennium Game' on New Year's Eve when Carlton play Collingwood at the MCG.

The Ansett Cup 2000 series will be extended from 15 to 27 games with the 16 clubs divided into four groups playing at least three games each in a round-robin. The leading team in each group will advance to semi-finals, with the two winners playing in the Grand Final on Saturday February 26.

The Grand Final is likely to be the send-off and last match to be played at Waverley Park.

The second round match between Essendon and Western Bulldogs on Friday February 4 will open the Colonial Stadium at Docklands and on the following night St Kilda and Melbourne will play there.

Included in the 12 venues to be used in Ansett Cup matches will be the new Westpac Stadium in Wellington NZ, the Cazaly Stadium in Cairns and Marrara Oval in Darwin. Matches will also be played at Waverley, Football Park, the WACA and Geelong. Two Sydney matches will be played at Manuka Oval Canberra, the first on Saturday February 5 and another the following Saturday.

The four groupings are —
GROUP 1: Brisbane, Kangaroos, Richmond, Sydney
GROUP 2: Carlton, Collingwood, Fremantle, Port Adelaide.
GROUP 3: Adelaide, Geelong, Melbourne, St Kilda.
GROUP 4: Essendon, Hawthorn, Western Bulldogs, West Coast.

Two areas of ticket pricing went under the scrutiny of football fans.

The AFL announced an increase of admission to finals this year:

>> A series package of four tickets will increase by $9 to $181.
>> Tickets for the Qualifying and Semi-Finals are up $1 to $27.
>> Seats for the Preliminary Finals are now $47 (up $2).
>> The price of a Grand Final seat is $80, in increase of $5.
>> The Age reported on Tuesday (20th) the price structure for seats at the Colonial Stadium will range from $23-33, including booking charges of between $4-6.
>> General admission charges for the new Docklands venue will be $14 for an adult with an added premium for reserved seats ranging from $5 to $13.

The AFL Tribunal on Tuesday (20th) heard two charges from Round 16.

After an hour hearing Sydney captain PAUL KELLY was found guilty of striking MICHAEL WILSON (PA) in Sunday's match and suspended for one match.

It was Kelly's third suspension— in 1994 he suffered two penalties totalling four games on two striking charges.

HEATH BLACK (Fre) was suspended for one match when found guilty of striking BEN COUSINS (WC) with an arm to the head on Sunday's Western Derby at Subiaco.

The 1999 AFL Players' Association Most Valuable Player Award will be presented at a black-tie event at the Sofitel Hotel in Melbourne on Monday August 30. The AFLPA on the occasion of its 25th anniversary will announce its team of best players since 1974.

The weekly award is sponsored by VIP Home Services and conducted in association with The Australian.


Lions demolish the Eagles
Bombers & Roos turn it on
Blues & Magpies fall away

ROUND 17 — Fri-Sat-Sun, July 23-24-25.
MILESTONES — PORT ADELAIDE registered their fifth-straight victory—the best winning sequence of their 61 AFL games ... 100 games for RON DE IULIO (Car), MATTHEW ROBRAN (Haw, now Ade), JASON BALL (WC), ADRIAN HICKMOTT (Gee, now Car), MARK FRASER (Col, now Ess), SHANNON GRANT (Syd, now NMK) ... 50th games for CLAY SAMPSON (Mel, Ade, now Rch), SIMON BEAUMONT (Car) and BLAKE CARACELLA (Ess) ... ADELAIDE in their 202nd AFL game posted their 100th victory ...

<> ESSENDON and the KANGAROOS produced 44 goals (15 in the first quarter) on Saturday, yet in their 132 contests, one game was greater. In Round 22 1984 at Windy Hill, 46 goals were kicked when the Bombers won 27-7 to 19.17.
<> The 68,831 which attended the Essendon-Kangaroo game was the greatest to watch a home-and-away match between the two. Previous best was 59,354 – 95-R10-MCG.

<> TONY LOCKETT in his 17th League season kicked 6.3 for Sydney on Saturday night against Richmond to pass 50 goals in a season for a record 14th time. His goal tally is now 1330.
Collingwood's GORDON COVENTRY achieved 50-goals or more 13 times in his 1299-goal, 306-game career from 1920 to 1937, while JASON DUNSTALL did so 12 times during his career with Hawthorn 1985-1998.
Lockett in his 272nd game since 1983 for both St Kilda and Sydney, has kicked a goal in 105 consecutive matches.

<> WAYNE CAREY's 10.5 was the biggest haul by an Arden Street player against Essendon of their 132 meetings since 1925. It topped the previous club record of eight goals, twice kicked by SEL MURRAY in 1940 and 1941. Wayne Carey was the 47th player to kick 10 goals or more at the MCG since Collingwood's DICK LEE was the first to do so in 1914.

<> SIMON BEAUMONT's eight goals (all in the first half) was the biggest goal effort by a Carlton player against Collingwood for 28 years, since ALEX JESAULENKO kicked 8.0 in the Second Semi-Final of 1970.

<> BRISBANE with a 10.6-66 opening against West Coast joined an elite group by kicking the 17th score of 66pts or more in 103 seasons of League footy.
<> BRISBANE kicked a new highest score for the season in their 100pt defeat of West Coast. It was the 200th time a margin of 100pts had been recorded in 11,678 League games since 1897, and only the sixth occasion by a margin of exactly 100pts.

<> WEST COAST suffered their heaviest defeat during the reign of coach Malthouse. Overall, the loss in Brisbane ranks third of the worst beatings the Eagles have suffered.

<> 1674 points were scored from the games of Round 17—the highest points total for a round this season.

<||> With both team winning only one of their past five games, the Friday night contest at the MCG drew a moderate crowd of 28,854. The match was played in near-perfect conditions though little spark and only a smattering of skills were displayed as St Kilda powered away to take a strong grip on the result when they led Melbourne by 51pts just before the long break.

The Demons thankfully breathed life into the contest after half time kicking six goals to one and then drew to within three points early in the last quarter. St Kilda however after another third quarter fade out displayed a control absent from recent games to go away with a 19-point win.

PETER EVERITT returned to his best with five goals (including three of the four Saints’ majors in the last half) while captain NATHAN BURKE played a superb leadership game. Also under notice for the Saints was ANDREW THOMPSON with 28 disposals (12 kicks, 16 handballs). St Kilda continue to cling to a place in the top Eight—they play the Crows at Waverley on Saturday – ST KILDA 14.14-98 (Everitt 5) best, Everitt, Jones, Loewe, MELBOURNE 11.13-79 (Schwarz 3, Neitz 2) best, Chisholm, Woewodin, Hopgood.

<||> The Bombers and Kangaroos took the season to a higher level in fine Saturday afternoon conditions at the MCG. A strong turnout of 68,831 witnessed a likely preview of the grand final when the two top-ranked sides met. The game was played at a hectic pace and turned in a goal-fest with 44 kicked for day including a memorable 10 goals by Roo captain WAYNE CAREY. He was matched at the other end by Essendon forward MATTHEW LLOYD who returned 7.2 for the game.

However, the Carey performance was in a losing score as Essendon proved too slick and skilful in the closing stages to win by 26 points. There were flashes of spite in the first term which overflowed to the report sheet—Essendon had Solomon, Young and M.Johnson booked, while Harvey of the Roos will also face the Tribunal.

Both sides during the "four-quarter event" enjoyed brief periods of dominance then each matched the challenges will scintillating passages which engulfed the big crowd. The fans were twice on their feet—for Carey when he kicked his fourth goal for the first term from a left-foot banana kick in front of the Olympic Stand and MATTHEW LLOYD deep into the third quarter at the main scoreboard end with a mid-air soccer volley from the pocket for a fabulous Bomber goal. It was wonderful football with Essendon on this occasion the masters.

Carey’s 10.5 was the best for a losing side since GARY ABLETT kicked 14.7 when Geelong lost to Essendon at the MCG in 1993 – ESSENDON 24.14-158 (Lloyd 7.2, Caracella 3) best, Mercuri, Lloyd, Moorcroft, KANGAROOS (Carey 10.5) best, Carey, Bell, A.Stevens.

<||> At Kardinia Park on Saturday, Geelong were 20pts in front 14 minutes into the final term then stunned the 19,951 in attendance as they surrendered to the Dogs by seven points. For the third time in four weeks, the Western Bulldogs staged a remarkable comeback to snatch victory.

After the 19-minute mark of the last term the Bulldogs kicked four unanswered goals to overtake the Cats. It may not have matched the revival the Dogs had staged the previous week against Adelaide but it provided further proof to the belief the Bulldogs are never without hope. There were many in the red, white and blue who were beaten for most of the match but then, right at the end they dominated.

The Cats had battled hard and when PETER RICCARDI who had an outstanding game (25 touches) with several bounces and a marvellous goal on the run put Geelong up by 20 points they seemed assured of a rare home win. Suddenly Wynd, Scott West, Liberatore, Hudson and Darcy emerged and with only a couple of actions each, the effect was devastating – BULLDOGS 14.14-98 (Cook 3, Hudson 3) best, S.West, Powell, Curley, GEELONG 13.13-91 (Riccardi 3) best, Riccardi, Arnott, Burns.

<||> The SCG looked great on a mild Saturday evening but there will still many slippery patches resulting from recent weather. The Swans without both Kelly (suspended) and O'Loughlin (injured in a hotel room fight) delivered a first quarter killer blow of 7.2 to 2.3 from which Richmond never recovered. The crowd of 29,507 watched the Tigers struggle to catch up for the rest of the game.

The middle of the match became a boring, negative battle when only five goals were scored. The Swans then kicked away in the last quarter for an emphatic 41 point win. WAYNE SCHWASS was hard at the ball (32 disposals) as Sydney started to look better with the return of GREG STAFFORD after 14 weeks absence. ANDREW DUNKLEY did a fine job of containing Richardson while TONY LOCKETT's contribution of six goals was immense—the Swans won an "eight point game" and were back in the Eight.

Richmond's PAUL BRODERICK late in the game suffered two fractures to his right ankle which will end his season – SYDNEY 14.12-96 (Lockett 6) best, Schwass, Dunkley, O’Connor, RICHMOND 8.7-55 (Richardson 4) best, Campbell, Gale, Dragicevic.

<||> For different values both teams at the WACA on Saturday night fought tooth-and-nail for victory—Port to retain their place in the Eight, Freo to win three in-a-row for the first time during a season.  The 22,987 fans saw Port narrowly win their fifth on-the-trot, a landmark for the Power.

Port nullified the Dockers avenue to goal used in recent weeks by flooding the defence and cutting off the supply to the high-flying Modra who was restricted to three goals. Freo however assisted Port's cause by often taking the wrong option and falling back to risky, poor disposal. In his second home-town outing, the former Eagle JARROD SCHOFIELD had a night out for Port with 22 disposals (12 kicks, 10 handballs). It was a tight contest and with Port over the line, the prospect for a home final for the Power improves with every week – PORT 14.12-96 (Dew 3, Francis 3) best, Burgoyne, Lade, Schofield, FREMANTLE 13.11-89 (Modra 3, Wira 3) best, Fletcher, Clement, O’Reilly.

<||> Adelaide defeated Hawthorn by 49pts but it may well have been a three-figure margin had it not been for the irrepressible Hawthorn captain SHANE CRAWFORD who played a wonderful game at Football Park in the fine conditions on Sunday. A parochial band of 38,679 Crow supporters would have been satisfied but it was a far from happy event for Hawthorn.

The Hawks were undermanned and again disappointed  They will be in crisis following the injury to its key ruckman  PAUL SALMON who will miss the remaining five rounds with a fractured cheekbone—the 'Fish' playing his 285th game collided with Adelaide's NIGEL SMART in the third quarter.

Crawford was a standout performer with 41 disposals (23 kicks, 18 handballs) while JONATHON HAY did his bit holding DARREN JARMAN goalless and ANGELO LEKKAS tagged Adelaide's promising BRETT BURTON out of the game – ADELAIDE 18.17-125 (Edwards 4) best, Smart, McLeod, Koster, HAWTHORN 11.10-76 (Dixon 3) best, Crawford, Hay, Treleven.

<||> Visiting American comedian JERRY LEWIS tossed the coin to start the match in the Gabba sunshine on Sunday. Conditions however were soft and spongy following substantial rain in Brisbane. The crowd of 22,186 witnessed one of the great demolitions of recent times—the Brisbane Lions kicked 10.6 in the first quarter, led by 71pts at half time and thrashed West Coast by 100 points.

MARCUS ASHCROFT for the Lions was devastating with an extraordinary 19 disposals (11 kicks, eight handballs) in the first quarter—his game-long stats were 39 disposals. Coach Matthews rated it "as good a half of football you'll get from an on-baller".

Brisbane were rampant throughout and no positional changes by the Eagles stemmed the flow. Ben Cousins, Peter Matera and Mitchell White worked hard for West Coast but the Lions defence simply suffocated their efforts.

The Lions finished with 13 goalkickers—MICHAEL VOSS and JARROD MOLLOY each bagged five. The club achieved the third-highest winning margin of Brisbane's 284 League matches; the Lions kicked their best tally for three seasons; they inflicted West Coast's heaviest defeat in 10 seasons and the Eagles' third worst thrashing since they entered the League in 1987. The Australian reported: "The shell-shocked Eagles simply had no answers" –

West Coast coach MICHAEL MALTHOUSE was again critical of travel arrangements which landed the Eagles in Brisbane on Friday after a seven-hour, two-stops flight from Perth – BRISBANE 25.16-166 (Molly 5, M.Voss 5) best, Ashcroft, Heuskes, C.Scott, WEST COAST 9.12-66 best, Peter Matera, White, Jakovich.

<||> Sunday's disappointing attendance was indicative of the changing fortunes for both Carlton  and Collingwood—53,560 were at the MCG, second to the low of 47,813 in 1987 at headquarters. The potential wooden-spooners playing against an outfit which may feature in the finals was not a 'special' event.

Beyond the first term, the Blues in sunny fashion bombed away another nine goals in the second quarter to have the Pies on toast by half time. The first half had produced 14 goals for Carlton and possibly no-one was more surprised than SIMON BEAUMONT in his fifth season playing his 50th for the Blues—he kicked eight goals in a surprising two quarters of football. It was the biggest goal effort by a Navy Blue against the Pies since ALEX JESAULENKO kicked 8-straight in the 1970 Second Semi.

There were few other highlights—Carlton overwhelmed Collingwood by 57pts, but even coach Parkin is far from convinced that the Blues have the goods "until we do a job against an A grade side in top form" –

Carlton's KOUTOUFIDES sprained his left knee in the game and will out for at least two weeks – CARLTON 23.15-153 (Beaumont 8.1, Lappin 3) best, Ratten, Beaumont, Allan, COLLINGWOOD 14.12-96 (Buckley 4, A.Rocca 4) best, Buckley, Lockyer, Crosisca.

Brereton and Stynes to coach Aussies in Dublin …
DERMOTT BRERETON was named the coach with JIM STYNES his deputy of the AFL All Australian squad which will meet Ireland in a two Test international series in October.

The First Test will be played at the MCG on Friday October 8 and the Second Test the following Friday night at Football Park. Chairman of Selectors for the series will be GERARD HEALY and GRAHAM CORNES, ROBERT DIPIERDOMENICO and ROBERT WALLS will serve as members of the Match Committee.

Brereton's appointment of the All Australian's raised media expectation that the former Hawthorn superstar would be an applicant for the vacant coaching position at Collingwood—a prospect which Dermie strongly denied.

Saints remember two stalwarts
A simple ceremony in the rooms after the Melbourne-St Kilda game values the memory of two men killed in a helicopter crash in 1993. Saints' president ANDREW PLYMPTON accepted the trophy named in honour of NICK SHERNIKAU who was CEO of the Toohey's organisation. The TOM WADDELL Cup for best player on Friday night was won by St Kilda captain NATHAN BURKE. The presentations were made by STEPHEN PHILLIPS.

The AFL Tribunal sat on both Monday and Tuesday to hear charges from the 17th round.

Two Essendon players were each suspended for one match following last Saturday's game against the Kangaroos. DEAN SOLOMON was found guilty of kneeing WAYNE CAREY (Kan) while BARRY YOUNG was outed for charging COREY McKERNAN (Kan).

From the same game MARK JOHNSON (Ess) and BRENT HARVEY (Kan) were both fined $1500 for wrestling each other.

PETER FILANDIA (Syd) pleaded guilty to striking PAUL BRODERICK (Rch) and was suspended for two matches.

The charge against BEN HOLLAND (Rch) for kneeing TROY LUFF (Syd) was withdrawn.


Finals race is wide open
Blues clip Dogs and jump to 6th
Lions stamp their authority

ROUND 18 — Fri-Sat-Sun, July 30-31, August 1.
MILESTONES — WAYNE CAREY (NMK) played his 200th game ... 100 games for DARREN GASPAR (Syd. now Rch), BRETT JAMES (Col. now Ade), JUSTIN LEPPITSCH (Bri), TONY WOODS (Fit, Col, now Haw), LIAM PICKERING (NM, now Gee) ... and the 50th arrived for ANTHONY McDONALD (Mel) ...

<> SYDNEY dropped down to 9th—you couldn't get any more even than the SWANS, their 'for' and 'against' points are both 1747, for a percentage of 100.

<> WEST COAST defeated COLLINGWOOD for the ninth successive occasion. The Eagles against the Woods now match the 90-year old record previously held by Carlton who beat the Magpies nine times in 1907-1909.

<> The KANGAROOS in their 1522nd League match since 1925 won for the 650th time.

<> GEELONG posted their ninth successive win against Melbourne who have not defeated the Cats since 94-R1. Gary Ayres has never coached a losing team against Melbourne (8 games 1995-99). The best by Geelong versus the Demons is 10 games, 1965-1970.
<> BARRY STONEHAM (Gee) is his 222nd game passed 200 career goals ... GEELONG enjoyed a victory in their 1975th League match ...

<> SCOTT CUMMINGS with 7.1 at the WACA repeated his seven-goal effort from earlier this year against the Magpies. In Round 3, Scott kicked 7.1 for the Eagles in their win at Victoria Park.
It was the eighth occasion Cummings has kicked seven goals or more—twice with Essendon, twice with Port Adelaide and four times this season with the Eagles.

<> A crowd of just 13,941 were at Waverley on Sunday to watch the Hawks and Dockers go around. It was the smallest at the Park since Round 16 1996, when 13,824 saw St Kilda play Brisbane.

<> From a high point of the season of 1674 points last week, Round 18 produced only 1434 points—the second-lowest total in a round of eight matches for 1999. Round 11 had only 1322 points.

<> Attendances for Round 18 totalled 215,406—one of the lowest tallies for eight League matches of recent seasons. The smallest in 1998 was 235,452 to Round 8 ... in 1997, 223,400 to Round 21 and 156,604 to Round 19 in 1996.

<||> A cool gentle breeze soon turned to rain in the Friday night game at the MCG which drew 38,196. The Kangaroos proved the stronger and in another tight contest enhanced their reputation. The 22pt victory was achieved without great influence from WAYNE CAREY. Coming off 19 goals in the two previous matches, he delivered two majors but in his 200th was held in check by DARREN GASPAR (R) playing his 100th League match.

After the Kangas kicked four goals in the first 10 minutes a Richmond victory was always going to be difficult. Though the Tigers had levelled the score by three-quarter time the Roos were always the steadier. As DWAYNE RUSSELL recorded in The Age: "Their trademark ability of maintaining pressure until the opposition cracks, came through again. As did their efficient game plan of swift, efficient and long use of the ball to the one-on-one marking contests up forward, where the crumbers gather front and square. They know what each other is meant to do when the heat is on".

The Kangas are firm in second spot—Richmond among the pack struggling to finish in the Eight – KANGAROOS 15.11-101 (Allison 3) best, Simpson, Clayton, King, RICHMOND 11.13-79 (Richardson 3) best, Campbell, Harrison, Gaspar.

<||> Saturday brought fair weather to the MCG when 27,408 were present to farewell the great Demon champion GARRY LYON following his retirement. Lyon addressed the Melbourne team though his words brought little improvement to the fortunes of his club. In what was universally reported as a match that would have been better buried, rather than played—Geelong won by 21 points.

Statistically, Geelong with four rounds remaining even from 12th place are still potential finalists. Realistically, both clubs had best start working hard toward 2000. DAVID NEITZ as acting captain of the Demons (in place of the injured Viney) was one of the few who exhibited a spark, kicking six goals for the day. BARRY STONEHAM recaptured moments of his glory days as a match-winner for Geelong, taking 10 strong marks and booting three reasonable goals.

Many would still be scratching their heads over how two AFL sides could make so many errors in one game—the umpires made an equal contribution to errors of skill recorded on the day – GEELONG 15.11-101 (Burns 3, Stoneham 3) best, Stoneham, Riccardi, Sholl, MELBOURNE 12.8-80 (Neitz 6) best, Neitz, Schwarz, Hopgood.

<||> The inventive coaching mind of Malcolm Blight worked again to bring down St Kilda when they met at Waverley on Saturday afternoon in fair conditions to a small 20,131 spectators. Without 10 of his premiership players and 13 regulars including three front line ruckmen, Blight handed the 180cm TRENT ORMOND ALLEN the main task of confronting the Saints' 203cm PETER EVERITT at the centre bounces. Ormond-Allen's enthusiasm supported by MARK STEVENS and BEN HART gave the likes of KANE JOHNSON, ANDREW McLEOD and MARK BICKLEY the opportunities they needed to shut down the St Kilda midfield.

Adelaide gave DARREN JARMAN plenty of room to move at centre half-forward and an ineffective Saints defence did the rest. St Kilda had the older-standbys of NATHAN BURKE and ROBERT HARVEY who battled gamely, but the odds were far too great to cover glaring deficiencies of a side who will struggle to retain their place in the final Eight – ADELAIDE 15.9-99 (Burton 4, Jarman 3) best, Smart, Johns, McLeod, ST KILDA 9.12-66 (Hall 3) best, Jones, Young, Harvey.

<||> Heavy rain on Saturday night fell on the SCG an hour before the start and it continued for much of the game. In spite of this a healthy crowd of 31,776 saw the pre-match cavalcade of Swans' heroes in celebration of their 200th home game as the Sydney side.

League leaders Essendon were amazingly accurate in the conditions and while gun-forward Lloyd (E) was held by Dunkley (S), other Bombers Blumfield, Caracella and Bewick (4 goals) continually presented themselves.

Sydney were down 45 points early in the third quarter, but by sheer persistence dragged themselves back to within eight points near the end, and threatened a boilover. As the Harboursiders struggled to find the target from two crucial shots, Essendon's class steadied and they held on for a well-deserved win by 14 points.

X-rays revealed Sydney's rising star ADAM GOODES suffered a greenstick fracture of his left forearm in the second quarter but played on. He will be sidelined for two matches. (A "greenstick" is where the fracture does not go right through the bone—surgery is not required) – ESSENDON 15.3-93 (Bewick 4) best, Fletcher, Wellman, Misiti, SYDNEY 11.13-79 (Lockett 4, Goodes 3) best, Schwass, Dunkley, Goodes.

<||> West Coast recovered from their form slump of three successive losses when they comfortably defeated Collingwood in the Saturday night match played at the WACA to 26,126 fans. However, it was a far from impressive performance and the Eagles still have a way to go. The return to match-fitness by Gardiner and Gehrig who are back from injury should lift them.

The Magpies started well and early goals gave them a 20 point lead, but then followed a drought of some 40 minutes before their next major came off the boot of captain NATHAN BUCKLEY. His opposite number in GUY McKENNA brought the Eagles back on track in the second term with driving kicks out of defence. In the third quarter it was Collingwood's turn to reassert itself to draw level with the Sandgropers. In the run home the Eagles experience to finish their work proved greater than what the Pies could offer. SCOTT CUMMINGS returned seven goals for the night while his goalmouth partner PHILLIP MATERA added another four – WEST COAST 16.12-108 (Cummings 7.1, Phillip Matera 4) best, Peter Matera, McKenna, Cousins, COLLINGWOOD 10.12-72 (A.Rocca 3) best, Licuria, Buckley, Betheras.

<||> On a good Sunday winter's day at Football Park the Brisbane Lions shattered Port Adelaide—a big section of the 33,345 which attended left before the final siren. The Lions should have wrapped up the game in the first quarter but three goals from 12 shots only made them strive harder. They went on to a great 52-point victory which stamps their authority as a major player for this year's premiership.

The Lions with their fourth successive win climbed to third place. PETER KRUPKA for The Australian reported: "Their miserly back men were again on form to boost their percentage, and Brisbane remain hot favourites to finish the year with the best defence. ADAM HEUSKES, MATTHEW KENNEDY, CHRIS SCOTT, STEVEN LAWRENCE, DARYL WHITE and NIGEL LAPPIN were ferocious on the static and seemingly intimidated Port forward line."

Had Brisbane been on target they may well have demolished Port by a similar margin by which they had disposed of the Eagles the previous week. The Lions return to Adelaide again on Sunday to face the Crows. The Port campaign to finish in the Eight travel to Geelong to play the Cats – BRISBANE 17.16-118 (Champion 3) best, M.Voss, Ashcroft, Keating, PORT 9.12-66 (Tredrea 3) best, Lyle, Mead, Schofield.

<||> The Sunday contest at Princes Park deserved to be seen by far more than  24,483—as the sun often broke through the clouds, so did an under-manned Carlton who put paid to the recent flow of startling comebacks staged by the Bulldogs. This victory was only by five points but it was the second this year by the Blues over the Dogs at Carlton.

MATTHEW ALLAN stood tall for the Blues, but it was their smaller midfielders BROWN, CAMPOREALE and MURPHY who can accept plaudits for engineering the narrow success. The usual zip in the speed by which the Bulldogs move the ball forward was missing, with many of their major efforts left to JAMES COOK (six goals) and LUKE DARCY (four) however strength in support of them was lacking.

Despite their low percentage Carlton gained a big lift, climbing from ninth to sixth and well positioned to stay in the Eight with games to come against Freo (WACA), Geelong (MCG), St Kilda (home) and Richmond (MCG). The Doggies may have missed their chance for a top four finish – CARLTON 14.15-99 (Whitnall 3, Allan 3) best, Allan, Silvagni, Brown, BULLDOGS 14.10-94 (Cook 6, Darcy 4) best, Darcy, Cook, Johnson.

<||> Regularly the Dockers promise and fail to deliver—in favourable conditions on Sunday at Waverley was another occasion. Hawthorn following a run of five straight losses returned to the winner's circle with a 25-point win over Fremantle. Despite the 32,116 Hawthorn members, only 13,941 of the faithful turned out.

The Hawks were playing for their pride and were aggressively led by SHANE CRAWFORD who finished with 41 possessions, 24 kicks, 17 handballs and six marks. In contrast, Fremantle's shooting at goal was abysmal—the Dockers had five more shots than the Hawks yet failed—even Damien Drum the Freo coach claimed his team's performance was symptomatic of an outfit lacking class – HAWTHORN 15.12-102 (Lord 3, Treleven 3) best, Crawford, Woods, Treleven, FREMANTLE 9.23-77 (Modra 2, Waterhouse 2) best, Waterhouse, Holland, Kickett.

Hawthorn move to the MCG
Hawthorn confirmed on Tuesday (3rd) they had signed a four-year tenancy deal with the Melbourne Cricket Club to play home matches at the MCG.

ASHLEY BROWNE in The Age reported: "The agreement is for at least 12 matches at the ground next year, with the club expressing the wish to play all of its 11 home games there next year and preferably, on Saturday afternoons."

Hawks plan Waverley farewell
Interviewed by RICHARD OSBORNE on Channel Seven's GameDay, MICHAEL BROWN the Hawthorn CEO spoke of the big plans the Hawks have for the final premiership match to be played at Waverley on Sunday August 29.

Under consideration is a re-enactment of PETER HUDSON flying into Waverley by helicopter (26 years on), turning the sprinklers on during the game, maybe the Hawthorn Ansett Cup guernsey with the Diamonds will get another run.

It will be a big occasion with the suggestion the start time may be put back to 3pm. Playing Sydney on the day, there is also the likelihood of it being Plugger's final game. Hawthorn are hoping for some 60 to 70,000 to turn out.

The AFL Tribunal sat Monday (2nd) to hear two charges from Round 18.
Richmond's ROBERT POWELL was found guilty of striking Kangaroo forward SHANNON GRANT in the first minute of Friday night's game and suspended for one match.

In a rare twist, SHANNON GRANT was outed for one match when found guilty of charging Richmond captain MATTHEW KNIGHTS in the last quarter of the same game.

A charge against St Kilda's JUSTIN PECKETT for tripping Adelaide's TYSON EDWARDS was withdrawn.

Former Sydney player JAMIE LAWSON on Monday (2nd) reached an out-of-court settlement to his action against Melbourne's Epworth Hospital. Lawson had sought to sue surgeon Bruce Love and the Epworth Hospital after he been treated following a break to his left leg suffered on Sunday July 31 1994 in the match against Richmond at the MCG.

The treatment at Epworth went wrong when a 15cm steel rod had been inserted, and several Sydney operations failed to correct the damage which has left the promising player of 61 matches with a permanent disability.

Though the settlement is confidential, media estimates put the payout to the 27-year-old Lawson as $1 million.

Tribunal cases for 1999 have recorded a substantial drop compared to last season.

The AFL Tribunal has heard 91 charges this year, including practice matches and the Ansett Cup series compared to 115 at the same time last year.

Striking charges (including one heard on Monday night) have a progressive total of 31 compared with 61 at the same stage in 1998.

The penalties of 67 games to Round 18 are almost half of last year's 113 matches at the same time.

MELISSA RYAN noted in The Age: "Hawthorn and St Kilda remain suspension free."

The Saints have had only one player reported—JUSTIN PECKETT against Hawthorn last Saturday, but that charge was withdrawn. The only penalty for a St Kilda player was the self-imposed four-week suspension by PETER EVERITT in a racial abuse case from Round 2.

<> Melbourne's JEFF FARMER is changing from guernsey number 8 back to his original number of 33 ...

<> JAMES HIRD returned to the Essendon playing list at the expense of PETER BERBAKOV who goes onto the long-term injury list. Hird may be playing in three weeks possibly against Richmond in Round 21 ...

<> ADELAIDE re-signed KANE JOHNSON for three years, while BEN HART and MARK STEVENS have been inked by the Crows for 2000 and 2001.

<> PORT ADELAIDE re-signed BOWEN LOCKWOOD for another two years. The 21-year-old forward is a potential star but has been restricted to only three matches this season due to a series of injuries ...

<> The month of July was the second warmest on record for Melbourne—rainfall was down 30 per cent, and the average temperature of 11.7 degrees compared to the 1975 record of 12.1 degrees ...

<> The JOHN CAHILL action against the Port Adelaide club will reach court on September 15. Meanwhile, Port chairman GREG BOULTON and CEO BRIAN CUNNINGHAM are considering a counter defamation action ...

<> PAUL COUCH, the 1989 Brownlow Medalist, who played 259 games with Geelong (1985-97) will stand for the Polwarth seat as a National Party candidate at the next Victorian State elections. Couch (the boy from Boggy Creek) is now regularly seen as a featured boundary rider in Channel Seven match broadcasts ... it was also reported that another former Geelong player BILL BROWNLESS (198 games, 1986-97) may be a candidate for the Liberal Party in the same election ... FELICITY KENNETT, wife of Victorian Premier JEFF KENNETT is No.1 ticket holder for the Geelong club ...

<> A "new" VFL club emerged when "Coburg-Fitzroy" played Sandringham on August 1. It brought to an end protracted arrangements by the "People's Club" which even may see a link with the AFL re-established, in partnership for the new Reserves' set-up in 2000. Convenor of the Fitzroy Supporters Group JOHN KOTSOPOULOS believes former Fitzroy members will be attracted to watch the club which will feature the 1996 Fitzroy Ansett Cup strip as their alternate guernsey.
In their first game as Coburg-Fitzroy, the VFL Lions 4.4-28 lost to the Zebras 14.22-106 ...

<> The Richmond club is celebrating "Jack Dyer Week" in honour of their greatest player. The Tigers will announce their Team of the Century as part of the celebrations which will be an annual event in advance of their 'home' game against Collingwood. The inaugural Jack Dyer-Lou Richards Cup will be at stake when the two play at the MCG on Saturday ...

<> Carlton prez JOHN ELLIOTT turned a spotlight on figures which reveal an average fan going to the MCG will pay $6.50 for a phone booking and an extra $4.10 in booking fees—then you've gotta fork out $7.50 for sushi at the ground. That's a long way from, standing on a brick behind the goals in the outer, eating a sixpenny pie!

<> AFL CEO IAN COLLINS has rejected a lucrative offer to join Collingwood at its chief executive. He will remain with the AFL.

<> AFL goes international again — Essendon will play Hawthorn at The Oval in London on Saturday October 9. The Bombers accepted the AFL invitation which now only requires the approval from the AFLPA.

RICHARD COLLESS, Sydney Chairman, The Australian — commenting on the legacy Tony Lockett will leave on Sydney — "I see him like Halley's Comet – things like that don't come along very often so you make the most of it when they do."

TIM LANE, ABC Radio — following an earlier interview with AFL CEO IAN COLLINS, recalled that 'Collo' had coached Port Melbourne in the days when VFA promotions promised — "On Saturday, they push and shove — On Sunday, the punches land ..."

GERARD WHATLEY, Sunday Herald Sun — reporting on the Melbourne-Geelong game — "If you missed it, be glad because it was awful. Truly awful."

JAKE NIALL, The Age — "We, the dim-witted media, didn't realise it but all the elements were there for an Adelaide upset and a St Kilda stinker."

IAN DICKER, Hawthorn president — announcing the emotional surrender of its 33-year lease of Waverley – "I think it is a tragedy to leave ... I am very disappointed ... we are very disappoint-ed to be leaving Waverley Park. It would have developed even better as our home ground in the years ahead.

I completely disagree with the AFL decision. They would not provide 11 games for Hawthorn here, but they continue to provide seven for Geelong with 150,000 in that town. And 16 games at Optus until 2006."

CAMERON SCHWAB, the Chief Executive Officer of Melbourne departed the club on Thursday (5th) after 17 years as a football official. The open secret of disagreement with Demon chairman JOSEPH GUTNICK was laid bare.

Schwab was general manager of Richmond from 1988 until April 1994. From football manager of the Demons, Schwab took over the helm replacing HASSA MANN as CEO following the failed merger attempt with between Melbourne and Hawthorn in late 1996.

Results of investigations this year into salary cap breaches by both the AFL and the Melbourne club are seen as pivotal to the area of strained relations.

The Melbourne board on Tuesday (10th) appointed club business manager JOHN ANDERSON as the interim successor to Cameron Schwab. The position is expected to be advertised nationally.


Bombers thump West Coast
Finalists waste critical chances
Brisbane notch 100th victory

ROUND 19 — Fri-Sat-Sun, August 6-7-8.
MILESTONES — ANTHONY STEVENS (NMK) played his 200th game ... 150 for ROD JAMESON (Ade) and DARYL WHITE (Bri) ... 100th for CHRIS SCOTT (Bri) ... 50th game for BARRY HALL (StK) ... while 50 matches for their current clubs arrived for JASON HEATLEY (WC, now StK) and SHANE BREUER (Gee, now PA) ... LANCE WHITNALL (Car) and GLENN ARCHER (NMK) reached 100 career goals ...

<> BRISBANE in their 286th League match posted its 100th victory ... in the Lions' 39 point victory, ADELAIDE were held to 6.8-44, the lowest by the Crows in their 14 contests since 1991—previous lowest 6.10-46, Round 17 1995.
Scores were level at half-time, Adelaide 4.4-28, Brisbane 3.10-28—the Lions kicked 8.7 to 2.4 in the last half.

<> ESSENDON played their 300th match at the MCG. The 55,560 which attended was the greatest home-and-away attendance to watch a game involving the West Coast club.
<> The 23.15-153 by Essendon was only seven points short of their all-time best score of 25.10-160 versus West Coast. That was kicked at Windy Hill, Round 15 1989 when the Bombers won by 142pts and the Eagles managed only 1.12-18 for the game.
<> ESSENDON kicked 16.8-104 in the last half on Friday night. Adelaide in Round 17 1997 was the most recent to boot a century in the last half of their game against Richmond when they kicked 16.4-100.
Master statsman COL HUTCHINSON records the Bomber deluge as the 88th occasion a century has been kicked in the last half of a match since the first by South Melbourne against the St Kilda in 1919, which included the all-time record last quarter of 17.4-106 to nil.
South in that game kicked 23.8-146 in the third and fourth quarters, to 0.4-4. The Bloods won 29.15-189 to 2.6-18. The record margin of 171pts stood for 60 years, until Fitzroy thrashed Melbourne in 1979 by 190 points.

<> Geelong's 7.3-45 was the best opening of five games versus Port Adelaide.
<> The jury is still out on measurements of the booming kick by Geelong's BEN GRAHAM in the game at Kardinia Park on Saturday. From a kickout, with 14 seconds remaining of the first quarter Graham from the northern end torpedoed the ball past the centre circle where it was marked by Port's BRENDON LADE.
On Monday, Channel Seven's BARRY LEVINSON with a measuring wheel had Ben Graham follow the kick to the point of 85.4 metres. However, if the playing length of the Geelong stadium is 171 metres from goal to goal, less 10m for the goal square, it should be 80.5 to the point of the centre. Let's double-check that measurement.
The acknowledged record distance whether from a place, drop or punt kick, or at practice, competition or in a match is held by Melbourne's FRED FANNING. Playing with Melbourne Reserves versus Richmond in the Grand Final played at the MCG on Show Day, Thursday September 28 1939, Fanning kicked the ball 105.50 metres (116 yards) from the wing to the southern end scoreboard goal.
FRED FANNING also holds the record for the highest number of goals in a League match—18 versus St Kilda on Saturday August 30 1947 at the Junction Oval. He kicked 13-straight then a behind, and another five goals to finish with 18.1 for the day in his 104th and final League match.

<> Saturday's victory by Collingwood was only the second from the past nine outings against the Tigers, 1994-99.

<> The third quarter was the first scoreless quarter at the WACA ground in the 63rd match played there ... it was the first occasion for 31 years in 737 games that Carlton have held a side pointless in the third term—last time was Round 11 1968 at Princes Park, Carlton 3.6-24, Melbourne 0.0-0.
Since 1897 it was the 311th occasion a side has been scoreless in the third quarter, in that time Carlton have held a side scoreless on 29 occasions.
In the early period 1897-1924 when scores were much lower, it occurred 23 times. Since 1925 it has happened only six times.

<||> After a great day, the MCG was dewy but in great shape on Friday night—55,096 arrived for the top level clash. They witnessed a fiery start when Essendon's STEVE ALESSIO was twice booked within seconds—and a later action by teammate JOE MISITI against the Eagles sparkling BEN COUSINS had three Bombers from the night set to face the Tribunal.

West Coast were in control for the first part of the match, going to a 25pt lead in the second quarter. However, the injury to captain GUY McKENNA when added to the early exit by key playmaker PETER MATERA (hamstring) put the Eagles on the backfoot. From a six point deficit at half-time Essendon exploded, taking 24 marks to five in the third quarter. The Dons added 16.8-104 after the long break, sufficient alone to have defeated the Eagles, but the final margin was huge 10 goals. Essendon continue to improve and went up another notch despite the absence of captain MICHAEL LONG and MICHAEL PRIOR. Injuries for West Coast will only apply further pressure as they head to the brink and into elimination territory – ESSENDON 23.15-153 (Alessio 4, Rioli 3, Caracella 3) best, Alessio, Mercuri, Misiti, WEST COAST 15.3-93 (Banfield 3, Cummings 3, White 3) best, Gehrig, Banfield, White.

<||> Under cloudy skies on Saturday, a modest 17,234 saw Geelong at home on Kardinia Park find good form and halt Port Adelaide's thrust toward their first finals series. The Cats took advantage of a strong breeze in the first quarter and continued on with the job until the final siren. The Power could not break through and received belting in the midfield.

Geelong players to rekindle their status included Mansfield, Sholl, Stoneham and Pickering (21 touches) while Milburn, King, Snell, Arnott and Finocchiaro showed marked improvement. PETER RICCARDI continued his fine form. Highlight of the day was the 80-plus metre torpedo punt past the centre by Geelong's BEN GRAHAM on quarter time. Lowlight was the departure of WARREN TREDREA with a hamstring injury, which at such a critical stage will keep Port's only recognised forward out for at least three weeks – GEELONG 18.10-118 (Mensch 3, Milburn 3, Riccardi 3) best, Riccardi, Arnott, Graham, PORT 12.14-86 (Tredrea 3) best, Bode, Lade, Paxman.

<||> The match which drew 47,621 to the MCG on a grey Saturday afternoon saw a motorcade of Richmond greats including the living legend 'Captain Blood' Jack Dyer accompanied by his old Magpie sparring partner Lou Richards. Collingwood coach TONY SHAW took the unusual step of starting all of his players in defence—the Pies quickly took control with MARK RICHARDSON dominating the ruck and ANTHONY ROCCA as the dominant forward kicking three of the Pies' first term goals.

Richmond instead of consolidating their climb to the finals were humiliated by the bottom side with NATHAN BUCKLEY, PAUL LICURIA and PAUL WILLIAMS taking control of the midfield. The Tigers took a battering; failing again in a "must-win" situation which could have a marked effect on their mental outlook. Collingwood enjoyed their best four-quarter effort of the season and the foundation of blooding the "kids" will be a great legacy Shaw will hand to the next Victoria Park coach – COLLINGWOOD 16.16-112 (A.Rocca 4) best, Brown, Richardson, Buckley, RICHMOND 10.19-79 (Richardson 3) best, Campbell, Knights, Bowden.

<||> Sydney enjoyed fine weather in the preceding days but Saturday night still found the SCG with many muddy patches. For the Kangaroos fourth 'home' game the 27,964 which attended were understandably largely Swan fans. Sydney again narrowly failed in a game which was theirs for the taking which keeps the Harboursiders on the brink.

The Kangaroos kicked nine goals straight in the second term and while Sydney made a desperate challenge to briefly hit the front in the last quarter, the cooler heads of the Roos steadied and held on for a well-deserved 10 point victory. Doug Stewart in the Telegraph observed: "The depleted Swans showed abundant grit, but whereas the Kangaroos punished Sydney's errors with clinical precision, the Swans had to claw and scrape for every goal."

The Coathangers blooded two new players BRETT KIRK (three goals) and HEATH JAMES (son of Max) who were among six first-year players in the squad – KANGAROOS 17.9-111 (Carey 4, McKernan 3) best, Martyn, A.Stevens, Bell, SYDNEY 15.11-101 (Kirk 3) best, Schwass, O’Loughlin, Cresswell.

<||> Following two years on the sidelines, Carlton moved closer to securing a place in this year's finals with a huge win over the Dockers in Perth on Saturday night—23,372 were at the WACA Oval. The Blues kept Fremantle pointless in the third term and kicked 9.9 to 1.2 in a devastating last half with the Blues finishing with 100 more possessions than their opponents.

Carlton's backline obviously dominated proceedings while around the ground—JUSTIN MURPHY (16 marks, 21 kicks, 11 handballs), BRETT RATTEN, KRIS MASSIE, CRAIG BRADLEY, FRASER BROWN and SCOTT CAMPOREALE punished the Dockers at every turn. MATTHEW ALLEN (despite a bout of flu) was tireless in the ruck with 31 hit-outs, 12 marks and 28 possessions. Carlton with games against Geelong (MCG), St Kilda (PP) and Richmond (MCG) now seem assured of a finals place – CARLTON 19.12-126 (Whitnall 4, Murphy 3, Massie 3) best, Allen, Murphy, Ratten, FREMANTLE 8.9-57 (Modra 3) best, Fletcher, Clement, Parker.

<||> After substantial overnight and morning rain, Football Park on Sunday afternoon was a water slide—the weather held crowd figures down to only 33,398. Brisbane for the second successive week came away from Footy Park with a substantial victory—their fifth in-a-row.

Scores were level at the long break but the Lions' superiority over the Crows was evident in the last half and the 39-point margin fails to record Brisbane's dominance in the tough conditions. In a great team effort—CHRIS SCOTT was terrific on the wing; CRAIG McRAE showed a touch of class up forward; MICHAEL VOSS, MARCUS ASHCROFT and SIMON BLACK dominated the close contests; ADAM HEUSKES, JUSTIN LEPPITSCH, MATTHEW KENNEDY and JASON AKERMANIS maintained the barrier as the meanest defence in the League. Adelaide still have a rough chance of making the Eight—their Sydney visit will be as critical for the Crows as it is for the Swans – BRISBANE 11.17-83 (McRae 4) best, C.Scott, Ashcroft, M.Voss, ADELAIDE 6.8-44 (Jarman 2, Vardy 2) best, Hart, Ricciuto, Goodwin.

<||> The off-field gloom and problems of the Melbourne club had to be a contributing reason for a lamentable display against Hawthorn on Sunday afternoon at Waverley—conditions were slippery following overnight rain and only 16,665 attended. Hawthorn coach KEN JUDGE after the match commented: "I'm not taking anything away from my blokes, but you've got to put it in perspective; Neale Daniher and his players had a few distractions."

The Hawks were sharp throughout and were on track for a solid win after AARON LORD booted three goals in the first 16 minutes. Not until the final quarter did Melbourne truly enter the game and with a late flurry made the scoreboard a little more respectable. RICHARD TAYLOR, SHANE CRAWFORD and DANIEL HARFORD were big possession winners for the Hawks. MATTHEW FEBEY worked hard and long for the Demons against huge odds and gained support from JEFF WHITE and SHANE WOEWODIN – HAWTHORN 18.14-122 (Lord 6, Crawford 3) best, Lekkas, Taylor, Crawford, MELBOURNE 8.6-54 (Neitz 3) best, Woewodin, White, Rigoni.

<||> The Bulldogs were fully focussed on their task and disposed of St Kilda in workmanlike style when they met under grey skies in wet and slippery conditions at Carlton on Sunday. Only 15,804 of the faithful turned out.

The Doggies led by as much as 47pts in the third quarter and while the Saints halved the margin by the end of the game they did little to erase what was another spiritless, undisciplined failure. With Scott West and Leon Cameron sidelined with injury, TONY LIBERATORE heeded the call with one of his best games of the year for the Dogs. WARWICK HADFIELD recorded in the Australian: "Libba would have been best on ground if (Robert) Harvey hadn't grabbed 31 kicks, 14 hand-balls and kicked three goals." St Kilda have now lost seven of their past nine games yet amazingly still cling to eighth place. With the Kangas, Blues and Eagles to come—will the Saints win again this year? – BULLDOGS 18.7-115 (Garlick 4) best, Liberatore, Johnson, NG Brown, ST KILDA 13.13-91 (Harvey 3) best, Harvey, Young, S.Wakelin.

CHRIS MAINWARING announced his retirement from League football on August 4. A dual premiership player in 1992 and 1994, he played 201 games with West Coast from their inaugural team of 1987 until the Eagles 100-point loss to Brisbane on July 25.
He departed footy in style aged 33, being best afield at local level with East Fremantle on July 31.

The playing of a Grand Final at night is back on the agenda—well al least for the SANFL. Previously blocked by clubs, the prospect is back on the table. The SANFL have already programmed their Under 19 and Under 17 grand finals under lights at Adelaide Oval on Friday September 24, the eve of the AFL Grand Final.

The Age reported: Port Adelaide president GREG BOULTON and CEO BRIAN CUNNINGHAM on Friday (6th) lodged a defamation action against GREG GRIFFIN, the lawyer for its former coach JOHN CAHILL to comments broadcast on Adelaide's 5AA on June 29. A separate action against Adelaide's Triple-M has been launched for comments made by Cahill on that station on June 23.
These actions counter those already lodged by Cahill over allegations to him providing sensitive player information to rival clubs of Port Adelaide.

Two American teams, the Denver 'Broncos' and the San Diego 'Chargers' drew 73,811 for a Sunday (8th) 11am gridiron game at the Homebush Olympic Stadium. It is hoped when Essendon play Collingwood in either Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta or wherever in the United States, the Americans will respond to our game in similar numbers.

Brisbane Lions vice-captain BRAD BOYD may have played his last game. A back complaint of the former Fitzroy skipper which has plagued him for three seasons will deny him playing in the Lions' finals campaign. He has only been able to play seven matches in the past three seasons.

West Coast coach MICHAEL MALTHOUSE has been criticised by a former premiership player of the Eagles. The Age reported: KARL LANGDON now working in the Perth media said "...present players had told him they were unhappy under Malthouse and he had lost their respect. He said Malthouse's no-show at a testimonial dinner for popular former captain JOHN WORSFOLD at the weekend had widened the rift ... He has lost the players at the moment and my personal feeling is that if the club doesn't get rid of Mick Malthouse at the end of the year, the players will."

The AFL Tribunal had a long night on Tuesday (10th) hearing seven cases from the 19th round.

Essendon's STEVEN ALESSIO faced two charges. He was suspended two matches for striking DAVID WIRRPUNDA (WCE) on Friday night at the MCG. He later pleaded not guilty to striking ANDREW DONNELLY (WCE) in the same match and was cleared of the charge.

Bomber teammate JOE MISITI charged from video, was found guilty of kneeing BEN COUSINS (WCE) and suspended for three matches.

The Age reported: "Essendon players have been suspended for a total of 22 matches this season, significantly more than any other team."

In other cases, NIGEL SMART after a 75-minute hearing was found not guilty for charging Brisbane's MICHAEL VOSS in the opening minute of Sunday's game ... Fremantle captain CHRIS BOND and Carlton's DEAN RICE were each suspended one match for striking each other ... Melbourne's MATTHEW BISHOP cited from video for charging LUKE McCABE (Haw) was found not guilty.

MICHAEL DAVIS, The Australian — Essendon are playing with great confidence at the moment. If the finals started next week they would be raging favourites. They have class on every line and even players who have had questions asked about their ability in the past are performing.

JOSEPH GUTNICK, Melbourne president, Triple M — "He's at Collingwood and commenting about the sacking of a CEO. I don't think it's appropriate." - Gutnick on Neil Balme.
"Garry may go to Collingwood, he may go to Adelaide, he may go to the press; he's an ex." - Gutnick on Garry Lyon.

GARRY LYON, The Age — following a Monday (9th) meeting with JOSEPH GUTNICK: ``We have agreed to disagree on a number of issues because in the end it's the club that is the most important thing.
I know how the players are feeling and what they are going through and they don't need this. So Joseph understands how I feel about Cameron and we have agreed to move on because the club is bigger than the individual.''

RON REED, Herald Sun — (Paul) Kelly also accused the Kangaroos of an underhanded attempt to steal Sydney supporters, rather than woo new ones of their own.
Then (Richard) Colless accused the Kangaroos of arrogance and creating mistrust. 'If they stopped playing tomorrow, no one would notice the difference,' he added.

DAVID MURPHY, ABC Radio — in the first quarter of the Kangas-Swans game — "If there was an inter-change bench umpire Chris Mitchell would be coming off."

Plugger calls it a day
TONY LOCKETT the greatest goalkicker in League history announced on Wednesday (11th) he would retire at the end of the season.

On June 6, Lockett claimed the record held by GORDON COVENTRY for 69 years, passing the Collingwood champion's total of 1299 goals.

The goalkicking legend of 275 matches and 1343 goals (to the end of Round 20) will reach 34 years of age next March. Lockett is expected to remain with the Sydney club in a specialist role.

Coventry held the record as the highest goalkicker in League football from Preliminary Final day in 1930 when he kicked his 708th goal which eclipsed the record of 707 held by another Collingwood full-forward DICK LEE upon his retirement in 1922.


Lions on record rampage
Eight starts to firm
Plugger farewells the SCG

ROUND 20 — Fri-Sat-Sun, August 13-14-15.
MILESTONES — BRISBANE at the Gabba kicked a new League record first half of 21.5-131 versus Fremantle ... BRENDON GALE (Rch) played his 200th game ... DALE KICKETT reached his 100th for Fremantle—with Fit, WC, StK and Ess from 1990 to 1994 he played an additional 46 games ... 50th matches for ANDREW DONNELLY (WC), SIMON ARNOTT (Syd, now Gee) ... TONY LOCKETT played his 50th and final game at the SCG for SYDNEY ... ALASTAIR LYNCH (Fit, now Bri) reached 300 career goals in game 199, PETER MANN (NM. now Fre) reached 100 goals in game 116 and BRAD JOHNSON (FWB) reached 100 career goals in his 120th game ...

<> COLLINGWOOD and ESSENDON played for the 200th time on Friday night—the honours are still with the Magpies who have won 111 times, the Dons 85, with four matches drawn in 1946, 1961, 1971 and 1995.

<> For a second week in a row, MELBOURNE had only one goal to their credit at half time—1.8-14 versus Port at Footy Park. Last week in Round 19 the Demons were 1.5-11 against Hawthorn at Waverley.
MELBOURNE's failure in Adelaide was their seventh successive defeat—their worst run of outs since Rounds 2 to 9, 1997.

<> HAWTHORN's two-point victory at the WACA ended a string of six successive defeats by WEST COAST—the previous Hawthorn win was Round 20 1994 at Waverley.

<> In his last appearance at the SCG after announcing his retirement at the end of the season, TONY LOCKETT kicked a goal in his 108th consecutive match, and booted seven goals-or-more in a game for the 74th occasion in his career. For the 16th time in 275 matches for St Kilda and Sydney he kicked eight-straight (8.0) goals. He has now kicked a total of 1343 goals.
<> SYDNEY's 118pt victory was their biggest over the Crows, and the best success since Round 19 1996 at Western Oval against Fitzroy, the day Plugger kicked 16.0 and the margin was 126pts—27.8-170 to 6.8-44.

<> GEELONG won their fifth successive game versus Carlton—the Blues last beat the Cats, Round 22 1996 at Kardinia Park.

<||> Heavy rain before and during the match marred the Friday night contest at the MCG but the bitingly cold conditions failed to deter an excellent crowd of 56,129. Essendon won their fifth on-the-trot and are on target to secure the minor premiership.

Collingwood were far from disgraced with first-year player NICK DAVIS showing out with a lively GLENN FREEBORN, and NATHAN BUCKLEY who put in a another great leadership performance for the Pies with 37 possessions for the night. However, there was no denying the noticeable difference in class between the top and the bottom sides. The Bombers were without Alessio and Misiti (both suspended) and the the injured Prior. DUSTIN FLETCHER stepped up, proving his versatility in defence when the Magpies threatened. Also under notice were Caracella, Hardwick and Wellman in another fine Essendon victory in tough conditions – ESSENDON 12.15-87 (Lloyd 3) best, Fletcher, Caracella, Hardwick, COLLINGWOOD 10.5-65 (Freeborn 3) best, Buckley, Davis, Lane.

<||> After an even contest for three quarters, the Bulldogs proved too much for Richmond in the closing stages of their Saturday afternoon contest at the MCG. In fair conditions only a modest 31,062 watched at the MCG when the Bulldogs appeared to cement their top four position.

NICKY WINMAR, a month away from his 34th birthday showed he still has plenty left in his legs with four goals, 23 possessions and seven marks for the Bulldogs. CRAIG ELLIS also stood out with a great game at centre half-back containing Richmond's MATTHEW RICHARDSON. Compared with the previous week, the Tigers displayed greater commitment, but the Doggies were more efficient as the Richmond backline allowed too much latitude which dangerous forwards like PAUL HUDSON and BRAD JOHNSON (four goals each) swooped on.

Richmond play Essendon on Friday night, while the Dogs have the luxury on Sunday of meeting the Eagles at Carlton where West Coast have beaten only Melbourne in their seven contests at Princes Park since 1994 – BULLDOGS 17.13-115 (Winmar 4, Johnson 4, Hudson 4) best, Winmar, Smith, Hudson, RICHMOND 12.7-79 (Evans 3) best, Gaspar, Knights, Harrison.

<||> The Saints farewelled their Waverley Park home of seven seasons on Saturday afternoon under patchy sunshine—only 26,261 braved the threatening rain. ANDREW RAMSEY in The Australian recorded: "St Kilda may have had incentive, emotion and momentum on their side, but the Roos have discipline, professionalism and WAYNE CAREY and, for those reasons, rarely lose".

The Saints kicked the last three goals of the third quarter to halve the margin and spurred on by their fans were well placed—but nothing happened. The Roos bounded away for a 25-point victory, as St Kilda fell out of the Eight with their eighth defeat from the past 10 matches. 'Rooboy' Carey was again a force for the Kangas with a 5.1 and 14-mark performance. Added to by the spread of Roo possessions won by Bell, Anthony Stevens, Blakey, Grant and Kickett, the Saints were way off the pace – KANGAROOS 16.18-114 (Carey 5) best, Bell, Carey, A.Stevens, ST KILDA 13.11-89 (Walton 3, Loewe 3) best, Burke, A.Thompson, Young.

<||> Both Port and Melbourne were under-powered by the absence of key forwards—Tredrea, Burgoyne and Francis were injured and missing for Port while Neitz of the Demons was a late withdrawal with the out-of-form Farmer relegated to the Twos. This however was no reason for a dismal all-night result of only 14 goals. The low attendance to Footy Park of 26,000 on a good night resulted from prior performances by these two clubs—this meeting was no exception.

DAVID BURTENSHAW in the Herald Sun observed: "Fluency was rarely achieved, but Port won because its back section was more resilient and its running players were more capable of scrounging scoring chances". For a second week, Melbourne had only one goal to half time and seem happy their terrible season is about to end. If Port do hold their place in the Eight, judged on this performance they seem unlikely to progress beyond the first week – PORT 8.15-63 (Eagleton 2, Dew 2) best, Lade, Francou, N.Stevens, MELBOURNE 6.10-46 (Schwarz 2, Chisholm 2) best, Rigoni, Woewodin, M.Febey.

<||> Leading for only three minutes of the match was enough for Hawthorn to clinch a gritty two-point victory over West Coast in fine Saturday night conditions at the WACA Oval in Perth for 24,835 fans. The Eagles now have the staggers, losing their fifth game in six weeks—theoretically the Hawks still have a slim chance of the making the finals; at worst the Eagles could finish eighth.

The Eagles led by six goals early in the game and seemed to have it wrapped up but a fighting third term by Hawthorn held West Coast to a sluggish eight behinds. The Hawks hit the front for 60 seconds early in the last, but quick goals to Phillip Matera and Cummings recovered the lead for the home side. Down to five points after a goal to KRIS BARLOW (Haw) was followed by a frenetic eight minutes of play until TONY WOODS pounced on the ball and with one step from 40 metres potted only his fifth goal of the season—Hawks by two. Then, with only five seconds left, with PHIL READ (W) streaming toward goal, a "sacrificial act" saw Hawthorn's MICHAEL COLLICA with a stunning smother dive on to the boot to block Read's kick. Highlight of the contest was another Brownlow performance by Hawk captain SHANE CRAWFORD with 32 possessions—15 kicks, 17 handballs and five marks – HAWTHORN 12.12-84 (Lord 3, Smith 3) best, Crawford, Croad, Hay, WEST COAST 11.16-82 (Cummings 4) best, Morrison, Jakovich, Gardiner.

<||> The Brisbane Lions on Sunday produced the most devastating first half in 103 seasons of League football to a ecstatic 23,845 fans at the Gabba. The Lions kicked 11.1 in the first quarter, then 10.4 in the second to be 21.5-131 at half time against a hapless Fremantle—Brisbane had produced a 113 point lead from 14 goalkickers. The lengthy list of new records created for the Brisbane club, included the highest half-time scoreline since 1897 in AFL-VFL competition.

The Lions were outstanding and across the first, second and third quarters kicked 14 unanswered goals before Freo's SHAUN McMANUS fluked their third goal from 60 metres which cleared outstretched arms and bounced through. After the long break, the Lions rotated players off the bench and eased back allowing Fremantle to score 7.7 to 7.8 in the last half. The Dockers final tally was 9.13-67, equal to the 11.1-67 produced by the Lions in the first quarter.

Brisbane had 330 disposals to Fremantle's 324, yet the margin was 18 goals. Another amazing statistic, STEPHEN O'REILLY the Dockers' regular full-back of 134 games experience had only one stat for the match—a free kick, against him—he also pulled a hamstring – BRISBANE 28.13-181 (Molloy 5, A.Lynch 3, Headland 3, Notting 3) best, Lawrence, Leppitsch, Heuskes, FREMANTLE 9.13-67 (McManus 2, Waterhouse 2) best, Bandy, Fletcher, Shipp.

<||> Geelong played clean, direct football in the first quarter to set up their narrow, but effective nine-point victory over Carlton in the cool sunshine of Sunday at the MCG. Though it was the "only game in town" the attendance was a modest 42,272. From quarter time, it was basically goal-for-goal. Carlton had ample opportunity and with momentum appeared certain to deliver Geelong another last quarter defeat. However, the Blues became their own enemy with four sprayed chances (Fletcher, Whitnall and Camporeale) in the first six minutes of the final term which saw the Blues, not the Cats fade out.

The 31-year-old BARRY STONEHAM in his 224th game led the way for the Cats and received great midfield support from BRAD SHOLL, PETER RICCARDI and LIAM PICKERING. Interestingly, it was the fifth successive win since 1996 by Geelong over Carlton who while maintaining sixth place squandered the opportunity of maybe finishing as high as second – GEELONG 17.11-113 (Stoneham 3) best, Riccardi, Graham, Sholl, CARLTON 15.14-104 (Whitnall 3, Camporeale 3, Allan 3) best, Allan, Camporeale, Murphy.

<||> Sydney unleashed a ruthless demolition on dual premiership winners Adelaide in sunny conditions on Sunday at the SCG which was soft following heavy overnight rain. A big turn-out for Tony Lockett's last Sydney appearance was surprisingly reported as only 34,299—there were few spare seats left to fit another 12,000 to match capacity of the stadium.

Four days after he announced his retirement TONY LOCKETT treated his Sydney fans to another stellar effort when he registered his 74th seven goals-or-more performance by kicking 8-straight against the Crows.

It was however difficult to describe Lockett as one of the better players of the day as the team-effort by the Swans was near complete—PAUL KELLY displayed superb overhead skills and played his best game of the season; BEN MATHEWS distributed 19 possessions and won the Norwich award; WAYNE SCHWASS and DARYN CRESSWELL maintained their great form while Filandia, Stafford, James, Bolton and Lewis completed the armoury. Sydney enjoyed its biggest win of the season and lifted their percentage by 5.24 – SYDNEY 25.9-159 (Lockett 8.0, Schwass 4) best, Kelly, Cresswell, Lockett, ADELAIDE 5.11-41 (Burton 2, Thiessen) best, Hart, Smart, Beinke.

Brisbane Lions rewrite the records
The Brisbane Lions on Sunday (15th) wrote many new records into the pages of League history. At the Gabba they produced the most devasting first half in 103 seasons.

<> BRISBANE's 11.1-67 was the biggest opening of seven contests against Fremantle (1995-99) and equalled the first quarter of 10.7-67 kicked against Sydney 0.1-1, Round 8 1993-BCG.
<> 10.4-64 was the biggest second quarter by the Brisbane club of their 287 League games since 1987.
<> In the 22nd minute of the second quarter with 18.3-111 they passed their previous best game of 17.8-110 against Fremantle, Round 6 1996, at Subiaco.
<> With 21.5-131 at half-time the Lions had 14 goalkickers—the number was not added to in the last half.
<> The half-time score of 21.5-131 v Fremantle 2.6-18 was a new League record—previous highest was 20.7-127 by HAWTHORN v North Melb 6.8-44, 82-R16-PP.
<> The 113pt half-time margin is the second-highest of all time. The top is also held by Brisbane—120pts, 19.10-124 v Sydney 0.4-4, 93-R8-BCG.
<> The final margin of 118pts was third on Brisbane’s all-time best.
<> The final score of 28.13-181 was the third all-time best by the club, behind the 33.21-219 v Sydney 8.9-59, 93-R8-BCG, and 29.13-187 v Fitzroy, 96-R20-PP.
<> FREMANTLE's final tally of 9.13-67 equalled Brisbane's first term of 11.1-67.
<> MARCUS ASHCROFT played his 157th consecutive club game
<> BRISBANE won their sixth successive game.

With arrangements completed, the SCG will host 17 matches in 2000 involving the Swans, the Kangaroos, Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs ...

MATTHEW BURTON at 210cm is the tallest to have played League football. He played 63 games in their first four seasons, but Burton after rucking the first five matches with Freo has spent most of 1999 playing with Subiaco in the Westar Rules competition until recalled for the Brisbane game.

DAVID SMORGAN this week became the first rfull-time AFL president. The 52-year-old chairman will help facilitate the move of the Western Bulldogs to the Colonial Stadium. He has committed himself to work unpaid full-time for a six-month term.

With season-ending injuries sustained in Sydney by KANE JOHNSON, DAVID PITTMAN and TYSON EDWARDS, Adelaide estimated they will at best have 24-25 players to select from for their last two home-and-away engagements.

TONY MODRA (Fremantle) lost his chance for a Coleman Medal when a hamstring injury at training before Round 20 ended his season—he had kicked 70.39 in the 19 matches played.

BRISBANE played their last home game for the year at the Gabba with 23,845 attending. Next season when all grandstand works are completed, the crush limit for the Brisbane venue will be 37,000.

Former Geelong star BILLY BROWNLESS declined an invitation to stand as a Liberal Party candidate at the forthcoming Victorian State Election.

The AFL Tribunal sat on both Monday and Tuesday (16 & 17th) to hear charges from the 20th round.

West Coast captain GUY McKENNA had his charge of striking Hawthorn's RICHARD TAYLOR in the first quarter on Friday night in Perth withdrawn.

In a football first, field umpire ANDREW COATES replaced the charge with one from video of "engaging in rough play" on the Hawthorn rover.

After a five-minute hearing on Monday the Tribunal dismissed the charge.

The Herald Sun reported: "In dismissing the charge, chairman Brian Collis QC said the Tribunal was satisfied that McKenna had 'attempted to try to legitimately bump and kept his feet on the ground and arms tucked in'".

On Tuesday, wrestling charges were heard against GAVIN BROWN (Col) and BARRY YOUNG (Ess) to which both pleaded not guilty.

Brown was fined $1000, but Young incurred a suspension of one match.

The Tribunal said a suspension was appropriate. It was the third time the Bomber had been on a wrestling charge this year, with fines attached on previous occasions.

Young became only the fifth player to be suspended from a wrestling charge. Others before him were—Allen Jakovich (Mel), Danny Southern (FWB), Mick Martyn (NMK) and Richard Osborne (Col).

CHRIS LANGFORD will be the next AFL Commissioner. The Sydney-based Langford played 303 games with Hawthorn (1983-97) and at 36 will be the youngest commissioner. He will replace DAVID SHAW who retired earlier this year.

Adelaide's DAVID PITTMAN announced his retirement after 131 games (1992-99). He will be long-remembered as the player Crow coach MALCOLM BLIGHT described as "the most pathetic ruckman I've seen in my entire life" following Adelaide's loss to Richmond at Footy Park on Sunday April 6 1997. Pittman went on to play in the premiership victories in 1997 and 1998.

Melbourne captain TODD VINEY at 33 will end his 13-season career at Round 22. Viney has been troubled by knee injuries and the recent departures from the Demons by GARRY LYON and CEO CAMERON SCHWAB.

In the coaching merry-go-round—the word that MICHAEL MALTHOUSE will leave West Coast and become coach at Collingwood next season is believed to have prompted Hawthorn in seeking to coax Geelong coach GARY AYRES to move to Glenferrie Oval, which would release KEN JUDGE to return to Perth and coach the Eagles ... a two-year Essendon offer believed to be worth $500,000 a season has been made to KEVIN SHEEDY, yet he has not signed and still being linked as a possible at Punt Road with the Tigers, and even the Magpies not ruled out ...

The AFL interim draw for season 2000 is already circulating. It is understood the KANGAROOS will play eight games at Docklands in order to re-establish their niche as Friday night specialists—MCG Friday night matches are expected to be slashed back to 11 ...

The WESTERN BULLDOGS plan to establish a sister club in the Sydney Football League in 2000. EAST SYDNEY are the most likely—East were one of the first two Australian Football clubs founded in 1880 (a club called Sydney which disbanded in 1971 was the other) and have played in the tricolours and as the Bulldogs in the SFL for as long as anyone can remember.

The duration of AFL matches is under review following the experience where some quarters were extending to 34 or 35 minutes. Factors are the number of goals and television breaks of 30 seconds after each goal is kicked, and players being taken from the ground on stretchers.

>> Presently quarters are 20 minutes in length plus time-on.
>> Quarters for Ansett Cup matches were 17 minutes plus time-on this year but may be reduced to 15 plus time-on in the 2000 series.
>> No changes to the length of quarters in the AFL 2000 competition are likely, though the review will consider a reduction for 2001.

MIKE SHEAHAN, Talking Footy — "I have no doubt about Richard Colless' integrity but I think clearly in this case that he has got two hats and it's very difficult for him to be totally independent on both cases".

Note: Richard Colless is chairman of Sydney FC and chairman of the AFL (NSW-ACT) Commission.

The latest six-week Melbourne radio ratings for the 1999 season were released. The 3AW team led by REX HUNT maintained their leadership.

Friday (7-12) 11.2 10.8 10.5
Saturday overall (12-6) 16.2 10.7 10.7
Saturday call (2-4.30) 18.1 12.8 12.2
Sunday overall (12-6) 15.3 9.7 9.5
Sunday call (2-4.30) 17.6 12.0 12.2
Sunday (4.30-6) 14.9 8.5 9.8



Essendon claim minor premiership
Roos & Dogs receive a fright
Port into their first finals series
Crows, Demons & Saints humbled

ROUND 21 — Fri-Sat-Sun, August 20-21-22.
MILESTONES — ESSENDON became minor premiers of the season—the 15th such celebration by the club since 1897. From finishing at the top of the ladder, Essendon have won 10 League premierships, the most recent occasions in 1984, 1985 and 1993 ... the BULLDOGS played their 1500th League match since their entry as Footscray in 1925—the Doggies have won 668 times, lost 814 and drawn on 18 occasions ... DAVID PARKIN claimed his 200th victory as coach of CARLTON (1981-85, 1991-99) ... in their 117th match at Princes Park, ST KILDA lost for the 100th time since 1897 ... ALASTAIR LYNCH (Fit, now Bri) played his 200th match ... 100 for SCOTT CAMPOREALE (Car), ANDREW McLEOD (Ade) and MARK RICHARDSON (Col) ... SHANE ELLEN (Fsc, now Ade) played his 50th ...

<> ESSENDON in claiming the minor premiership can look forward with confidence. In 103 seasons, the Dons have headed the ladder 15 times—1898, 1911, 1923, 1924, 1942, 1946, 1948, 1950, 1962, 1968, 1984, 1985, 1990, 1993 and 1999. Premierships have been won on 10 of the previous 14 occasions. Only in 1898, 1948, 1968 and 1990 did Essendon fail to obtain the League pennant from the minor premiership.
<> ESSENDON enter the finals marginally short of their best. In the premiership season of 1950 the Bombers ended as minor premiers with their only loss against North Melbourne who they eventually defeated in the Grand Final.
<> ESSENDON's  9.5-59 was the best second quarter of 167 meetings with Richmond topping the 8.3-51, 53-R18-PR—refer page 346 of Footystats 1999.

<> TONY LOCKETT goaled in his 109th consecutive match. His five goals at the WACA versus the Dockers carried him to 451 goals in 93 games for Sydney, averaging 4.85. In his 276th career match he reached 1349 goals (av. 4.89). For St Kilda (1983-94) he kicked 898 goals in 183 matches at an average of 4.90.

<> ST KILDA kicked one behind in the first quarter for the eighth occasion of 190 contests against Carlton—the last time was in 1979 when they kicked 6.9-45 for the match. The Saints versus the Blues have also been pointless four times in the first term in 1899, 1909, 1914 and 1965. 

<> BRISBANE matched their 1996 club record of seven consecutive wins. Three years ago when heading into their second final series, Brisbane were winners in Rounds 15 to 21.

<> HAWTHORN kicked their best second term of the season but, their 8.4-52 was four points short of second quarter's versus Geelong—best is 9.2-56, 89-R6-PP.

<> On Sunday at Carlton, the WESTERN BULLDOGS kicked the first 10 goals without a miss. Best in League history is Geelong who kicked 15 without a miss versus St Kilda at Moorabbin in 1989.

<> RICHMOND with five successive losses—their worst run since 1993.

<||> Essendon claimed the 1999 minor premiership with a solid 58-point victory over a mediocre Richmond in the Friday night contest played in fair conditions at the MCG for a good attendance of 48,835. It was the second time this season the Bombers had strung together six consecutive wins, broken only by their Round 15 slump against Port Adelaide at Football Park.

Essendon booted clear in the second quarter after the Tigers had briefly captured the lead—the Dons kicked 9.5-59 in the second and held a commanding 47pt advantage at the long break. MATTHEW LLOYD gave a display of strong marking and good goal sense with another six for the Bombers ... also under notice, JUSTIN BLUMFIELD, MARK MERCURI (23 disposals), DEAN RIOLI and DUSTIN FLETCHER. Richmond fought back in the third quarter but when it was apparent their season was over, they fell away for Essendon to lead by 12 goals in the last. BEN HARRISON, MATTHEW KNIGHTS and JOEL BOWDEN worked hard for the Tigers against the insurmountable difference of depth and class. Three days later Tiger coach Gieschen resigned – ESSENDON 22.15-147 (Lloyd 6, Mercuri 3, Blumfield 3) best, Mercuri, Lloyd, Heffernan, RICHMOND 13.11-89 (Harrison 3) best, Harrison, Bowden, Knights.

<||> Carlton cemented a place in the finals for the first time in three years with a workmanlike effort at Princes Park under grey skies on Saturday afternoon for 24,185 spectators. However, it took the Blues until the final quarter before they finally put St Kilda away.

The promising future of the Blues continued with fine contributions in the match from KRIS MASSIE and SIMON FLETCHER. The prospect of the Saints applying more 'vigour' to their game was shown early when the well-muscled 109kg frame of STEWART LOEWE smashed into the head of Carlton's FRASER BROWN – who returned later for a 37 possession game. Loewe was booked for 'engaging in rough play' — the charge however was dropped on Monday.

St Kilda in their ninth loss from 11 games managed only seven goals for the match. Charles Happell for The Age reported: "Most of the St Kilda forwards were rendered ineffective and, at various stages, Loewe, Hall, Everitt, Heatley and Jones spent time on the bench. Given that these players are not just the team's goalkickers but the club's leaders, that must give (coach) Watson his greatest cause for concern" – CARLTON 15.16-106 (Hamill 3) best, Bradley, Murphy, Silvagni, ST KILDA 7.3-45 (Heatley 2) best, Burke, Knowles, Begley.

<||> Brisbane matched their 1996 club record of seven consecutive wins when they thrashed Melbourne by 55 points at the MCG on an overcast Saturday – only 18,679 were present. More importantly it was a victory where the premiership will be won—it was only Brisbane's fifth win from 36 visits to headquarters since 1987.

Melbourne in the early stages took the game right up to the Lions and led by 17pts in the second term. An ugly melee involving some 20 players (by Tuesday, 13 players were cited) sparked the Lions who then slammed on seven unanswered goals in 15 minutes and Brisbane retained control for the balance of the contest. The Lions were assisted by Melbourne's wasteful handpassing and dreadful disposal—the Demons had the luxury of 33 more disposals yet lost by eight goals. Whether the Lions at the start were over-confident from recent easy victories will be well-focussed in the days to come—coach Matthews said: "...we had a few players who were maybe playing a bit optimistic" – BRISBANE 25.9-159 (Notting 6, Johnson 4, A.Lynch 3) best, C.Scott, Notting, M.Voss, MELBOURNE 15.14-104 (Neitz 5) best, Neitz, Leoncelli, Schwarz.

<||> A good crowd of 31,603 were at Waverley on a crisp Saturday night for another ripper contest between the Hawks and the Cats—it resulted in the fourth two-point victory by Hawthorn over Geelong in the past eight years. It was also Hawthorn's sixth victory against Geelong by six points or less in the past eight years.

The Cats had a great start, going out to a 26pt lead before Hawthorn started to pull them back. The marked difference between the two came in the forward lines where NICK HOLLAND for Hawthorn took 11 telling marks and kicked five goals, TRENT CROAD when moved forward adding another three, plus the round the ground brilliance of SHANE CRAWFORD who was heroic in the dying minutes of the hectic last quarter. In contrast, BARRY STONEHAM was the single forward focus for the Cats, though well in support was PETER RICCARDI.
Reflecting on the losing culture which exists at Geelong, coach Ayres said: "You don't get in five grand finals and lose every one of them unless you not mentally tough" – HAWTHORN 15.13-103 (Holland 3, Croad 3, Crawford 3) best, Crawford, Harford, Taylor, GEELONG 15.11-101 (Stoneham 4, Bruns 3) best, Riccardi, Stoneham, Burns.

<||> MARK DUFFIELD for The Age recorded: "Sydney flirted briefly with disaster before cementing its place in the Eight with a 33-point victory over Fremantle". Watched by a crowd of 25,126 at the WACA on a good Saturday night, the Dockers surged back to shed a stranglehold the Swans had taken in the first quarter. The Dockers with considerable effort led by eight points at half time before the Coathangers snapped from their lethargy.

DARYN CRESSWELL ignited the Swans almost 10 minutes into the third term with a goal snapped from 25m. From that point, the Dockers kicked only two more goals and Sydney under coach Rodney Eade secured a place in the finals for the fourth successive year. The match was a celebration by the Perth crowd for Tony Lockett's last appearance in the West, recognised by a special end-of-game banner by the Fremantle cheer squad—FAREWELL PLUGGER, THE DOCKERS SALUTE A CHAMPION—Lockett from nine marks kicked 5.5 for the match – SYDNEY 15.19-109 (Lockett 5, O’Loughlin 3) best, Cresswell, Maxfield, Schwass, FREMANTLE 10.16-76 (Waterhouse 4) best, Fletcher, Waterhouse, Black.

<||> For hard bitten Port supporters there would have been no sweeter way to secure a spot in their first finals series than by a striking victory over cross-town rivals Adelaide. Port Adelaide in their third AFL season clinched their Final Eight place on Sunday in near-perfect conditions when 42,669 packed into Football Park.

Six goals by the Power in 17 minutes of the second term gave them breathing space for the balance of the match which proved a perfect 41st birthday present for coach Williams. "Port Adelaide dominated the midfield, with BRENDON LADE easily outplaying make-shift ruckman MATTHEW ROBRAN, and JOSH FRANCOU, ADAM KINGSLEY and BRAYDEN LYLE worked well at ground level" were observations by ANDREW CAPEL in the Herald Sun. Other good contributors for Port included CHE COCKATOO-COLLINS (four goals) and CHAD CORNES (son of Graham) who marked well. Adelaide certainly were under-manned by their long injury list but the record book shows Port and the Crows are now equal in the local "Showdown" derbies – PORT 13.14-92 (Cockatoo-Collins 4) best, Wanganeen, Francou, Lyle, ADELAIDE 9.14-68 (Jarman 3) best, Ricciuto, Bassett, Bickley.

<||> The Kangaroos maintained their winning form in springlike Sunday afternoon conditions at the MCG but not without a few heart-flutters as the likely wooden-spooners Collingwood for most part gave them a run for their money—33,449 witnessed proceedings. Keen observers watched respective captains NATHAN BUCKLEY and WAYNE CAREY pitted against each other for much of the match. MARK ROBINSON noted in the Herald Sun: "Buckley did his job, but Carey did better. Carey was able to isolate Buckley one out several times and, through sheer strength in the upper body, was able to outmuscle his smaller, lighter, opponent".

The raw enthusiasm of Collingwood gave them the optimism for an upset with a two goal lead at three-quarter time. From the Kanga line-up (which was reduced in strength by injuries to McKernan, Abraham and Longmire) emerged young forward SCOTT WELSH playing his 32nd game and coming off the bench in the third quarter the 20-year old kicked four goals to rescue the Roos. Even Collingwood coach Shaw admitted: "I thought we did a terrific job on Wayne, but Welsh got under our guard". The extra flair and steadiness just got the Kangaroos over the line by 13 points – KANGAROOS 16.17-113 (Welsh 4, Carey 3, Sholl 3) best, Bell, A.Stevens, Archer, COLLINGWOOD 15.10-100 (Williams 3) best, Buckley, Burns, Williams.

<||> For the first time in their 74-year history the Western Bulldogs for a third consecutive season finished in the top four—at Carlton on a sun-kissed Sunday they cemented their place in their 1500th League game played  before 17,267 fans. The Bulldogs with a strong opening—they kicked their first ten goals without a blemish—even in the third quarter they were still five goals in front and a payback for the 72pt drubbing they had received in Perth seemed to have arrived.

The West Coast defence after half time suddenly began to exert pressure and opened cracks in the Dogs game who couldn't buy a goal as the Eagles slammed on five to gather momentum. In the first minutes of the last quarter the Eagles hit the front and in an exciting finish as SCOTT CUMMINGS (WC) took a grip on the Coleman Medal, LUKE DARCY stepped up for the Tricolours. It came down to a two-point result but even in defeat West Coast gained satisfaction they may have turned the corner as their blend of youth and experience started to come together, despite it being their sixth defeat in seven matches – BULLDOGS 16.10-106 (Garlick 4, Hudson 3) best, Grant, Dimattina, Liberatore, WEST COAST 16.8-104 (Cummings 6) best, Kemp, Cummings, Cousins.

JEFF GIESCHEN announced on Monday (23rd) he will step down as coach of Richmond at the end of the season.
Gieschen replaced Robert Walls when five matches of the 1997 season remained. His last assignment (his 49th game) will be on Friday night.
Richmond since the losing grand final in 1982 have had eight coaches and played in only one final series in 17 seasons. In 1995 under JOHN NORTHEY they reached the First Preliminary Final but were heavily beaten by Geelong 20.9 to 5.10.

The AFL Tribunal on Tuesday (24th) fined Essendon defender DAMIEN HARDWICK $3000. He was found guilty of wrestling Richmond's WAYNE CAMPBELL in last Friday's night game at the MCG.

It was Hardwick's sixth appearance since 1996 and his second wrestling offence—he was fined $1200 on the same charge in Round 13 last season. In 1997 he was twice suspended for two weeks for charging and elbowing, while Hardwick in 1996 had suffered a fine of $5000 for his involvement in a melee and also suspended two weeks for striking.

The Tribunal dismissed a charge of striking against Richmond's JOHN ROMBOTIS—they found the charge could not be sustained.

On Wednesday (25th) 13 players, five from Brisbane fronted the Tribunal on melee charges resulting from a second quarter incident in the Saturday match at the MCG. They were fined a total of $19.500–
Michael Voss,  $2500
Nigel Lappin, $2000
Daryl White $2000
Simon Black, $1000
Matthew Kennedy $1000
David Schwarz, $2000
Travis Johnstone, $2000
Matthew Bishop, $1500
Andrew Leoncelli, $1500
Todd Viney, $1000
Daniel Ward, $1000
Guy Rigoni, $1000.

LEE WALKER, the injury-plagued player who suffered four knee reconstructions has retired at 26.  Recruited in 1994 via a draft swap with West Coast, he was an outstanding junior ruckman with East Perth but played only 16 League matches with Collingwood—7 in 1995, 8 in 1996 and one in 1997. Walker attempted a comeback this year and played four Reserves games with the Magpies.

ROD JAMESON at 29 was another player to announce his AFL retirement. A member of the original squad when Adelaide entered the AFL in 1991, Jameson has played 152 games for the Crows with his best effort of 8.4 versus North Melb in Round 24 of 1991 when he was club leading goalkicker that year with 49.

PHIL ANSTEY resigned as football manager of St Kilda effective September 3. He started at Moorabbin in 1996 and became football manager before the start of the 1998 season.

The Australian Tax Office released a guide to assist AFL clubs comply with their tax obligations. Tax Commissioner MICHAEL CARMODY in a statement said: "The joint working group has focussed on compliance issues that clubs had most trouble with. These included their group tax obligations as employers and the fringe benefits tax (FBT) treatment of player remuneration packages".

The coaching merry-go-round referred to in the Round 20 Diary may become clearer as half of the clubs conclude their seasons this week and the race will become more desperate—KEVIN SHEEDY is expected to be granted the three-year deal he is seeking from Essendon reported to be worth $600,000 a season ... the grapevine still speculates on the likelihood that MICHAEL MALTHOUSE will move to Collingwood, or will it be to Richmond? ... ADELAIDE are still searching for a replacement of Blighty, with assistant DAREL HART a strong prospect, but not without suggestions that PAUL ROOS and GARRY LYON are being considered ... other elements of the complex footy Rubic, is whether KEN JUDGE can resist the opportunity to move back home to the West if Mickey creates a vacancy, and if GARY AYRES may leave Geelong and return to Glenferrie Oval ... interesting times ...

JAMES HIRD received the all clear from his foot-stress fracture and it was circulated he would play in Round 22 against Melbourne ... however, on the eve of the game he was ruled until for the rest of the year … Hird has not played since Round 2 ... in a decision of quality, Hird asked MICHAEL LONG to share the captaincy with him for the rest of the season ...

RICHARD HINDS in The Age reported on August 20 that an audit of crowds at two Sydney matches revealed the SCG Trust discovered problems with a new turnstile in the Bill O'Reilly Stand which went into operation on the night of the Essendon match on Saturday July 31.

Amended figures provided show 31,776 (not 28,654) attended the Essendon game, while 34,299 (not 30,886) were counted for the Adelaide match on Sunday August 15.

Richard Hinds noted: "While they have long attempted to avoid any confrontation or comparison with rugby league, Swans officials were bemused by reports comparing their crowds unfavourably with reportedly increased league crowds.

Some NRL teams include ticket-holders in their attendance figures, regardless of whether they attend the game. If the Swans did likewise they could claim and 'attendance' of more than 40,000 at their home matches".

Melbourne fined $600,000
The AFL on August 26 announced the Melbourne club had been fined $600,000 for salary cap breaches—the Demons will also be penalised four draft selections over the next two national drafts.

Melbourne will be excluded from the first three rounds of the 2000 draft while Fremantle has been handed their first round selection from the 1999 draft as compensation for losing ruckman JEFF WHITE to Melbourne.

$250,000 of the $600,000 fine would be suspended on the condition that Melbourne is not involved in any serious breach of the players' rules for five years. The balance of $350,000 must be paid in instalments by October 31 2001.


Lions bury Victoria Park
Final Eight system will be tested
MCG scoreboard damaged by fire

ROUND 22 — Fri-Sat-Sun, August 27-28-29.
MILESTONES — League footy farewelled Victoria Park on Saturday when Collingwood played Brisbane in the 880th and final VFL-AFL match at the venue ... COLLINGWOOD received the wooden spoon for only the second time ... Waverley Park hosted its 732nd and final League premiership match ... DAVID PARKIN achieved 700 League matches as player and coach. Parkin played 211 games with Hawthorn (1961-74) and has coached in 489 matches (1977-88 and 1991-99) with Hawthorn, Fitzroy and Carlton. In 1989-90 he was Specialist Coach of League umpires ... NICKY WINMAR (StK, now WB) played his 250th match ... ANDREW McKAY his 150th ... 100 games arrived for MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN (Syd), MATTHEW YOUNG (Haw, now StK) ... 50th games were reached by TRENT ORMOND-ALLEN (Mel, now Ade), JASON SNELL (Gee), DAMIEN RYAN (Rch, now StK), SIMON GOODWIN (Ade) ... while GAVIN WANGANEEN (PA) and CHRIS JOHNSON (Bri) each played their 50th club games for their present clubs ... PAUL HUDSON (Haw, now WB) passed 400 career goals in League game 197 ... CLIVE WATERHOUSE (Fre) and MICHAEL MANSFIELD (Gee) reached 100 goals ...

As results of the 22nd round fell, no changes occurred to any place of the ladder and the balance of the top eight suffering losses of 41, 11, 67 and 85 points.

<> COLLINGWOOD on the occasion of the last match at Victoria Park renamed the venue as McHale Stadium after their coaching legend JOCK McHALE.

<> Expert statsman STEPHEN RODGERS noted that Port Adelaide finished in the finals with a percentage of 90.1 — the lowest recorded by a finalist since Fitzroy in 1917. That year, the Maroons after 15 rounds made the World War One reduced season finals in fourth place with 86.4.
The three and-a-half game gulf between the 1999 finalists is the biggest recorded. In 1920, Richmond and Fitzroy finished with 56 points, then there was a four game gap to third and fourth when Carlton and Collingwood finished on 40 points.

<> It was observed that the two wooden spoons received by COLLINGWOOD in 1976 and 1999 were coached by their previous premiership captain — MURRAY WEIDEMAN (1958) and TONY SHAW (1990).

<> ST KILDA's second quarter of 9.4-58 was the best of all scoring from their 20 contests versus West Coast. It topped their first term of 9.3-57 also at the WACA against the Eagles in Round 15, 1990. However, in 1990 the start failed to bring a win—the Saints only kicked a further five goals that night and went under to West Coast, 16.12 to 14.6.
<> ST KILDA posted its fifth successive win over West Coast.
<> ST KILDA posted its first WACA win at their sixth attempt.

<> The WESTERN BULLDOGS scored their biggest win of the season. The 67-point success topped two — 64pts over Melbourne in R8 and 62pts against Richmond in R5. It was also a new high margin against Port Adelaide.

<> BRISBANE's history-making victory in the last match to be played at Victoria Park was by 42 points. It however fell short of their best over the Magpie.– 52pts, 98-R14-BCG; 44pts, 94-R14-BCG.
<> COLLINGWOOD were scoreless in the third quarter against Brisbane at Victoria Park. Not since Round 12 1961 when Geelong kicked 3.5 to 0.0 in the third quarter had such an embarrassment occurred.
The last time Collingwood were pointless in any quarter at Victoria Park was 37 years ago against St Kilda in the opening round of 1962. That day the Saints at their 59th visit to Victoria Park won for only the second time, holding the Pies scoreless in the last term. The only other occasion St Kilda had beaten the Pies at Vic Park was in Round 2, 1919. St Kilda however in latter seasons added another five victories to their tally in 63-R18, 68-R3, 74-R18, 76-R16 and 93-R4.
Collingwood in their 863 League matches at Vic Park were scoreless in a quarter on 21 occasions—including the one on Saturday against Brisbane.

Count of St Kilda players; third time in 11,714 games
On Saturday night at the WACA during the third term when the Saints led the Eagles 85-36, West Coast captain GUY McKENNA requested a count of St Kilda players.

It was the first occasion this rule had been invoked in a League match since Saturday August 16 1958 when at Windy Hill the Essendon captain JACK CLARKE in the last quarter asked for a count of North Melbourne players.

The first occasion a count was taken was on Saturday July 12 1924 in the Carlton v St Kilda game at Princes Park. St Kilda captain WELLS EICKE in the second quarter requested a count of Carlton players.

On all three occasions where a count has been taken in 11,714 League matches since 1897 no team had more than 18 players on the field.

<> The 8.4-52 opening by the KANGAROOS versus Adelaide at Football Park was short only to the 10.3-63 kicked at the earlier meeting this season in Round 7 at the MCG.

<> TONY LOCKETT reached 1352 career goals in game 277. He has kicked goals in 110 consecutive games. He kicked 898 goals for St Kilda in 183 games (1983-94) and has 454 goals with Sydney in his 94 games (1995-99).
(Note: these figures correct an error shown in the R21 Diary).

<> For the Record — Master statsman COL HUTCHINSON noted —DARYN CRESSWELL (Syd) scored the last goal in a League match at Waverley.
LUKE POWER (Bri) scored the last goal in a League match at Victoria Park.

<> The reported 72,130 at Waverley on Sunday for the Hawthorn-Sydney game lifted estimated attendances for Round 22 to 273,035. This was well adrift of the 1998 record of 367,974.

<||> The Friday match at the MCG was preceded by a spectacular fire at 7.30pm which seriously damaged the $7.5 million electronic scoreboard atop the Ponsford Stand at the southern end of the stadium. Heavy rain over previous days is suspected to have caused an electrical fault in the 17.28m by 6.4m scoreboard which has been a feature of the MCG since December 1992. The fire was extinguished by MCG personnel after some 10 minutes. Though acrid black smoke resulted none of the 34,013 present were in danger.

The match was delayed and did not commence until 8.05pm following re-seating of spectators from the Ponsford area. In wet and muddy conditions following two days of rain Richmond quickly settled and proved to be more switched-on than the Blues who were playing for a higher finish than sixth place.

In one of their more dismal showings for the year Carlton succumbed to the Tigers who may have reacted to the resignation of coach JEFF GIESCHEN. Richmond were generally in control apart from a brief period in the second quarter and when Carlton stormed home from a seven goal deficit to within five points in the last term. Several undisciplined acts by the Blues added to their misfortune – RICHMOND 13.12-90 (Holland 3) best, Tivendale, Knights, D.Kellaway, CARLTON 11.13-79 (Whitnall 4) best, Bradley, Whitnall, Murphy.

<> The 880th League match on Saturday afternoon brought the closure of Victoria Park as an AFL venue. The proceedings were telecast live in Victoria from noon by Channel Seven to the displeasure of country and suburban football competitions. The 24,493 who were present saw the Pies run through possibly the biggest banner of all time (some 30 metres) but failed to see a contest as third-placed Brisbane ruled the soggy Vic Park turf and were certain winners from early in the first quarter. The Lions pounced and stormed away to an unbeatable lead against the wooden-spooners. The Magpies had little to offer and were held scoreless in the third quarter.

The Lions dominated at the centre-bounces with CLARK KEATING delivering a huge game winning 28 hit-outs and topped it by taking a screamer of a mark for a big bloke ... DARYL WHITE was superb across half-back ... NIGEL LAPPIN, MARCUS ASHCROFT and CRAIG McRAE cut loose across the centre with McRae sneaking in four goals ... ADAM HEUSKES and STEVEN LAWRENCE were an effective duo in defence ...

The Lions proved their value as a premiership prospect in the most hostile environment any team could face—even the bride at half-time couldn't discourage them – BRISBANE 13.16-94 (A.Lynch 4, McRae 4) best, Akermanis, Lawrence, Keating, COLLINGWOOD 8.4-52 (A.Rocca 3) best, Buckley, Burns, Williams.

<> The minor premiers Essendon found a spirited Melbourne hard to overcome in the soft and slippery conditions at the MCG on a rare wet Saturday. The match drew 47,380 supporters who found the Demons up to the task when they led by 32 points early in the third term. Knowingly, their supporters asked—could it last?

The Bombers called up their teamwork and strength to kick 9.9 to 3.4 in a second half which brought them a 17 point win. The critical factor of class and depth found the Demons wanting for a stronger brigade capable of going longer than half a game. The Bombers, winners of 13 of their past 14 enter the finals with the problem of squeezing into their line-up the sidelined Mark Mercuri, Joe Misiti, Scott Lucas and Michael Prior. Oh, the problems some coaches must suffer. Melbourne after finishing third in 1998 stumbled to their ninth successive defeat and 14th place. It was the 233rd and farewell senior match for Demon captain TODD VINEY – ESSENDON 17.14-116 (Alessio 4, Lloyd 3) best, Alessio, Bewick, Hardwick, MELBOURNE 15.9-99 (Neitz 4, Rigoni 3, Schwarz 3) best, M.Febey, S.Febey, Neitz.

<> The Western Bulldogs were masters in the wet and slippery atmosphere of Princes Park on Saturday—only a slim 15,183 turned up. Port Adelaide already secure in the top Eight, based on this display will have to lift their commitment if they are to be anything. The Dogs demoralised the Power by sheer weight of numbers.

The Bulldogs spread their scoring around with 12 goalkickers in their second-highest tally of the season and questioned whether they require a permanent forward in their premiership game-plan. NICKY WINMAR playing his 250th (230 Saints and 20 Bulldogs) turned in a stylish effort with four goals from a forward pocket ... PAUL HUDSON at his opportunistic best passed 400 career goals with five for the day ... ROHAN SMITH to lift his form was back into defence where he collected 33 touches ... LUKE DARCY relished the ruck absence of his rested captain SCOTT WYND ... BRAD JOHNSON after a first quarter booking (he got off) did as he pleased between the 50 metre zones with 29 touches. The Bulldogs won by a huge 67 points—a brave Port coach Mark Williams said "his side would rebound in the finals" – BULLDOGS 22.13-145 (Hudson 5, Win-mar 4) best, Darcy, S.West, Montgomery, PORT 11.12-78 (Chalmers 3, Eagleton 3, Lockwood 3) best, Lade, Francou, Wanganeen.

<> St Kilda defied their end of season form and confirmed that statistics sometimes rule—on Saturday night the Saints won their fifth successive game against the Eagles. Surprisingly, it was St Kilda's first victory from six attempts at the WACA Oval. West Coast skidded to their seventh failure from the past eight games and were soundly defeated. At the WACA were 24,696.

West Coast captain GUY McKENNA was certain the Saints had an advantage, so early in the third term when his side trailed 85 to 36 he called for the first head count in League football for 41 years. As in all other occasions, St Kilda were found to have only 18 men on the field. (We will not use the old line—"ya didn't count yaself" ...). Then again, there would have been no certainty the St Kilda score would been annulled had 19 men been present—the current rule is ambiguous enough to result in a decision, after the match.

The Saints crushed the Eagles under nine goals in the second quarter (9.4-58) as their forward line worked a treat, and they were without both the injured Loewe and Hall. Though limping for much of the game, two Eagles, McKenna and McIntosh did not retire—the Eagles are clearly in trouble – ST KILDA 18.13-121 (Heatley 4, Mitchell 3, Beveridge 3) best, A.Thompson, Hayes, Harvey, WEST COAST 12.8-80 (Gehrig 3, Phillip Matera 3) best, Cousins, Phillip Matera, Crabb.

<> Not even 'The Messiah" could evoke a Crow victory in this game—the Kangaroos kicked a match-winning 8.4 to five behinds in the first quarter and the contest was over. The three-season dominance by the Roos over the Crows brought them their seventh win from eight games—the Roos' only clinker was the 1998 Grand Final.

37,662 farewelled Adelaide coach MALCOLM BLIGHT at Football Park on Sunday where near-perfect conditions were enjoyed. The Roos sealed the double chance with an even spread of effort with six players enjoying multiple goals — neither WAYNE CAREY nor COREY McKERNAN exerted influence on proceedings and the Kangas hierarchy would have been pleased no great pressure was placed on them as they enter their seventh consecutive finals series under coach Pagan. The dual-premiership coach MALCOLM BLIGHT leaves the Crows with another record—the greatest slide in League history, from Premiers to 13th place. To illustrate the injury toll suffered by Adelaide in the season, they faced the Kangaroos on Sunday with only 12 from their 1998 Grand Final line-up – KANGAROOS 22.10-142 (Carey 4, Grant 3, Sholl 3, Welsh 3) best, Pickett, Grant, Bell, ADELAIDE 8.18-66 (Smart 3) best, Bickley, M.Stevens, Thiessen.

<> Fremantle with a mid-game recovery led Geelong at half-time but as quickly as their surge came, so did the Dockers control waver as the Cats wrapped up their 10th win of the season—only 17,378 were at Kardinia Park on a great Sunday afternoon. The attendance is below the break-even margin required by the financially troubled club.

CARL STEINFORT from the centre was the engine driver for Geelong. Given the task of curbing Fremantle's prolific playmaker ADRIAN FLETCHER, Steinfort in his first four-quarter game of the year came out on top, grabbing 23 possessions while holding Fletcher down from his customary 30 to just 17 disposals. The blend of inexpensive youth gives Geelong heart for the future—JAMES RAHILLY, TOM HARLEY and DAVID CLARKE continue to show promise while JASON SNELL (playing his 50th) together with DARREN MILBURN showed the side had recovered a big slice of their early season confidence. Given that BEN GRAHAM plus HOCKING, COLBERT and STONEHAM should all be around in 2000, the Cats may be much better next year. Everyone, from the AFL hierarchy down wish the same could be forecast for Fremantle who in five seasons have finished no higher than 12th—13th, 13th, 12th, 15th and 15th – GEELONG 21.13-139 (Snell 3, Rahilly 3) best, Steinfort, McGrath, Rahilly, FREMANTLE 13.10-88 (Holland 3) best, Shipp, Clement, Black.

<> Waverley Park, which opened in 1970 as the jewel in the VFL crown, hosted its 732nd and final League premiership match on a glorious Sunday afternoon. The stadium and its surrounding areas will be sold to fund the AFL financial commitment to the new Docklands facility. Waverley is where Hawthorn played its home games from 1991 (St Kilda joined them in 1993) and it serviced a large population of the south-eastern sector of Melbourne's great suburban sprawl. Sunday was filled with memories; of Sir Kenneth Luke and his 1961 dream of shedding the shackles of the MCC; of the League becoming its own landlord. However, the 29-year-old much-maligned symbol has been put to rest, but some say the fans will "never forgive" the decision.

Following a stirring cavalcade of Hawthorn greats and icons associated with the short but memorable Waverley history, the huge crowd of 72,130 witnessed one of the great demolitions of which Whelan the Wrecker would have been proud. Hawthorn, the team which had desperately struggled to find its way through the middle of the season obliterated Sydney as one paper put it in "one final lap of honour".

Hawthorn overran a mediocre Sydney and produced a stunning 85-point victory. The slickness of the win so emphatically stated that Hawthorn not the Swans should have been in the Final Eight. The Hawks slaughtered Sydney in every respect. The Herald Sun reported: "Bulldogs coach TERRY WALLACE and assistant BRIAN ROYAL sat high in the members stand to analyse Sydney for an expected qualifying final duel. They had seen enough by late in the second quarter ... and promptly left". Another journalist called the match a "farce" — it was a proud, brilliantly conceived victory for Hawthorn. In post-match, Sydney coach Eade to the question, can Sydney win the flag? said: "I think we're just making the numbers up". More importantly, Eade said the Swans in the past couple of years had not been able to grab their chances when everything was going well for them – HAWTHORN 23.15-153 (N.Thompson 5, Holland 5, Harford 3) best, Holland, N.Thompson, Crawford, SYDNEY 11.2-68 (Lockett 4, O’Loughlin 3) best, Schwass, O’Loughlin, Filandia.

Sheedy re-signs for three years
KEVIN SHEEDY and the Essendon club on Monday (31st) concluded a no-clause three-year deal believed to be worth about $1.5 million. Sheedy who was courted with lucrative deals by Richmond, Collingwood and Adelaide will remain as coach of the Bombers until the end of 2002.

Essendon has the potential to play 25 games this year which brings Sheedy's coaching record to 448 matches. Adding another three seasons and a possible 75 games would take him past two 500-plus game coaches, RON BARASSI (1964-71, 1973-85, 1993-95) 515 and TOM HAFEY (1966-88) 522. Only ALLAN JEANS (1961-76, 1981-87, 1989-90, 1992) with 575 and JOCK McHALE (1912-49) on 714 would have coached more in 106 seasons of League footy.

Malthouse quits the Eagles
MICK MALTHOUSE announced Tuesday (31st) he will leave West Coast at the end of this season. Malthouse has taken the Eagles to the finals in all of his 10 seasons at the helm in Perth—an outstanding record.

However, since their second premiership in 1994, West Coast have played in seven finals for only one win, against Carlton in the 1996 First Qualifying Final.

Malthouse says he rejected an offer by Richmond and has no immediate plans in the coaching arena.
He and his family will return to Victoria for family reasons.

Charges from the final round of the home-and-away series were heard by the AFL Tribunal on Monday (30th).

BRAD JOHNSON (WB) was found not guilty of charging Gavin Wanganeen (PA).

JUSTIN MURPHY (Car) on the charge of abusive language to field umpire David Howlett was fined $2000. Murphy apologise to Mr Howlett for his actions.

MARCUS SEECAMP (Mel) pleaded guilty to headbutting Paul Barnard (Ess) and was suspended for four matches.

A charge against SCOTT BURNS (Col) for striking Steven Lawrence (Bri) was dismissed.

Two allegations of charging against BRENT GRGIC (Mel) were withdrawn.

WEST COAST signed a new three-year deal with SGIO Insurance said to be the biggest in AFL football. Sponsors of the Eagles for 12 seasons, from 2000 SGIO will become the sole major sponsor of West Coast.

Veteran Umpires PETER CAREY and GREG SCROOP will retire at the end of the season. Carey started in 1985 and his career included (to the end of the minor season) four Grand Finals in his 307 matches. Greg Scroop commenced in 1990 with six finals among his 130 matches.

The South Melbourne champion BOB SKILTON will present the 1999 AFL Premiership Cup on September 25. The honour goes to the Legend who though playing 237 matches (1956-71) for the Swans experienced only one final, the 1970 First Semi.
Former Essendon ruckman SIMON MADDEN of a club record 378 matches (1978-92) will present the NORM SMITH MEDAL.

The Age reported: "The AFL will break a century-old tradition next year, opening the season without a solitary game in Melbourne on the first Saturday of the 2000 fixture – nor has a day game been scheduled for Sunday.

The League has reached a deal with the Formula One grand prix to avoid competition with the Albert Park event that will be run over the opening home-and-away round of 2000".

During the live telecast of the farewell match from Victoria Park, Channel Seven with AFL approval were permitted to use the controversial virtual advertising technique.

WAYNE SCHWASS won the ABC Radio Best Player Award with 27 votes. Runner-up was Richmond's MATTHEW RICHARDSON with 23 and SHANE CRAWFORD (Hawthorn) on 22.

The Age-OzLotto-3AW Footballer of the Year award worth $10,000 was collected by Hawthorn's SHANE CRAWFORD with one round remaining. The Brownlow favourite had 106 votes to the end of Round 21 with Collingwood's NATHAN BUCKLEY on 93, then MARK MERCURI (Essendon) on 81.

SHANE CRAWFORD also won the Herald Sun Nissan Player of the Year. He tied with Collingwood's NATHAN BUCKLEY on 51 votes but polled best-afield votes in six matches while Buckley was given the maximum in five games. Other vote-getters were MATTHEW ALLAN (Car) on 45, with WAYNE SCHWASS (Syd) and ROBERT HARVEY (StK) equal on 42. Crawford wins a top-of-the-rage Nissan Patrol valued at $64,900 in the Herald Sun award.

SHANE CRAWFORD is the winner of the AFL Players' Association Most Valuable Player Award. Polling 407 votes his closest rivals were MATTHEW RICHARDSON (Rch) on 317 and last year's winner WAYNE CAREY (Kan) with 302.

Crawford is the fourth Hawthorn player to win the AFLPA award in its 27-year history after inaugural winner LEIGH MATTHEWS (1982), RUSSELL GREENE (1984) and JASON DUNSTALL (1992).

Straight from the coaching box to a microphone—retired Collingwood coach TONY SHAW started duties on Monday (30) in breakfast on 3AW.

All-Australian team of 1999
The AFL and the AFL Players' Association on Monday (30th) honoured the outstanding performers of the season at the awards dinner at Melbourne's Sofitel Hotel.
The AFL named the 1999 Coca-Cola All Australian team while the AFLPA presented its Most Valuable Player Award, Most Courageous Player, Best Captain, Best First-Year Player and named its team of the last 25 years.

The selected team —

B: Jason Akermanis
Justin Leppitsch
Ben Hart
HB: Byron Pickett
Stephen Silvagni
Andrew McKay
C: Brad Johnson
Nathan Buckley
Wayne Schwass
HF: Mark Mercuri
Wayne Carey
North Melb
Michael Voss
F: Ben Cousins
West Coast
Matthew Lloyd
Matthew Richardson
Foll: Matthew Allan
Robert Harvey
St Kilda
Shane Crawford
IC: Peter Bell
Nathan Burke
St Kilda
Chris Grant
Wayne Campbell
  Coach of the Year
Terry Wallace
Umpire of the Year
Andrew Coates

AFLPA Best Team of the past 25 years
Gary Ayres, Stephen Silvagni, Guy McKenna
HB: Bruce Doull, Peter Knights, Francis Bourke
C: Robert Flower, Greg Williams, Keith Greig
HF: Gary Ablett, Wayne Carey, Malcolm Blight
F: Dermott Brereton, Tony Lockett, Kevin Bartlett
Foll: Simon Madden, Robert Harvey, Leigh Matthews (Capt.)
IC: Shaun Rehn, Wayne Schimmelbusch, Nathan Buckey, Michael Tuck.

The team was selected by Laurie Serafini, Ross Glendinning, John Worsfold, Glenn Lovett, Wayne Schimmelbusch, Phil Carman, Michael Long, Justin Madden, Shaun Rehn, Garry Lyon.

The AFL Players' Association Awards of 1999:
Best Captain:

Paul Kelly (Syd) 424 votes, Wayne Carey (Kan) 311, Nathan Buckley (Col) 207
Most Courageous Player:
Glenn Archer (Kan) 882, Paul Kelly (Syd) 516, Byron Pickett (Kan) 129
Best First Year Player:
Adam Goodes (Syd) 882, Brett Burton (Ade) 784, Deam Rioli (Ess) 330
Grant Hattam Award:
Winner – Caroline Wilson (The Age)
"REVEALED: How football almost devoured a legend"
Honorable mentions:
Trevor Grant (Herald Sun), "The Battle of 89"

The Grant Hattam Trophy has been created in honour and memory of Grant Hattam, leading sports solicitor and media commentator, who passed away last year.

Following impressive growth, AFL crowds for the home-and-away season were the third-best on record. A drop by a margin of 5.68 per cent on the 6,119,164 recorded for the 1998 season was felt. Crowds for 1999 were down by 347,585 to 5,771,579. A comparison to the figures of 5,842,591 for 1997 are still favourable as the code remains the biggest ticket-item on the Australian sporting calendar.

Factors involved in the slump for this season include, the poor response to the "home" matches played by the Kangaroos in Sydney where they averaged only 15,550 and the wooden-spoon season suffered by Collingwood whose average home attendances slumped to 40,307.

The biggest crowd-pullers were top-of-the-ladder Essendon who averaged 57,351. The increase of seating capacity at the Gabba brought a healthy addition to those watching the Brisbane Lions. The Lions enjoyed a 31.25 per cent increase in crowds and will benefit further in 2000 when capacity of the BCG will lift to 37,000.

The Herald Sun — The game began at 8.05pm, but had it not started by 8.30pm, the game would have been cancelled and both teams awarded two premiership points.

Ladder after Round 22
W L D F A % Total
1 ESSENDON 18 4 2400 1905 126.0 72
2 KANGAROOS 17 5 2463 2129 115.7 68
3 BRISBANE 16 6 2422 1671 144.9 64
4 WEST.B'DOGS 15 6 1 2363 1993 118.6 62
5 WEST COAST 12 10 2068 1937 106.8 48
6 CARLTON 12 10 2088 2028 103.0 48
7 PORT ADELAIDE 12 10 1851 2054 90.1 48
8 SYDNEY 11 11 2184 2128 102.6 44
9 Hawthorn 10 11 1 1858 1943 95.6 42
10 St Kilda 10 12 1978 2021 97.9 40
11 Geelong 10 12 2328 2454 94.9 40
12 Richmond 9 13 1977 2170 91.1 36
13 Adelaide 8 14 1903 2232 85.3 32
14 Melbourne 6 16 1850 2293 80.7 24
15 Fremantle 5 17 1981 2403 82.4 20
16 Collingwood 4 18 1973 2326 84.8 16


Three enjoy stand-out wins
Eagles defy their critics
Farewell Plugger: 1357 goals

QUALIFYING FINALS — Fri-Sat-Sun, September 3-4-5.
MILESTONES — 100 games were attained by MATTHEW ALLAN (Car) and SCOTT CUMMINGS (Ess, PA, now WCE) ... Michael BRAUN (WCE) played his 50th ... TONY LOCKETT in his final League match with five goals reached a career total of 1,357 goals in his 278th game—an average of 4.88. In his 17th season he played 19 of the 23 matches Sydney played and kicked 82 goals. He kicked goals in his last 111 consecutive matches and scored 459 goals in his 95 games with Sydney (1995-99) as well as 898 goals for St Kilda in 183 games (1983-94).

SYDNEY kicked 7.12-54 versus ESSENDON on Sunday — the lowest score of 46 Qualifying Finals since the first in 1972. Previous lowest was 8.7-55 by West Coast v Essendon 11.8-74, 95-1QF-P.
COL HUTCHINSON noted the 7.12-54 by the Swans was their lowest score against Essendon for 22 years—in Round 13 1977 the Red-and-White at Windy Hill kicked 6.15-51 to the Dons 9.9-63. Expert statsman STEPHEN RODGERS recorded matches on Saturday June 25 1977 were played on grounds which were quagmires after incessant rain during Melbourne's wettest June for 118 years. The six VFL games in Round 13 1977 totalled only 841 points with only one side breaking three figures, Footscray 15.12-102.

Fewest Goalkickers
In the Fourth Qualifying Final on Sunday at the MCG, Essendon 18.15-123 overwhelmed Sydney 7.12-54. The Swans had only two goalkickers in the game -- Tony Lockett (playing his 278th and last League game) kicked 5 goals, Peter Filandia 2. This was the 26th occasion this had occurred in a League game since 1897.

<> BRISBANE's 73pt margin over Carlton ranks 29th of the greatest winning margins in all League finals. It fell well shy of the 97pts by which Brisbane defeated the Blues in the Second Semi-Final of 1996, 26.14-170 to 10.13-73.

<> The Third Qualifying crowd of 31,476 at the MCG on Saturday was the biggest attendance to see any of the five games played between the two the Kangaroos and the Power — at Manuka 97-R18 (11,321), Princes Park 97-R8 (13,056), MCG 99-R10 (16,429) and Football Park 98-R3 (28,167).

<> WAYNE CAREY became the 13th player to kick six goals in a Qualifying Final.

<> The KANGAROOS won their 18th match of the season (from 23 games). The club record is 19 (from 25) in their third premiership year of 1996.
The Kangas will play their sixth consecutive Preliminary final—equalling their record of 1974-79. Collingwood is next best—they played in four successive Preliminary Finals, 1978-79-80-81.

<> The four Qualifying Finals drew total crowds of 26,112, an average of 39,000.

<||> FIRST QUALIFYING—West Coast caused the only upset in the first week of the finals series when they outlasted the Western Bulldogs on Friday night at the MCG in front of 41,227 spectators. Conditions were firm and fast for the First Qualifying after a daytime top of 23 degrees however a blustery, swirling wind proved difficult to handle. Each enjoyed close to their best line-ups with Wynd and Garlick back for the Dogs, but while Peter Matera returned for the Eagles, they were hampered in defence by the absence of 174-game veteran McIntosh due to a knee injury.

Coming into the final with only one win from their past eight matches, West Coast were written off by most pundits but they may have been spurred by the mid-week resignation after ten years of coach Mick Malthouse.  The Eagles though not repeating their early season form played their best football in months. While the Bulldogs struggled—their range of skills were replaced by errors and a lack of confidence—all of the Dogs major forwards were obliterated. So often when they appeared set to score they came unstuck.

PAUL GOUGH recorded: Bulldogs midfielders and forwards were given no room to move and the defenders again were unable to step up to the role of playmakers. Eagles defenders, however, were constant springboards, with GLEN JAKOVICH having the better of CHRIS GRANT in the key defence post and GUY McKENNA mopping up and dispensing in the manner that has earned him the highest respect. ... MICHAEL BRAUN was an important midfielder ... DAVID WIRRPUNDA was a constant threat ... both SCOTT CUMMINGS and STEVE KOLYNIUK can be commended for their four goals each in such a low-scoring game ...

The Bulldogs got to within five points with only 10 seconds left and charged into attack but the Eagles defence locked-up the ball until the siren sounded. Though winning, the Eagles drew the short straw and will play their Semi at the MCG on Saturday. The Dogs on the double-chance, face the Lions in Brisbane – WEST COAST 9.11-65 (Cummings 4, Wirrpunda 2) best, McKenna, Rintoul, Cummings, BULLDOGS 8.12-60 (Kolyniuk 4), best, Darcy, Liberatore, Johnson.

<||> THIRD QUALIFYING—Heavy overnight rain and the traffic of curtain-raisers resulted in poor Saturday afternoon conditions at the MCG for the Third Qualifying—only 31,476 were present. Port Adelaide were undaunted in their first final but proved no match for the Kangaroos. The game played throughout in rain, was another in which WAYNE CAREY demonstrated his class and is judged as one of the great champions of more than an century.

The Roos blitzed the Power with the first four goals of the game, yet Port clawed their way back to within 12 points early in the third term. In less than eight minutes WAYNE CAREY marked and kicked three goals (from 49m, 20m and 15m) to put the contest beyond the reach of Port—it was another sensational performance by the 'King'. There were however stand-out performances by other Roos—ANTHONY STEVENS with 34 possessions (29 kicks, five handballs, four marks) ... PETER BELL 27 possessions (19, 8, 4) ... DAVID KING 26 possessions (21, 5, 4) ... SHANNON GRANT 23 possessions (14, 9, 4) while Carey's stats for the match were 24 possessions (20 kicks, four handballs and 11 marks). The Kangas dominated the match with their final margin of 44 points as evidence of their supremacy. Port bow out, while the Roos on a one-week break head for their record-equalling sixth successive Preliminary on September 18 – KANGAROOS 15.10-100 (Carey 6, Harvey 3) best, Carey, A.Stevens, Martyn, PORT 8.8-56 (Dew 4) best, French, P.Burgoyne, Dew..

<||> SECOND QUALIFYING—The Gabba surface was perfect as was the weather on Saturday night for a new record ground attendance for an AFL match of 26,112. The Brisbane Lions continued their impressive march toward a Grand Final when they hammered a hapless Carlton by 73 points in the Second Qualifying. It was the ninth straight win for the Lions and a near repeat of the 97pt thumping which Brisbane brought down on the Blues in a 1996 final.

One report said: Carlton were scratchy in the first half and deplorable in the second ... the Lions repeated a well-worn strategy of wearing down the opposition in a relentless first half, then going for the kill in the second. CLARK KEATING was sensational in the ruck for the Lions against All-Australian ruckman MATTHEW ALLEN. Keating had quickly thrown off the effects of a bad dose of flu—Allen was not so lucky. And Brisbane accomplished all this after captain MICHAEL VOSS went down in the first 15 minutes, which continues his injury hoodoo–this time, strained ligaments in his left ankle. MARK ROBINSON reporting in the Herald Sun: It wasn't uncommon to see 12 players running, screaming for the ball, and equally uncommon for a Lion not to reward his teammate with the ball. When they didn't have it, they closed Carlton down. "Too good, too strong, whatever adjectives you want to use" Carlton coach David Parkin said of Brisbane. The Lions move into the Semi against the Bulldogs—Brisbane are on course to re-write history, from last to first in the next season – BRISBANE 20.18-138 (Molloy 4, A.Lynch 4) best, Ashcroft, Hart, Black, CARLTON 8.17-65 (Whitnall 2) best, Camporeale, Murphy, Ratten.

<||> FOURTH QUALIFYING—An impressive Essendon overwhelmed Sydney in the Fourth Qualifying played on Sunday at the MCG. For the second successive week the Swans were out of the contest by quarter time. The match was played in poor conditions with the MCG cricket pitch area a sea of mud—57,687 attended.

The Bombers first quarter was exceptional stuff with a knockout four goals in the first 10 minutes and eight crushing goals for the quarter—there was no room for the embarrassed Swans to hide. TONY LOCKETT put on a brave face in his final League match for Sydney but he had few in support. JOE MISITI was magnificent for Essendon ... MERCURI, BLUMFIELD, RIOLI, BEWICK—so many options, so many greater opportunities for the Bombers who dominated the match. The forecast the week before by Swans coach Eade that they were only "making up the numbers" was unflatteringly accurate—the gap between first and eighth was wider than the Pacific Ocean. The minor premiers earned a week off, and await the Preliminary on September 18 – ESSENDON 18.15-123 (Lloyd 5, Mercuri 3) best, Misiti, Lloyd, Blumfield, SYDNEY 7.12-54 (Lockett 5, Filandia 2) best, Cresswell, O’Loughlin, Lockett.

Goodes is Rising Star of 1999
Sydney's ADAM GOODES on Tuesday (7th) was named the 1999 Norwich Union Rising Star Award winner. He receives the annual trophy and an investment portfolio worth more than $23,000.

The 19-year-old Goodes polled 33 of a possible 35 votes to finish ahead of BRETT BURTON (Ade) on 24, SIMON BLACK (Bri) with 22 and DEAN RIOLI (Ess) who polled 16 votes.

Goodes in accepting the award praised Fremantle coach DAMIAN DRUM for his work and the effort he put in while Sydney's assistant coach last year. Goodes spent the 1998 season playing in Reserve Grade under Drum.

In Sunday's game against the Bombers, Goodes broke his right forearm for the second time in a month. He hopes to resume training in around eight weeks.

Fears he would follow earlier recruits, Adam Goodes resisted offers to return to Victoria and has signed another two-year deal with Sydney.

Two coaches, both with another season left on their contracts are moving out.

GARY AYRES coach of Geelong since 1995 terminated his agreement and was appointed coach of Adelaide on Friday (3rd) under a three-year deal.

On Monday (6th) in similar circumstances, KEN JUDGE terminated arrangements with the Hawthorn club where he has coached for three seasons. Though contracted for 2000, Judge was seeking an extension which the Hawks' board were unable to provide.

No firm alternative for Judge was revealed with him being linked to replace Mick Malthouse at West Coast, or take up one of the existing vacancies at either Geelong or Richmond. Speculation even attached the possibility of his return to Princes Park where he was a respected assistant in their premiership year of 1995—the possibility is, will he take over from David Parkin?

Meanwhile, MARK 'Bomber' THOMPSON, a former assistant to Kevin Sheedy at Essendon and currently the understudy to DENIS PAGAN at Arden Street has been courted by both Geelong and Richmond.

Also part of the scenario is PETER SCHWAB, former assistant coach at Hawthorn and current Umpires director who makes no secret of his desire to gain the top job at Glenferrie—or anywhere.

Out of calculations is recently retired Melbourne champion GARRY LYON who has delivered a firm 'no' to the Richmond position. He will remain in the media with Channel Nine, 3AW and the Herald Sun.

Almost everyone is waiting for the West Coast campaign to finish—for Mick Malthouse to catch a flight and walk through the gates at Victoria Park.

When, or will this happen? ... what an intriguing tale.

Sydney captain PAUL KELLY was on crutches when his side bowed out of the finals race on Sunday. Kelly cracked the kneecap in an accidental clash with Essendon's GARY MOORCROFT at the MCG. It is the same knee Kelly had surgery on last year—they say it will be wired, to strengthen it for the future.

GARY COLLING left St Kilda last Friday (3rd). The club's development manager has links going back 30 years with the club, as a player, reserves and thirds coach and several administrative positions. Gary departed the same day as football manager PHIL ANSTEY.

What a lousy year it was for Sydney's RYAN FITZGERALD. At 22, he showed great promise with South Adelaide in the SANFL, but dislocated his right shoulder with Sydney Reserves in Round 2 and went under a reconstruction. Fighting back, Fitzgerald was named to make his senior debut in the Qualifying. At training last Friday (3rd) Fitzgerald dislocated his LEFT shoulder—another reconstruction required, and still to play an AFL game.

ROBERT KERR, an assistant coach to Kevin Sheedy for two seasons will leave shortly to take up a position with the AFL Player's Association. His role will be the co-ordination of player welfare and personal development programs. Kerr has a PhD.

The surgeon's knife is in a Sydney frenzy — apart from PAUL KELLY going under the knife, also set for the operating table are: ANDREW DUNKLEY (shoulder), ANDREW BOMFORD (foot), while coach Eade says both RYAN O'CONNOR and STUART MAXFIELD will also have minor surgery. All are expected to be fit in time for the first practice matches at the end of January.

The Channel Seven AXA Player of the Year $20,000 award was narrowly won by St Kilda's ANDREW THOMPSON.
Top vote getters were:

The AFL Tribunal on Monday (6th) heard two cases from the Qualifying weekend set of matches.

From Saturday night at the Gabba ANTHONY FRANCHINA (Car) was found guilty of striking SIMON BLACK (Bri) and suspended for two matches.

Port Adelaide's FABIAN FRANCIS was found guilty of striking DAVID KING (Kan) in Saturday's game at the MCG and was suspended for two matches.

Former Essendon captain and premiership player (1983, 1984, 1993) MARK THOMPSON on Friday (10th) was named the new coach of Geelong on a three-year deal.

He takes over from GARY AYRES who resigned last week to coach Adelaide.

Thompson retired after 202 games (1983-96) for Essendon where he became assistant coach before moving this season to understudy DENIS PAGAN at North Melbourne.

The Australian — The final words in the career of one of Lockett have meanwhile left their mark.
"I'm going to 7-Eleven, I'm going to get an Eskimo Pie," the champion full-forward said before his last steps as a player at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.

An American fast food chain and ice-cream? One would hope a 17-year career, including 1357 goals from 278 games, is remembered for a lot more than a free plug.

"We knew nothing about it, but I'm sure we'd (like) to get back to him in some way," 7-Eleven Australian managing director Paul Tebbutt said. "We would be happy to give him an Eskimo Pie. As many as he wants.".

6000 man-hours of repairs restored 70% of the MCG scoreboard after a fire. The MCC are considering an upgrade of the seven-year-old screen with new technology. Costs of a new LED screen will be $4-5 million.


Dogs and Eagles stumble
Carlton find the answers
Lions in 10th-straight win
Peter Schwab to coach Hawks

SEMI-FINALS — Saturday, September 11.
MILESTONES — PETER MATERA (West Coast) played his 200th in the First Semi-Final on Saturday ... GLENN MANTON played his 100th for Carlton, also 21 with Essendon (1992-94) ... BRAD JOHNSON played his 100th consecutive match for the Bulldogs. He has played every match for Footscray–Western Bulldogs since Round 18 1995. MARCUS ASHCROFT (Brisbane) and ROHAN SMITH (WB) are the only two current AFL players with more than 100 consecutive games to their credit. Ashcroft has played 161 matches in a row, Smith 116.

The start's the thing! — both Saturday winners burst from the blocks. Carlton's 7.5-47 against West Coast was second only to their 8.4-52 at their first meeting with the Eagles at Princes Park in 1987 ... Brisbane's 7.1-43 against the Bulldogs outstripped their previous best start of 4.4-28 kicked on three occasions in 1991, 1996 and 1997.

<> The two victories by Carlton and Brisbane were big but not their best-ever against their opponents.
Carlton's top win over the Eagles was by 87pts in 87-R4-PP, while Brisbane (as the Bears) beat Footscray by 87pts in the opening round, 96-R1-BCG.

<> A certain symmetry? —
1SF — 18.16-124 d 10.10-70 — 54pts
2SF — 19.12-126 d 10.13-73 — 53pts

<> Crowds at both Semi's were the biggest to watch contests between the sides — 55,682 for Carlton and West Coast, while 24,045 watched Brisbane and the Bulldogs at the Gabba.
Previous best for Blues-Eagles contests was 41,501, 96-1QF-S.
Previous best for Bris-Dogs was 18,788, 98-R1-BCG.

<> How much pressure is upon the sides who travel in finals?
Since the first final was played outside of Victoria, HAWTHORN is the only Victorian side to have won in an interstate final. They did so over the Eagles at Subiaco in the 1991 Qualifying.
The loss on Saturday by the WESTERN BULLDOGS made it one win from 12 games for Victorian teams at interstate venues in finals.
In contrast, non-Victorian sides (Adelaide, Brisbane, Port and West Coast) travelling to Melbourne have reaped 13 wins and one draw from their 34 attempts.

<> Of their last dozen starts in finals (1992-99) the Bulldogs have won only three.

<> Saturday's win was Carlton's first in a final since the 1995 Grand Final.

<> Coleman Medalist SCOTT CUMMINGS (WCE) finished his full season with 95 goals. As the almost-certain leading goalkicker of the season, Scott will be the sixth full-forward in 30 years to lead with less than a century goals. The others —
PETER McKENNA (Col) 86 in 1973
LEIGH MATTHEWS (Haw) 68 in 1975
KELVIN TEMPLETON (Fsc) 91 in 1979
JOHN LONGMIRE (NM) 98 in 1990
TONY MODRA (Ade) 84 in 1997.

With Peter's milestone on Saturday, the three MATERA brothers have contri-buted 286 League games for the Eagle guernsey—Wally 24 (1987-88), Peter 200 (1990-99) and Phillip 62 (1996-99).

<||> SECOND SEMI-FINAL—Saturday delivered ideal conditions at the MCG for the First Semi-Final where an enthusiastic crowd of 55,682 watched Carlton erase the memories of their debacle the week before by dispatching West Coast from the premiership race. It was the Eagles 25th final of the decade and brought the curtain down on the 10-season (234-match) coaching journey in Perth of MICHAEL MALTHOUSE in which the Eagles played off in the finals in every year. He is to return to Victoria for family reasons.

The contest began in typical finals style with plenty of vigour used but it was soon apparent the Blues had come to restore their standing. After an even first few minutes, thereafter, it was all Carlton. With a 31pt margin at the end of the first quarter, while both traded goals the difference had not changed by halftime. The Blues maintained their comfortable advantage in the third and by kicking the last four goals of the match emphasised the difference in the teams.

The often-maligned Carlton forward line worked well with Whitnall (21 possessions, nine marks), Hickmott and Beaumont combining as did a hard-working midfield led by Ratten and Lappin, while Sexton, McKay, Rice and Silvagni rebounded brilliantly from defence. Coleman Medalist SCOTT CUMMINGS finished with three goals for the Eagles but failed to kick his first until late in the third when the game was effectively over. Kemp, Cousins and White showed out in patches but overall the Blues ran West Coast ragged – CARLTON 18.16-124 (Whitnall 3, Hick-mott 3) best, Ratten, Hickmott, McKay, WEST COAST 10.10-70 (Cummings 3) best, Kemp, White, Donnelly.

<||> FIRST SEMI-FINAL— The Brisbane Lions as "the excitement machine" continued their winning ways on Saturday night at the Gabba when they humiliated the Western Bulldogs in the Second Semi-Final played in good conditions following afternoon showers. The crowd of 24,045 was below capacity but was against live, direct TV cover of both the game itself and an NRL rugby league match from Sydney. The Bulldogs failed again when it counted the most, in a finals event. The heated rivalry between the two clubs was increased with five reports from the encounter.

The Lions exploded with another display of extraordinary commitment. Brisbane roared from the blocks and blew the Dogs away in the first 21 minutes with seven goals—it was 7.1 to 0.2. The Dogs pulled the huge deficit back with three late goals but the margin would never be less. Brisbane had the benefit of a dominant midfield, starting with ruckman CLARK KEATING, MARCUS ASHCROFT, SIMON BLACK, together with JASON AKERMANIS, JUSTIN LEPPITSCH, ADAM HEUSKES and STEVE LAWRENCE streaming out of defence, and they are but a few of another great all-round team effort.

BRIAN BURKE reporting in The Australian — "The Bulldogs' smaller brigade of the enduring SCOTT WEST (27 possessions) TONY LIBERATORE, who was roundly booed for each of his 24 possessions and SIMON GARLICK (26 possessions) tried hard to keep their side's hopes alive, but were simply overwhelmed by a precision-drilled unit". Brisbane posted its 10th successive win—at an amazing average of 59.8pts per game. Coach Matthews coolly commented after the match: "This team doesn't need much coaching" – BRISBANE 19.12-126 (Molloy 3, A.Lynch 3, Akermanis 3) best, Akermanis, Heuskes, White, BULLDOGS 10.13-73 (Grant 4) best, S.West, Garlick, Liberatore.

PETER SCHWAB's dream of coaching an AFL club came true on Monday (13th)—he was appointed coach of Hawthorn for the next two years.

The former class utility played 171 games (1980-91) in three Hawthorn premierships (1983, 1986, 1988). For the past two years he has been umpiring director with the AFL. He was assistant to ALLAN JEANS at Richmond in 1992 and stayed on at Punt Road under JOHN NORTHEY for 1993-94. He returned to Glenferrie as assistant coach to KEN JUDGE in 1996 and 1997 before taking up the League appointment. Peter will cele-brate his 39th birthday on Sept. 22.

Richmond are still seeking to replace JEFF GIESCHEN and an announce-ment is not expected for as much as a fortnight. Ken Judge is understood to have declined a $975,000 three-year offer by the Tigers.  Judge is expected to play his hand soon and be appointed coach of West Coast.

The Tigers' process has been a lengthy one involving Kevin Sheedy, Garry Lyon, Michael Malthouse, Peter Schwab, Mark Thompson and Brian Royal. Later this week former St Kilda coach KEN SHELDON will be another candidate to be interviewed for the Punt Road job. Sheldon had a successful four-season stint at Moorabbin (1990-93) taking the Saints into rare finals territory before being dumped for STAN ALVES who took over in 1994, who was axed himself four years later.

Tuesday (14th) was a busy night for the AFL Tribunal which adjudicated on several charges from the Brisbane-Bulldogs Second Semi at the Gabba on Saturday night.

CRAIG McRAE (Bri) was found guilty of striking Jose Romero (WB) and suspended for one match.
CRAIG ELLIS (WB) was found guilty of striking Luke Power (B) and suspended for three matches.
CLARK KEATING (Bri) and LUKE DARCY (WB) were found guilty of wrestling each other and both were fined $1200.

CHRIS SCOTT (Bri) from video was found guilty of charging Stephen Powell (WB) and suspended for one match.

STEVEN KRETIUK (WB) from video faced a charge of striking Jarrod Molloy (Bri). Kretiuk was cleared of the offence.

After the Tribunal findings on Tuesday (14th), Brisbane's CRAIG McRAE was noted in the press as the ninth player to face the issue of "charging" this season and was the fourth to be suspended.

In a scan of my unofficial record of Tribunal cases this season, the following are the ones which appear to fall within the category.

Often it is a matter of interpretation of how or why the report was initiated, just as in several cases it is a matter of interpretation of how the verdict was arrived at.

Round 22, BRAD JOHNSON (WB) was found not guilty of charging Gavin Wanganeen (PA).
Round 20, GUY McKENNA (WC) was found not guilty of "engaging in rough play" against Richard Taylor (Haw).
Round 19, MATTHEW BISHOP (Mel) cited from video for charging Luke McCabe (Haw) was found not guilty.
Round 19, NIGEL SMART (Ade) cited from video was found not guilty of charging Michael Voss (Bri).
Round 18, SHANNON GRANT (Kan) was suspended one match for charging Matthew Knights (Rch).
Round 17, BARRY YOUNG (Ess) was suspended one match for charging Corey McKernan (Kan).
Round 10, GARRY HOCKING (Gee) was cleared of charging ROBERT HARVEY (StK).
Round 3, JUSTIN MURPHY (Car) was found guilty of "engaging in rough play" against Brett Montgomery (WB) and suspended one match.
Round 1, JESS SINCLAIR (Fre) was found guilty of "striking" Ben Cousins (WC) and suspended for two weeks.

The "charging" and "unduly rough play" issues are expected to be addressed by the Review Panel before the 2000 season starts.

Tribunal Appeal
Brisbane appealed the AFL Tribunal's one-match suspension of its vice-captain CHRIS SCOTT.
A hearing and deliberation lasting more than two hours on Thursday (16th) failed to overturn the penalty.

The Age in Melbourne made a noticeable departure from the norm, particularly during the month of September. On Monday morning (13th) following the two Saturday AFL Semi-Finals the major story for its broadsheet sports section was for — rugby league — heaven forbid, what a storm that could create around Yarra Park.

Essendon chairman GRAEME McMAHON had exploratory surgery on Monday (13th) after a routine health check had revealed the presence of a tumour. NEIL McKISSOCK the deputy will take over the chairmanship of Essendon during Mr McMahon's recovery.

FREMANTLE and WEST COAST both cancelled football trips planned to the tourist island of Bali during October due to concerns about the safety of their players, in light of the political unrest in Indonesia.
The GEELONG club created a storm when they announced they would still go to Bali, in spite of the United Nations approval for an Australian peace keeping force of 4500 troops to be deployed to the troubled Indonesian province of East Timor.

The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) have confirmed staff at Channel Seven are discussing industrial action which could threaten coverage of the AFL Grand Final. Seven's owner and executive chairman KERRY STOKES has said the network must cut costs by $30 million. Staff at Seven consider their jobs and redundancy conditions are at threat. The MEAA believes cutbacks could threaten up to 500 jobs.

6000 man-hours of repairs restored 70% of the MCG scoreboard after the August 27 fire. The MCC are considering an upgrade of the seven-year-old screen with new technology. Costs of a new light emitting diode (LED) screen that would be 2 times brighter are in the range of $4-5 million. If the high-tech upgrade proceeds, it is expected to be operating in time for the Boxing Day Test.

Richmond's MARK MERENDA is seeking a release from the final year of his contract. He wishes to return home and is expected to be traded to either West Coast or Fremantle. A groin injury hampered him in 1997 and 1998 together with a persistent back complaint this season which restricted him to only 13 matches in the past two years. He has played 73 games for the Tigers since moving from West Perth in 1994.

The Age report by PAUL DAFFY on Tuesday (14th) named 18 teams for the revamped VFL next season—however, further unions between VFL and AFL clubs will reduce the figures to 16 by the start of the season on Saturday March 18.
Football Victoria hopes that Collingwood may seek to link with Preston Knights, while VFL pacesetter Springvale has been open in its desire to link with St Kilda or Richmond.
The 18 teams confirmed for the VFL in 2000 are —

Box Hill Hawks
North Ballarat
Port Melbourne
Preston Knights
St Kilda

The VFL will replace the AFL Reserves competition. The AFL clubs that field their own reserves side next season must nominate 12 players from their metropolitan or country region. Supplementary players are to be cut from AFL lists under this scheme, leaving clubs with 42 senior players plus four rookies and 12 regional players.

After the home and away rounds next year, the top five traditional VFL clubs and the top five AFL reserves clubs will play a twin series of finals. The finals of AFL reserves teams will be curtain raisers to seniors' finals. The VFL clubs will contest their finals at an alternative venue such as Port Melbourne. A match between the VFL premiers and the standout AFL reserves side will be played at the MCG before the grand final.

The best and fairest player after the VFL home and away rounds will receive the J J Liston Trophy, as he does now, and the VSFL Under 18 competition, the TAC Cup, is also likely to remain unchanged as the Morrish Medal.

Brownlow Medal Sold
Christie's sold Len Thompson's 1972 Brownlow Medal at auction in Melbourne on Tuesday (14th). Almost 300 pieces of memorabilia from Thompson's career went under the hammer. It is the first Brownlow Medal to be sold to the public.

Adelaide collector PAUL De PASQUALE was the buyer at a reported $74,000. The 61-year-old Pasquale also bought two of five Thompson Copeland trophies won at Collingwood. The items will be held in a bank vault. Pasquale expects the League fairest & best medallion to at least double in value over the next 20 years.

Racial Vilification
Brisbane's STEVEN LAWRENCE flew to Melbourne on Tuesday (14th) with Lions' assistant coach MICHAEL McLEAN for a meeting to answer a charge of racial vilification.

The Age reported the Western Bulldog forward STEVE KOLYNIUK, born in Australia of Ukrainian parents, asked for an apology and the matter went to mediation. Following a meeting where it is understood the matter was settled amicably, Lawrence and McLean flew back to Brisbane.

CHARLES HAPPELL and LINDA PEARCE said in The Age: The AFL indicated earlier this year that up to five cases were kept private in 1998. An exception this year was the Anthony Rocca-Barry Hall case, which became public two days after Hall abused the Italian-bred Rocca in the Round 13 match at Waverley. An AFL investigation led to Hall apologising in a mediation session.

The first case dealt with under the AFL's racial vilification code of conduct involved Collingwood ruckman Damian Monkhorst and Essendon's Michael Long in 1995 when Long accused Monkhorst of racial abuse. The matter was settle amicably.

In 1997, the year before the secrecy policy was instituted, there were six racial vilification complaints, one involving Kolyniuk himself. The Bulldog apologised to Melbourne's Jeff Farmer for a slur involving his Aboriginal background.

The other cases involved Michael Prior (Ess) and Robbie AhMat (Col); Todd Curley (WB) and David Cockatoo-Collins (Mel); Gavin Wanganeen (PA) and Jim Stynes (Mel); and Darren Jarman (Ade) and Mark Merenda (Rch). Only Prior and Curley had their cases sent to the Tribunal, and both were cleared.

The most public case this season involved Peter Everitt (StK), who volunteered $20,000 and a four-match suspension after admitting to racially abusing Scott Chisholm (Mel) in Round 2.

LEIGH MATTHEWS, coach of Brisbane Lions — "This side doesn't need much coaching".

WARWICK HADFIELD, The Australian — Richmond have churned through 13 coaches in 26 years. It is a career graveyard.
One of those 13 coaches BARRY RICHARDSON, now chairman of selectors at Carlton, suggests the problem is at the top.
"A bit of dictatorship is not a bad thing," Richardson said.
"If we lose a couple of games at Carlton and if the factions start getting critical then John Elliott steps in and that's the end of it."

MIKE SHEAHAN, Herald Sun — Brisbane is coming to town, and coming off one of the most impressive runs in memory.
The Lions are unbeaten since Round 14, winning 10 straight by an aggregate of 600 points. One hundred goals.
Their last loss was to the Roos by two points at the MCG on July 3. In footy terms, that's an eon ago. When West Coast led the premiership ladder. When St Kilda were sixth.

Media Association Awards
The Herald Sun scooped the pool in the AFL Media Association annual awards made on Tuesday (14th).

Football writer MIKE SHEAHAN took out the award as football's most outstanding reporter for the 1999 season, while the single news story or feature went to TREVOR GRANT.

The Age were judged winners in the category for the Most Outstanding newspaper/magazine coverage while ABC Radio's TIM LANE for the second year in a row was judged the Most Outstanding Caller.

The list of awards —
PRINT—Outstanding Reporter: MIKE SHEAHAN (Herald Sun) … Newspaper Coverage: THE AGE … Outstanding Single News Story: TREVOR GRANT (Herald Sun) … Photographic: MICHAEL DODGE (Herald Sun) … Outstanding Single Photograph: PAT SCALA (The Age)

RADIO—Caller: TIM LANE (3LO) … Special Comments: ROBERT WALLS (3AW) … Best Coverage: 3AW …

TELEVISION—Best Reporter: MARK DORAN (Seven) … Best TV Performer: EDDIE McGUIRE (Nine) … Best Show: THE FOOTY SHOW (Nine) … AFLMA Most Valuable Player: SHANE CRAWFORD (Haw) … Top Media Personality: ROBERT WALLS (3AW).


Upset of the decade as Blues pip Bombers
Carlton and Kangaroos for the 'granny'
Brownlow to Shane Crawford

PRELIMINARY FINALS — Friday-Saturday, September 17-18.
MILESTONES — BYRON PICKETT (NMK) played his 50th game ... ESSENDON became the first Minor Premier to miss the Grand Final since 1983 ... the Second Preliminary result was the 263rd One-Pointer of 11,726 League matches since 1897 ...

In the 76 Preliminary Finals played since 1931, Saturday's result was the third One-Pointer, and the second in four seasons for Essendon —
76-PF-MCG–NM 10.7-67 d Car 9.12-66
96-2PF-SCG–Syd 10.10 d Ess 10.9
99-2PF-MCG–Car 16.8 d Ess 14.19
The 1962 Preliminary is the only draw — Geelong 13.7-85, Carlton 12.13-85.
Carlton won the replay the following Saturday, 10.18-78 to 10.13-78.

<> In their 209th meeting it was the 10th occasion a Carlton and Essendon contest had resulted in a One-Point margin. It's even-stevens, five each. The Blues won by that margin 38-R3-WH, 47-GF-MCG, 58-R9-WH, 87-R18-P and 99-2PF-MCG. The Bombers one-point wins were 10-R7-PP, 52-R16-PP, 81-R20-PP, 94-R9-P and 98-R3-MCG.

<> Though it was the biggest attendance of the season so far, the 80,519 at the Second Preliminary is topped by six higher crowds to see the Blues and Bombers do battle at the MCG —
68-GF-MCG — 116,828 – Carlton 7.14-56 d Essendon 8.5-53
68-2SF-MCG – 106,365 – Carlton 13.17-95 d Essendon 8.11-59
62-GF-MCG — 98,385 — Essendon 13.12-90 d Carlton 8.10-58
93-GF-MCG — 96,862 — Essendon 20.13-133 d Carlton 13.11-89
95-R22-MCG – 87,984 — Carlton 16.12-108 d Essendon 9.13-67
97-R1-MCG — 82,363 — Essendon 16.10-106 d Carlton 15.9-99
99-2PF-MCG – 80,519 — Carlton 16.8-104 d Essendon 14.19-103.

<||> FIRST PRELIMINARY FINAL—The 61,031 to watch the Kangaroos and Brisbane on Friday night was short only to the 66,719 who saw the two in the 1996 First Preliminary at the MCG.

The Kangaroos brought Brisbane's fairy-tale of 10 successive wins to an end when they were convincing victors by 45 points in the First Preliminary played in fine MCG conditions on Friday night to a bumper 61,031. The Roos dominated the early passages with both COREY McKERNAN and WAYNE CAREY playing outstanding roles. The two set up the Kangas success in the opening term with their high-marking accuracy from the forward zone—Carey kicked three goals, McKernan two, to give the Arden Street brigade an 18pt lead at the first change.

Brisbane showed grit during a second quarter fight-back which brought them a narrow half-time lead. The Lions had to overcome the crucial absence of key midfielders—their injured co-captain MICHAEL VOSS, two suspended players, vice-captain CHRIS SCOTT and CRAIG McRAE and the early departure of the one of their major playmakers SIMON BLACK who after only five minutes was hospitalised with a fractured eye socket.

However, there is no denying the efficient Kangas found the run to counter the Lions who faltered in the second half with few capable of dragging down a strong mark. The Roos kicked away with three early goals to start the last term and careered away to a very comfortable victory. There were many who would say the margin failed to recognise what had mostly been a very tight contest. An ankle injury to ANTHONY STEVENS and the report on defender JASON McCARTNEY were the downside for the Kangaroos who enter their third Grand Final in four years, while a first quarter incident involving Roo full-back MICK MARTYN came under investigation. The AFL found Martyn did not have a case to answer – KANGAROOS 19.9-123 (Grant 3, Carey 3, McKernan 3, Harvey 3) best, McKernan, Pickett, King, BRISBANE 11.12-78 (Power 2, Keating 2) best, Leppitsch, Lappin, Lawrence.

<||> SECOND PRELIMINARY—Carlton completed one of the great upsets of the decade when they defeated Essendon in the Second Preliminary played on Saturday at the MCG before the largest attendance of the season. A crowd of 80,519 watched the Blues score an incredible one-point victory over the red-hot favourites. Carlton who only a fortnight before had suffered a humiliating 12-goal defeat in Brisbane played a first half full of tenacious attacks on the ball—they stunned Essendon who lagged behind which looked far from the team that had won 14 of the past 15 games.

The momentum swung after half time when the Bombers were stung into action—in eight minutes they were in front and with seven goals to two provided evidence of why they were premiership hot-shots. Carlton's game plan fell apart and it was now for them to be shell-shocked. In a last quarter to be long remembered, the Blues with ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES in a remarkable display hit back to regain the lead (85-84) with eight minutes gone. The remaining 20 minutes provided heroics from both units—two sensational goals by MATTHEW LLOYD for Essendon, then in the last minute DEAN WALLIS (E) was run down by FRASER BROWN (C) resulting in a turnover to teammate JUSTIN MURPHY who was about to kick from 50 as the siren sounded. Essendon became the first minor premier since 1983 to miss the Grand Final, as Carlton gained another chance to add to their record 16 League premierships – CARLTON 16.8-104 (Whitnall 3, Hamill 3) best, Koutoufides, Brown, Allan, ESSENDON 14.19-103 (Lloyd 5) best, Long, Lloyd, Solomon.

Crawford is runaway Brownlow winner
Highlight of Grand Final Week was the 72nd presentation of the Charles Brownlow Medal from the Hordern Pavilion of the Fox Studios complex in Sydney on Monday evening (20th).

It was the first occasion in 75 years the award had been held outside of Melbourne since the inception of the Brownlow Medal in 1924. The night also marked the 30th annual telecast of the event by the Seven Network.

The 25-year-old Hawthorn captain SHANE CRAWFORD from the NSW country town of Finley became the newest recipient of the coveted trophy for the fairest and best player of the season.

Crawford finished strongly to record a clear win, six votes ahead of his nearest rival MARK MERCURI (Essendon) on 22 votes, followed by Carlton ruckman MATTHEW ALLEN and Collingwood captain NATHAN BUCKLEY on 20.
Shane Crawford was the shortest priced favourite for the Brownlow since legal betting was first permitted in 1985.

For the trivia buffs—it was the third time a Hawthorn player wearing the number nine guernsey has been awarded a Brownlow Medal—COL AUSTEN in 1949, ROBERT DIPIERDOMENICO in 1986 and SHANE CRAWFORD in 1999. Crawford's was born on the ninth day of the ninth month.

Leading votes:
28 – SHANE CRAWFORD (Hawthorn)
22 – MARK MERCURI (Essendon)
20 – MATTHEW ALLAN (Carlton), NATHAN BUCKLEY (Colllingwood)
19 – WAYNE SCHWASS (Sydney)
18 – CRAIG BRADLEY (Carlton)
15 – BEN COUSINS (West Coast), ADRIAN FLETCHER (Fremantle)
14 – SCOTT WEST (Western Bulldogs)

The AFL Tribunal suspended two players at hearings conducted on Tuesday (21st).

AARON HAMILL (Car) was suspended for two matches for kneeing DEAN WALLIS (Ess) during the second quarter of Saturday's preliminary. It was Hamill's first penalty in 67 matches.

Despite pleading guilty, the sentence received by the Kangaroos' JASON McCARTNEY was four matches.

The player during his three-club (Col, Ade, NMK), six-season career (1994-99) has now appeared before the Tribunal on six occasions and found guilty each time. He has been suspended a total of 16 matches—14 for striking, and two for attempting to strike.

The Carlton club indicated they would appeal the Hamill suspension. Carlton president JOHN ELLIOTT may also find himself on the end of a fine, on describing the AFL Tribunal's decision to rule Hamill out of Saturday's Grand Final as "disgraceful".

DEAN WALLIS (Essendon) was cleared of the charge of striking Carlton's MICHAEL SEXTON.

An AFL investigation concluded that Kangaroo full-back MICK MARTYN did not have a case to answer. Martyn had been involved in an incident in Friday night's preliminary which left Brisbane's SIMON BLACK with a broken eye socket.

Seven years of the Liberal-National coalition in Victoria was ended on September 18 when the goverment of premier JEFF KENNETT suffered a surprise and humiliating defeat. STEVE BRACKS will head the new Labour government. Former Essendon and Carlton (1980-96) ruckman JUSTIN MADDEN is expected to be part of the front bench as Sports Minister.

Heard a caller on Sydney's 2KY breakfast complaining he was confused every time he heard a reference to the Kangaroos and felt the Australian Rugby League should take action to "protect" the name. Touring national sides to other parts where they play their code are called the "Kangaroos".

The Seven Network delivered satellite equipment to Australian peace-keeping forces when they landed in East Timor. The troops spearheading the United Nations mission were able to watch the Brownlow count and the Grand Final telecast will also be part of the station's commitment to our troops.

Carlton coach DAVID PARKIN received a shock on the eve of the preliminary final against Essendon when his president JOHN ELLIOTT revealed on TV that former West Coast captain JOHN WORSFOLD had been appointed his assistant for the next three years. Carlton's hand was forced when the news leaked in Perth on Thursday (16th). It broke an agreement to keep Worsfold's appointment under wraps until the season had concluded.

From a readers poll conducted by the Herald Sun, the two goal ends at the new Colonial Stadium at Docklands will be named after two League champions. The southern end will be named after Collingwood's legendary GORDON COVENTRY while the northern goal will carry the name of TONY LOCKETT who retired this season after kicking a career record of 1357 goals with St Kilda and Sydney.

Sydney gained their first Brownlow Medal presentation on Monday, with the grapevine suggesting it may occur every second year of the footy calendar.

Sydney have also received their first umpiring appointment with MIKE HEINRICHS named as one of the goal umpires for Saturday's Grand Final.
Since answering a 1991 advertisement which appeared on the SCG scoreboard, Mike's progress to an AFL Grand Final has included four other finals in his 68 League games and appointments to London and Wellington for matches.
His other great memories include signalling the 1300th goal when TONY LOCKETT broke the League goalkicking record and a day in 1995 when his two fingers cleared Plugger's 100th goal for the year and his 1000th career goal.

WAYNE BRITTAIN was reported as moving closer to becoming the next coach of Richmond. If he does, he will be added to the rare group to have coached, but never having played a League game.

Tribunal Appeal
The AFL Appeals Board on Wednesday (22nd) in a sitting lasting nearly three hours overturned the two match suspension of Carlton’s AARON HAMILL.
The Blues produced a surgeon, a biochemist and kinesiologist to establish Hamill’s contact of his left knee with Essendon’s DEAN WALLIS in the second quarter of Saturday’s Preliminary Final was involuntary.
Hamill was cleared to play in the Grand Final.

The AFL’s worst kept secret was revealed when Collingwood on Wednesday (22nd) announced MICHAEL MALTHOUSE will coach the Pies for the next three years.

In the art deco surrounds of the Mayfair Room at Melbourne’s Grand Hyatt Hotel, Malthouse materialised from behind a smokescreen at the wheel of a convertible black Volvo. It was later revealed by President EDDIE McGUIRE the car manufacturer is is the new major sponsor of the Collingwood club.

“I want Collingwood to be held in the same aura as Manchester United has in England,” said Malthouse. He refused to be drawn on his expectations but said the club had a young playing list full of potential.

Malthouse with a three-year contract will be the first coach in Australian sport to have a personal sponsor—the Melbourne liquor merchant DAN MURPHY.

BRONWYN HURRELL reporting for the Herald Sun — This year, Melbourne will miss hosting the Brownlow count for the first time — and Adelaide wishes it could have it.
But do Sydneysiders even care about the event the NSW Government paid $200,000 to bring north? Not intensely.
Footy fever, at least of the AFL strain, has hardly been noticed in the lead-up to the Brownlow count.
"The what?" said Roy Slaven, half of Triple-J's This Sporting Life team.
The sports commentator said the Brownlow meant nothing to Sydney.
"I don't think they care. Why would they care? Mention the Dally M (rugby league award) and people will stand up on buses heroically.
Mention the Brownlow and they'll sit. It's an absolute waste of time. I'll be ignoring it."

TONY SHAW, Herald Sun, on Carlton's win — "It was in one sense the Rocky Balboa of football performances".

MICHAEL MALTHOUSE — “I want Collingwood to be held in the same aura as Manchester United …”

In 1996, the Sydney club were hailed by the Harbour City press when the club made the AFL Grand Final.

Melbourne Storm in their second season have achieved a berth in the National Rugby League grand final.

The Herald Sun published a double-page colour photograph of the team on Friday—the day they were farewelled by Lord Mayor Peter Cositgan at a Civic Reception on the Portico of Melbourne Town Hall before the team left for Sunday’s playoff in Sydney.

Sydney captain PAUL KELLY is recovering from surgery to repair a broken kneecap of his left leg. He suffered the injury during the first term of the September 5 Qualifying against Essendon.
Kelly is expected to resume running before Christmas.

SHANE CRAWFORD will share the spoils of his victories. Other than the Brownlow, Shane has won two overseas trips, cash, trophies and three cars, a Nissan Patrol, a Mitsubishi sports car and a Ford XR8 utility.
Based in the NSW country town of Finley, his mother will soon be behind the wheel of a brand new ute.

Brisbane’s MICHAEL VOSS will soon undergo surgery on his suspect right leg and the ankle he badly injured in the Qualifying against Carlton on September 4 at the Gabba. The 1996 Brownlow winner will have a trouble-some pin removed from his right leg, which was inserted when he snapped bones in his lower leg last year.

Richmond president LEON DAPHNE is under pressure to resign. A reform group is moving against him.


Kangas take their fourth premiership
Roos & Eagles vie for Team of the decade title

Overcast skies turned to bright sunshine for the 103rd League premiership played to 94,228 spectators at the MCG on Saturday September 25.

The match brought a decided victory for the Kangaroos who played Carlton for the first time in a premiership decider. It was the fourth League Premiership Cup for the North Melbourne based club who chose to be known as the Kangaroos this year.

ASHLEY BROWN, SCOTT SPITS and PAUL DAFFEY recorded for The Age: The Kangaroos won their fourth AFL premiership, their second in three years and laid genuine claims to the title of the team of the 90s when they defeated Carlton by 35 points.

The Roos edged their way to a 12-point lead at the first change, and with the exception of a three-goal burst to the Blues early in the second term, they led throughout. It was the consummate team performance from the most solid combination in the AFL with resident superstars WAYNE CAREY and COREY McKERNAN relatively quiet. Instead, it was the next batch of Northerners such as SHANNON GRANT (19 touches) PETER BELL (31 touches and four goals), ADAM SIMPSON (27), BYRON PICKETT, GLENN ARCHER, MICHAEL MARTYN and BRENT HARVEY (21) who were the stars. Grant won the Norm Smith Medal for best afield.

It was obvious before half-time that the Blues were feeling spent after a gruelling finals campaign that started with a belting in Brisbane and then included a thrashing of West Coast and the one-point preliminary final thriller against Essendon.

The Denis Pagan era, which started in 1993, has been one of sustained excellence at Arden Street, but the label of "underachievers" would have rightfully belonged to the Roos had they stumbled at the final hurdle. Instead, they join West Coast and Adelaide as the multiple premiership winners of the 90s.

Statistically, Carlton were the worst-performed team to play off in the modern era. They won only 12 matches in the regular season (one worse than the Crows in 1997-98) with a lousy percentage and were given a 73-point flogging by Brisbane in their first final.

The Kangaroos are worthy Premiers — Carlton were runners-up, but the record books will curiously show they won 14 of 26 matches for the season, Essendon who finished in third position were winners in 19 of their 24.

KANGAROOS 19.10-124 defeated CARLTON 12.17-89. Goals: Kangaroos: Shannon Grant 4.0, Peter Bell 4.1, Corey McKernan 3.0, Winston Abraham 2.1, Shannon Motlop 2.0, Wayne Carey 2.0, Scott Welsh 1.1, Craig Sholl 1.0, Brent Harvey 0.1, Byron Pickett 0.1, rushed 0.5. Carlton: Lance Whitnall 2.3, Matthew Lappin 2.0, Brett Ratten 1.0, Dean Rice 1.0, Aaron Hamill 1.0, Michael Sexton 0.2, Adrian Hickmott 0.1, Glenn Manton 0.1, Justin Murphy 0.1, rushed 0.4.
Best: Kangaroos: Peter Bell, Shannon Grant, Michael Martyn, Corey McKernan, Byron Pickett. Carlton: Stephen Silvagni, Scott Camporeale, Brett Ratten, Dean Rice, Michael Sexton.
Norm Smith Medal: Shannon Grant (Kangaroos).
Umpires: Brett Allen, Andrew Coates, Scott McLaren.
At the Melbourne Cricket Ground: crowd: 94,228.

On Thursday evening, 15,000 Melburnians attended Channel Nine’s Footy Show Grand Final special from Melbourne Park. The program peaked at 851,000 viewers, just 40,000 fewer than the Brownlow Medal count.

10,000 tickets for The Footy Show sold in less than an hour. In addition, tables for 10 ranging between $7000-$10,000 also sold out.

An estimated 10,000 fans turned out to cheer the Blues at their final training session at Optus Oval on Thursday night. Another 7000 were at Arden Street to show their support for the Kangaroos.

To the strains of “May you stay forever young” retiring champions were farewelled by fans at the MCG –
GARRY LYON (Melbourne),
MARK ROBERTS (Sydney, Brisbane, North Melb-Kan),
TODD VINEY (Melbourne) and
TONY LOCKETT (St Kilda, Sydney).

Coleman Medalist of the season SCOTT CUMMINGS (West Coast) was also part of the motorcade together with recent inductees to the Hall of Fame – Hawthorn’s PETER HUDSON who was elevated to the status of Legend – GARY AYRES (Hawthorn), PETER BEDFORD (South Melb), DERMOTT BRERETON (Hawthorn), PETER DAICOS (Collingwood), BOB HANK (West Torrens), PETER McKENNA (Collingwood), STEPHEN MICHAEL (South Fremantle) and GARRY WILSON (Fitzroy).

The late finish at 5.45pm brought a hasty round of presentations. A double-play was forced, with BOB SKILTON and SIMON MADDEN (who bestowed the Norm Smith Medal) teaming to pass out premiership medallions to the Kangaroos before the telecast cut away to the six o'clock news. The lap of honour was left for all who stayed on at the MCG. The starting time of the match may have to be tinkered with in 2000, with a three o'clock ball up a touch too late.

The club song which victoriously boomed loud and strong around the MCG is the last time it will be heard in that form. Next year the club will sing a modified version of 'Join in the Chorus' with "The Kangaroos" replacing repeated references to "North Melbourne".

The Australian Drug Foundation issued a warning on how elite sportsmen and women use alcohol to celebrate wins. Concerns were expressed about the amount of alcohol present after grand finals in both AFL and Rugby League.

The Melbourne Storm lived up to their name. In just their second season, the club won the NRL title on Sunday at Homebush Stadium to a crowd of 107,558. Trailing St George-Illawarra 14-0 at half time, the Storm staged the greatest come-back in rugby league grand final history to win a cliff-hanger 20-18.

Melbourne Lord Mayor PETER COSTIGAN, declared his city "the football capital of the world" at a public reception for the AFL and NRL premiership teams. Outside the Town Hall on Tuesday morning (27th) thousands cheered players from the Kangaroos and the Storm.

Tattooists in Melbourne are said to have been busy as new adornments were added to many bodies of premiership winners.

The Brownlow Medal ceremony will return south next year with a variety of possibilities opening up. Even Geelong has been mentioned as a possible, but the most likely venue is for the Medal to go public at the Colonial Stadium at Docklands.
Earlier this year when locations were presented, Sydney AFL topper CRAIG DAVIS put forward the 20,000-seat Superdome at Homebush as a possible venue as a huge public offering. Seems his foresight will come to fruition, not in Sydney but in Melbourne.

Beyond the televised Brownlow event from the Hordern Pavilion, Sydney also had its seventh annual Brownlow function. First started in 1993, the "alternative" was held at the Darling Harbour Function Centre where entertainment replaced television breaks. Auctions plus funsters BRIAN DOYLE and PAUL JENNINGS wowed the capacity audience of 850. The Sydney 'Night I Won the Brownlow' concept has now been copied in all capitals.

Two former Sydney champions TONY LOCKETT and PAUL ROOS are staying with the Swans. Both have signed to take specialist roles with the Sydney club. Roos had tinkered with the being an assistant coach following his nine-month sabbatical in the United States.

MARK MICKAN will return to the Adelaide club as part of Gary Ayres' new coaching panel. Mickan (85 AFL games with Brisbane and Adelaide 1987-93) coached Woodville-West Torrens to third place in the SANFL this year.

DR JOHN LILL announced he will retire after 17 years of service as Melbourne Cricket Club secretary and general manager. He will continue in a consultancy role with the MCG Trust, working on the redevelopment of the northern side of the arena in advance of Melbourne's 2006 Commonwealth Games.

JON ANDERSON in the Herald Sun on Friday recorded—the one media constant of the Grand Final in cartoonist WEG.

WEG, or BILL GREEN as was christened, dates back to 1953 when LOU RICHARDS led Collingwood to victory.

He hasn’t missed a year since and at age 75 retains a distinctive style with his premiership posters.

Not surprisingly, the best year for WEG posters was 1990, when the Magpies broke their 32-year drought and more than 100,000 sold.

The WEG posters sell for $2 with all proceeds going to the Royal Children’s Hospital.


Footystats Diary
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