Footystats Diary, footy's best kept secret, 2000 Review
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2000 Review
October 1999 to September 2000

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Trading reaches a hectic stage
The window of opportunity in pre-draft trading which began with the gabfest at Optus Oval on Tuesday (Sept 28) reached a stage of near frenzy with many players set to wear new colours in 2000.

Key to the discussions has been the trading of LEIGH COLBERT who wants to be a Kangaroo. Presently the deal said to involve as many as five clubs must soon be settled. Clubs have until 2pm Tuesday (5th) to complete all deals before the national player draft which will be held on October 31.

Others who have been traded include —

Brisbane ruckman MATTHEW CLARKE who returns to SA when he will boost the stocks of the Adelaide Crows ... Sydney's TROY COOK is on his way to Fremantle in exchange for draft pick #34 ... two Bulldogs, BRETT MONTGOMERY and STEPHEN POWELL are part of a three-way swap for NATHAN EAGLETON who only days ago re-signed with Port Adelaide on a two-year deal—Powell goes to Melbourne, while Demon defender MATTHEW BISHOP goes to the Power ... Geelong's MICHAEL MANSFIELD is now a Carlton player ... one player who is not moving is BARRY STONEHAM who will remain with Geelong ... West Coast's JASON BALL has spent time in the Harbour City as Sydney try to lure him from the Eagles ...

The out-of-contract 21-year-old JUSTIN BLUMFIELD wants to depart Essendon with both Sydney and Fremantle in the race—the Swans were said to be willing to offer up to $800,000 for three years. Essendon have countered, saying they may will willing to reduce their list in order to retain Justin.

The speculation of who may go where on the merry-go-round of trading will soon reach its conclusion.

Port Adelaide takes its 36th SANFL flag
In a close finish in front of 39,135 at Football Park on Sunday (3rd), Port Adelaide narrowly defeated arch-rivals Norwood by eight points to take their fifth SANFL premiership of the past six seasons. It was the 36th title for the famous South Australian club. The SANFL Magpies went into the playoff as odd-on favourites at 1-5, the Redlegs were rank outsiders at 3/1.

The Age reported: Norwood hit the front midway in the last term with a spirited surge and appeared set to repeat its 1997 upset win over Port. But the Magpies levelled the scores in the 24th minute. Two minutes later Port scored another point swiftly followed by a goal from SIMON TREGENZA, who had been inducted into the Crows' Hall of Fame on Friday night.

Port, since the SANFL began in 1877 have now won 36 premierships, six of them against Norwood in 14 grand finals involving the two clubs.

Nathan Buckley wins his fourth Copeland
Counting in club champion awards reached their peak at the weekend (Oct 2-3). For Collingwood, NATHAN BUCKLEY was a runaway winner of the best and fairest award at Victoria Park, netting him his fourth Copeland Trophy.

At Hawthorn, Brownlow winner SHANE CRAWFORD was predictably the standout in the count Hawthorn conducted at the Crown Casino on Saturday night.

In Sydney, WAYNE SCHWASS was the winner. DARYN CRESSWELL was runner-up in the Swans' award for a third successive year.

In Adelaide, retiring coach MALCOLM BLIGHT was honoured when the Crows re-named their Club Champion award after the dual premiership coach.

Stab Kicks ...
** WESTERN BULLDOG members will pay less for a reserved seat at Colonial Stadium than they did at Carlton this year. Dog prez DAVID SMORGAN announced that members at Docklands will pay $14.55 per game in the 11-game membership package which costs $160. Members can save with a five per cent discount if they sign up before November 5.

** In rugby league, Manly-Warringah and North Sydney will bring the third merger of long-standing clubs. The NRL have determined only 14 clubs will participate in the competition for 2000. This has resulted in the mergers of St George and Illawarra then Balmain with Western Suburbs. Only South Sydney as the 15th club remain with the prospect a legal challenge will result if the South club is cut when the October 15 deadline is reached. The team numbers are believed to allow provision at some time in the future for a further foray by rugby league into the Adelaide and Perth markets.

** The prospect that the Melbourne Storm may try to shift its rugby league matches from the 22,000 capacity Olympic Park to the 54,000 seats of Colonial Stadium at Docklands is causing some concern in AFL ranks.

** Under the father-son rule, Collingwood will will use its second-round draft pick to recruit RHYS SHAW, the teenage son on former Magpie captain RAY SHAW ... Sydney will use its second-round choice for STEPHEN DOYLE, whose father Robert played 77 games with South Melbourne (1969-75) ... Brisbane will use its second and third draft picks to acquire JONATHON BROWN and SHANE MORRISON—Brian Brown played 51 games for the Roys (1976-81) and two for Essendon in 1982. Peter Morrison played one game with Footscray in 1974 before 90 matches with South Melbourne between 1976 and 1981 before moving to Brisbane where he completed his career with the QSFL.

** The restructuring of the Collingwood administration is near completion with GREG SWANN named the new chief executive at Victoria Park. In the past 12 months, the Magpies have gained a new president (Eddie McGuire), a new CEO (Swann), coach (Malthouse), and football manager (Neil Balme). The 37-year-old Swann was president for four years of former VFA club Williamstown (now VFL), has sat on the board of Football Victoria which has restructured the VFL competition and was a partner with the leading accountancy firm Ernest and Young.

** DARREN CROCKER, former North Melbourne premiership player has been signed by Richmond as assistant coach to Danny Frawley.

** BRIAN WALDRON commence duties as football operations manager with St Kilda on Friday (1st). Waldron held the same position for seven years at Richmond until 1997. Waldron replaces football manager PHIL ANSTEY in what has been a clean out of the Saints' support staff.

** The Port Adelaide club are seeking to settle the dispute with John Cahill out of court. A proposal has been put before Cahill and his legal team to end the disagreement which had its roots at a June meeting when the Port club suggested the former coach and club legend had provided sensitive player information to rival clubs.

They said it ...
GRAEME McMAHON, Essendon president, on the recent outburst by Carlton counterpart JOHN ELLIOTT who said the Bombers had "cheated" in 1993 — "John's a nice guy but sometimes he gets his mouth into gear before the gears change".

KEN JUDGE on his appointment as coach of West Coast — "So there's a challenge for a few of the younger players to step up and take a bit more responsibility".

DANNY FRAWLEY on his appointment as coach of Richmond — "... There were eight guys going for it and I was lucky enough to get that job, so I am really looking forward to the challenge ... I think the club is a bit of a sleeping giant ...''

Big crowd see Ireland win
A balmy Friday night brought a strong attendance of 64,326 to the MCG to watch Ireland take out the First Test on October 8. By far this was the strongest support shown by an Australian crowd to the concept of International Rules between the Gaelic Athletic Association and the AFL.

Ireland started well and led by 17 points to nil before the Australians registered their first score. The Irish had the run of play in the early stages and not until after half-time when with fine displays from SCOTT WEST and CLIVE WATERHOUSE brought the Aussies within striking distance of victory. Collingwood captain NATHAN BUCKLEY was outstanding for Australia across the full match.

A late goal clinched a narrow victory for the visitors —
Ireland: 2 goals 16 overs 10 behinds (70)
Australia:  0 goals 16 overs 14 behinds (62)

Scores: Ireland:
Goals (6 points): Whelan, Fallon. Overs (3 points): Canavan 3, Fallon 3, Kavanagh 3, Buckley, Dolan, Earley, Tohill. Behinds (1 point): Fallon 3, Canavan 2, Dolan, Earley, Giles, Giles, Stynes, Whelan. Australia: Goals: Nil. Overs: Buckley 5, Bell 2, Campbell 2, McRae 2, Waterhouse 2, Leppitsch, Smith, West. Behinds: Buckley 4, Croad 2, Burgoyne, Cousins, Crawford, Leppitsch, McRae, O'Loughlin, Waterhouse.
Best: Ireland: Giles, Moynihan, O'Keefe, Fallon, McDermott, Kavanagh. Australia: Buckley, Silvagni, Cousins, Waterhouse, Akermanis, Croad.
Umpires: Andrew Coates (Australia), Michael Curley (Ireland).
Crowd: 64,326 at the MCG.

The Second Test will be played at Football Park in Adelaide on Friday October 15 with Australia needing to win by more than nine points to halt the prospect Ireland will take the Cup again on aggregate.

It was interesting to view the overseas reports on the International Rules match. The Irish Times carried the following —

From Seán Moran in Melbourne
Gauging media coverage can be difficult given the extreme parochialism of the outlets. Melbourne's two biggest newspapers, The Age and The Sun-Herald both carried significant coverage on the day of the match and the day afterwards.

The Australian newspaper has the courage of its convictions to demonstrate Sydney parochialism in Melbourne (which tends to be uninterested in The Australian's favourite sport, rugby union) and its condescending attitude to the series drew a waspish aside from Australian coach Dermott Brereton at the post-match press conference on Friday.

Naturally, the paper was less than impressed by the events of the first Test. Reporter Warwick Hadfield stated that the difference between the sides would "despite the MCG crowd of 64,326 and the closeness of the contest, always mark these matches more as a fine curiosity than a genuine sporting contest.

"What the Irish did instinctively with the ball of their choice the Australians - even sometimes (Nathan) Buckley (Australia's captain and best player) - had to think about.

"In a game played at the blistering pace of this hybrid, that is an extraordinary disadvantage."

Martin Flanagan in the The Sunday Age was more intrigued.

Noting that the MCG "stadium glittered like a diamond for the occasion", he went on to say that "all the prerequisites for a memorable occasion were there - a balmy night, a pre-match cocktail of thumping fireworks and Irish music, an appreciative crowd of nearly 65,000, national flags and then, finally, the match itself."

Of the game itself, Flanagan believes it "a better showcase for Irish football than for our code. It is a breathtakingly offensive game - like watching soccer on speed."

Teams for the First Test in Melbourne were:
Decian O'Keefe (Goalkeeper), Sean Og de Paor, Darren Fay, Finbarr Cullen (Full Backs), Glen Rana, Sean Lockhart, James Nallen (Half Backs), John McDermott, Claran Wheelan (Midfielders), Trevor Giles, Bryan Stynes, Peter Canavan (Half Forwards), Joe Kavanagh, Jariath Fallon, Anthony Tohill (Forwards).
Interchange: Kiernan O'Sullivan, Michael Donnellan, Seamus Moynihan, Dermot Earley, Niall Buckley, John Quane, James Horan, Graham Geraghty, Claran McManus, Derry Foley, Dessie Dolan.
Australia: Stephen Silvagni (Goalkeeper), Shane Crawford, Trent Croad, Ben Hart (Full Backs), Andrew McKay, Justin Leppitsch, Rohan Smith (Half Backs), Matthew Allan, Nathan Buckley (Midfielders), Peter Bell, Matthew Richardson, Scott Camporeale (Half Forwards), Ben Cousins, Clive Waterhouse, Michael O'Loughlin (Forwards). Interchange: Jason Akermanis, Marcus Ashcroft, Craig McRae, Jarrod Molloy, Ben Graham, Peter Burgoyne, Wayne Campbell, Nathan Burke, Scott West.

Bombers pip Hawks in London
Essendon and Hawthorn played the annual AFL exhibition match at The Oval in London on Saturday October 10 to a mainly ex-patriate crowd of some 12,000. The contest was overshadowed by other sporting fixtures on the calendar.

The informal match returned the days of the old VFA as spectators were allowed to invade the ground and listen to the coaching addresses during breaks. The game had nothing at stake and lacked the bite of an earnest contest. The Bombers had a good first half and were able to withstand a great third comeback by Hawthorn, to sneak home by three points.

Essendon — 5.2, 7.3, 8.5 — 11.6-72
Hawthorn — 1.3, 4.4, 7.7 — 10.9-69
Goals: Ess: Milne 4, Blumfield, Carcella, Misiti, M.Johnson, Fletcher, Jacobs, Bolton. Haw: Lord 3, Baird 2, Cox, Collica, Harford, Thompson, Woods.
Best: Ess: Milne, Fletcher, Fraser, Misiti, M.Johnson. Haw: Woods, Baird, Lord, Thompson, Taylor.
Played Saturday October 10
at The Oval, London: crowd: 12,000.

Pre-draft trading moves
At the conclusion of the pre-draft trading period the following exchanges were concluded before the October 31 National Draft —

Matthew Clarke (from Brisbane)
Scott Welsh (Kangaroos)
Michael Martin (Western Bulldogs)
Stefan Carey (Sydney)
Stephen O'Reilly (Fremantle)
Michael Mansfield (Geelong)
Mark Kinnear (Sydney)
Stephen McKee (Richmond)
Andrew Ukovic (Essendon)
Jonathon Robran (Hawthorn)
Troy Cook (Sydney)
Troy Longmuir (Melbourne)
Brendon Fewster (West Coast)
Cameron Mooney (Kangaroos)
Lance Picioane (Adelaide)
Stephen Powell (Western Bulldogs)
Leigh Colbert (Geelong)
David Calthorpe (Brisbane)
Port Adelaide
Brett Montgomery (Western Bulldogs)
Matthew Bishop (Melbourne)
Clinton King (Collingwood)
Leon Cameron (Western Bulldogs)
St Kilda
Justin Plapp (Richmond)
Jason Ball (West Coast)
Andrew Schauble (Collingwood)
Western Bulldogs
Nathan Eagleton (Port Adelaide)
Trent Bartlett (Brisbane)

Dockers wield the axe
Fremantle dropped a bombshell when on the eve of their Club Champion function in Perth they sacked their captain and vice-captain of the season in a slew of delistings.

Axed by the Dockers were: skipper CHRIS BOND and vice-captain MATTHEW BURTON, PETER MANN, ANDREW WILLS, DANIEL PARKER, STUART ANDERSON, DARREN BOLTON and TONY DELANEY. Another who will be absent when 2000 comes is full-back STEPHEN O'REILLY (traded to Carlton).

Players delisted
The culling period has commenced and will proceed until the cut-off date of October 22.  The following delistings have been reported —

ADELAIDE—Darryl Wintle, Lucas Herbert, Clint Kirey, Ian Downsborough, Brodie Atkinson.
ESSENDON—Peter Somerville
FREMANTLE—Chris Bond, Matthew Burton, Peter Mann, Andrew Wills, Daniel Hargreaves, Michael Clark, Tony Delaney, Michael Brown, Daniel Parker, Stuart Anderson, Darren Bolton, Andrew McGovern.
GEELONG—John Barnes, Brett Spinks, Cameron Roberts, Leigh Brockman, Tim Finocchiaro, Justin Wood.
KANGAROOS—Anthony Mellington.
PORT ADELAIDE—Chris Naish, Darryl Poole.
SYDNEY—Jason McPherson, Brett Rose.
BULLDOGS—James Cook.

Stab Kicks ...
** The legal team's representing PORT ADELAIDE and JOHN CAHILL agreed to discuss mediation over their defamation dispute. The matter is due before the court on October 25. Meanwhile, Cahill is considering a nomination for the Port Adelaide board where a vacancy exists.

** Free trams on match days in Melbourne will be offered to football supporters attending the MCG and Colonial Stadium. The newly privatised Yarra Trams have concluded deals with Collingwood, Hawthorn and a yet-to-be-named third club.

** Richmond's chief executive JIM MALONE resigned on October 6. Malone informed the Tigers he would return to his native Western Australia in February to pursue a career in mining. Since his appointment at Punt Road, Malone brought the membership from 10,000 in 1993 to a 1999 figure of 29,351.

** A racist remark during a practice match against an Australian junior player DAMIAN CUPIDO from the Australian Institute of Sport squad resulted in a one-match suspension against Irish team member GRAHAM GERAGHTY. Ireland's management committee of coach COLM O'ROURKE, captain JOHN McDERMOTT and GAA president JOE McDONAGH met on the issue and dropped Geraghty from the team for the First Test. The news made the front page of Ireland's biggest selling daily the Irish Independent.

** PORT ADELAIDE opened the new ALLAN SCOTT POWER HEADQUARTERS building at Alberton Oval on October 6. The $4.5 million training centre includes a 25-metre swimming pool, gymnasium, weights room, rehabilitation area, lecture theatre, video analysis room, kitchen and player lounge. The centre is named after the Adelaide businessman who was the facility's major sponsor. The SANFL, the South Australian Government and the AFL also helped pay for the building.

** Losing your temper at the new Docklands Stadium will lead to a visit to the AFL Tribunal. If a player deliberately kicks the ball up into the roof, the umpire will be allowed to award a free kick and lay a report. The lower roof line at Docklands will be 30 metres.

** In coaching moves —
TODD VINEY and JIM STYNES will join the Melbourne squad. Viney will be a member of the match committee and coach midfielders ...

former Melbourne coach GREG HUTCHINSON and DAVID WHEADON from Collingwood move to Richmond—Greg as assistant to DANNY FRAWLEY ...

37-year old PETER CURRAN a former teammate at Hawthorn, will join GARY AYES in Adelaide — the line-up for the Crows under Ayres is, DAREL HART (assistant coach), MARK MICKAN (assistant coach, midfield) and CURRAN (assistant coach, defence) ...

GARY BUCKENARA will return to AFL ranks—he will move from Perth and assist PETER SCHWAB at Hawthorn; Buckenara and CHRIS CONNOLLY will help Schwab while DONALD McDONALD will coach Hawthorn's VFL club the BOX HILL HAWKS ...

MATTHEW RENDELL the former Fitzroy and Brisbane ruckman will be a second assistant to MARK WILLIAMS at Port Adelaide ...

ANDY COLLINS is the new full-time assistant to TIM WATSON at St Kilda—Andy joins PETER BANFIELD in the support squad ...

** JOHN LONGMIRE is tipped to be seen more regularly on the Seven Network footy broadcasts next season—the Kangaroo ruckman is meanwhile pondering an offer to stay a further 12 months at Arden Street. He reached his 200th game in the Roos' grand final victory.

** Approval is awaited from the Charles Sturt council for a $12.5 million proposal to add a 7,000-seat grandstand to Football Park.

** DREW MORPHETT, IAN ROBERTSON and ROBERT DIPIERDOMENICO are the team named by the Seven Network to call the action from the MCG on New Year's Eve when Carlton play Collingwood in the 'Match of the Millennium'.

Club Champions of 1999


BRISBANE – Jason Akermanis, Justin Leppitsch

CARLTON – Matthew Allen

COLLINGWOOD – Nathan Buckley

ESSENDON – Mark Mercuri

FREMANTLE – Adrian Fletcher

GEELONG – Ben Graham

HAWTHORN – Shane Crawford

MELBOURNE – David Schwarz

NORTH MELB – Anthony Stevens

PORT ADELAIDE – Stephen Paxman

RICHMOND – Wayne Campbell

ST KILDA – Nathan Burke

SYDNEY – Wayne Schwass

WEST COAST – Guy McKenna

WEST.B'DOGS – Brad Johnson

Ireland takes the Test series
A three-pointer after the final siren by NATHAN BUCKLEY brought a draw (52-all) in the Second Test played at Football Park in Adelaide on Friday (15th). The result however gave the two Test series to Ireland on aggregate (122-114) with the visitors having won the First Test, 70 points to 62.

The vote by the fans for the two Tests staggered everyone—109,513 attending the matches in Melbourne and Adelaide which brought 45,187, the biggest crowd for any match at Football Park for 1999.

Australia looked the better side in Adelaide early on Friday, starting with much more skill than in the First Test and chipping the ball around well to get several shots at goal from close range.

Buckley, Australian's best in the first match, opened the game superbly and was the main goal scorer in the first quarter kicking all four of his team's overs. The homeside also managed a six point goal in the first quarter, something it could not do in the first test, SHANE CRAWFORD kicking the ball to the goal face from 40 metres then MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN punching it into the net out of a pack.

Australia led 19-13 at quarter time which seemed to be a decisive lead given the fitness edge and strong finish it displayed in the first test. And the lead was out to 12 points midway through the second term when Crawford scored his side's second goal from a soccer style penalty shot after he was pushed while trying to mark near goal.

But Ireland fought back close to halftime and was only down 33-26 at the long break.

Ireland continued to push hard at the start of the second half with BRYAN STYNES levelling the scores 34-34 midway through the term. But Australia's MATTHEW RICHARDSON broke the deadlock with a 35 metre over from a tight angle and Australia went into the final quarter with a two point lead giving it a shot at the nine point win needed to claim the series.

But Ireland dominated early in the final term scoring three overs and a behind to no score in the first five minutes to take a commanding eight point lead and effectively seal the series.

The match also looked in Ireland's keeping when the Irish were still six points ahead with a minutes to play but ROHAN SMITH capped a brilliant run from midfield with a long range over to close the gap with three seconds to play.

The Buckley received a free kick right on the siren 35 metres out then made the precious shot as Irish players celebrated around him to give Australia some reward from the clash.

Ireland: 2 goals 12 overs 4 behinds (52)
Australia:  1 goals 11 overs 13 behinds (52)

Scores: Australia:  Goals: (6 points) Australia: O'Loughlin, Crawford. Overs (3 points): Buckley 5, Smith 2, Ashcroft, Campbell, Graham, Richardson, Waterhouse. Ireland: Goals: McDermott. Overs: Buckley 2, Fallon 2, Tohill 2, Geraghty, Giles, Kavanagh, McManus, Stynes.
Best: Australia: Nathan Buckley, Jason Akermanis, David McKay, Ben Hart, Stephen Silvagni. Ireland: Seamus Moynihan, John McDermott, Decian O'Keefe, Trevor Giles, Niall Buckley.
Umpires: Andrew Coates (Australia), Michael Curley (Ireland).

The future of the Coca Cola International Rules Series beyond the next three years remains uncertain, though a possibility exists that a tri-nations series may involve the United States. The Gaelic code is strong in Boston and New York where Australian sides have visited and played in as far back as 1967.

The squads for the Second Test were—
Stephen Silvagni, Ben Graham, Craig McRae, Nathan Buckley (captain), Rohan Smith, Scott West, Trent Croad, Shane Crawford, Marcus Ashcroft, Nathan Burke, Jason Akermanis, Ben Cousins, Matthew Richardson, Scott Camporeale, Jarrod Molloy, Michael O'Loughlin, Clive Waterhouse, Wayne Campbell, Justin Leppitsch, Peter Burgoyne, Peter Bell, Andrew McKay, Ben Hart. Coach: Dermott Brereton
Ireland: Declan O'Keeffe, Niall Buckley, Peter Canavan, Finbarr Cullen, Dessie Dolan, Michael Donnellan, Dermot Earley, Jarlath Fallon, Darren Fay, Derry Foley, Graham Geraghty, Trevor Giles, James Horan, Joe Kavanagh, Sean Martin Lockhart, Ciaran McManus, John McDermott (captain), Seamus Moynihan, James Nallen, Claran O'Sullivan, Sean Og de Paor, John Quane, Glen Ryan, Brian Stynes, Anthony Tohill, Ciaran Whelan. Coach: Colm O'Rourke.

Bombers appeal on fines
Essendon's long-running salary cap saga boiled over again with the Bombers launching a surprise appeal against the penalty delivered from the AFL last February.

Legal argument was heard for some three-and-a-half hours by the AFL Appeal Board on Monday (18th) that centered on the Bombers' basic right to appeal against the penalties imposed. Anthony Howard, QC, appeared for Essendon; the AFL were represented by Neil Young, QC. Appeal board chairman John O'Callaghan, QC, adjourned the hearing, to consider the matter and reconvene possibly late on Friday.

Footystats Diary recorded earlier this year – The AFL on Friday February 5th 1999 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."

It is understood the Australian Tax Office had requested a full copy of the findings in the 200-page report by Michael Easy to the AFL.

$550,000 boost for AFL Kickstart Program
The AFL and the Rio Tinto Aboriginal Foundation announced Monday (18th) a continued partnership of the AFL Kickstart program.

The Foundation which began with a three year sponsorship deal of $300,000 in 1997 has received a further commitment of $550,000.

The program offers positive life skills and health improvements to young Aboriginal communities. The key objective is to give areas in the Northern Territory, North Queensland and north Western Australia, increased participation in Australian Football for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

The program has enabled outstanding players to be included in the elite squad known as the Northern Territory Thunder which play in the AFL National Under 18 Championships. Scholarships are also attainable with education provided at the Kormilda College.

Stab Kicks ...
** The National Rugby League signalled the end of one its most famous clubs. On Friday (15th) is was announced SOUTH SYDNEY failed to meet the criteria and would be excluded from the 14-club competition beginning next season.

A foundation member of the 1908 formation, South Sydney won 20 premierships—the Rabbitohs began legal moves which may again disrupt rugby league.

** JOHN LONGMIRE who received a premiership medallion when he played his 200th game for the North Melbourne-Kangaroo club on September 25 announced his retirement on Thursday (14th). John who was League Leading Goalkicker (and Coleman Medalist) in 1990 with 98 goals, kicked a career total of 511 goals for the Roos. Longmire was leading goalkicker at Arden Street for five seasons. At 28, he will take up a posting with the key management group IMG.

** DAMIEN MONKHORST after 12 seasons of 205 matches (1988-99) with Collingwood when informed he was no longer welcome will nominate for the draft. The popular ruckman is hopeful his career will blossom at a second League club.

** CRAIG KIMBERLEY announced he will retire as an AFL Commissioner when his term ends in February. Kimberley first became involved in football when elected president of South Melbourne in December 1975. Another Swan, GRAEME JOHN is tipped to fill the vacancy. John was overlooked when CHRIS LANGFORD was recently appointed to the Commission.

** TONY LIBERATORE signed a one year deal with the Western Bulldogs which will extend his 227 matches (1986-99) into a 15th season.

** The Charles Sturt Council have granted approval for a $12½ million grandstand extension at Football Park. The extra 7,030 seats will lift capacity to 53,000 and will feature a bar-bistro, three male and female toilets and six smoking areas. It will be built along the north-west corner of the oval, between the existing SANFL members' stand and the super screen. The stand should be finished near the start of new season.

** Sydney have signed an Irish hopeful—18-year-old TADGH KENNELLY from county Kerry. A Department of Immigration clearance is expected, to allow Kennelly to join at the start of pre-season training in November.

** GARRY HOCKING at 31, says he is ready to take up captaincy of the Geelong club. The vacancy exists follows the defection of Leigh Colbert to the Kangaroos. Hocking was appointed captain jointly with GARY ABLETT in 1995, but stepped aside after only six rounds.

** Michelangelo Rucci reported in The Advertiser—Adelaide vice-captain NIGEL SMART has given up his day job. The 30-year-old Smart has quit his post as a dealer development manager with Toyota to take a professional stance to his game under coach GARY AYRES. Smart will be able to join the Crows' daytime training sessions.

Carlton player convicted on tax charges
FRASER BROWN was fined $2000 and ordered to pay $5000 costs after being convicted on two taxation charges on October 19.

The Age reported Brown was found guilty by magistrate Mr Des Martin in Ringwood Court who said Brown's failure to provide information relating to one charge was "certainly more than an honest and inadvertent mistake".

Brown, 29, had pleaded not guilty to charges of reckless omission of information from statement, failing to furnish information and failing to produce documentation in relation to payments made by the Carlton Football Club.

Bombers fail in appeal on fines
On Friday October 22, the AFL Administrative Appeals Board in a 31-page document detailed reasons for rejecting Essendon's appeal against the fines and penalties imposed last February for breaches of the salary cap.

The appeals board said it did not have the jurisdiction to hear the appeal and that Essendon had not adhered to the time limits to appeal under AFL rules.

Port Power & John Cahill settle dispute
The fall-out between club legend JOHN CAHILL and PORT ADELAIDE ended harmoniously on October 22 when both parties dropped all legal claims.

In a joint statement, it was conceded that "other clubs may have misinterpreted" Cahill's talks with team officials. The statement added: "John Cahill has advised the Port Adelaide FC – and the Port Adelaide FC accepts – that while he had discussions with other clubs ... no confidential information was provided to other clubs."

Pre-season training starts
Exactly one calendar month following the Grand Final brought the start of pre-season training for 2000 and the Ansett Australia Cup series.

Melbourne got the jump on their rivals at beachside Sandringham on Monday October 25. All other clubs will soon commence  their schedules with only Carlton and Essendon holding off until November 15 at Optus Oval.

The Blues' first game is against Collingwood at the MCG on New Years Eve for 'The Millennium Cup' as part of the Ansett series.

Stab Kicks ...
** The Melbourne club made two key appointments on Friday (22nd). Former Bulldog rover BRIAN ROYAL was appointed assistant coach while JOHN ANDERSON was named the new Chief Executive. Royal moves from the Western Oval where for the past four seasons he has been the understudy. The Board of Directors approved Anderson's position—he has been the club's interim CEO following the resignation and departure in August of CAMERON SCHWAB.

** BEV O'CONNOR, a passionate Demon supporter and a well-known ABC voice and face on both radio and television has accepted an offer to become the first female director in the 141-year history of the Melbourne FC.

** STEPHEN KERNAHAN is the new chairman of Carlton's match committee. "Sticks" replaces BARRY RICHARDSON who served in the position for the past two seasons. The Kernahan appointment is viewed as another step toward a senior League coaching role in the near future. Richardson, the former Richmond champion in triple premierships for the Tigers in 1967, 1969 and 1974 is tipped for a return to Punt Road at board level.

** DEAN LAIDLEY, BRAD GOTH and MICHAEL BROADBRIDGE will fill the roles of assistants to MICHAEL MALTHOUSE at Collingwood ... in other coaching moves, DAVID WHEADON was confirmed as assistant coach at Richmond for the next three years ... GARRY LYON accepted a part-time role as development coach at Melbourne, specialising in forward play. Lyon joins former teammates TODD VINEY and JIM STYNES in support roles to senior coach NEALE DANIHER ...

** ESSENDON were quoted by Capital Sports as early favourites for the 2000 premiership at $6.50. Next best are the Kangaroos at $7.00 and Western Bulldogs at $11.00. The Dockers are tipped for the wooden spoon at $101 for a one dollar bet.

** Prospects of a major rule change will be discussed by League coaches when they meet at the conclusion of the National Draft to be held on Sunday October 31. A proposal to pay a free against any player who tries to take possession of the ball while he is on the ground, may be trialled in the Ansett Australia Cup series. If  the trial is successful, the rule could be adopted for the regular 2001 season.

** AAP reported Tuesday (26th)—
Papua New Guinea's entire rugby league premiership team was held in police custody for several hours yesterday.
This followed a drunken off-the-field fight with their grand final opponents, an alleged assault on a law officer and armed intervention by police.
The fighting erupted after Mount Hagen Raiders won PNG's Cambridge Cup by defeating Port Moresby South 16-12 on Sunday afternoon at Goroka in the Eastern Highlands.

**  Things are never the same—West Coast and Hawthorn unveiled new guernseys for the forthcoming Ansett Cup series. Navy blue and gold for the Wagles? Forget it—there's barely a hint of their original colours. Now it's ochre and sea blue, and an Eagle above the WA coastline. It's certainly eye-catching and is sure to grab the youngsters. West Coast CEO Trevor Nisbett was quoted as saying—the design was the popular choice with local schoolchildren. They're the ones who have the money to spend and keep up with the latest fashions.

** JUSTIN MADDEN who played 332 matches with Essendon and Carlton (1980-96) was named on the front bench of the new Victorian Labor State Government with the portfolio of Sports and Recreation Minister. New Labor Premier STEVE BRACKS took office on October 20. Seven years of Coalition government ended with sweeping results in Victorian country seats on September 18 and the following by-election win in Frankston East on October 16 decided the change of power.

** A confidential out-of-court settlement concluded the action by Essendon player JOE MISITI against the League and the Melbourne Cricket Club. Misiti suffered a broken jaw when he collided with BYRON PICKETT (NM) in the Saturday night, March 7 1998 Ansett Cup match at the MCG against North Melbourne. Misiti blamed the hard centre cricket pitch area for his injury. He missed six matches and sought compensation for the loss of earnings and pain and suffering.

National Draft
Josh Fraser is No.1 selection
John Barnes returns to Essendon
Brett Allison moves to Sydney

The AFL conducted its National Draft at the Melbourne Tennis Centre on Sunday October 31. The event received live TV coverage in the southern states through the Seven Network.

JOSH FRASER, the highly-regarded 201 cm 17-year-old from the Murray Bushrangers was No.1 selection and acquired by Collingwood.

The Magpies are seeking dispensation from the League ruling which prevents Fraser from attending or training with the club until January 1st. Fraser would be a strong prospect for a spot in the New Year's Eve 'Millennium Cup' match against Carlton at the MCG.

Fremantle took East Fremantle's PAUL HASLEY with its concession pick while Richmond took another left-footer, AARON FIORA, from Port Adelaide's SANFL squad.

Fremantle then had two more picks and they took key position players MATTHEW PAVLICH from Woodville-West Torrens and LEIGH BROWN, a defender from Gippsland.

Few of the recently delisted players were selected, but those chosen were—
BRETT ALLISON (Kangaroos) who moves to Sydney ...
JOHN BARNES (Geelong) who returns to Essendon ...
MATTHEW BURTON (Fremantle) to Kangaroos ...
TONY DELANEY (Fremantle) to St Kilda ...
MICHAEL CLARK (Fremantle) to Collingwood ...

A surprise came when Carlton at selection #86 picked TRENT HOTTON who last played League footy with Collingwood in Round 22, 1996. More recently, Hotton who turns 26 on December 1, after 17 matches with the Pies (1994-96) has been playing suburban football with East Burwood.

Several experienced players including DAMIAN MONKHORST (Collingwood), JAMES COOK (Western Bulldogs) and PETER SOMERVILLE (Essendon) will have to wait until the Pre-Season Draft, to be held on Tuesday December 21, to find if their League careers will be extended.

Sidelights to the draft — DAMIEN CUPIDO (Brisbane) is the first South African-born player to be drafted ... Adelaide's pick at #79 was BALRAJ SINGH who may become the first Indian to play AFL. Singh was outstanding at this year's National Under 18 Championships and played full-forward with South Adelaide in the SANFL.

Stab Kicks ...
** AAP reported the WA Football Commission on October 29 announced a new player initiative, following the unpopularity of the host club system adopted in the Westar Rules competition for the 1999 season.  Claremont will remain the 'host' club for West Coast, and South Fremantle for the Dockers. However, beginning in 2000, only players recruited from interstate will play for the host clubs, while those recruited locally will stay with their club of origin.

*** WARWICK HADFIELD in The Australian (October 29) speculated that the AFL is set to take the game closer to a seven-day a week competition as the next round of negotiations for television rights begin.
Hadfield noted that, of the 176 matches to be played next year, only 31 will be played on Saturday afternoon, the game's traditional time-slot.

*** PETER ROHDE coach at Norwood the past four seasons will return to the AFL as player development coach for the Western Bulldogs. Rohde led the SANFL Redlegs to the 1997 flag but were runners-up to Port this season. He played 117 League games with Carlton and Melbourne (1985-95).

*** PHIL MAYLIN will become an assistant coach to Terry Wallace. Maylin, chairman of selectors of the Western Bulldogs since 1997 will share understudy duties with DAVID NOBLE.

They Said It
ROHAN CONNOLLY – The Age – Saturday, October 30 —
Recent seasons have produced a spate of teams rising from the cellar to previously unthinkable heights in one season. Sydney rose from 12th to second in 1996. The next year, Adelaide (12th in 1996), St Kilda (10th) and the Western Bulldogs (15th) finished 1-2-3. Melbourne's 1997 wooden spoon became a 1998 preliminary final spot. Likewise Brisbane this year. But to what extent is the draft now responsible for fortunes that change so rapidly?



Stab Kicks ...
** A stand-off has occurred between the out-of-contract DARREN JARMAN and the Adelaide club. The 196-match veteran since 1991 with both Hawthorn and the Crows missed the start of training at Footy Park, but made an appearance on Tuesday (2nd). A one-year, not a two-season deal appears to be the sticking point.

** The SANFL in 2000 will have a 20-game season, over 23 rounds starting Friday March 10 with a 5.45pm start of a double-header between Port and the Eagles, followed by Norwood against West at Football Park.
Saturday September 9 will be the first SANFL Grand Final played on a Saturday afternoon for seven years.

** ALEX McDONALD the recently retired Magpie moves from media manager at Collingwood to a position with the Ricky Nixon FLYING START outfit.

** Sydney captain PAUL KELLY is unlikely to be considered for Ansett Cup duty. Kelly is recovering from a knee injury suffered in the Swans' Qualifying disaster against Essendon. Wire holding Kelly's kneecap together has been removed. Sydney media manager STEPHEN BRASSELL was quoted saying: "It doesn't look pretty. There are stitches and scars and a lot of the muscle has gone."

** JOHN CAHILL has decided not to nominate for the Port Adelaide board. At the AGM on December 20, another former champion GEOF MOTLEY is among the six nominees for three vacancies.
Motley played in nine premierships with the SANFL Magpies in 1954-55-56-57-58-59-62-63-65 but parted company under bitter circumstances in 1977. President GREG BOULTON is seeking another two-year term.

"The Giesch" gets the umpires
JEFF GIESCHEN who quit as coach of the Tigers at the end of the season has been appointed AFL Umpires' Director of Coaching.

The Giesch takes over from PETER SCHWAB, who is now the the man at Glenferrie in charge of Hawthorn.

At the announcement on November 3, Jeff Gieschen said: "I would like to build on what has been created over the past few years by Peter Schwab and I'm looking forward to the challenge of working with the umpires group immensely."

Gieschen (now 43) has been in the game for more than a quarter of a century—playing 24 senior games with Footscray (1974-78) before a coaching career which included periods with Maffra (1979-85), Wodonga (1986-91), two premierships with West Perth in the WAFL (1992-94), Geelong (as assistant to Gary Ayres 1995-96) before taking over Richmond Reserves in 1997. He replaced Robert Walls as coach of Richmond in round 18 of 1997 and completed 49 senior matches for a record of 25 wins and 24 losses.

Nicky Winmar quits the Dogs
The first player of Aboriginal descent to play 250 League matches has retired. NICKY WINMAR now 34, announced his retirement from the game on the weekend.

Citing personal reasons for his decision in an exclusive interview with Ken Piesse of the Sunday Herald Sun (7th), the Western Bulldogs through their chief executive MARK PATTERSON confirmed Winmar's retirement. Despite being pressed on Monday by his management PETER JESS, Nicky stood by his decision.

Originally from Pingelly, 120km south of Perth, Nicky arrived at St Kilda in 1987 via South Fremantle. He played 230 games with the Saints, winning their club champion award in 1989 and 1995 before leaving at the end of 1998. He played 21 matches for the Western Bulldogs in his final season of 1999 for a career total of 251 games and 317 goals.

Around the clubs
The two big men the Crows were crying out for in 1999 are on track for comebacks in Round 1 of 2000. SHAUN REHN and BEN MARSH are coming along nicely. Rehn is returning from his third knee reconstruction, while Ben (Rehn's replacement) lasted only eight minutes of the opening round match against the Bulldogs.

BALRAJ SINGH, the first player of Indian descent to be drafted by a League club will start training with the Crows on November 15. Balraj has returned to Waikerie to complete his Year 12 exams, and will relocate to the city in January. He was born in our country after his parents moved to Australia from the Punjab 25 years ago.
This year he starred for SA in the national Under 18 Championships in Brisbane and played the last four SANFL matches with West Adelaide (not South as stated last week).

The Blues Reserves start in the VFL competition when they meet Box Hill in the curtain raiser to the match against Hawthorn at Optus Oval on Sunday March 16. They will play at some new, some familiar venues—Moorabbin, Sandringham, North Ballarat, Whitten Oval and Bendigo.

Former Fitzroy player SIMON HAWKING is training with the Magpies. Hawking was one of eight players who moved to Brisbane following the 1996 merger of the Lions, then to Sydney but failed to improve his League career of 60 games (1993-96). Hawking has nominated for the December 21 pre-season draft ...

The League refused to alter its rules and JOSH FRASER, the number one pick from the national draft cannot begin training with the Pies until January 1st. The collective bargaining agreement in place prohibits 17-year-olds training with their clubs until January 1.

Following the October cleanout of their playing squad, Docker coach DAMIEN DRUM went on the attack following the national draft. Drum said it would be unfair to expect the new faces to turn the club's form around instantly.
Drum who came from Sydney with big wraps, is contracted to Freo for another season.

** The Hawks conducted its second open day for another 5000 fans at the MCG on Sunday (7th) following the success of the first held on October 24 when 7000 attended. Star senior players showed supporters around features of the MCG, the new home venue for Hawthorn matches from next season after nine years at Waverley Park.
On trial was the new transport system which will operate in 2000 as buses ferry supporters from the south and eastern parts of Melbourne to the MCG. Pick-up points include Waverley Park, Rosebud, Mornington, Chadstone, Kilsyth, Knox City, Forrest Hill, Warrandyte, Doncaster and Glenferrie Oval.

** Hawthorn will feature in a new international advertising campaign. Representatives from PUMA and its advertising agency Gyron Advertising filmed NICK HOLLAND, DANIEL CHICK, MARK GRAHAM, JADE RAWLINGS, JONATHON HAY and LUKE McCABE on Thursday (4th) for the campaign. Other sports, including US Open Tennis champ SERENA WILLIAMS, boxer OSCAR DE LA HOYA and NBA rookie of the year VINCE CARTER will star in the commercials to focus on the "World of Puma" which will feature action shots from our game.
Puma and Hawthorn recently celebrated 30 years in partnership.

The Demons will hold a Christmas Party for their fans at Sandringham Oval on Sunday December 5. Between 10.30am and three o'clock that day, supporters of the Redlegs can join in the fun with bands, novelty events, meet all of the players and have a little ho, ho, ho with Santa.

** The Power have invited three players from Norwood to train pre-season at Alberton—the 19-year-old ADAM CROUCH, 20-year old BRAD TAYLOR and 22-year-old BEN KEMP. Port won their 36th premiership when they beat the SANFL Redlegs in the Grand Final, when Crouch and Kemp came under notice during the close encounter.
Other SANFL players in pre-season with Port are—BRETT O'HARA (Woodville-West Torrens), Port players SCOTT HAHN, PHIL SMITH, DARREN BURTON and SHANE HOLMES; together with RYAN McGAHEY and BRETT WHITE (North Adelaide), CHRIS CHUBB (West Adelaide) and SAM McARDLE (Central District).

MATTHEW RICHARDSON on his return from an overseas trip was taken to a Melbourne hospital on Monday (1st). Doctors at the Mercy Hospital removed Richo's tonsils to prevent further infection.

The Saints will introduce a touch of glamour and excitement for its games at the new Colonial Stadium at Docklands. DAMIEN BARRETT in the Sunday Herald Sun reported St Kilda will adopt the fanfare from American National Basketball Association matches, with the arena blacked out and a spotlight beamed on players as they come on to the ground.

Stab Kicks ...
** GREG ANDERSON, the former Essendon and Adelaide star of 162 games (1988-96) has been appointed senior coach of the SANFL's perennial cellar-dwellers SOUTH ADELAIDE. The Panthers who date back to 1877 have won only three League premierships since 1907 — 1935, 1938 and the last in 1964.

** The grandstand at the Lake Oval, Albert Park is under threat of demolition. Built in the late 1920s following the destruction by fire of the main grandstand in 1926, it was the home of the South Melbourne club to the end of 1981 before the Swans migrated to Sydney. The Herald Sun urban reporter SCOTT THOMPSON said on November 5: Park Victoria has called for tenders to demolish the grandstand, despite its inclusion as a heritage building in Port Phillip Council's South Melbourne Conservation Study and Port Phillip Heritage Review.
The Council has no power of veto because of an exemption granted by the former planning minister Rob Maclellan before the recent change of State Government.


** JOHN NORTHEY after an 18-month hiatus will return to football as coach of the QSFL club Broadbeach. Northey now lives on the Gold Coast where he operates a restaurant called 'Northey's' at Bundall.

** Former Adelaide coach MALCOLM BLIGHT is enjoying his leisure away from footy. Having spent two weeks on a cruise, he is now at a Victorian beachhouse before a planned three weeks in the Queensland sunshine. Wonder what his plans are for 2000?

** CAROLINE WILSON in The Age reported on November 5 — Sydney and Brisbane will receive preferential treatment in next year's National Draft, with the AFL Commission awarding the two 1999 finalists a free pick from local talent in exchange for a second round draft choice.

Caroline also noted: "The AFL Commission last month passed the rule, to be reviewed after the 2001 National Draft, to combat concern about the relatively poor standard of the Sydney metropolitan competition. The Swans will field a second team in the Sydney Football League from next season".

** Financial figures are starting to surface—RICHMOND are set to announced a record profit of some $700,000 at their AGM in December. The Tigers will be debt-free and have $1.6 million in the bank.

** VFL club Werribee has appointed former North Melbourne and Melbourne player ALASTAIR CLARKSON as coach for 2000.

** The prospect of a combined Northern Territory team joining the SANFL in 2001 is still being floated.
Latest to support the push is high-profile aboriginal activist CHARLES PERKINS.
It is estimated the NT side of 36 players and officials would cost $1.5m per year, and a further $450,000 for travel costs.

They said it
SCOTT PALMER, The Herald Sun — Sunday November 7 1999 —
SEVEN'S late-night show for the discerning football fan, Talking Footy, is safe for 2000. Rumors of its demise have surfaced in the past fortnight, causing agitation at the network.

Talking Footy may not retain all current cast members, but Seven insists the show is on again. And no, foundation couch potato Malcolm Blight has not been approached, yet.

Seven signs Brereton and dumps Carey
"Live & Kicking" axed
"Talking Footy" will be outsourced
The Seven Network is celebrating its latest signing.  Former Hawthorn champion DERMOTT BRERETON has walked away from Channel Nine and is set to host a hard-nose Thursday night program on Seven in competition with his former employer.

CAROLINE WILSON reported in The Age that a new Seven project The Game, is expected to debut in March in an 8.30pm Thursday night timeslot, one hour before Nine's six-season old Footy Show. Tony Lockett and Jason Dunstall have been earmarked to join Brereton on The Game.

Brereton is also expected to replace Dunstall as the new face on Seven's top-rating feature of Friday Night Football which together with Monday night's Talking Footy will be outsourced.

The Wednesday night Live and Kicking show which featured Jason Dunstall, Doug Hawkins and James Hird will be axed. Harvey Silver, the executive producer of Live and Kicking who left Nine to join Seven two years ago has been been offered a senior production role on The Game.

In other moves, Seven will not be recontracting the AFL's highest-paid player Wayne Carey. His Flying Start manager Ricky Nixon said: "If they want to continue without the biggest name in the game ... it's their business."

CAROLINE WILSON also noted: 3AW's ANTHONY HUDSON seems certain to join Seven's commentary team ... this follows SAM NEWMAN jumping ship from AW for Triple M's footy team led by Eddie McGuire, while SANDY ROBERTS will return to Seven's Melbourne sports desk as anchor on Monday and Tuesday nights.

Labor tries to save Waverley
Recently installed Victorian Labor Premier STEVE BRACKS and Sports Minister JUSTIN MADDEN met with League toppers WAYNE JACKSON and RON EVANS on Monday (8th) on the issue of Waverley Park.

After the meeting Madden was quoted: "the AFL should not sell the Waverley Park stadium simply for economic reasons. It's very important that there's degree of community consultation and that we come to a resolution that is beneficial to the people of Victoria."

The rookie Sports Minister said he would continue pushing the AFL to consider scheduling games at Waverley Park.

Several Ansett Cup matches are already slotted for Waverley in February and March, and with the prospect of delays to the finish of the Colonial Stadium at Docklands, more night series matches may be switched to Waverley.

While all facilities at the Docklands venue may not be ready for the weekend of February 4-5 when Essendon v Western Bulldogs (Friday) and St Kilda v Melbourne (Saturday) are listed, there are those who say, these Ansett Cup games will not be moved and will go on at Docklands.

Brisbane gets $400,000 cap bonus
The AFL Commission last week announced they were granting Brisbane a $400,000 bonus on its salary-cap next year to help the northern club retain its large list of interstate footballers.

Defending the AFL decision, Brisbane coach LEIGH MATTHEWS noted both Brisbane and Sydney had 31 players from out of state on their lists, compared with Carlton's 10 and West Coast's nine. St Kilda and the Kangaroos are the Victorian clubs with the most interstaters – 19 each – while Adelaide also has 19 from outside South Australia.

The initial reaction drew criticism, that the decision, ratified by the Commission on October 4, was withheld for five weeks when a letter was received by clubs.

However the AFL offered an olive branch to other clubs. The League at a meeting of club general managers on November 12 agreed to fully fund salary-cap increases of $300,000 for the next two years. Previously the AFL had considered subsidising the clubs to only 85 per cent of the $300,000.

Think-tank at Cape Schanck
Thirty of the most powerful men in AFL football will gather at Cape Schanck on Victoria's south-western coast for a two-day think tank on Tuesday-Wednesday, November 23-24.

Items on the agenda include —

<> inequity of the AFL draw
<> duration of matches
<> National draft and player trade process
<> medical issues, HIV, drugs, injury management
<> the final eight
<> player contracts—whether they are binding
<> NSW and Queensland development
<> new technology
<> marketing
<> virtual advertising

Established under the AFL and AFL Players' Association's collective bargaining agreement, the think tank has summoned Commissioners BILL KELTY and COLIN CARTER, Adelaide captain MARK BICKLEY, former Geelong player MICHAEL MANSFIELD who is now with Carlton, Richmond's BRENDON GALE, Western Bulldog prez DAVID SMORGON, Sydney's RICHARD COLLESS.

Also attending will be player managers RICKY NIXON and DAMIEN SMITH, Seven's director of football GORDON BENNETT, together with CEO's TREVOR NISBETT (West Coast), BRIAN COOK (Geelong) and ANDREW IRELAND (Brisbane). Representing medical interests will be AFL staff KEN HARDY, HUGH SEWARD and HARRY UNGLIK. AFL marketing representatives will also attend while the Kangaroos' GEOFF WALSH and Hawthorn's JOHN HOOK will represent club football managers. League umpires will not be represented.

AFLPA chief ANDREW DEMETRIOU will play a key role alongside AFL CEO WAYNE JACKSON, football operations manager IAN COLLINS and strategist TONY PEEK.

The mediator of the two-day conference is solicitor JOHN ADAMS.

Around the clubs
DARREN JARMAN (now 32) ended a stand-off and signed a one-year deal with the Crows.

The SA government on November 10th confirmed it would contribute $7.65 million to the $14.5m cost for a 7,000 seat extension on the northern side of Football Park. The 54,400 capacity will be the third biggest AFL venue in Australia, behind only the MCG and Homebush. Work at Football Park is expected to be finished in August 2001.

DANNY DICKFOS at 29 after only two matches this season announced his retirement from League football. He played 65 games with Brisbane (1996-99).

JOE MISITI has signed a new two year deal with the Bombers. However, the future of BARRY YOUNG remains unclear as the parties try to settle on terms.  MICHAEL SYMONS who was delisted appears certain to nominate for the December 21st pre-season draft.

The Bombers have appointed DEAN BAILEY as its development coach. Dean played 52 games for the Dons (1986-1992) and coached Mount Gravatt in the QSFL the past two seasons. Bailey replaces ROBBIE KERR who moves to co-ordinate player welfare and personal development programs with the AFL Players' Association. Over the next four years AFL footballers and retired players will receive $4 million as part of the newly established education and training fund.

Moves are being made to ensure TONY MODRA remains a Docker. The current two-year deal, reportedly at $250,000 a year and due to end in 2000 seems certain to be extended with Modra's manager MAX STEVENS flying in from Adelaide for talks. Modra after being dumped by the Crows kicked 71 for Fremantle this year, taking his career total to 511 from 138 League games (1992-99).

BEN GRAHAM is a hot tip for the vacancy of captain following the defection of Leigh Colbert to the Kangaroos. Others in the running include TIM McGRATH and GARRY HOCKING.

JOHN GEORGIOU may return to League football. John is training with the Kangaroos following his J.J Liston Trophy win as best & fairest of the VFL competition this season. He began with St Kilda when just 16-years-old but was delisted in 1994.

JIM STYNES is being courted by the Dublin Demons to become their patron. The Dublin side, the inspiration of COLM CRONIN are lining up for matches against English sides, the Wandsworth Demons and North London Lions from the BARFL competition in the new year.

The Demons will hold a Christmas Party for their fans at Sandringham Oval on Sunday December 5. Between 10.30am and three o'clock that day, supporters of the Redlegs can join in the fun with bands, novelty events, meet all of the players and have a little ho, ho, ho with Santa.

The Magpies of the SANFL are looking for a return to train at their spiritual home. The opening of the $4.5 million ALLAN SCOTT POWER HEADQUARTERS training centre building at Alberton Oval on October 6 is expected to ease requirements and enable both the Power and the Magpies to fit their schedules into Alberton. The SANFL squads have trained the past three seasons at Nazar Reserve at Ethelton.

SHAYNE BREUER recently delisted by the Power has put his football future put on hold. He may not play football again due to a chronic back injury. He will rest until Christmas before deciding on his future in the SANFL with Woodville-West Torrens.

Whether LEON DAPHNE stays as President of the Tigers is not determined. Reform-groupers say things will heat up again, if he does not step aside at the December AGM.

Former Independent MP and coach of VFA club Coburg, PHIL CLEARY, confirmed he had been interviewed for the CEO position of Richmond. The appointment would commence in February on the retirement of JIM MALONE who is returning to West Australia.

DAMIAN MONKHORST (ex Collingwood) and AARON KEATING (ex Adelaide) are both doing pre-season work with the Saints.

The Doggies will have a twin-affiliation in the new VFL competition. They have split their players between Williamstown and Werribee. In the ballot which took place, it lines up CHRIS GRANT and BRAD JOHNSON as Seagulls at Fort Gellibrand, while DANIEL SOUTHERN and ROHAN SMITH when required will line up with Werribee.

** Former Fremantle captain CHRIS BOND has been appointed to a part-time coaching role. He will coach the team's mid-field. Chris will replace PHIL MAYLIN, who is now a full-time assistant at the club.

Stab Kicks ...
** NRL premiers MELBOURNE STORM will soon be told that Colonial Stadium at Docklands cannot accommodate their matches.

** Eighteen new life memberships will be awarded at the AFL Annual Meeting in February. The criteria for life membership of the League has been changed to include those who have either played, and–or coached 300 games. Names to be added include current coaches Terry Wallace, Rodney Eade and Denis Pagan, together with former Melbourne and North Melbourne wingman and St Kilda coach STAN ALVES, former Geelong premiership player and coach BOB DAVIS and WALLY CARTER who played 138 games for North (1929-40) and coached the Shinboners in 214 matches (1940, 1948-53, 1958-62).

** The AFL and AFLPA reached agreement to bring forward the pre-season training schedules for 17-year-old draftees by one month to December 1st in view of the early start to the 2000 season.

** CARLTON and COLLINGWOOD players will receive a special one-off payment for participating in the New Year's Eve 'Millennium Cup' match at the MCG. Players will be paid on a sliding scale from $7000 to $3500 based on the number of career games played. The special one-off payments will not be included in the salary cap.

** The League are looking at how to streamline the National Draft telecast. This year, it went over by 30 minutes, to last 2½ hours.

** The League through the AFL's research and development board have launched a two-year study to interview, analyse the techniques and thought patterns of former and current goalkickers including TONY LOCKETT, JASON DUNSTALL and PETER McKENNA. Six current players will have their every shot at goal next year videotaped from different positions. The players will also also be tested on accuracy from different angles and distances.
The study, to be conducted by DR DARYL MARCHANT and biochemist PAT McLAUGHLIN will also zero in on anterior cruciate ligament injuries and injuries occurring in the modified Auskick game.
The findings will be presented to the AFL after the 2001 season.
Now, if we could only get to talk with ALBERT THURGOOD and DAVE McNAMARA ...

Fitzroy kicks back with Coburg
Fitzroy will again play at Optus Oval, Windy Hill and Victoria Park — the familiar gold lion on the maroon guernsey will feature in curtain-raisers at League venues when the restructured VFL gets under way in 2000. The Coburg-Fitzroy Lions club is a reality! — start queuing for membership tickets.

There's a certain irony here — just as the Reserves disappear, the Coburg name returns to where it started, in a revamped VFL competition to replace the Ressies. Coburg were members of the VFL Second 18 for four seasons finishing as finalists in 1921. When Footscray, North Melbourne and Hawthorn defected from the Association in 1925 to join the VFL, Coburg moved to the VFA competition when they promptly won triple premierships in 1926-27-28.

BOB PRATT was one Coburg's many famous players to wear the navy blue guernsey with a red sash. The ex-South Melbourne champion played with the VFA Lions kicking 80 goals in 1940 and a record 183 goals in 1941, including 22.4 in Coburg's total of 33.14 against Sandringham that year.

So, we have come full circle—Coburg once with the VFL, join them again and the VFA Lions embrace the VFL Lions to become Coburg-Fitzroy.

Who said there's no romance in football history.


They said it
PATRICK SMITH, The Age — Friday November 12 1999 —
The AFL is party to secret agreements that reward three Docklands clubs with cash bonuses if they draw crowds of 48,000. One club actually gets even more if it can produce a crowd of ``maximum viewing audience''. Because of the high corporate number at Docklands, a crowd of 48,000 guarantees a lockout of public seating.

Yet the AFL continues to talk about switching games from the Docklands to the MCG when the capacity of 54,000 is reached. That, clearly, is gibberish.

CAROLINE WILSON, The Age — Saturday November 13 —
In other developments, Seven, whose contract with the AFL runs out at the end of 2001, is outsourcing Monday night's Talking Footy as well as Friday Night Football. Speculation continues whether dual premiership coach Malcolm Blight will return to Talking Footy, and Garry Lyon's name has been mooted along with Brereton. It is unclear if Bulldogs coach Terry Wallace will return to the couch.

JAKE NIALL, The Sunday Age
November 14 — "... the fish bowl existence that Denis Pagan has compared to the RACV, "you're on call 24 hours a day'' ...

Seven axes four in shake-up
GERARD HEALY will be the new anchor of Talking Footy on the Seven Network next season. In a shake-up of Seven's football coverage, Healy replaces ABC Radio's TIM LANE after only one year.

The arrival of DERMOTT BRERETON at Seven has also resulted in the departure of several names from the commentary team. Gone are TERRY WHEELER, MICK McGUANE, PETER McKENNA and JOHN RUSSO.

CAROLINE WILSON in The Sunday Age (21st) stated Brereton after 12 seasons with Channel Nine has a three-year deal with Seven worth a reported $1.5 million.

A confusion of reports leaves unclear whether Jason Dunstall will be part of Friday Night Football. The Friday coverage will be outsourced by Seven to Vuecast, whose chief David Barham has chosen Brereton.

One Seven icon who jumped before he was pushed is 71-year-old BOB DAVIS. "Woofer" announced his retirement from the footy channel. The 'Geelong flyer' played 189 games with the Cats (1948-58) and coached them to their last premiership in 1963. He  started at Seven in 1959 and was a feature of World of Sport, League Teams and the Footy Panel.

Greg Durham dies at 45
The former Geelong chief executive and long-serving AFL finance director GREG DURHAM passed away at Ballarat Hospital on Tuesday (16th) after a short illness. He was 45.

An integral member of the League administrations of Jack Hamilton and Ross Oakley for 14 years from 1977 to 1991, Durham was part of some of the most progressive and tumultuous years of Jolimont history.

As CEO of Geelong from 1991, Greg oversaw years of financial profitability at Kardinia Park through the introduction of gaming and putting in place the groundwork for the upgrading of facilities that have helped the club to continue to play out of Geelong.

More recently, Durham operated a hotel in Creswick. He is survived by his wife Jan and children Robert and Laura.

Ansett Australia Cup
Five rule changes to be trialled

AFL Football Operations Manager Ian Collins on November 18 announced the League would trial five law interpretations during the forthcoming Ansett Australia Cup series.

Mr Collins said the AFL clubs had been initially advised of the changes at the recent coaches meeting after the Coca-Cola National Draft and formally advised in writing by Umpires’ Coaching Director Jeff Gieschen last week.

The trial laws will be reviewed at the completion of the round robin matches and may not carry over in the semi and grand final matches of the Ansett Australia Cup.  The changes are as follows —

The Advantage Rule (Law 12.2.1)
The rule is to remain the same except in the following instance —

No whistle to be blown to acknowledge a free kick if it is a clear advantage to the side offended against. The umpire indicates when the infringement occurred and waves ‘advantage, play on’. If no clear advantage, the umpire would need to blow his whistle and a free kick at the original spot.

Officials Interfering with the Play (Law 12.9.1)
The rule to remain the same with the following being added —

After a behind has been scored, a free kick will be awarded against any team whose runner or any other approved team official, including trainers, who are standing on the ground inside the 50-metre zone at the kick-in.
The free kick would be paid at the back of the centre square to the nearest opposition player to the official who offended.

The Timekeepers Shall Stop Adding Time On (Law 17.4)
To be added to the existing law —

"When the ball is bounced or leaves the umpire’s hand in the act of throwing the ball up by the field umpire after calling for a field bounce, providing the field umpire directed time-on to be added."

Field Bounces (Law 15.1.14)
The ball will be thrown up in general play and bounced in the centre only to start the quarter and after a goal.

Diving on the Ball (Law 11.5.3)
Not allow a player who is on the ground (not on his feet) to take possession of the ball. The player may hit the ball clear away from his body by either hand or clenched fist in a hitting motion. A double-handed action or scoop would be deemed illegal disposal.
In addition, a player who is tackled to the ground in possession of the ball must knock or handball the ball clear immediately, if the ball is not pinned. If the ball is pinned in the tackle, a field bounce will result.
In both cases, a free kick should be awarded against the player if they fail to comply with either scenario.

Around the clubs
Fourteen Queenslanders are among 18 AFL hopefuls doing summer training with the Lions. They include the 1999 Queensland Under 18 captain STEVE McKENNA—six other members of that team who have already tasted senior footy at QSFL level are also in the trial group.
Training for the Lions in November is at the University of Queensland, giving the Coorparoo oval a further three weeks to recover from a very wet season. They should return to Coorparoo on November 29.
CHRIS JOHNSON will be retained for another two seasons. The 23-year-old with 112 games to his credit with Fitzroy and Brisbane (1994-99) is expected to sign a new contract soon.

GLENN MANTON ended his stand-off and signed a two-year contract with the Blues.
However, there is still no official word on the intentions of captain CRAIG BRADLEY—whether he is staying, or returning to the SANFL with Port Adelaide.

The Magpies are set to sign NATHAN BUCKLEY to a lifetime contract. Two years still remain on his existing deal worth a reported $500,000 per season but the Pies will have inked him to the end of his playing days. Buckley reached 27 in July and has played 142 League games since his debut with Brisbane in 1993. He has kicked 144 goals.


The Bombers started preparation for the 2000 season at Windy Hill just 57 days after their one-point Preliminary Final defeat at the hands of Carlton. There will be an average of eight sessions per week during the pre-season, with two weeks off during the Christmas period.
The players will be in a full-time camp at Essendon Grammar from January 6 through 16, with a practice match against St Kilda scheduled for January 21st before its Ansett Cup meeting versus West Coast at Marrara Oval in Darwin on Friday night January 28th.
BARRY YOUNG and the club have still not resolved their protracted negotiations. While MICHAEL SYMONS has been delisted and is likely to nominate for the Pre-Season Draft on December 21st, he still trains with the club

Local business identity TONY BUHAGIAR has been appointed to the Dockers Board of Management. He played in the 1974 and 1979 East Fremantle premiership sides during 138 games in the WAFL. His AFL career followed in 83 games with Essendon (1981-84) and 25 games with Footscray in 1985.

** Shane Crawford and Peter Schwab will 'star' at the club's Christmas family day on December 5.

Fans can pay tribute to Crawford, who this year won the Brownlow medal and his second club best and fairest award, and meet new coach Peter Schwab, who returns to Glenferrie after two years as AFL director of umpires.

The tribute day will be held 11am-3pm Sunday, December 5, at Ausdoc Oval at Glenferrie.

Memberships and the latest merchandise range will also be on sale, with a special visit from Santa. Members can also learn more about the Box Hill Hawks, the club's VFL team.

MATTHEW PRIMUS is training well following a knee reconstruction. The 27-year-old 200cm ruckman injured his left knee in Port's round 3 game against Brisbane at the Gabba on April 10. Wearing a knee brace Matthew is training well and may return as early as the Ansett Cup.

The 115th Annual General Meeting of the club will be held at the Palladium Ballroom, Crown Entertainment Complex on Thursday December 16 from 8pm.

** Richmond president of the past six years LEON DAPHNE will not seek re-election. He said he felt an obligation "to honour my mid-season commitment to step aside if Jeff Gieschen did not continue as coach". MIKE SHEAHAN in the Herald Sun noted" "The decision will mean a smooth transition at board level, with a committee representing the club and a reform group providing a unanimous recommendation for three new board members."
In 10 years, the Tigers have gone from rattling tins on street corners to accumulated funds of $1.7 million.

The Eagles held a JOHN WORSFOLD Family Day at Ascot Racecourse last Saturday (20th) to honour the 209 game veteran (1987-98). Worsfold is now assistant to DAVID PARKIN at Carlton.
A special word on the Website for West Coast. It is a quick-loading, informative site, not only for supporters for the club. The site carries regular updates of interesting topics and is well worth the visit.

Supporters will get the chance to rub shoulders with their favourite players and participate in the Touch Football Challenge to be held on Saturday November 27 at the Whitten Oval. A Bulldog player will captain and coach every side participating. Puppets, musicians, circus and street performers, and the Flying Fruit Fly Circus will provide entertainment from 12 noon until late night.

Stab Kicks ...
** The Footy Show magazine was axed by Kerry Packer's Australian Consolidated Press. A joint venture between ACP and Channel Nine, it was hoped the magazine may be bought by another publisher.

<> The SANFL are investigating ways to place up-to-the-minute match scores on its website. The SANFL sees the Internet as a possibly way of giving fans, especially in regional areas, live coverage of matches.

** The AFL has banned clubs from trialling unlisted players in practice matches before the December 21 Pre-Season Draft.

<> KEN SHELDON will return to coaching, it will however be far removed his former role as coach of St Kilda and South Adelaide. Sheldon will coach ECHUCA in the central Victorian Goulburn Valley League.

** Former South Melbourne player, coach and president GRAEME JOHN received near-unanimous support on Monday (15th) to fill the vacancy on the AFL Commission left by the departure of CRAIG KIMBERLEY. AFL club presidents once again shelved the prospect of a woman commissioner.
Only three AFL clubs have women on their boards—Essendon, Geelong and Melbourne though St Kilda is expected to follow suit next year.

<> PETER SUMICH, the kicker of 514 goals in his 150 games with West Coast (1989-97) is the new coach of SOUTH FREMANTLE in Perth's Westar Rules competition.

** The Australian Cricket Board announced on November 17, the 107-year-old SHEFFIELD SHIELD would be replaced by the PURA MILK CUP. It was Australia's oldest sporting icon since competition began in 1892 -93. The third Lord Sheffield donated the trophy during the English visit in 1891-92. The Pura Milk Cup raises prize money for the winner by $68,000 to $220,000.

<> The Australian Cricket Board announced on November 16 they would play three one-day indoor Internationals next season against South Africa at the Colonial Stadium at Docklands on August 16, 18 and 20. AFL chief executive WAYNE JACKSON said: "We welcome cricket to the Docklands Stadium. It is good for the game. It is good for Victoria and Australians, and is good for the venue."
However a clash may result between cricket and football. In the event of two Melbourne qualifying finals, the AFL, as the anchor tenant, are committed to playing one match at Docklands.

** The Age through CAROLINE WILSON reported on November 19—"NICKY WINMAR will meet AFL chief WAYNE JACKSON later this month in an attempt to find an ambassadorial football position for the retired Aboriginal star. Jackson confirmed that the League was keen to promote Winmar's heroic status — particularly in Queensland and the Northern Territory — after discussing Winmar's post-football career prospects with AFLPA chief executive ANDREW DEMETRIOU."

<> BRODIE ATKINSON, the Magarey Medalist of 1997 has signed with STURT for the next three seasons where he was club champion in 1996. Sturt has secured a permanent full-time job for Brodie as an employment consultant. Atkinson said: "It was a career decision."

AFL Eagles & Bulldogs link with Sydney FL
WEST COAST and the WESTERN BULLDOGS will be linked to two Sydney Football League clubs.

Last Friday (Nov 26) at a press conference held at Sydney's Regent Hotel, the West Coast Eagles announced their plans to link with SFL club BAULKHAM HILLS. Known as the Eagles in local circles, Baulkham Hills will play in the new 'away' AFL strip as the EAST COAST EAGLES in the Sydney competition to which a 'Reserves' side from the Sydney Swans will be added in 2000.

The deal with Baulkham Hills will give the Sydney club access to the Eagles' expertise in off-field assistance, access to coach Ken Judge, however the Sydney East Coast Eagles will remain under the control of their own board and general manager.

The EAST SYDNEY club (formed in 1880) which have worn the Tricolour red-white-and-blue guernsey for as long as anyone can remember are set to be linked with the AFL Bulldogs.

Footystats comment
AFL dumped by 2GB
NewsRadio will not increase AFL level
Sydney radio station 2GB at a cost of $1 million was granted the exclusive commercial broadcasting rights of National Rugby League matches for season 2000 at the expense of the much-troubled rival station 2UE.

The Australian Football League learned the news through newspaper reports published on November 24 severing a "three-year deal" signed only 10 months ago with 2GB to carry both local and interstate matches of the Sydney Swans until 2001. Seen as crucial to the development of the AFL in a "foreign" climate, the League were seeking urgent talks with 2GB.

Other than the major television coverage from the Seven Network, Sydney will be left with the substantially reduced NewsRadio cover. The ABC Parliamentary and News station earlier this year did not intend to program AFL in 1999 which they had done for several years. The AFL in turn threatened the cancellation of football by ABC Radio 3LO in Melbourne. The compromise reached between the AFL and NewsRadio, resulted in AFL broadcasts being cut to the bone with no commentaries of late-finishing Sunday matches from Perth and no pre-game presentations before a two o'clock cross on Saturday afternoon.

NewsRadio say their programming for 2000 has not yet been finalised.

However, NewsRadio say they do not have any plans to increase the level of AFL provided last season. They consider the limited service they provided in 1999 to Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Darwin was "far greater than anywhere else in the cities we provided such coverage".

No it wasn't — it wasn't good enough for the national broadcaster to deliver a piecemeal deal for the one true National code of football, supported by far more than the six million people who attend matches each season.

Calthorpe is finally a Kangaroo
DAVID CALTHORPE, the former Essendon and Brisbane player finally became a Kangaroo on Friday (26th) when a two-year agreement was reached. It ended a fortnight-long saga closely reported by the media.

JAKE NIALL in The Age reported: Under the compromise deal, Calthorpe will still be paid significantly less that his Brisbane contract in his first year with the Kangaroos, but his income will rise in the second year of the contract.

Calthorpe became the victim of a messy and often confusing affair when he was traded from Brisbane to the Roos. He had signed a minimum wage contract with the Roos under the mistaken belief that Brisbane would pay the balance of his existing contract, estimated at more than $150,000 a season.

Kangaroos chief executive GREG MILLER said that all parties were happy with the new arrangements.

Modest profits for Blues & Dons
Carlton and Essendon will post only a modest profits for the year—the Bombers were hit by salary cap infringement fines while the Blues continue to bring down the debt of the two recent stands at Optus Oval.

The Essendon books will show that additional fines of $290,000 together with $130,000 in legal fees and related tax obligations were suffered this year. The overall cost may impact as seven retiring directors seek re-election at the AGM. While Essendon made a healthy profit of almost $580,000 their net profit will be slashed to about $150,000. The 1999 financial statement expected to be delivered to members next week will show cash reserves of $3.5 million, while the club is free of debt.

Carlton will produce a profit of almost $200,000 while debt has been reduced. The construction of the Legend and Elliott stands at Princes Park resulted in a $16.5 million debt four years ago — this now stands at $12 million and will be reduced by about $1.7 million in April.

The Age reported on Friday (26th) Carlton's result does not take into account the expected $600,000-plus profit that will be posted by the Carlton Cricket and Social Club, which is the Optus Oval ground manager and carries the $12 million debt.

<> Hawthorn will announce a profit of $723,000.
<> Collingwood will suffer a loss of at least $500,000.
<> Geelong will announce they are $912,907 in the red.
<> Melbourne will post a loss of $1,494,645.
<> Richmond are expected to profit by $1.7 million.

Robert Nunn passes
ROBERT OWEN NUNN, MBE, passed away on November 23 aged 71. After training with Carlton and playing with Coburg Amateurs he took up the whistle following an injury, joining the VFL Seconds in the early 1950s. He began senior umpiring with the VFL in 1955 reaching 150 matches until his retirement in 1963.

In an eventful life, Bob was part of an Australian Antarctic Expedition as officer in charge of the station on Macquarie Island. On his return he was VFL Umpires' advisor for two years from 1966. He then worked for Channel 0 as a football commentator in the late 1960s and was a member of the VFL Tribunal for 25 years. He served the community as a member of the Peter MacCallum Hospital Board from 1982 to 1988, and was a JP.

In 1982, he became a Member of the Order of the British Empire for his services to Australian Football.

He is survived by his wife, Jill, and his daughter, Suzanne.

Around the clubs
** BRAD BOYD is battling his nagging back injury which has restricted the former Fitzroy captain to only 15 matches with Brisbane since 1997 and the merger between the two clubs. He is unable to perform any physical activity before Christmas.

BEN NELSON has been re-signed, on a two-year contract ... only CRAIG BRADLEY is yet to confirm his intentions ...

Collingwood are expected to announce a significant loss for 1999—possibly in the region of $500,000.


DEAN RIOLI won a pay increase for the 1999 season in an appeal to the AFL. Rioli, promoted from the rookie list to senior ranks in Round 3 will be paid as a second-year player rather than the modest base of $24,000 plus $1800 per game for first-year players.

** The Bombers are poised to announce JAMES HIRD and MICHAEL LONG as co-captains for 2000. The partnership begun this year will continue. Despite strong denials, the rumour mill still grinds out doubts on a Hird comeback—some say he's played his last game.

** FRANK McGUIRE (brother of Collingwood prez Eddie) has nominated for a position on the Essendon board. The 42-year-old former Herald, 7.30 Report and Four Corners reporter is a supporter of Kevin Sheedy and is concerned on how Essendon portrays itself to the football world through the media.

The Cats are set to revamp capacity of Kardinia Park (Shell Stadium) from 28,000 to 40,000 but the improvements will not add to the $7.5 million debt. The community-based stadium will be funded by local, state and federal grants.

**  Geelong on an increased turnover of $1.5 million will suffer a loss of $912,907 for the year. Membership, sponsorship and the social club each suffered losses of $300,000 while football costs lifted. The club however were able to make debt repayments of $1.1 million. Geelong recently announced a "Stand Up and Fight" fundraising campaign—they hope to raise $2 million in two years to reduce their debt.

** Though football costs (primarily player payments) rose by more than a million dollars, the Hawks will bring in a profit of $723,000 for the season. That doubles the 1998 trading surplus of $331,000. Turnover was up to $15 million (from $12.7m) and membership figures enjoyed a healthy 21 per cent lift to 32,400.

Hawthorn and Myer will again join forces to provide members with the best deals on three special shopping nights, with players also in attendance —

Megamart, 7-9pm, Monday, November 29, 699 Warrigal Rd, Chadstone — Players include: Bateman, Chick, Collica, Harford, Holland, Lekkas, Loats, Picioane, Taylor, Smith and Treleven

Myer Knox City, 7-9pm, Thursday, December 2, Burwood Hwy, Wantirna South — Players include: Barlow, Dixon, Cox, Crawford, Hay, Lord, Obst, Bowyer, Tallis, O'Farrell, Rode and Nicholls

Myer Dandenong, 7-9pm, Thursday, December 9, 25 McCrae St, Dandenong — Players include: Chapman, Graham, Krummel, Salmon, Croad, Woods, Rawlings, Vandenberg, Hazell and Thompson.

The club is reeling from the announcement that they sustained losses of $1,494,645 in 1999. Salary cap fines and tax related matters accounted for $1.2m and a trading loss of $298,202.

** SHANE WOEWODIN has agreed to a two-year deal with the Demons—he was thought to be heading back to Perth via the draft. Freo with second pick was hoping the former East Fremantle player would return to the West.

DONALD COCKATOO-COLLINS has joined his older brother CHE at Alberton alongside 15 SANFL players in the train-on squad. He is training, hoping to be picked up in the draft.

** PAUL DEAR, winner of the Norm Smith Medal in Hawthorn's premiership year of 1991 has joined the Saints as ruck coach. More recently he has been coaching the Gippsland club Sale.

DAVID GRANT and JASON DANIELS will assist PETER BANFIELD in the development of St Kilda's VFL side.

FRED CAMPBELL has quit the Swans and returned home to Alice Springs. The 19-year-old Aboriginal forward showed glimpses of ability in five senior games this year but Sydney officials could not convince him to stay due to 'personal problems'. He will be delisted by the Swans before the Pre-Season Draft on December 21.

The guernsey list for 2000 has been posted to the club website. In honour of past champions, CHRIS MARINWARING's #3 guernsey and JOHN WORSFOLD's 24 will be rested for the 2000 season.

** The West Coast Eagles will hold a Celebrity Pony Trot Race, at Gloucester Park, Friday, December 10, Gates open 4.00pm — Free to all WCE members on presentation of WCE membership card (1999 one or 2000 if they have it) — Ben Cousins and seven WCE players will be taking part in the race.

** CHRIS LEWIS, the remaining player in the Eagles squad from their inaugural 1987 team was sidelined for all the 1999 season with a foot injury, and it is this injury which will determine the fate of his football career after 212 AFL games.

Despite early pre-season indications that he can cope with another AFL season, Lewis has already reserved an appointment with new coach Ken Judge for early December, at which he will decide his playing future.

West Coast need a decision from the former Claremont player before December 14 so that they can determine whether they will participate in the Pre-Season Draft

Stab Kicks ...
** Channel Seven signed Sydney superstar TONY LOCKETT to a three-year deal. Already a part-time member of the Seven stable, he will join anchor BRUCE McAVANEY at all SCG matches next season. Plugger will also be part of the new Thursday night program The Game, alongside DERMOTT BRERETON and JASON DUNSTALL.

** NICKY WINMAR kicked four goals from full forward in his first NTFL game with the Palmerston Magpies on November 20 — the Saturday night match at Marrara Oval drew 3,286 ... Winmar seems a walk-up start to be included in the Buffalo squad which will play Norwood in Darwin on February 12 as well as being an ambassador for the formation of an NTFL side to play in the SANFL from 2001 ... DEAN MOORE from the AFL was in Darwin on Friday (26th) checking on the readiness for the Ansett Cup fixture to be played there on Friday January 28 when West Coast face Essendon ...

** Following the League seminar held at Cape Schanck, the AFL will ask the MCC to waive a contract clause requiring a game to be played at the MCG each weekend of the finals.
The League is required to play four matches but may seek to have them played on three, rather than four weekends. This may result in a weekend where no finals are played in Melbourne.
It will however bring fairness for the non-Victorian finalists of the League.

** PAUL SALMON, the Essendon and Hawthorn veteran has left Channel Nine following his appointment as manager of the Medallion Club at Colonial Stadium. He is expected to join the Seven Network.

They said it
BOB HART, The Herald Sun, Tuesday November 23, 1999 —
HAVE the Kangaroos really captured the hearts and minds of Sydney footy fans? Well ...
Wayne Carey strolled into Woollahra's Centennial Hotel to place a booking for a table.
And the waiter wrote it down as — "Kerry".
Now, if it had been Plugger, would the waiter have written it down as "Plucka"?
I don't think so.

WEST COAST EAGLES Website, November 26, 1999 —
Baulkham Hills President Peter Physick said the arrangement was perfect for his club.
"We have the largest number of junior teams in Sydney and we couldn't be happier because an alignment with the West Coast Eagles brings a connotation of success that we want to attract to our club," Mr Physick said.
"It is tremendous that West Coast want to assist Sydney football and this link will be a great thing for the game," he said.

Pies, Demons & Cats suffer losses
The Collingwood club on November 30 announced a deficit of $983,407 for the 1999 season on a turnover of $14.8 million. Gate receipts for their wooden spoon year fell 21 per cent to an average of only 39,126.

The Magpie loss follows on from the heavy deficit suffered by the Melbourne club who lost $1,494,645 for the year. Geelong are also in the red by $912,907.

The Port Adelaide club which enjoyed their first AFL finals appearance will finish with a strong profit as announced on December 5.
The Power with assets of $5.7 million had an operating profit of $301,389, after costs including a $600,000 licence fee payment to the AFL and debt repayment of $362,000 for establishment costs.

Sydney according to chief executive KELVIN TEMPLETON are likely to record a profit of almost $500,000 — their first season without League assistance.

<> Carlton should post a profit of almost $200,000.
<> Essendon are expecting to profit $150,214.
<> Geelong will announce they are $912,907 in the red.
<> Hawthorn will announce a profit of $723,000.
<> Melbourne will post a loss of $1,494,645.
<> Port Adelaide have a profit of $301,389.
<> Richmond are expected to profit by $1.7 million.
<> Sydney may post a $500,000 profit.



Quarters to be shorter?
Controversy erupted following a December 2 newspaper report that "the AFL looks certain to shorten football matches by up to 30 minutes within two years" ... the report was discounted by AFL operations manager IAN COLLINS some days later.

In 1994, quarters were reduced from the traditional 25 minutes to 20 minutes plus time-on.

Around the clubs
** DAVID PITTMAN, the retired Crows ruckman will front as a special comments man for Radio 5AA — David will also feature on Friday night and Saturday morning panel shows for the popular Adelaide station.

** PETER BLUCHER tells the Diary — Brisbane Lions coach LEIGH MATTHEWS was named 'Coach of the Year' at the 1999 Queensland Sports Awards, and the Lions were finalists in the 'Team of the Year' category, beaten by the Queensland Women's K2 Canoe team of Katrin Borchert and Anna Wood, who were 1999 world champions — the awards were held in Brisbane on Monday, November 29.

** After rejecting offers from several clubs BRAD SCOTT will remain a Lion alongside his twin brother CHRIS. A broken arm suffered in Round 10 against the Bulldogs kept him sidelined for 10 weeks.

** The retirement of BRAD BOYD was hotly denied by the Lions. Brisbane media manager PETER BLUCHER said Boyd was still a required player and had not indicated a decision to retire.

CRAIG BRADLEY who turned 36 last month will play into his 15th season next year. This year he reached 317 matches (1986-99), finished sixth in the Brownlow and was third in the Blues' club champion award.

MARK KINNEAR gained from Sydney in a swap for ANDREW SCHAUBLE has retired before kicking a ball at Victoria Park. The 20-year-old said he cannot cope with the rigours of pre-season training.

** Have an easy week did you?
Try this for size — in preparation for the Millennium Cup match against Carlton on New Year's Eve, Magpie players this week were in a three-day camp at Sorrento. Pre-season is no picnic — they have 17 training session a week – 3 weights. 3 skills, 2 specialist skills, 2 stretching, 2 sprinting and 5 cross-training (boxing, swimming and cycling) — whew!

** JOSH FRASER, the number draft pick is in training and is a strong chance for being selected for his debut in the black-and-white on New Year's Eve at the MCG.


Following a full-time camp at Essendon Grammar from January 6 through 16, the Bombers will play one practice match against St Kilda on January 21. Next engagement is the Ansett Australia Cup fixture versus West Coast at Marrara Oval in Darwin on Friday January 28.

A welcome report on Freo from subscriber KEN BOOTH —
1. Fremantle has named co-captains for 2000 in ADRIAN FLETCHER and SHAUN McMANUS. No doubt the former because of his exemplary leadership example on-field and the prospect that he can only serve the club for a few more years. The latter, who endured a shocking run of injury with two knee re-constructions, has been in the squad since 1995 and is never short of effort - he may be the long term nominee in the "John Worsfold" mould. He, like all Dockers supporters, will be hoping for a career without further injury.
The vice captain for 2000 is to be JASON NORRISH, a player whose efforts in
1999 and 1998 were out of the box.

2. TONY MODRA has cashed in his two year contract to the end of 2000 for a new one to take him to the end of 2001. Apparently he just loves the Perth lifestyle – especially the beaches and surfing opportunities. It is reported that Adelaide draftee MATTHEW PAVLICH is willing to sign for three years with the Dockers, he's excited at the prospect of playing alongside childhood hero Modra.

3. JOHN DIMMER, coach of 1999 Westar premiers West Perth, has been appointed to a full time assistant coaching role with Fremantle.

4. The Dockers have spent a week in the south-west at Margaret River, with reports of a very successful training camp.

5. After five years without training facilities, building of Clubrooms at Fremantle Oval (home of Westar club South Fremantle) is under way. The project has been the subject of a big fundraising campaign. It is due to open during 2000. Up to now, the Dockers have used primitive facilities in the basement of the Victoria Pavilion, a turn of the century (last century, that is!) wooden grandstand at Fremantle Oval. They do rehab swimming at the heated outdoor Bicton water polo pool. (In the meantime, the WC Eagles are soon to occupy their whizzbang new facilities under the new stand at Subiaco Oval – word has it there is an Olympic size swimming pool in the bowels of the building).

6. It was reported in the Perth weekend press that the expansion of Subiaco Oval is presenting the Dockers with marketing challenges to sell corporate boxes – the need is desperate in relation to the ground rentals they have to pay.

BARRY RICHARDSON was appointed chairman of selectors on December 1. He has just stepped down from the same role he held with Carlton in 1998-99. The talented Richardson played in three Tiger premiership during 125 matches for Richmond (1965-74) which he coached (1977-78) and was its president in 1985. He also was chairman of Melbourne's match committee when Ron Barassi coached the Demons in the 1980s. He is understood to have been an applicant for the football director's job at Punt Road but instead opted for his role at Kardinia Park

** The premiership cup is on its way to Adelaide — it's not a bad taste joke, but it's a great lift for the Kangaroos' staunch Adelaide supporters group when SHANNON GRANT and ADAM SIMPSON accompany the 1999 AFL Cup there on December 12.

The Annual General Meeting will be held at the Bentleigh Club on Wednesday December 22. The Demons have appointed two new directors to the board following the resignations of BILL BALCAM and KEVIN JONES.
PETER HAYES, QC, who conducted Melbourne's internal investigation into its salary cap breaches, has been appointed together with GABRIEL SZONDY, partner of accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, who is ear-marked to be the club's new finance director. However, both new directors will face election at the AGM.

The 115th Annual General Meeting of the club will be held at the Palladium Ballroom, Crown Entertainment Complex on Thursday December 16 from 8pm.

** The Annual General Meeting will be held at the Moorabbin Town Hall on Wednesday January 19.

JON ANDERSON reported in The Herald Sun on Tuesday (7th): "Once the Sydney Swans finish their 2000 season, 800 truckloads of turf will be removed in a $2 million remodelling."
It is said, the upgrade of the Sydney Cricket Ground is the biggest-ever revamp of the SCG surface. Did I hear another 15 clubs say — 'bout time ... the SCG is one of the few AFL venues where you can be certain to see a muddy surface after only a small amount of rain.

** RYAN FITZGERALD, the South Adelaide star who is still to play a senior AFL game is progressing well. Following shoulder reconstructions, first the right, then the left, Ryan should be ready to debut when the Swans play Brisbane in the Ansett Australian Cup fixture set for Cazaly Oval in Cairns on Friday January 28.

** The West Coast Eagles will hold a Celebrity Pony Trot Race, at Gloucester Park, Friday, December 10, Gates open 4.00pm — Free to all WCE members on presentation of WCE membership card (1999 one or 2000 if they have it) — Ben Cousins and seven WCE players will be taking part in the race.

The Bulldogs are way ahead of their membership target — more than 8,500 have signed up for 2000. It is great support for the Westerners move to the new Colonial Stadium which the club are earnestly bidding for the venue to become known as "Doglands".

** The Bulldogs are not expected to announce captaincy roles until after Christmas.

Stab Kicks ...
** Former Geelong and Adelaide coach MALCOLM BLIGHT has sold his Victorian beachside property at Sorrento and in the new year will move with his wife Patsy to the Gold Coast — to the Surfers Paradise area of, Sorrento.

** The Herald Sun reported on December 3: AFL umpires will test an electronic whistle that allow them to save their breath for running rather than blowing. The Sports Whistle will also free their arms of signalling decisions.
The AFL director of coaching JESS GEISCHEN supported the tests — "as the game gets quicker efficiency is something that has to be considered," be said.

** MICK McGUANE has been appointed general manager and coach of the BURNIE DOCKERS for the next two seasons.

** Get ready for the Buffaloes! — Northern Territory funding is near certain to support the entry of an NTFL combined side to play in the SANFL beginning in 2001. The NTFL representative side have the great opportunity to get "first blood" when 1999 SANFL runners-up Norwood venture in Territory territory for the match at Marrara Oval on Saturday February 12.

They said it ...
JAKE NIALL, The Age, Monday December 6 — Please, for once AFL, heed the call of your core constituents. By all means stop ruckmen thumping the ball out of bounds, but don't let the game become a $25 trip to the pictures. You still produce more worthwhile afternoons than Hollywood.

PAUL, a Footystats Diary subscriber — You mention St Kilda, regret to say that having been here (in Sydney) for nearly 11 years and now following the Swans with such passion, I don't feel as much for them as I used to. I think it's to do with watching players evolve, seeing boys become men, and besides I'm so tired of seeing the Saints self destruct, and we all know it'll happen again.

Wayne Carey signs three-year deal
Media rank him "Player of the Decade"

Kangaroo captain for 166 of his 207 games (1989-99) for the club, WAYNE CAREY became the highest-paid player in League history when he signed a new three-year deal with the club on Wednesday (15th).

A recently published list of Australia's richest sports stars placed Carey at equal 21st on $1.2 million a year. Carey who turns 29 on May 27 is managed by Ricky Nixon's Flying Start group.

ROHAN CONNOLLY of The Age and MIKE SHEAHAN in The Herald Sun on Saturday (18th) named his Top 50 Players of the Decade of which Carey was ranked at number one.

Crows post $1.75 million profit
Adelaide may have finished in the lowest position of its nine-season history but it failed to impact on the balance sheet — the Crows posted another $1.75 million profit.

$1.2 million went to the SANFL while the Crows retained a surplus of $546,297.

The revenue for the season climbed to $15,772,102 compared to 1998 of $14,141,698. In nine seasons, the Adelaide club have delivered $9,943,963 to the SANFL.

<> Adelaide a profit of $1.75 million.
<> Carlton should post a profit of almost $200,000.
<> Essendon are expecting to profit $150,214.
<> Geelong will announce they are $912,907 in the red.
<> Hawthorn will announce a profit of $723,000.
<> Melbourne will post a loss of $1,494,645.
<> Port Adelaide have a profit of $301,389.
<> Richmond are expected to profit by $700,000.
<> Sydney may post a $500,000 profit.

Battle over light towers at Adelaide Oval
A battle is looming over light towers at Adelaide Oval. The $21 million retractable light towers have already cost the SA Cricket Association $7 million and $14 million for the builders Baulderstone Hornibrook — the problem is, they don't work, with one of the four towers collapsing last year, injuring two workers.

Adelaide City Council met on December 14 and voted 5-4 against a proposal to replace the fittings with fixed light towers. The following evening the Council reversed its decision with a vote of 6-2 when Adelaide Lord Mayor JANE LOMAX-SMITH was reported saying: all council members wanted retractable towers but it's clear they'll never work.

Work on the four fixed towers was expected to begin in February, with a completion date by the end of November.

However, an influential Adelaide businessman MR THEO MARAS, sometimes called the city's "development watchdog" is mounting a likely legal challenge by a community group opposed to the fixed towers.

Daphne to pay $10,000 fine
The Age reported on Wednesday (15th): The AFL and Richmond struck a deal over the Tiger's 1999 salary cap problems that has seen the club fined $10,000 for a breach of players rules — a penalty outgoing president LEON DAPHNE has vowed to pay from his own pocket.

After being fined, Richmond will no longer face investigation for breaches of the salary cap. An AFL investigation found the club in 1999 had exceeded the $4.25 million salary cap by up to $100,000.

CLINTON CASEY replaced Daphne as president of the Richmond club at the AGM held on Thursday (16th). Former North Melbourne player MARK BRAYSHAW was named as the new Tiger CEO replacing the retiring JIM MALONE.

The salary cap for season 2000 will be increased to $4.75 million, when clubs will receive an increased AFL dividend of $500,000.

Around the clubs
** SHAUN REHN has joined the leadership of the club. Shaun has been named as a third vice-captain for the trio who have held leadership for the past three seasons. MARK BICKLEY retains the captaincy, with Rehn joining NIGEL SMART and MARK RICCIUTO in vice-captaincy duties.

** Life memberships have been awarded to inaugural players DAVID PITTMAN, SIMON TREGENZA, MATTHEW LIPTAK and ROD JAMESON. All have now retired from the AFL squad. Current players MARK BICKLEY and NIGEL SMART who are both still playing have also qualified for life membership.

** Yellow numbers on the backs of player guernseys will return in 2000 following complaints from Crow members who suffered difficulties in reading the numbers from a distance. In 1999, the Adelaide numbers were changed to red.

** BRAD BOYD, the injury-plauged midfielder and former Fitzroy captain confirmed his retirement from AFL football on Friday (17th).
The Age reported: Boyd said he had decided to retire after failing to overcome a serious back injury that had beset him since he joined Brisbane in 1997. He said the injury had been "so bad I couldn't even train" after re-injuring his back in the middle of last season.

JOHN ELLIOTT has been re-elected as president unopposed for his 18th season. He has held the position since taking over from IAN RICE in 1983. Mr Ellliott is the longest-serving head of the Carlton FC, overtaking the 17 seasons when SIR KENNETH G LUKE held the chair between 1938 until 1955.

All four outgoing board members were re-elected unopposed with KEN HUNTER, PETER KERR and JOHN GURRIERI all returning to the board.


The AGM will be held Monday December 20 when Essendon will announce no changes to its board apart from the departure of BRIAN CROWE, who stepped aside as part of the Bomber's streamlining of its committee. Board members ALEC EPIS, BEVERLEY KNIGHT, chairman GRAEME McMAHON, NEIL McKISSOCK, TIM JONAS, NEVILLE GAY and BEN DUNN were all re-elected. FRANK McGUIRE, the brother of Collingwood president EDDIE, failed in his bid to win a position on the Essendon board.

Following a full-time camp at Essendon Grammar from January 6 through 16, the Bombers will play one practice match against St Kilda on January 21. Next engagement is the Ansett Australia Cup fixture versus West Coast at Marrara Oval in Darwin on Friday January 28.

** The Annual General Meeting will be held at the Moorabbin Town Hall on Wednesday January 19.

** The Age reported: St Kilda will establish a trust fund for the children of the recently retired NICKY WINMAR and in doing so wants to enlist the help of another former club champion, TONY LOCKETT.
The fund for Winmar's two children, 12-year-old TYNAN and 10-year-old daughter SHAKIRA, would be established with profits from functions and overseen by trustees including a representative from the AFL, Saints chief executive DON HANLEY and Winmar's manager PETER JESS.
Saints' president ANDREW PLYMPTON confirmed the club also planned to honour its two former heroes – who between them played 413 games for St Kilda – at the round one Colonial Stadium debut against Sydney on the Sunday night of Grand Prix weekend, March 12.

** Subiaco Oval next year will have an electronic scoreboard to the same size of the MCG screen. The new facility will be in place in time for the Ansett Australia Cup match on February 12.

Stab Kicks ...
** THE BROWNLOW MEDAL may head to Docklands for the next count scheduled on Monday September 4, 2000. The Seven Network chairman KERRY STOKES is keen to have the event play to a sold-out house of 52,000 at Colonial Stadium. Bids for the show have also been received from Crown Casino and the Geelong club who are anxious to boost their coffers with the count being held at Kardinia Park (aka Shell Stadium).

** TONY FRANCIS after announcing his retirement from AFL footy is returning to Adelaide and is expected to return to the SANFL next season. Recruited by Collingwood from Norwood in 1990, Francis played 161 League games with Collingwood and St Kilda, the last 19 with the Saints in 1999.

** Rugby League premiers MELBOURNE STORM may play up to seven home matches at the MCG next season. Denied access to the new Docklands Stadium, their first game at the MCG will be a re-match of the Grand Final when they play St George-Illawarra on March 3, an event considered too big for the 22,000 capacity of Olympic Park.
Is there irony in the fact that as the AFL depart offices from the Great Southern Stand to new ones at Docklands, a major competitor for the hearts and souls of spectators begins a new era in their old home?

** Marking the extraordinary New Year's Eve Ansett Australia Cup match at the MCG when Carlton play Collingwood, the logo of each club will feature on specially made jumpers for the event.

They said it ...
DAVID CARNEY, managing director of Fila, The Age, December 16 — "It's probably no secret that I think the AFL is a pretty second-rate organisation. We try to work with the AFL just as we try to work with the NRL and I can tell you our central dialogue with the NRL is vastly superior.

The commercial reality is that it is quite possible the AFL will destroy its authenticity relationships with all the big manufacturers. Adidas has withdrawn from its licensing arrangement with the AFL, Reeboks's walked away and Nike and Puma have issues as well ... If we are unable to achieve some reasonable solution we'll walk away too".

Association gone, but not forgotten
The name of Fitzroy will live on into the new century in the form of the Coburg-Fitzroy club, but the Victorian Football Association is no more.

The name was erased on December 14, as reported the following day by ROHAN CONNOLLY in The Age, 122 years after the newspaper reported the creation of the pioneer organisation which became the father of Australian Football.

The VFA was formed on May 7 1877 when the honorary secretaries of senior Melbourne clubs—Albert Park, East Melbourne, Essendon, Geelong, Hotham, Melbourne and St Kilda met at Oliver's Cafe in Collins Street East, near Swanston Street that night.

Pre-Season Draft
Hawks draft Barry Young
Saints take three scalps

In the pre-season draft held in Melbourne on Tuesday December 21st former Richmond and Essendon player BARRY YOUNG was chosen by Hawthorn, but the surprise choices were made by St Kilda who collected the scalps of DAMIEN MONKHORST (Col), FRED CAMPBELL (Syd) and SEAN CHARLES (Mel & Car).

Surprises were not limited to the Saints — Port Adelaide with the eighth pick overall chose injury-prone WADE CHAPMAN who has struggled with groin and hamstring injuries with the Swans for the past three years; another former Sydney player SIMON HAWKING found a new home at Victoria Park — he was second choice by the Pies who took Brisbane's SHANE O'BREE with their first selection.

Eighty-five players either returned to or made their way into the AFL system, 70 of them by way of the Rookie Draft.

The draft selections were:

Round 1
1. Collingwood — SHANE O'BREE (Brisbane)
2. Fremantle — BRAD BOOTSMA (South Fremantle)
3. Melbourne — JAMES COOK (Western Bulldogs)
4. Adelaide — JAMES BYRNE (Glenelg)
5. St Kilda — FRED CAMPBELL (Sydney)
6. Hawthorn — BARRY YOUNG (Essendon)
7. Sydney — BEN FIXTER (NSW-ACT Rams)
8. Port Adelaide — WADE CHAPMAN (Sydney)
9. Western Bulldogs — ANDREW WILLS (Fremantle)

Round 2
10. Collingwood — SIMON HAWKING (Sydney)
11. Melbourne — STEPHEN PITT (Norwood)
12. Adelaide — ANDREW CROWELL (Woodville)
13. St Kilda — DAMIEN MONKHORST (Collingwood)

Round 3
14. Melbourne — SIMON GODFREY (Supp list)
15. St Kilda — SEAN CHARLES (Carlton)

Those who were unable to attract attention were — Andrew Gowers, Peter Somerville, Michael Symons, Jamie Tape, Daniel Healy and Peter Mann.

The final and 70th selection of the Rookie Draft saw Brisbane select HAYDEN KLUVER from the "LA Dodgers". Kluver, a promising rep player for Queensland at Under 15 level hurt a knee three years ago and his quality as a baseballer attracted his $180,000 signing by the Los Angeles Dodgers where he played for two years at minor league level. He once kicked 100 goals in a season for the Sherwood under 15s and at 19 has the urge to return to football.

AFL footy is ahead of the rest

Official figures released late December proves what we all knew — Australian Football is the most popular sport on the country, and growing fast.

The Age reported on December 21 that according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2.5 million Australians aged 15 and over attended at least one game in the year to April 1999 — that's 16.8 percent of the population. Victorians were the most loyal with 33.9 percent attending a game.

Across the country, the number of teenagers and adults who attended at least one game was up by 600,000 on the previous 12 months.

Rugby League attracted 1.5 million, or 10.1 percent of the population, while soccer drew 621,200, or 4.2 percent. Rugby Union, the game "played in heaven", may have attracted big crowds there but a mere 446,000 Australians, or three percent of the population, admitted seeing at least one game on earth.
Attendance at Sports Events Nationally
Australian Football 16.8 percent
Horse Racing 11.8%
Motor Racing 10.6%
Rugby League 10.1%
Cricket 6.3%
Soccer 4.2%
Harness Racing 3.6%
Basketball 3.5%
Rugby Union 3.0%
Tennis 3.0%
Dogs 1.9%
Netball 1.7

All Sports

47.1 percent

New AFL finals system
Following extensive research lasting several months the AFL on December 22 announced changes to the Final Eight system devised by Ken McIntyre and used since 1994.

The teams finishing in the top four positions will be guaranteed a double chance in the first week of the finals and will need to win three matches to claim the premiership. The top two teams will have a home state advantage at the AFL determined finals venue.

Teams finishing in positions five to eight will not have a double-chance and will be required to win four successive sudden-death matches to claim the premiership.

The AFL will request the Melbourne Cricket Club to consider and arrangement in which three finals would be played over the three weeks before the Grand Final, as distinct from one game each week for three weeks. (See also "They Said It" below).

The League in a press release expressed the advantages of the new system —

> Simple and readily understood ...
> Provides top four teams with a guaranteed double chance in week one ...
> Matches drawn from each group may be closer matches ...
> All games are live and team's fate not dependent on other matches ...
> Top two teams have home advantage ...
> Teams five and six have home advantage in week one of finals ...



Qualifying Finals Semi Finals
A: – 1 v 4 E: – Loser A v Winner C
B: – 2 v 3 F: – Loser B v Winner D
Elimination Finals
C: – 5 v 8
D: – 6 v 7
Preliminary Finals Grand Final
G: – Winner A v Winner F Winner G v Winner H
H: – Winner B v Winner E

Stab Kicks ...
** SPRINGVALE, current VFL premier will move its home base from Newcommen Road to the now redundant League venue of Waverley Park ...

** The BRISBANE LIONS have secured one of the biggest sponsorship deals in AFL history. CELLULAR ONE, the mobile phone company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of AAPT has signed a deal worth almost $1 million a year for the next three seasons.

** GREG BOULTON was re-elected as president of the Port Adelaide FC for a further three-year term at the AGM held on December 20.

** Seven's footy personality DOUG HAWKINS was recovering after pre-Christmas surgery to repair a heart blockage.

** GREG TRAPPETT will become the new general manager of the Victorian Country Football League on January 31. The 36-year-old Trappett's working background was in finance and banking before taking up the position of CEO of the NTFL in Darwin in 1997.

** NATHAN BUCKLEY signed a new four-year contract with Collingwood. The Pie captain was inked for what was believed is for $2.3 million.

Ansett Australia Cup
Blues thrash Pies in 'Millennium' fizzer

The first match of the 2000 ANSETT AUSTRALIA CUP night series was played at the MCG on New Year's Eve. Barely 27 hours elapsed from the end of the Second Test against India on Thursday. The pitch was removed to a depth of 20cm, and the area filled with sand and resodded with grass squares. The centre was then softened by hand watering.

Carlton demolished Collingwood by 88 points in front of an estimated 15,000 people—the smallest crowd to watch the legendary arch-rivals play in competition since 8500 watched in 1943s Round 12. It was an embarrassingly insipid effort from the Malthouse coached Magpies who were without only two regulars.

The 18-year-old BRENDAN FEVOLA wearing the famous #25 of Alex Jesaulenko rewarded those in the Carlton camp who have carefully groomed him as a forward during the past two seasons. In 1998 he led the TAC Cup goalkicking with 63 for the Dandenong Stingrays and headed the AFL Reserves comp list in 1999 for Carlton with 42 goals. Fevola had played only two senior games for the Blues in rounds 17 and 18 of the 1999 season.

Fevola in a mature display of direct leading, strong marking and straight shooting, kicked a new record high in the 497th game of the Night Series competition since it started in 1956. His 12 goals topped the 10-goal high previously kicked by PETER SCHOFIELD (NM) in 1959, PETER McKENNA (Col) in 1968, MICHAEL ROACH (Rch) in 1982 and MATTHEW LLOYD (Ess) in 1998.

CARLTON 20.17-137 (Fevola 12.3, Camporeale 3) best, Fevola, Camporeale, M.Lappin, COLLINGWOOD 7.7-49 (Lane 2, Buckley 2, Tarrant 2, Orchard) best, Lane, Licuria, Buckley. Umpires: Mark McKenzie, Gavin Dore, Bryan Sheehan.

Dennis Jones passes

DENNIS JONES, the man with a unique record as the only coach to have served at senior level in the VFA (Prahran, 1963-64), SANFL (Central Districts, 1968-71), WAFL (West Perth, 1973-74) and VFL (Melbourne, 1978) passed away in Melbourne on December 20, aged 63.

Dennis played 62 matches for Melbourne and was a defender in their 1959 VFL Premiership side.

Swan song composer dies
who composed the lyrics of "Cheer, cheer the Red-and-the-White" in the early 1960s passed away on December 6 aged 78.

The Herald Sun in its obituary noted that in the 1960s Laurence contacted Notre Dame University in the USA, seeking permission to use the music played for their American football team's theme song for use by the South Melbourne club.

Permission was granted and Mr Laurence wrote the lyrics to "Cheer, cheer" — the song still sung around the nation by fans of the Sydney Swans.

Born in Sydney on June 21 1921 his parents moved to Melbourne when he was two, where he attended Wesley College.

He enjoyed a life-long association with the South Melbourne FC and served on the committee as vice-president during the period he made his lasting contribution with his words to the club song.

Arthur Sanger passes
, a man instrumental in the formation of the Carlton Past Players Association died on December 3 at the age of 81. Arthur a talented young player with both Daylesford and Castlemaine made his debut with Carlton in 1938 after being signed by Newton Chandler. He was one of the best players in Carlton's 1945 premiership victory over South Melbourne and in all as a fine defender played 117 League games until his retirement in 1947.

He was named in the compilation of Carlton's 100 Best Players. His other sporting achievements included a hat trick in District Cricket, a hole-in-one, and an eight in lawn bowls—the highest possible score on one end.

They said it ...

MCC general manager DR JOHN LILL on changing the AFL-MCC agreement —
"It's a situation that's not going to arise for nine months. So what's the real hurry?"
The present arrangement requires a match at the MCG each week of the League finals series.

ANDREW IRELAND, Brisbane Lions CEO —
"The AFL inspected our (Gabba) facilities recently to make sure they met their criteria and they felt they were superior to Colonial Stadium."

TEALMEISTER, Yahoo! Club of Australian Football, January 2 — "I was hoping the Y2K bug would delete all records of the 1999 prelim final, but tragically it wasn't to be ..." — Ed's note: Tealmeister is a rabid Bomber fan who will never forgive.



The Herald Sun published the compilation
for the 2nd Annual Proudfoot Awards.

We best liked SCOTT GULLAN's
nominations for Gold ...

SHANE CRAWFORD – Gave away the nightclubs and became the best footballer in the land.

WHISKAS – In a moment of madness Geelong champion GARRY HOCKING changed his name by deed poll for a week to that of a cat food for sponsorship dollars.

PETER CAREY – Created history when he chipped in for a chest mark while officiating in the Rd 15 game between Fremantle and St Kilda.

HAWTHORN'S COMEBACK – Dow by 63 points in the second quarter, the Hawks staged the greatest comeback in League history to defeat St Kilda by 13 points.

TONY LOCKETT – The big man had a big year and even bigger farewell. Broke the AFL goal-kicking record in Round 10 and leaves the game with a lazy 1357 sausage rolls beside his name.

AND THE WINNER IS ... Tough call this year with Peter Carey's efforts exceptional but really a player named Whiskas, that's the one to lick them all.

Carlton & United to run tipping contest
Carlton & United will promote the biggest and most lucrative footy-tipping competition on AFL football this season.

The Sunday Herald Sun announced the ground-breaking venture in an exclusive by ROD NICHOLSON on January 9.

The competition will kick off at 400 venues in Victoria this year, and will expand nationally next year.

The CUB SportsPick football tipping competition will offer –
> Cash prizes worth $400,000
> A $5 season membership card
> Punters will swipe their card in terminals at participating pubs and clubs to place their tips
> Victoria's top tipster will win $50,000 at season's end with weekly prizes including holidays to Queensland.

The concept is endorsed by the Victorian Casino and Gambling Authority. CUB advised the AFL of its competition but has not sought a licensing deal.

CUB will promote Carlton Draught, which represents 97 per cent of Victoria's bulk beer market. The competition is expected to attract 40,000 punters.

Counting the cost of News Year's Eve
Officials from both Collingwood and Carlton have been counting the cost of the Ansett Australia Cup match played at the MCG on New Year's Eve.

Financial losses were expected to be more than $100,000 — the official attendance of 16,678 was well below estimates of both the clubs and support sponsors. Debts will have to met by the two clubs as the AFL were not financially involved with the event and indeed offered the clubs a chance to cancel the MCG engagement only weeks before it took place.

Special note:
Two years after, there was a conclusion to this event –

The Millennium Challenge, the clash most fans fans left off their football calendar on New Years Eve 1999, came back to haunt the League on Friday (March 22nd).

The game was to have been called *The Jetport Security Parking Millennium Challenge* and for this Mr Fairweather, Jetport's managing director, was to pay $125,000, of which he handed over $50,000 in down payments. Between the draft and contract drawn up by Mr Athol Hodgetts (a former Blues official), game naming rights were changed to trophy naming rights.

The two clubs involved in the doomed game, Carlton and Collingwood, were found by a County Court judge to have engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct, in breach of the Trades Practices Act relating to the partnership agreement with Jetport. He dismissed the claims by the football clubs and Mr Fairweather's claim — Russell Robinson, Herald Sun, March 23, 2002.

Stab Kicks ...
** FREMANTLE have been granted two fixture changes in Perth. To cater for the expected volume of Essendon supporters, the Sunday March 26 contest in Round 3 will now be played at Subiaco Oval.
The Saturday May 20 game in Round 11 versus the Western Bulldogs has been switched to the WACA Oval.

** Three days before the start of the Australian Open tennis, three weeks until the tri-series cricket finals and a sweltering 34 degrees did not stop the Western Bulldogs kicking off their campaign with a fiercely contest intra-club match lasting more than two hours on Friday January 14.

** COLLINGWOOD appointed former Victorian Cricket Association marketing manager DAVID EMERSON as its new marketing manager.

** A dispute over catering at Waverley Park between AVS Catering and the League has brought a damages claim of more than $10 million against the AFL.

Seven in joint venture creates AFL Films
** AAP reported on January 10 — the Seven Network entered a new joint venture to create a complete film and television library for Australian Football. The partnership with Vuecast Operations will result in the creation of AFL Films, which will have access to the existing film and television libraries of the AFL and Channel Seven.

Seven will take a large stake in Vuecast whose managing director DAVID BARHAM will become executive producer of Friday Night Football, Just Footy and Talking Footy.

Only three days later the Seven Network struck a long-term relationship with General Electric's NBC Internet. Seven's executive chairman KERRY STOKES said *NBCi* would take a significant shareholding in *i7* in the event of it listing on the ASX.

The Age reported Seven will now pay an undisclosed licence fee for access to NBCi's content. Elsewhere it was said that Seven's pay TV arm, C7, wants to deliver an Olympics channel and its AFL channel to Australian pay TV and has asked the Federal Court to force Telstra to open up its broadband cable.

Gough to replace Lill at MCG
Carlton chief executive STEPHEN GOUGH will replace the retiring DR JOHN LILL as secretary-general of the Melbourne Cricket Club in March. Gough will be only the sixth secretary of the MCC since 1880.

Gough has been with Carlton for 18 years and became CEO of the Blues in 1993 replacing IAN COLLINS who became AFL operations manager.

The important post for the 46-year-old Gough comes at a time when the MCC as landlord of the Melbourne Cricket Ground face competition to maintain the rank of number one sporting venue in Melbourne from the new $460 million high-tech Docklands facility.

A lifelong Carlton fan and a member of the club's board and finance committee since 1995 was chosen to replace Stephen Gough, JOHN GURRIERI, a 50-year-old father of two will start on February 21st. Gurrieri recently resigned as CEO of South Pacific Tyres and from an industry where he had 30 years experience.

Minor premiers to be recognised?
Brisbane Lions' coach LEIGH MATTHEWS on January 12 focussed on a need for the minor premiers of each season to be more widely recognised.

Quoted in The Herald Sun: "I think it's time to beef up the value of winning the minor premiership because one of the problems in footy is that not enough recognition is given to the team that finishes No.1 after 22 weeks."

Presently, the team finishing the minor series on top of the ladder receives the Dr William McClelland trophy in a low-key media presentation around the time of the Annual Meeting.

Born in 1875, Dr McClelland, C.B.E., J.P., played 75 matches for Melbourne from 1898 to 1904 and was President of his club for 14 years (1912-1926). He became President of the Victorian Football League in 1926, holding the office until 1955.

A trophy originated in 1951 to honour his service to the VFL and the game, for the purpose of recognising the achievement of clubs during the home-and-away series in each of the three grades of Seniors, Seconds and Thirds.

In 1991 following the entry of interstate members to the competition, a new system was introduced to determine the winner of the McClelland Trophy. The winner is now the club finishing at the head of the ladder at the end of the minor series—The Minor Premiers.

Unions delay Colonial Stadium
February 29 opening in doubt

Workers at the $460 million Docklands project on January 13 won a longstanding campaign for a 36-hour week, but the deadline of February 29 remains in jeopardy.

The Age reported the Electrical Trade Union won a deal with the major contractors to secure a 36-hour working week with a maximum of 10 hours' overtime a week. But the win came too late for striking workers to return to work before next Tuesday, adding pressure for it to be ready for the opening of the AFL season on March 9.

The sporting complex – which had its deadline extended by four weeks to February 29 – has suffered a series of unexpected delays, including 13 working days lost since November due to industrial action.

The first turf was laid out by StrathAyr Turf Systems on Tuesday (11th). BILL CASIMATY, managing director of StrathAyr said: "The rest of the two-hectare playing ground would have full established squares of turf laid in late February."

A spokesman for the stadium's builder, Baulderstone Hornibrook, said that if the project had the cooperation of unions, he was still hopeful it could be finished by March 9. Unions other than the ETU have yet to call off planned industrial action.

Two early Ansett Cup matches have already been moved from Colonial Stadium and will be played at Waverley Park.

2000 draw revised: 16 changes

The League announced dramatic changes to the 2000 premiership season draw on January 20. Sixteen fixtures were altered.

Concluding a financial compensation package with the Carlton club enabled the AFL to move all non-Carlton matches to the new Docklands Stadium where 48 matches will be played this year, compared to 41 at the MCG.

A new seven-year agreement with the ground manager the Carlton Cricket and Football Social Club, eliminates the requirement to play a minimum of 16 games a season at Carlton until 2007. Only Carlton will play home games at Princes Park until the end of the 2006 season. The League stressed the Blues were under no pressure to leave the ground

Carlton's undisclosed compensation payout amounting to several millions of dollars will be split between Stadium Operations Limited, owners of Docklands, the AFL and the clubs.

The Age reported: "While details of the deal are confidential, it is believed likely that the cash injection will be used to accelerate the repayment of Carlton's debt of more than $10 million, most of which is owed on the Legend Stand."

Around the clubs
BRISBANE have been assured that the latest in soil technology will be used as the new surface is installed at the Gabba. The new grass will be used when the Lions play their first home match on Saturday night April 8 against Adelaide.

** After showing promising form in intra-club practice matches, Essendon's JAMES HIRD is tipped for a place in the squad to meet West Coast in the Ansett Cup match at Marrara Oval in Darwin on Friday January 28.

** Essendon's STEVEN ALESSIO lodged a writ with the County Court on January 14 over foot stress fractures he suffered early in the 1998 season. Alessio alleges the injuries occurred in the same Ansett Cup match against North when teammate JOE MISITI suffered a broken jaw. Misiti successfully sued the AFL and Melbourne Cricket Club.

** You can buy a Footy Paver on the Premiership Walk from The Port Club to the new Allan Scott Power Headquarters.

** Expect a big lift in membership as the smell of the leather gets stronger in Tigerland — last count showing was 10,493 members.

** The 2000 Foxtel Family Day for St Kilda is on Sunday March 5 ...

The Swannies Big BBQ is set down for Sunday February 20 at Randwick Racecourse, with the first snag set to sizzle at 12 noon.

For Melbourne-based Swans supporters, make a date on
Sunday February 6 at North Port Oval (TEAC Oval), Williamstown Rd, Port Melbourne — Time: 12:00 noon to 4:00pm when many of the senior Swans players will be flying in.

** The Bulldogs will unveil a new-generation website including audio and video on February 1st.

** DANIEL SOUTHERN is a likely starter at full-forward when the season gets under way. His form in practice has pleased coach TERRY WALLACE.

More knee surgery for Paul Kelly?
Sydney were shocked by the announcement on January 24 that inspirational captain PAUL KELLY may miss all of season 2000.

The left kneecap which Kelly fractured in the 4th Qualifying Final at the MCG against Essendon on Sunday September 5 was found to be still fractured and may require further surgery.

The 1995 Brownlow Medal winner and four-time club champion had been running and training with the Sydney squad but was overcome with pain on Friday (21). Examination found the fracture had re-opened.

AAP reported on January 25 that an ultrasound (Exogen) machine hired from the United States at a cost of $5000 which promotes blood flow through low intensity pulsed ultrasound waves may save further surgery. Use in the United States had achieved a high success rate with Kelly quoted: "It hasn't been tried that much on the patellas (kneecaps), they've only done seven but of the seven people they used it on, they were all successful".

A decision on further surgery will not be made until mid-March.

In the absence of Kelly, ANDREW DUNKLEY will be captain.

In other news from the Sydney camp — the Swans have signed Optus to a three-year sponsorship deal worth almost $1 million. Players will wear the Optus logo of the leading telecommunications company on their shorts for the next three years beginning with the Ansett Cup clash against Brisbane at Cazaly Oval in Cairns on Friday night (28th).

They said it ...
MICHELANGELO RUCCI, The Advertiser, January 22 defining the benefits of the AFL's new state-of-the-art Colonial Stadium at Docklands —
"... But no one can say exactly how many tickets will be available and at what cost to Port Adelaide fans who want to be part of history when Colonial is opened on Thursday, March 9, with a night match against Essendon.
There are to be 38,830 seats kept aside for club members. Essendon's about 24,000 members will get first access to these seats until noon of Tuesday, March 7, leaving perhaps 14,000 seats for Power fans and very little time to plan a trip to Melbourne.
The AFL also has to guarantee that 5237 of these 38,830 seats are sold at the general admission price of $14 (pre-GST). Of the 52,660 seats at Colonial, 6080 are taken up by corporate suites and Colonial devotees paying $4000 a year to be "Medallion Club" members..."

WARWICK HADFIELD, The Australian, January 26 — "News the ARU will release details for a Super 12 club in Perth within the next two months could make the position of the Fremantle Dockers more precarious than that of the Swans who've grown accustomed to life in a market which is home to four football codes".

Stab Kicks ...
** The AFL found agreements are worthless, when told by Sydney radio station 2GB to "sue us if you're not happy then"... (The Australian, January 25). 2GB had in January 1999 committed itself to broadcast AFL Sydney Swans matches both interstate and from the SCG  "for a period of three years". The agreement less than 12 months old was torn up when 2GB in November were awarded exclusive commercial broadcasting rights to call NRL Rugby League matches in 2000.
AFL legal action is not out of the question.

** AFL radio listeners in Sydney, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Darwin will suffer a substantially reduced cover again in 2000. It is understood that ABC's NewsRadio will not cover AFL afternoon matches beyond five o'clock (Eastern Time), leaving listeners out in the dark for late-finishing games from Perth.
It is a frustrating situation for the League in their efforts to expand the code in "foreign" parts, and could well bring people to share the opinion, that it is a conspiracy by those who support Rugby League.
The AFL may seek to find alternatives via the Internet, but without direct TV cover, you can never beat live radio broadcasts.

AFL admits positive drug tests
Statistics released by the Australian Sports Drug Agency have revealed nine AFL players and two from the SANFL were among 376 athletes which tested positive in the 1990s.

Only three AFL cases — two in 1997 and one in 1998 were publicised, other hearings were held behind closed doors.

The Herald Sun reported six players were let off with a warning by the AFL, the ASDA and the AFL's medical commissioner DR TONY COATES.  Four players had tested positive to stimulants such as pseudoephedrine; one to a narcotic analgesic or painkiller – another took a drug which can be used as a masking agent for steroids.

The instances of the nine AFL who tested positive on dates listed were:

July 13 1990 — Pseudoephedrine (stimulant). Finding: Inadvertent doping. No sanction imposed.

April 25 1992 — Pseudoephedrine. Inadvertent doping. No sanction imposed.

August 1 1992 — Methoxyphenamine (stimulant-cough medicine). Inadvertent doping. Caution.

January 8 1993 — Probenecid. Sanction therapeutic use.

April 3 1993 — Pseudoephedrine. Inadvertent doping. No sanction imposed.

July 27 1995 — Dectropropoxphene (pain killer). Inadvertent doping. Warning.

June 27 1997 ILJA GRGIC (West Coast). Methoxphenamine. Warning.

August 21 1997 JUSTIN CHARLES (Richmond). Boldenone. 16-match suspension.

May 12 1999STEVEN KOOPS (Fremantle). Pethidine. No sanction.

The two SANFL players tested positive on September 1 1990 and May 20 1992.

The ASDA statistics do not include Brisbane's ALASTAIR LYNCH who admitted taking a banned substance for therapeutic reasons to combat his chronic fatigue syndrome. Lynch never tested positive to a banned drug.

Stab Kicks ...
** Essendon during their visit to Darwin where they play their Ansett Cup fixture against West Coast on Friday night (28th) will visit Nguiu on Bathurst Island, and Millikapiti and Garden Point on Melville Island. Bomber captain MICHAEL LONG will head a group of players who will talk with young people about their life experience and where they are heading.
ABC News noted: The visit comes in the wake of 13 recent deaths of young Tiwi people, the majority self inflicted, which the Northern Territory's Coroner has linked to alcohol and cannabis abuse.

** Sydney have decided to retire TONY LOCKETT's No.4 guernsey for the year 2000.

** Feast or a famine department — while some parts of Australia are begging for more radio broadcasts of AFL footy during the season, Radio 5AA in Adelaide will continue its cover of Ansett Cup matches. The League permits live radio cover provided the game is also being shown live on the Seven Network. The Port-Collingwood on Saturday night and Adelaide-Melbourne game on Sunday night will both be broadcast on 5AA this weekend.

** Chances are that the Fremantle Dockers will face more competition comes with the news that Rugby Union will enter a Super 12 club from Perth in their draw for 2001 – it also raises the question, will or when will Rugby League re-enter the field?

** Carlton's MURRAY VANCE had a plate inserted inserted in his broken jaw on Monday (Jan 31). Vance received the injury following a clash with Fremantle's CLIVE WATERHOUSE in the last quarter on Saturday night at Waverley — Vance is expected to miss four to five weeks.

** Star Tiger forward MATTHEW RICHARDSON had surgery Monday (Jan 31) to repair torn ligaments in his left thumb resulting from a fall in a marking contest against the Kangaroos on Friday night. The 24-year-old had a similar injury in 1998 and this time will be out for a month and may even miss Richmond's first round engagement.

** For the record — a Melbourne newspaper inadvertently confused dates when in a feature on Saturday January 29 they reviewed the demise of Waverley Park.

The first match was played at Waverley on Saturday April 18 1970 when in the third round of games, 27,557 watched Fitzroy 7.11-53 lose to Geelong 17.12-114. Adult admission that day was 90 cents, the Footy Record was 10 cents and it cost just 30 cents to park the car. SHANE MOLLOY for Fitzroy kicked the first goal at the venue in the Reserves for Fitzroy, while DOUG WADE for Geelong was the first to kick a goal in the senior game.

The 1970 season opened with five matches on Saturday April 4. The following day the first VFL Sunday match was played at the MCG in the presence of The Queen and HRH Prince Phillip, Prince Charles and Princess Anne. Fitzroy 16.20-116 defeated the reigning premiers Richmond 14.12-96. The attendance was 38,617.

Trial rules in 2000 Ansett Cup
** Four quarters of 17½ minutes plus time on —
The clock will not be counted down at critical stages because the umpire takes too long to bounce at field bounces.
** Field Bounces — The ball will be thrown up in general play and bounced in the centre only to start the quarter and after a goal.
** Advantage rule —
No whistle will be blown if a free kick is a clear advantage to the side offended against. The umpire will wave "advantage, play on". If no clear advantage the umpire will blow his whistle and award a free kick at the original spot.
** Diving on the ball — Will not allow a player who is on the ground to take possession of the ball. The player may hit the ball clear by either hand or clenched fist in a hitting motion. A double handed action or scoop would be deemed illegal disposal.
** Interchange — Six interchange players except in hot climates for matches in Cairns, Darwin and Perth where eight interchange players will be permitted.
** Officials interfering with the play — After a behind has been scored a free kick will be awarded against any team whose runner or any other approved team official, including trainers, are standing inside the 50m zone at the kick-in. The free kick will be paid at the back of the centre square to the nearest player to the official who offended.
** Drawn matches — In the event of a draw, extra time of five minutes each way will be played.

Ansett Australia Cup
WEEK ONE – Fri-Sat-Sun, January 28-29-30.

<> West Coast and Essendon played the 500th night series match on Friday night at Marrara Oval, Darwin.
The first night series game was played at the Lake Oval, Albert Park on Thursday, August 23, 1956 when South Melbourne 13.15-93 downed St Kilda 10.13-73.
<> Richmond were held scoreless by the Kangaroos in the first term. The Tigers were the most immediate to be scoreless at the opening in an Ansett Cup fixture — they were against Port Adelaide in the Quarter Final last February at Football Park. It was seven years before since this had occurred in an opening quarter of the night series since Fitzroy 2.3-15 held Sydney pointless, 92-QF-P.

<> STEPHEN RODGERS noted DANNY FRAWLEY was the first coach in a senior debut to be held pointless since GRAHAM CAMPBELL’S Fitzroy lost to Carlton, 74-R20-PP.

<||> The vision of BRUCE ANDREW was realised when AFL football was played in Cairns. Andrew, a player in Collingwood's 1930 premiership, when secretary of the Australian National Football Council purchased swamp land in the early 1950s which became Cazaly's Oval and accommodated 8,000 on Friday night to see the Ansett Cup match between Brisbane and Sydney.

In steamy conditions on a beautiful surface, the Sydney Swans proved there will be life without Plugger when they convincingly downed the Lions. Leading by 49pts mid-way in the third quarter, a flurry of late goals brought a respectable margin of loss for the Brisbane side. The Harboursiders played fast-moving, attacking football down the corridor with MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN, ADAM GOODES and ROBBIE AHMAT a lively trio in a committed squad, too good for the Lions.
SYDNEY 17.10-112 (Goodes 4, O’Loughlin 3) best, O’Loughlin, Goodes, AhMat, BRISBANE 13.6-84 (Bradshaw 3) best, Molloy, Hart, Bradshaw.

<||> It was a horror senior initiation for Tiger coach DANNY FRAWLEY when his team was pointless in the first quarter against the Kangaroos at Waverley on a fine Friday night. In what turned out to be a ding-dong go by both squads, the Tigers hit the front for the first time 12 minutes into the last quarter.

The Roos however were the steadier and took the match by 11pts. The greater number of worries from the match was injuries. MATTHEW RICHARDSON had surgery following a thumb injury and may miss as much as a month ... in the Roo camp, COREY McKERNAN suffered back spasms while MATTHEW CAPUANO sustained a strained groin and may miss the next three weeks. Richmond gave good signs, but even in January, the Kangaroos are still a gutsy, give-it-all combination.
KANGAROOS 10.16-76 (Carey 3) best, King, Carey, Grant, RICHMOND 9.11-65 (Gale 4, Daffy 3) best, Daffy, Campbell, Hilton. Crowd: 16,512.

<||> Essendon on their seventh visit to the top end faced West Coast under clear skies but on an oppressive Darwin evening — 13,600 avid locals attended.
With players rotated off the eight-man interchange bench the key playmakers for Essendon were captain MICHAEL LONG who kicked the match-sealing goal; MATTHEW LLOYD with four goals and JOHN BARNES close to best afield on his return to the Essendon colours. West Coast have a lengthy list of stars on the sidelines and new coach KEN JUDGE said he expected he would continue to experiment when he meets his own side Hawthorn. A noticeable lift to the Eagles forward line was Judge's use of DAVID WIRRPUNDA as a goal kicking option.
ESSENDON 11.12-78 (Lloyd 4) best, Misiti, McAlister, Barnes, WEST COAST 8.10-58 (Wirrpunda 3) best, Wirrpunda, Banfield, White.

<||> Around 15,000 were at the recently completed Westpac Stadium in Wellington for the late Saturday afternoon contest which was played in wet conditions.

The Western Bulldogs finished strongly and posted a well-deserved 47pt win over the haphazard Hawks. Hawthorn always promised to score but they wasted almost every opportunity and struggled to kick four goals for the match. The experiment however was a positive result and may lead to more matches being played in Wellington.
BULLDOGS 13.7-85 (Johnson 3) best, Johnson, Darcy, Alvey, HAWTHORN 4.14-38, best Harford, McCabe, Barlow.

<||> Port and Collingwood at Football Park fought out a tight affair in good conditions on Saturday night. The Power lasted long enough to take a nine-point victory over a determined Collingwood side who will be encouraged that their revival cannot be far away.

Port enjoyed the return of two long-term injured players MATTHEW PRIMUS and DANNY MORTON, while recruit BRETT MONTGOMERY also gave promise. Although GAVIN WANGANEEN left the game with a leg injury in the third term, the match-up against rival captain NATHAN BUCKLEY was the match highlight. The Woods will have strong hopes for 1999 draft pick LEON DAVIS. The 17-year-old winger from Perth displayed super pace and many skills.
PORT 13.12-90, best, Bode, James, Kingsley, COLLINGWOOD 12.9-81 (Buckley 3) best, Buckley, Michael, Licuria. Crowd: 10,545.

<||> Carlton continued their surprising Ansett Cup form with an 84pt thumping of Fremantle on Saturday night at Waverley. Conditions were fine though some rain fell late in the match.

The road ahead continues to look bleak for the Dockers who were miles behind the Blues for class. This was emphasised when Carlton kicked the first eight goals of the second half when the margin blew out from 18 to 68 points. The Blues tried a new forward line look featuring Silvagni, O'Reilly, Whitnall (who took almost a dozen marks) and Fevola — he was well held and goaled only once as a follow-up to his dozen on New Year's Eve.
CARLTON 22.14-146 (Hamill 4, Allan 3) best, Koutoufides, Camporeale, Hickmott, FREMANTLE 9.8-62, best, Sinclair, Fletcher, T.Longmuir. Crowd: 5,692.

<||> JAMES COOK playing with his third League club had a great debut for Melbourne against Adelaide at Football Park in firm conditions on Sunday night. Marking strongly, Cook kicked long and accurately for six goals.
The Demons were under the hammer when Adelaide stretched their lead to more than five goals early in the second but Melbourne took charge and were never head again. Yze, Robertson, Woewodin and Leoncelli were the first-up stars for the Redlegs. Former Roo SCOTT WELSH playing his first for the Crows kicked five goals from full forward while the veteran DARREN JARMAN was in fine early touch.
MELBOURNE 19.11-125 (Cook 6, Schwarz 3, Powell 3) best, Powell, Cook, Leoncelli, ADELAIDE 17.5-107 (Welsh 5, Jarman 3) best, Welsh Jarman, James. Crowd: 12,239.

<||> Both Geelong and St Kilda were without several stars on a crisp Sunday night at Waverley — the Cats missed Hocking, Kilpatrick, Stoneham and Lynch while the Saints were without Harvey, Everitt, Loewe and Shane Wakelin. Geelong kicked nine behinds before their first goal 10 minutes into the second term. The contest then settled into frequent lead changes and went right down to the wire with the Saints getting home by four points.

Geelong's captain-in-waiting BEN GRAHAM played at full forward and kicked five for the night. Also under notice was newcomer DAVID SPRIGGS who did well from the forward pocket. LENNY HAYES  and GAVIN MITCHELL were regularly at the forefront for the Saints, who would also have been encouraged by CAYDN BEETHAM, their number one 1999 draft selection.
ST KILDA 11.12-78 (Mitchell 3) best, Burke, Delaney, D.Wakelin, GEELONG 10.14-74 (Graham 5) best, Graham, Arnott, Houlihan. Crowd: 7,394.



Two weeks for two

Port Adelaide's JOSH FRANCOU and Fremantle's CLIVE WATERHOUSE were the first two players to be suspended in the new century when the AFL Tribunal sat on Tuesday (1st).

FRANCOU (PA) was found guilty of striking RUPERT BETHERAS (Col) while WATERHOUSE (Fre) was suspended for striking MURRAY VANCE (Car) in the last quarter on Saturday night at Waverley.

Both players received the penalty of two matches which will be served during the Ansett Cup.

Stab Kicks ...
** CHRIS LEWIS (WCE) who spent all of the 1999 season on the sidelines may return against Hawthorn on Sunday night (6th). The 212-match veteran and the remaining survivor from the 1987 Eagles squad has been training solidly.

** The Age reported on Tuesday (2nd) that a Brisbane Lions player is being investigated over an alleged rape in London.
A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said detectives from Paddington police station in London were investigating a complaint from a Brisbane woman in her early 20s.
A number of Lions players travelled to London in October on an end-of-season trip to the Rugby World Cup.

** Following two Ansett Cup matches, Manuka Oval in Canberra will be out of operation until the end of the year. A $10 million upgrade of facilities and added seating will take place as further AFL games, even premiership matches, are expected to be played at Manuka starting in 2001.
Sydney play the Kangaroos on Saturday and the Swans will return the following weekend when they meet Richmond on February 12. Both matches are timed to start at 4.30pm.

** Membership fees showed a sharp increase for the 2000 season with Collingwood rising from from $98 to $115 or 17.3 per cent. Carlton's rose by 5.9 per cent, from $102 to $108.
However, the Victorian clubs are a long way behind what they pay in Perth where West Coast and Fremantle are paying up to 44 per cent more than their Melbourne counterparts. The cheapest 11-game ticket for the Dockers and the Eagles is $156.

** Port Adelaide won their appeal to the League to have their Saturday February 5 Ansett Cup match against Fremantle switched from the WACA Oval to Subiaco. However, the WA Cricket Association may seek a legal challenge against the AFL. They say it has nothing to do over the hard surface of the WACA but is centered on a beer war between Lion Nathan, which owns WA's Swan Brewery and Carlton United.

Ansett Australia Cup
WEEK TWO – Fri-Sat-Sun, February 4-5-6.

<> West Coast were goalless at three-quarter time on Sunday night versus Hawthorn.
A scan of the 512 matches played in the night series competition (1956-71 & 1977-2000) show it is the only occasion a team has been goalless at three-quarter time.
The lowest score at three-quarter time by any club in a night series match was Sydney 1.2-8 v Collingwood 11.14-80 in the 1985-1R-P match. The Pies went on to win 15.15-105 to the Swans 3.5-23.

<||> The Friday night opener at Waverley started in stifling 36-degree heat yet the small crowd of 11,391 were rewarded with a high-skilled contest. An eight-man interchange bench was used. The Bombers opened at a furious pace, the Bulldogs matched them in the second when the tempo did not slacken and took a narrow half-time lead.

Both found it hard to score in the third term when DEAN RIOLI (E) after kicking his fourth goal left with a corked hip. In spite of the absence of the injured key forward MATTHEW LLOYD, and when it was still 33.8 degrees, Essendon unleashed a last quarter burst of 8.3 (Ramanauskas, McGrath, Caracella, Johnson, Barnard, Mercuri, Jacobs, Misiti, each kicked one goal) to easily clinch the contest by 33 points.
ESSENDON 17.12-114 (Rioli 4) best, Rioli, J.Johnson, Mercuri, BULLDOGS 10.21-81 (Kolyniuk 3) best, S.Cox, Eagleton, Hunter.

<||> It was a warm, windswept Saturday afternoon at North Hobart Oval when ALASTAIR LYNCH who has battled chronic fatigue syndrome in recent years steered the Brisbane Lions to a comfortable 17 point win over Richmond.

Although playing only half a game, Lynch contributed five goals. It was a close affair until the Lions took charge in the last quarter. Overall it was the Lions' running players who did the damage with CHRIS SCOTT, SIMON BLACK, SHAUN HART and LUKE POWER prominent. Richmond noticeably lacked disposal skills and was guilty of many costly turnovers.
BRISBANE 15.9-99 (Lynch 5, Power 3), best, Scott, Black, Lynch, RICHMOND 11.16-82 (Holland 3) best, Campbell, Bowden, Daffy.

<||> A late Saturday afternoon start at Manuka Oval did not mask a Canberra temperature in the mid-30s—many players wore zinc cream on their faces. Kangaroo captain WAYNE CAREY was explosive, treating the 9,854 fans to a great display, by kicking six of the Roos' first seven goals and finishing with 8.1 for the match.

Sydney started in a fashion similar to the way they had beaten the Lions in Cairns the previous week, spreading the goals around and threatening a boilover against the favourites. However, the Kangas led by Carey controlled the third term by kicking seven goals to one. Though the Swans fought back in the last quarter, the Roos were clearly the better side.
KANGAROOS 17.10-112 (Carey 8.1) best, Carey, Abraham, Grant, SYDNEY 13.11-89, best, Schwass, Goodes, Ball.

<||> The young talent of Fremantle ran out nine-point winners over Port Adelaide in warm conditions on Saturday night at Subiaco Oval. The Dockers with up to 11 seniors injured called up many recruits who did the job with solid performances. PAUL HASLEBY an 18-year-old from East Fremantle booked a berth in the opening premiership round with a top display out of the centre.

BRAYDEN LYLE and PETER BURGOYNE were a solid duo for the Power, who suffered injuries to re-appointed captain GAVIN WANGANEEN as well as SHANE BOND.
FREMANTLE 10.18-78 best, Hasleby, Koops, Sinclair, PORT 10.9-69 best, Lyle, Bode, Burgoyne. Crowd: about 7,000.

<||> Melbourne gave promise their horror patch is behind them when ran in a 26pt victory over an under-manned St Kilda on Saturday night in firm though windy conditions at Waverley Park. Absent from the Saints were Loewe, Harvey, Hall, Everitt and Jones. Melbourne's JEFF FARMER with his tradesman-like leap, together with a good showing by rookie BRAD GREEN (North Launceston) were the boost the Demons would have been looking for.

Captain-in-waiting DAVID NEITZ had a fine game at centre half-back for Melbourne while CHAD DAVIS, the 18-year-old son of 1966 premiership player ALAN, gave a potent performance for the Saints and finished with three goals for the night.
MELBOURNE 13.14-92 (Chisholm 3, Farmer 3), best, Neitz, Woewodin, Farmer, ST KILDA 9.12-66 (Davis 3) best, Monkhorst, A.Thompson, Davis. Crowd: 10.533.

<||> Geelong looked great early but was overhauled by big Adelaide efforts in the second and final quarters in the match on Sunday night played in good but often windy conditions at Football Park.

The Crows were rampant with the breeze in the second term kicking 6.2 to one behind when the veteran DARREN JARMAN displayed fine early-season form—he finished with four goals. AAP reported that Geelong can take solace from the bright showing from young midfielder DANNY O'BRIEN while experienced players Riccardi, Milburn, Graham and Burns were in top touch for the Cats. Young Adelaide ruckman RHETT BIGLANDS, originally from Woodville-West Torrens, had a big one for the Crows.
ADELAIDE 19.10-124 (Jarman 4, Welsh 3, Johnson 3, Vardy 3) best, Jarman, Ricciuto, Johnson, GEELONG 15.12-102 (Graham 3), best, Riccardi, Milburn, King. Crowd: 11,326.

<||> Hawthorn were clearly the dominant force in Sunday night's cakewalk over the Eagles in clear conditions at Waverley Park—at one stage the Hawks led by 84pts. West Coast were goalless until the three-minute mark of the last quarter.
Hawthorn's match winners were SHANE CRAWFORD (6 goals) and the forward line duo of NATHAN THOMPSON (13 marks) and MARK GRAHAM. It was a horror return by KEN JUDGE who also failed with the move in attack of GLEN JAKOVICH—he failed to goal and was one of several players reported in a fiery contest.
HAWTHORN 17.14-116 (Crawford 6, Graham 3) best, Thompson, Barlow, Crawford, WEST COAST 5.10-40 (Cummings 3) best, Jakovich, Read, Bellotti.

They said it …
JOHN ELLIOTT, Carlton president, Herald Sun, Friday February 4 –
"… the compensation deal for moving games from Optus Oval was a great result for Carlton. "It was very important for us and it helped the AFL," he said.
"It's not impacting on Carlton supporters and if we had not done it, the AFL could have put the worst games at Optus and that wouldn't have been in our best interest."
He said the club would earn "a bit less" than $2 million a year for seven years from the deal."

Two suspensions
Seven fined for tripping

The AFL tribunal sat on both Monday and Tuesday to hear charges from the second week of Ansett Cup matches.

On Monday, St Kilda vice-captain DARRYL WAKELIN was suspended for two matches for striking Melbourne's JEFF FARMER.

MICHAEL GALE (Fre) was found not guilty of tripping DEREK MURRAY (PA).
Tuesday’s hearing handed down one suspension and seven fines for tripping.
AAP reported: Hawthorn's BARRY YOUNG was suspended for one match and fined $1500. The 29-year-old former Tiger and Bomber at his 11th AFL tribunal hearing was found guilty of wrestling BEN COUSINS (WCE). Cousins who pleaded guilty during the same incident was fined $1200.

RICHARD TAYLOR (Haw) pleaded guilty to wrestling PHILLIP MATERA (WCE) and was fined $1200. Matera was cleared. The West Coast duo PHILLIP MATERA and LAURIE BELLOTTI were cleared of both wrestling and striking charges against Taylor.

Four players were cited but did not appear before the Tribunal after pleading guilty to their first wrestling offences—each were fined $1200. The players were: GLEN JAKOVICH (WCE), STEPHEN POWELL (Mel), STEVEN SZILLER (StK) and TIM ELLIOTT (StK).

BARRY YOUNG in an 11-season AFL career has been found guilty nine times for suspensions totalling 17 matches. He has the third highest appearance record of current players and now ranks 18th on the all-time list of the most tribunal charges in League history.

Docklands still in doubt for start
Have we seen the last of Waverley?

Continuing industrial action at the $460 million Docklands Stadium places a cloud on whether the venue will be ready for the opening round of the AFL 2000 season.

The builders, Baulderstone Hornibrook on Monday (7th) conceded early League matches were under threat when they announced a mid-February handover date had been forced back by a further two weeks, to March 2nd.

Essendon have presented the suggestion that their opening round match against Port Adelaide be switched to Football Park which is vacant on Thursday March 9. Docklands has no football scheduled on June 24 when in Round 16 the Bombers were to meet Port under lights in Adelaide.

The season will open at the MCG on Wednesday night March 8 when Richmond play Melbourne, with the Kangaroos-West Coast (Friday night) and Hawthorn-Collingwood (Sunday afternoon) matches also rostered for the G.

Two matches are scheduled for Docklands in the opening round —
Essendon v Port Adelaide, Thursday night, March 10
St Kilda v Sydney, Sunday night, March 12

The Age reported: Although the League was still presenting an optimistic front yesterday, sources from within were flagging the possibility of Waverley Park being used in conjunction with the MCG, if necessary, to help carry the opening-round load.

Stab Kicks …
** GAVIN WANGANEEN retains the captaincy of PORT ADELAIDE for a fourth season — DARREN MEAD, MATTHEW PRIMUS and WARREN TREDREA will be vice-captains of the Power.

** Melbourne's CHANNEL TEN reported that The City of Geelong will act as guarantor for the Cats in a refinancing deal with BENDIGO FINANCE. It is understood that it will wipe 30% from Geelong's $7.5 million debt.

** The Laws Committee of the AFL have ratified a simplified rule on "charging". The rule has been under attack for some time. MARK STEVENS in the Herald Sun observed: the current Rule 16.9.6 says intentionally, recklessly, carelessly, or negligently charging another person is a reportable offence, but offers no detailed definition of "charging".

The new definition is expected to be tabled to the AFL Commission on March 2 and be enforced from the start of the season on March 8.

** SYDNEY and the KANGAROOS in separate efforts to improve membership and support from Canberra and the ACT announced strategic alliances with local clubs.

The Swans have joined with the Southern Cross (Social) Club and the Queanbeyan FC.

The Kangaroos have struck a similar deal with the Ainslie FC who will undergo a name change to the Ainslie Kangaroos. Ainslie who play in St Kilda colours, is considering changing their strip in 2001.

** The entry of a combined Northern Territory team to the SANFL moved closer with discussions in Adelaide on Saturday (5th). Funding is the key issue with the NT government under pressure not to be viewed as a major benefactor at the expense of other Territory sports. The SANFL has committed $200,000 and the AFL $150,000 annually. The SANFL have agreed to a three-year trial for a NT team to be added from next season provided there was no financial risk to SANFL clubs.
Norwood will play a Northern Territory League combined squad in Darwin on Saturday.

AFL revenue climbs to $108.5 million
The AFL's operating profit for last season increased by nearly $10 million on the figures released on February 10. The financial statement will be released at the AGM on Thursday March 2.

Revenue from AFL operations to the year ending October 31 1999 climbed to $108.5 million, compared to $92.42 million the previous year.

An operating profit of $58.3 million was enjoyed before distributing $43.96 million to clubs (up from $36.8 million) and others payments in grants and allocations for development, umpiring, promotional and ground improvements. A profit of $1.38 million resulted, down from $2.12 million in 1998.

AFL chief executive WAYNE JACKSON said the League in 1999 spent nearly $13 million on development and ground improvements — an extra $7 million was given to the clubs and $9 million was spent on grants.

Full details of the financial statement will be released at the AGM on Thursday March 2.

First offenders can pay fine
Players now can choose to be fined for a first-time offence and will not be required to appear before the AFL Tribunal. Several have chosen to do already during the Ansett Cup series.
All member clubs were advised of the range and scale of penalties on Friday (11th). Players who are charged on a first offence, plead guilty and accept an automatic fine will still be eligible for the Brownlow Medal.
The procedure will be reviewed at the end of the season.
Penalties and offences —

$1200 Abusive language
$1200 Disputing decision
$1200 Intefering with player kicking for goal
$1200 Pinching
$1200 Spitting
$1200 Wrestling
$600 Hitting the rook at Docklands
$600 Shaking goal post
$600 Time wasting


Ansett Australia Cup
WEEK THREE – Fri-Sat-Sun-Mon, February 11-12-13-14.

<> The Ansett Cup game between Geelong and Melbourne scheduled to be played on Sunday afternoon starting at 4.30pm was postponed until Monday night after a burst water main flooded a large section of Kardinia Park.
The wing on the members' stand side of the ground was waterlogged after an underground pipe burst on Sunday morning. Ground staff had been working furiously to remove the excess water from the surface.
AFL operations manager Ian Collins inspected the surface and late on Sunday afternoon transferred the game to Waverley Park, with a Monday night kick-off at 7.10pm. This followed a vote taken by Melbourne players that the match on Sunday would not proceed.

<||> The Friday night contest was started in good 15-degree conditions at Waverley following some rain during the day — the attendance was sparse.

ROHAN CONNOLLY in The Age reported: The Kangaroos produced a stunning finish to beat the Brisbane Lions by six points. The Lions led all evening and by as much as 25pts late in the third quarter, but, after a typically gritty fightback, the Roos hit the front for the first time with a goal to SHANNON GRANT just over a minute from siren time. It was cruel finish for the Lions, who must have felt a sense of deja-vu after having lost their last home-and-away meeting to the Roos at the MCG last year in similar circumstances.
KANGAROOS 11.8-74 (Carey 4, Abraham 3) best, King, Carey, Abraham, BRISBANE 10.8-68 (Lawrence 5) best, M.Voss, Lawrence, Black, crowd: 5,000.

<||> Manuka Oval in Canberra was a warm 29 degrees for both players and the 8714 fans. Sydney displayed some promise but Richmond struggled for rhythm in the hot conditions and neither side could possibly have been content with their displays.

It was scrappy throughout with CRAIG O'BRIEN showing early-season promise for the Swans while at the other end BRAD OTTENS booted four goals for the Tigers. WAYNE SCHWASS was active for Sydney-with 28 disposals, 19 kicks, nine handballs.
SYDNEY 12.14-86 (O’Brien 3) best, Schwass, D.McPherson, Stafford, RICHMOND 11.10-76 (Ottens 4) best, Ottens, Rogers, Daffy.

<||> Injuries, reports and a defeat made it a dismal Saturday night for Carlton at Football Park in front of 11,130 patrons—it was a good night and both sides used a firm breeze. Port got the laurels with a four-point win.

It was a rough, tough opening, certainly much more so than in most Cup matches with ALAN SHIELL noting for The Age — Carlton ruckman MATTHEW ALLAN and Port big man BRENDON LADE took an instant dislike to each other, as did Power ruckman MATTHEW PRIMUS and Carlton strongman AARON HAMILL. With a semi-final Cup berth secure, coach DAVID PARKIN took a back-seat, allowing WAYNE BRITTAIN to coach the match.

A groin strain sustained by STEPHEN SILVAGNI could keep him out of the Blues' line-up for up to four weeks.
PORT 12.8-80 (Brosnan 3, Tredrea 3) best, M.Stevens, Murray, James, CARLTON 11.10-76 (Hamill 5) best, Hamill, Camporeale, O’Reilly.

<||> Collingwood gained its first win of the Ansett series when they demoralised Fremantle by 63pts on Saturday night at Waverley—conditions were good. The Dockers were never in the hunt and wilted after their early playmaker TODY MODRA came down with an ankle injury after half time.

EMMA QUAYLE reported in The Age — 20-year-old forward BRENT TUCKEY (Col) was given control of the forward line and by the end had kicked double the Dockers' score ... in the middle, recruit LEON DAVIS (Col) did what he liked, in tandem with new half-backs SHANE O'BREE and ANDREW UKOVIC ... such was the Pies' dominance that even NATHAN BUCKLEY didn't need to do much.
COLLINGWOOD 13.14-92 (Tuckey 6) best, Burns, Tuckey, Richardson, FREMANTLE 3.11-29 best, Parker, Bandy, Holland.

<||> Coach KEN JUDGE finally got something to smile about when his Eagles blitzed the Bulldogs in fine conditions at Subiaco on Saturday night. The new forward structure worked better and though GLENN JAKOVICH kicked only one goal, he had a hand in several others.

The eight goal opening by West Coast steered them home, though TERRY WALLACE's charges did close the gap in the final quarter. However, the Eagles responded with the next four goals to ensure the final margin was an accurate reflection of events. The win was spearheaded by midfielder DEAN KEMP, half-forward MITCHELL WHITE and a solid contribution from SCOTT CUMMINGS.
WEST COAST 19.15-129 (White 4, Embley 3) best, Kemp, Wirrpunda, Bellotti, BULLDOGS 12.10-82 (Johnson 5) best, Johnson, Plunkett.

The postponed Sunday match drew a meagre 4952 on a good Monday night at Waverley which brought Geelong's first win for new coach MARK THOMPSON. It was 26 degrees at the start and the Demons were hot—DAVID SCHWARZ and JEFF FARMER clicked for the D's with David kicking four goals in the opening quarter.

However, the Cats took control during the second term and never let Melbourne back. The tenacious Demons clawed their way to within five points at three-quarter-time. Overall, it was a seesawing struggle but Geelong proved the stronger, or were Melbourne wisely saving themselves for the task ahead in the Cup semi-final against Essendon only five days away.
GEELONG 17.12-114 (Burns 3) best, Sholl, Hocking, Arnott, MELBOURNE 11.16-82 (Schwarz 4, Farmer 3) best, Schwarz, Wodewodin, Rigoni.

<||> Spurred on by a parochial crowd of 13,086 in good conditions at Football Park on Sunday night, Adelaide just failed to deny St Kilda with almost the last kick of the night—the Sainters scraped home by seven points, sealed with goal from NATHAN BURKE.

PETER EVERITT marked strongly for St Kilda and playing a mainly close-to-goal forward role kicked five goals, four of them in a match-winning third term onslaught of 9.3 to 1.1. Roo premiership forward SCOTT WELSH again shone for Adelaide with six goals. Both sides were down on personnel but the Crows suffered the most when DARREN JARMAN limped off early in the first term with a bruised hip after a mid-air collision with St Kilda's MATTHEW CARR.
ST KILDA 15.12-102 (Everitt 5, Mitchell 4) best, Everitt, Hayes, Burke, ADELAIDE 14.11-95 (Welsh 6, McGregor 3) best, Welsh, K.Johnson. B.James.

<||> Essendon dominated the first and last quarters to win by 49pts on a fine Sunday night at Waverley, but the middle stretch of play was a different matter. Hawthorn proved to be a determined force mid-game. The third quarter was one of the best played so far this season with 13 goals kicked, six by the Hawks, seven by the Dons.

Hawthorn within 13pts at the last change missed two crucial opportunities and then Essendon put on the show—four quick goals (Johnson, Lloyd, Long, Caracella) and the margin continued to blow out to the end. MATTHEW LLOYD's six goals for the Bombers was a telling factor.
ESSENDON 19.11-125 (Lloyd 6, Rioli 3) best, J.Johnson, Caracella, Misiti, HAWTHORN 10.16-76 (N.Thompson 3) best, Barlow, Graham, Chick.

Warning given to players
At the Tribunal hearing on Monday (14th) ANTHONY FRANCHINA (Car) was cleared of a striking charge against MICHAEL STEVENS (PA).

Fremantle's ADRIAN FLETCHER pleaded guilty to a charge of wrestling Collingwood's RUPERT BETHERAS. Fletcher received an automatic fine of $1200 for a first offence and was not required to defend himself.

Betheras who pleaded not guilty was fined $1500 and received a warning from Tribunal chairman BRIAN COLLIS — "if players are not going to be candid and frank they will be dealt with accordingly".

Three charges from weekend Ansett Cup matches were dropped before reaching the Tribunal — MATTHEW PRIMUS (PA) for striking AARON HAMILL (Car); JOSE ROMERO (WB) for striking PHIL READ (WC); CHAD FLETCHER (WC) for striking CHRIS GRANT (WB).

BRAD SHOLL (Gee) and MATTHEW COLLINS (Mel) were charged for wrestling. Both pleaded guilty and each were fined $1200.

Crackdown on club cameras
The AFL copyright to all League matches will extend to clubs filming games for coaching purposes. Most clubs have been filming specific passages of play to add to their video resources — some passages have been used as evidence in Tribunal hearings.
Football operations manager IAN COLLINS was quoted: "They have done it in the past, but they can't do it any more."

Cyberwar looms
A battle of a new form commenced on Tuesday (15th) when several AFL clubs indicated they were planning to show matches on their web sites. The League however are adamant the clubs do not have rights to the images.
Carlton, Collingwood, Hawthorn and the Western Bulldogs all launched updated web sites on Tuesday.
Fairfax Business web pages reported Tuesday (15th): The listed Web-development company MultiEmedia is moving into the sports webcasting business by taking a 23 per cent stake in, a company involving Mr Steve Vizard and Mr Eddie McGuire. Sportsview has the Internet rights to four AFL clubs.
MultiEmedia, 5 per cent owned by a co-founder of Microsoft, Mr Paul Allen, listed in May as an Intranet and website development company. It has not revealed the price paid for the Sportsview equity.
But together the companies hope to create Australia's leading sportscasting Internet business, and already have their sights set on the AFL's Internet rights and the international market.

They said it …
JOHN ELLIOTT, Carlton president, quoted in The Age, Wednesday, February 15
— "… "It's much better that clubs develop their sites because we know what our members want because we're interacting with them, rather than the AFL which is remote and really doesn't know what a Carlton supporter wants.''

Docklands will be ready!
The general manager of the Colonial Stadium at Docklands MARTIN MOWLAM on Wednesday (16th) declared the AFL matches and Barbra Streisand concerts are expected to go ahead as planned.

The Herald Sun reported Mowlam predicted the stadium would be ready five days before the first AFL match on Thursday March 9. However, the open public days scheduled for March 3-4-5 were in doubt because of the amount of work remaining.

Work bans which have hit the Docklands project are being lifted following industrial action with unions pushing for a 36-hour week in the building industry.

Stab Kicks …
** JAMES HIRD was re-appointed captain of Essendon (11th). MICHAEL LONG will retain the vice-captaincy.

** The Brisbane Lions on February 15 finalised their on-field leadership for 2000 when 24-year-old JUSTIN LEPPITSCH was handed the rank of joint vice-captaincy. Dual captains for a fourth season are MICHAEL VOSS and ALASTAIR LYNCH while JUSTIN LEPPITSCH joins CHRIS SCOTT and CRAIG LAMBERT as the vice-captains.

** FREMANTLE and WEST COAST will enjoy a week in Perth without travelling east before the season begins. The two cross-town rivals will play a practice match at Subiaco Oval on Saturday February 26 starting at 5.45pm. Port Adelaide and Adelaide will also clash on the same weekend at Victor Harbour.

** FREMANTLE can no longer market itself as "The Dockers" after losing a battle with jeans giant LEVI STRAUSS. The wider exposure of AFL football in the United States caused a copyright storm with the name clashing with a popular line of casual clothing
The Sunday Times reported from Perth: An amicable agreement between Levi Strauss and the AFL has resulted with the Fremantle club agreeing to drop the word "Dockers" from its merchandising and clothing range.
Just maybe, an AFL premiership may help ...

** Brisbane Lions coach LEIGH MATTHEWS during a TV interview on the Seven Network put forward the suggestion that six inter-change players be used in the main premiership season during the hot month of March–not be a bad idea.

Elliott's radical fixture plan
Carlton president JOHN ELLIOTT has pushed a radical plan to overhaul AFL fixturing.
The Herald Sun on February 18 published the Elliott plan which recommended one group of eight of the Victorian clubs, with the second group comprising the other two Victoria clubs and the six non-Victorian clubs. Elliott named the "other two" Victorian clubs as the Kangaroos and either Western Bulldogs or Geelong.
He called for a 22 round season where each team plays every other team in its division twice, and every other team in the other division once.
For the finals, the John Elliott plan called for the old final four system to be followed. He said: "The only issue I think needs to be resolved is do you play out the premiership in each division, like they do in the United States? I've concluded you don't do that. You get the final two in each division and then you switch; one in Division A plays two in Division B, and  vice versa, to decide the grand finalists.

The revolutionary plan drew criticism, but also a keen observation from Adelaide chief executive BILL SANDERS: "We would incorporate the four weeks we have for the Ansett Cup into the premiership season and play a 26-game home-and-away season ... More importantly, it means we protect the integrity of a national competition, not a Victorian league against the rest of Australia".


Section One Section Two
Carlton Adelaide
Collingwood Brisbane
Essendon Fremantle
Geelong or B'dogs Port Adelaide
Hawthorn Sydney
Richmond West Coast
Melbourne Kangaroos
St Kilda Geelong or B'dogs

JOHN ELLIOTT's plan  received 55 per cent favouritism of the 653 readers who responded to a telephone poll conducted by the Herald Sun. While only a minuscule sample, 360 voted For, while 293 (44.9 per cent) were Against the division of the 16 AFL clubs.

The result was printed (Feb 22) on the day the familiar centre-page picture spread returned to the newspaper after an absence of several years.

Ansett Australia Cup
WEEK FOUR – SEMI-FINALS – Fri-Sat, February 18-19.

<> Kangaroo captain WAYNE CAREY played a dominating role in the 21pt point success enjoyed over Carlton. The Friday night semi final was played at Waverley in hot blustery conditions following daytime temperatures in excess of 35 degrees. Carey booted six of the first eight goals and by the 20 minute mark of the second quarter the Roos had taken a stranglehold, and the remainder of the contest was academic.

It was desperation rather than inspiration which forced the Carlton coaching team to relieve STEPHEN O'REILLY and appoint LANCE WHITNALL, TRENT HOTTON then GLENN MANTON to duties on Carey in an attempt to subdue the champion forward. The Blues were outclassed by a team who have a smart game plan and a number of solid contributors on the night — Carey (9.2), WINSTON ABRAHAM. BYRON PICKETT, RYAN PAGAN and PETER BELL to name but a few. In competitive games since last July, it was the Kangas 12th straight victory.
KANGAROOS 13.19-97 (Carey 9.2) best, Carey, Pickett, King, CARLTON 11.10-76, (M.Allan 3), best, Hickmott, O’Reilly, Camporeale.

<> Essendon led by 55pts early in the third term and seemed set to obliterate Melbourne in Saturday night's semi-final. Waverley Park was in immaculate condition for the final official League engagement at the venue, with only 16,384 watching on in 28 degrees.

Highpoint of the start was the presence of Essendon captain JAMES HIRD who after two and-a-half frustrating years of injuries snapped a behind over his shoulder in the first 30 seconds, and goaled twice before leaving the task and resting before half time.

The Demons gained respectability with a five-goal surge in the third term, and pulled the margin back to 24pts. But in spite of earnest contributions by Yze, Woewodin, Neitz and Steven Febey their effort fell short of the Bombers who gained competent performances from Lloyd (7.3), Denham and Misiti — Essendon were better prepared, sharper and wanted the win more desperately than the Redlegs.
ESSENDON 19.17-131 (Lloyd 7.3) best, Lloyd, Wellman, Misiti, MELBOURNE 16.9-105 (Farmer 4, Schwarz 3) best, Woewodin, Yze, Rigoni.

Practice Matches
Five practice matches were played on Saturday (19th). Melbourne had searing heat of 38 degrees and a hot blustery wind — quarters were reduced to 20 minutes as players contended with unseasonable football conditions for the fourth successive weekend.

In sweltering heat in the Riverina city of Griffith, after his third knee reconstruction Adelaide's SHAUN REHN made a surprise and successful return in the middle two quarters at the Ex-Servicemen's Oval before 4,359 onlookers. The Crows who were down 10pts at the last change booted three late goals to snatch a five point win over Sydney, 12.10-82 to 11.11-77.

In other hit-outs, Collingwood 12.6-78 downed West Coast 6.14-50 by 28pts at Victoria Park ... the Bulldogs 14.11-95 won by 40pts over Fremantle 8.7-55 for about 750 people at Whitten Oval ... Richmond 13.11-89 beat Hawthorn 12.12-84 by less than a goal before 7,000 fans at Devonport Oval ... while under lights at Coorparoo Oval, about 3,000 patrons found the Brisbane Lions 14.17-101 too strong for the Saints 10.7-67 ...

On Sunday at North Ballarat for about 7000 fans, Geelong after a half-time blast from coach MARK THOMPSON kicked 14 goals to one to convert a 40pt second quarter deficit into a 32pt win over Port Power, 18.17-125 to 13.15-93.

Stab Kicks ...
** GRAEME JOHN, managing director of Australia Post has been nominated to fill the vacancy on the AFL Commission recently vacated by Just Jeans chairman CRAIG KIMBERLEY.
Graeme John played 77 games with South Melbourne (1964-69) where he also coached (1973-75) and later was president of the club from 1978 until ousted in September 1981 by the ill-fated "Keep South at South" movement which dedicated itself to halt the relocation of the Swans to Sydney.

** Melbourne will experience its hottest February on record. The previous highest average for the month of 30.2 degrees recorded in February 1898 will be overtaken with a new high of at least 31 degrees.
With city reservoirs little more than half full, the Melbourne City Council turned off fountains, reduced watering of median and nature strips and warned sporting bodies it was vital to take action. Up to a quarter of Victoria including the entire Geelong-Bellarine Peninsula area have some levels of restrictions.

** Broadcasts of AFL matches on ABC Radio will replace the live coverage of Tasmanian State Football League matches which have existed since the inception of the State League in 1986. ABC Radio said it had dropped live radio broadcasts in response to changing listener demands.
However, ABC TV will not only continue its live coverage of statewide football but expand it to include other fixtures like the Tassie Mariners and Southern Football League matches.

** WEST COAST have reappointed GUY McKENNA as captain for a second season. Veteran PETER MATERA has been added to the leadership team, sharing the vice-captaincy duties with GLEN JAKOVICH and MITCHELL WHITE.

** CARLTON revealed they will use a committee-style coaching panel this season. There is uncertainty when senior coach DAVID PARKIN will end his coaching career which extends back to 1977 (he was VFL umpires' specialist coach for two years, 1989-90).
He is only seven short of coaching in 500 matches with Hawthorn (1977-80), Fitzroy (1986-88) and Carlton 1981-85 & 1991-99).
This season Parkin will act as Coaching Manager and WAYNE BRITTAIN as the game-plan strategist, STEPHEN KERNAHAN (forwards coach), JOHN WORSFOLD (defence), GREG WILLIAMS and BARRY MITCHELL (midfield) and ROSS LYON (reserves and assistant).
Parkin is scheduled to reach his 500th game as coach when Carlton play Richmond at the MCG in the Easter Monday game on April 24.

** Coming back from a left-knee reconstruction suffered at Southport on February 6th last year, Geelong teenager MARC WOOLNOUGH lasted only 10 minutes of a Reserves practice game at Victoria Park on Saturday (19th). His left knee collapsed and he faces a second operation certain to sideline him a second year.
Woolnough is determined he will be back and add to the two senior games he played for the Cats in 1998.

** The Melbourne board confirmed the appointment of 25-year-old DAVID NEITZ as the 39th League captain to lead their famous club since 1897. David takes over from TODD VINEY who retired at the end of last season.
Vice captain named for the Demons in 2000 is DAVID SCHWARZ with SHANE WOEWODIN and ANDREW LEONCELLI as deputies.

** The North Melbourne-Kangaroos club in their 1999 premiership season increased their profit by $65,972 to $595,909, up from a 1998 surplus of $521,317.

** Melbourne's hot weather, an earlier start to the season and competition from other sports have contrived to bite into the chase for members. Hawthorn, Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs are reporting a 50 per cent lag on final 1999 figures.
Hawthorn had 32,341 members last year but have only signed 14,500 ... the Demons with 19,713 last season have attracted only 11,500 ... while the Western Bulldogs whose target is 25,000 have only yielded 14,000 to date. The Herald Sun reported (22nd) that Essendon has already signed 26,000 members.

** A two-year contract extension will ensure Essendon vice-captain MICHAEL LONG will remain at Windy Hill until the end of 2002.

Paul Kelly shows improvement
The Sydney club on Tuesday (22nd) reported the ultrasound treatment carried out on the injured knee of captain PAUL KELLY showed improvement has been achieved.
Sydney media manager STEPHEN BRASSEL reported to AAP: "The news is a bit positive .. There's been some growth in the area and there'll be no operation at this stage ... we'll know for certain in another month".
Brassel said Kelly would have another scan in a month, but the club was hopeful he could be fit by midway through the season.

They said it ...
Herald Sun, Saturday February 19
— JOHN ELLIOTT's radical fixturing plan for the AFL drew this keen observation from Adelaide chief executive BILL SANDERS:
"We would incorporate the four weeks we have for the Ansett Cup into the premiership season and play a 26-game home-and-away season ... More importantly, it means we protect the integrity of a national competition, not a Victorian league against the rest of Australia".

Ansett Australia Cup
Dons punch through a victory

"A far from politically correct .. old-fashioned punch-up" was how one reporter described the torrid first half of the Ansett Australia Cup Grand Final played in front of 56,720 at the MCG on Saturday night (26th). The AFL introduced a touch of the NBL when each player was announced before the teams ran through their banners. After a warm day, conditions were ideal – 20 degrees, and a slight breeze.

Both the Bombers and the Kangaroos were hell bent on gaining the physical edge in a bruising, furious opening. Into the book to face the Tribunal went Roo kingpin WAYNE CAREY and teammate MICK MARTYN — Carey for striking DUSTIN FLETCHER (Ess) in the first quarter, Martyn for striking MATTHEW LLOYD (Ess) in the second term. And, there were a few other dust-ups which drew close scrutiny when video of the match came under review. The striking charge against Carey was withdrawn, but quickly replaced by an alleged hit on DEAN WALLIS. Also booked was CRAIG SHOLL for striking Essendon's DUSTIN FLETCHER. (see the Tribunal results from Monday, further down).
Cut heads, bloody noses and eyebrows brought a battlefield look to the MCG with the Kangas JOHN BLAKEY stretchered off with concussion after being steamrolled by the Dons' JASON JOHNSON. One toe-to-toe punch up brought STAN ALVES to say on ABC Radio — "There's plenty of venom out there ..."

Essendon combined to shut down the dangerous Carey. The man with the SuperStar tag earned just 2 marks and six kicks — he troubled the scorers with only one behind after kicking 24 goals in other matches of the Ansett pre-season series.

The Bombers on holding a four point lead at the first change applied the pressure in the second term to stamp their seal on the contest and were never headed again. The Kangas produced a minor comeback in the last term, but the result was never in doubt.

MARK MERCURI oozed class for the Dons and was awarded the Michael Tuck Medal for best afield. MATTHEW LLOYD again showed his class as a skilful forward and top marks went to SEAN WELLMAN and DUSTIN FLETCHER who combined to do a superb job on Carey. PETER BELL worked effortlessly for the Roos and kicked three hard-earned goals.

The win brought $125,000 in prize money for the Bombers and their sixth night premiership title, all during Kevin Sheedy's reign — 1981, 1984, 1990, 1993, 1994 and the first of the new century. Essendon have twice followed-up night flags with wins in the main premiership season in 1984 and 1993.

ESSENDON — 3.5, 7.12, 10.17 —16.21-117
KANGAROOS — 3.1, 4.5, 6.6 — 11.10-76
Goals: Essendon: Mercuri 3, Lloyd 2, Alessio 2, Rioli 2, Caracella 2, Solomon, Bewick, J.Johnson, Jacobs, Ramanauskas. Kangaroos: Bell 3, Simpson 2, Calthorpe 2, Scott, Sholl, McKernan, King.
Best: Essendon: Barnes, Wallis, Alessio, Mercuri, Fletcher. Kangaroos: Archer, Bell, Pickett, Harvey.
Umpires: Andrew Coates, Brett Allen, Scott McLaren.
Michael Tuck Medal: Mark Mercuri (Essendon).
Reports: WAYNE CAREY (K) reported by emergency umpire MARK McKENZIE for striking DUSTIN FLETCHER (E) in the first quarter. This charge was withdrawn. From video, WAYNE CAREY (K) was reported for striking DEAN WALLIS (E). The charge was dismissed.
MICHAEL MARTYN (K) reported by field umpire ANDREW COATES for striking MATTHEW LLOYD (E) in the second quarter. Martyn was suspended for one match. CRAIG SHOLL (K) was reported for striking DUSTIN FLETCHER (E). Sholl pleaded guilty and was suspended for one match.

Practice matches
Five practice games were played on Saturday, two on Sunday —
<> On Saturday, West Coast came from behind and with five unanswered last quarter goals stole their hit-out at Subiaco by five points from Fremantle — WEST COAST 16.21-117 (best: Cousins, Kemp, Peter Matera) to FREMANTLE 15.22-112 (best: Fletcher, Hasleby, Norrish) ... <> at Southport, JUSTIN LEPPITSCH was outstanding in the Lions comfortable win over the Demons, BRISBANE 13.11-89 (best: Leppitsch, Voss, Lappin) to MELBOURNE 10.8-68 (best: Powell, McDonald, Woewodin) ... <> CRAIG BRADLEY at 36 showed great pre-season form in their 34pt win over a disappointing Hawthorn at Deakin Reserve in Shepparton, CARLTON 14.9-93 (Best: Bradley, Allan, Hamill (5 goals), HAWTHORN 8.11-59 (best: Chick, Smith, Barker) ... <> Collingwood took the points for a third week with a solid showing against a disjointed Sydney to 3500 at Manuka Oval, COLLINGWOOD 15.14-104 (best: Buckley, Johnson, L.Davis (6 goals), SYDNEY 8.12-60 (best: Goodes, Warfe, Fosdike) ... <> in a one-side romp at Waverley, the Saints charged home against a woeful Tiger display, ST KILDA 14.11-95 (best: Burke, Thompson, Harvey), RICHMOND 5.6-36 (best: reported as 'nil') ...
<> On Sunday at Encounter Bay for 9195 fans DARREN JARMAN and SCOTT WELSH each booted five goals in the Crows' 16pt win from the Power helped largely by a 9.2 second term, ADELAIDE 19.9-123 (best: Bickley, Hart, Koster), PORT ADELAIDE 16.11-107 (best: Francou, Morton, Bode) ... <> at North Hobart Oval, a slim 3709 watched the Cats overcome a poor start to easily beat a second-string Bulldog outfit minus 13 senior players, GEELONG 17.14-116 (best: Sholl, Milburn, King), WEST.B'DOGS 10.8-68 (best: Dimattina, Contessa, Bartlett).

Ian Collins jumps AFL ship for Docklands
IAN COLLINS, the AFL's head of football operations resigned on Monday (Feb 28) to take up the post of chief executive of Stadium Operations Limited, who control Colonial Stadium at Melbourne's Docklands. The 56-year-old Collins replaces JACQUES MERCUS who was terminated on Friday.

Collins has enjoyed a 40-year career in football starting with Sale in the 1950s, then Carlton from 1961 where in 161 games as a tough back pocket player he was a member of two grand final teams for the Blues in 1962 and 1968. After coaching the VFA's Port Melbourne for two seasons (1972-73) when the Borough boasted in its line-up Ron Barassi, Bob Skilton and Ricky Spargo, Collins returned to Princes Park in 1974 where through the roles of team manager and Board member, he became executive director of Carlton in 1981.

He left the Blues in 1993 to join the AFL, replacing the late ALAN SCHWAB. Collins was widely tipped to become the successor to ROSS OAKLEY as chief executive of the League in 1996 but was overlooked for WAYNE JACKSON.

Ian Collins will leave the League at the end of this month.

Stab Kicks ...
** Richmond's MATTHEW RICHARDSON has taken legal action. The Age reported on Feb 24: Richardson has lodged a writ in the County Court against United Sports Corporation, the Australian distributor of boot and sports apparel manufacturer Lotto. Richardson's manager, Ricky Nixon of Flying Start, confirmed that legal proceedings had been instigated on behalf of the Richmond forward.

** The Cats have reached a five-figure deal with the Target retail group for a one-metre target to be suspended behind the goals at Geelong. When a Geelong player kicks a goal and the target, a reserved seat-holder will receive $1000. Geelong are also considering reviving the popular half-time sprints from the VFA days of the 1970s.

** The Sydney Swans will field its reserves in the Sydney Football League competition this year. The difference in class was apparent in their first outing in the NSW-ACT-RFL pre-season competition when the Swans 20.7-127 walloped the East Coast Eagles (formerly Baulkham Hills) 3.2-20 — straight 17½ minute quarters were played. Several Sydney regulars including TROY LUFF and JOHN STEVENS returned from injury.

** Former West Coast veteran CHRIS MAINWARING has been added to the judging panel of the NORWICH UNION RISING STAR AWARD — Chris replaces former teammate JOHN WORSFOLD. Other panel members to recognise talented first-season players are — Gerard Healy, Kevin Bartlett, Robert Walls, Neil Kerley, Rod Austin and Wayne Jackson, who is non-voting chairman. The new AFL football operations manager will also be a member when a replacement for IAN COLLINS has been appointed. The award carries a prize of a $20,000 investment portfolio.

** BEN GRAHAM was appointed captain for the season by the Geelong club. KAREN LYON noted in The Age, Graham's appointment continues a family tradition. His grandfather Jack captained South Melbourne (1946-48) playing 227 games for the Bloods (1935-49). Jack Graham holds the goalkicking record against Geelong — he booted 10 goals versus the Cats in 1948s Round 8 at Kardinia Park.
PETER RICCARDI (vice-captain) and TIM McGRATH (deputy vice-captain) complete Geelong's leadership team.

** DENIS PAGAN signed a new three-year deal and will coach the Kangaroos to the end of 2002. It was announced at the club's guernsey presentation on Sunday. Media speculation suggested the deal was worth $2.3 million. Pagan when pressed on the Seven Network Sportsworld program said "don't believe all the figures that you read".
Pagan and Carey are now on secure contracts at Arden Street.
Pagan has started his eighth season with the Roos, equalling Ron Barassi's record for consecutive years. The club record at Arden Street is held by WALLY CARTER who coached 214 matches, 1940, 1948-53 and 1958-62. (Carter also coached Williamstown where he won triple VFA premierships, 1954-55-56.)

** MELBOURNE will move into MCG offices when the AFL move out to Docklands — but it will not happen until November. The Demons will lease 1200sqm including the AFL executive suites on level two, and space on level three.

** The League will beef-up administration in Sydney. DEAN MOORE, once with the Swans before he switched to the League about 10 years ago will relocate back to the Harbour City. His brief will include the Olympic Stadium at Homebush. AFL footy will be played there from next year.

** Footy's golden voiced DENNIS COMETTI signed a new two-year deal with Seven.

** Draft dates for later this year were announced by the AFL (Feb 23) —
> Exchange period – Tuesday Sept 5 to 2pm Tue Sept 12
> National Draft – close of nominations Friday Oct 20, 2pm
> Delisted players – nominations Wednesday October 25, 2pm
> National Draft Selection Meeting – Sunday October 29 at 12 noon, Melbourne Park.
> Pre-Season Selection Meeting – Tuesday December 19, 10am
> Rookie Draft Selection Meeting – Tuesday December 19, 11am
> Draft Camp – Wed Sept 20 until Sunday Sept 24, AIS, Canberra.

** ALAN PIPER, chairman of the Brisbane Lions has stepped aside to focus on his two-year fight with cancer. His place will be taken by deputy chairman GRAEME DOWNIE.

They said it ...
The Sunday Times,
reporting Seven's re-signing of Perth-based DENNIS COMETTI contained the following par — Cometti's commitment coincides with expected revision to football telecast rights, tipped for a major overhaul and almost certain to see a new network televising some AFL games.

SCOT PALMER, in his "10 Things I'd like to see" in 2000, Sunday Herald Sun, February 27 — That some of those in high office forget their paranoia about rugby league and soccer encroaching on their turf and just busy themselves making sure our game remains the best administered, best attended and best to watch.

IAN COLLINS, on his resignation from the AFL, conveyed many thoughts, Herald Sun, February 29, including — Himself: Sometimes I may be a bit direct and a bit blunt and a bit straightforward, a bit cranky, but over time people would understand where I'm coming from, would understand that my word is my bond and in football that's just got to be the way it is.


MARCH 2000

AFL Annual Meeting
Footy is a financial bonanza

Football is a bonanza for Australia’s economy and Victoria gets the lion’s share. TERRY BROWN reporting for the Herald Sun on the League AGM held on Thursday March 2 showed $1.7 billion went into the ecomony with $866 million into the coffers of Victoria.

A socio-economic study commissioned by the League found the home-grown game created the equivalent of about 13,300 full-time jobs. And in 1998 about 45,000 volunteer workers put in almost 5.7 million hours.

Across the nation, more than 13.9 million people go to the footy each year, more than half them to AFL games.

The AFL's 2000 Annual Report was made available from the AFL Internet site — the document was contained in 45 parts.

The Annual Report revealed player salaries have risen from an average of $41,871 in 1990 to $117,398 last season. Total payments were $68 million. The tripling of player payments over the past 10 years will see the League budget for a $4 million shortfall in 2000 and an $11 million loss in 2001.

The AFL added 25 life members of the League at the Annual Meeeting.
Changes to the eligibility now combines the number of games played and coached at senior level, as well as the inclusion of International matches against Ireland.

The departing IAN COLLINS has been honoured for his Special Service to the Game, together with GRAHAM ARTHUR and STUART SPENCER.

The new life members are —
Special service to the game —
IAN COLLINS (Car, AFL, AFL director)
STUART SPENCER (Mel, AFL director).
Career total 300 games, including matches against Ireland —
ROBERT FLOWER (Mel, 300 games)
JOHN PLATTEN (Haw, 303 games)
JIM STYNES (Mel, 300 games).
Player, coach of more than 300 games
STAN ALVES, 413 games (283 player, 130 coach)
WALLY CARTER, 360 games (138, 222)
JACK CLARKE, 362 games (295, 67)
BOB DAVIS, 330 games (206, 124)
CARL DITTERICH, 316 games (299, 17)
BRIAN DIXON, 268 games (268, 45)
RODNEY EADE, 393 games (292, 101)
JIM FRANCIS, 325 games (225, 100)
BILL GOGGIN, 409 games (270, 139)
KEN HANDS, 351 games (226, 125)
PETER KNIGHTS, 398 games (286, 112)
DENIS PAGAN, 336 games (149, 187)
BILL STEPHEN, 408 games (177, 231)
DES TUDDENHAM, 305 games (260, 45)
TERRY WALLACE, 375 games (287, 88)

In the black, in the red ...
Final financial figures for the 1999 season were tabled by most clubs —

ADELAIDE profit, $1.75m
BRISBANE LIONS profit, $124,562
CARLTON profit, $200,000
COLLINGWOOD profit, $983,407
ESSENDON profit, $150,214
FREMANTLE not available
GEELONG loss, $912,907
HAWTHORN profit, $723,000
MELBOURNE loss, $1,494,645
NORTH MELB profit, $595,909
PORT ADELAIDE profit, $301,389
RICHMOND profit, $700,000
ST KILDA not available
SYDNEY profit, $475,000
WEST COAST not available
WEST.B'DOGS loss, $398,941


Stab Kicks ...
** The new AFL season starts on a Wednesday night and the first round will be played over six days — two matches remain of the four-day domestic cricket competition before its final, and the first of three Test matches against New Zealand will not begin until March 11.
Fixturing for the 2000 season met requests by the Government of the day there be no League competition against the staging of the Melbourne Grand Prix to be raced on the Albert Park circuit on Sunday March 12.
No day matches of Round One will be played in Melbourne until the holiday Monday, with the only match of the first weekend being a Sunday night game at Docklands.

** For the first time since Carlton raised their 1995 premiership pennant, the Kangaroos will line-up to watch the official unfurling on Friday night before their match at the MCG against West Coast. Retired players John Longmire and Mark Roberts will assist Pauline Casey, the wife of chairman Ron Casey to raise the flag.

** The Roos under direction, failed to watch their 1996 premiership unfurled, as the Adelaide club had done when they banned their players from taking part in the flag ceremonies following their 1997 and 1998 premierships.

** A one-hour highlights package of each round will reach a potential audience of 300 million people around the globe in association with Fox Sports in the USA, BSkyB, Channel 5 and TG4 in the United Kingdom and Ireland, Prime TV in New Zealand and Canal+ in Spain.
The program to be hosted by GERARD HEALY will be sponsored by Foster's which is sold in more than 140 countries. The company sells two and a half million pints a day in Britain.

** The Age reported through STEPHEN RIELLY (March 3) the AFL is considering an FA Cup-style barrel draw to set next year's Ansett Cup program. The League are also keen to bring starting times back to 7.40pm.

** Rugby league made an appearance again at the MCG on the lay weekend before the start of the AFL. On a rain-sodden Friday night, 23,239 watched Melbourne Storm 70 defeat St George-Illawarra 10.

** The AFL launched its 2000 advertising campaign. The "I Was There ..." theme focuses on a call by genuine AFL supporters to see the real thing. The new campaign replaces "I'd Like to See That" which served the League since 1994.
In Adelaide, the SANFL have adopted the "Local Footy" theme with the catchline "Show Us Your True Colours".

** According to researchers who have conducted an analysis of Australian Football and rugby fatalities in Victoria a death occurs in one of 30 million games. Dr Paul McCrory, a neurology researcher at the University of Melbourne, he identified 25 Victoria football and rugby fatalities between 1969 and 1999. The analysis published in the Medical Journal of Australia, failed to identify any aspects of the sports which could be modified to prevent such deaths.
Among Australian Football players they identified eight brain injury deaths and 14 deaths due to other causes, mainly heart problems.

** Following a breakdown in negotiations with the Collingwood FC, AVS Catering launched a Supreme Court action seeking $1 million damages. The writ alleges Collingwood breached the agreement by failing to play at least 20 home-and-away matches at Victoria Park between January 1 1994 and January 1 1997.
AVS is also suing the AFL as a result of the decision to abandon Waverley Park.

** Fans in Adelaide will have to wait until 2001 for an additional 7476 seats — work on the new grandstand at Football Park will start in June. Meanwhile, 1000 more car parking spaces at the venue will soon be available which means the Crows shed parties will accommodate 6000 people at post-match celebrations. SANFL's chief exec LEIGH WHICKER claims it is the largest supporter facility of its kind in Australia.

** The Kangaroos voiced concern after the Olympic Stadium at Homebush was labelled a "windy mixmaster" following recent athletic trials.
The AFL plans 11 home-and-away games at Homebush from 2001. An Ansett Cup match is also on the agenda, as is a Sydney final if the Swans qualify.

** The Swans following an income of $18.2 million in 1999 plan to be all over Sydney this season — boosting their advertising budget by $750,000. Sydney in Rounds 3 to 11 will play eight out of nine games at the SCG, including five straight. There is a downside for the Swans, only one of their last five matches is at the SCG.

Major Law Review

In a bid to make the contentious charging rule clearer, The AFL on March 2nd handed more responsibility to umpires. They will have to judge whether players have used "unreasonable" or "unnecessary" force when judging whether a collision constitutes a charge and is therefore reportable.

The new rule is —
Charge or charging, 15.4.4
(a) A charge means an act of colliding with an opposition player where the amount of physical force used in unreasonable or unnecessary in the circumstances, irrespective of whether the player is or is not in possession of the football or whether the player is within five metres of the football.
(b) Without limiting the general application of Law 15.4.4(a), a charge occurs when a player unreasonably or unnecessarily collides with an opposition player:
(i) who is not within five metres of the football;
(ii) who, although within five metres of the football, is not in the immediate contest for the football and would not reasonably expect such contact;
(iii) who is attempting to mark the football or who has marked the football or been awarded a free kick;
(iv) after than player has disposed of the football;
(v) who is shepherding another player on his or her team; or
(vi) before the football is brought into play.

JAKE NIALL in The Age explained other rule changes —
<> Umpires will determine whether a game cannot continue when conditions are unsafe for players — preventing a situation when one team wishes to continue and the other does not. (Melbourne last month chose not to play an Ansett Cup game at Shell Stadium because of the condition of the ground).
If a match is called off before half-time, the result will be a draw, regardless of the scores. If the game is called off after half-time, the team that is ahead when the interruption occurs shall be the winner; and

<> Captains will be reported for time-wasting if they call for a count and the umpires find the correct number of players on each team. (The new rule is a response to West Coast captain Guy McKenna's call for a count in R22 last year against St Kilda. Note: On the three occasions since 1897 where a count has been called in League matches in 1924, 1958 and 1999, no team had more than 18 players on the field — reference page 512, Footystats 2000).

<> The AFL confirmed the introduction of the Ansett Cup trial rule in which teams are penalised for clogging the 50-metre arc with officials such as trainers.

<> As part of the Laws of Australian Football 2000, the AFL will penalise reportable offences with an automatic 50-metre penalty to the opposition. GREG DENHAM reported in The Age on March 4 that Essendon coach KEVIN SHEEDY was one of several AFL coaches highly critical of the new rule — "What happens if the umpire is wrong? What if it costs a close contest and the reported player is cleared at the tribunal on the Monday night?"

John Lauritz & Peter Hammond pass

JOHN LAURITZ, the man who was chief executive of Hawthorn during their power period of the 1980s died suddenly on Sunday March 5 aged 69.
He was a former chief executive of the Shire of Swan Hill and loyally served the Victorian Country Football League as president and director. He was a life member of the Hawthorn club and the AFL. Mr Lauritz is survived by his wife Margaret and four children.

PETER HAMMOND, a vice-president of the Collingwood club passed away on Friday March 3 aged 57.
Since 1986 Peter was managing director and CEO of Spicers Paper where he had worked since 1958. Mr Hammond devoted years of volunteer service to the Magpies and when the club was under financial strain in 1989 his company became a major sponsor. In September he had been diagnosed with a malignant tumour in his neck. Mr Hammond is survived by his wife Diana and five children.


Heat exhaustion a major factor
Docklands hosts its first premiership matches
Bombers blitz the Power
Eagles thrash the Roos

ROUND ONE – Wed-Thu-Fri-Sat-Sun-Mon, March 8-9-10-11-12-13.
MILESTONES — JOHN BLAKEY played his 300th League match (165 North Melb-Kangaroos 1993-2000, also 135 Fitzroy 1985-92) ... 200 games for DEAN RICE, 84 with Carlton (1994-99), also 116 St Kilda (1987-93) ... 200th for PAUL HUDSON, 66 with Western Bulldogs (1997-2000), also 134 Hawthorn (1990-96) ... MARK RICCIUTO played his 150th for Adelaide (1993-2000) ... 50th League matches arrived for BRAD SCOTT (28 Bri 1998-2000, also 22 Haw 1987); JAMES THIESSEN (43 Ade 1998-2000, also 7 Rch 1993); LEO BARRY (Syd) 1995-2000 ... LEIGH MATTHEWS coached his 250th game on Monday – 224 Col 1986-95, 26 Bri 1999-2000 ... RICHMOND in their 1,827th match since joining in the League in 1908, posted their 950th victory ...

<> The $460 million Docklands stadium opened for it first AFL premiership match between Essendon and Port Adelaide on Thursday night, March 9th. The day after the opening, the Commonwealth Bank launched a $9 billion takeover of Colonial Bank.

<> First measurements of the playing surface at Docklands indicated it is 159 metres long by 130 metres. The length is the same as the MCG, but narrower in width by eight metres.

<> The round produced a new high of total points — 1868 points were kicked in the eight matches of Round One. The previous highest points for a round was in 1987 when 1755 points were kicked in seven matches by the 14 clubs of the day.
The previous best since the League extended to 16 clubs was 1747 kicked in 1995s Round 22.

<> RICHMOND's 7.1-43 (to 4.3-27) on Wednesday night was their biggest opening quarter versus Melbourne for 19 years since they kicked 7.4-46 to 5.2-32 in 81-R11-MCG.
<> The last two point result between the Tigers and Demons was 1957 Round 7 at Punt Road Oval.
<> Richmond's BEN HOLLAND on Wednesday night kicked the first goal of the new century five minutes into the first quarter. His goal came from a 50 metre penalty and he roosted it into the third tier of the Great Southern Stand at the MCG. Holland's kick was the 276,000th goal in League football since 1897.

<> Essendon vice-captain MICHAEL LONG kicked the first goal at Docklands, six minutes into the first quarter.
<> MATTHEW LLOYD playing his 82nd match for the Dons passed 250 career goals – he kicked 7.2 against Port Adelaide at Colonial Stadium.
<> Essendon's 94pt victory brought Port's heaviest AFL defeat — previous highest, 85pts by Geelong 1997 Round 18, 85pts by Richmond 1997 Round 21.

<> West Coast with 11.4-70 against the Kangaroos on Friday night kicked the biggest second quarter of their 311 League matches since 1987.
<> Only one match has produced a bigger half-time score for the Eagles — 92-R20-WCA, 17.7-109 to Brisbane 5.2-32. West Coast won that game by 131pts, 29.12-186 to 8.7-55. On Friday at the long break they were 17.4-106 to the Roos' 9.7-61.
<> West Coast's final score of 24.10-154 on Friday was eight points short of their best versus North Melbourne, 24.18-162 to 13.10-88 — 87-R6-S.
<> SCOTT CUMMINGS (Ess, PA, WCE) passed 100 career goals at the MCG.
<> The 24.10-154 on Friday was the ninth highest score by the West Coast club. The top is 29.18-192 versus Brisbane 10.14-74 — 88-R3-WCA.

<> The WESTERN BULLDOGS made it three on-the-trot over the Crows at Football Park — winning in 1997, 1999 and 2000. The Doggies' 19.17-131 was their biggest score at Footy Park versus Adelaide.
<> Saturday's failure brought the Crows a double-barrel — their record-equalling fifth successive loss which matches 1996 R9 to 13, 1996 R18-22 and 1999 R7 to 11. It was the fourth successive defeat at Football Park — their worst run of outs in 104 matches played on their home turf. It was greater than their three 1995 defeats in R17, R20 and R22. They last won at home on July 25 last year when they defeated Hawthorn, 18.17-125 to 11.10-76. Since then, Adelaide have lost at Football Park to Brisbane, Port, the Kangaroos and the Bulldogs.
<> At Football Park, JOSE ROMERO (WB) kicked his 150th goal in game 183 ... ANDREW McLEOD (Ade) passed 100 goals in game 102 — with three goals McLeod reached a career total of 101 goals.

<> GEELONG enjoyed their best-ever finish of 8.4-52 against Fremantle on Saturday night and just failed by 10pts to match their best-ever top score versus the Dockers which was 21.13-139 kicked at Kardinia Park in R22 last season.

<> For the fourth successive year, the reigning premier was defeated at the start of the new season. Carlton as 1995 premiers won the first two games of the 1996 season. Not so lucky have been the premiers of the following years, North Melbourne (1996), Adelaide (1997 & 1998) and the Kangaroos (1999).
97-R1-MCG, Melbourne 10.10-70 d North Melb 7.13-55
98-R1-PP, Carlton 10.13-73 d Adelaide 9.9-63
99-R1-FP, West.B'dogs 13.13-91 d Adelaide 12.6-78
00-R1-MCG, West Coast 24.10-154 d Kangaroos 16.15-111

<> Published attendances for Round One were 269,829.

<||> The Demons and Tigers provided 41,648 partisans with a thrilling opening to the new season in fine conditions on Wednesday night at the MCG. Richmond led at every change but they tired badly in the second half when Melbourne came at them hard.

CHARLES HAPPELL for The Age reported: Richmond meant business from the start, showing an intensity that would have brought a smile to the face of DANNY FRAWLEY, the one-time career full-back. Their tackling was fierce, and on several occasions two or more Richmond players were on hand to effect a smother. But, after half-time, they appeared to slow to a walk.

Melbourne, by contrast, lack cohesion. They turned to ball over too often in the early stages and lacked a marking target in attack ... Melbourne's cause was not helped by the umpires who were in a particularly trigger-happy mood. The Demons extended their losing sequence to 10 matches—they haven't won since June 27 last year – RICHMOND 14.10-94 (Richardson 3, Holland 3) best, Gaspar, Knights, D.Kellaway, MELBOURNE 13.14-92 best, A.McDonald, White, Powell.

<||> With much work still to be completed to the surrounds, the Colonial Stadium at Melbourne's Docklands ushered in a new era for football on Thursday March 9. The retractable roof remained open (due to technical problems) to a warm Melbourne night as a modest fireworks display launched the stadium. A below-capacity 43,012 attended. The day after the opening, the Commonwealth Bank launched a $9 billion takeover of Colonial Bank.

MARTIN BLAKE reported the occasion for The Age: Without breaking stride after their Ansett Cup triumph, Essendon began the first AFL season of the new millennium in ominous form, with a clinical and smooth execution of Port Adelaide. The Bombers took only half the game to extinguish any thought of a contest. With MATTHEW LLOYD and the resurgent JAMES HIRD providing nightmare's for Port's defence, Sheedy's team was almost nine goals up at the long break.

All that remained was to see how many goals Lloyd could boot, and the left-footer promised a bundle when he roosted his seventh, halfway through the third quarter. But Lloyd was injured in a collision with GAVIN WANGANEEN, and had to leave the ground. Port was a profound disappointment ... Essendon as 94pt victors became immediate premiership favourites ... ESSENDON 24.12-156 (Lloyd 7.2, Hird 4) best, Hird, Misiti, Lloyd, PORT ADELAIDE 8.14-62 (Morton 2) best, Wanganeen, Mead, James.

<||> The Eagles playing scintillating football under new coach Ken Judge, obliterated the Roos with an 11-goal highest single quarter in their 311-game history. It provided the first major upset of the season on an overcast and humid Friday night at the MCG. It was a dirty night for the Kangaroos. Only 20,580 people turned out to watch Victoria's unloved team.

West Coast kicked eight straight before their first behind and at one point had 15.1 on the board. The Roos had no answer to the free-running and skilful Eagles. The Kangaroos went in three to four players light – Martyn (suspended), Sholl (suspended) Pike (absent for disciplinary reasons), Colbert (injured), while WAYNE CAREY injured his troubled left shoulder early. Off-field all was not rosy for the Roos as MARK DAWSON, their chairman of selectors resigned, and with Carey's left arm in a sling for at least a fortnight, the Roos have struck problems – WEST COAST 24.10-154 (Phillip Matera 6, Cummings 5) best, Peter Matera, Phillip Matera, Gehrig, KANGAROOS 16.15-111 (Hewitt 3) best, Clayton, Hewitt, Harvey.

<||> The mid-afternoon match was played in 34 degrees and a stiff south-westerly wind to the Lake end when a below-average 37,222 at Football Park saw the Western Bulldogs hand the Crows a lesson. It was a typically gutsy Bulldog effort, with CHRIS GRANT at the forefront in a match-winning forward display.

When Adelaide did come back in the last term, it was the Doggies relentless running and stubborn refusal to submit which proved the decisive factor. Adelaide's SHAUN REHN returned from his third knee construction. In his first senior game since 1998 his touch started to return. SCOTT WELSH (the Kangaroo import) was also an effective forward for the Crows. For the Bulldogs it was very much the same as we have expected from them for the past three years – BULLDOGS 19.17-131 (Grant 5) best, Grant, West, Brown, ADELAIDE 15.18-108 (McLeod 3) best, Ricciuto, Bickley, Edwards.

<||> Perth was hot and humid on Saturday night at the impressively redeveloped Subiaco Oval – only 19,777 were present. Geelong defeated Fremantle by 22pts but it is difficult to assess if either side has improved from last season.

In a match likely to be remembered for low standards of play, the injury-prone PAUL LYNCH was one of the few players to create and take his chances — his four second-half goals brought a welcome victory for the Cats.

A notable highlight was the showing by PAUL HASLEBY who displayed poise in his debut for Fremantle which earned him the Norwich Union Rising Star nomination for the first round – GEELONG 19.15-129 (Lynch 4) best, Lynch, Graham, King, FREMANTLE 16.11-107 (Modra 5) best, Michael, Hasleby, Walker.

<||> The roof of Colonial Stadium remained opened for the second AFL match on a warm Sunday night of 25 degrees. The crowd of 31,440 was below expectations but they witnessed a startling debut for Sydney by RYAN FITZGERALD. After being sidelined last season by reconstructions to both shoulders, the 23-year-old former South Adelaide player gave a mature performance and goaled with his first two kicks in League footy.

Sydney took control of the match in an impressive third quarter (8.3 to 2.3). They regained control of the midfield and had several decisive centre breaks that enabled their forwards to out-position a suspect St Kilda defence. WAYNE SCHWASS and DARYN CRESSWELL were prominent after playing only moderate first halves.

Other than GAVIN MITCHELL and PETER EVERITT who produced nine goals between them, the Saints were inept. MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN was an outstanding feature of Sydney's accurate and surprisingly easy win – SYDNEY 21.8-134 (Fitzgerald 5, O’Loughlin 5) best, O’Loughlin, Schauble, Goodes, ST KILDA 15.10-100 (Mitchell 5, Everitt 4) best, Mitchell, Delaney, Burke.

<||> Carlton's superior fitness lifted them to an impressive 40-point victory over Brisbane in a sweltering 34 degrees at Optus Oval on Monday afternoon. Players were constantly in need of fluid, wore ice jackets while on the bench and took cold showers at half-time to revitalise their bodies.

GREG DENHAM reported for The Age: The skill level for a round-one game, particularly from the home side, was excellent as Carlton players distance themselves from football politics over controversial legal threats surrounding television rights. The Blues were kept in the contest by accurate kicking in the opening term from livewire rover DARREN HULME and damaging half-forward MATTHEW LAPPIN.

Brisbane's dominant midfield of last year did not eventuate, with the likes of MICHAEL VOSS and CRAIG LAMBERT, in particular, appearing short of a gallop. On the other hand, the oldest player in the competition, 36-year-old Carlton captain CRAIG BRADLEY in his 313th game, led his fellow-midfielders from the front – CARLTON 22.20-152 (Lappin 5) best, Lappin, Bradley, Ratten, BRISBANE 16.16-112 (Molloy 5) best, Leppitsch, Akermanis, Ashcroft. Crowd: 22,374.

<||> Extreme conditions were experienced at the MCG on the Labor Day Monday holiday afternoon, with temperatures in the mid-30s. One Hawthorn player CHRIS BARLOW was reported as suffering from heat exhaustion. The biggest crowd of the opening round (53,776) attended the MCG.

A 54-point victory sweetly ushered in the new Malthouse era at Collingwood. In her review of the match, LINDA PEARCE for The Age said: Collingwood's effort was an impressive mix of the old (Nathan Buckley, Anthony Rocca, Mal Michael) and the new (Andrew Ukovic, Shane O'Bree, Damien Adkins, Ben Johnson). This is the wooden spoon club of 1999 but a far different team, with 15 players cut after Malthouse's arrival, and six players, including four first-gamers, representing Collingwood for the first time. Hawthorn's Brownlow medalist SHANE CRAWFORD had many who shared his inability to win the ball — he had only two handpasses after halftime and was benched in the last quarter – COLLINGWOOD 20.20-140 (A.Rocca 4) best, Buckley, A.Rocca, O’Bree, HAWTHORN 13.8-86 (Holland 6) best, Holland, Hay, McCabe.

Broadcasting rights challenged
Threats by Carlton president JOHN ELLIOTT to ban Channel Seven's pay-TV arm C7 from telecasting the Blues v Brisbane Lions Labor Day match from Optus Oval to their subscribers came to nothing.

However, the matter may still be heard in court if the rights of the League to negotiate on behalf of all member clubs are challenged. Broadcasting fees obtained are equally divided between the 16 member clubs of the AFL.

Trevor Coote passes
TREVOR COOTE who presided over the Hawthorn club from 1988 to 1993, during which they won three premier-ships passed away on March 14. He was also president of the social club from 1980 to 1987.

Lucky escape for Anthony Stevens
ANTHONY STEVENS, vice-captain of the Kangaroos is recuperating at home after an accident early on Saturday morning almost cost him his life.

Following Friday's loss to West Coast at the MCG, Stevens attended a late supper at the Redback Brewery Hotel on Flemington Road which is part-owned by Kangaroo captain WAYNE CAREY. As Stevens was departing, a shard of glass fell from the window of a room above gashing his face and neck. Stevens with deep wounds was rushed to the nearby Melbourne Private Hospital where he underwent surgery and an emergency blood transfusion after losing about two litres of blood.

Released from hospital on Monday, Stevens wore the evidence of 50 stitches to his face and neck. He has been cleared of nerve damage and will return to hospital to have stiches removed in a few days.

Brad Johnson ends his run
New charging law fails test
At the Tribunal hearing on Monday, the unblemished record of Western Bulldogs' BRAD JOHNSON failed to save him from a one-match suspension from the AFL Tribunal.

Johnson was found guilty of stomping Adelaide's BRETT BURTON on the quarter-time siren of Saturday's match at Football Park.

Johnson's suspension ended his run of 101 consecutive matches since Round 18 of 1995.

From Round One, a report against BARRY HALL (StK) for striking ANDREW DUNKLEY (Syd) was withdrawn; the striking report of MATTHEW LLOYD (Ess) against NATHAN STEINBERNER (PA) was withdrawn, while ANTHONY McDONALD (Mel) and CLAY SAMPSON (Rch) were each fined $1200 for wrestling in the first match of the round last Wednesday.

The new law of charging which came into effect on March 2 was put to the test at the hearing on Wednesday March 15. Sydney's CRAIG O'BRIEN was reported on video evidence for allegedly charging St Kilda's GAVIN MITCHELL. The reporting umpire MATTHEW NORDEN had noted O'Brien had used unnecessary force in a marking contest, a "dangerous action" in which O'Brien "made a straight line to crash and collide" with Mitchell. The Tribunal deliberated for 15 minutes before upholding O'Brien's not guilty plea.

On Thursday (16th), the Tribunal heard a postponed charge against JASON MOONEY (Gee) of tripping PAUL HASLEBY (Fre). After listening to evidence from umpire STEPHEN McBURNEY, Mooney and Hasleby through a link-up from Perth, Tribunal chairman BRIAN COLLIS said the charge could not be sustained and cleared Mooney.

Stab Kicks ...
Fremantle's PAUL HASLEBY, the number two pick in the AFL National Draft is the first nominee of the Norwich Rising Star Award. On debut against Geelong on Saturday night, Paul collected 16 kicks and 14 handpasses.

The events which led to the resignation by MARK DAWSON as chairman of the Kangaroos match committee and from the Board were short lived. Favourable talks took place between coach DENIS PAGAN and Dawson on Tuesday (14th) and he returned to his position as Chairman of Selectors on Thursday (16th).


First indoor League match played
Sydney break the Subiaco hoodoo
Pies, from spoon to undefeated

ROUND 2 — Thu-Fri-Sat-Sun, March 16-17-18-19.
MILESTONES — ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES played his 150th match for Carlton ... 100 games for Hawthorn's NICK HOLLAND ... 50th games by NATHAN G BROWN (WB 1997-2000); SEAN CHARLES (2 StK 2000, 1 Car 1998, 47 Mel 1992-97); SIMON PRESTIGIACOMO (Col 1996-2000) ... PETER BELL played his 100th with the Kangaroos (1996-2000, also 2 Fre 1995) ... WINSTON ABRAHAM played his 50th for the Roos (1998-2000, also 38 Fre 1995-97) ... ST KILDA suffered its 1200th League defeat ... on Sunday night the roof of Colonial Stadium was closed bringing the first League match to be played indoors ...

<> MELBOURNE ended their run of 10 successive defeats.

<> For the first time since 1991 Round 18, both WAYNE CAREY and ANTHONY STEVENS were absent from the Kangaroos' team.

<> St Kilda's PETER EVERITT kicked a personal-best of 9.6 versus Geelong — STEWART LOEWE kicked nine against the Cats in 1996-R2. The top St Kilda performance against Geelong is 10.2 by DAVE McNAMARA in 1922.

<> FREMANTLE at their seventh visit to Football Park posted their first victory at the venue over either the Power or the Crows. Wins favour Adelaide three   to nil and Port three games to one.
<> Saturday night's crowd of 24,695 for Port Adelaide v Fremantle at Football Park was the smallest attendance to watch the 135 AFL matches played there since 1991. Previous smallest was 25,597 on Saturday night July 25 1992 when the Crows played Fitzroy in Round 19. There have been 11 attendances below 30,000 at Football Park, 10 of them featuring Port.

<> The 11pt margin between the Magpies and the Crows was the fifth-straight finish by less than two goals.
<> ADELAIDE suffered its sixth straight defeat — the longest sequence of losses in their 209 AFL matches since 1991.

<> SYDNEY scored only their second victory from eight visits against West Coast at Subiaco Oval. Their first and only previous success was in 1987.

<> NATHAN BUCKLEY (Collingwood) in his 144th match reached 150 career goals ... Magpie teammate PAUL WILLIAMS with 5.2 reached 203 goals in game 170 ... Brisbane's JUSTIN LEPPITSCH kicked his 150th goal in his 109th match ...
<> The 1794 points kicked in Round 2 is the second highest tally on record for a single round. It is second only to the record of 1868 established last week in the opening round.

<> Published attendances for Round Two were 234,864.

<> A senior boundary umpire was noted wearing a cap in an opening round day match. Umpire JOHN HARVEY (No. 25) extended the peaked cap fashion to central umpires on Sunday March 19. Mr Harvey wore a cap at the early (12.10pm) start of the Carlton v Hawthorn match. He dispensed with the cap after half time when cloud cover appeared.

<||> Essendon reinforced its leadership position with a comprehensive 43pt win over Richmond in the Thursday night start to Round 2 at the MCG. It was a great night of 22 degrees, with a minor breeze favouring the scoreboard end — the crowd built to a satisfying 49,521.

LINDA PEARCE summarised proceedings for The Age — Essendon's disposal was more precise, its options greater and its height advantage substantial. Richmond was at its most competitive from the middle of the second quarter until the end of the third, before MATTHEW LLOYD settled the issue with the fifth of his seven goals. The Tigers' inability to hit targets was a grim reminder for second-game coach Danny Frawley of how much work is still to be done at Punt Road ... Richmond's cause had been seriously wounded earlier in the day when MATTHEW RICHARDSON was forced out with hamstring soreness and replaced by DAVID BOURKE.

Essendon substituted former Hawk JONATHON ROBRAN for MARK MERCURI who withdrew following the death of his younger brother – ESSENDON 20.10-130 (Lloyd 7.0, Alessio  3) best, Lloyd, Wallis, Fletcher, RICHMOND 12.15-87 (Holland 2, Ottens 2, Rogers 2) best, Rogers, Cameron, Bowden.

<||> Following another hot Melbourne day of 34 degrees it was still in the low 30s when play commenced with a slim 15,000 present. The final crowd posted on Friday night at the MCG (23,348) was another worrying low for a match involving the Kangaroos. An accurate, and doggedly determined Melbourne earned their first points of the season.

LEN JOHNSON observed for The Age — The Kangaroos have lost their first two games in an uneasy start to their premiership defence. With winged captain WAYNE CAREY sitting in the stands alongside their No.1 recruit LEIGH COLBERT and a rift between long-time match committee allies DENIS PAGAN and MARK DAWSON freshly healed, the mood at Arden Street must be sombre.
JAMES COOK and newcomer CAMERON BRUCE were the Melbourne forwards the Kangaroos could not contain. Cook who had a slow start outplayed a succession of opponents to finish with six goals, while Bruce wove webs around ADAM LANGE and DAVID KING to finish with four – MELBOURNE 23.7-145 (Cook 6, Bruce 4, Robertson 4) best, Cook, Bruce, Robertson, KANGAROOS 17.18-120 (Hewitt 3, Harvey 3) best, Abraham, Bell, Blakey.

<||> Fine and warm conditions were enjoyed at Corio Bay on Saturday afternoon however only 20,476 attended. St Kilda started well enough and looked set to assume control with three goals in the first 10 minutes. But individual effort was overcome by team-oriented footy from a dedicated bunch of Cats. Geelong led at every change and were comfortable 40pt victors.

St Kilda's PETER EVERITT provided a towering problem for Geelong captain and full-back BEN GRAHAM but even though Everitt kicked a personal-best of 9.6 from 12 marks, it wasn't enough. Geelong were tenacious and with a more direct approach did not have to rely on their taller players to make an impact. DAVID SPRIGGS, one of the new breed of Cats showed great speed and pulled in 17 possessions. The late last quarter goal by RONNIE BURNS, a reverse left-footer, was a gem – GEELONG 21.13-139 (Burns 3) best, Hocking, Burns, Spriggs, ST KILDA 15.9-99 (Everitt 9.6) best, Everitt, Harvey, Burke.

<||> Fremantle defied the critics when it posted a solid 38-point victory over Port Adelaide on a warm Saturday autumn night at Football Park. It was the first win over Port and the Dockers now have at least one success against all other AFL teams. The match was watched by 24,695, the lowest AFL crowd of 135 games at Football Park.

Port displayed little rhythm in their attack and were not helped when BRENDON LADE crashed from a marking contest when the match was only 12 minutes old, breaking his right leg in two places. PAUL HASLEBY gave another star performance in his second game for Freo, greatly assisted by DANIEL BANDY, ASHLEY PRESCOTT, TROY LONGMUIR and CRAIG CALLAGHAN – TONY MODRA with four goals was another willing contributor. A lack of confidence is clearly evident at Port, while Fremantle got their first points after seven successive defeats. Even though they won, Freo coach DAMIAN DRUM fired off a salvo across the bows of the Perth media for their treatment of the Dockers – FREMANTLE 19.11-125 (Modra 4, Waterhouse 3) best, Hasleby, Michael, Waterhouse, PORT 12.15-87 (Morton 3) best, Cornes, Kingsley, Francis.

<||> The early start at 12.10pm on Sunday delivered one of the most frantic quarters of footy seen at Princes Park in a long while, and a bit of biffo which resulted in 13 players facing charges. The Carlton venue was picture perfect in the fine and windless conditions. Yet in spite of this, only 21,161 attended.

Professional and clinical was the assessment of ANDREW RAMSAY in The Australian — "From centre bounces it was the old firm of CRAIG BRADLEY, BRETT RATTEN and SCOTT CAMPOREALE who were able to whisk the ball away before many Hawks realised it was in play ... In attack, Carlton could choose from the brute strength of LANCE WHITNALL, the aerial menace of AARON HAMILL, and the freakish ground skills of MATTHEW LAPPIN ... No wonder they booted more than 20 goals for the second consecutive week."

Carlton's ability to work hard pressured a rash of errors by Hawthorn who were well down on skills. SHANE CRAWFORD had another quiet outing. Pitted against Camporeale, to half-time, Crawford had three possessions to Campo's 21, who finished with 36 disposals for the match. ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES played his 150th for the Blues – CARLTON 22.22-154 (Whitnall 5, Fevola 4, Camporeale 3) best, Camporeale, Ratten, Bradley, HAWTHORN 18.4-112 (Holland 6, Chick 3) best, Chick, Holland, Rock.

<||> The MCG had cloud cover at the 2.10pm bounce on Sunday which turned to drizzle by half time then rained more heavily in the closing stages of the game. Adelaide kicked the first four goals and the Pies had to work like Trojans to get back into the game. The Age journalist MARTIN BLAKE noted the game as a tremendous arm-wrestle, played in warm, dry conditions for one half and on a slippery track for the second. The rain just after half-time surprised everyone, not the least the Magpies, whom coach Malthouse confided had not even considered the possibility of wet weather.

Collingwood finished faster, ultimately sneaking ahead on the back of another stellar game from NATHAN BUCKLEY, whose 55-metre goal in the final term was the icing on the cake. Adelaide chose ANDREW McLEOD to run with the Collingwood captain, knowing that he would extract his 25 touches whoever they used. Buckley dominated the game, twice finding SAVERIO ROCCA from centre-bounced clearances when it really counted in the final quarter, each time for goals. Collingwood won their second game — Adelaide extended their losing run to six, their longest run of outs in 209 League matches – COLLINGWOOD 14.19-103 (Williams 5, S.Rocca 5, Buckley 3) best, Buckley, Williams, S.Rocca, ADELAIDE 13.14-92 (Marsh 3) best, Johnson, Bickley, Rehn.

<||> The roof of Colonial Stadium on Sunday night was closed, providing the League with a history making occasion — the first of 11,742 League contests to be played indoors. The Docklands venue was less than half full, only 24,460 were present.

Brisbane staged a remarkable turnaround, overcoming a big early deficit to defeat the Western Bulldogs by 29 points. The Lions trailed by 35 points midway through the second quarter. By half-time, they led by a goal and, after an arm wrestle in the third quarter, they booted the first four goals of the final term to seal their first win of the season.

JAKE NIALL noted in The Age: The momentum for Brisbane's second-quarter fightback came in the centre square, when young ruckman BEAU McDONALD won several decisive hit-outs and on-ballers Voss, Black and Lappin started to win the ball. It was a disappointing performance by the Bulldogs, whose skill level appeared to falter when Brisbane applied the blow torch and whose shortish defence was exposed against a side that moved the ball quickly. To make matters worse, star midfielder SCOTT WEST limped off in the third quarter with a jarred knee.

For the third time in as many seasons, tensions between the two clubs boiled over when Brisbane on Monday lodged an official complaint with the AFL, alleging JOSE ROMERO deliberately scratched SIMON BLACK in the last quarter. A League investigation was launched – BRISBANE 21.13-139 (Bradshaw 7.2) best, Bradshaw, Black, White, BULLDOGS 17.8-110 (Smith 4, Hudson 3) best, Smith, Romero, NG Brown.

<||> Subiaco Oval was in superb condition on a clear and balmy Sunday night. The 38,127 which attended watched a gritty Sydney break a 13-year drought with a thrilling two-goal victory over West Coast. ANDREW HAMILTON recorded in The Age: After dominating possession for most of the first three quarters, the Swans spent 15 desperate minutes in the last term camped in their own 50m arc as the Eagles midfielders continuously pumped the ball towards goal.

But the Sydney defence, led by captain ANDREW DUNKLEY and the underrated ROWAN WARFE, stood firm, before veteran DALE LEWIS kicked the sealing goal one minute from full-time. Swans' midfielders WAYNE SCHWASS and DARREN CRESSWELL and ruckman GREG STAFFORD had the better of the centre clearances but were let down by inaccurate kicking from their forwards, AhMat, O'Loughlin, Goodes and Ball who were all guilty of missing relatively simple set shots from inside 50m. Ex-Eagle JASON BALL now with Sydney dislocated his right ankle in the second quarter when he landed awkwardly after taking a strong mark. His recovery maybe as long as two months – SYDNEY 12.10-82 (Fitzgerald 2, Lewis 2) best, Schwass, Fitzgerald, Stafford, WEST COAST 10.10-70 (Gehrig 2, Phillip Matera 2, Williams 2) Best, Wirrpunda, Peter Matera, Bellotti.

Carlton sues Seven and AFL
The Carlton Cricket Club and Football Social Club issued a writ in the Supreme Court of Victoria on Tuesday (21st) claiming breach of contract and trespassing over Channel Seven's coverage of the Carlton v Brisbane match on Monday March 13.

CAROLINE WILSON reported in The Age — AFL chief executive WAYNE JACKSON in a prepared statement said: "The AFL today was served a writ by the Carlton Football Club and the Carlton Cricket and Football Social Club claiming that Channel Seven's access to Optus Oval was to be determined by the Social Club and that the Carlton Football Club was not in breach of its licence with the AFL.

"On behalf of our AFL clubs, we will take whatever action is necessary to ensure the best interests of the whole AFL competition are protected."
Those AFL clubs contacted by The Age were unanimous in their horror at Carlton's action. Said Western Bulldogs president DAVID SMORGON: "This shows John Elliott for what he really is. The Carlton Football Club has been unmasked.

"He has shown he obviously only has the Carlton Football Club at heart. He doesn't care about Victorian football, he doesn't care about the AFL. It's a pretty sad day for Australian football."

Carlton, along with Collingwood, Hawthorn and the Western Bulldogs, has effectively signed a 10-year agreement with the Internet carrier in a complicated deal that stipulates that the signing-on club will do all in its power to secure Internet broadcast vision of AFL games.

Collingwood president EDDIE McGUIRE's McGuire Media, along with MCC committeeman and Telstra director STEVE VIZARD, owns 23 per cent of Sportsview.

Mr Jackson in an open letter in last week's AFL Record stated: "The AFL Commission views this attempt by Carlton to ultimately destroy our broadcasting agreement as a serious threat to the collective success of our 16 clubs during the past 10 years which has given our competition a pre-eminent position in Australian sport."

It is believed Channel Seven currently pays the AFL between $30 to $35 million a season for TV rights, with the revenue equally distributed to the 16 member clubs. New negotiations beyond the end of 2001 are likely to include Channel Nine in the bidding process when rights may be worth as much as $90 million.


One suspension; $18,700 in fines
Scratching incident investigated
On Tuesday (21st) the Tribunal heard charges arising from the Carlton v Hawthorn match played on Sunday, when one suspension and fines totalling $18,700 were handed down.

Following a video review — LUKE McCABE (H) was charged with striking SCOTT CAMPOREALE (C). McCabe pleaded guilty and was suspended for one match.

Twelve players were cited over their involvement in a second quarter melee — PAUL SALMON (H) and TONY WOODS (H) pleaded not guilty and were cleared of their involvement. KRIS BARLOW (H) was fined $2500; ANGELO LEKKAS (H) was fined $2500; FRASER BROWN (C) was fined $2500; DANIEL CHICK (H) was fined $2000; ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES (C) was fined $1750; BEN NELSON (C) was fined $1750; BRETT RATTEN (C), LANCE WHITNALL (C) and AARON HAMILL (C) were each fined $1500; JONATHAN HAY (H) was fined $1200.

The AFL investigations officer RICK LEWIS concluded a swift inquiry following an official complaint from the Brisbane club alleging the Western Bulldogs player JOSE ROMERO scratched Brisbane's SIMON BLACK near the end of the final quarter of the Sunday night match at Colonial Stadium. Romero appeared before the Tribunal on Wednesday night (22nd). He was found guilty and suspended for two matches.

Tribunal chairman Brian Collis found that Romero's fingers had come into contact with Black's throat as the pair wrestled during the final quarter. However Collis said he did not find Romero's actions to be deliberate, only reckless, saying his penalty would have been much more severe had the actions been construed as deliberate.

Stab Kicks ...
** GEELONG gained breathing space from Australia's oldest bank, which wiped a debt of almost $2.5 million to allow the Cats to continue in the AFL.

GREG DENHAM reported in The Age (18th) that Geelong was on the brink of going bankrupt and folding as an AFL club if Westpac, via its Victorian subsidiary the Bank of Melbourne, demanded the repayment of a loan of almost $5.5 million. After weeks of negotiations, Westpac agreed on March 17 to sign off the loan and accept $3 million as full payment from the Cats.

** Former South Melbourne champion FRED GOLDSMITH will become the third footballer to sell his Brownlow Medal. Auctioneer Christie's will offer the Brownlow for sale on April 17 and believes it may fetch between $60,000 and $80,000. Goldsmith, the 1955 winner is the only full-back to have won the Brownlow outright.
The heirs of DES FOTHERGILL recently announced the sale of his 1940 Brownlow. Last September, Collingwood ruckman LEN THOMPSON's 1972 Brownlow was auctioned and brought $74,000.
The West Australian and VFL legend GRAHAM "POLLY" FARMER has indicated a need to sell his trophy collection, which include Sandover Medals from the WAFL which he won in 1956, 1957 and 1960, along with his MBE. Farmer played a total of 392 games for Geelong, West Perth and East Perth.

** GEELONG's Shell Stadium will join Adelaide's Football Park and the MCG as a smoke-free venue in 2001.

** Sydney captain PAUL KELLY received a clearance to resume training in the next fortnight. His left knee was refractured in January but a recent bone scan has shown a marked improvement. Club doctor NATHAN GIBBS reported: "the fracture line is much harder to see." If all goes well, Kelly may be ready to return for the Swans sometime in June, about Round 14.

** Five or six expressions of interest have been received for naming rights to Football Park. A deal may be worth as much as $1 million a season to the SANFL.

They said it ...
ANDREW RAMSEY, The Australian, Monday March 20
— "... the starting time which was just minutes after midday on a Sunday, the 13th different starting time the Australian Football League has employed in 16 matches this season".

ROSS BRUNDRETT, Herald Sun, Saturday March 18 — "SATURDAY TOO FAR AWAY" ... "For years now the AFL has been tossing up the idea of a night grand final. So much so that most commentators have already suggested that it's not a case of if it will happen, just when.
When that day finally arrives, who knows where it will lead us. Perhaps like baseball and basketball, day games of footy will become a true novelty".

MIKE SHEAHAN, Talking Footy, Monday March 20 — "I do have a feeling the AFL have been so rocked by the reaction out in the electorate that we'll certainly have more Saturday footy next year".

Western Bulldogs president DAVID SMORGON, The Age, Wednesday March 22: "This shows John Elliott for what he really is. The Carlton Football Club has been unmasked.
"He has shown he obviously only has the Carlton Football Club at heart. He doesn’t care about Victorian football, he doesn’t care about the AFL. It’s a pretty sad day for Australian football."


Pies slaughter the Blues by 73pts
Dons, Pies, Cats, Swans unbeaten
450th game by Kevin Sheedy

ROUND 3 — Fri-Sat-Sun, March 24-25-26.
MILESTONES — KEVIN SHEEDY coached Essendon in his 450th premiership match (1981-2000) ... in their 220th meeting since 1897, COLLINGWOOD with 24.16-160 recorded their highest score against the Blues — the Pies by two points topped their previous best of 24.14-158 over Carlton kicked in 71-R11-P ... DALE KICKETT reached his 150th League game (1990-2000) with five clubs Fitzroy, West Coast, St Kilda, Essendon and Fremantle ... 150 matches also for two Bulldogs, ROHAN SMITH (1992-2000) and SCOTT WEST (1993-2000) ... 50 matches for BEN DIXON (Haw, 1997-2000), MICHAEL MARTIN (48 FWB 1995-99, 2 Bri 2000), CHAD RINTOUL (23 Ade 1997-98, 27 WCE 1999-2000) ... ROWAN WARFE reached 50 matches with Sydney (1997-2000), also 26 Fit 1994-97, SIMON GARLICK reached 50 with the Bulldogs (1998-2000), also 44 Syd 1994-97 ...

<> The Roos and Richmond produced a 47-goal game on Friday night—Kangas 27.8-170, Richmond 20.14-134-an aggregate of 304pts. This is one point short of the 1989 Round 5 game at the MCG between the two which brought 305 points, Richmond 26.15-171 to North Melb 20.14-134.
<> Richmond's 20.14-134 is their highest losing score against the Roos.

<> St Kilda and West Coast recorded the 127th League draw — the first between the two clubs and the first at the Docklands venue.

<> The Western Bulldogs' 10.2-62 on Sunday at Colonial fell short of their all time best for a second quarter — their best second term is 11.5-71 against Melbourne's 1.5-11, 1941 Round 6 at the Western Oval.
<> At Docklands on Sunday afternoon CHRIS GRANT (WB) with the first of his seven (7.3) for the day reached 400 career goals in game 216 ... PETER BELL (NMK and Fre) passed 100 career goals in game 103 ... MATTHEW ROBRAN (Ade) reached 100 goals in game 104 ... ANTHONY ROCCA (Col and Syd) passed 100 goals in game 81.

<> Carlton with 0.4 had their worst third quarter for 16 years against Collingwood — they kicked only 0.2-2, in the First Semi of 1984 at VFL Park.
<> Collingwood's 73 point victory on Sunday was the biggest of their 36 matches played against Carlton at the MCG (1905-2000) and ranks an equal fifth-best by the Magpies from an overall 220 matches since 1897.
<> Sunday's crowd ranks seventh of the best to watch Carlton and Collingwood in a home-and-away contest at the MCG.

<> The round produced another deluge of point scoring with another greatest tally of 1894 points registered for the eight matches. It is greater than the 1868 points, the previous highest tally recorded in this year's opening round.

DWAYNE RUSSELL from Colonial Stadium for ABC Radio on Sunday afternoon questioned the accuracy of the stated length of the Docklands venue. He suggested measurements vary in length from 159 to 154 metres, together with a question to the true markings of the 50m lines.
Official measurements are expected to be made soon to clarify the issue.

<||> Fine conditions were experienced at the MCG on Friday night when the Kangaroos drew their first premiership points of the season — they blasted Richmond with a seven-goal final quarter for a 36pt victory in front of 37,543 patrons.

The Kangas stuck to their game plan of being simple and direct while Richmond overused the ball and went "via the Cape" at almost every opportunity. The final term emphasised the difference in tactics — the Tigers accumulated 99 disposals to 62, yet the Roos kicked 7.1 to Richmond's 1.7.

DAVID KING had an outstanding game for the Blue and White while Carey carrying a shoulder injury was quiet. MATTHEW RICHARDSON was underdone but was present with five marks in the third term, as was RORY HILTON (six marks in the third) when Richmond threatened to break into the lead. However, the good defensive work by Martyn, Archer and McCartney held the Roos together giving a never-ending run of opportunities for King, Grant, Simpson and Harvey.
The match was a 47-goal shootout with 24 of the 44 players kicking a major, 12 by each team – KANGAROOS 27.8-170 (King 5, Calthorpe 3, McKernan 3) best, King, Simpson, Harvey, RICHMOND 20.14-134 (Richardson 4, Ottens 3, Dragicevic 3) best, Richardson, Hilton, Gaspar.

<||> Saturday produced a beautiful autumn day — however, only a tiny 20,374 responded through the gates of the cavernous MCG. Despite Brisbane taking a 25pt lead late in the third term Hawthorn desperately clawed their way back to capture their first points of the season by a narrow margin.

Hawthorn responded magnificently after losing ruckman PAUL SALMON (groin) and full-forward NATHAN THOMPSON (sprained ankle). KAREN LYON reported in The Age: Former Lion JOHN BARKER was an unlikely hero, booting four goals in the second half when it seemed Brisbane might run away with the game. Without a ruckman, Barker was at times doing the ruckwork with the help of BRENDAN KRUMMEL and JADE RAWLINGS. As they say necessity is the mother of invention. SHANE CRAWFORD and DANIEL HARFORD were racking up possessions, while ANTHONY ROCK, RICHARD TAYLOR and TONY WOODS were being rotated through the centre, their fresh legs often too much for the Lions, who have travelled to Melbourne in each of the opening three rounds.

It was TRENT CROAD doing all the damage streaming out of defence to create play for his forwards ... disciplined hard-at-the-footy won the day for the Hawks.
Hawthorn had already won the game but the match had not officially ended when NICK HOLLAND's shot on goal after the final siren, was tumbling toward an unguarded goal when an MCC employee in a red coat ran from the boundary and grabbed the rolling ball. The Hawthorn club lodged an official complaint about the incident in a game which the Hawks won by seven points but could have won by 13 – HAWTHORN 16.14-110 (Barker 3, N.Thompson 3, Dixon 3) best, Croad, Crawford, Barker, BRISBANE 15.13-103 (Lynch 4) best, Lynch, M.Voss, Martin.

<||> It was a fine and mild Saturday night as recently installed Adelaide coach GARY AYRES faced his old club. Geelong survived the test, posting their third successive win under MARK THOMPSON, sending Adelaide to their seventh straight defeat. Only 39,179 attended, the smallest crowd of the eight contests between the two at Footy Park—after eight attempts it also brought the Cats' first success over the Crows in Adelaide.

Geelong's long and direct game plan was put to the test when Adelaide with four goals in eight minutes wiped a 25pt deficit and swept to the lead at the half-way mark of the last term. Geelong, not noted for its fight-back qualities steadied and late goals to GLENN KILPATRICK and STEVEN KING, and a crucial tackle by the in-form PETER RICCARDI on MARK BICKLEY, clinched an 11pt victory in a desperate finish. RONNIE BURNS kicked four of the Cats' 17 goals in a typically elusive display. DAVID CLARKE's drive from the wing was important for Geelong as was Riccardi's on-ball influence.

PATRICK MILES noted in The Australian – Once the ball enters the forward line ... Adelaide's system and purpose too frequently unwind. They blazed away against Geelong who had significantly less of the ball, yet the returns inside 50 metres were lean.

Adelaide next travel to Perth for West Coast then to the Gabba and in a fortnight may well be staring at a 0+5 start – GEELONG 17.9-111 (Burns 4) best, King, Burns, McGrath, ADELAIDE 14.16-100 (Welsh 3) best, Ricciuto, McLeod, Robran.

<||> After another fine and mild day the roof of Colonial was open on Saturday night when a disappointing 21,215 followers watched the first recorded draw at the new stadium and the 127th tie overall. Both St Kilda and West Coast appeared certain of victory at different stages of the final quarter, but in the end the Saints accuracy prevailed.

GREG DENHAM reporting for The Age – The Saints salvaged a poor start by coming from a seemingly impossible position approaching time-on in the final quarter. West Coast led by 21 points, 20 minutes into the final term, then the Saints with five goals in seven minutes, appeared certain to record their first win of the season.

Two late goals by the Eagles, to DANIEL METROPOLIS and CHAD MORRISON, levelled the scores with less that 90 seconds remaining. In a hectic final minute, St Kilda defender DARRYL WAKELIN had the last shot at goal, albeit under pressure from outside the 50-metre arc, which rolled out of bounds. PETER EVERITT kicked seven goals while STEWART LOEWE was consistent all night, but his centre-square ruck work in the final quarter was brilliant, as well as his 11 final-term kicks – ST KILDA 18.6-116 (Everitt 7.0, A.Thompson 3) best, Harvey, Loewe, Everitt, WEST COAST 17.14-116 (Gehrig 3, Cummings 3, Phillip Matera 3) best, Peter Matera, Wirrpunda, Morrison.

<||> Australian football's spiritual home welcomed 82,669 of the faithful on a fine and mild Sunday. The MCG erupted as the Malthouse-era Magpies stamped their credentials in the best possible manner by obliterating arch rivals Carlton by 73 points. Collingwood kicked their highest score of 220 contests against the Blues, topping their previous best of 24.14-158 over Carlton kicked at Waverley in Round 11 of 1971.

ROHAN CONNOLLY noted in The Age – SHANE O'BREE lifted another notch after featuring in Collingwood's best the first two weeks. Up against two of the game's very best midfielders in BRETT RATTEN and FRASER BROWN, O'Bree made all the running. By half-time, the tough and talented midfielder had reaped 19 touches to the Carlton pair's combined tally of 16.

It was that sort of day for Carlton, which turned in a stinker of the proportions of its pathetic 12-goal drubbing against Essendon late last year, or its semi-final loss up in Brisbane. If you had told even the most optimistic Collingwood fans they would be witnessing a drubbing before the game, you might have just about stopped them going. Now the hardest part is going to be finding some room on what could end up being season 2000's biggest bandwagon – COLLINGWOOD 24.16-160 (S.Rocca 6, O’Bree 3, Brown 3) best, O’Bree, Buckley, Williams, CARLTON 11.21-87 (Whitnall 5) best, Whitnall, Camporeale, Lappin.

<||> The roof was open for the fine and mild conditions experienced on Sunday afternoon at Docklands. Another poor roll out of only 18,134 fans shows the League have a lot of selling to do to get the support required at the new $460 million venue. Long queues at ticketing entrances were one of the complaints, while the patchy playing surface had noticeably been coloured in several spots to cover problems.

After trailing by 12 points at quarter-time, the Bulldogs kicked 16 of the next 18 goals, including 10 in an outstanding second term were part of the observations reported in The Age by LINDA PEARCE. The game turned with the switch of LUKE DARCY into the ruck in place of fading captain SCOTT WYND while Port's ruckman MATTHEW PRIMUS was also being spelled on the bench and, in the absence of the injured BRENDON LADE, relieved by BARNABY FRENCH. While confirming that the athletic Darcy is ready to inherit Wynd's ruck role, the second quarter also brought five of CHRIS GRANT's seven goals, including the 400th of his career. ROHAN SMITH and SCOTT WEST both played their 150th matches in the Doggies 47-point demolition of Port – BULLDOGS 22.9-141 (Grant 7.3, Garlick 4, Dimattina 3) best, Darcy, Grant, Contessa, PORT 14.10-94 (Tredrea 4) best, Primus, Kingsley, Tredrea.

<||> Following several days of rain Sunday afternoon turned to be fine and a mild 26 degrees for a disappointing SCG crowd of 26,920. The first Sydney match of the season also received live local TV cover. Until three-quarter time the Swans dominated their contest against Melbourne holding a comfortable 35-point lead.

The Swans received tremendous drive from WAYNE SCHWASS and DARYN CRESSWELL and the great opportunist BRETT ALLISON. RYAN FITZGERALD continued his promising entry to League ranks with another four goals while MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN appeared untroubled by his groin injury, creating space in the confines of the tight SCG to kick three goals and set up several others.

With DALE LEWIS (broken left arm) and JARED CROUCH (ankle) already out of the game, the Swans were in trouble as ANDREW DUNKLEY cramped and GREG STAFFORD nursed a corked thigh. Seizing the initiative, Melbourne were sparked in the last quarter by midfielders SHANE WOEWODIN and ANDREW LEONCELLI, together with the determination of JEFF FARMER and DAVID SCHWARZ. The Demons however could get no closer than 11 points. A tiring and wounded Sydney held on to post their third consecutive win – SYDNEY 19.12-126 (Fitzgerald 4, Barry 3, O’Loughlin 3, Allison 3) best, O’Loughlin, Allison, Cresswell, MELBOURNE 17.12-114 (Farmer 3, Leoncelli 3) best, Leoncelli, Powell, Woewodin.

<||> Essendon maintained their leadership status when they cruised in for their third successive victory over a plucky though deficient Fremantle in good Sunday night conditions at Subiaco Oval. The six-goal margin was a case of skill overcoming endeavour. A fair 27,230 fans rolled out for the occasion.

SCOTT LUCAS returned following his broken ankle last season and added bite to the already vastly talented Essendon forward zone of Hird, Lloyd and Alessio. Add the silky skills of Bomber vice-captain MICHAEL LONG who bobbed up whenever he was needed, the Dons are a positive and effective unit.

MARK DUFFIELD noted in The Age: Fremantle full-forward TONY MODRA overcame a slow start to produce a fine performance opposed to DUSTIN FLETCHER, kicking five goals ... CLIVE WATERHOUSE worked hard against DEAN SOLOMON to create chances but finished the first half with three points from what were relatively easy chances ... DANIEL BANDY in defence and TROY COOK on the ball lent strong support for the Dockers, but Lloyd and Hird were having strong games for the Bombers.

The Dockers indeed are improving — Essendon however are clearly the early premiership favourites – ESSENDON 19.10-124 (Lloyd 4, Hird 3) best, Misiti, M.Johnson, Blumfield, FREMANTLE 12.16-88 (Modra 5) best, Cook, Fletcher, Hasleby.

Two more weeks for Mick Martyn
The AFL Tribunal sat on both Monday and Tuesday to hear charges arising from Round 3.

MICHAEL MARTYN (Kan) was suspended for two matches on being found guilty of striking Richmond's BEN HOLLAND with a fist to the head in the first quarter of last Friday night's match at the MCG.

Martyn may have received a lesser penalty but for the fact that four weeks earlier he had been suspended for one match for striking Essendon's MATTHEW LLOYD in the Ansett Cup grand final.

NICK STEVENS (PA) pleaded guilty and was suspended for two matches for striking SIMON GARLICK (WB) in the match at Colonial Stadium on Sunday.

Port's MICHAEL WILSON was booked from video for striking Bulldogs on-baller ROHAN SMITH. Wilson was cleared when it was accepted he was attempting a legitimate shepherd.

From video, Carlton's MATTHEW LAPPIN was charged with striking Collingwood's TARKYN LOCKYER in Sunday's match at the MCG. Lappin was not required to give evidence in the case brought by field umpire CHRIS MITCHELL. The case was dismissed.

Stab Kicks ...
** The extensive space required to cover the match details of the 18-team VFL competition has sadly resulted in the disappearance of interstate matches in Monday editions of most newspapers in the east. Seems as though the days have passed when one could steal a glance to see how West Perth or Sturt were going in Perth and Adelaide.

** Western Bulldogs player JOSE ROMERO following his two week suspension by the AFL Tribunal for scratching Brisbane's SIMON BLACK received a "please explain" letter from the League and a reprimand by his club for his comments made on Channel Nine's Footy Show on Thursday (23rd).
Brisbane club doctor PAUL McCONNELL was also considering his legal options.

** The first arguments were heard in the Victorian Supreme Court by Justice Philip Mandie on Friday (24th) in the action by Carlton against the AFL and Channel Seven for breach of contract and trespass.
The date of the next hearing is Friday April 14.

** Brisbane Lions coach LEIGH MATTHEWS in his weekly Queensland Sunday Mail column called on the AFL to reintroduce umpire inspections of the nails of AFL players before matches saying — "The umpires haven't lined the teams up and checked players' fingers and stops for the best part of 20-25 years."

** In his third senior game for Collingwood, 19-year-old DAMIEN ADKINS received the Round 3 nomination for the NORWICH UNION RISING STAR AWARD. The speedster gathered 19 possessions and kicked two goals in the Magpies 73-point demolition of Carlton.

** Renegade Sydney radio station 2UE though denied the commercial rights to broadcast rugby league continue to do so successfully, calling games from TV monitors in their studios. They announced they will provide direct cover of the Sydney-Collingwood match from the SCG on Saturday night. Their last foray into the AFL market was for the 1996 Grand Final when Sydney played North Melbourne. It is hoped 2UE will not resort to using the match as "joke material".

** Richmond took the unusual step of suspending star midfielder NICK DAFFY for one match. Daffy was arrested by police on a Bendigo street at 4.30am last Sunday morning, having been involved in an altercation minutes earlier at a nearby nightclub. He was charged with being drunk in a public place and spent two hours sobering up at the police station.

** It was announced that Sydney and Collingwood in future matches played at the SCG will play for the Lockett-Coventry Cup.

** GEELONG moved closer to their membership target of 23,300 which is required to meet its budget. Wins in the first three rounds has boosted membership to 22,200.

** PATRICK SMITH in The Age on Wednesday (29th) wrote: "Carlton and the Melbourne Cricket Club are believed to want more than $10 million annually from the AFL in return for a promise to drop court proceedings against the League."

** A poll conducted by the Herald Sun revealed that football supporters have an overwhelming preference to see matches played on Saturday afternoons by a ratio of almost 20 to 1. MIKE SHEAHAN noted: "A total of only 29 games will be played in Victoria on Saturday afternoons during the home-and-away series this year. Another 14 will be played here at night."
The League has indicated they will look more closely at fixturing for season 2001 and return to Friday-Saturday-Sunday programming.
Does anyone feel that another expensive AFL survey will soon be launched?

They said it ...
JOHN ELLIOTT, Herald Sun, Thursday March 23
— "David Smorgon (is) the new boy on the block. He's just ignorant of the facts, he's only been there five minutes and they've only won one premiership in their tragic history."

PATRICK SMITH, The Age, Sunday March 26 — "This is Elliott's last punch but it is a big one. If it connects it will have the AFL momentarily wobbly. If it misses, Elliott will swing himself off balance and fall flat on his face. Already he is football's Joe Bugner."

STEPHEN RIELLY, The Age, Tuesday March 28 — "The AFL released a statement yesterday which, in part, said: 'The laws of the game state that a free kick can be paid against a team official who interferes with the play ... but there is no action that can be taken against someone not involved with either of the two teams. As such, the final score from Saturday's match stands, no matter what may have happened with Holland's kick if the ball had not been touched.'"


Bulldogs pummel 'tragic' Blues
Scott Cummings kicks 14 goals
Adelaide fall to bottom place

ROUND 4 — Fri-Sat-Sun, March 31, April 1-2.
MILESTONES — WAYNE CAREY led the Kangaroos for the 150th time and equalled the club record of WAYNE SCHIMMELBUSCH ... DARREN JARMAN played his 200th League game (109 Haw 1991-95, 91 Ade 1996-2000) ... 100 AFL games for CRAIG McRAE (Bri) 1995-2000 ... JARROD MOLLOY, 59 Fit 1994-96, 41 Bri 1997-2000 ... STEVEN SZILLER (StK) 1995-2000 ... DARRYL WAKELIN (StK) 1995-2000 ... FRASER GEHRIG (WCE) 1995-2000 ... DANIEL SOUTHERN (FWB) 1994-2000 ... 50 League matches by PAUL CORRIGAN (Gee) 1997-2000 ... DARREN MILBURN (Gee) 1997-2000 ... JOE McLAREN (StK) 1996-2000 ... JASON McCARTNEY (NMK) played his 50th for the Roos (1998-2000), also 38 Col 1991-94, 37 Ade 1995-97 ... COLLINGWOOD and SOUTH MELB-SYDNEY met for the 200th occasion since 1897 ... the SWANS lost their 100th match at the SCG (1981-2000) ... SCOTT CUMMINGS (West Coast) became the 21st player to kick more than 13 goals in a game. His 14.1 against Adelaide on Saturday night at the WACA was a new club record, topping the 13.3 kicked by PETER SUMICH, 91-R13-WCA versus Footscray. Cummings effort is a new record for a match in Round 4 ... the winless ADELAIDE fell to 16th position, their lowest placing in their 211 match AFL history ...

<> The North Melbourne Kangaroos recorded their 50th victory since 1925 over Geelong. The Cats have won on 81 occasions, one game in 1961 was drawn.

Collingwood from wooden-spooners to winning the opening four matches of the following season have done something only achieved once before — by North Melbourne. North with only three wins from 20 rounds finished in 12th place of the VFL in 1968 and took the wooden spoon. In 1969, the Kangas burst into the scene beating South at Arden Street, the Demons then Richmond at the MCG, and Fitzroy at Arden Street to head the ladder at the end of Round 4. North lost in Round 5 to Essendon and won only four more matches for the year to finish in eighth place in the VFL's 12-club 1969 competition.
<> Collingwood by five points won had their tightest victory over the Swans in 39 years. It was a four-point win in 62-R14-VP, 11.10-76 to 10.12-72, and 11 years earlier in 51-R17-AP it was a one-point victory, 12.10-82 to 12.9-81.

<> West Coast with 29.13-187 against Adelaide fell five points short of their highest League score in 314 matches. They kicked 29.18-192 also at the WACA in Round 3 1988 versus Brisbane 10.14-74.

<> MELBOURNE kicked their highest score against St Kilda for 22 years — 77-R20-MCG, 27.13-175.

<> RICHMOND and FREMANTLE in their second successive meeting had a one-point result — the Tigers by one, 99-R13-S — the Dockers by one, 00-R4-Dok. The two great stats-heads Col Hutchinson and Stephen Rodgers scoured the records and believe this has only happened on two previous occasions in 104 seasons.

<> In 1951 and 1952, Fitzroy and Hawthorn had one-point margins in successive meetings at Brunswick Street, then Geelong and South Melbourne emulated the feat in 1974 with one-point results in both their Kardinia Park and Lake Oval contests.

<> Collingwood's SAVERIO ROCCA reached 500 career goals in game 148 ...
SCOTT CUMMINGS (WCE) passed 300 career goals in game 105 ...
Hawthorn's NICK HOLLAND reached 150 goals in game 102 ...

<> Richmond's one-match suspension of NICK DAFFY caused him to miss his first after 70 consecutive games since 1996 Round 22.

<> A winless St Kilda suffered a 90pt drubbing on Sunday. From their 1,941 matches since 1897, it was the 62nd occasion in which St Kilda have been defeated by 90pts or more in a game. Their most recent thrashing in was in 1999s opening round when the Brisbane Lions won by 89pts at the Gabba.

<||> Clear skies above ensured the roof of Colonial Stadium was open on Friday night for a thrilling contest which went down to the last kick of the game—a crowd of 34,623 witnessed a terrific tussle.

The Kangas provided two highlights—the first match by LEIGH COLBERT for the Roos, against his old club Geelong. Colbert started well and booted 2.1 for the night but spent time on the bench and registered only four kicks for the game. The other focussed on coach Pagan's decision to play WAYNE CAREY in defence at centre half-back from where he exerted considerable influence in distributing his 32 disposals, 29 kicks, three handballs.

The Kangaroos wrested control of the game from Geelong with a six goal third quarter to lead by 20 points at the final break. But then the Cats kicked the first four goals of the last term and it was goal for goal. Had a booming torpedo (reported later at 76 metres) from CLINT BIZZELL right on the final siren gone through for a goal, the Cats would have snatched a draw – KANGAROOS 15.14-104 (Harvey 3, McKernan 3) best, Bell, Carey Harvey, King, GEELONG 15.9-99 (Stoneham 3) best, Sholl, King, Sanderson.

<||> Essendon maintained its unbeaten start to the season with an effortless 47pt win over Hawthorn in fine conditions at the MCG on Saturday afternoon when 46,889 attended.

The Hawks in the first three minutes booted two goals but from there were outclassed by the Bombers. JAMES HIRD rotating between the midfield and attack was in superlative touch for the Dons in his first full-game performance since 1996 picking up 10 marks, 22 kicks, eight handballs and two goals. Hawthorn even with a great showing by SHANE CRAWFORD (31 disposals) had no answer to Essendon's attack as SCOTT LUCAS booted five goals and MATTHEW LLOYD four, despite being beaten by the Hawks' full-back JONATHAN HAY. The Dons had 11 goalkickers. The midfield fire which MICHAEL LONG ignited for Essendon was largely overlooked in reports.

As the benchmark, the Bombers have kicked 23, 20, 19 and 20 goals in their first four victories. Next up for them, arch rivals Carlton – ESSENDON 20.17-137 (Lucas 5, Lloyd 4) best, Hird, Lucas, Misiti, HAWTHORN 14.6-90 (Dixon 4) best, Rock, Hay, Dixon.

<||> The Western Bulldogs responded to recent inflammatory criticism of their club by the Carlton president JOHN ELLIOTT with a through 39pt victory over the Blues under Saturday sunshine at Colonial Stadium—30,576 watched a game which never reached great heights.

ANDREW RAMSAY noted in The Australian: The Bulldogs were more precise when running the ball out of defence thanks mainly to the skills of ROHAN SMITH and BRAD JOHNSON, were less prone to embarrassing errors and had agile defenders and reliable goalkicking options in attack. TRENT BARTLETT, a Tasmanian recruited from Brisbane, stood out with six strong marks and five goals against three opponents. Equally effective was Sydney discard SIMON GARLICK who ran rings around MICHAEL MANSFIELD and, with three goals, exposed the Blues' lack of speed in their back half ...

An interesting observation on the Docklands venue by Bulldog coach TERRY WALLACE was quoted in the Herald Sun: "There's no doubt the ball carries further in this stadium. When we had our first couple of training sessions here, there were guys missing the ball in lead-ups by five metres. You get more yardage on the ball here and if that give us an advantage of others coming here to play, well that's terrific." – BULLDOGS 14.14-98 (Bartlett 5, Garlick 3) best, Bartlett, Dimattina, Garlick, CARLTON 8.11-59 (Hamill 2, Allan 2) best, Camporeale, Beaumont.

<||> A crowd of 34,687 at the SCG on a clear Sydney Saturday night witnessed one of the closest League contests on record. Margins at the breaks were one point, level at half-time and again at three-quarter time, with a zooming 55 metre goal on the final siren by Collingwood's ANTHONY ROCCA deciding the contest in favour of the Magpies by a mere five points.

It was a torrid encounter between the two undefeated sides, and it wasn't pretty. Neither were several umpiring incidents which included a goal umpire going to ground under the force of the pack when a critical kick by Sydney's WAYNE SCHWASS immediately preceded Rocca's match-winning goal. Schwass' kick to the scoreboard end was judged to have been touched on the line and indeed the ball was deflected to hit the Brewongle side goalpost. After consulting with both field and boundary umpires, the goalie signalled a "poster" to the surprise of most people—however for a minute it put Sydney a point in front.

Both sides had their stars – GREG STAFFORD was clearly the dominant big man for Sydney and his four goals up forward nearly stole the show ... PAUL WILLIAMS in his 172nd game for the Pies was as dangerous as ever with 29 disposals but a wayward 2 goals 4 behinds ... Schwass was also wayward for the Swans, while O'Loughlin failed to have his usual impact ... the Magpies now have as many match points as they collected for all of last year – COLLINGWOOD 15.16-106 (Tarrant 4, A.Rocca 3) best, Tarrant, Williams, Buckley, SYDNEY 15.11-101 (Stafford 4, Allison 3) best, Stafford, Schwass, Nicks.

<||> West Coast demolished Adelaide by 114 points in clear weather at the WACA Oval on Saturday night. 26,008 fans saw SCOTT CUMMINGS kick 14.1 for the night (3, 3, 5, 3) becoming the new club record holder for the Eagles. Adelaide's loss brought their eighth successive defeat with the side only a ghost of SA's pride which took dual premierships in 1997-98.

SCOTT COGLAN recorded for The Australian: Cummings kicked six goals on an underdone MARK STEVENS, playing his first game back from a knee injury, two more on BEN HART, another two on NIGEL SMART and capped his night with four goals on the unlucky KEN McGREGOR.

Despite having 16 premiership players in the team, the Crows played with barely a trace of passion, commitment and pride after quarter time. And DARREN JARMAN's 200th game quickly turned from celebration to nightmare.

Adelaide coach GARY AYRES blasted his players attitude: "You can't kid yourself about a performance like that. The one thing you have to do is have a go. If you are pretending to have a crack you will get found out in this environment and we didn't have a red-hot go ..." – WEST COAST 29.13-187 (Cummings 14.1) best, Cummings, Peter Matera, Banfield, ADELAIDE 10.13-73 (Jarman 3, Vardy 3, Welsh 3) best, Ricciuto, Jarman, Cicolella.

<||> The Brisbane Lions were in their seventh week on the road (three Ansett Cup games and the first four rounds) when Port Adelaide struck home for their first points of the year on a great autumn day at Football Park. It was however a new low for an AFL match in Adelaide with just 24,458 on hand. There was immense relief as the Power broke a club-record five-match losing streak.

ALAN SHIELL noted for The Age: Port looked good from the outset, with a more aggressive, direct and skilful style as it strove to recover from losses to Essendon (94pts), Fremantle (38) and the Western Bulldogs (47) in the three previous games. Brisbane, though, bore little resemblance to the team that finished fourth last season with 18 wins in 25 matches. It was a measure of Port's form-finding performances that MARK HARWOOD who had played the previous day for Glenelg, and a necessary late inclusion due to injuries to Port's three emergency players, came off the bench in the second quarter, and joined in the scoring spree with three goals. As Port kicked their second highest score in AFL company, Brisbane coach LEIGH MATTHEWS predicted changes: "We're struggling to get 18 on the field to do the job at the moment." – PORT 23.11-149 (Burgoyne 5, Harwood 3) best, Burgoyne, Wilson, Bishop, BRISBANE 15.16-106 (Lynch 3, Bradshaw 3, McRae 3) best, Lappin, Black, Heuskes.

<||> Melbourne continued its promising form when it strangled a listless and spiritless St Kilda in the last half in great Sunday conditions at the MCG for 31,642 enthusiasts. The Saints led by 16pts late in the first quarter. Ten minutes into the second term, the Demons still trailed by 10pts and then rookie BRAD GREEN kicked the first of five Melbourne goals in a brilliant six-minute burst. With BARRY HALL off with a corked thigh, the Saints were forced to recast their side when key forward PETER EVERITT had to be shifted into the ruck to curb the dominance of Demon pair TROY SIMMONDS and JEFF WHITE.

After the break, Melbourne began to dominate at ground level as SHANE WOEWODIN, ADEM YZE, GUY RIGONI, STEPHEN POWELL and ANDREW LEONCELLI rammed the ball forward. Woewodin in particular, put his body on the line at every opportunity. The standout for St Kilda was Mr Perpetual, ROBERT HARVEY who battled his heart out to stir his teammates. The Saints in the capitulation were recorded with just four effective tackles after halftime.

JIM MAIN noted in The Australian, the caustic reaction from Saints coach TIM WATSON: "You're not going to beat Dimboola Thirds playing like that." Watson to get to the post-match press conference ran the gauntlet of boos and abuse from angry St Kilda supporters – MELBOURNE 25.15-165 (Farmer 5, Green 4, Robertson 4) best, Woewodin, Yze, Rigoni, ST KILDA 11.9-75 (Everitt 3) best, Harvey, Delaney, Burke.

<||> Richmond and Fremantle provided 23,578 fans on Sunday afternoon at Colonial with a tight contest, the equal of their last meeting—a one-point result. The fine but hard conditions saw the Dockers streak out to a 27pt lead at quarter-time after TONY MODRA kicked three of Fremantle's first four goals in the opening seven minutes.

The Dockers in the first term cut the Tigers up with crisp ball movement through the middle of the ground but Richmond turned the focus midway in the second quarter when they applied physical pressure and brought themselves back into the contest by half time. Then the Tigers in the third kicked five unanswered goals to make the difference only four points at the last change.

In a tight finish, it was the seventh behind from a wayward Modra (who finished with 7.7 from 12 marks and 16 kicks) which captured the win for Freo. MATTHEW RICHARDSON was productive with six goals for Richmond but he was taken to hospital on landing awkwardly in the last quarter. Cleared of any break, his left ankle injury however will sideline the champion forward for at least a fortnight — something further to hurt the 12th placed Tigers – FREMANTLE 12.16-88 (Modra 7.7) best, Modra, McManus, Fletcher, RICHMOND 13.9-87 (King, Richardson, Torney.

AFL warn rebel clubs
In the on-going football war over broadcast and Internet rights, the AFL on Thursday (March 30) revealed new rules which would be imposed on rebel clubs. New regulations require every member club to "use its best endeavours" to ensure the relevant ground management authority meets the needs of the authorised broadcaster.
Penalties include — the loss of premiership points, draft picks for the next two years and loss of annual dividends.

Gutnick attacks the AFL
The pre-game President's lunch at the MCG on Sunday provided Melbourne president JOSEPH GUTNICK with the platform for him to launch a scathing attack on the AFL.

Gutnick accused the League of being untrustworthy, discriminatory and employing bullying tactics. He called for changes to the AFL Commission which included the installation of three club presidents to non-voting commission seats.

A report in The Australian by ANDREW RAMSEY and JIM MAIN noted: Gutnick has become increasingly outspoken in his criticism of the AFL in the wake of last week's decision by the league to enshrine harsh penalties for any breach of its broadcast rights access agreement.

AFL and MCC in talks
The AFL chief executive WAYNE JACKSON and Melbourne Cricket Club general manager STEPHEN GOUGH had discussions for some two hours on Monday.

Little was revealed from the talks however it is understood the League was prepared to play more games at the MCG to help redevelop the ground for the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Koops suspended for two games
Fremantle appeal rejected
Striking charges against Essendon's DAMIEN HARDWICK and Hawthorn's DANIEL CHICK were withdrawn before the AFL Tribunal sat on Tuesday (4th).

Fremantle's STEPHEN KOOPS became the first player to be suspended under the AFL's revised charging law. The 21-year old Koops appearing to his first report in senior football was found guilty of charging Richmond defender JASON TORNEY in the dying minutes of Sunday's match at Docklands.

Tribunal chairman BRIAN COLLIS ruled that the contact was both reckless and unnecessarily forceful and suspended Koops for two matches.

Fremantle lodged an appeal to the decision of the Tribunal. The Appeal Board on Thursday (6th) ruled the suspension would stand.

AFL investigations officer RICK LEWIS interviewed both WINSTON ABRAHAM (Kangaroos) and DAVID CLARKE (Geelong) following allegations of eye gouging on Friday night at Colonial Stadium. It was judged there was insufficient evidence to support the case.

Stab Kicks ...
** The Collingwood coach MICK MALTHOUSE responded to comments made by his Brisbane counterpart LEIGH MATTHEWS over the travelling factor the Lions have faced in the first month of the season. With the Gabba unavailable due to resurfacing, the Lions were on the road for three Ansett Cup matches and the first four rounds of the premiership season. Malthouse noted when coaching West Coast they had endured six straight road trips one year.

In 1990, the Eagles played R21, R22, then the Qualifying Final and Replay, and the First Semi-Final and Preliminary finals in successive weeks at Carrara Oval, Kardinia Park, and the four finals at Waverley Park. He said — "Travelling? Go to Perth a few times, that's travelling."

** Richmond's MATTHEW RICHARDSON will have to wait until Saturday to learn the extent of an injury to his left foot. His surgeon will examine the injured foot under anaesthetic.

** Richmond forward NICK DAFFY on Monday (3rd) was discharged from Bendigo Magistrates Court without penalty on a charge of being drunk in a public place about 4am on March 26. Daffy was one of nine called to the court to face a similar charge, of which none appeared.

** The injured Brisbane ruckman CLARKE KEATING is unlikely to play until mid-season. A scan of tendon damage showed his knee has not improved and his return to training will be delayed a further six weeks.

** Western Bulldogs midfielder JOSE ROMERO has incurred an AFL fine of $5000 over his public comments made following his two match suspension for scratching Brisbane's SIMON BLACK in Round 3.

** Richmond ruckman BRENDON GALE replaced Fremantle player PETER MANN as president of the AFL Players' Association on March 29. The same day the AFLPA announced the funding of 275 current and former players under its education and training account. The Association said half of its annual $1 million budget is spent on grants. It also launched the MIKE FITZPATRICK scholarships, named after the former Carlton captain which are designed to give financial support to future AFL players. The five $10,000 grants will run for 12 months and be available to juniors between 15 and 17 years of age.

David Starbuck passes at 49
DAVID STARBUCK lost his fight with cancer and passed away on March 29 aged 49. He played just 13 games with Essendon in 1970-71 but the family was well-known in VFA circles where his father Dave served as president of the Coburg club for many years.

Video producer and raconteur STEPHEN PHILLIPS reminded me by phone that young David had his face rearranged when playing with Coburg in 1973 against Port when he unfortunately ran into a forearm of IAN COLLINS, after which he was spitting teeth, not chips. Collins, the former tough Carlton defender was then captain-coach of the Borough, later CEO of Carlton and the last operations manager of the AFL.

West Coast's SCOTT CUMMINGS on Saturday night at the WACA wore a black armband to commemorate the life of David Starbuck — Cummings paid his friend the ultimate respect when he kicked a new club record of 14 goals.

They said it ...
ANDREW RAMSAY, The Australian,  on the Dogs v Carlton match, April 3
— "It sounded suspiciously like "Elliott's a banker" but then again—as Roger Daltrey and Barbra Steisand recently discovered acoustics are not one of Colonial's strong suits."

JOSEPH GUTNICK, Melbourne president, Herald Sun, April 3 — "Given the atmosphere of secrecy and the suspicions that some clubs are treated more favourably than others, it is not surprising that clubs will explore all opportunities available to them to ensure their future."


Essendon, masters over Carlton
Pies win five; create new record
Cats give Eagles a shellacking

ROUND 5 — Fri-Sat-Sun, April 7-8-9.
MILESTONES — COLLINGWOOD became the first club to win its opening five matches after being wooden spooners the previous season — North Melbourne won its opening four matches in 1969 after being wooden spooner in 1968 ... ADELAIDE suffered a record ninth successive defeat ... RODNEY EADE coached Sydney for the 100th time ... MARK BICKLEY captained Adelaide for the 89th occasion, equalling the club record of CHRIS McDERMOTT ... 150 matches for DREW BANFIELD (WCE) 1993-2000 ... 100 League games by JASON AKERMANIS (Bri) 1995-2000, DANIEL HARFORD (Haw) 1995-2000, RICHARD TAYLOR (Haw) 1992-2000, LUKE DARCY (FWB) 1994-2000 ... 50th matches for GUY RIGONI (Mel) 1998-2000, PETER BURGOYNE (PA) 1997-2000, JASON SADDINGTON (Syd) 1998-2000 ... WAYNE SCHWASS played his 50th for Sydney, also 184 North Melb (1988-97) ...

<> ABC Radio noted that Carlton and Essendon on Saturday both had the same number of scoring shots as they did in the 1999 Preliminary Final.
Difference was, last September Carlton from 24 shots kicked 16.8-104 to Essendon 14.19-103 from 33 shots.
<> SCOTT LUCAS (Ess) passed his century of goals in game 72.

<> The Bulldogs' 7.3-45 on Friday night was a record third quarter tally against the Magpies, topping 7.2-44 from 1935-R6-VP.

<> ALASTAIR LYNCH kicked Brisbane's first goal on Saturday night at the Gabba with a drop kick from inside the goal-square. Former League coach JOHN NORTHEY was asked on ABC Radio by commentator PETER WALSH what is was worth? Swooper answered — "50 push-ups" ...

<> The KANGAROOS enjoyed a 44pt turnaround in the closing 12 minutes of the third quarter at the SCG on Sunday. They were trailing the Swans by 32pts at the 20 minute mark then kicked away to be leaders by 12pts when the quarter ended at 32 mins 20 secs.
<> MIKE McCANN on ABC Radio noted that the last five meetings between the Roos and Sydney have ended with margins 10pts or less, 10, 10, 2, 10, 8.

<> ST KILDA's capitulation on Sunday was the sixth occasion in the past 25 seasons (1976-2000) where the Saints have led at half-time by 28pts or more and lost the game. Richmond on Sunday was 32pts down at the 10-minute mark of the third term.

<> Stats expert STEPHEN RODGERS noted there were 11 players for West Coast and nine for Geelong who each kicked a one goal. The 20 single goalkickers is a new League record topping the 18 from 87-R5-PP Hawthorn v West Coast and 98-2PF-MCG North Melb v Melbourne.
<> The 11 single goalkickers for West Coast at Geelong is a new club record topping the 10 versus the Bulldogs, 97-R21-WO.

<> PORT ADELAIDE drew only 22,083 against Hawthorn, a new AFL low at Football Park.

<> Master statsman COL HUTCHINSON noted – five Victorian-based sides hold the top five places on the ladder – for the first time since 1995-Round 15.

<||> Collingwood continued its stunning opening to the season when it withstood a furious fightback by the Western Bulldogs to win a Friday night thriller in fine conditions at Colonial Stadium to a near sell-out 45,141. The match was telecast live in Melbourne and Victoria.

The Magpies had all the early running, displaying ferocity and proved they are capable of standing the pressure when the Bulldogs struck back from a 32pt half-time deficit to kick a record 7.3 third term (against the Pies) and set up a dramatic finish when the lead changed four times in the last quarter.

An often spiteful encounter (two reports), the Dogs with CHRIS GRANT and PAUL HUDSON absent through injury lacked goalkicking power in the first half. The Tricolours found the answer after the long break when TODD CURLEY and JOSH MAHONEY emerged from the midfield. The Pies can be grateful for the fine first half performance at centre half-back by MARK RICHARDSON in his 104th game; the always-present ANTHONY ROCCA and veteran PAUL WILLIAMS who is back to his best – COLLINGWOOD 17.16-118 (Buckley 3, Williams 3, S.Rocca 3) best, Buckley, Richardson, Burns, BULLDOGS 16.14-110 (Johnson 4, Curley 4) best, S.West. Dimattina, Johnson.

<||> The MCG welcomed 64,658 on Saturday afternoon for a clash of League heavyweights Essendon and Carlton. It was a warm 25 degrees at ground level and the fans were given plenty of thrills in the opening minutes when the Blues were ready to make a game of it. The unbeaten Bombers however took control with the margin blowing out to 57pts in the third term.

When Essendon had achieved its objective by mauling Carlton and gaining revenge for last year's preliminary final defeat, Bomber coach KEVIN SHEEDY turned the knife further as he almost insultingly moved his players to unfamiliar positions — MATTHEW LLOYD and JAMES HIRD to defence on arguably Carlton's best player LANCE WHITNALL — DUSTIN FLETCHER to the forward zone (where he kicked two goals). It emphasised Sheedy's inventiveness.

The final margin was cut to only 24pts and Carlton not only lost the game but their aggressive midfielder FRASER BROWN lost his cool, to face three charges at the Tribunal with all incidents occurring within 20 seconds – ESSENDON 18.15-123 (Lloyd 3, Lucas 3) best, Solomon, J.Johnson, Hardwick, CARLTON 15.9-99 (Whitnall 4) best, Whitnall, Koutoufides, Ratten.

<||> The Gabba's new surface was in a perfect condition on Saturday night — and although it brought a new AFL crowd record it was still a disappointing 26,395, only 71% per cent of the new 37,000 capacity.

The Brisbane Lions won by 30 points and inflicted Adelaide's ninth successive defeat—five of them under new coach GARY AYRES. The Lions exerted authority in the midfield as Brisbane co-captain ALASTAIR LYNCH marked tirelessly in a dominant but off-target effort of 5.5. BILL McDONALD noted for The Age: Ruckman BEAU McDONALD (Bri) deserves special mention, outplaying former Lion MATTHEW CLARKE in the ruck and around the ground. He played well above his 20 years and finished with two fine goals.

Adelaide's endeavour could not be questioned in the first half, by unforced errors and turnovers punctuated its second half. MARK RICCIUTO was Adelaide's best finisher with 29 touches, while SCOTT WELSH was dangerous with four goals but both faded out in the middle stages. Both sides during the match demonstrated a lack of skills and confidence—each coach will need to address this factor – BRISBANE 17.20-122 (Lynch 5) best, M.Voss, Lappin, Martin, ADELAIDE 13.14-92 (Welsh 4, Jarman 3) best, Ricciuto, Bickley, Koster.

<||> A fine Perth night drew only 20,484 to the WACA where Melbourne continued to build on their promising start by restricting Fremantle to just four second half goals to record a 31 point victory.

The Dockers seemed favoured when they held a 29pt lead in the second term but the Demons were fired when rookie CAMERON BRUCE and SHANE WOEWODIN seized control of the midfield. From just before half-time to the end of the match, Melbourne kicked 10 of the next 14 goals. WOEWODIN finished with 33 touches while others to catch the eye were STEPHEN POWELL, ADEM YZE, STEVEN FEBEY and GUY RIGONI.

Fremantle forwards were starved of opportunities despite the lead given by TONY MODRA who kicked three goals in five minutes in the first quarter. Poor skill errors by the Dockers which coach DAMIAN DRUM described as "horrible turnovers" and the failure of several of their 'star' players to stand up ruined any chance they had – MELBOURNE 14.22-106 (Schwarz 3) best, Woewodin, Yze, Schwarz, FREMANTLE 10.15-75 (Modra 5) best, McManus, T.Longmuir, Cook.

<||> Fine and firm conditions were experienced at the SCG on Sunday afternoon, but there was one dreaded 'injury cloud' under which WAYNE CAREY led the Kangaroos in their 'home' game which drew 19,306. Carey defied the medical prognosis and "he took just about everyone's place, roaming the midfield, attack, defence and almost single handedly kept his team in a contest it had every right to lose" as noted by RICHARD HINDS in The Age.

At the 20-minute mark of the third quarter Sydney led by 32pts—MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN had been lighting quick and WAYNE SCHWASS had given them great drive. Suddenly, the Kangaroos' small men, Bell, King and Harvey took control—they kicked seven unanswered goals in 13 minutes, five of them within five minutes before the three-quarter time siren—to lead by two goals at the final break.

Despite that disastrous blitz, the Swans could–perhaps should–have won. Goals from LEO BARRY and STUART MAXFIELD levelled the scores 11 minutes into the final term but yet again Sydney fell on its own sword. The Roos got over the line by eight points with up to nine frontline players absent—imagine them with a full muster. It was the fifth successive Roo-Swan contest decided by 10pts or less – KANGAROOS 19.14-128 (Grant 4, Carey 3, McKernan 3) best, Bell, Carey, Grant, SYDNEY 18.12-120 (Barry 3) best, O’Loughlin, Mathews, Seymour.

<||> The winless St Kilda added further pressure on coach TIM WATSON when they surrendered a 32pt third quarter lead to lose to Richmond in the Sunday afternoon contest played in fine weather at Colonial Stadium attended by 26,374.

Richmond were undermanned without their best forward, key backman and most productive midfielder (Richardson, Gaspar, Campbell) yet humiliated the Saints—it was an amazing turnaround when St Kilda had seemingly been in control. They had started so well and with the old hands of Everitt, Harvey and Burke in touch, looked set for their first victory. They then stopped to a walk as Richmond swarmed downfield in the last half kicking 12.5 to 2.11. Had the Tigers converted all their chances in the first half, they would have won by a much greater margin. JOEL BOWDEN starred for Richmond with 34 touches and kicked four goals – RICHMOND 17.8-120 (Ottens 5, Bowden 3) best, D.Kellaway, Knights, Ottens, ST KILDA 11.16-84 (Everitt 5) best, Burke, Traianidis, Peckett.

<||> Fresh from their 114pt win over Adelaide, a confident West Coast travelled to Geelong on a fine Sunday afternoon—22,623 made up the throng at Shell Stadium. The "week is a long time in footy" adage was proven right once again as the Cats handed the Eagles an 81pt shellacking.

RONNIE BURNS, DAVID CLARKE, CLINT BIZZELL, STEVEN KING, DAVID MENSCH (six goals) relished the lack of pressure applied by the Eagles. From one week to the next, SCOTT CUMMINGS kicked just one goal, was dragged twice and finished the game at full back, gaining three kicks and one mark ... the Eagles most decorated player PETER MATERA was benched for lack of discipline, and also booked for wrestling ... West conceded six free kicks inside 50m which resulted in five Geelong goals ...

Geelong led by 51pts at the last change and toyed with West Coast in the final term booting 9.3-57, their biggest finish of 26 matches against the Eagles. The 11 single goalkickers by West Coast was a new unwanted club record. Add the nine singles by Geelong, it brought a new League record of 20 single goalkickers in a match – GEELONG 24.18-162 (Mensch 6, Burns 4, Bizzell 3) best, Clarke, Riccardi, Milburn, WEST COAST 11.15-81, best, Cousins, Morrison, Kemp.

<||> The drop of fans supporting Port Power reached a new low on Sunday night when only 22,086 came through the gate at Football Park where there was no rain. It was a sport-filled weekend in Adelaide with the Davis Cup and Clipsal 500 car race competing for fans, but it further adds to the talk of declining support for football.

Both entered the critical contest with only one victory to their credit. Hawthorn achieved a rare win over Port when they brushed aside an outfit which continues to disappoint. The Hawks had to recast their line-up following the withdrawal of NICK HOLLAND and TONY WOODS. Hawthorn controlled the centre square for most of the match through their two 100-gamers RICHARD TAYLOR and DANIEL HARFORD. Both sides regularly turned the ball over but a tighter Hawthorn defence cleared in numbers or pressured Port to hurried shots.

The game was there for the taking and while is was a less than memorable affair, the Hawks won their third at Football Park from nine attempts – HAWTHORN 16.17-113 (Croad 6) best, Croad, Graham, Harford, PORT 10.14-74 (Tredrea 3) best, Tredrea 3) best, Tredrea, Bishop, Primus.

Saints call for curtain-raisers
CAROLINE WILSON detailed in Tuesday's Age (11th) the call by St Kilda's chief executive DON HANLEY for the AFL to reconsider its policy on curtain-raisers at Colonial Stadium.

He said the club would make a presentation to the League to "add value" to the stadium for Saints' fans in the form of an early football game. "We've got to get our supporters in earlier," said Hanley, "and we've got to give them an incentive to get there early.

"There's no doubt 100 years of Victorian culture of going to VFL-AFL games has been an early game. If you were in marketing, you'd talk about value added and at Colonial there's no value added.

"Clearly what's on offer is not enough. Ideally what you'd like is another game of football."

Anthony Rocca – two weeks
Fraser Brown – four weeks
Dean Wallis fined $4500
The AFL Tribunal had a lengthy list of charges from Round 5 to consider. On Monday however, WINSTON ABRAHAM was relieved when the Kangaroo learned the second controversial charge against him in a week had been withdrawn.

On Sunday in Sydney, field umpire MARK NASH booked the Roo on the serious charge of making contact with him. However, the umpire withdrew the charge two hours before the Tribunal was due to consider the matter.

Nash decided not to proceed as he "believed contact had been caused due to the fact that player Abraham had been unbalanced after contact with Sydney's ANDREW DUNKLEY." Nash said the contact was "minimal" and, more importantly "non-threatening" and "accidental" in a letter to acting football operations manager ROD AUSTIN.

Last week Abraham was involved with investigations to an eye-gouging incident against Geelong's DAVID CLARKE. It was judged there was no case to answer.

On Monday, Collingwood's ANTHONY ROCCA was suspended for two matches on being found guilty of striking Western Bulldogs' defender CRAIG ELLIS.

Bulldog backman STEVE KRETIUK was found not guilty of a striking charge against Collingwood's CHRIS TARRANT.

At Tuesday's Tribunal, Carlton's FRASER BROWN pleaded guilty to elbowing Essendon's JOE MISITI and was suspended for four matches.

The Carlton midfielder then faced other charges of wrestling DEAN WALLIS and striking Essendon's JOHN BARNES. Fraser Brown escaped penalty on both charges, it being found that Wallis had been the instigator of the wrestling.

However, JOE MISITI was found guilty of wrestling Brown and received the standard $1200 fine despite the argument there were mitigating circumstances after being flattened by Brown. The jaw injury to Misiti forced him from the ground and he took no further part in the match.

Fraser Brown has now been suspended six times—three fines for wrestling, three for striking.

DEAN WALLIS was found guilty and received the equal highest wrestling fine in AFL Tribunal history of $4500. The Tribunal chairman BRIAN COLLIS said: "We regard his actions as a very serious act of wrestling unbecoming the game of Australian football." It was Wallis' second wrestling offence.

RICHARD TAYLOR (Haw) and FABIAN FRANCIS (PA) were found not guilty of wrestling.

Earlier on Tuesday, wrestling charges against PETER MATERA (WCE) and CARL STEINFORT (Gee) were withdrawn.

From the Geelong match RONNIE BURNS (Gee) was found guilty of striking PHILLIP READ (WCE) and suspended for one match.

St Kilda's JASON TRAIANIDIS was booked on a video charge of tripping. The case, heard on Wednesday cleared Traianidis.

Note: The $4500 penalty handed down to Essendon's DEAN WALLIS equalled the previous highest fine, imposed on Sydney's TONY LOCKETT who was guilty of wrestling Fremantle's STEPHEN O'REILLY in 1999s sixth round.

Tigers lose Richardson for a year
Richmond announced on Monday (10th) that MATTHEW RICHARDSON's damaged left foot may take the best part of 12 months to completely heal.

The Age reported the Tigers' doctor CHRIS BRADSHAW explained that Richardson had a rare diagnosis known as LisFranc injury, which is a ruptured ligament on top of his foot. When surgery was performed on Saturday, Richardson had four screws inserted to stabilise the foot and assist in the mending process.

Because of extensive ligament damage Matthew will not be able to run for at least four months.

Seven gains assurance from Carlton over telecast
The Seven Network wrote to the Carlton Football and Social club, ground manager of Optus Oval, regarding coverage of Saturday's match against Port Adelaide.

Seven placed a deadline of 5pm on Wednesday and received assurances from Carlton on unrestricted access.

Stab Kicks ...
** Brisbane will lose STEVEN LAWRENCE for up to six weeks following an accident during 21st birthday celebrations on the weekend for teammate SIMON BLACK. Lawrence put his hand through a window pane injuring a finger – the cut was serious enough for surgery to check for tendon damage. The hand has been placed in plaster.

** No AFL action will be taken against Carlton head coach DAVID PARKIN who was captured by a Channel Seven camera as taking a swing at a spectator while entering the players' race following Carlton's defeat by Essendon.
The League instead will take action to increase security for coaches on match days.

** Adelaide have elevated 20-year-old rookie South Adelaide wingman MICHAEL DOUGHTY to the senior list. Michael replaces JAMES THIESSEN who has been placed onto the Long Term Injury List ... Kangaroo COREY McKERNAN is in doubt for the Collingwood match—he spent Sunday night under observation in a Sydney hospital after being kneed in the kidney region during the SCG match against Sydney.

** ANDREW DEMETRIOU chief executive of the AFL Players' Association will pay an overseas visit to learn more on how international clubs handle Internet broadcasting rights. The Herald Sun reported: The AFLPA which represents about 700 footballers, wants a share of web advertising, merchandising and any pay-for-view webcasting."

** A nomination from the City of Greater Dandenong to Heritage Victoria to grant Waverley Park heritage protection was accepted on Friday (7th). Heritage Victoria will consider public submissions before making a decision. The AFL has indicated it will fight a protection listing.

** The Australian reported Wednesday (12th) that St Kilda coach TIM WATSON had offered his resignation during crisis talks after their 26pt defeat by Richmond. The club board affirmed their support for the 27-game (10 wins) coach.

Brisbane Lions' chairman passes
, chairman of the Brisbane Lions FC passed away on Tuesday April 12 aged 55. He died following a four-year battle with cancer.

Mr Piper was unanimously re-elected Chairman of the Brisbane Lions on February 9, but stepped down shortly after. A prominent Brisbane businessman he was pivotal to the establishment of an AFL club in Queensland in 1986 where he was a driving force and a foundation board member.

He was a Victorian schoolboys football and cricket representative and Under 19 captain of Hawthorn in 1962 where also played Reserve Grade in 1962-64 then with Waverley in the VFA in 1964-65. Before moving to Queensland in 1976, Mr Piper was assistant football secretary of Hawthorn.


Essendon crush the Bulldogs
Roos break the Magpie spell
Roller-coaster ride for Eagles
Saints slip to bottom place

ROUND 6 — Fri-Sat-Sun, April 14-15-16.
MILESTONES — SAVERIO ROCCA played his 150th for Collingwood ... 100th games by AARON LORD (68 Haw 1997-2000, also 32 Gee 1994-96); TONY BROWN (StK 1995-2000); ADEM YZE (Mel 1995-2000) ... 50th matches for STEPHEN DANIELS (PA 1997-2000) and PHILLIP READ (WCE 1998-2000) ... MATTHEW ROBRAN played his 100th for Adelaide, also 7 Haw 1991 ...

<> Essendon kicked their second-highest score of 134 contests since 1925 against the Bulldogs — the top is 29.15-189, 77-R6-WH ... Essendon's 10-straight in the last quarter fell short of their best against the Bulldogs — 10.5-65 in 80-R8-P and 10.3-63 in 83-R6-WH. It was the 11th occasion of 788 matches of the past five seasons (1996-2000) where 10-goals or more have been kicked in the final quarter. The biggest finish in that span is Richmond's 11.7-73 against Fitzroy, 96-R21-MCG

<> Against Port, Carlton recorded their Highest Score of 26.13-169 and Biggest Winning Margin of 91pts ... the Blues against the Power recorded "best-ever" scores in the second, third and fourth quarters ... in their fifth meeting versus Carlton, Port registered its lowest score.

<> The Pies kicked one of its lowest half-time scores of 135 contests since 1925 against the North Melbourne-Kangaroos. The Pies have only four other scores of 21pts or less –
1927-R10-VP — Col 2.3-15 v NM 1.6-12 — final, Col 8.11-59, NM 3.11-29
1985-R12-VP — Col 3.3-21 v NM 7.9-51 — final, NM 14.17-101, Col 9.10-64
1987-R13-P ––– Col 2.4-16 v NM 5.5-35 — final, NM 10.12-72, Col 2.6-18
1993-R10-VP — Col 2.7-19 v NM 9.6-60 — final, NM 19.12-126, Col 5.13-43
2000-R6-MCG – Col 2.9-21 v Kan 7.5-47 — final, Kan 17.2-114, Col 11.16-82

<> For the second week in a row, West Coast were added to the list of All-Time Turnarounds — in successive weeks they have won by 114pts, lost by 81, then won by 117 ... the Eagles kicked a new record score of 28.10-178 and registered their Greatest Winning Margin of 117pts against the Dockers ... West Coast's 28.10-178 was their third highest League score ... the Eagles GWM in League ranks is 135pts v Adelaide, 95-R19-S ... the crowd of 40,460 was second only to the 41,601 for the first Derby in 1995 ...

<> The Lions notched a record fifth successive win against the Saints ...

<> The Cats equalled their Longest Winning Run of 10 consecutive victories against Melbourne, first set 1965-1970 ... the Demons lost their seventh successive game at Kardinia Park. Melbourne last beat Geelong at the Cattery, 88-R14 ...

<> Against the Hawks, the Crows' 86pt win on Sunday equalled their best-ever kicked 91-R1-FP (155-69) and established their LWS of five, 1997-2000 ... Hawthorn's 8.9-57 is the lowest tally kicked so far in 2000 ... Adelaide also equalled their best second quarter of 7.2-44 against the Hawks, kicked 93-1EF-MCG ... the win ended Adelaide's longest losing sequence of nine games ...

<> Essendon's six wins to start 2000 is their best since, 7 by the 1962 side under JOHN COLEMAN and the 7 in 1942 under DICK REYNOLDS — 1962 and 1942 were both premiership years ...

<||> Too slick, too polished – was the assessment, when Essendon continued their unbeaten run with a 63pt victory over the Bulldogs under a closed roof on Friday night at Colonial Stadium—the crowd was 42,029.

Essendon kicked the opening six goals and came home with a barnstorming 10-straight. The Bombers took instant control, running the Dogs off their feet to stamp their authority. The flag favourites were taller, stronger and exuded confidence. KAREN LYON noted for The Age – The problems were mounting for Bulldog coach Terry Wallace, who (after an injury to Steve Kretiuk) was forced to shuffle his backline. KINGSLEY HUNTER was moved on to Lloyd, DANIEL SOUTHERN picked up Alessio and TODD CURLEY was then moved on to Lucas. Ellis would later get that job once Hird left the field but the damage was done. Therein lies the problem for any team that confronts Essendon this season—how do you stop all those forwards?

Chief worry of the night happened early in the second term when Essendon captain JAMES HIRD went off with bruising to his lower back and kidney region. Hird accepted the E J Whitten trophy from the dais at the end of the match. Despite his side's impressive start to the season, Bomber coach Sheedy insisted it still had plenty of improvement in it. Players, wives and girlfriends will go away as a group to plan the next stage of their campaign – ESSENDON 22.12-144 (Lucas 6, Blumfield 3, Caracella 3, Lloyd 3) best, Caracella, Lucas, Fletcher, BULLDOGS 12.9-81 (Darcy 3, Southern 3) best, Darcy, S.West, Smith.

<||> Carlton following three successive losses, and playing lowly Port Adelaide, discouraged even the most loyal of the Blues—a mere 16,415 were at Optus on a cloudy and humid Saturday afternoon. The fans missed an avalanche of goals as Carlton kicked their highest score against Port and won by the widest margin.

MELISSA RYAN in The Age reported: If there was any mercy, the game would have been called off at half-time ... instead, Carlton ripped out the Power's heart with a midfield dissection that had the club hovering on the edge of a post-mortem for the season after only six rounds ... so often the path to goal was through Bradley, Camporeale, Hickmott and Ratten that the game felt like it was in perpetual replay ...

For the record, Carlton had 233 kicks to Port's miserable tally of 146 and 172 handballs to 63. Carlton also took 102 marks to Port's 49.

Another central umpire suffered from a clash in play when ANDREW COATES was run down by Carlton's BRENDAN FEVOLA in the last quarter. Coates retired with a corky and was replaced by McLaren, the emergency – CARLTON 26.13-169 (Ratten 6, Whitnall 4, Hamill 3) best, Ratten, Camporeale, Bradley, PORT 12.6-78 (Bode 3) best, Kingsley, Paxman, Francis.

<||> A cloudy, humid day with patchy sunshine drew 55,082 to the G on Saturday afternoon as the undefeated Magpies faced the power of the reigning premiers. The Kangaroos rightly claimed victory by 32pts over Collingwood, but the emerging Pies were not disgraced.

The Roos started the game with six of their best 22 out, after COREY McKERNAN failed to overcome a kidney problem suffered in the Sydney game. Collingwood with slick movement and a fierce attack enjoyed the early running but the professional game by the Kangas soon came into play — the 2.9 which the Pies had on the board to 7.5 at half time told much of the story. Collingwood kicked the first two, the Kangas the next eight while it took the Maggies almost an hour to kick their third goal.

WAYNE CAREY in monotonous fashion was head and shoulders above the rest—Magpie coach MICK MALTHOUSE unreservedly declared Carey a champion, "possibly the best player he has seen". While the Kangaroos won, unnecessary lapses of discipline showed through as GLENN ARCHER and MARTIN PIKE were reported for digressions. For Collingwood, the veteran SHANE WATSON (game 136), SCOTT BURNS, CHRIS TARRANT and GLENN FREEBORN were the best and while the Pies may have lost their first for the year, but there's no doubting their pluck – KANGAROOS 17.12-114 (Carey 4, Grant 3) best, Carey, Martyn, Blakey, COLLINGWOOD 11.16-82 (Watson 3) best, Tarrant, Freeborn, Watson.

<||> A top AFL crowd of 40,519 turned out on Saturday night for the 11th Western Derby between the Eagles and Dockers. In fine Subiaco conditions West Coast savaged Fremantle by 117 points, creating a roller-coaster ride for Eagles coach KEN JUDGE. He has a W-L-D-W-L-W record and watched his side over three weeks win by 114pts, lose by 81, then win by 117. In parallel is the performance by full-forward SCOTT CUMMINGS who has kicked 14, 1 and 10 goals in successive games.

This was West Coast's biggest win against their WA rivals, eclipsing the 85pt margin of their first encounter in 1995. In was simply a case of quality over quantity. In a critical blow for the Dockers, after only seven minutes the linchpin of their gameplan was on the sidelines—TONY MODRA was heavily brought to ground by ASHLEY McINTOSH, and suffered a shoulder injury—he watched on with his arm in a sling as his teammates fell apart.

After quarter-time the Eagles took complete control and had many vying for best player honours — CHAD MORRISON,  MICHAEL BRAUN, DAVID WIRRPUNDA, MICHAEL GARDINER while for Freo, TROY COOK did a mountain of work in the midfield against great odds, as did SHAUN McMANUS – WEST COAST 28.10-178 (Cummings 10.2, Morrison 4, Peter Matera 3) best, Cummings, Gardiner, Wirrpunda, FREMANTLE 9.7-61 (Waterhouse 2, Pavlich 2) best, Bandy, Cook, McManus.

<||> The roof remained closed for the Saturday night contest at Docklands where the second smallest crowd to date was reported—18,194. Brisbane was never seriously threatened as the winless St Kilda fell to bottom place on the ladder for the first time since 1999s Round One.

The Age recorded: Brisbane players were given far too much latitude around the ball and cut through the middle of the ground time and time again. The Lions' forwards ran back into space as the midfield streamed into attack. DANIEL BRADSHAW had three goals in the first term, forcing Saints coach TIM WATSON to move DARRYL WAKELIN on to Bradshaw and MAX HUDGHTON back to JARROD MOLLOY. To compound the normally reliable Hudghton's poor start, Molloy immediately added two goals of his own.

The Saints clearly missed ANDREW THOMPSON, a late withdrawal ... while ROBERT HARVEY was, characteristically, one of his team's main contributors in the first half before leaving with a groin strain the third term.

Brisbane could be well pleased with a 3+3 record after six rounds, with a great run home at the Gabba awaiting them to round off the season. For St Kilda, it just gets worse — next up are the Kangaroos – BRISBANE 15.15-105 (Power 3, Molloy 3, Bradshaw 3) best, Leppitsch, Heuskes, Johnson, ST KILDA 9.12-66 (Everitt 3) best, D.Wakelin, Everitt, Loewe.

<||> Geelong climbed to second place with a 25pt victory over Melbourne in often sunny conditions before a good Kardinia Park crowd of 25,049 on Sunday afternoon. The Cats booted a match-winning third term and were able to withstand a determined fight-back by the Demons in the last quarter.

JAKE NIALL summed it up for The Age: "The new Cats, coached by MARK 'Bomber' THOMPSON are not blessed with half a dozen champions, nor do they possess the outlandish flair that Geelong teams exhibited during the memorable Malcolm Blight era. But Thompson is proud of the blue collar qualities that enable his team to prevail." The Demons buried themselves when they did not kick a goal from the 13-minute mark of the second quarter when they led by 16pts, until deep into the third quarter when Geelong were 15pts in front. By three-quarter time the Cats had control with a 34pt lead.

Whereas against the Eagles the previous week, it was not Geelong's taller forwards but their smaller brigade of Houlihan, Lynch, O'Brien and Clarke which contributed nine goals between them which was the undoing of the Demons – GEELONG 15.19-109 (Houlihan 3, Mensch 3) best, Hocking, Graham, Bizzell, MELBOURNE 12.12-84 (Farmer 4) best, Rigoni, Woewodin, S.Febey.

<||> The SCG was slippery following overnight and morning rain for Sunday's clash—the fans stayed away from the 12.40pm start in droves with only 25,049 attending—many preferring to watch the live local TV cover. Richmond held on to narrowly win by six points over a lethargic Sydney. The Tigers are now 3+3 and back into calculations.

It would have been highway robbery had the Swans downed Richmond who in spite of the absence of key players, were well served by two of the best on the park—NICK DAFFY and MATTHEW ROGERS, while ruckmen-forwards BRAD OTTENS and BRENDON GALE each kicked four goals to fill the gap. CLINTON KING blotted out Sydney's WAYNE SCHWASS, and the Swans had only one effective forward in ADAM GOODES who provided some class and kicked five goals.

A free kick against Sydney from the first centre bounce, then a tardy late kick-out was punished from the Swans' goal square—all in the first minute—things just got worse from thereon. Importantly for the Swans, they failed in their third successive SCG match and played with such a lack of intensity, which wastes away their great opening. The Tigers however are back on track – RICHMOND 17.10-112 (Rogers 4, Ottens 4, Gale 4) best, Ottens, Gale, Knights, SYDNEY 16.10-106 (Goodes 5) best, Goodes, Shauble, Mathews.

<||> Adelaide crushed Hawthorn to end a club-record nine-game losing streak before a raving 38,158 fans on Sunday afternoon—Football Park was slippery after overnight rain. In a 200-point turnaround the Crows didn't so much beat the Hawks, they thrashed them—by the same margin of 86pts which Adelaide had made their entry to AFL footy in 1991—same team, same margin, same place.

ALAN SHIELL observed for The Age: The bonus from the victory was the significant contribution made at centre half-forward by SHAUN REHN, who seemed on the verge of being eased back to his SANFL club West Adelaide to try to regain touch, agility and especially confidence in the left knee that was reconstructed early last year. Rehn kicked four goals and when he wasn't taking marks he was at least bringing the ball to ground so teammates could help themselves to it. His second goal brought a roar—he was back. So too, were MATTHEW ROBRAN, mercurial forward DARREN JARMAN and two dynamic midfielders MARK BICKLEY and MARK RICCIUTO.

In The Australian, ASHLEY PORTER noted: "For 260 days Crows fans had lived in misery, but this was a game they were never going to lose." – ADELAIDE 22.11-143 (Jarman 5, Beinke 4, Rehn 4, Welsh 3) best, Ricciuto, Goodwin, Koster, HAWTHORN 8.9-57 (Croad 2) best, Croad, Rawlings, Vandenberg.

Leppitsch outed for five games
Archer cops two weeks
The AFL Tribunal on Monday (17th) heard the first number of cases arising from Round 6.

Kangaroo vice-captain GLENN ARCHER pleaded guilty to striking Collingwood's SHANE WATSON. During evidence in camera the Tribunal heard that Archer had been fined a "significant" amount by his club over the report. This fact was judged as "irrelevant" and Archer received a two-match suspension.

Roo teammate MARTIN PIKE was cleared of intentionally tripping the Magpies' MARK ORCHARD.

Richmond youngster ANDREW MILLS on pleading was suspended for two matches for striking Sydney's ANDREW SCHAUBLE. Mills was playing only his third AFL match.

Deputy Tribunal chairman SHANE MAGUIRE heard three charges on Tuesday.

Sydney defender BRAD SEYMOUR was suspended for two matches for charging Richmond's MARC DRAGICEVIC. Seymour was due to play his 100th against Geelong on Saturday night.

Brisbane’s All-Australian full-back JUSTIN LEPPITSCH was disqualified three matches for striking St Kilda's PETER EVERITT and a further two weeks suspension was applied when the Lion was also found guilty of striking the Saints' GAVIN MITCHELL.

Colonial's unpopular ticketing revised
The Age reported Wednesday (19th) that Colonial Stadium will revise its unpopular ticketing system following a Tuesday meeting of tenant clubs, Essendon, the Western Bulldogs and St Kilda. Also attending were the AFL, Ticketmaster and stadium management including Colonial boss IAN COLLINS.

Tickets will now be sold on a "first-in, best-dressed" basis. Until now, the better seats had been sold late – discouraging the public. Ticketmaster has hired extra staff to significantly reduce its transaction time.

AFL chief executive WAYNE JACKSON said he was satisfied, and indicated that extra resources and reduced transaction times would now be a priority.

However, Melbourne, Collingwood and Richmond have made the call to the AFL that neither wants any home matches scheduled at Docklands next year.

Another embarrassment for Colonial was caused on Tuesday when a zealous security guard tried to stop a Channel Ten crew from going to air from outside of the stadium. The unexpected clash was seen live to air as the guard manhandled reporter GERARD WHATELEY and cameraman JARROD PINDER.

Colonial boss IAN COLLINS later apologised and said he expected the security man would be "counselled" by the sub-contractor.

Appeal Tribunal
Leppitsch suspension set aside
The Brisbane Lions appealed the suspensions handed down by the AFL Tribunal on Tuesday April 18. The Lions' full-back received three matches for striking GAVIN MITCHELL (StK) and two matches for striking PETER EVERITT (StK), both incidents occurring within 60 seconds of the April 15 contest at Colonial Stadium.

The Appeal Board met on Thursday (20th) and in a sitting lasting more than three hours, quashed the three-match suspension for striking Gavin Mitchell, based on the evidence of the reporting umpire DEREK HUMPHREY-SMITH.

A further one-hour sitting upheld the decision of the Tribunal of a two-match suspension for striking Peter Everitt.

Leppitsch became only the third footballer to successfully have a suspension set aside since the formation of the Appeal Board on February 11 1998.

In 1999, Essendon's DEAN RIOLI had a tripping offence from R12 overturned, while Carlton's AARON HAMILL had his two-match suspension for kneeing in the Second Preliminary Final suppressed.

Stab Kicks ...
** PATRICK SMITH moved from The Age and on Monday April 17 commenced as a featured columnist with The Australian.

** What a pleasant surprise on Saturday night to hear the familiar tones of PETER LANDY on ABC Radio calling the play in the Saints v Brisbane match from Colonial with CLINTON GRYBUS.

** The 1955 Brownlow Medal won by South Melbourne champion full-back FRED GOLDSMITH was sold for $43,700 at Christie's sporting memorabilia auction at South Yarra on Monday evening (April 17th). The buyer was RUSSELL FOGARTY, a life-long supporter of the South Melbourne-Sydney Swans back to the Lake Oval days. It was the third highest price paid in Australia for a piece of sporting memorabilia. On September 14 last year the 1972 Brownlow Medal of Collingwood's LEN THOMPSON brought $74,000 at auction while one of DON BRADMAN's cricket bats fetched $48,000.

The two Brownlow Medals of Collingwood champion DES FOTHERGILL which resulted from the tie in 1940 failed to reach the $60,000 reserve and were passed in at $59,800. Two Copeland trophy's won by Fothergill in 1938 and 1940 were sold for $6,235 and $7,475 respectively.

Members of the family put the Fothergill items to auction. Des Fothergill passed away in 1996.

** Kangaroo player SHANNON GRANT was struck in the face by a Collingwood supporter after he chased the ball over the boundary line during Saturday's match at the MCG.
The matter was reported to police who interviewed a 54-year-old Hobart man on Sunday. The man who was expected to be charged with unlawful assault later apologised to Grant who indicated he would be loath to take the matter further.

** Early figures at the start of April tabled by the 16 AFL clubs show Collingwood have suffered a big decline in membership. From a record 32,358 members in 1999, the Pies have slipped to 24,070 which is down 15 per cent when compared to figures at April 1999.

Carlton have enjoyed the biggest increase for the period by 16.77% while the Brisbane Lions are up by 16.31% and the Bombers have added 14.48%.

Hawthorn figures are off by 14% after recording 32,120 last season. Other clubs to report downturns are — Adelaide (down 0.08%), Port Adelaide (down 6.87%), Richmond (down 8.85%) and Sydney (down 2.49%).

Final membership figures will be tabled on June 5.

** The Age reported that according to NEIL TREZISE, the AFL is alienating grassroots supporters. Tresize was a great rover of Geelong sides of the 1950s and a former Victorian Minister for Sports.

Tresize said that he was resigned to the rapid changes that had transformed the game since he played, adding that the excessive salaries of players and administrators lay at the root of the alienation.

The former club president said his nostalgia for a time of Saturday afternoon games and unerring loyalty was shared by many left behind by the AFL's new order.

He joined a chorus of disapproval at the direction of the game, most notably the sometimes bizarre schedule at the behest of Channel Seven. Tresize said the AFL has made the product more television friendly in exchange for the huge sums paid by Seven for telecasting rights.

** The formation of INDIGENOUS SPORTS MANAGEMENT was announced by former Carlton star SYD JACKSON on Tuesday (18th). Jackson has combined with former North Melbourne gm DAVID ROBB and businessman TERRY KENNEDY to form ISM.

The support for the game's indigenous players aims to start recruiting players who are picked in this year's National Draft. ISM plans to set up a trust to finance an indigenous players' camp and a national database of Aboriginal footballers.

AFL Legend RON BARASSI who was coach of Carlton when Syd Jackson started with the Blues in 1969 applauded the launch of ISM saying "the club support for players, including Aboriginal players, is very, very good but this is an extra thing and it's aims are excellent."

They said it ...
JOHN ELLIOTT, Carlton president, speaking before the Optus Oval match versus Port Adelaide, predicting a win for his side in the court battle with the AFL — The Age, April 15
— "As Churchill used to stand there on a Sunday night during the war and say, 'I thought I'd tell you the development of the war as we see it'".
"We learnt this week that Channel Seven, which is bidding for the rights, also wants to buy the Internet rights, so they can bury them."
"Carlton is in a strong position to fight for this ... I think we do have some support on the commission and this is one of the principal matters that this battle is all about."
"In the end, we actually can disrupt the process of televising league games and we can disrupt the negotiations of the AFL for the next (rights) contract."
"It's not our intention to do that, other than the Internet matter, and until the AFL sits down and deals with the matter properly, well, we'll fight and we'll be in court and we will win and they will look very stupid."

MALCOLM BLIGHT, Talking Footy, Monday April 17 — "I think the Mick Malthouse line is the best I've heard in footy about coaching — 'I don't want to be a great coach – I want to be a premiership coach' ..."


Anzac Day event draws 88,390
Dons too polished for Magpies
Bulldogs lose their third in-a-row

ROUND 7 — Sat-Sun-Mon-Tue, April 22-23-24-25.
MILESTONES — DAVID PARKIN coached his 500th League match following in the footsteps of Colling-wood's JOCK McHALE 714 games, ALLAN JEANS (575), TOM HAFEY (522) and RON BARASSI (515). ... 200 games for ANTHONY ROCK (22 Haw 1999-2000, also NM 1988-98) ... 100 games for GLENN KILPATRICK (Gee, 1992-2000) ... 50 games for GARY MOORCROFT (Ess, 1995-2000), CARL STEINFORT (Gee, 1996-2000), TROY COOK (7 Fre 2000, also 43 Syd 1997-99), SHANE CLAYTON (32 NMK 1999-2000, also 12 Fit 1996, 5 Bri 1997-98), TONY DELANEY (7 StK 2000, also 15 Ess 1993-94, 28 Fre 1995-99) ... JEFF WHITE his 50th for Melbourne (also 32 Fre 1995-97) ...

<> The Hawks with 19.9-123 kicked their highest score of the season ... Hawthorn ended a string of four defeats and posted their first win over the Bulldogs since 96-R19-P ... the Western Bulldogs lost their third in-a-row of this season ...

<> A proud moment at Colonial Stadium when four Aboriginals, Gary Dhurrkay, Byron Pickett, Winston Abraham and Shannon Motlop were members of the Kangaroo team ... the Roos have won nine of the past 11 against the Saints — the two games which St Kilda have won since 1993 were meetings during their 1997 Grand Final season ... though defeated, the 18.9-117 was St Kilda's top score of 2000 ...

<> Geelong against Sydney kicked 12-goals straight from quarter-time (3.3-21) to three-quarter time (15.3-93) ...

<> Adelaide's 6.5-41 to seal Showdown VII was five points shy of their best last term against Port – 7.4-46, 98-R18-FP ... Sunday's seven point margin equals the result of the second meeting between the two, 97-R19-FP ... Adelaide were 42pts down seven minutes into the third quarter—the Crows staged the greatest revival of their 214-game history, to win by seven points ...

<> The Demons equalled their Greatest Winning Margin against the Eagles, 61pts, 87-R21-MCG ... Melbourne's 20.18-138 was one-point short of their record best versus West Coast, 21.11-139, 90-R20-S ... Jeff Farmer's 7.2 for the Demons was the highest goalkicking effort for both sides of the 25 contests since 1987 ...
<> The roller coaster ride of West Coast went into a fourth week—the Eagles formline reads, W114, L81, W117, L61—a remarkable statistic.

<> In the 201st meeting between the Pies and Bombers, Essendon recorded their fourth successive victory ... the 88,390 which attended is the second highest to watch the Pies and Dons in a home-and-away contest ... Essendon with their seventh victory equalled their best start to a season — the Dons won the first seven in 1942 and 1962 ...

<> Published attendances for Round 7 were a new record of 315,636, boosted by the two MCG crowds of 63,149 on Monday and 88,390 on Tuesday.

<||> The MCG welcomed 29,405 fans under clear skies on Easter Saturday.
The contest which was played on a firm surface saw Hawthorn with an emphatic 31 point victory over the Western Bulldogs to record its third win of the year. The Hawks with a switched-on forward line of NATHAN THOMPSON (six goals) BEN DIXON (four), TRENT CROAD and NICK HOLLAND proved the match-winning influence.

The Bulldogs were again slow to start and looked set for a hammering. They fought back tenaciously in the third term when they reduced a 37pt deficit to just 10 points. Even in the last term, the match was balanced but Hawthorn put the issue to rest when they slammed on six-straight goals. Drifting between half-back and half-forward BRAD JOHNSON was superb for the Tricolours but the task was beyond him, SCOTT WEST and JOSE ROMERO who were the best for the Dogs.

The Westerners with their third-straight defeat slipped out of the top eight and face a tough task ahead – HAWTHORN 19.9-123 (Thompson 6, Dixon 4, Crawford 3) best, Thompson, McCabe, Dixon, BULLDOGS 14.8-92 (Johnson 3) best, Johnson, Romero, NG Brown.

<||> In spite of continuing ticketing problems and crowd entry, 25,977 were on hand under the open roof of the Docklands venue on Saturday night. Against the Kangaroos, the winless Saints played with spirit and passion unseen in many of their recent outings and hit the Roos hard in the early stages.

Playing a sweeping role across half-back the dashing WAYNE CAREY was again in superb touch for the Kangas. Another highlight of the contest was the return of JASON HEATLEY to the St Kilda line-up. Heatley's presence at full-forward with six goals, released PETER EVERITT for duties further afield and the Saints looked better for it. However, the Kangaroos mid-match dominance and their ability to finish well in each quarter were the factors to bring about their fifth successive win. BRENT HARVEY delivered a standout performance for the Roos with 38 possessions, 29 kicks, nine handballs and took six marks, while ADAM LANGE coming off the bench made a significant contribution – KANGAROOS 19.15-129 (McKernan 3, Lange 3) best, Carey, Harvey, Bell, ST KILDA 18.9-117 (Heatley 6, Thompson 3) best, Thompson, Delaney, Burke.

<||> After a cool, fine Sydney day, 27,040 attended the SCG on Saturday night. Geelong continued their great opening to the season when they inflicted Sydney's fourth successive defeat, by eight points or less.

The first half was a crucial arm-wrestle and Sydney buoyed by the forward-focus provided by the return of JASON BALL threatened to take control early in the third. From here however, the Cats emerged with eight goals as did their youngsters DAVID CLARKE and DAVID SPRIGGS. The match was provided with two pivotal plays favourable to the Cats — Clarke's explosive dash and a 45 metre goal early in the third and when veteran GARRY HOCKING found ruck giant STEVEN KING who goaled from 55m. Time and again it was Hocking who shone both for his quality of possession and clarity of leadership.

CHIP Le GRAND for The Australian recorded the confession of Swans' coach RODNEY EADE, on Hocking — "his is the sort of polish (Sydney) has been desperately missing this year" – GEELONG 17.6-108 (J.Mooney 3) best, Clarke, Hocking, Kilpatrick, SYDNEY 15.9-99 (Ball 4) best, O’Loughlin, Schwass, Stevens.

<||> Near-perfect conditions brought 41,101 to Football Park on Sunday afternoon for the seventh hit-out between the Adelaide cross-town rivals. It was a pressure game, which created many turnovers and was not a match of the highest calibre. However, it resulted in the greatest revival in Adelaide's 214-game history and one of the best finishes of the season.

Port on-ballers JOSH FRANCOU, PETER BURGOYNE and NICK STEVENS enjoyed early prominence while MICHAEL WILSON did a good job of containing Adelaide's DARREN JARMAN and Port would have been further ahead if not for their poor kicking. The Crows were down by 42pts seven minutes into the third term and then produced a stunning revival led magnificently by MARK RICCIUTO. It was the Adelaide of old, reminiscent of some great efforts of 1997 and 1998, providing another disaster for Port Power who slip now to 1+6.

Adelaide vice-captain MARK RICCIUTO who finished with 41 possessions was awarded the inaugural WEST END MEDAL for a best-on-ground performance in Showdown VII – ADELAIDE 14.14-98 (Ricciuto 4, Vardy 3) best, Ricciuto, McLeod, Robran, PORT 13.13-91 best, Lyle, Burgoyne, N.Stevens.

<||> Just as AFL fans felt they were being treated like garbage at Colonial Stadium, a sickening stench of rotting waste surrounded the small crowd of 20,774 which attended the Sunday afternoon fixture—the roof remained open under fine weather. The roller coaster ride of West Coast went into a fourth week—the Eagles formline reads, W114, L81, W117, L61—a remarkable statistic.

With an even spread of young talent, Melbourne slammed home their fourth victory with a decisive 61pt win over West Coast. The Demon’s 22-year-old "wiz" JEFF FARMER with blistering speed and breath-taking ball skills in a little over three quarters booted 7.2 before being forced off with hamstring soreness in the last term. Farmer was capably supported by a great effort by the high-leaping JEFF WHITE who dominated centre bounces giving Melbourne the vital first use factor. Add Woewodin, Leoncelli, Rigoni, Yze and Powell to the pot, the Demons seem capable of reliving their recent glory days of 1998.

West Coast's lone winner was GLEN JAKOVICH who handed Melbourne's DAVID SCHWARZ a "football lesson" — it is doubtful the Demon vice-captain will discuss this further on 3LO – MELBOURNE 20.18-138 (Farmer 7.2, Bruce 3) best, White, Farmer, Powell, WEST COAST 12.5-77 (Gehrig 3, Gardiner 3) best, Jakovich, Cousins, Gehrig.

<||> A good crowd was present at the MCG on Easter Monday for the solo AFL match of the day—fine conditions brought in 63,149. The day marked DAVID PARKIN's 500th game as an AFL-VFL coach with Hawthorn, Fitzroy and Carlton.
After Richmond drew to within three points early in the third quarter, the Blues steadied, applied real pressure through ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES. ANDREW McKAY and DEAN RICE and went away to win easily by 51 points. Overall, Carlton were well served when you view the in-depth contributions from ANTHONY FRANCHINA, ADRIAN HICKMOTT, AARON HAMILL and TRENT HOTTON. While LANCE WHITNALL was well held by the AFL's in-form centre half-back DARREN GASPAR, many of the lesser lights stepped up.

MICHAEL DAVIS noted for The Australian: "There was not a lot Frawley (Richmond coach) could take out of the game other than the effort of JASON TORNEY, who shadowed Bradley effectively ..." – CARLTON 18.12-120 (Fevola 3) best, Koutoufides, Silvagni, McKay, RICHMOND 10.9-69 (Rogers 3) best, Gaspar, Bowden, Rogers.

<||> The Anzac Day event under blue skies on Tuesday afternoon drew an impressive 88,390 to the MCG. For more than a half, Collingwood gave Essendon its most serious challenge to date but the Bombers clinically took the Pies apart in the second half to post a thorough 40 point victory.

JAKE NIALL in his review of the game for The Age — If you look at the two halves of football, Essendon's defence was supreme in both halves and its midfield and forward line, dominant in the first half, were ascendant only after half-time. Collingwood's midfield and defence, superb in the first half, crumbled ... Collingwood was briefly ignited in the second quarter when NATHAN BUCKLEY exploded, booting three goals and pushing forward from the midfield to provide the marking target across half-forward that the Magpies so desperately needed ... This all changed very quickly and dramatically in the opening minutes of the third quarter when Lucas and Lloyd switched positions, unsettling the hitherto sound McKee and Richardson.

The Bomber forward unit of SCOTT LUCAS, MATTHEW LLOYD and JAMES HIRD were potent. Hird was a major catalyst for the turnaround. He cruised between the ball and half-forward, winning the ball 10 times in the third term and, for his qualities – courage and persistence – RON BARASSI later presented him with the inaugural RSL ANZAC MEDAL – ESSENDON 21.14-140 (Lucas 6, Lloyd 5) best, Lucas, Hird, Wellman, COLLINGWOOD 15.10-100 (Buckley 4) best, O’Bree, Buckley, McKee.

<||> Heavy showers before the first bounce led to slippery conditions at Subiaco Oval for the Tuesday afternoon Anzac Day clash—the rain persisted after half-time. Only 19,800 watched the Dockers win by 11pts over the more-favoured Brisbane Lions.

GARY STOCKS in The West Australian noted — Led by a supreme performance by DANIEL BANDY, the Dockers excelled in the clinches where LUKE TOIA was so adept and wonderfully supported by TROY COOK and SHAUN McMANUS, while JAMES WALKER and DALE KICKETT were resolute in defence ... While the Dockers excelled, Brisbane struggled to get any cohesion through the midfield and without contributions of youngster CRAIG BOLTON, tough utility CHRIS SCOTT and class on-baller MICHAEL VOSS, they would have been out of the game long before the end – FREMANTLE 17.9-111 (Pavlich 3) best, Cook, McManus, Toia, BRISBANE 15.10-100 (Molloy 4, Bolton 3) best, Bolton, Black, M.Voss.

Brownlow, Betting & Bribes
Paul Couch reignites 1989 leak
Within a fortnight, two disturbing elements in football were brought to light.

During the April 13 telecast of the Channel Seven flagship program The Game, the former Geelong player PAUL COUCH now employed by the network revisited one of the AFL's most famous controversies, the leaking of the Brownlow medal result in 1989 which Couch won.

It is a story, which has been in circulation for some time but has been amplified again. Couch, a renowned punter himself, was a garbage collector at the time and was told by an on-course bookmaker on the Sunday night before the count that an umpire of the day had been seen to back him winning the medal at a racecourse.

A betting plunge resulted on Monday before Couch won the Brownlow with 22 votes, two votes ahead of Hawthorn's JOHN PLATTEN — the same tally telegraphed earlier.

AAP reported Couch saying on The Game: "They just told me the night before the Brownlow that there had been a bit of money from certain type of players in white who actually umpire the game."

Days later, the AFL said they would write to Paul Couch asking him to give them a statutory declaration with names, dates and the rest.

The Age reported on April 20: Long-serving Melbourne bookmaker GARY WALSH revealed he was one of the central figures the Paul Couch betting plunge before the 1989 Brownlow Medal. His revelations came a day after the AFL launched an investigation into the betting plunge, which The Age said has been spoken about at bars and sportsmen's nights for a decade.

On April 23 the Sunday Herald Sun reported football legend GRAHAM 'Polly' FARMER said he was approached on the night of the 1967 Preliminary Final in which Geelong defeated Carlton by a man asking Polly and Bill Goggin to play a "quiet game" the following day. The former Geelong and WAFL star declined to name the man because he was a friend. Farmer said no amount of money was mentioned because he did not let the conversation go that far.

Stab Kicks ...
** The KANGAROOS who have tried for five years, made the call once again for AFL matches to be played on Good Friday. They had better look carefully at the response other codes received in Sydney on the day. The rugby league fraternity played a Test match against NZ at the cavernous Homebush Stadium which drew only 26,023, while across town a big soccer contest between Marconi and Perth Glory at Marconi Stadium, Bossley Park, the crowd was a bare 5,721.

To paraphrase a comment I heard somewhere — the AFL have got enough problems with fixturing and Colonial without trying to sell the churches and the public on the need to play on Good Friday ... let's keep it sacrosanct.

** The term "Aussie Rules" has leapt back into usage like a cancer.

It is as offensive as the "aerial ping-pong" insult once used to describe our code. From the 1970s, and during the strong VFL presidency of Dr Allen Aylett, great effort was used to gain respect for our national code of "Australian Football" — why has the NSW–Queensland put-down come back to haunt us?

Australian Football — poulo ludus populi — the game of the people for the people — one game, one nation, one destiny — that's what they said in 1905 when the Australian National Football Council was formed.

Has anything changed?

** An Anzac Day medal worth $3,000 and a $20,000 cup donated by Anzac biscuit maker Unibic have been added to the annual event. Essendon captain JAMES HIRD who met the criteria for the bronze cross incorporating battlefield metal won the first Anzac Medal. The award calls for an individual "whose conduct and play during the game best exemplifies the 'Anzac spirit' – skill, courage, adversity, self-sacrifice, teamwork and fair play".

** WEST COAST and FREMANTLE will both seek to have late starting matches in Perth eliminated from the draw for season 2001. Several games have commenced at 8.10pm Perth time. When the matches are televised on the east coast, they do not start until 10.10pm, and finish as late 12.45am the following day.

Hall, one week for headbutting

BARRY HALL (StK) on April 26 was suspended one match for headbutting ADAM SIMPSON (NMK).

They said it ...
CHIP Le GRAND, The Australian, reviewing the Sydney v Geelong match
— "It is not that (Wayne) Schwass isn't getting the ball. He is. In fact he got it more times than any other player on the ground including 10 times in the vital third quarter.
But once he gets it, it is almost becoming a raffle as to whether the ensuing kick will favour a team-mate or the opposition. Such is the bizarre unreliability of Schwass' disposal that Swan members have taken to referring to the former Kangaroo premiership player as 'Hansie' ..."


Essendon's record start
31,887 sets new Gabba record
Five blow-out results
Fraser Gehrig cleared of striking umpire

ROUND 8 — Fri-Sat-Sun-Mon, April 28-29-30, May 1
MILESTONES —ESSENDON with eight victories created a new club record, the Dons best start to a season, greater than 7 games in 1942 and 1962 ... the BRISBANE club played their 300th League match ... NATHAN BUCKLEY played his 150th game (20 Bri 1993, 129 Col 1994-2000) ... 50th matches for ANTHONY JONES (Fre, 1995-2000), MICHAEL GARDINER (WCE, 1997-2000), KINGSLEY HUNTER (41 Fre 1995-98, 9 WB 1999-2000) ... BRENTON SANDERSON played his 100th for Geelong 1995-2000 (also 6 Ade 1992-93, 4 Col 1994) ... STUART MAXFIELD played his 100th for Sydney 1996-2000 (also 89 Rch 1990-95) ... MATTHEW PRIMUS played his 50th for Port Adelaide 1997-2000 (also 20 Fit 1996) ...

<> Hawthorn's 61 point win was their best victory over the Roos since 91-R15-MCG when they won by 64pts …

<> The Crows won their third on-the-trot …

<> West Coast posted their 50th win in a night match …

Melbourne kicked a new Highest Score in meetings against Port, topping the 14.18-102 kicked 98-R5-MCG ...
<> Melbourne's win was the 50th by an 'away' side at Football Park (including all Showdowns) ... the Demons have now won all DAY games against Port — the Power have won all NIGHT matches against the Demons …

<> Carton and the Swans met for the 200th time … five of the last six meetings between the Blues and Sydney have been played at Carlton …

<> The Tigers had their biggest win over Geelong since 1982-R18-P when Richmond kicked 24.19-163 to 11.13-79 and won by 84pts … Richmond had 12 goalkickers, two short of their record of 14 set in 1999-R4-MCG v Collingwood …

<> An new AFL crowd record was set for the Gabba—31,887 … Essendon kicked 14 of the last 18 goals in their 64pt win …

<> Fremantle beat Colling-wood for only the second time … the Pies have won all DAY games – Freo have won all NIGHT games …

<> MARK RICCIUTO (Ade) reached 100 goals in game 157 … MATTHEW ROGERS reached 100 goals in game 128 …

<||> Under clear skies and on a superb MCG surface, Hawthorn gained a confidence boosting 61pt victory over the Kangaroos on Friday night in front of 36,514 fans. The Roos were without the injured Carey and five-or-six of their regulars but there was no glossing over the fact that the Hawks were a vastly improved combination to the one thrashed a fortnight earlier in Adelaide.

Hawthorn's veritable truckload of tall forwards caused havoc for the Roos' defence. TRENT CROAD epitomised his quip earlier in the week of younger, faster, stronger and harder with two goals in the space of a minute in the first quarter and finishing with three for the night. The deficiencies in the Kangaroo forward line were stark early on, reporter MELISSA RYAN said in The Age—with CRAIG SHOLL often the only operator within the attacking 50 metres. McKernan had no influence with only two marks to half-time—Hawk MARK GRAHAM played sterling defence in easily his best game of the year, forcing Roo coach Pagan to drag Sholl before half time. Fellow defenders LUKE McCABE, JADE RAWLINGS and JONATHAN HAY also streamed it toward goal, their potency enhanced by effective clearances.

Time will prove if the freedom to exhibit their flair will last the distance for the Hawks. The Cats are next up – HAWTHORN 18.20-128 (Thompson 3, Croad 3) best, Graham, Croad, Hay, KANGAROOS 9.13-67 (King 2, Motlop 2) best, Bell, King, Clayton.

<||> On an unseasonably warm Melbourne Saturday afternoon of 25 degrees the roof was open at Docklands. The playing area was marginally reduced by widening the distance between fence and boundary line to provide better sight lines for spectators on higher levels of the new arena. An afternoon power blackout to half of the stadium threatened to delay the game—however, the single AFL match being played started on time for a disappointing 20,125. Those that missed may have been lucky.

After a poor start to the season, Adelaide posted their third consecutive win over the less than sparkling St Kilda outfit—it was widely proclaimed the Saints are a dreadful team and days later their embattled coach TIM WATSON admitted the season "was over" for his winless Saints. The effect of playing St Kilda spilled over to the Crows who made as many mistakes in a terrible game. The telling factor was Adelaide had 38 scoring shots to 18 and won by a margin of 4 goals 16 behinds, or 40pts in clearer terms.

The Crows were superior overhead taking 81 marks to the Saints' 54 and had MATTHEW ROBRAN, ANDREW McLEOD, MARK BICKLEY and MARK RICCIUTO firing. Adelaide has a future—the Saints are gone – ADELAIDE 14.24-108 (Perrie 3, Vardy 3) best, McLeod, Robran, Bassett, ST KILDA 10.8-68 (Everitt 3) best, Sziller, Burke, D.Wakelin.

<||> The WACA on a fine Saturday night had 26,554 on hand to farewell the retiring CHRIS LEWIS who ran through a special banner, took part in the pre-match warm-up and tossed the coin—Lewis is the last player from the inaugural West Coast squad of 1987. The WACA was hard-and-fast and the action was willing in another roughhouse affair between the Eagles and Bulldogs. Tension between the two clubs has existed since a vicious half-time brawl at Subiaco in 1994.

This Round 8 game will always be remembered for the incident after the siren to end the second quarter when Eagles ruckman FRASER GEHRIG took exception to bad-mouthing from Bulldog NATHAN BROWN as they left the field for the break. Gehrig took a left-handed swing at Brown, missed and struck central umpire BRYAN SHEEHAN to the right side of his head. Sheehan had stepped forward to caution the players. The umpire dropped to ground and was stunned for up to a minute. After receiving attention from trainers and inquiring policemen, Sheehan walked from the ground and resumed his duties in the second half. No video vision of the incident was captured, but still photographs appeared in the press. After the match Sheehan is understood to have said, the incident was an accident – (see box below).

West Coast withstood a late Bulldog surge to win by six points. Honours for the night went to the Eagles' DEAN KEMP with a game-breaking 33-possession display in the centre. It was the Bulldogs fourth-straight loss – WEST COAST 15.18-108 (Phillip Matera 3, Cummings 3) best, Braun, Wirrpunda, Gardiner, BULLDOGS 15.12-102 (Hudson 4) best, Grant, Hunter, Eagleton.

<||> Football Park after receiving substantial overnight rain was in good shape on Sunday afternoon when a paltry 22,490 watched Melbourne down Port Adelaide by 25pts. The win raised the Demons to third place on the ladder with a 5+3 record.

ALAN SHIELL recorded in The Age—Melbourne owed its win mostly to its now-familiar, but still exciting, non-stop run and slick midfield–on-ball movement, in which SHANE WOEWODIN, STEPHEN POWELL, ANTHONY McDONALD, GUY RIGONI and ruckman JEFF WHITE were the prime instigators, while DAVID SCHWARZ was a powerful four-goal target up forward and DAVID NEITZ and STEVEN FEBEY led a rebounding defence.

Port coach MARK WILLIAMS rightly bemoaned his players' poor kicking for goal saying: "Things are certainly not quite going for us." The Power are consigned to the bottom rungs with a 1+7 return. Next up for the Demons, Essendon at the G – MELBOURNE 17.9-111 (Schwarz 4, A.McDonald 3) best, Woewodin, Schwarz, White, PORT 12.14-86 (Schofield 3) best, Francis, Francou, Primus.

<||> Generally good conditions were experienced on the lush surface of Optus Oval in spite of early Sunday rain. The 200th meeting between the Blues and Swans draw only 19,964 and ended as expected with a thumping 45pt victory for Carlton—it was the 96th failure by the red-and-white at the ground against the Blues.

An even contest to half time, Carlton exploded in the third quarter when the Swans left their spirit and commitment in the rooms. JIM MAIN noted in The Australian: ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES, who had been a good defender over the first half, became a match-winner in the third quarter. He not only drove Carlton forward from his groundwork at centre bounces but took seven marks and finished the match with 39 possessions and 13 marks. The Swans also had difficulty in stopping Carlton dasher SCOTT CAMPOREALE not only from getting his hands on the ball, but using almost every possession to perfection. About all that Sydney could salvage from the thrashing was an encouraging performance by JUDE BOLTON.

Sydney coach RODNEY EADE, normally so bouncy, looked deflated after his side's worst performance of the season. Prospects for the Swans darkened further mid-week when it was revealed their inspiring captain PAUL KELLY will not play this year after it was found his knee cap has failed to heal – CARLTON 16.13-109 (Lappin 2, Camporeale 2, Allan 2, Beaumont 2, Koutoufides 2) best, Koutoufides, McKay, Whitnall, SYDNEY 9.10-64 (Stevens 2, Schauble 2) best, Dunkley, Schauble, Saddington.

<||> On Sunday afternoon Colonial's curse lifted when angry queues disappeared and the 35,171 which attended gained smooth entry—the power was back on, and just maybe fans will accept that most teething problems at Docklands have been overcome. With rain falling outside, the roof was closed for the game. The Tigers overwhelmed the heavily favoured Geelong by 70 points.

Richmond posted one of its best wins of recent years when "they played a skilful, almost clinical brand of football seldom seen from Richmond teams" JAKE NIALL observed for The Age. JOEL BOWDEN was the most influential player afield. In the first quarter when it really counted, he had the ball a dozen times and booted two goals. By the middle of the second quarter, Bowden had forced Geelong to sacrifice its most destructive midfielder, PETER RICCARDI, to a defensive run-on role.

With Riccardi seldom seen and DUNCAN KELLAWAY smothering GARRY HOCKING, Geelong's midfield was utterly overwhelmed. DAVID CLARKE, a surprise prime mover this season, was quiet. Only DAVID SPRIGGS provided any consistent drive. Geelong coach MARK THOMPSON said he had sensed that his players might be off-key last week.

"During the week it felt that way. A few people had too many smiles around the office." The Tigers are now up from 11th to 8th — Geelong though defeated held on to second place behind the unbeaten Essendon – RICHMOND 23.9-147 (Rogers 5, Ottens 3, Dragicevic 3) best, Bowden, Knights, D.Kellaway, GEELONG 11.11-77 (Spriggs 2, Stoneham 2, Mensch 2) best, Spriggs, Sholl, Riccardi.

<||> After days of wet weather the Gabba was miserable on Monday night though it failed to deter a new AFL record crowd of 31,877 attending. Sheets of rain descended throughout the match but it failed to slow the Bombers. Essendon extended their winning run to eight games and established a new club record with their best start to a season.

The Bombers steamrolled an under-manned Brisbane, playing the smarter football in the conditions, continually creating numbers around the ball, and marking as if it were a dry night. Their control of the game was noted on ABC Radio by former coach JOHN NORTHEY — their precise delivery, their understanding of each other, the range of options they employ ...

Brisbane made too many mistakes and early on were congesting play around the ball, allowing Essendon to offload to loose men. The home side's skill level dropped off in the slippery going, and it was just as tough in the middle, where Essendon again had a pretty good handle on the ball most of the night.
The Lions slid to 14th on the ladder, with Collingwood their next challenge at the Gabba on Sunday – ESSENDON 19.13-127 (Lloyd 5, Moorcroft 4, Hird 3) best, Caracella, Fletcher, Barnes, BRISBANE 9.9-63 (Black 2, Picken 2, Akermanis 2) best, M.Voss, Heuskes, Black.

<||> A mild Monday night brought a healthy throng of 33,947 to Docklands where the roof remained open. Fremantle brought about a huge upset when it held back a resurgent Collingwood to win by 22 points. Sensing fatigue and a let-down from the Anzac Day event, Fremantle ran the Pies off their feet in the early stages and had it not been for wayward kicking could have wrapped up the contest by half time.

For Collingwood, it was a third straight defeat after five wins to open a season that began as a Mick Malthouse fairytale. The Dockers were the unexpected bad guys, but thoroughly deserved their second win at Colonial — the first was by a point over Richmond in Round 4.

LINDA PEARCE reviewing the match for The Age said: The third quarter was Fremantle's most decisive, turning a 13pt lead into 45 at the last change. It was only at the start of the fourth that the Magpies responded to the urgency of the situation, banging on three goals in little more than three minutes, with JOSH FRASER winning the ruck contests, Buckley lifting and ANTHONY ROCCA back on top of DANIEL BANDY ... the Magpies surged home and at the 19-minute mark got to within 16pts ... it was left to star rookie PAUL HASLEBY to kick the steadier and then the sealer both within 90 seconds, and soon after Koops goaled to put the result beyond doubt – FREMANTLE 15.17-107 (Waterhouse 4) best, Fletcher, Bandy, Cook, COLLINGWOOD 12.13-85 (S.Rocca 3, A.Rocca 3, Freeborn 3) best, Licuria, A.Rocca, Ukovic.

Stab Kicks ...
** Sydney's inspirational captain PAUL KELLY will not play again this year after a scan revealed the fracture in his kneecap has failed to heel. Further treatment which may result in surgery will follow. Kelly was injured last September in the Qualifying against Essendon.

** The Bulldogs on Tuesday (2nd) announced a new sponsor LIBERTY FINANCIAL will underwrite Friday night's match at Colonial Stadium to the tune of $250,000 enabling thousands of Bulldog and Saints fans to gain free admission. Distribution to membership ticket holders began in Melbourne today (Wednesday). The public will be invited to access the remaining tickets from Thursday.
Liberty Financial will also donate $10,000 to either the E J Whitten Foundation or the Trevor Barker Foundation on the result of the game.

** GEELONG are lobbying the League to extend the season to 24 weeks beginning in 2001 in a plan where all 16 teams would play each other three times over two years.
CAROLINE WILSON reported in The Age: The proposal urged the AFL to embark upon 2001 with a 'clean slate', ridding the fixture list of a series of deals that have helped lead to an unfair draw – getting rid of the blockbusters and the derbies and Anzac Day games and stifling ground agreements.
The 16 member clubs have been asked to submit preferences by May 5.

** FREMANTLE have announced a six-figure sponsorship deal with BANKWEST. The deal places BankWest of the Dockers second tier of sponsorship, below naming right sponsor ALINTA GAS.

** Scotland Yard detectives flew to Australia to interview several Brisbane players over the alleged rape of a Brisbane woman in London on October 6 last year. The Age reported on May 3, up to 12 present and former players and a staff member are believed to have been interviewed in the case.

In Perth, police have taken DNA samples from two of four West Coast players accused of sexually assaulting two teenage girls who allege they were assaulted by the footballers three weeks ago. No charges have been laid.

** The AFL are expected to name a replacement next week to fill the vacancy left by IAN in the football operations department.
Leading candidates are said to include Adelaide's operations manager JOHN REID and Kangaroos' chief executive GREG MILLER. There has been speculation that the League has strongly considered an applicant with no football experience.

They said it ...
PATRICK SMITH, The Australian, Monday, May 1
— "…the AFL last week recorded its seventh-highest figure for any round in its history—an 88,000 crowd at the MCG for Collingwood and Essendon was more than attended a complete round of NRL fixtures…"

STUART RINTOUL, Man in the Outer, The Australian, Monday May 1 — "By the end of the third quarter, the Swans were looking like they'd just come through the Blitz. The moment that crystallised it was when Ryan Fitzgerald — one of the first season players Eade identified afterwards as needing to get some games under his belt as quickly as possible — took possession, didn't look, and blazed out of bounds on the full. The Carlton players nearby shook their heads and smiled."

Fraser Gehrig cleared of striking umpire
Two Bulldogs fined for sledging
West Coast forward Fraser Gehrig was cleared of the serious charge of "recklessly or negligently making contact with an umpire" when on Wednesday May 3 the AFL Tribunal accepted that he was not aware of the presence of the man in white.

Gehrig was also assisted by the evidence of all three field umpires who officiated in the West Coast-Western Bulldogs match at the WACA Ground last Saturday night when he accidentally knocked Bryan Sheehan to the ground with a swinging left arm.

Gehrig was assisted by the fact that the reporting officer could not find a single witness to suggest he had been aware of Sheehan's presence when he scuffled with Western Bulldogs player Nathan Brown soon after the half-time siren.

In the end tribunal chairman Brian Collis, QC, and the other members of the panel were left with no alternative but to rule that Gehrig had no case to answer.

Earlier in the night, however, the tribunal fined Brownlow medalist Tony Liberatore and Bulldog teammate Nathan Brown $2000 each for insulting language.

In assessing Gehrig's case, Collis said even though the laws said a player could be found to have made contact with an umpire in a reckless or negligent way, it also needed to be shown the player knew or ought to have known the umpire to be in the vicinity. "There was no evidence to suggest the player knew or would have known the presence of the umpire and therefore the charge is not sustained," he said. "Gehrig was absolutely surprised the umpire was there."

Earlier Sheehan told the hearing Gehrig was "completely and totally unaware" of his approach when he arrived to separate the two players. "I concluded the contact was accidental," he said. "I probably got too close."

Sheehan said he could tell by the look on Gehrig's face that he was quite upset. He had already spoken to umpire Derek Humphery-Smith about remarks made to him by Liberatore in the first quarter and had seen red when Brown made a similar remark at half-time.

Liberatore and Brown faced the tribunal charged with using abusive, insulting, threatening or obscene language after AFL investigations officer Rick Lewis probed the Gehrig and Brown tangle at half-time. The tribunal sustained only the charge of using insulting language.

Liberatore pleaded not guilty, while Brown pleaded guilty.

The tribunal, which held the Brown and Liberatore cases in camera after private submissions were made about the potential for defamation, instructed the players not to make any public comment on the case. Gehrig's hearing was open, with any defamatory material referred to as "the allegation".

The Age reported it was understood that Gehrig had contemplated legal action against the Bulldog players but had decided against it after a meeting was arranged before the tribunal hearing. Brown and the Western Bulldogs apologised to Gehrig.

In closing the Bulldogs' hearing to the media, Collis said charges and evidence were "very unusual", the likes of which he had not experienced before. "This evening's tribunal is a very unusual tribunal hearing. In 20 years I've never struck anything like it, but I just had the parties in here to find out what it is that's allegedly said by players Liberatore and Brown and these allegations are clearly defamatory allegations," said Collis.

While Collis said the tribunal may be viewed as "over cautious" in its approach, he said "it seems to me that a number of people here have to be fully protected and seems to me that it's proper and appropriate way of dealing with the situation".


Bombers take three-game lead
283,846 is new Round Nine record
No Tribunal required

ROUND 9 — Fri-Sat-Sun, May 5-6-7.
MILESTONES — A new crowd record of 283,846 for Round Nine topped the 259,941 set in 1999 ... BRAD SEYMOUR played his 100th (Syd 1994-2000) .... a century also for SIMON GARLICK (56 WB 1998-2000, 44 Syd 1994-97) ... JOSE ROMERO played his 100th for the Bulldogs 1995-2000 (also 89 NMK 1988-94) ... 50th games for ROBERT AHMAT (25 Syd 1998-2000, 25 Col 1995-97), JARED CROUCH (Syd 1998-2000), BRENT GRGIC (Mel 1997-2000), JONATHON HAY (Haw 1997-2000), JAMES McDONALD (Mel 1997-2000) ... a corked thigh to Brisbane's MARCUS ASHCROFT halted his run of 170 consecutive matches since 1992s Round 20 ...

<> The Tribunal was not required to convene. After a video review two charges were both withdrawn. The most recent occasions the Tribunal was not required for senior matters following a round were —
99-R15, 99-R11 – 98-R10 –95-R20, 95-R6  – 94-R15, 94-R6  – 93-R20, 93-R18 ­ 92-R20, 92-R16, 92-R9, 92-R4.

<> Not since  Round 4 of 1992 have Victorian teams held the top eight places of the national competition ladder.
Eight years ago (when there was a Final Six) the League leaders were — Collingwood, Carlton, Footscray, Geelong, Fitzroy, Hawthorn, St Kilda and North Melbourne. Essendon then were 10th, Melbourne 12th, Richmond 15th, while the interstate-based members of the AFL were placed, 9th West Coast, 11th Adelaide, 13th Sydney and 14th Brisbane …

<> St Kilda with 8.3-51 kicked their best third quarter under Tim Watson ... it was the first one-point result between the two for 44 years ... there have been three one pointers from their 131 meetings since 1925 ... the Saints had 12 goalkickers, one short of the record 13, set three times at Waverley, 82-R7 v Rch, 93-R16 v Gee, 97-4QF v Bri …

<> The Hawks won their fourth-straight over Geelong ... Hawthorn have won eight of the past 10 meetings with the Cats …

<> Richmond figured in their fourth single-digit margin of the season …

<> Brisbane posted their highest club score of 20 meetings against the Pies — the Lions kicked the last six goals from the 20 minute mark of the final quarter ... it was Brisbane's fifth successive win over Collingwood …

<> The Blues kicked their Highest Score against Freo, topping the 23.7-145 kicked in 1996-R18-PP ... six goals by CLIVE WATERHOUSE is the highest goal tally by a Docker against Carlton ... the 28,191 was the biggest crowd to watch the two at Subiaco, higher than 25,067, 1995-R13 ... Fremantle registered the least number of behinds of their 119 League games—the 13.4 is close to their 14.4 kicked against Carlton, 97-R9-PP …

<||> In spite of steady rain, a healthy 35,505 attended Docklands on Friday night where under the closed roof, free seats had been underwritten by a $250,000 contribution from a Bulldog sponsor. Notwithstanding one of their better performances of the season, St Kilda remained winless as the Western Bulldogs fought back from a 31 point last change deficit to snatch a thrilling victory by one point. The win stemmed a flow of four successive losses by the Dogs.

An eight-goal third quarter appeared to have set up the Saints' first win. LEN JOHNSON noted for The Age: True to the traits that have bedevilled them, the Saints then tried their best to give the game back. Four unanswered goals at the start of the final term brought the Bulldogs to within seven points. Finally, after 19 minutes, PETER EVERITT marked and goaled for St Kilda's only score for the term. The Saints then led by 13pts, but a behind to BRAD JOHNSON and goals to CHRIS GRANT brought the teams back to level pegging and set up the desperate final last minutes. Both sides were given inspirational efforts from veterans ROBERT HARVEY (Saints) and TONY LIBERATORE (WB).

The image of St Kilda's MAX HUDGHTON captured by Channel Seven cameras as his passion overflowed after the game will be long remembered – BULLDOGS 16.9-105 (Grant 3, Hudson 3, Romero 3) best, Liberatore, Grant, Romero, ST KILDA 16.8-104 (Everitt 2, Hall 2, Loewe 2, Thompson 2) best, Harvey, Hayes, Traianidis.

<||> Overcast conditions at the MCG on Saturday afternoon brought mist and rain in the first half, then patchy sunshine for the remainder of the match—there were 39,116 patrons. Hawthorn to many were big winners over a haphazard Geelong but the margin was only 25 points with the Cats within two goals, 10 minutes from the final siren.

In a low scoring game which produced only 24 goals, the difference between the two were the forwards where the Hawks had eight goals from Holland, Croad and Barker, while the Cats could muster only eight marks from their three big forwards Stoneham, Mooney and Mensch. It spurred Geelong coach MARK THOMPSON to swing captain BEN GRAHAM into attack.

Hawthorn led at every change and withstood two genuine challenges. The Cats came at them in the third and again in the last but on both occasions Hawthorn resisted and responded. Following good wins against the Bulldogs, Kangaroos and Cats, they will be tested further versus the Eagles at Subiaco on Friday – HAWTHORN 14.14-98 (Holland 3, Croad 3) best, Holland, Hay, Graham, GEELONG 10.13-73 (Arnott 3) best, King, Arnott, Kilpatrick.

<||> A bumper 40,402 were at Football Park on Saturday night where conditions were generally good following rain during the week. A heavy downpour during half time made conditions slippery for the last half. The Kangaroos destroyed Adelaide by kicking eight goals in a paralysing 10-minute burst immediately before and after quarter time.

WAYNE CAREY was yet again the centre of attention with another extraordinary display (6.3) and early in the third his side led by 47pts. With his Kangaroos still leading comfortably he cramped and retired from the match 17 minutes into the last quarter after BRENT HARVEY kicked his fourth goal to "seal" the result. With only 11 minutes remaining the Crows trailed by 31pts.  After being horribly outplayed for most of the game, Adelaide in a remarkable turnaround kicked five unanswered goals and went within a breath of stealing the result. The Roos survived by only three points in a desperately fought finish.

The question remains—no Carey, no Roos? – KANGAROOS 19.14-128 (Carey 6, Harvey 4, McKernan 4) best, Carey, McKernan, Harvey, ADELAIDE 19.11-125 (Vardy 5, Jarman 4, Welsh 3) best, McLeod, Jarman, Vardy.

<||> The roof was open at Colonial Stadium on Saturday night when Richmond consolidated their position in the top eight with their third in-a-row when they outlasted West Coast to win by nine points—26,304 watched proceedings. The Tigers led brilliantly by MATTHEW KNIGHTS can thank an outstanding second term for victory as they did not kick a goal after the 12-minute mark of the third quarter.

BRENDAN GALE (back spasms) was a late withdrawal leaving the Tigers depleted. Coach Danny Frawley worked the team's lack of height, rucking BRETT OTTENS at centre bounces before basing him mainly at full-forward, and using the versatile BEN HARRISON to run with the Eagles' MICHAEL GARDINER. Injuries late in the game to both Ottens and Harrison further restricted the Tigers. The Eagles booted the last five goals of the game to get within 10pts with four minutes to play. It was, however, only in the final minutes that West Coast threatened to tear the result from the gritty Tigers' grasp. West Coast who played without the injured PETER MATERA may have pinched the win had SCOTT CUMMINGS kicked four goals instead of four behinds – RICHMOND 11.13-79 (Holland 4, Rogers 3) best, A.Kellaway, Holland, D.Kellaway, WEST COAST (Phillip Matera 4, Gehrig 4) best, Phillip Matera, Jones, Morrison.

<||> The Gabba looked a picture in the fine sunny conditions of Sunday with the playing arena firm and fast following considerable rain during the week—the roll-up numbered 29,046 to watch a critical contest between the Lions and Magpies. Brisbane broke a two-match losing streak while Collingwood from a 5+0 opening, dropped their fourth on the trot.

With the match tight throughout—the opening 10 goals by both sides were without blemish—the contest was still in the balance until early in the last quarter after the lead had changed six times. The Magpies had been impressive with NATHAN BUCKLEY leading the charge with 16 possessions in the opening quarter (40 overall). It was his Lions' counterpart MICHAEL VOSS who stepped up to tilt the scales. Off early with an ankle injury which seemed to have ended his season, Voss returned late in the third term. With the Lions up by two points, seven minutes into the last, Voss unloaded a booming 60 metre-plus kick which goaled to knock the stuffing out of the Pies. Finishing strongly, the Lions won by 29 points – BRISBANE 22.14-146 (Power 6, Lynch 4, Black 3) best, Power, M.Voss, McRae, COLLINGWOOD 18.9-117 (A.Rocca 4, Tarrant 3, Tuckey 3) best, Buckley, Tarrant, A.Rocca.

<||> A fine Sunday brought good Subiaco conditions and 28,421 as Fremantle aimed for three in-a-row. Carlton however showed their class, softening up the Dockers in the first half, then landing the killer punch by kicking 8.6 to three goals in the third to bury their opposition.

MARK DUFFIELD reported in The West Australian: ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES and tough midfielder BRETT RATTEN were the stars but the Blues had plenty of winners on a day when Fremantle's new and tougher midfield learned that there were still some older and tougher outfits around. Fremantle coach Damian Drum was disappointed to lose but rated the Blues as close in standard to Essendon.

Freo was still competitive into the last quarter but Carlton had well and truly taken its foot off the pedal by that stage. Had it not been for on-ballers PAUL HASLEBY (29 possessions) and LUKE TOIA (27) and enigmatic forward CLIVE WATERHOUSE, who kicked six goals, Fremantle's plight would have been far more alarming – CARLTON 21,21-147 (Koutoufides 4, Freeborn 3) best, Koutoufides, Ratten, Whitnall, FREMANTLE 13.4-82 (Waterhouse 6) best, Hasleby, Waterhouse, Toia.

<||> An assembly of 62,606 were at the MCG on Sunday where Melbourne issued a firm challenge to the unbeaten Essendon. MATTHEW LLOYD and JAMES HIRD were, collectively, the difference—Lloyd booted six goals—no other player on the field booted more than three. JAMES HIRD had the ball 35 times and booted two goals—no other player had so much football and few used it with such finesse.

JAKE NIALL noted in his review for The Age: The Dees were sound in defence, where ANTHONY INGERSON and PETER WALSH were terrific. They broke even, at worst, in the midfield. But they did not finish as well as Essendon and they made more errors, especially when the ball entered their forward line.

The Demons booted four of the last five goals, but they were playing for the honour of being Essendon's most competitive opposition this season. It says something about this Essendon side that teams are judged on how long they remain competitive and how close they get – ESSENDON 15.16-106 (Lloyd 6) best, Hird, Lloyd, Hardwick, MELBOURNE 13.15-93 (Robertson 3) best, Leoncelli, Woewodin, Ingerson.

<||> One of the smallest crowds to watch a Sydney home game at the SCG for five years attended on a sunny Sunday when just 22,446 went through the gate—playing conditions were generally good, with only a few slippery spots. The Swans' horror run of five defeats ended when they invented a victory against Port, who were rated as "diabolical" by their coach Mark Williams.

After leading by two points at the first break, Port Adelaide proceeded to add 5 goals 18 behinds for the remainder of the game. They still however got to within four points early in the last quarter when they added 2.9.

As RICHARD HINDS observed for The Age: "...the Swans always looked likely to pull away. ADAM GOODES' four first-half goals and a slight edge in the midfield, partly due to the hard work of youngster JUDE BOLTON, gave them a lead they were able to protect. ... Yet, at their best, it was also one they should have enhanced. Instead the Swans relied partly on the Power's terrible conversion. That CHAD CORNES was then able to enliven the Power attack in the last quarter, left the question unanswered; had the Swans done well to eke out an important victory or was this no more than a battling effort against the AFL's 15th team? – SYDNEY 16.15-111 (AhMat 5, Goodes 4) best, Dunkley, AhMat, Stafford, PORT 11.19-85 (Schofield 2, Burgoyne 2) best, N.Stevens, Kingsley, Burgoyne.

They said it ...
SAM NEWMAN, on Melbourne's Triple M commenting on Saturday's match
— "The Geelong forward line are like Stonehenge—too old, too slow and no one knows why they are positioned that way".

MIKE SHEAHAN, Talking Footy, Monday, May 8, on the issues facing the AFL Commission — "There's the disenfranchisement of the electorate. The people are angry—they're hostile, of what's happening to their game—that to me is the bigger issue. Programming, seat surcharges—all these things that have suddenly been thrust upon the people who have been going to the game for years and suddenly feel that their game has been taken away".

Stab Kicks ...
** CARLTON failed to gain an early Supreme Court hearing in their action against the AFL and Channel Seven. On May 4, Master Katherine Kings said there was not sufficient urgency in the case for it to be brought forward from its trial date in September.

** The AFL, Village Ten Online, Bloomberg TV and Fairfax f2 have signed with the Real Broadcast Network launched in Sydney on May 4. The Australian reported the AFL will provide live commentaries and archive material on its site. The Real Broadcast Network promises a more viable way to transmit video and audio from websites with broadcasts of better-quality images that can be downloaded faster than existing Internet services.

** The ADELAIDE club on May 4 announced it would invest $30,000 into Sydney AFL club ST GEORGE in return for preferential treatment in the AFL draft for players in the region. St George, formed in 1928 who last won a premiership in 1993 will change its nickname to the Crows and wear a near identical strip to the Adelaide club. The Crows also planned to play two AFL matches in Sydney next year, but would not be giving up any home games.

** Hawthorn president IAN DICKER in his Round 9 pre-game luncheon address outlined the club's six-point plan which included the desire to remain the AFL's "family club" and play most of its home games on Saturday afternoons. At the expense of the Ansett Cup pre-season matches, the Hawks also favour a season lasting 30 games.

** The addition of a combined Northern Territory side to the SANFL competition has been put on hold until 2002. Finances are not a problem, but the NTFL in Darwin wish to have the stability and human assets in place before they become the 10th side in the SANFL.

** Melbourne president JOSEPH GUTNICK used the Round 9 pre-match lunch on Sunday to again attack the AFL Commission and called on commission chairman RON EVANS to resign. Mr Gutnick departed Australia on business shortly after the match concluded.
Mr Evans responded to the proposal for four of the eight commissioners to be elected by the AFL or club members saying: "The Gutnick proposal will take the AFL back to the 1980s when sectional interests brought the VFL competition to its knees."
By Monday evening, an overwhelming majority of the 16 member clubs contacted by the AFL chairman had dismissed the call by Gutnick.
Mr Evans is managing director of Spotless Services, which, through subsidiary company Nationwide Venue Management (NVM), manages Colonial Stadium. He played 64 games with Essendon (1958-62) during which he was VFL leading goalkicker in 1959 and 1960. He later became president of the Essendon club.

** The Age reported the Western Bulldogs have been ordered to attend a series of behavioural sessions in an attempt to improve their conduct and clean up the club's image. Caroline Wilson wrote, "The Age believe club president DAVID SMORGAN several days ago summoned Bulldogs coach TERRY WALLACE, club Chief executive MARK PATTERSON and the general manager of football operations PAUL ARMSTRONG, to work toward a culture change at the club".

AFL announces
Demetriou takes football operations post
The 39-year-old ANDREW DEMETRIOU was named football operations chief of the AFL on Thursday night (11th). He will take up the post next month, replacing IAN COLLINS who is now head of Colonial Stadium.

The AFL Players' Association executive, where he has been CEO since May 1998 has agreed to release Demetriou from his contract.

WAYNE JACKSON, the AFL chief, said the League was "absolutely delighted" to secure its man after a two-month search for the job regarded as the No. 2 position in the AFL.

Andrew played 106 League matches for the Kangaroos (85 games, 1981-87) and Hawthorn (3 games, 1988).

MARK STEVENS noted in the Herald Sun (13th) that by the time Demetriou crossed to Hawthorn, at 27, his company, The Ruthinium Group, a dental health business, had an annual turnover of $12 million. From a humble start importing acrylic teeth, Demetriou was the chairman of the world's fourth-biggest supplier of false teeth.

Demetriou travelled the world, forging new markets when the approach came from the AFL Players' Association in 1998 to take over from JUSTIN MADDEN. He scaled down his role in business and concentrated on the players' union role.

His impact on the AFLPA was immediate, building a more professional, corporate image and setting his sights on the collective bargaining agreement which was successfully concluded in June last year.

Demetriou's role with the AFLPA will be filled by ROB KERR, the executive director of player development, until a permanent replacement is known.

Carlton's Team of the Century
A panel, which consisted of John Elliott, John Gurrieri, Wes Lofts, Kevin Hall, Col Kinnear and Tim Lane, announced Carlton's Team of the Century on Thursday (11th). The team will be feted at Crown Palladium on Saturday May 20.
The team:
B: Bruce Comden, Stephen Silvagni, Geoff Southby
HB: John James, Bert Deacon, Bruce Doull
C: Gary Crane, Greg Williams, Craig Bradley
HF: Wayne Johnstone, Stephen Kernahan, Alex Jesaulenko
F: Ken Hands, Harry Vallence, Rod Ashman
Foll: John Nicholls, Sergio Silvagni, Adrian Gallagher
Inter: Mike Fitzpatrick, Ken Hunter, Trevor Keogh, Robert Walls
Coach: David Parkin


Kangas' record MCG finish
Tigers & Demons consolidate
'Mother's Day massacre' at SCG

ROUND 10 — Fri-Sat-Sun-Mon, May 12-13-14-15.
MILESTONES — JOE MISITI (Ess, 1992-2000) played his 150th ... a century of games for ADAM SIMPSON (NMK, 1995-2000) and GREG STAFFORD (Syd, 1993-2000) — Stafford is the first Sydney-born to play 100 for the Swans ... 50 games for DANNY MORTON (20 PA 1998-2000, also 30 Fit 1993-96) ... FABIAN FRANCIS played his 50th for Port, also 1 Mel 1991, 22 Bri 1993-94 ... STEVEN FEBEY in game 227 for Melbourne became the 6th longest-serving player for the club ... trailing by three points at half-time, the Kangaroos produced one of the great turnarounds, kicking the record MCG last quarter score of 12.3-75 to defeat Fremantle by 88 points ...

<> Only 12,400 attended the MCG Kangaroos-Fremantle match on Sunday afternoon. It was the lowest at headquarters since 1993. In the early 1990s the lowest to attend the G was 8,653 watched NM v Bri, 93-R1 …
<> The Kangaroos trailed by three points at half-time, and produced one of the great turnarounds, kicking the record MCG last quarter score of 12.3-75 to defeat Fremantle by 88 points …

<> FRASER GEHRIG (WCE) reached 150 goals in game 106 ...¾ Collingwood lost their fifth in-a-row ... the Pies kicked 7.12-54, the lowest score of the season …

<> In their 77th League game Port Power tied their third game ... STEPHEN PHILLIPS pointed out this is a ratio of 1:26 — the normal ratio is 1:92 ... the final quarter at Footy Park lasted only 24m 07s — players were stunned when the siren blew and took time to realise the game had finished …

<> Carlton posted their third in-a-row ... the Saints remained winless …

<> CHRIS GRANT's seven goals for the Bulldogs was the best against Sydney since DANNY DEL RE booted 7.1, 92-R4-SCG ...

<> The Bombers 46pt margin equalled that of 93-R9-MCG, but both trail the 122pt pasting Essendon handed the Crows, 95-R14-MCG ...

<> Melbourne’s RUSSELL ROBERTSON reached 50 goals in game 42 ... the 24,908 at Colonial was the biggest to see the two in action, passing 21,753 at the Gabba, 99-R6 ...

<||> Substantial rain fell in Perth in the 36 hours before Friday night's clash at Subiaco and falls were experienced during the match to which 37,549 attended. West Coast regained a place in the top eight with a 30pt victory over Hawthorn who slid back below the line.

The Hawks started well and with a fierce possession rate quickly had the Eagles staring down the barrel. Enter FRASER GEHRIG—he had only three kicks in the first quarter but all were goals including one from the boundary on the run from 55 metres—the Eagles took the lead by quarter time. Across the game it was the SCOTT CUMMINGS and Gehrig show with both kicking five goals. Hawthorn were a long way from the slick outfit which had comprehensively beaten the Bulldogs, Tigers and Cats in successive weeks. Crucial to their defeat was mishandling of the greasy ball and the failure of the young Hawk forward line to break clear of a ferocious Eagle defence led by GLEN JAKOVICH and ASHLEY McINTOSH, who is playing hard and spirited football under Judge – WEST COAST 17.16-118 (Gehrig 5, Cummings 5) best, Kemp, Gehrig, Gardiner, HAWTHORN 13.10-88 (Croad 3) best, Vandenberg, Bowyer, Harford.

<||> Grey skies overhead with the chance of a shower failed to deter 64,769 filing into the MCG on Saturday afternoon. It was good footy weather for the clash between two old rivals. Collingwood were playing their fourth game in 18 days but fitness wasn't the reason for the 48pt thrashing they received from Richmond.

The Tigers with a committed midfield and a hard working forward line performed as a "fair-dinkum" footy club as their coach Danny Frawley rated them. Collingwood were outplayed, outmarked and outkicked as the two Kellaway brothers, Andrew and Duncan were in superb form—Andrew kept Rocca (the younger) quiet, while Duncan constantly frustrated Pie captain NATHAN BUCKLEY. Richmond had numerous winners with MATTHEW KNIGHTS commanding the centre zone of the ground while WAYNE CAMPBELL and MARC DRAGICEVIC playing off the bench broke the game open with individual brilliance. Held to the lowest score of the season so far, Collingwood after a great start face the prospect of falling by the wayside. The Tigers with their third on-the-trot appear to be homing in for only their second finals appearance in almost 20 years – RICHMOND 15.12-102 (Campbell 3, Dragicevic 3, Gale 3) best, D.Kellaway, A.Kellaway, Campbell, COLLINGWOOD 7.12-54 (A.Rocca 2) best, Betheras, Prestigiacomo, Tarrant.

<||> Football Park on Saturday night was cold, windy and miserable with the smallest crowd to attend an AFL game in Adelaide—only 19,511 witnessed the first draw after 143 encounters at the ground. As a relief for many, the final quarter lasted a surprising but accurate 24 minutes and seven seconds.

PETER KRUPKA reviewing the result for The Australian said: Port Adelaide and Geelong achieved the kind of result that many thought impossible in Australian football—a boring draw. The only emotion or feeling which Saturday night's encounter stirred was pain.

It was painful to watch the 3rd-placed Cats make so many basic errors that the prospect of them unleashing a match-winning manoeuvre, or finding a match-winning player, was impossible ... The more this miserable game was analysed, the more the result seemed fitting—Geelong have forgotten how to win a game and Port do not know how to win – PORT 10.18-78 (Cornes 3) best, Cornes, Kingsley, Montgomery, GEELONG 12.6-78 (Mensch 3) best, Mensch, Houlihan, King.

<||> Gremlins were still in the works on Saturday night at Colonial Stadium—with showers forecast, only one section of the roof closed, the other half was finally activated to shut during half time. A good crowd of 38,151 was present.

Carlton did not shake off the persistent Saints until the final quarter, with the Blues often wasteful or forced into error—it may also have resulted from the prospect of being the first side to lose to St Kilda for the year. The in-form ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES was a fine performer for Carlton but the strength of the win came from MATTHEW ALLEN who dominated the ruck in a best-on-ground showing. In contrast, St Kilda's PETER EVERITT took only two marks, had seven possessions and gave two away two costly free kicks. MATTHEW LAPPIN also stood out in the last term, kicking two goals inside a minute which sealed the result.

St Kilda have a chance to break through when they play Port Adelaide, the second-worst side in the AFL on Friday night – CARLTON 15.19-109 (Lappin 4, Whitnall 3, Koutoufides 3) best, Koutoufides, Silvagni, Lappin, ST KILDA 11.16-82 (Hayes 2, Loewe 2, Hall 2, Moyle 2) best, Harvey, Hall, Burke.

<||> The Western Bulldogs experiment of playing a 'home' game at the SCG though below target was termed a success when 18,817 were catered for on a fine Sunday afternoon with Dogs' president DAVID SMORGAN estimating his club would pocket some $200,000 from the venture. The Dogs following a run of recent outs annihilated the Swans by 58 points.

CHRIS GRANT led the way for the Bulldog slaughter with seven-straight for day however, there were many other Dogs who put up their hand—clever midfielders TONY LIBERATORE, JOSE ROMERO, SCOTT WEST, BRAD JOHNSON, together with the ruck dominance of big men SCOTT WYND and LUKE DARCY.  Whatever ails the Swans evades logic and explanation following their great start in the Ansett Cup and a treble of opening wins but clearly, they are out of the race for this season. The Bulldogs after five weeks absence returned to the top eight – BULLDOGS 21.11-137 (Grant 7.0, Smith 5) best, Grant, Johnson, S.West, SYDNEY 12.7-79 (Barry 2, Bolton 2) best, Bolton, O’Loughlin, Schwass.

<||> On a cold and windy Sunday afternoon, the smallest crowd for seven seasons were at the MCG—12,400 was the figure posted. In a sloppy affair, Fremantle led the Kangaroos by three points at half time.  WAYNE CAREY moved from defence to attack in the second half, taking 11 marks (seven contested, four uncontested) and in another stellar performance kicked seven goals, one behind.

After a blistering half-time address from Denis Pagan, the Roos lifted and Fremantle simply folded under the pressure with only SHAUN McMANUS, TONY MODRA (three goals in the second) and BRAD DODD able to hold their heads high. The Kanga quartet of MATTHEW BURTON (23 hit-outs), PETER BELL (25 touches), BRENT HARVEY (four last-half goals) WINSTON ABRAHAM (20 possessions) as well as Carey went on a record-breaking rampage. Their 88pt win was achieved by kicking 18 goals to three after half time, with a finishing burst of 12.3-75, the biggest last quarter kicked in 1,927 League matches played at the MCG. The 91pt turnaround after half time is the fifth highest on record – KANGAROOS 22.16-148 (Carey 7.1, Harvey 4) best, Carey, Harvey, Burton, FREMANTLE 8.12-60 (Modra 3) best, McManus, Toia, Waterhouse.

<||> Under a closed roof on Sunday afternoon, a Dockland gallery of 34,626 at three-quarter time would have felt they were about to see a "major upset". In a pretty good contest, Adelaide though only by two points, was still leading the undefeated Bombers. In the last quarter, the Crows were allowed to only add another two behinds.

The Crows had Essendon's measure for most of the game and chopped the Dons up in the midfield—BEN HART shut down the League's leading goalkicker MATTHEW LLOYD, forcing Sheedy's hand to switch DUSTIN FLETCHER forward, releasing Lloyd to defence. Fletcher kicked two goals in the comeback while Lloyd marked well on the backline. The Bombers in the concluding stages of the match from being 21pts down kicked 11 unanswered goals.
When the last quarter commenced MICHAEL LONG had one goal to his name, kicked late in the third term—in a vintage burst by the end of the match he had added another five, a personal best six for the day. MARK ROBINSON noted in The Herald Sun: Long's goals came from three marks, a devastating three-bounce run through half-forward and a timely snap over his shoulder that iced the cake.

Essendon unleashed a booming 8.4-52 finish to win their 10th-straight—they have now led the AFL ladder for 17 weeks—the record is 27, still 10 weeks away when they are drawn to play Carlton – ESSENDON 20.12-132 (Long 6, Lucas 3, Hird 3) best, Misiti, Long, Fletcher, ADELAIDE 12.12-84 (Jarman 4) best, McLeod, Ricciuto, Burton.

<||> Monday night was chilly in Melourne but it was warm and comfortable under a closed roof at Docklands where 24,908 of the faithful rolled up. Melbourne held its nerve after being headed by Brisbane in the final term to win a thriller by 18 points.

The Lions had a terrific first half leading by 19 points at the first change, extending this to 27pts. They seemed set to bury the Demons before descending into a period of appalling inaccuracy in which they kicked 11 successive behinds before their ninth goal, 10 minutes into the last term. In contrast, Melbourne in the same time frame kicked eight goals.

Midway in the last quarter Brisbane hit the front, after Akermanis and Lynch (2) goaled, then with the game in the balance, 20-year-old CAMERON BRUCE stepped up for the Demons with two goals in the frantic final minutes. Brisbane co-captain ALASTAIR LYNCH had a super night in goals with 6.4, although had his four misses hit the mark it could have had a different ending. His opposite number DAVID NEITZ led the Demons well, with 25 kicks, six handballs and 14 marks—a big game – MELBOURNE 15.12-102 (Farmer 3, White 3) best, Neitz, Leoncelli, White, BRISBANE 11.18-84 (Lynch 6) best, Lynch, White, Johnson.

Everitt off; Hilton, Embley & Heuskes suspended
At Monday's Tribunal, St Kilda's PETER EVERITT was found not guilty of charging Carlton's STEPHEN O'REILLY.

RORY HILTON (Rch) pleaded guilty and was suspended for two matches on the charge of striking Collingwood forward CHRIS TARRANT. It was the second suspension this year for Hilton who received two-games for striking TONY BROWN (StK) in a practice match.

ANDREW EMBLEY (WC) faced the Tribunal on Tuesday and was found guilty of striking JOHN BARKER (Haw). Embley was suspended for two matches.
On Wednesday the Tribunal head the charge against ADAM HEUSKES (Bri) who from video evidence was cited for tripping ADEM YZE (Mel). Heuskes was found guilty and suspended for one match.

AFL Hall of Fame
Kevin Bartlett becomes a Legend
Eight added to Hall of Fame
The Plaza Ballroom in Melbourne was the setting on Friday evening (May 12) of the annual prestige event on the AFL calendar. The gathering of the greatest players to serve the game has now achieved a high point of the recognition it deserves.

KEVIN BARTLETT, the former Richmond champion who was the first VFL player of the game to reach 400 matches was installed as a Legend of the Game.

Bartlett played 403 games with the Tigers from 1965-83, kicking 778 goals and was a member of the 1967, 1969, 1973, 1974 and 1980 Richmond premiership teams. He is a noted anchor of the 3UZ Big Sports Breakfast and is a regular commentator for the Seven Network.

Others inducted to the Hall of Fame were —
> DAVID DENCH, North Melbourne captain
> the late DES FOTHERGILL, the 1940 Brownlow Medal winner
> inaugural West Coast captain and former North Melbourne player ROSS GLENDINNING who won the Brownlow in 1983
> Geelong rover and former coach of the Cats BILL GOGGIN
> Brownlow winner of 1988 GERARD HEALY who played with Melbourne and Sydney
> Carlton premiership defender GEOFF SOUTHBY
> Essendon captain and present-day St Kilda coach TIM WATSON
> the late GEOFF CHRISTIAN, a noted WA journalist and ABC broadcaster.

Melbourne Radio Ratings
3LO leaders for Saturday call
The latest Melbourne radio ratings for the 2000 season were published on Wednesday May 10.

The ABC Melbourne team led by TIM LANE and DWAYNE RUSSELL narrowly hold favouritism for the Saturday afternoon call over EDDIE McGUIRE's MMM team. The movement of SAM NEWMAN from 3AW to MMM this season may be responsible for a dramatic shift in the preference of listeners.

MMM hold favouritism of Melbourne listeners on Sunday.

Friday (call) 13.2 12.8 10.7
Saturday overall (12-6) 9.5 12.7 12.2
Saturday (12-2) 8.0 11.2 10.7
Saturday call (2-5) 10.9 13.1 13.4
Saturday (5-6) 10.9 14.4 12.2
Saturday nights 9.7 8.8 9.6
Sunday overall (12-6) 8.1 12.2 10.8
Sunday (12-2) 7.2 11.0 10.8
Sunday call (2-5) 8.5 14.1 11.2
Sunday (5-6) 8.7 10.3 10.2


They said it ...
MIKE SHEAHAN, Herald Sun, May 13, on the appointment of ANDREW DEMETRIOU as AFL football operations manager
— Demetriou comes with solid credentials. He has elevated the players' association to previously unattainable heights, and widespread respect.
He did such a good job for the players in the collective bargaining agreement, perhaps the commission decided it was again time to turn the poacher into a gamekeeper, the case when it lured Collins away from Carlton.
While Demetriou certainly doesn't have the experience of Miller and Cook at club level, no one is better acquainted with the mechanics of the salary cap or workplace conditions for players.

FRANCIS LEACH, Time On, ABC Radio — If Tim Watson appeared on 'Sale of the Century' it wouldn't be as a contestant ...


Stab Kicks ...
** The official attendance of the R10 Western Bulldogs v Sydney match on Sunday (14th) was reduced from 23,085 to 18,085. An AFL spokesman said the attendance issued on match day was the number of tickets sold for the game. However, the figures had to be reduced because 5,000 people who purchased tickets as part of a Sydney membership package did not attend the game.

** Giant Adelaide ruckman SHAUN REHN suffered a fractured cheekbone in a clash of heads with Essendon midfielder MARK JOHNSON on Sunday at Docklands—Rehn will miss six weeks to two months. The hairline fracture will not require surgery.

** Melbourne businessman and arts patron RICHARD PRATT has resigned as a director of the Carlton FC. Pratt has a long association with Carlton—as a 17-year old he played for Carlton Under 19s from 1952 and won the Morrish Medal as Best & Fairest for the Under 19 competition in 1953.

** Richmond suspended BRETT OTTENS for one senior match for being drunk in public. The 20-year old Ottens was collected by coach Danny Frawley from St Kilda Police Station early on Sunday morning (14th) after spending four hours in a cell. Ottens will miss a senior match and will appear for Richmond Reserves in the VFL. He is the fourth player to be suspended by Richmond this year for a similar digression.

** With Collingwood expressing interest in playing up to three games in Sydney next season, Melbourne have indicated they want to initiate a regular Anzac Day 'grudge" match against Sydney at the SCG—between teams representing Australia's two biggest cities.

** AAP reported: Sydney was seeking legal advice in relation to what it called "offensive" comments by Collingwood president EDDIE McGUIRE. McGuire is reported to have said to The Age, Collingwood was now dealing with Sydney as the Magpies' worst enemy. "Sydney spoke to us last year about Collingwood playing a game there this year and the deal that they put forward to us tried to stitch is," McGuire said.
Sydney chairman RICHARD COLLESS hit back: "The Sydney FC believes the comments by Mr McGuire do more harm to the fabric of the game than virtually anything else," he said.


Koutoufides stars in Carlton win
Bulldogs set new Perth records
Bombers remain unbeaten

ROUND 11 — Fri-Sat-Sun, May 19-20-21.
MILESTONES — MICK MARTYN (NMK, 1988-2000) played his 250th game ... BRETT RATTEN (Car, 1990-2000) reached his 200th ... MAL MICHAEL (Col, 1997-2000) played his 50th ... 18-year old Brisbane player DAVID CUPIDO became the first South African born to play League football ...

<> Collingwood coach MICHAEL MALTHOUSE equalled a personal record when his Magpies suffered their sixth successive defeat on the weekend. When coaching Footscray in 1989 he lost six matches in R2-3-4-5-6-7.

<> St Kilda won their fifth-straight over Port ... 8.4-52 on Friday night was the biggest last quarter by the Saints versus the Power — the 62pt margin equalled that of 99-R9-P but fell short of the 65pt difference recorded 97-R7-P ... PETER EVERITT (StK) reached 250 goals in game 143 …

<> The match at Princes Park produced 24 goalkickers, 13 by Carlton, 11 by the Roos—one short of the record 25 when the Geelong (15) and Bulldogs (10) met 99-R2-PP ...  The Blues beat the Kangas for the time since 95-2PF-MCG ending six successive defeats, the best run by the Arden Street unit against the Blues in 132 games since 1925 ... SIMON BEAUMONT (Car) reached 50 goals in game 70 ...

<> Richmond in 2000 have won six of their past seven matches and climbed to third, their highest ranking since 1997-R2 …

<> The Bulldogs against Freo kicked the highest score and won by the greatest margin in 204 games by a side visiting side Perth. Previous highest score at both the WACA and Subi was only two rounds back by Carlton, 21.21-147 versus Freo in R9, while Saturday's GWM of 93 points topped the 71pts registered by Hawthorn 94-R5 v WCE then North Melb 95-R11 v Fremantle, both at Subiaco Oval ... the Bulldogs equalled a club record with 12 goalkickers for the match, set five times previously …

<> ABC Radio reported former champion TONY LOCKETT made a cameo appearance on the SCG during half time — someone handed him a footy and from 30 metres he slotted it through the goalposts at the Paddington end ... shortly after 5pm, the ground sprinklers briefly came to life early in the third quarter—play was not disrupted ...

<||> St Kilda surged to their first victory of the season on Friday night at the expense of a hapless Port Adelaide. Only a lean 17,509 were present under the closed roof at Docklands. The first quarter with only two goals scored was full of all the errors one would expect from a battle of the two bottom sides.

The Saints took over in the second quarter and inaccuracy was the only reason they didn't bury the Power before half-time—Port couldn't buy a goal. Mindful of their fadeouts in recent encounters, St Kilda broke the drought with a cloudburst in the final term kicking 8.4 to annihilate Port by more than 10 goals.

STEWART LOEWE in one of his best games for ages was a standout performer for the Saints, taking 13 match-breaking marks in a 30 possession game – Loewe was ably supported by veteran captain NATHAN BURKE in game 281, BARRY HALL (six goals), ROBERT HARVEY and JASON TRAIANIDIS – ST KILDA 17.15-117 (Hall 6, Loewe 3) best, Loewe, Burke, Traianidis, PORT 8.7-55 (Montgomery, Francis, Wilson.

<||> Heavy rain early on Saturday afternoon cleared to sunshine at Princes Park, which was packed with 28,944 fans. Carlton and the Roos delivered a game of quality football under the conditions. The Blues in a great team performance won by five goals in which the athletic utility ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES was outstanding with 36 possessions, 17 kicks, 21 handballs—he took eight marks in an awesome display which Roo coach Denis Pagan identified as the difference between the two sides.

Carlton maintained a game-long intensity to produce an emphatic victory, which broke a six-match losing streak against the Kangas dating back to 1996 including the 1999 Grand Final. MICHAEL DAVIS noted in his assessment for The Australian: Carlton's MATTHEW ALLEN controlled the ruck contests and BRETT RATTEN (in his 200th game) was superb, picking up 30 possessions ... ANDREW McKAY defended with dash and ADRIAN HICKMOTT, who spent a lot of time on the bench, was a creative midfielder.

MICK MARTYN playing his 250th was one who did not let the Roos down—he had the better of his duel with Carlton's key forward LANCE WHITNALL – CARLTON 20.9-129 (Koutoufides 5) best, Koutoufides, McKay, Hickmott, KANGAROOS 15.9-99 (McKernan 3) best, Bell, Makepeace, Blakey.

<||> Richmond won their sixth game from the last seven starts when they came from behind in a desperate last term to beat Hawthorn by three points at the MCG on Saturday afternoon. A good crowd of 41,057 attended, braving heavy rain before the match, which turned to sunshine for the rest of the day. The Hawks failed to nail the Tigers when they led by four goals late in the third quarter.

Richmond was seriously undermanned but the energy, spirit and desperation won through against the odds. The Richmond victory inspired Hawthorn president IAN DICKER to go to the rooms after the match to congratulate the victors. TONY JEWELL, Richmond's 1980 premiership coach told JIM MAIN (The Australian) it had been a quarter of a century since a club president had made such a gesture.

NICK DAFFY was back to his best form for the Tigers, while Campbell, Knights and Cameron stood tall in a game which the Richmond coaching panel must take the plaudits for cleverly using their gun players in positive roles. Hawthorn managed only one goal in the last 40 minutes of the match – RICHMOND 11.14-80 (Daffy 3) best, Daffy, Knights, Campbell, HAWTHORN 11.11-77 (Holland 3, Croad 3) best, Rawlings, Holland, Crawford.

<||> The Bulldogs unleashed a powerful last half to record the highest score and greatest winning margin by any visiting side in the 215 matches played in Perth since 1987. The 20,821 present in the fine conditions at Subiaco Oval watched a side running back into form as the Dogs relentlessly disposed of Fremantle by 93 points.

The Bulldogs pounced on the Dockers whose opposition diminished as injuries to ANTHONY JONES, DANIEL BANDY, LUKE TOIA and DALE KICKETT took them out of the game. Even at full strength, Fremantle on the night were unlikely to have found counters to the Dog ball-winners SCOTT WEST (31 possessions), JOSE ROMERO (29), TONY LIBERATORE (28) and PAUL DIMATTINA (21) who were rampant. PAUL HUDSON with six goals, ROHAN SMITH four, led the Bulldog blitz in a club record-equalling tally of 12 goalkickers.

The devastating trio of losses by 246pts—R9 v Car (65pts), R10 v Kan (88), R11 v WB (93) has brought a critical loss of morale to the Dockers' camp. Injuries are also biting deeply into Freo. ANTHONY JONES during the match suffered four broken ribs and a punctured lung and was still hospitalised midweek, while veteran DALE KICKETT may have a cracked vertebrae and will be out for up to two months – BULLDOGS 27.12-174 Hudson 6, Smith 4, Romero 3, Darcy 3) best, S.West, Hudson, Grant, FREMANTLE 12.9-81 (Waterhouse 4) best, Waterhouse, Bandy, T.Longmuir.

<||> The Saturday night contest drew 47,071, the biggest crowd to attend Colonial Stadium—the roof was closed. Essendon faced a challenge for the third week in a row, but Geelong's lasted only as far as the first quarter as the Bombers kicked 18 goals to six to cruise in for their 11th straight-win.

MELISSA RYAN reported for The Age: The devastating twin towers of MATTHEW LLOYD and SCOTT LUCAS blasted Geelong's defence into oblivion with 11 goals between them, while Geelong's only major scoring contributor was CLINT BIZZELL, who piled on six goals of his own, but had little support elsewhere ... the form of ADAM RAMANAUSKAS on the wing was integral to maintaining the Bombers in attack—Ramanauskas' flowing football was astonishing, capturing him a best-on-ground 31 possessions and 14 marks.

Though JAMES HIRD wasn't the best, his 29 touches including 11 in the third term were full of elegance and skill. When added to the ability of DANNY JACOBS, AARON HENNEMAN, DUSTIN FLETCHER, MARK MERCURI and the sharp-shooting MATTHEW LLOYD, it prompted ANDREW RAMSAY in The Australian to muse—"The only real quandary facing head coach KEVIN SHEEDY is which of his worthy squad members will be left out of his 22 come grand final day." – ESSENDON 22.13-145 (Lloyd 7.2) best, Hird, Mercuri, Ramanauskas, GEELONG 13.9-87 (Bizzell 6) best, Riccardi, Bizzell, McGrath.

<||> A good assembly of 37,871 enjoyed the sunshine and a fine Adelaide win on Sunday at Football Park—that it was only by a 35pt margin over an appallingly inaccurate Melbourne is curious. The Crows often displayed a skilful style recalling some of their headier days, yet failed to punish the visitors.

Melbourne led 3.3 to 0.1 at the 19-minute mark of the first quarter but didn't score its fourth goal (by ADEM YZE) until 25 minutes in the third term. Melbourne added 13 successive behinds. In their final score of 8.22, eleven Demons kicked behinds. DAVID SCHWARZ and JEFF FARMER led the way with five each, RUSSELL ROBERTSON got three and eight others contributed one each—one was also rushed.

For The Age ALAN SHIELL noted: Adelaide were well-served by BRETT BURTON and SIMON GOODWIN who kept pumping the ball forward where PETER VARDY (five goals) and DARREN JARMAN (three) cut holes in the Demons' defence ... from the backline NATHAN BASSETT and BEN HART were strong on the rebound. 21-year old IAN PERRIE, the left-footer from East Perth in only his ninth game (over two seasons) again looked the part at centre half-forward against DAVID NEITZ – ADELAIDE 15.15-105 (Vardy, Jarman 3) best, Goodwin, Bassett, Vardy, MELBOURNE 8.22-70 (Robertson 3) best, Robertson, Powell, Leoncelli.

<||> West Coast after a big start led by six goals at quarter-time and held off any challenge which Collingwood served to win by as much in the Sunday afternoon match played under sunshine and blue skies at Colonial Stadium—29,072 were present.

The Magpies crept as close as 17pts in the third term but generally were never in the hunt against the Eagles. GREG BAUM reporting for The Age noted: The difference was starkest in the ruck, where MICHAEL GARDINER (WC) dominated. Gardiner is two years older than JOSH FRASER (C), two years more seasoned and two years' stronger in the body, and it showed in his 31 hit-outs ... with Gardiner dominant, the Eagles had the run of the game from midfield. DEAN KEMP played his usual polished game, ANDREW DONNELLY was prominent and ROWAN JONES did a vigilant smothering job on NATHAN BUCKLEY ... FRASER GEHRIG got his hands dirty to kick five goals, and the Matera brothers in forward pockets threatened always to make something from nothing, and frequently made that threat good.

Collingwood with their sixth successive loss slipped from the top eight to 10th place, while the Eagles went from 7th to 5th – WEST COAST 18.20-128 (Gehrig 5, Phillip Matera 4, Peter Matera 3) best, Gardiner, Peter Matera, Donnelly, COLLINGWOOD 13.14-92 (A.Rocca 2, Williams, 2, Tarrant 2, Michael 2) best, Licuria, Tarrant, Buckley.

<||> The sliding fortunes of Sydney was reflected by the smallest crowd to watch a "home" match at the SCG since 1996—only 19,789 attended. The game was played in fine conditions in spite of recent rain. Brisbane kept their finals hopes alive when they inflicted Sydney's fifth single-digit defeat at the SCG this season suffered in rounds 4-5-6-7 and 11.

The Lions looked gone when they trailed the Swans by 31 points at halftime. Sydney had enjoyed an impressive first half when they kicked long and took marks in their attacking 50 metre zone—they rediscovered the form and style that had been so successful earlier in the season, seven long weeks, and six defeats ago. However a 10-goal to four last half by the Lions turned it around. Sydney were without captain ANDREW DUNKLEY in the last half who was forced from the field with a corked thigh. His opponent ALASTAIR LYNCH kicked five straight for the Lions.

After leading by 36pts, Sydney scored 10 successive behinds from the 22nd minute of the third quarter until their 14th goal near the final siren to lose by three points – BRISBANE 16.14-110 (Lynch 5, Power 3) best, Black, Akermanis, Power, SYDNEY 15.17-107 (O’Loughlin 3, Goodes 3) best, Cresswell, O’Loughlin, Crouch.

Ladder at half-way mark

W L D % Pts
ESSENDON 11 0 157 44
CARLTON 8 3 124 32
RICHMOND 7 4 103 28
KANGAROOS 7 4 102 28
WEST COAST 6 4 1 117 26
GEELONG 6 4 1 103 26
MELBOURNE 6 5 115 24
WEST.B'DOGS 6 5 111 24
Brisbane 5 6 96 20
Collingwood 5 6 95 20
Hawthorn 5 6 92 20
Sydney 4 7 96 16
Adelaide 4 7 94 16
Fremantle 4 7 72 16
St Kilda 1 9 1 81 6
Port Adelaide 1 9 1 71 6


No tribunal required
No senior reports were lodged for the 11th round.

Stab Kicks ...
** The Herald Sun reported on May 22 that a police investigation is continuing after several formal complaints were made about violence that led to a town's football and netball teams being banned.

The Central Highlands FL in Victoria on May 17 banned Hepburn's four football and four netball sides until 2003. The ban followed a vicious brawl involving senior and reserves players, spectators and officials on Saturday April 15 during a match against Dunnstown. The aftermath left two people in hospital and in need of facial surgery.

Townsfolk have complained the penalty punishes many for the sins of a few.

** IAN COCKERILL reported in The Age on May 19 that Channel Seven has negotiated a new deal that will see at least five domestic rugby union Tests each year will be shown in Melbourne in prime time on Saturday nights which will squeeze out AFL telecasts.

Although the five-year deal does not take force until 2001, Seven has already pledged to screen live the forthcoming Australia-South Africa Test on July 8 from Colonial Stadium and two other Tests in the same month.

The decision means AFL telecasts of night games cannot begin until 10pm Eastern that will affect the Kangaroos-Richmond game from the SCG on July 8. The same applies to the following week's Essendon-Hawthorn match on July 15 and the Round 21 games between Richmond and Sydney, and Brisbane versus St Kilda on July 29.

** Further surgery has been ruled out for Sydney's PAUL KELLY. The champion midfielder fractured his left kneecap in the Qualifying Final last September that has not healed. He is continuing his rehabilitation process of running, cycling and swimming, but will not play this season.

** Though there is angst between the Sydney and Collingwood clubs, the Magpie president EDDIE McGUIRE announced on May 21 his club was still seeking to play three AFL matches in Sydney next season but not at the expense of any of its Victorian matches.

They said it ...
ANDREW RAMSAY, The Australian
— "The only real quandary facing head coach KEVIN SHEEDY is which of his worthy squad members will be left out of his 22 come grand final day."

Jack Williams passes
South Melbourne legend JACK "Basher" WILLIAMS passed away on May 16 aged 82. A rough and tough player, Jack was famous for his part in the 1945 'Bloodbath' Grand Final.

Williams was suspended for 12 weeks on two charges arising from the Grand Final — for adopting a fighting attitude to central umpire Frank Spoke for which he was suspended for eight matches, and for abusing a goal umpire which added a further fours weeks. In the same season, Williams had also received an eight week suspension for striking Essendon player TED LEEHANE.

A light-heavyweight boxer, Jack Williams played 61 games with the Bloods in 1939-40 and 1942-46. He was centre half-back in the 1945 Grand Final.

Described as a "lovely bloke" by Swans champion BOBBY SKILTON, who said "he was always in the rooms and on our first trip to Surfers with South, Basher was like a father to all of us."

Only four survivors remain from South Melbourne's 1945 Grand Final team.


Cats' comeback leaves Pies cold
Bulldogs run over Demons
Ruthless Blues expose Eagles

ROUND 12 — Fri-Sat-Sun, May 26-27-28.
MILESTONES — AFL support of National Reconciliation Week placed the Aboriginal flag beside the national emblem at all League venues … ADRIAN FLETCHER played his 200th League game (48 Fre 1998-2000, 23 Gee 1989-91, 22 StK 1992, 107 Bri 1993-97) ... SHANE PARKER (Fre 1995-2000) played his 100th ... 50 games for TRENT CROAD (Haw 1998-2000) and NICK STEVENS (PA 1998-2000) ... Essendon's MATTHEW LLOYD passed 300 goals in game 93.

<> Essendon's 25.19-169 overtook the 1911-R16-JO score of 23.20-158 as the fourth-highest of 190 contests against the Saints since 1897 ... 9.5-59 by the Bombers equalled their best second quarter posted 89-R17-M ...

<> Geelong's half-time score of 1.7-13 was their lowest against the Pies since the 1927 Second Semi when the Pies led 9.10-64 to 1.7-13 and won by 66pts ...

<> The Hawks beat the Dockers for the fifth successive time ... seven-straight goals brought a new highest third-quarter by Hawthorn versus Fremantle ...

<> The Roos continued their clean sweep versus Port, winning their sixth successive game ... the six contests since 1997 have been played at five venues, Princes Park, Football Park, Manuka Oval, the MCG (2), and the SCG ... the small crowd of 7,334 left only five smaller attendances to see AFL footy at the SCG ...

<> Carlton produced a last half of 12 goals to four finish and their second best last quarter effort (8.1-49) against the Eagles to record an emphatic 50pt victory ... it was West Coast's biggest defeat in Perth since Hawthorn beat them by 71pts, 94-R5-S ... Subiaco had 39,968 to see the contest which just failed to match the 42,764 who watched a soccer game the night before—82,732 through the Subi gates in 24 hours ...

<> The Bulldogs produced one of the greatest revivals of their 1,515 League matches when they came back from a 34 point half-time deficit to kick a triumphant 12 goals to three and defeat Melbourne by 25 points.

<||> A chilly Friday night drew 39,836 fans to Docklands where St Kilda under the closed roof burst away by kicking two goals in the first five minutes. Thereafter it was academic as Essendon assumed all control of the contest to effortlessly win their 12th successive game by almost 15 goals.

The Bombers moved into top gear from near the end of the first quarter and the landslide continued when two minutes into the second quarter the Saints' PETER EVERITT departed with a serious knee injury. The second quarter produced an Essendon burst of 9.5-59 and the remarkable fact that no St Kilda player managed a solitary statistic for the first seven minutes of the term.

The Dons led by as much as 98 points early in the last quarter before the Saints kicked some belated goals. Essendon became the first side to win the opening 12 games of the year since West Coast in 1991 and have now won 26 of their past 28 premiership contests—blighted only from their defeat by Port Adelaide in last year's 15th round and the now legendary one-point defeat by Carlton in the Preliminary Final – ESSENDON 25.19-169 (Lloyd 6, Moorcroft 3, Caracella 3) best, Fletcher, Lloyd, Blumfield, ST KILDA 13.5-83 (Hall 4, Loewe 3) best, Jones, Hall, Harvey.

<||> Saturday afternoon was miserable as 34,367 braved single-digit conditions at the MCG—snow was falling in the nearby Dandenong Ranges. The rain stopped just before the first bounce and the lights were turned on at quarter time. It was wet, slippery and windy as Collingwood raced to a five-goal lead over Geelong by half time and were on track to halt their sequence of six defeats.

After GLENN FREEBORN kicked the first goal of the second half, it seemed the Collingwood procession would continue. The Cats were lifted from their knees by a standout performance from ruckman STEPHEN KING who had the better of the two young Magpie big men in BRAD SMITH and JOSH FRASER. Geelong which had managed only one goal in 72 minutes of footy then kicked six in the next 18, with three goals (5 for the day) from ADAM HOULIHAN a huge factor.

In a tremendous struggle with lead changes, it went down to the final siren as the Cats in a Houdini-like escape brought up their first win in five matches – GEELONG 10.11-71 (Houlihan 5) best, King, Houlihan, Steinfort, COLLINGWOOD 9.13-67 (Freeborn 3) best, Adkins, Freeborn, O’Bree.

<||> It required raw courage to attend Football Park on Saturday which was reported as "the coldest May night on record"—30,350 souls were there to watch Adelaide record their fifth win from the past seven games to keep their finals hopes alive.

Adelaide displayed greater skills and endeavour than offered by Sydney who were inept with their forwards unsighted. ALAN SHIELL in The Age reported: ANDREW McLEOD, MARK RICCIUTO and BRETT BURTON led the charge which swept the Crows to a comprehensive 50-point win ... DARYN CRESSWELL and WAYNE SCHWASS piled up possessions but Sydney could not establish any sort of authority up forward against a well-drilled Adelaide defence, in which, significantly, SIMON GOODWIN smothered MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN, while NIGEL SMART, NATHAN BASSETT and BEN HART rebounded strongly from the last line and MATTHEW ROBRAN again was a resounding success at centre half-back.

The win lifted the Crows to 10th place—for the Swans, danger times ahead as wins may become as scarce as supporters – ADELAIDE 14.14-98 (Edwards 2. Welsh 2, Perrie 2, Ricciuto 2) best, McLeod, Burton, Ricciuto, SYDNEY 7.6-48 best, Schwass, Cresswell, Saddington.

<||> A healthy crowd of 29,967 swarmed to the Gabba where conditions on a fine Saturday night were good. After half time however, dew started to take effect. In one of the toughest road assignments, Richmond continued its remarkable winning run when it outlasted Brisbane by a margin of two goals.

As BILL McDONALD observed for The Age: Like many of the Tigers' wins this season, it was only sealed late in the game after another typically gutsy arm wrestle with Brisbane, which threw everything at them ... Brisbane again was outplayed in the marking department by the taller Tigers, led by ruckman BRAD OTTENS, who came back strongly after his enforced lay-off. DARRYL WHITE tested him in the ruck contests, but Ottens was still dominant.

ROHAN CONNOLLY in The Age also noted: Richmond survived a ferocious Brisbane opening, rattled off a string of 10 straight majors including a freakish boundary snap from MARK CHAFFEY as skilled as any other goal kicked this season, then, fuelled by the rock-like presence of DARREN GASPAR in defence, held on for dear life. It was Richmond's fifth successive win and their seventh from eight games – RICHMOND 17.9-111 (Rogers 3, Campbell 3) best, King, Campbell, Gaspar, BRISBANE 14.15-99 (Power 5, White 3, A.Lynch 3) best, Lappin, White, Hart.

<||> A closed roof at Colonial Stadium on Saturday night protected sparse 16,004 fans from a cruel Melbourne wintry night outside. Fremantle with another disappointing last half were steamrolled by Hawthorn which arrested a two-game losing streak.

Skill errors were present—JIM MAIN reported in The Australian: The Hawks can consider themselves fortunate to have had (NICK) HOLLAND in such fine first-half form, as most of his teammates were almost as bad as the woeful Dockers. Although Hawthorn led by 13 points at the main break, Hawk fans were disgruntled. Their team were playing like zombies.

The Dockers are now in danger of total capitulation, as their present four-game losing streak has blown out to a combined margin of 305 points. Away from Perth, Fremantle has won only 11 times interstate in its six years in the AFL – HAWTHORN 19.7-121 (Holland 3, Crawford 3, Thompson 3) best, Thompson, Salmon, Vandenberg, FREMANTLE 8.14-62 (Hasleby 3) best, Hasleby, Fletcher, Michael.

<||> One of the smallest crowds to watch an AFL contest at the SCG were present when the Kangaroos beat Port Adelaide in the cold sunshine of Sunday afternoon—only 7334 were present. In a less than inspiring event, the Roos beat the Power by a small 17 point margin.

RICHARD HINDS reported for The Age: The "King" provided the answer to an age-old question at the SCG: If WAYNE CAREY kicks five goals in front of a forest of empty seats, no, it doesn't make much of a noise. But the Kangaroos get the four premiership points ... it was the stamp of class applied by Carey on a game marred by a difficult swirling breeze, and turned into an arm-wrestle by the worthy Port Adelaide midfield, that was the most important factor in the Roos' 17-point win.

Together with Carey, DAVID KING, GLENN ARCHER, MICK MARTYN and JASON McCARTNEY held off a persistent Port who stifled the Roo midfield. ADAM KINGSLEY, PETER BURGOYNE, NICK STEVENS and FABIAN FRANCIS found plenty of ball for the Power, but not enough to stop the Kangaroos posting their eighth win – KANGAROOS 10.16-76 (Carey 5) best, Blakey, Martyn, King, PORT 8.11-59 (Lockwood 3, Cornes 3) best, Francis, Lyle, Bassett.

<||> It was fine and 21 degrees at Subiaco on Sunday when a great crowd of 39,968 watched Carlton continue their run of success with their ninth win from the past 11 trips to the west. In windy conditions, the Blues kicked 15 of the last 19 goals to win their seventh successive match with a 50-point victory and seriously dent expectations of the Eagles. It was West Coast's biggest defeat in Perth since Hawthorn beat them by 71pts, 1994-R5-S.

For a quarter and a half it was a fierce stuff as both tested the other—then, the Eagles led by two goals. ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES and SCOTT CAMPOREALE lifted to add support to the winning ruckman MATTHEW ALLEN and the prime mover BRETT RATTEN. The Eagles stocks went down further as PETER MATERA limped off before half time, and the Blues hit the front for the first time.

The Eagles hit back in the third quarter but Carlton's intensity did not flag. Indeed, the last quarter turned into a rout with the Blues adding another eight goals to be emphatic winners. Carlton's defence was superb with STEPHEN SILVAGNI, ANDREW McKAY and SIMON BEAUMONT showing a touch of class – CARLTON 20.8-128 (Lappin 3, Camporeale 3, Whitnall 3) best, Ratten, Camporeale, Koutoufides, WEST COAST 11.12-78 (Gardiner 2, Ph.Matera 2) best, Kemp, McKenna, Jakovich.

<||> For the second time in two days, the fat lady started to sing at half time. Just as Geelong had seemed dead-and-buried at the long break against the Pies, so did the Western Bulldogs after Melbourne had dominated the first half of the Sunday afternoon contest at Docklands. Outside was cold and rain—inside, under the roof were 26,180 spectators awaiting the Bulldogs to slump to their sixth defeat.

Melbourne deserved their 34-point half-time lead—JEFF WHITE had been dangerous, DAVID NEITZ was good at centre-half forward, as was DAVID SCHWARZ at centre half-back, while RIGONI, LEONCELLI and WOEWODIN were doing as they liked out of the centre. Dogs coach TERRY WALLACE launched a paint-blistering half-time address—LUKE DARCY was challenged, SCOTT WYND was benched, ANDREW WILLS and NATHAN EAGLETON went into the fray. The game changed complexion immediately and within 18 minutes the Bulldogs were within three points.

The Demons struggled to hold to on as the last quarter unfolded. After 14 minutes the Bulldogs hit the front and their marauding pack continued on to a 25 point victory in one of the best comebacks of the 1,515 League games by the Footscray-based club – BULLDOGS 16.12-108 (Smith 5, Wills 3, Grant 3) best, S.West, Smith, Johnson, MELBOURNE 13.5-83 (White 4, Neitz 3) best, White, Rigoni, Schwarz.

Jakovich cleared; Loewe 3 weeks
Two for Wakelin – appeal lost
The AFL Tribunal met on Monday (29th) to hear one charge.

West Coast defender GLEN JAKOVICH was cleared of striking Carlton on-baller BRETT RATTEN.

MATTHEW CARR (StK) who was booked on Friday night for striking Essendon captain JAMES HIRD had his charge withdrawn before the Tribunal sitting.

Following a video review of matches, STEWART LOEWE (StK) was cited for striking JASON JOHNSON (Ess) and DARRYL WAKELIN (StK) was charged with striking STEVEN ALESSIO (Ess). The case against Wakelin was heard on Tuesday. He was found guilty and suspended for two matches. The St Kilda club appealed. The Appeals Board met on Thursday and upheld the decision of the Tribunal. It was the second appeal Wakelin has lost in two years. In 1998 he failed to overturn a two-match penalty for charging BRETT HEADY (WCE).

STEWART LOEWE at the Tribunal on Thursday pleaded guilty and was suspended for three matches.

The Seven Network program Talking Footy on Monday noted the withdrawn charge against MATTHEW CARR was the eighth occasion in season 2000 where a report has led to a 50 metre penalty that has resulted in a goal. None of the eight have led to suspensions, in fact 5 have been withdrawn before the scheduled Tribunal meeting.

Stab Kicks ...
** AAP reported the Canberra Raiders defeated West Tigers 24-22 on Sunday at Bruce Stadium in Canberra "in the first rugby league premiership match in Australia played in snow." — that code obviously has never been to Ballarat ...

** ADELAIDE and MELBOURNE will play the annual end-of-season exhibition match at The Oval in London on Saturday, October 7.

** Sydney Swans fans have lost their video link to the Eastern Suburbs Leagues Club where they had watched interstate matches via a live feed from Channel Seven. After the Adelaide match, Channel Seven removed the cables, saying they were required in preparations for the Olympics.

=Essendon president GRAEME McMAHON at the pre-match luncheon on Sunday (27th) announced members of the Bombers had reached a record 34,025.

** Despite calls from several clubs to change the format, the AFL will retain a 22-round home-and-away draw for next season with all matches to be played over three days starting on Friday nights.
GREG DENHAM reported in The Age on May 26, an AFL source said no Sunday night games would be scheduled in 2001 and more Saturday afternoon games are planned. The League believe few games in the future will be played outside the Friday night-Saturday-Saturday night-Sunday time slots, thus eliminating matches on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

** The Geelong FC are seeking an apology following a newspaper article alleging an AFL draft policy document compiled in 1988 discriminated against Aborigines. Geelong denied the allegations.

** The AFL Umpires' Association seeking to raise the image and profile of its men are considering carrying an advertising logo on the flags used by goal umpires.

** Injuries have struck two important St Kilda players. PETER EVERITT will have arthroscopic surgery to repair a snapped posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He will be sidelined for at least six to eight weeks. STEWART LOEWE will be out for the next month after breaking a bone in his left hand in an incident from last Friday night's match against Essendon. Loewe was booked from video for striking Essendon's JASON JOHNSON who received a broken nose.

They said it ...
MIKE SHEAHAN, Herald Sun, Monday, May 29
— "It was too much for even BRUCE McAVANEY, whose creed says all football games are exciting, some simply more so than others. "Put us out of our misery and blow the siren," McAvaney implored during the final minute of yesterday's Roos-Port Adelaide encounter at the SCG."

RAY KERSHLER, Herald Sun, Monday May 29 — "TONY LOCKETT was responsible for almost half the crowd at the SCG yesterday.
Plugger was the star of a footy clinic put on by the Sydney Football League in conjunction with the Kangaroos before their match against Port Adelaide.
Budding stars flocked to see their hero of yesterdayear and to pick up the showbags and footballs on offer.
The attendance figure for the clinic was 2500 and the guesstimate was that 500 parents came along with their young'uns, too.
Assuming they all stayed for the game, they contributed almost half of the official SCG attendance of 6963 on a bright but cold and windy day.


Essendon savage the Kangaroos
MCG melee draws $18,500 in fines
Lions belt injury-crippled Eagles

ROUND 13 — Fri-Sat-Sun, June 2-3-4.
MILESTONES — NIGEL SMART (Ade, 1991-2000) and MICHAEL SEXTON (Car, 1991-2000) played their 200th League match ... 150th games by COREY McKERNAN (NMK, 1993-2000) and DAVID NEITZ (Mel, 1993-2000) ... a century of games for CHAD MORRISON (WCE, 1996-2000) and DANIEL METROPOLIS (WCE, 1992-2000) ... 50th games by TRENT BARTLETT (11 WB 2000, also 39 Bri 1995-99), WARREN TREDREA (PA, 1997-2000), JASON TRAIANIDIS (StK, 1997-2000) and CHRIS HEFFERNAN (Ess, 1997-2000) ... PETER BELL played his 100th consecutive game for NMK ...

<> PAUL BRODERICK (Rch) reached 150 goals in game 231 ...

<> CARLTON kicked a new highest fourth quarter of 10.1-61 versus Melbourne, greater than 9.3-57, 81-R17-PP ...

<> BRISBANE in their 22nd game against the Eagles enjoyed their best last quarter of 8.3-51 and kicked a new highest score, bigger than 25.16-166 versus West Coast, 99-R17-BCG ...

<> Collingwood's suffered their 8th successive defeat ... Port's had their first win in 10 weeks ... the 22,691 to watch the two was the smallest—previous lowest was 29,462, 1999-R14-MCG ...

<> ESSENDON have won 13 on end, the best start to a season for 44 years since Melbourne in 1956—the Demons lost in R14 to Footscray ...
<> The KANGAROOS were scoreless in a first quarter for the first time since 1978-R6-KP v Geelong ... it was the third occasion in 133 contests where the Kangas have been held to a scoreless opening against the Dons—previously 1961-R12-WH and 1943-R3-WH ... Essendon had 14 goalkickers on Sunday –  two short of their League record 16 set versus Brisbane, 1988-R9-MCG ... JOHN SPAULL for the Roos kicked a goal with his first and only kick for the match—he did better than teammate SHANNON MOTLOP who failed to trouble the statsmen in any category ...

<> With 8.3-51 GEELONG produced the biggest opening quarter of the season ... the 18.11-119 is the highest losing score by the Bulldogs in 132 contests since 1925 versus the Cats ...

<> ST KILDA’s half-time score of 1.4-10 was the lowest by the club since they were 0.6-6 at the long break v Gee 7.9-61, 87-R14-KP.

<||> Adelaide continued their resurgence when they halted Richmond's five-week winning run in Friday's dramatic match at Colonial Stadium which experienced multiple lead changes—32,959 were present under a closed roof. The injury-plagued Tigers charged back from 26 points down in the last quarter with five goals in 12 minutes to hit the lead with five minutes left. However, missed opportunities and late goals got the Crows home for an important nine-point win.

The Tigers, already hit by a long list of injuries, sustained two more—key playmaker WAYNE CAMPBELL was off in the first five minutes with a shoulder injury from a heavy bump laid by MARK BICKLEY, and CLINTON KING was carried off in the third term with a broken left leg. Adelaide were also without several injured stars including Rehn, Jarman, Johnson, Stevens and Caven.

Focus for the night was on PETER VARDY whose six-straight goals for the Crows was the difference between winning and losing. NIGEL SMART was a fine defender in his 200th game for Adelaide, the first Crow to reach this milestone and one of only three members remaining from their inaugural squad in 1991. The others are MARK BICKLEY and SHAUN REHN – ADELAIDE 17.19-121 (Vardy 6, Welsh 4) best, Smart, Goodwin, Ricciuto, RICHMOND 17.10-112 (Broderick 3, Knights 3) best, Gale, Bowden, Gaspar.

<||> Sunshine and blue skies welcomed 41,889 to the MCG on Saturday, however the gloom descended, and the lights were on before three-quarter time. By this stage the lights were out in the Demons' camp as they slumped to a third successive defeat and their heaviest loss of the year.

Most of the first half was tight and often fiery before the Blues started to exert pressure around the field. Although the Demons kicked the first goal after half-time from there on many of their star players went missing with DAVID SCHWARZ, JEFF WHITE and JEFF FARMER put to question. The team ethic by Carlton was outstanding as they romped away to their eighth successive win with a 10 goal to one last quarter.

It was not merely the big names of Bradley, Camporeale, Koutoufides and Allan who shone for the Blues, add players such as SIMON FLETCHER, ANTHONY FRANCHINA and AARON HAMILL who have taken the team to the next level.  Bradley who is 37 next October had a remarkable 15 possessions in the last quarter, however it was ADRIAN HICKMOTT with a personal-best five goals who iced the cake for Carlton's great efforts upfield. ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES was again a standout for Carlton with a 32 possession game, the equal of Bradley – CARLTON 25.9-159 (Hickmott 5, Camporeale 4, Whitnall 3, Allan 3) best, Koutoufides, Beaumont, Ratten, MELBOURNE 9.7-61 (Schwarz 2) best, Whelan, Walsh, Ingerson.

<||> A fine Saturday night at the Gabba brought in 25,359 fans. West Coast went into the game seriously under-manned with eight of their regular 22 sidelined by injury—Cummings, Gehrig, Wirrpunda, Cousins, White, Phillip Matera, while McKenna and Banfield were late-withdrawals; McIntosh was an injury in the game and did not return after half time.

The Age reported: The most impressive part of the evening was not the winning margin—although the percentage was gratefully received—but the outstanding performances of young forwards DANIEL BRADSHAW (7.2) and DAMIAN CUPIDO. Best player on the ground though was NIGEL LAPPIN, who collected 31 possessions and was highly effective with his use of the ball.

CHAD RINTOUL and GLEN JAKOVICH in defence and ruckman MICHAEL GARDINER served the Eagles well, while RYAN TURN-BULL provided four goals. It was the Eagles' second hiding at the Gabba, following their 100pt loss last season – BRISBANE 27.11-173 (Bradshaw 7.2, Lynch 4, Cupido 3) best, Lappin, Johnson, Bradshaw, WEST COAST 13.11-89 (Turnbull 4) best, Jakovich, Gardiner, Wooden.

<||> Another cold night at Football Park kept the crowd down to a disappointing 22,691—slippery conditions were the order. Port Adelaide were in control for most of the match, and although Collingwood occasionally edged closer, the Power outlasted the visitors to win by 14 points—it brought Collingwood's eighth successive defeat.

Though they played with courage and persistence, poor kicking at goal was again a feature of Port's limitations—WARREN TREDREA's contribution in his 50th game was one goal, six behinds. His counterpart ANTHONY ROCCA had no impact for Collingwood— he marked once only in the first half and finished with one goal as his effort for the night.

FABIAN FRANCIS and NICK STEVENS stood out for Port, together with second-gamer BRENT GUERRA while GAVIN WANGANEEN's return from a seven-week foot injury was welcome. Collingwood captain NATHAN BUCKLEY despite playing in borrowed boots (his bag was lost in transit) had 28 regulation possessions but most of his disposals were under pressure. ANDREW DIMATTINA made an impressive debut for the Magpies – PORT 12.17-89 (Burgoyne 3, Lockwood 3) best, N.Stevens, Francou, Francis, COLLINGWOOD 11.9-75 (Brown 3) best, Adkins, Betheras, O’Bree.

<||> A moderate crowd of 21,353 were treated to sunshine then later cloudy periods at the SCG on Sunday afternoon. In good conditions the Swans gave their fans something to cheer—a good last half, and a 31pt victory over Hawthorn. MARK RAY noting inspirational effort by Sydney's JUDE BOLTON said in The Age: Bolton, in his 18th senior game, kicked three goals, two of which were clever efforts under pressure, but it was a tackle and turnover towards the end of the third quarter that had all the qualities Sydney supporters expect of their now injured Kelly. With the Swans ahead by a point, Bolton tore into a contest with ANGELO LEKKAS across half-forward, won the ball and quickly disposed of it for a goal to LEO BARRY.

The Swans maintained that lead for the rest of the game, clearing away in the final quarter to win by 31 points ... the win did not come without cost for Sydney. Captain ANDREW DUNKLEY was booked for striking JOHN  BARKER while JOHN STEVENS sustained a broken thumb. The Hawks suffered a last half fade-out, kicking only 3.5 to Sydney's 9.10 – SYDNEY 16.13-109 (O’Loughlin 5, Bolton 3) best. Saddington, Schwass, Bolton, HAWTHORN 11.12-78 (Smith 2, Thompson 2) best, Harford, Barlow, Rock.

<||> Essendon further stamped their authority on the season when they blanketed the Kangaroos in front of 67,172 spectators on Sunday afternoon at the MCG. By quarter time, the scoreline was 7.5 to nil. The game was dead. Essendon, a ruthless killer had murdered it with the same brand of skilful, aggressive yet clinical football that has killed 12 others this season.

With a deep distribution of talent, Essendon dominated, as reflected in its spread of goalkickers—14 in a total of 17 goals. JAKE NIALL noted in The Age: From quarter-time, there wasn't much to talk about, besides a fight that erupted late in the third quarter at the Ponsford Stand end. GLENN ARCHER, reported for attempting to strike was the star of the melee, ably supported by Essendon's Solomon and Wallis, with several others testing their wrestling skills ...

It says something about the game that the scuffle was also the only period of the game in which – supporters of both clubs – really found voice. Kevin Sheedy, ever the promoter, argued there was nothing wrong with a bit of a wrestle. "The fans don't mind a bit of that." – ESSENDON 17.17-119 (Lucas 3, Caracella 2) best, Misiti, Caracella, Hird, KANGAROOS 11.4-70 (Lange 3) best, Pickett, Martyn, Carey.

<||> Under a closed roof at Docklands on Sunday afternoon, 30,573 saw Geelong tear away with 8.3-51, the biggest opening quarter of the season so far.  The Cats swamped the Bulldogs with GARRY HOCKING and PETER RICCARDI in the thick of every contest. As the Bulldogs struggled with their matchups, CLINT BIZZELL's quick leads from full-forward created other problems.

Though 41pts down at half time, the fans anticipated another trademark fightback by the Dogs—and they delivered, putting on eight of the last ten goals before three-quarter time to haul back the lead to 21pts. The rarely sighted PAUL HUDSON kicked his only goal in the first two minutes of the final term and the murmurs became louder. ROHAN SMITH got hungry, NATHAN EAGLETON slipped closer to goal and became even more dangerous and Hocking was sitting on the bench.

A chain of handballs set up a PAUL DIMATTINA snap 20 minutes in and there only three points in it, until Geelong laid a few ferocious tackles, a fresh Hocking came back on, and Mooney took a desperate lunge to stop a Grant dribbler on the goal line. But Geelong were able to hold firm in the dying minutes. Big man STEPHEN KING with 37 hit outs had another notable game for the Cats – GEELONG 19.12-126 (Bizzell 4, Houlihan 4, Riccardi 3, Snell 3) best, King, Bizzell, Houlihan, BULLDOGS 18.11-119 (Eagleton 7.2, Grant 3) best, S.West, Eagleton, Liberatore.

<||> Fremantle posted their fifth win of the season on a warm Sunday afternoon—21,278 were at Subiaco Oval where St Kilda fell to a new low with only one goal to their credit at half time. The Saints were deficient in manpower but as MARK DUFFIELD described in The Age: If this game was a fish, it had to have been one that John West rejected—at times the match got as bad as an AFL game possible can.

Despite the fact the Dockers had lost their four previous games by a total of 305 points they went in as firm favourites to win. After playing shocking football in the first half, the Saints improved and with DAVID SIERAKOWSKI providing a forward focus (he kicked four goals) and a tireless ROBERT HARVEY working hard, the predictable Freo fadeout almost brought St Kilda back into the game.

To be fair, Fremantle never let the lack of skill get them down. TROY COOK persisted all day and with 29 disposals played his best game of the season. TROY LONGMUIR, Hasleby, Walker, Michael and Bandy also kept things going – FREMANTLE 14.16-100 (Cook 3) best, Cook, T.Longmuir, Walker, ST KILDA 8.8-56 (Sierakowski 4) best, Harvey, Sierakowski.

Five players since $18,500
Two weeks for Andrew Dunkley
Charges from Round 13 heard by the AFL Tribunal on Tuesday (6th) were lengthy hearings.

Sydney captain ANDREW DUNKLEY was suspended for two weeks for striking Hawthorn's JOHN BARKER.

Reports for wrestling against DAMIEN HARDWICK (Ess) and JASON McCARTNEY (Kan) were withdrawn before reaching the Tribunal.

GLENN ARCHER (Kan) was found not guilty of attempting to strike DEAN SOLOMON (Ess).

Five players were found guilty of engaging in a melee during the third quarter of Sunday's match between Essendon and the Kangaroos. Fines imposed were —
$6,000 — DAMIEN HARDWICK (Ess)
$4,000 — DEAN SOLOMON (Ess)
$4,000 — GLENN ARCHER (Kan)
$2,500 — WAYNE CAREY (Kan)
$2,000 — JOE MISITI (Ess)
Bomber defender Damien Hardwick received the largest penalty as he had a previous melee conviction.

Players who are fined for offences retain their eligibility for the Brownlow Medal.

Stab Kicks ...
** Champion forward TONY LOCKETT will loan his memorabilia to the AFL. The cache including his 1987 Brownlow, the ball, jumper and boots used in his record-breaking 1300th-goal game, four Coleman Medals and one E J Whitten Medal is likely to go on show at the AFL's Hall of Fame and possibly taken on tour around Australia. Also included is a now scrubby blue adidas footy bag which he used throughout his career from when he started with St Kilda in 1983.

** Victoria Police are expected to question Kangaroo player WINSTON ABRAHAM over incidents which took place at Crown Casino early on Monday May 29. The Herald Sun reported a 22-year-old St Kilda man made a statement to police alleging Abraham was involved in an altercation which caused the man to suffer a broken jaw. Abraham flew to Perth on the Monday but returned to train with the Kangaroos on Friday June 2. He was initially selected as an interchange in the team to play Essendon, but instead turned out in the VFL for the Murray Kangaroos on Saturday at Coburg City Oval.

** In an unprecedented move, the Supreme Court on Friday (2nd) ruled the Carlton Football and Social Club be granted access to any records that would assist it in its legal dispute against the AFL and Channel 7. The case is to be heard on September 11.

** The Herald Sun reported on June 1 that several clubs were concerned with financial arrangements failing to live up to expectations at Colonial Stadium. The article was accompanied by details of the tenant clubs' deals at the Stadium —
Essendon: 25-year deal, with seven home matches a year,
Western Bulldogs: 10-year deal. The AFL will determine how many home games are played each year at the stadium, but the minimum is nine games a year.
St Kilda: 25-year deal, with nine home matches a year.
Geelong: 38 matches over 10 years.

GREG DENHAM, reporting in The Age: "... revealed the alarming fact that the breakeven gate factor at Colonial Stadium was somewhere between 28,000 and 33,000, almost double the projected figure from the AFL ... at the MCG it is about 22,000, at Optus Oval about 15,000, while it was almost 20,000 at Waverley Park."

** Kangaroo defender GLENN ARCHER has been ruled out for six weeks with foot stress fractures to his right foot. An MRI scan revealed the extent of the injury.

They said it ...
PATRICK SMITH, The Australian, Monday, June 5
— "Yesterday, for a quarter at least ... Essendon were as skilled as they were athletic; clever as they were fast; composed as they were tough. This was football at its most devastating. By the end of the quarter — in which Essendon kicked 7.5 and the Kangaroos, the defending premier and the most influential club in the past decade, nothing — people stood in awe. Not for the effort but the spectacle. They realised they had witnessed something rare — a sport, with its myriad variations and nuances, all but mastered."

MICHAEL STEVENS, Herald Sun, Monday, June 5, reviewing the Melbourne-Carlton match — "IT'S A WORRY — Vice-captain (David) Schwarz's lack of discipline in disputing an umpire's decision in the first quarter led to two 50m penalties, and Koutoufides took full advantage by converting from 50m."


Essendon: best start since 1912
Docklands deficient; match moved to MCG
Adelaide return to the top eight
Wayne Carey passes 600 goals

ROUND 14 — Fri-Sat-Sun-Mon, June 9-10-11-12.
MILESTONES — ESSENDON recorded its 14th victory of the season—the best start since Collingwood's 18 in 1929 ... DAVID PARKIN coached his 300th victory in League football ... BRAYDEN LYLE reached his century of games (74 PA 1997-2000, 26 WCE 1995-96) ... 50th games by MARK CHAFFEY (Rch 1997-2000) and SCOTT WELSH (14 Ade 2000, 36 NMK 1998-99) ... ANTHONY INGERSON played his 100th for Melbourne, also 37 Ade 1992-95 ... ADRIAN FLETCHER played his 50th for Fremantle 1998-2000, also 23 Gee 1989-91, 22 StK 1992, 107 Bri 1993-97 ... WAYNE CAREY in his 219th game passed 600 goals for the Kangaroos—the 20th League player to reach this milestone.

<> The Roos' second term of 10.4-64 was easily their best quarter of 24 games since 1987 versus the Lions ...

<> The Demons enjoyed their biggest win over Collingwood for 36 years since the 1964 2nd Semi-Final when the Demons won by 89pts, 19.20-134 to 6.9-45 ... ¾ it was Melbourne's 50th MCG win over Collingwood ... Melbourne's DAVID SCHWARZ passed 200 goals in game 128 ... Melbourne's JEFF FARMER  in a sensational last half — produced 9 marks, 14 kicks, one handball and kicked 9 goals one behind in about 45 minutes of football ...

<> Port trailed by 37pts, 16 minutes into the second term and won by 36pts ... Port won two games in a row for the first time this season ...

<> The Hawks with 16 goalkickers equalled the League record held by Essendon v Brisbane, 1988-R7-MCG ... the 16 exceeded the previous Hawthorn club record of 13 set in 1976, 1979, 1985 and 1986 ... ANTHONY ROCK passed 150 League goals (with NMK and Haw) in game 207 ...

<> Essendon's run of 17 successive 100+ scores ended ... Essendon recorded its 14th victory–the best start to a season since Collingwood's 18 in 1929 ... Sydney held Essendon goalless in the third quarter at the SCG. It was the first occasion since the Second Preliminary Final last September against Carlton that the Bombers in 56 quarters of play had been without a goal ... MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN (Syd) reached 150 goals in game 115 ...

<> Carlton rewarded DAVID PARKIN with his 300th victory as a coach in League ranks ... the Blues broke a five-game winning streak against them by the Cats ...

<> The Crows moved into the top eight for the first time since R7 in 1999 ... the city of Adelaide must have a love-affair with Fremantle—recent games at Football Park have drawn, 40,981, 40,368, 40,602 and on Sunday night 40,917 ...

<> BRENDAN GALE (Rch) passed 200 goals in game 214 ...

<||> The Kangaroos held on to win by four points after the Brisbane Lions staged a thrilling last quarter comeback in the Friday night contest staged at Colonial Stadium—the roof was closed above 26,326 spectators.

The match was played on a largely deficient surface with the eastern wing covered by sand following the laying of replacement sections of grass. Players were restricted by the area and 12 hours later the AFL moved the scheduled Saturday night St Kilda v Hawthorn match to Sunday at the MCG. Two thousand metres of turf must be relaid and prove its safety before games return to Docklands.

A blistering 10.4-64 by the Roos in the second quarter provided them with a platform to score a runaway victory—when CRAIG SHOLL kicked his second goal early in the third term, the Kangas were 47 points in front. North played a great team game and still led by 40 at the last break. Brisbane stormed out of the trenches in the last term, kicking five goals and at the 16-minute mark were only 11pts in arrears.

The thrilling last minutes included JUSTIN LEPPITSCH turning from hero to villain then back again—Leppitsch finished with four goals from centre half-back as Wayne Carey's opponent yet, his miscalculated kick soared into the range of BRENT HARVEY who bounced twice and goaled to take the difference back to 17pts. Leppitsch atoned for his blunder by kicking his fourth, then JASON AKERMANIS reduced it to only four points when his kick dribbled through for the Lions' 17th goal.

With Brisbane attacking furiously in the dying seconds, Roo defender BYRON PICKETT inside 50 laid a fearsome tackle to drag down Lion MARCUS ASHCROFT, with the ball spilling forward and ending with LUKE POWER. Power's pressure kick lacked punch and was marked on the siren 15 metres out by Roo PETER BELL, with Power left pounding the ground in frustration ending the Lions' last-ditch charge – KANGAROOS 17.14-116 (Carey 5, Motlop 3) best, Carey, Burton, Harvey, BRISBANE 17.10-112 (Leppitsch 4, Bradshaw 3) best, Power, M.Voss, Ashcroft.

<||> A grey, damp Saturday drew 39,710 to the MCG. Early fog left the grass dewy and the ball proved slippery—misty rain from half time brought the lights on and a great individual performance from Melbourne's JEFF FARMER. The Demons from a three-game losing slump were playing Collingwood, losers of their past eight matches. Farmer had been almost unsighted in the first half of an even but poor-standard game—he had registered only one mark, one kick and one handball. He started the second half on the interchange bench.
Seven minutes into the third quarter, Farmer replaced teammate BEN BEAMS who suffered a broken left wrist when the D's were 16 points in front. Dubbed the Wizard, Farmer in the next 45 minutes of football produced 9 marks, 14 kicks, one handball and kicked 9 goals, one behind, largely assisting Melbourne to their 65pt victory.

Melbourne responded to recent criticism of their last-half fadeouts with DAVID NEITZ and DAVID SCHWARZ providing two targets in attack, while RUSSELL ROBERTSON, ADEM YZE and ANDREW LEONCELLI came under particular notice. CHRIS TARRANT for Collingwood displayed clean marking and great goal sense and was their leading light with four majors – MELBOURNE 22.11-143 (Farmer 9.1, Robertson 3) best, Yze, Farmer, Robertson, COLLINGWOOD 12.6-78 (Tarrant 4) best, Tarrant, Prestigiacomo, O’Bree.

<||> Following a cold day, heavy rain in the first half made it difficult for both players at spectators on Saturday at Subiaco Oval where 31,996 attended. West Coast led by as much as 37pts mid-way into the second quarter but after the rain stopped Port Adelaide took over.

In a 73-point turnaround, Port kicked 15.8 to 3.6 to run away with a six-goal win, their third for the year. The Eagles tumbled to their third successive defeat and dropped from the top eight. BRETT MONTGOMERY, MICHAEL WILSON, NICK STEVENS and BRAYDEN LYLE (his 100th game) all  recovered from poor first quarters to become vital players, while MATTHEW BISHOP became an unlikely hero as the most effective big man on the ground.

West Coast with several ageing stars showing signs of wear—PETER MATERA, ASHLEY McINTOSH and GUY McKENNA, the Eagles may be near the end of an era after 10 years of participating in the finals—coach Ken Judge conceded "the finals were a fading dream". FRASER GEHRIG following an athroscopy, didn't touch the ball for the first three quarters, and spent long periods on the bench – PORT 16.11-107 (Montgomery 4) best, N.Stevens, Bishop, Poulton, WEST COAST 10.11-71 (Embley 4) best, Morrison, Jakovich, Embley.

<||> The match moved from Saturday night at Docklands brought just 21,744 to the MCG on an overcast and chilly Sunday afternoon. Hawthorn in their 85pt slaughter of St Kilda equalled a League record with 16 players kicking 27 goals—only Jonathan Hay, Luke McCabe, Joel Smith, Rayden Tallis, Tony Woods and John Barker missed out.

Desperately lacking height and experience, St Kilda were not up to the job in terms of talent or stature. While Saint veterans NATHAN BURKE and ROBERT HARVEY had 61 possessions between them, their efforts had little impact, and the Hawks did not bother to keep a tight check on them.

TRENT CROAD and SHANE CRAWFORD each found form—Croad always presenting himself as a target, kicked five goals, five behinds for the day, including a contender for Mark of the Year, while the 1999 Brownlow winner produced a 36 possession game and set up countless goals. NICK HOLLAND outclassed MAX HUDGHTON, one of the hard-working but overwhelmed St Kilda defence, while even JUSTIN PLAPP found himself in a key role of the Saints' backline – HAWTHORN 27.9-171 (Croad 5, Holland 3) best, N.Thompson, Croad, Hay, ST KILDA 13.8-86 (Heatley 3) best, Elliott, Sierakowski, Burke.

<||> Essendon were quoted at 14/1-on to win their 14th successive match but a much-depleted Sydney squad had other ideas on Sunday afternoon at the SCG where much of the game was played in persistent rain—29,199 attended.   The gutsy Swans had the Bombers under the pump, when they led by two goals at the last break.

RICHARD HINDS in The Age reported: "... the Swans in greasy conditions were playing with a frightening intensity and—by this season's standards—unusual amount of poise, and seemed set to cause one of the biggest upsets of the season. Instead, the class of Essendon came to the fore.

The brilliant JAMES HIRD and the dangerous SCOTT LUCAS—the two missing pieces from the Bombers line-up last year—overwhelmed the undermanned Swans defence in the last quarter, DUSTIN FLETCHER did a convincing impersonation of a ruckman against the Swans make-shift pair of RYAN O'CONNOR and SIMON FEAST, the Swans made a couple of blunders and Essendon became just the second team to win the first 14 home-and-away games in AFL history.

For the Swans, there was only the minor consolation of knowing they had been just the second team (after Adelaide) to lead the Bombers in the last quarter and the first to keep their brilliant attack goalless for an entire quarter (the third). But for those who stand between Essendon and the premiership, the reassuring scent of mortality emanated from the red-hot flag favourite yesterday." – ESSENDON 12.17-89 (Lloyd 4, Hird 3), best, Lucas, Hird, Misiti, SYDNEY 11.10-76 (O’Loughlin 3, Nicks 3) best, Nicks, O’Loughlin, Schwass.

A good crowd of 31,988 packed into Optus Oval under grey Sunday skies.  Geelong held sway over one of the major premiership contenders at the last change. For three quarters, the Blues were superior in most facets but profligate in front of goal. Hence, Geelong took a narrow lead into the final quarter.

MARTIN BLAKE observed in The Age: "The Cats kicked 12 goals with their first 15 shots at the sticks. Their precision and their run through the midfield threatened Carlton. But Carlton kicked six straight goals in the final quarter to overrun the Cats. ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES conjured one of those famous final-quarter surges to inspire his teammates, reeling in the ball 11 times, grabbing a boundary throw-in to kick a goal and finding MATTHEW LAPPIN for another.

When Koutoufides was sent off under the blood rule midway through the quarter, Geelong hit back with two quick goals. But Carlton's Adonis was patched up in time to return, and Carlton soon stopped haemorrhaging. Carlton went to another level, and Geelong could not quite match this." A good crowd of 31,547 packed into Optus Oval under grey Sunday skies.  Geelong held sway over one of the major premiership contenders at the last change. For three quarters, the Blues were superior in most facets but profligate in front of goal. Hence, Geelong took a narrow lead into the final quarter.

MARTIN BLAKE observed in The Age: "The Cats kicked 12 goals with their first 15 shots at the sticks. Their precision and their run through the midfield threatened Carlton. But Carlton kicked six straight goals in the final quarter to overrun the Cats. ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES conjured one of those famous final-quarter surges to inspire his teammates, reeling in the ball 11 times, grabbing a boundary throw-in to kick a goal and finding MATTHEW LAPPIN for another.

When Koutoufides was sent off under the blood rule midway through the quarter, Geelong hit back with two quick goals. But Carlton's Adonis was patched up in time to return, and Carlton soon stopped haemorrhaging. Carlton went to another level, and Geelong could not quite match this." – CARLTON 15.17-107 (Whitnall 6) best, Koutoufides, Whitnall, McKay, GEELONG 15.7-97 (Houlihan 4) best, Milburn, Steinfort, Houlihan.

<||> The Sunday night game at Football Park brought an assembly of 40,917—it was a clear, cold and a dewy night. Adelaide moved into the top eight for the first time in season 2000 with an emphatic 73 point victory over the Fremantle Dockers. Before half-time, it looked like a men-against-boys contest. But the Dockers at least were spirited enough to make a decent fight of the second half.

ALAN SHIELL noted: Over four quarters, Adelaide's SIMON GOODWIN, one of the AFL's most improved players, did more than ADRIAN FLETCHER (F) in the middle and was well supported by on-baller TYSON EDWARDS and wingman MATTHEW CONNELL. They provided regular service to forwards DARREN JARMAN and SCOTT WELSH (who kicked four goals each) and ANDREW CROWELL (three), who shared 11 goals while being among the Crows' 11 goalkickers.

PAUL HASLEBY again was a busy onballer for Fremantle, SHANE PARKER kept PETER VARDY on a tight rein, CLIVE WATERHOUSE kicked four goals on NIGEL SMART, TROY COOK did some effective work in the midfield and centre half forward MATTHEW PAVLICH, playing wide of Robran, reminded South Australians of his huge potential – ADELAIDE 22.13-145 (Jarman 4, Welsh 4) best, Goodwin, Ricciuto, McLeod, FREMANTLE 11.6-72 (Waterhouse 4) best, Fletcher, Waterhouse, Pavlich.

<||> The only game in town on the Queen's Birthday Monday was as tradition requires at the MCG where 49,557 attended. Conditions were cold and misty with the ground slippery from morning fog. Richmond continued their surge toward a rare finals appearance when they outclassed the Bulldogs around the ground—the Dogs were noticeably deficient in height and Richmond's tall forwards in BRENDAN GALE and BRETT OTTENS reaped the spoils.

JAKE NIALL noted for The Age: When a team faces such size problems, it has difficulty moving the ball forward because it is reluctant to kick to a contest or is forced wide. In other words, no talls caused bad decisions, which resulted in turnovers. Richmond, so often criticised in recent times for its skill level, used the ball far better than the Bulldogs. None used it better than Tiger skipper MATTHEW KNIGHTS and former Bulldog LEON CAMERON, who was recruited for the express purpose of improving Richmond's once shoddy disposal from defence.

Normally a score of 12 goals would not be sufficient to win the game, but because the match was played in congestion, Richmond's dozen goals was sufficient to give it a 35-point win. But, the real margin, was that Richmond won by three or four big men – RICHMOND 12.15-87 (Gale 5, Ottens 3) best, Gale, Cameron, Knights, BULL-DOGS 7.10-52 (Smith 2, Curley 2) best, S.West, Hunter, Dimattina.

Membership figures down slightly
Official AFL membership figures for 2000 confirmed GEELONG as the biggest improver with 4563 (21.7 percent) new signatures, while the BRISBANE LIONS enjoyed a 19.87% increase to 20,295 members.

Next best is the unbeaten ESSENDON who continued their surge with the highest number of members for a Victorian-based club.

A continuing decline in support was reflected in the figures posted by Melbourne, St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs.

2000 1999 %
ADELAIDE 42,896 42,120 +1.84
BRISBANE 20,295 16,931 +19.9
CARLTON 26,973 25,719 +4.88
COLL'WOOD 28,932 32,358 –10.6
ESSENDON 34,278 29,858 +14.8
FREMANTLE 24,925 24,896 +0.12
GEELONG 25,595 21,032 +21.7
HAWTHORN 26,879 32,120 –16.3
KANGAROOS 22,156 22,080 –0.34
MELBOURNE 18,227 19,713 –7.54
PORT ADEL 34,925 37,166 –6.03
RICHMOND 26,869 29,047 –7.50
ST KILDA 17,855 20,793 –14.1
SYDNEY 30,177 31,175 –3.20
WEST COAST 38,868 36,212 +7.33
W.B'DOGS 18,056 20,491 –11.9


437,906 441,711 –0.86

Overall, only a marginal drop of 3805 members was experienced—a decline of 0.86 percent.

David Sierakowski cleared
Crawford off; two fined $1200
St Kilda defender DAVID SIERAKOWSKI was the only case before the Tribunal on Tuesday (13th).

Booked for an incident during the third quarter of Sunday's MCG match, Sierakowski was found not guilty of charging Hawthorn's KRIS BARLOW.

Further video charges made on Wednesday morning brought four players before players before the Tribunal on Wednesday — JUSTIN PLAPP (StK) for kneeing NATHAN THOMPSON (Haw)–Plapp was found not guilty. SHANE CRAWFORD (Haw), AUSTINN JONES (StK) and JUSTIN PECKETT (StK) faced charges of wrestling. Crawford was found not guilty while Jones and Peckett were each fined $1200.

Stab Kicks ...
** Grass, ticketing, roof stress and all the other problems associated with Colonial had another addition on Sunday—a fire alarm which wouldn't stop, causing Channel Seven with only 60 minutes left, to relocate its Game-Day program back to its main studios at Southbank. Without a blink at the new surroundings, host JOHN LONGMIRE, and his sidekicks TODD VINEY and TONY SHAW exchanged their lively banter around a show which is adding more converts every week.

** Seven's relaxed, informative and welcome new style of previewing the day's matches include punchy, tight interviews which last Sunday had DAMIEN HARDWICK, GARRY HOCKING, GREG STAFFORD, BRETT RATTEN and KEVIN SHEEDY.
GameDay is fast becoming required viewing, and so it should -- it's great!

** What a pleasure is was on Sunday to see the contrast of the beautifully prepared surfaces of both the MCG and the Carlton venues.

** SYDNEY coach Rodney Eade faces a $5000 fine for his critical comments of the standard of umpiring in Sunday's Sydney loss to Essendon.
The AFL confirmed it had written to Eade requesting an explanation for his claim that: "They (the umpires) were in the way all day, I thought." Eade went on to deliver probably the most outspoken tirade on the men in white for the season to date.
"You feel sorry for Andrew Schauble, who I thought played very well, and when (Sean) Denham throws the ball in the second quarter and kicks a goal from a throw, and when (Joe) Misiti does 34 pirouettes after being tackled and they get a goal from that as well, and then the umpire puts a terrific shepherd on (Matthew) Nicks, you are just fighting against 21 blokes on the ground all the time."

** PAUL SALMON will retire at the end of the season. "Fish" made the announcement on Tuesday (13th) on the eve of his 300th League game due on Saturday. Salmon played 209 matches with Essendon from 1983-1995 before becoming the first ruckman for the Hawks in 1996. His decision may provide an inspiration for Hawthorn to make the finals. Salmon in R15 will play his 91st for Hawthorn—two finals would get him to a century of games with the brown-and-gold.

** The round-ball game was in the news, drawing 43,242 to Subiaco Oval on Sunday for the NSL grand final which Wollongong won 7-6 on a penalty shoot-out with Perth Glory ... a Thursday night international between Australia and Paraguay was moved to Olympic Park. Colonial's general manager MARTIN MOWLAM said: "a smaller venue like Olympic Park will provide a better atmosphere for Thursday's match."

** SCOTT RUSSELL on Tuesday (13th) announced his retirement. The 1990 premiership player with Collingwood played 182 games with the Pies (1990-98) before moving to Sydney where he played 16 in 1999. A hernia and a knee injury kept him from the game this season. The recent retirement of CRAIG O'BRIEN and now Russell leave two vacancies open on the Swans' playing list.

** MAYNE, Queensland's oldest Australian Football club and winner of 15 premierships over 75 years has filed an action in the Federal Court in Brisbane against 11 respondents including the AFL, AFL Queensland (AFLQ), the Brisbane Lions, the Queensland State Football League and seven other clubs over its exclusion from this year's state competition.

They said it ...
EDITORIAL, Herald Sun, Monday, June 12
— "Melbourne's reputation as the centre of Australian sport can withstand the woes of Colonial Stadium.
But the troubled sports arena risks relegation for second rate events unless a quick fix is found for its problems.
The unprecedented transfer of the weekend St Kilda-Hawthorn match was the last straw in the stadium's mounting run of snafus and glitches ..."

MICHAEL MANLEY, On the Punt, Herald Sun, June 12 — "One punter spent a nervous day after placing $42,000 at 1-14 to win $3000 on Essendon with the No.1 Betting Shop."


Fast-finishing Bulldogs pip Roos
300th for Paul Salmon
Paul Kelly returns to the game
Collingwood's 2100th game
Coach Kevin Sheedy reported

ROUND 15 — Fri-Sat-Sun, June 16-17-18.
MILESTONES — COLLINGWOOD played its 2,100th League game ... PAUL SALMON became the 37th player to reach 300 League games, 91 Haw 1996-2000, 209 Ess 1983-95 ... a twin milestone for MARK BICKLEY (Ade) who led the Crows for the 100th occasion in his 200th game, 1991-2000 ... 150 matches for JUSTIN PECKETT (StK) 1992-2000 ... 50th games by DARREN HULME (Car) 1997-2000 and CRAIG BIDDISCOMBE (16 Rch 1999-2000, 34 Gee 1995-98) ... while DARREN JARMAN played his 100th for Adelaide (1996-2000) also 109 Haw 1991-95 ... GAVIN MITCHELL played his 50th for St Kilda (1998-2000), also 36 Fre 1996-97 ...

<> In their 2100th League match, Collingwood halted its nine-game losing streak ... it was the Magpies 50th match under lights ...

<> Carlton kicked their kicked their 10th successive century — from R6, 169, 120, 109, 147, 109, 129, 128, 159, 107, 120 — the previous club record was seven, 94-R10 to 94-R16 ... the League record is 19 by the Kangaroos, 99-R14 to 2000-R7 ... Essendon recently reached 17 scores of 100+ — it was halted by the Swans in the game at the SCG a fortnight ago ... ... meeting in their 15th contest, Adelaide played Carlton for the 10th time at Princes Park ...

<> JEFF FARMER’s effort was only the third time since 1946 that a Demon has kicked seven goals or more against Hawthorn—Kelvin Templeton in 1984-R3-MCG kicked 8.3 and Allen Jakovich in 1994-R17-MCG kicked 8.1 — Norm Smith was the last to kick seven goals versus the Hawks, 46-R17-MCG ... The Demons posted their biggest win over the Hawks for 34 years since 1966-R13-MCG, when Melbourne won by 92pts, 23.13-151 to 9.5-59 ...

<> The Dons won their 15th for the year, equalling a 1981 record under Kevin Sheedy when they won from Round 7 to 21 — next club record set to be equalled is their 16 in-a-row posted twice in 1949-50 and 1950-51 when they won 32 of 33 contests, 49-R12 to 51-R2 ... PETER MATERA (WCE) passed 200 goals in game 212 ... the Eagles lost their fourth in a row, short only to their 6 in 1989-R7 to 11 and five in 1988-R8-9-10-11-12 ...

<> The Power won their third on-the-trot and with a three-game break distanced themselves by three games from the bottom-placed St Kilda ...

<> The Dockers with 9.2-56 enjoyed their all-time highest opening quarter of 125 League games, topping 8.3-51 v Ade, 99-R11-S ... this was the 150th League game at Subiaco Oval — the span has produced 99 wins for the 'home' side and 51 for the visitors ... Fremantle's DANIEL SCHELL kicked a goal with his first kick in League football ...

<||> A fine cold night brought 35,542 to the MCG on Friday night. Collingwood ended their nine-match run of defeats when they were too accomplished for a disorganised St Kilda. The game was as good as over after the Magpies had kicked seven goals to one in the second term and led by 50 points at half time. While the margin was reduced before the end, the Saints were clearly outplayed — it was a picnic for one side, panic for another.
"The unforced error rate was high for both sides..." LEN JOHNSON reported for The Age "...probably reflecting the lack of confidence with which they came into the game. One win collectively in the previous 18 games does not exactly do wonders for the confidence. The rot spread to the officials, the goal umpire at the Punt Road end in the third term ruling that a shot by Collingwood's SCOTT BURNS was a goal despite the fact that JUSTIN PECKETT (S) appeared to touch the ball right under his nose.

Collingwood had conventional targets at which to aim up forward, SAVERIO ROCCA returning for his first game since being dropped a month ago and ANTHONY ROCCA picking up his game accordingly. The pair contributed six first-half goals, and gave the attack a framework around which construct something. St Kilda, at least before the second-half improvisations, had nothing" — or as coaching legend TOM HAFEY ranked them — "as slow as treacle" – COLLINGWOOD 17.13-115 (A.Rocca 3, S.Rocca 3) best, Buckley Johnson, Richardson, ST KILDA 13.4-82 (Jones 3) best, Burke, Sziller, Sierakowski.

<||> Players enjoyed top ground conditions at Optus Oval on Saturday afternoon when a healthy 25,563 attended. Carlton, led superbly by 327-game veteran CRAIG BRADLEY kicked eight goals to Adelaide's nil in the first term. However MATTHEW ALLAN, a strong influence at the opening headed for the rooms with a jarred left knee which is likely to keep him absent for up to six weeks.

Adelaide striving to secure their top eight spot challenged strongly even after losing captain MARK BICKLEY early with a shoulder injury (in his 200th game) yet they never got closer than four goals and faced a 51pt deficit early in the last quarter. TRENT HOTTON who went into the ruck to replace Allan was instrumental in Carlton's win with his dominance over RHETT BIGLANDS and BEN MARSH.

With Bradley directing traffic, ADRIAN HICKMOTT controlling the though unobtrusive as ever BRETT RATTEN collected 31 possessions. LANCE WHITNALL was a winner for the Blues with five goals in the first half and six for the day – CARLTON 19.6-120 (Whitnall 6) best, Hickmott, Ratten, Camporeale, ADELAIDE 14.12-96 (Welsh 3, Burton 3) best, Burton, Goodwin, Hart.

<||> The Brisbane Lions sent shock-waves through rival camps when they demolished the much-favoured Geelong by 69 points in great conditions at Kardinia Park on Saturday—21,003 were present. The Cats were woeful in front of goal, kicking nine straight behinds spanning the second and third quarters.

Brisbane's midfield, led by NIGEL LAPPIN, MICHAEL VOSS, SIMON BLACK, MARCUS ASHCROFT and SHAUN HART was supreme, running the ball in numbers and delivering with precision. To start, Lions coach Matthews left DANIEL BRADSHAW and ALASTAIR LYNCH as his two marking targets up forward. The ploy worked a treat, Bradshaw kicking four goals in a strong display, while Lynch did his part finishing with three. Swarming at their feet were a host of crumbers and it was no surprise that in the end the Lions had produced an even dozen goalkickers.

The absence of an injured ADAM HEUSKES had left the Lions one short in defence—Matthews choice of JARROD MOLLOY to full back was a winner. It allowed JUSTIN LEPPITSCH to play further upfield, while uncluttering the forward line. The Cats looked slow and indecisive in one of their worst performances for the year – BRISBANE 20.8-128 (Bradshaw 4, Power 3, A.Lynch 3) best, Lappin, Bradshaw, Leppitsch, GEELONG 7.17-59 (Mensch 3) best, Sanderson, Scarlett, Mensch.

<||> Finals aspirants Hawthorn and Melbourne faced each other for the 56th time at the MCG—39,215 were on hand to cheer Hawthorn's popular ruckman PAUL SALMON in his 300th League game. Conditions on Saturday afternoon were good with much of the match played in sunshine.  At the 12 minute mark of the second term, Hawthorn had kicked six of the last seven goals and led Melbourne by 21 points, 6.6 to 3.3. Then the wheels fell off for the Hawks and they suffered a 90-point turnaround.

Within seven minutes the Demons were back in front (they lost the lead briefly again before going back in front for good a minute before the end of the term). Just over 50 minutes' of football later, Melbourne had won by 69pts, having snatched all the same advantages that looked to be heading Hawthorn's way.
LEN JOHNSON observed for The Age: "Just as Melbourne's confidence fed off itself, so, too, did Hawthorn's indecision. Time and again, Melbourne moved long into attack where Farmer ended up with seven goals (giving him 16 in two weeks). Almost as often, Hawthorn was mowed down coming out of defence or through the midfield as the ball carrier searched for options.

It ruined Paul Salmon's 300th game. The prematch brought a magnanimous gesture from Hawthorn's 1980's rival, with Essendon coach KEVIN SHEEDY making a brief appearance in the Hawks' rooms to pay tribute to a player who has performed with distinction at both clubs." – MELBOURNE 22.9-141 (Farmer 7.0, Yze 4) best, Yze, Farmer, S.Febey, HAW-THORN 10.12-72 (Holland 2, N.Thompson 2) best, Rock, Chick, Graham.

<||> An under-manned West Coast came to play on Saturday night below the closed roof of Colonial Stadium—39,694 watched a tenacious contest between two fierce rivals. Essendon eventually won by 32 points but the battle continued the ongoing war between the two. By Essendon's standards, it was an honourable defeat for West Coast.

The unbeaten Bombers found themselves struggling against a seven-defence with the extra man ANDREW DONNELLY taking 14 marks for the game, frustrating the Essendon attack. That the Bombers absorbed and outplayed the Eagles was positive—achieving a rare feat, beating every side in the League.

Each time the Bombers edged ahead, West Coast managed to sneak forward and find goals of their own. But Essendon found the answers when they needed them and were still able to rotate their players. To their credit the Eagles fought it out. For Essendon, as FRANK RUSSELL noted in The Australian: " showed the sheer weight of their momentum carries them through situations when opposing teams build themselves up to challenge the leaders."

In an extraordinary overflow, Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy at the half time break remonstrated with West Coast player MITCHELL WHITE, gesturing, shouting, swearing, pointing, slamming his fist into a hand and moving a finger across his throat. The demonstration followed an incident after White had come from the interchange bench late in the second quarter and moved to the Eagles' forward line where an Essendon player MARK JOHNSON fell to the ground and was treated for a head injury above his right eye. A later investigation resulted in Sheedy being cited to appear before the Tribunal on a charge of misconduct. The AFL investigator found no basis for a charge to be laid against Mitchell White – ESSENDON 15.18-108 (Mercuri 3, Lloyd 3) best, J.Johnson, M.Johnson, Fletcher, WEST COAST 11.10-76 (Phillip Matera 4, White 3) best, Donnelly, Phillip Matera, Jakovich.

<||> Port Adelaide (15th) won their third in a row when they defeated third-placed Richmond by 28 points under Sunday sunshine at Football Park for 26,053 fans. The toll of injury continues to hit the Tigers with DUNCAN KELLAWAY from this game facing a right knee reconstruction, DAVID BOURKE (broken jaw) and DARREN GASPAR with a corked hip.

In his review of the match ALAN SHIELL noted for The Age: The Tigers led by 22 points—6.4 to 2.6—nine minutes into the second quarter but thereafter were outscored 13.7 to 5.6 to lose to the pumped-up Power. Port did something similar to West Coast the previous week, winning by 36pts after having trailed by 38pts in the second quarter. Surprisingly, neither side took advantage of the blustery wind, with only 8.4 being kicked with it and 18.7 against it."

Port captain GAVIN WANGANEEN (four goals) playing the unfamiliar role of full-forward kept his side in the game they looked likely to lose when they trailed at every break. The Power were sparked by STUART DEW in the final term and blasted through six goals to win. However, reality will soon replace euphoria—they face the unbeaten Essendon next week – PORT 15.13-103 (Wanganeen 4) best, Dew, Francis, Guerra, RICHMOND 11.9-75 (Hilton 3) best, Knights, Bowden, Hilton.

<||> Sydney faced a regulation fine with PAUL KELLY a late inclusion to the team when they played Fremantle on a firm surface at Subiaco Oval on Sunday afternoon—the crowd was 20,465. In the Perth sunshine, the Dockers blasted a club record of 9.2-56 in the first quarter to lead the Swans by 43pts at the first change. Kelly came off the bench for his 198th game (and first for the season) 12 minutes into the second quarter. Within a minute, the man dubbed Captain Courageous marked a pass from JUDE BOLTON and from 35 metres in front kicked the Swans' sixth goal, which reduced the margin to 24 points, 10.3-63 to 6.3-39.

When ANDREW BOMFORD gave the Swans the lead for the first time 12 minutes into the third, a couple of missed shots late in the quarter seemed inconsequential. However those misses, and TROY LUFF's failure to convert a shot on the run before the ¾-time siren, became crucial.

The Swans were spent and Fremantle piled on five goals in 10 minutes of the final term to give an unpredictable game its final, convincing twist. The match was notable by Fremantle's incredible accuracy when they kicked 10 goals straight from early in the second term to finish with 20 goals, 3 behinds, one which was rushed – FREMANTLE 20.3-123 (Waterhouse 5, Holland 4, Modra 3) best, Cook, Hasleby, Waterhouse, SYDNEY 14.12-96 (Goodes 2, Crouch 2) best, Schauble, Cresswell, Crouch.

<||> The roof was open at Docklands to clear skies on Sunday afternoon when 27,695 saw the Kangaroos squander a 42-point lead to lose to the fast-finishing Bulldogs. It was one of the most gripping and hard-hitting matches of the season.
JAKE NIALL recorded for The Age: At one stage in the second quarter, the Roos led by 42 points. Even in modern football, few matches are won from the position the Bulldogs faced, but, given the strange patterns of each team, a seven-goal deficit wasn't enough for the Roos to feel safe or for the Dogs to feel gone. Both sides reverted to type in the second half and the match turned into a Colonial Classic.

In the final minute of the match, in what Denis Cometti calls 'the last roll of the dice' TROY MAKEPEACE kicked long to WAYNE CAREY, who happened to be double-teamed 30 metres from goal. Carey had marked a similar ball in the second quarter against two Bulldogs, as only he can. This time the ball didn't carry as far and his opponent MATTHEW CROFT, stood in front and marked.

The hectic last quarter which contained some of the most exhilarating football of the season, also proved that you do not need a flood of goals for excitement. So the match had three phases. The Roos and Dogs were equally dominant in their respective period of ascendancy—hence the level scores at three-quarter time. It came down to the final quarter, when they scrapped it out. The difference? Roo coach Denis Pagan felt that the Dogs had wanted to win "fractionally more" than his team, which has plenty of trophies and perhaps has less desire than it once did. And thus the Dogs won by a fraction – BULLDOGS 16.10-106 (Johnson 5, Brown 3) best, Darcy, Dimattina, Johnson, KANGAROOS 15.12-102 (Carey 3) best, Pickett, McCartney, King.

Stab Kicks ...
** A defamation action was lodged on behalf of Dr Paul McConnell in the
 Queensland District Court on Friday (16th) against Western Bulldog player JOSE ROMERO and Channel Nine. It follows comments made by Romero on Channel Nine's Footy Show after Romero was suspended for two games for scratching Brisbane Lions' SIMON BLACK in Round 2 on March 19.

** Channel Seven on Sunday provided a flashback to when Adelaide first visited Princes Park in 1991. The comparison to the glue-pot which players ploughed through nine years ago to the pristine surface which now graces the Carlton venue was astounding. With only the SCG to undergo resurfacing at the end of this season, one would expect all eight AFL grounds from coast to coast will reach a standard not previously thought possible.

=A $14.5 million extension at Football Park to increase the capacity from 47,000 to 54,000 commenced this week. The new northern grandstand will be completed for the 2002 season.

Two charges dismissed
Two players appearing before the AFL Tribunal on Monday (19th) had their charges dismissed.

Port Adelaide captain GAVIN WANGANEEN and Adelaide's BRETT BURTON were booked for charging Richmond's ANDREW KELLAWAY and Carlton's DEAN RICE respectively. Both players were going for marks when the incidents occurred, and Tribunal chairman BRIAN COLLIS found neither constituted a charge.

On Tuesday night the Tribunal heard charges against Sydney's SIMON FEAST for tripping Fremantle's CLIVE WATERHOUSE and Port Adelaide's NICK STEVENS for striking Richmond's GREG TIVENDALE

Feast was suspended for one match. Nick Stevens who pleaded not guilty was suspended for three weeks. The Tribunal handed down a heavy penalty as the player was found guilty earlier this season and suspended for two matches for striking Bulldog player SIMON GARLICK (WB) in Round 3.

They said it ...
MICHAEL DAVIS, The Australian, Thursday, June 15
— "...Gutnick, who is understood to have Evans in his sights, has called a meeting of the 16 AFL club president at his business headquarters in Melbourne on Monday morning. The presidents are scheduled to meet the AFL Commission later in the day.
The Demons boss is on record as saying Evans has a conflict of interest over Colonial Stadium, as Evans in chief executive of Spotless Group which own Nationwide Venue Management, NVM manages the $460 million stadium for owners Stadium Operations Limited."

MARK STEVENS and MICHAEL GLEESON, Herald Sun, Friday, June 16, quoting Sydney chairman RICHARD COLLESS — "I think the meeting's a farce. It's another indication of the fact that our game, through entirely our own fault is spiralling out of control.
We'll look back in 10 years and see it (public political division) as one of the most disgraceful things in the history of the game."

MICHAEL GLEESON, Herald Sun, Saturday, June 17, quoting Melbourne president JOSEPH GUTNICK — "They won’t silence me with outrageous personal attacks. I will not be gagged. I will talk about the issues ..."

ROGER VAUGHAN,, Sunday, June 18, quoting Essendon president GRAEME McMAHON — "The clubs have no authority to interfere and neither should they – to do anything else can only see a return to the disastrous days of parochial interests, which existed previously and, in fact, were what caused the independent commission to be formed in the first place. I am at a loss personally to understand the reason for any special meeting."

ROBERT GRANT,, Sunday, June 18 — Melbourne president JOSEPH GUTNICK said today he had the numbers to remove AFL Commission chairman RON EVANS.

GREG DENHAM and JAKE NIALL, The Age, Tuesday, June 20, reporting on Monday's meeting of the AFL Commission — Club presidents agreed, independent of the commission, not to meet as a group in secret again, vowing to use their quarterly forum with the commission to discuss their concerns.
Commission chairman Ron Evans said it was detrimental for clubs to meet other than in conjunction with the commission.
Melbourne president Joseph Gutnick, an outspoken critic of Evans on the issue of conflict of interest, has agreed to discuss his differences with Evans in meetings scheduled over the next few weeks. "Our differences haven't been resolved, but we will be talking again,'' Evans said last night.
Gutnick said he would discuss "everything'' with Evans in private. "I'm a little easier,'' he said.

Radio Ratings
Great comeback by 3AW
The latest Melbourne radio ratings for the 2000 season were published on Wednesday June 21.
3AW staged a remarkable comeback on both Saturdays and Sundays, winning both nights, with MMM coming up tops for Friday nights and Sunday afternoons. 3LO were still solid but lost some ground.

Friday (call) 11.1 14.9 11.7
Saturday overall (12-6) 15.4 14.8 12.0
Saturday (12-2) 11.8 10.6 10.2
Saturday call (2-4.30) 17.9 16.6 13.7
Saturday (4.30-6) 15.6 17.8 11.0
Saturday nights 13.3 8.3 8.7
Sunday overall (12-6) 11.3 12.9 10.2
Sunday (12-2) 10.4 10.0 8.7
Sunday call (2-4.30) 11.9 15.4 12.0
Sunday (4.30-6) 11.3 11.7 8.7

Kevin Sheedy fined $7500
Essendon coach KEVIN SHEEDY faced the AFL Tribunal on Thursday June 22. Sheedy pleaded guilty to behaving in a threatening and aggressive manner toward West Coast player MITCHELL WHITE during the half-time interval of the Saturday June 17 Round 15 night match at Colonial Stadium.

Sheedy was charged after making several provocative gestures to White— including a "slit the throat" motion, thumping his fist into his palm and a two-finger salute.

Handing down his decision, Tribunal chairman BRIAN COLLIS, QC, described Sheedy as an icon of the game who is looked up to by the football public.

But Collis said the incident was provocative and did not set a good example. He said he was concerned that youngsters were on the ground at the time of the incident.

The Essendon coach was fined $7500, payable by June 30.

Special note: In 2002 –

Sheedy gets apology from AFL

WAYNE JACKSON has admitted the League was wrong to make Sheedy face the Tribunal over his provocative throat-slitting gesture towards West Coast Eagle Mitchell White two years ago.

The AFL chief executive was speaking at a luncheon in Brisbane to celebrate Sheedy's 500th game as coach.

SCOTT GULLAN in the Herald Sun (April 14, 2002) reported: "The AFL does make an occasional mistake," Jackson said. "Maybe the AFL could have perhaps sat down and had a cup of tea or cup of coffee with Kevin, rather than doing what we did."

Sheedy faced the Tribunal and was fined $7500 for behaving in a threatening and aggressive manner toward MITCHELL WHITE after the Eagles forward had clashed with Essendon defender MARK JOHNSON just on halftime of the Saturday night game at Colonial Stadium on June 17, 2000.


Roos end Eagles' finals dream
Another record to Essendon
Lions kick 14-straight, and lose

ROUND 16 — Fri-Sat-Sun, June 23-24-25.
MILESTONES — ESSENDON won their 16th successive game … CARLTON won their 11th successive game … GAVIN BROWN (Col) and GARRY HOCKING (Gee) played their 250th  matches … 200 games for TIM McGRATH (193 Gee 1990-2000, 7 NM 1989-91) … 150th by SHANE CRAWFORD (Haw) 1993-2000 … WINSTON ABRAHAM played his 100th League game, 62 NMK 1998-2000, also 38 Fre 1995-97 … ANDREW KELLAWAY (Rch) reached his 50th, 1998-2000 ... BRISBANE kicked 14 goals in succession across the second, third and fourth quarters …

<> a rugby league match between the Melbourne Storm and the Cronulla Sharks was played on Friday night at the MCG to an official crowd of 15,535—the published crowd at Docklands numbered 38,745 ...

<> At Geelong, the final margin of six points was the closest of the 10 meetings between the Cats and Dockers ... TONY MODRA reached 550 goals in his 149th League match with both Adelaide and Fremantle ...

<> Brisbane kicked 14 goals straight—from 3.8 late in the second quarter through to 17.8 at the 17 minute mark of the last quarter, the streak was broken two minutes later by a rushed behind ... Brisbane's 11-straight in the third quarter failed to beat their best-ever quarter of 10.7-67 scored against Sydney in the first term 1993-R8-BCG ... for the Gabba, the 10.7-67 record for a quarter is shared by Melbourne versus Brisbane, 1993-R3-BCG ... Carlton's half-time score of 15.8-98 topped their previous best half-time score versus Brisbane from 1987-R10-PP of 12.9-81 ... Highest half-time score by the Blues is 18.11-119 against Footscray in 1982-R18-PP ... LANCE WHITNALL (Car) passed 50 goals for the season in booting a personal-best 9.4 — his previous top was 8.1 versus the Bulldogs, 1998-R17-PP ...

<> The Kangaroos posted their sixth win of the past seven meetings against the Eagles, and their second success against West Coast at Subiaco ... WINSTON ABRAHAM passed 150 goals in League game 100 with both Fremantle and the Roos ...

<> The Doggies last quarter of 8.2-50 was the best finish of 18 contests versus Adelaide and short only by six points to the best stanza of 9.2-56 for the first quarter over the Crows, 94-R5-FP ... NIGEL SMART (Ade) kicked his 100th goal in game 203.

<||> The Friday night game was played under clear skies and an open roof at Colonial Stadium as repairs started to a 30cm split in the roof—conditions were good and a big 38,745 fans attended. Hawthorn reversed the nine-goal battering they had received from Collingwood in the opening round with a 57 point victory, their eighth win of the season.

The match was characterised by errors, fumbles and clangers throughout the night, MELISSA RYAN reported in The Age which almost descended into farce in the latter stages of the second term with a series of umpiring errors and free kicks culminating in goals to both sides.

Hawthorn captain SHANE CRAWFORD (his 150th) enjoyed his best game of the year while BEN DIXON booted six goals and JOHN BARKER chipped in by kicking 4.1. For the Pies, NATHAN BUCKLEY was yet again on show with 36 possessions, with runners such as PAUL LICURIA and SHANE O'BREE while getting plenty of the ball, were let down by the Magpies' poor forward options. ANTHONY ROCCA crashed around the field, even cleaning up teammate CHRIS TARRANT at one stage. Hawthorn led at every change and controlled the game, despite a brief Collingwood comeback in the third term – HAWTHORN 19.11-125 (Dixon 6, Barker 4) best, Hay, Dixon, Crawford, COLLINGWOOD 10.8-68 (Buckley 3, Tarrant 3) best, Buckley, Tarrant, Williams.

<||> An overcast sky drew 43,200 on Saturday afternoon to the MCG when Melbourne withstood a last quarter comeback from Richmond to win by 10 points. Richmond came back from 51 points behind midway through the third term to get within two points late in the game and had a chance to claim what had seemed an improbable victory.

Melbourne gained the initiative with the first four goals and for much of the day JEFF WHITE imposed his will at centre bounces. With a fleet of midfielders in ANTHONY McDONALD (33 possessions), SHANE WOEWODIN, ANTHONY LEONCELLI, STEPHEN POWELL, JEFF FARMER and GUY RIGONI in flight, the Demons were too speedy for the Tigers who had a mediocre first half. In light drizzle, PAUL BRODERICK stepped up his work-rate for the Tigers in the third term as they began to chip away but 3.8 to 2.4 was little reward and they still trailed by 35 at three-quarter time.

Richmond coach Danny Frawley swung the changes for the final term moving three defenders—Hilton, Andrew Kellaway and Gaspar forward. The Tigers launched a strong assault as the Demon lead evaporated. However, a late goal by Rigoni saved Melbourne as Richmond's charge failed – MELBOURNE 16.14-110 (Powell 3) best, White, A.McDonald, Nicholson, RICHMOND 14.16-100 (Broderick 3) best, Cameron, Hilton, Gaspar.

<||> Geelong kicked the first five goals and rattled Fremantle in the Saturday afternoon game at Kardinia Park played to 17,399. Thereafter, as heavy clouds, a blustery wind and a late June afternoon made conditions dark before half-time, the Dockers challenged the Cats at every turn. Freo drew level in the second term but never led in the game.

The Cats were desperate to win in the twin celebration of GARRY HOCKING's 250th and TIM McGRATH's 200th in which each collected 25 possessions. TOM HARLEY was highly effective at full-back for Geelong and held TONY MODRA to only two goals which relieved BEN GRAHAM to the forward line. However, chief contributors to the win was consistent playmaking of DARREN MILBURN, JASON SNELL and CARL STEINFORT while CLINT BIZZELL (three goals), DAVID MENSCH (four) and CAMERON LING were good.

It was a scrap and while Freo moved close to another win, it put to question how far away in class Geelong are to the League leaders Essendon and Carlton – GEELONG 12.18-90 (Mensch 4, Bizzell 3), best, Mensch, Bizzell, Kilpatrick, FREMANTLE 12.12-84 (Cook 2, Modra 2, McManus 2) best, Fletcher, McManus, Black.

<||> Following a picture-perfect Sydney day, the SCG was hard on Saturday night when 22,154 attended a struggle between the 14th placed Swans and bottom side St Kilda. With PAUL KELLY back, the vocal Sydney crowd cheered wildly as he kicked a goal in the first 45 seconds and got the Swans away to a good start.

After Kelly left the field with a quad strain eight minutes into the second term, the game became a dreary affair as a near full-strength Sydney side struggled to shake off a plucky St Kilda—it was a match played out by two terrible teams. As one commentator noted—had fans been given complimentary tickets, they would've demanded their money back.

It was a difficult, ugly game as St Kilda flooded the Swans' attack zone which drew a post-game comment from Sydney coach Eade: "it was pretty obvious they didn't come here to win ..." Save for a purple patch by ADAM GOODES when he kicked three goals in three minutes and good showings from ANDREW SCHAUBLE, NIC FOSDIKE, BEN MATHEWS and a 55m ripper of a goal from DANIEL McPHERSON, it was a forgettable event. St Kilda coach TIM WATSON resigned two days later, effective at the end of the season – SYDNEY 14.9-93 (O’Loughlin 4, Goodes 3) best, Fosdike, Mathews, Nicks, ST KILDA 10.5-65 (Hall 5) best, Moyle, A.Thompson, Harvey.

<||> Essendon posted a club record-equalling 16 wins when it defeated Port Adelaide on Saturday night before 35,129 fans at Football Park—the game was played on a cold, windless night though heavy dew made conditions slippery.

ALAN SHIELL reporting for The Age noted: The Bombers who had to work much harder than expected, won the first quarter 4.3 to 0.4– but outscored the Power only 8.14 to 7.12 in the last three terms. Essendon had an even spread of prominent players, with ADAM RAMANAUSKAS (34 possessions), MARK MERCURI and JASON JOHNSON shining in the midfield and the entire defence providing deep, consistent rebound.

Essendon's big men of MATTHEW LLOYD (his first goal was a purler), SCOTT LUCAS STEVEN ALESSIO and JOHN BARNES caused trouble for Port in the air all night. Port captain GAVIN WANGANEEN again line-up at full-forward and was felled by a forearm push from MARK JOHNSON seconds before the opening bounce. Mark Johnson was later booked from video evidence – ESSENDON 12.17-89 (Lucas 3, Lloyd 3) best, J.Johnson, Mercuri, Blumfield, PORT ADELAIDE 7.16-58 (Dew 2, Lockwood 2) best, Francis, James, Dew.

<||> A new AFL record crowd for the Gabba was posted as 34,743 on a fine and warm Sunday afternoon. The match was packed by a series of remarkable highlights — Carlton kicked 15 goals in the first half to lead by 66 points at half-time ... Carlton kicked a second quarter record versus Brisbane of 9.5-59 ... Brisbane kicked 14 successive goals from 3.8 (in the second quarter) to 17.8 until a rushed behind (in the last quarter) ended the span ... the Lions kicked 11-goals straight in the third quarter ... Brisbane recovered from 71 points down to get within 23 points at the start of the last term ... Carlton's LANCE WHITNALL kicked a personal-best of 9 goals 4 behinds ...

In the minds of many, Carlton went into the game as underdogs, yet recorded their 11th successive victory by 44 points. The 20-year-old red-headed forward LANCE WHITNALL was unstoppable, kicking his first three goals in 11 minutes on his way to a nine goal haul and shrugged off five opponents, including a frustrated All-Australian full-back JUSTIN LEPPITSCH, who in the third quarter, threw his boot at the ball as Whitnall added another goal.

The Blues midfield was near brilliant—CRAIG BRADLEY, BRETT RATTEN and SCOTT CAMPOREALE picking up 86 disposals between them. ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES was again in superb touch allowing himself 33 disposals – CARLTON 23.18-156 (Whitnall 9.4, Koutoufides 3, Hickmott 3) best, Ratten, Koutoufides, Whitnall, BRISBANE 17.10-112 (Bradshaw 4, A.Lynch 4) best, M.Voss, Power, Ashcroft.

<||> The Kangaroos produced their best four-quarter performance of the season when they easily defeated West Coast by 10 goals in a rain affected match played before 36,461 spectators on Sunday afternoon at Subiaco. WINSTON ABRAHAM (in his 100th game), PETER BELL and BRENT HARVEY were the most dangerous players around goal and broke the game open after half-time. Harvey had 32 touches and kicked two goals, Bell 25 touches for three while Abraham provided the quality, his 18 possessions netting four goals.

MARK DUFFIELD reporting for The Age — With rain sweeping Subiaco Oval for most of the first half it was never going to be pretty and that is how it proved. The Eagles dominated the first 10 minutes of the match but got little scoreboard reward ... the anticipated battle between WAYNE CAREY and GLEN JAKOVICH never really eventuated. Carey started at full-forward and was picked up by ASHLEY McINTOSH. He went to centre half-forward when the Kangaroos had struggled early in the match but found kicks hard to get. By half-time Carey was at centre half-back on MITCHELL WHITE whose two first-half goals stamped him as the only tall forward to have a significant influence on the game.

West Coast coach Ken Judge conceded the game had been virtually the last roll of the dice ... once again, they got nothing out of their key forwards with Coleman Medalist SCOTT CUMMINGS having just one kick and FRASER GEHRIG hardly sighted – KANGAROOS 16.17-113 (Abraham 4, Bell 3) best, Harvey, Clayton, Blakey, WEST COAST 7.10-52 (White 2) best, Morrison, Kemp, Jakovich.

<||> The Bulldogs buried the Crows by 61 points on Sunday afternoon at Docklands. Sunshine streamed through the open roof where 22,229 attended. Even without the injured Chris Grant and Kingsley Hunter, the Bulldogs kicked seven goals to one in the first quarter from which Adelaide rarely challenged.

Placed at full-forward by the Dogs, 22-year-old NATHAN BROWN never looked like missing and potted six goals straight off his left boot. Indeed the Bulldogs were deadly accurate all day, kicking 21 goals from 28 shots, while another two behinds were rushed. It was a game played in distinct phases—the Bulldogs set up the win, then Adelaide won the second and third terms, though not by much as to get back into the contest. Finally the Bulldogs rained their visitors with mortal blows with eight goals in the final stanza.

LUKE DARCY acknowledged as one the driving big man forces behind the Bulldogs' climb back into the top eight over the past month suffered injury to his left knee and was off before half-time. A tear to his posterior ligament will have him missing for up to six weeks – BULLDOGS 21.9-135 (Brown 6, Hudson 4, Robbins 3) best, Croft, Romero, Brown, ADELAIDE 10.14-74 (Welsh 4) best, McLeod, Smart, Edwards.

Tim Watson resigns
Embattled St Kilda coach TIM WATSON on Monday (26th) announced his resignation from the club effective at the end of the season.

Accepting the blame for the club's bottom of the table performance at his press conference held at Docklands Stadium, Watson though contracted to the end of 2001 said he would not be paid for his final year expressing "...I don't think that would be the honourable thing to do."

Wanganeen outed for two weeks
Mark Johnson gets one week
Paul Broderick exonerated
Wanganeen appeal dismissed
Charges from Round 16 were heard by the AFL Tribunal on Tuesday (27th).

Three wrestling charges did not reach the table with players accepting the designated fines for a first offence —ANTHONY ROCCA (Col), ROBERT POWELL Rch) and MATTHEW WHELAN (Mel) were each fined $1200.

Essendon's MARK JOHNSON was found guilty of striking Port Adelaide's GAVIN WANGANEEN and suspended for one week.

From later in the same, GAVIN WANGANEEN (PA) was found guilty of charging BLAKE CARACELLA (Ess) and suspended for two matches. It was the fourth suspension for the 1993 Brownlow Medal winner.

Richmond's PAUL BRODERICK faced the serious charge of eye gouging Melbourne's acting captain DAVID SCHWARZ. The Tribunal found Broderick not guilty and exonerated him of the charge.

Port Adelaide appealed the sentence against Wanganeen. At the hearing on Thursday, the appeal was dismissed.

They said it ...
MIKE SHEAHAN, Herald Sun, Tuesday, June 27
— We're all touched by grief and humility and, in the context of football, we were mourners at a funeral yesterday.

It is the correct decision, even if the timing is questionable. The Watson body language during the past 10 days has been negative and he obviously needed to cut the albatross loose to preserve his own sanity.

Asked if there was one thing he hadn't done as a coach and wished he had, Watson said: ''I wish I had read the warning label on the coaching manual. It's a health hazard.''

PATRICK SMITH, The Australian, Tuesday, June 27 — If Watson had not decided last Monday that his time was up, others would have done it for him. There is no need to draw a time-line of the demise of Watson as coach. Just write one word -- inevitable. Watson nodded his head in disdain when St Kilda president Andrew Plympton was asked whether the board would have supported Watson next year. Watson didn't think much of the question but others would have shaken their heads in disbelief if he had been reappointed.

History will judge Watson well. It will remember the kid from Dimboola who ran as hard and fast as though he was a rock flung from a sling-shot; a kid who looked as though he could run along a high-wire bouncing the ball and doing blind turns; a kid who could read a bounce like a librarian a book. He was a champion footballer. So he couldn't coach ... History won't give a fig because Timmy was a star.

Stab Kicks ...
** Retirements were announced by: DANIEL SOUTHERN from the Bulldogs – knee injuries have overtaken the 25-year-old after 103 games (1994-2000) with the Dogs. He was a Norwich Union Rising Star nominee in 1994 ... BRENDAN KRUMMEL, now 28, following 74 League matches (9 WCE 1992-94, 1 Fre 1995 and 64 Haw 1996-2000) retired due to a knee injury... GARY DHURRKAY at 26 has left the Kangaroos to return to his people in Arnhem Land — he played 51 matches with Fremantle 1995-98 and 21 with the Roos since 1999 ...

** Congratulations to the hard-working team at Channel Seven who produced the special tribute "Case" honouring the life and work of RON CASEY who passed away on June 19. The one-hour special aired in Melbourne on Saturday June 24 at 6.30pm. It was a labour of love extending to near-dawn finishes in the editing room on several nights from those dedicated to the high principles of the man.

** A NSW Supreme Court jury on June 20 found Brisbane player ALASTAIR LYNCH was defamed by an 1998 story published in The Australian about Australian sportspeople who had tested positive to performance-enhancing and recreational drugs. The matter was adjourned until damages are determined.

SOL ousts NVM at Docklands
An out of court settlement on Tuesday June 27 resulted in the departure of NATIONWIDE VENUE MANAGEMENT (NVM) from the operation of the Colonial Stadium. The cancellation of their 25-year agreement was said to be in the vicinity of $20 million.

STADIUM OPERATIONS LIMITED (SOL) headed by former AFL operations manager IAN COLLINS as owners assumed immediate control of the $460 million Dockland venue.

Melbourne's Team of the Century
Melbourne’s most inspirational player RON BARASSI was named captain of the Demons’ Team of the Century announced on Saturday, June 24 at Crown Casino.

Barassi, captain of Melbourne for five years, led the side to flags in 1960 and 1964 — his first and last years in the job. His deputy is ROBERT FLOWER, the club’s games record holder.

Barassi and Flower were appointed ahead of triple premiership skipper ALLAN LA FONTAINE.

The team:
B: John Beckwith, Tassie Johnson, Don Cordner
HB: Noel McMahen, Gary Hardiman, Don Williams
C: Brian Dixon, Allan La Fontaine, Robert Flower (Vice-Capt.)
HF: Garry Lyon, Ivor Warne-Smith, Hassa Mann
F: Jack Mueller, Norm Smith (Coach), Percy Beams
Foll: Denis Cordner, Ron Barassi (Capt.), Stuart Spencer
Inter: Frank Adams, Sir Albert Chadwick, Jim Stynes, Laurie Mithen, Wally Lock, Todd Viney
Emerg: Stan Alves, Greg Wells, Bob Johnson Jnr, Ian Ridley

The team contains 14 who captained the Redlegs; 19 were members of premiership teams; six who coached the Melbourne club.


Club record 17 wins for Essendon
Watson resigns; Saints break drought
Dons, Blues, Roos break away to top
Eade: longest-serving coach of Swans

ROUND 17 — Fri-Sat-Sun, June 30, July 1-2.
MILESTONES — ESSENDON posted a club record 17 successive wins ... RODNEY EADE in his 112th match became the longest-serving coach in the 126-year history of the South Melbourne-Sydney club ... GLEN JAKOVICH (WCE, 1991-2000) played his 200th game ... PAUL KELLY (Syd, 1990-2000) in his 200th game captained the Swans for the 150th occasion ... 150th matches were played by TONY MODRA (32 Fre 1998-2000, also 118 Ade 1992-98) and TONY WOODS (119 Haw 1995-2000, also 13 Fit 1989-90, 18 Col 1992-94) ... a century of matches by SCOTT BURNS (Col, 1993-2000) and DANIEL CHICK (Haw, 1993-2000) ... 50th games by BRAD OTTENS (Rch 1998-2000) ...

<> St Kilda posted their second win of the season ... AUSTINN JONES (StK) passed 100 goals in game 121 ... DAVID MENSCH (Gee) reached 150 goals in game 135 ...

<> Essendon have now won 31 of the past 33 contests—in 1949-51 they won 32 of 33 ... Essendon kicked their 9th score of 20+ goals this season ... MARK MERCURI (Ess) passed 200 goals in game 144 ... STEVEN ALESSIO (Ess) passed 150 goals in game 128 ...

<> The Dockers at the WACA played to only 10,823, the smallest AFL attendance to a Perth fixture—the previous AFL lowest was 12,803 in 1988-R7-WCA when West Coast played St Kilda  ... ROGER JAMES kicked Port Adelaide's 1,000th goal in AFL football in the 31st minute of the first quarter ...

<> The Kangaroos kicked 11.7-73 in the second term, the biggest of all quarters in 134 contests between the two, equalling the 11.7-73 kicked by the Demons, 72-R10-AS ... it was the biggest of 148 quarters of premiership football at Docklands Stadium ...  the final one-point margin was the 266th in League ranks, and the third at Docklands this season ... the Kangas kicked eight goals in time-on of the second quarter—arguably the biggest tally ever in time on ... the second quarter was timed by ABC Radio as 37m 24sec ... JOHN BLAKEY (NMK) reached 100 goals in his 316th game ...

<> The Lions with 7.8-50 had their best start to the season and kicked their best-ever quarter versus the Bulldogs ...

<> Sydney celebrated the twin milestones of PAUL KELLY and RODNEY EADE with a thumping 71 point win over the Eagles ... DARYN CRESSWELL (Syd) reached 150 goals in game 180 ...

<> Carlton defeated Hawthorn for the 100th time ... Carlton's 8.2-50 was the second-best opening of 143 contests against the Hawks ... The Blues won their 12th successive victory and kicked their 11th straight score of 100+ points ... it was the 24th occasion in the last quarter of 1544 League games where Hawthorn had been held to a single behind ... AARON HAMILL (Car) passed 100 goals in game 85 ... DANIEL CHICK reached 100 goals in his 100th game ... SIMON FLETCHER kicked Carlton's 25,000th goal in League football at the six minute mark of the second quarter ...

<||> Only four days following the resignation by coach TIM WATSON that he would depart at the end of the season, his bottom-of-the-ladder charges broke a weeks-long drought when they were too efficient for 4th placed Geelong—the match was played on Friday night under a closed roof at Docklands for a crowd of 23,870.

GREG DENHAM in The Age reported: The Saints' shock win was orchestrated by their biggest and smallest players, veteran STEWART LOEWE and 20-year-old STEVEN BAKER, in only his fourth game, and his second for the year. Both players kicked two goals, but were extremely influential in other areas. Loewe took more marks than any other player and worked hard all over the ground (19 kicks, 14 marks and 20 hitouts), while Baker probably overshadowed his better-known opponent, GARRY HOCKING.

It was a nightmare result for Geelong (their third loss in four games) — their dismal performance drew a talkback caller to 3AW ("John from Brighton" aka 300-game veteran SAM NEWMAN) to express "How p***weak are Geelong? Is that the most disgraceful, p***weak, inept, mentally stuffed performance you've ever seen from a side aspiring to survive, but also pretend to be a finals threat?" he said – ST KILDA 16.13-109 (Hall 4) best, Loewe, Sierakowski, A.Thompson, GEELONG 13.7-85 (Bizzell 4) best, Hocking, Graham, Sholl.

<||> An grim, overcast Saturday afternoon still drew a great throng of 73,465 to the MCG when it was expected seventh-placed Richmond may pressure the undefeated Bombers. Earlier in the week, injured Tiger MATTHEW RODGERS suggested Essendon were playing "arrogant" football. An awesome Essendon disposed of the supposed challenger by 101 points.

When sunshine finally broke through the clouds, Essendon with dynamic sweep gave a quality four-quarter performance. The Bombers, finding they had height in the backline to spare, sent full-back DUSTIN FLETCHER forward, adding another marking target to an already efficient unit. STEVE ALESSIO who only four weeks ago was playing Reserves football, distinguished himself with a fine performance around the ground, and added his five goals to the three which Fletcher kicked and a routine four goals from competition leading goalkicker MATTHEW LLOYD.

Already 66pts down at the last change, if Richmond thought the humiliation had ended, it had not counted on the combined brilliance of Mercuri, Lloyd, Lucas and Fletcher who tapped and soccered the ball to each other and goaled as if to make fun of the Richmond backmen. Coach Sheedy suggested: "They're going to get better." To that you can add James Hird, Dean Rioli, Chris Heffernan, Mark Johnson, Darren Bewick and Dean Wallis — who are either suspended, injured or playing in the Twos – ESSENDON 24.23-167 (Alessio 5, Lloyd 4, Fletcher 3, Mercuri 3) best, Alessio, Fletcher, Solomon, RICHMOND 10.6-66 (Campbell 2, Proctor 2) best, Cameron, Gaspar, Campbell.

<||> Heavy rain during the day and a torrential downpour before the first bounce made conditions difficult in the Saturday night contest at the WACA oval in Perth—the cricket pitch area was up to 20cm deep in water. It was not surprising that the smallest crowd to see an AFL game in Perth—only 10,826 admissions were recorded.

MARK DUFFIELD recorded for The Age: Fremantle was brilliantly served by two South Australians at very different stages of their careers in carving out an 18-point victory against Port Adelaide. In defence, teenager MATTHEW PAVLICH shut down Port's key forward WARREN TREDREA. In attack, veteran full-forward TONY MODRA defied the atrocious wet conditions to bag three crucial goals in his 150th AFL match. The two helped Fremantle top its 7th win of the season, by an even three goals.

Port looked rudderless for much of the first half, and though Port improved and managed to hold its own, it still found itself outscored in the third term. The Dockers' work ethic could not be faulted and would have gladdened the heart of coach Damien Drum. However, next up for Freo — Essendon at Docklands – FREMANTLE 12.10-82 (Modra 3) best, Pavlich, Parker, Cook, PORT 8.16-64 (James 3) best, Carr, James, Francis.

<||> An inspired second quarter of 11.7 by the Kangaroos appeared to have secured a victory over Melbourne in the Saturday night clash under a closed roof at Docklands—30,423 attended. However, for the fifth time this season, the Roos gave up a 40 point lead as the Demons charged back from what would have been their greatest recovery, to just fail—giving the Colonial Stadium its third one point margin in 38 matches.

Midway through the final quarter, Melbourne sat just a few points behind the same Kangaroo side that, after its 73pt second term, had grabbed a 40pt lead by the big break; when SHANE WOEWODIN, CAMERON BRUCE and JEFF FARMER uncovered amazing goals, and BRAD GREEN added a steadier 14 minutes into the term, the Demons could have won.

When the final siren sounded, they were still one point behind, strayed shots by Woewodin and ADEM YZE, and some last-minute heroics from Roos' SHANE CLAYTON, meaning the Roos didn't let Melbourne slip ahead on the ladder. The Kangas kicked one goal in the last term; Melbourne came home with four. It was left to WAYNE CAREY—again the Roos' barometer—to effectively seal the game, but by then Carey, the Roos' single goalkicker in the last half hour, had broken Melbourne's run.

An amazing stat—both sides kicked 14 goals for the game. The Demons did so with 3, 2, 5 and 4; the Roos kicked 0, 11, 2 and 1 – only three goals in three quarters, yet still won a critical contest. For one single quarter the Roos looked every bit as good as the unbeaten Essendon – KANGAROOS 14.19-103 (Carey 5) best, Blakey, Pike, Carey, MELBOURNE 14.18-102 (Woewodin 3, Green 3) best, Yze, Rigoni, J.McDonald.

<||> Good conditions at the Gabba drew 24,662 spectators under an overcast sky on Sunday afternoon for another contest between two fierce rivals. Earlier in the week, the Bulldogs had written a letter of contrition to Brisbane promising to start afresh after several unsavoury incidents over recent seasons. It was however never a contest—the Lions blitzed the visitors in the first term and the trademark Bulldog revival sparked only in the third quarter.

The game was as good at over by half time when the Lions led by 67 points. Veteran midfielder CRAIG LAMBERT (218th League game) and skipper MICHAEL VOSS had slaughtered the Bulldogs at centre clearances. To the long break, Lambert in a vintage display had racked up 17 disposals.

The Bulldogs had a terrible day with both TONY LIBERATORE and JOSE ROMERO benched before half time while major playmaker SCOTT WEST out of the centre had only five kicks for the game, while the usually reliable sharpshooter PAUL HUDSON kicked just three behinds. The big win put Brisbane back into the Eight (at the expense of Hawthorn) on percentage ahead of Adelaide – BRISBANE 20.18-138 (Bradshaw 5, McKinnon 3) best, Lambert, Ashcroft, Notting, BULLDOGS 11.15-81 (Bartlett 3, NG Brown 2) best, Croft, Contessa, Romero.

<||> The Sydney Swans did everything right to acknowledge the 200th game of their champion PAUL KELLY—they recorded their biggest win of the season in front of 22,002 parochial fans at the SCG on Sunday afternoon. Conditions were good after morning rain and most of the match was played in sunshine. Theoretically, the Swans can still make the finals, yet one would suggest, as RODNEY EADE in his 112th game became the longest-serving coach of the South Melbourne-Sydney club, that may be a little too much to expect. One thing however is certain; West Coast will miss the finals for the first time since 1989.

The Swans gained a good start to lead by 28pts at the first break and went further ahead as the match progressed to be 71 point victors. Sydney gained many positives from the match as several of their younger players continued to emerge—BEN MATHEWS, particularly as a genuine midfield option had 36 possessions, half of them in the third quarter; JARED CROUCH in the back pocket, while JUDE BOLTON and NIC FOSDIKE made solid contributions.
There was little to enthuse over in the West Coast camp—except for the courage of the returning BEN COUSINS, and the promise of first-gamer KASEY GREEN and the determination of CHAD MORRISON – SYDNEY 22.19-151 (Cresswell 4, Goodes 4) best, Cresswell, Mathews, Goodes, WEST COAST 12.8-80 (Donnelly 3) best, Cousins, Morrison, Fletcher.

<||> The Blues romped away by 57 points to post their 12th successive victory on a fine mid-winter Sunday when 48,268 were at the MCG. Following Carlton's big opening–8.2 contributed by seven goalkickers, Hawthorn produced a serious challenge across the second and third quarters but when the pressure was applied, the Blues streaked away adding 6.5 to one behind in the final stanza.

Hawthorn struggled to find space early yet clearly dictated terms in the second and third quarters and appeared a genuine chance when they trailed by only 17 points at the last change. MICHAEL DAVIS for The Australian noted: Once again it was ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES who stamped his authority on the game and put paid to the Hawks' chances—Koutoufides had been relatively subdued for most of the game by Hawk DANIEL CHICK. But when moved to attack the great man became much more difficult to contain.”

The win was set up by the usual suspects—CRAIG BRADLEY, LANCE WHITNALL, BRETT RATTEN, aided in no small way by a couple of lesser lights, SIMON FLETCHER and ADRIAN HICKMOTT. Hawthorn missed another "opportunity" as Carlton in this match registered their 25,000th League goal – CARLTON 18.12-120 (Koutoufides 4, Hamill 3) best, Hickmott, Fletcher, Silvagni, HAWTHORN 9.9-63 (Barker 3) best, Hay, Woods, Chick.

<||> Adelaide kicked their highest score of the season and their best yet against Collingwood when they registered a solid 38-point victory in good conditions at Football Park on Sunday to a crowd of 40,171. The Crows needed the win to keep their finals hopes alive and their greater experience showed out against the youthful crop of Magpies.

Following their 61 point loss the previous week to the Bulldogs, the Crows reacted positively to coach Gary Ayres' orders to throw off the shackles, and produced an all-out attacking game that was at its best in the second and third quarters when the result was put beyond much doubt. ALAN SHIEL noted in The Age: Midfielders SIMON GOODWIN, ANDREW McLEOD and MARK RICCIUTO led the way, as they so often do, MATTHEW CONNELL and ANDREW ECCLES provided regular thrust from their wings and BRYAN BEINKE (five goals) and SHAUN REHN (four) were dependable targets up forward. Elusive TYSON EDWARDS (three goals) also was a constant force on the ball and across half-forward.

Collingwood could not establish any real consistency or marking power in attack. Overall, though, Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse was not critical of his players—"There was a lot to like about our game today and there was a lot, obviously, where we can improve. The improvement will come over the next 12 months or so." – ADELAIDE 22.15-147 (Beinke 5, McLeod 4, Rehn 4) best, Goodwin, Edwards, Rehn, COLLINGWOOD 16.13-109 (A.Rocca 3, N.Davis 3, L.Davis 3) best, Buckley, N.Davis, A.Rocca.

Farmer clear on striking charge
Melbourne's JEFF FARMER was the only senior report lodged from matches of Round 17.
The Melbourne wizard was charged with striking DAVID KING (Kangaroos). First scheduled for Tuesday evening, the hearing was postponed until Wednesday when Farmer walked free, despite an umpire's evidence that the Demons forward struck King six times in an altercation. Based on a confusion on the manner of how the report was made, Tribunal chairman BRIAN COLLIS said "the player must get the benefit of the doubt and the charge is not sustained."

Stab Kicks ...
Pie players tested for legionella
Collingwood players were tested for the potentially fatal legionnaires' disease after the Department of Health confirmed that a 32-year-old masseuse working at the club contracted the infection from a spa in the players' training rooms. The woman remains in a critical condition at Austin & Repatriation Medical Centre. Two more cases, a 47-year-old Brunswick man and a Gardenvale man, 48, were earlier this week found to have Legionella. Tests have cleared all players.

** DR ROBERT KERR was appointed AFL Players' Association Chief Executive Officer and PETER MANN as Executive Director, Operations. The announcement was made Tuesday (4th) by AFLPA president BRENDAN GALE.

Automatic 50 metre penalty scrapped
RULE CHANGES: The automatic 50 metre penalty after a player has been reported (Law 18.2) was scrapped before Round 18. AFL Football Operations Manager ANDREW DEMETRIOU said AFL clubs had responded 14-2 in favour of deleting the Law immediately ...

The line from the centre circle is likely to be removed in a bid to ease the physical impact on ruckmen. Collisions this season are felt to have contributed to knee injuries suffered by Carlton's MATTHEW ALLEN and Bulldogs' LUKE DARCY. Trials are expected to be tested during the next Ansett Cup series prior to the 2001 season ...

A new rule to prevent backline flooding could be on its way into the AFL as soon as next year. Among the innovation proposed by former Adelaide premiership coach MALCOLM BLIGHT in his weekly column in The Age, was a line across the field, with teams forced to keep a minimum of three, four or more players in each half .

** The St Kilda club have set up a scholarship fund for the two children of former player NICKY WINMAR. Winmar was feted at the pre-match dinner prior to the Geelong match on Friday (June 30). Two children, Tynan, 12, and Shakira, 10, will receive the education benefit.

** Swans' vice-captain ANDREW DUNKLEY may be sidelined for the rest of the season following four days at Sydney's Prince of Wales Hospital after the St Kilda game with a bruised kidney and having blood in his urine. His wife Lisa was at the same hospital giving birth to a new boy.

** The Age reported on July 1st, the AFL looks headed for a legal showdown with Stadium Australia in its bid to extract itself from the $5 million agreement to play home-and-away games at the Homebush Olympic venue for the next five years.

** Carlton ruckman MICHAEL SEXTON announced his retirement. A chronic hip injury was stated as the reason for his departure. Sexton played just six games this season, the last of which in Round 13 was his 200th.

Goods and Services tax introduced
** Introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on July 1 increased the cost of attending football matches by up to 10 per cent. Ticket prices were affected with general admission rising from $14 to $15.40. A family of four pass increased by $2.80 to $30.80 while the cost of food and drink inside grounds rose between 8 to 10 per cent.
A seat for an adult at the grand final will now cost $88, including GST and booking fee, with a preliminary final seat to cost $51.50 and a qualifying and semi-final adult seat to be $29.50.

They said it ...
Diary subscriber MARTIN WINDSOR-BLACK reported
  — Heard on ABC Radio — is Koutoufides the biggest name in the AFL?    No! – Prestigiacomo has 13 letters!

A talkback caller to 3AW ("John from Brighton" aka 300-game veteran SAM NEWMAN) who expressed — "How p***weak are Geelong? Is that the most disgraceful, p***weak, inept, mentally stuffed performance you've ever seen from a side aspiring to survive, but also pretend to be a finals threat?".

PATRICK SMITH, The Australian, Monday, July 3 — No matter how the Cats' think-tank attempts to dissect their loss, it remains their worst performance of the year and one suggests that their rise to the heady heights of fourth place was mounted on the mediocrity of others and not at all on any particular ability of their own".


Records tumble as Blues blitz Pies
Essendon equal 71-year-old record
500th premiership night match

ROUND 18 — Fri-Sat-Sun, July 7-8-9.
MILESTONES — ESSENDON won their 18th successive game to equal the 71-year-old record held by Collingwood in winning the opening 18 rounds of the 1929 season ...  ESSENDON and FREMANTLE at Docklands played the 500th League premiership match under lights ... CARLTON broke a 57-year-old record, kicking their highest score and greatest winning margin of 221 contests against Collingwood ... 150 games arrived for DAVID KING (NMK, 1994-2000) and NICK DAFFY (Rch, 1992-2000) ... it was the 100th League match for JARROD SCHOFIELD, 37 PA 1998-2000, also 63 WCE 1993-97 ... ALASTAIR LYNCH played his 100th for Brisbane (1994-2000), also 120 Fit 1988-93 ... it was the 50th match for RUSSELL ROBERTSON (Mel, 1997-2000) ... AARON JAMES played his 50th League game, 27 Rch 1998-2000, also 23 Col 1994-97 ...

<> The Bombers kicked a new Highest Winning Score (previous 21.9-135, 1995-R17-MCG) and registered a new Greatest Winning Margin (previous 48pts, 1997-R17-MCG) in matches against Fremantle  ...  the Dockers equalled their lowest versus Essendon—10.12-72, 99-R14-MCG ... Fremantle were scoreless in the second quarter ...

<> JEFF FARMER (Mel) passed 200 goals in his 97th game ...

<> The Saturday night attendance for the Roo-Tiger match was reported as 9,198 —the lowest AFL crowd at the SCG is 5,272 for Sydney v Brisbane, 1990-R20 ... 7.14-56 is Richmond's lowest score of season 2000 ...

<> St Kilda with just 4.5-29 recorded the lowest score of the season so far ... the Saints were scoreless in the third quarter ... West Coast had a mere four centre clearances yet won by 86pts ...

<> Port kicked 20 goals-plus for only the third time of their 85 League matches ... in the last term both teams kicked 14-goals straight—eight by Port, six by the Dogs ...

<> The Blues beat Collingwood for the 11th time from the past 13 meetings ... Carlton produced a 184 point turnaround from the 73pt R3 thrashing to their 111pt victory ... only 30,096 attended the game—the smallest crowd since 29,481 watched the two at Waverley, 1987-R2 ... Carlton bagged a triple record in the 221st contest with the Magpies—new Highest Score, GWM and best quarter of all time ... The Channel Seven Gameday program noted that early in the last quarter in a five and-a-half minute period, Carlton kicked four goals without a Collingwood player touching the ball ...

<> The seven-week parallel of Brisbane and Hawthorn continued—from R12, the Lions have won when Hawthorn lost—it was Hawthorn's turn to win ... with the victory, Hawthorn replaced Brisbane in the top eight ... NIGEL LAPPIN (Bri) passed 100 goals in game 145 ...

<||> On Friday night, 34,567 were under the closed roof at Colonial Stadium to witness Essendon equal the 71-year-old record held by Collingwood in winning the opening 18 rounds of a League season. For the record books, coach KEVIN SHEEDY recorded his 300th victory in his 20th season as coach of the Essendon club.

By comparison to Sheedy's 300th victory, the Fremantle Dockers played their 128th League game and were made to look out of their depth. A second-quarter onslaught put the game out of Fremantle's reach when the visitors were held scoreless and the unbeaten Essendon went out to a 51 point lead—they won effortlessly by 87 points.

In his 99th League match, star Essendon full-forward MATTHEW LLOYD in a classy performance kicked his biggest haul of the season—his 9 goals 2 behinds came from six marks, taking his tally for the year to 82 goals. The Essendon win was even more impressive and continued to prove Essendon's amazing depth of talent—ADAM RAMANAUSKAS who was decisive from the wing in the second quarter, JASON JOHNSON who was constructive and got plenty of the ball, as did BLAKE CARACELLA who chipped in with four second-half goals, and though overshadowed by Lloyd, SCOTT LUCAS ended the game with five goals. Also, there was midfielder JOE MISITI, DAMIEN HARDWICK and MARK JOHNSON in the array. Though defeated, the Dockers did have one clear winner on the night—TONY MODRA's six-goal haul proving he still has the talent that turned him into a superstar with Adelaide – ESSENDON 24.15-159 (Lloyd 9.4, Lucas 5, Caracella 4) best, Lloyd, Ramanauskas, Misiti, FREMANTLE 11.6-72 (Modra 6) best, Bandy, Modra, Black.

<||> Saturday afternoon brought a good day for footy at Kardinia Park—cloudy patches, a slight breeze and two teams desperate to enhance their positions for the coming finals. Geelong by losing the previous week to bottom side St Kilda had been deeply wounded and played with renewed resolve against Adelaide. Early in the game the Crows lacked a competitive edge and were in deep trouble midway in the third term when they trailed by 37 points.

Geelong had played more than a good first half, sparked by the returning RONNIE BURNS (absent for three weeks with hamstring injuries), and his four goals were crucial. STEVEN KING and GARY HOCKING set up Geelong's strong advantage, ably assisted by DAVID MENSCH and CLINT BIZZELL.

Adelaide came back strongly with ANDREW McLEOD and MATTHEW CONNELL at the forefront, while the move of MATTHEW ROBRAN on to the ball in the second half almost pulled it off.. In the end, it was up to Geelong's youngsters to secure it, DAVID SPRIGGS snatched the ball in his forward pocket, before dishing a handball to JOEL COREY, who snapped a goal from the boundary to push his side home. Adelaide sustained injuries to MARK BICKLEY (groin), ANDREW ECCLES (concussion) and NIGEL SMART (broken cheekbone) which will be critical in the month ahead – GEELONG 17.7-109 (Mensch 4, Burns 4, Bizzell 3) best, Hocking, Graham, Burns, ADELAIDE 14.18-102, best, Robran, McLeod, Connell. Crowd: 20,480.

<||> A good crowd of 33,923 were on hand on Saturday afternoon at the MCG where for the most part, an entertaining match was played in bursts of sunshine. The first half was a good old-fashioned tussle as both Melbourne and Sydney exchanged goal-for-goal—a refreshing change in a season dominated by massive run-ons.

Melbourne were ignited by SHANE WOEWODIN and JEFF FARMER in the last half and together with JAMES and ANTHONY McDONALD, the Demons midfield yet again displayed a quality to rival other sides in the premiership race. DARYN CRESSWELL for the Swans played a pivotal role in his 30 possession match, while MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN in a magic period of three minutes during the third term marked and kicked three precious goals.

However, Melbourne consolidated their finals berth when they emerged to kick eight goals in the final quarter and wear the Swans down to win by a 26 point margin. Sydney defender ANDREW SCHAUBLE did well to contain DAVID SCHWARZ, while at the other end, ALISTAIR NICHOLSON delivered another solid game for the Demons – MELBOURNE 19.11-125 (Farmer 4, Woewodin 3, Robertson 3) best, J.McDonald, Whelan, Nicholson, SYDNEY 15.9-99 (O’Loughlin 3, AhMat 3, Goodes 3) best, Cresswell, Schauble, Fosdike.

<||> The SCG was firm underfoot with a dewy surface on a clear Saturday night. Another poor crowd of only 9,198 watched the Kangaroos methodically demolish a disappointing Richmond by 78 points. The Roos were at a different level to the Tigers who suffered their fourth straight loss, with the prospects of a finals berth diminishing.

In a scrappy, mistake-ridden encounter, the Roos were always in control. Richmond failed to put the Kangas under any pressure and fell away further when BRENDON GALE retired in the third quarter after falling awkwardly on his right elbow. The Roos won a trick when they played an out-of-form COREY McKERNAN in the unaccustomed role of full-back—together with JASON McCARTNEY, they kept the Richmond forwards quiet.

It was the veterans who did the job on the Tigers, WAYNE CAREY who shifted between defence and half-forward, finished with four goals; while 34-year old JOHN BLAKEY, the AFL's second-oldest player, was everywhere, kicking two first quarter goals and showing the way. PETER BELL, BRENT HARVEY and MATTHEW BURTON were other prominent Kangaroos.

Roo Coach DENIS PAGAN noted: "We're a fair way off the Carltons and Essendons, who are six to eight goals ahead of us." – KANGAROOS 20.14-134 (Blakey 4, Carey 4) best, Blakey, Bell, Harvey, RICHMOND 7.14-56 (James 2) best, Cameron, Daffy, Chaffey.

<||> Conditions were good at the WACA on Saturday night, in spite of substantial rain during the week—22,232 attended. West Coast halted a six-match losing streak when they crushed St Kilda by 86 points. Criticised for their lack of physical pressure against Sydney the previous week, no such problem existed for the Eagles in this one.

Coach Ken Judge surprised everyone when he lined up the badly out-of-form FRASER GEHRIG on the wing—his long raking left-foot kicks produced his best effort for weeks ... ANDREW DONNELLY who has been used in a variety of roles was cast at full-forward from where he led well to take eight marks and kick three goals ... GLEN JAKOVICH atoned for his poor 200th with 13 marks and 34 possessions and was virtually impassable at centre half-back.

For the sorry Saints, NATHAN BURKE was a four-quarter contributor while STEWART LOEWE was outstanding, first at centre half-forward and when shifted to the ruck—he took 13 marks and had 28 disposals. St Kilda were held scoreless in the third quarter and kicked only 4.5-29, their lowest against the Eagles – WEST COAST 17.13-115 (Phillip Matera 5, Donnelly 3) best, Kemp, Morrison, Phillip Matera, ST KILDA 4.5-29 (Hall 2) best, Burke, Hall, Loewe.

<||> Port Adelaide pounced on the vulnerable Western Bulldogs to record a solid 43 point victory on Sunday at Football Park. Conditions were good under a cloudy sky, with patches of sunshine breaking through for the crowd of 21,783. The Bulldogs already without the injured Grant, Darcy, Ellis, Dimattina and Hunter, lost TODD CURLEY to an ankle injury in the second quarter and were always going to be stretched to the limit.

The Power equalled their highest score of the season as they added a third top-eight scalp from the past five weeks.  Port could also claim it was seriously undermanned without suspended captain GAVIN WANGANEEN and the injured NICK STEVENS, BRENDON LADE, SHANE BOND, CHE COCKATOO-COLLINS and MARK HARWOOD. Port successfully moved regular centre half-back DARREN MEAD up forward where together with WARREN TREDREA and 20-year-old CHAD CORNES, they had strong-marking targets. Another 20-year-old STUART DEW was a big performer in his 48th game, collecting four goals.

SCOTT WEST, JOSE ROMERO, ROHAN SMITH, BRAD JOHNSON and SIMON GARLICK called on all their ability and experience to keep the Bulldogs in with a sniff of a chance, but Port's powerful start and finish proved too much – PORT 23.11-149 (Cornes 5, Dew 4, Tredrea 3) best, Dew, Burgoyne, Francis, BULLDOGS 16.10-106 (Johnson 3) best, S.West, Smith, Romero.

<||> Promoted as "the last suburban battle" and embroiled in a public slanging match for the failure to move the game to the MCG, Princes Park was 5000 below capacity when only 30,096 attended on a fine Sunday.

More than 1000 guests attended the pre-match luncheon held in a giant marquee outside the ground where vice-regal patronage and former players swapped yarns before taking part in a pre-match motorcade. As ANDREW RAMSEY noted in The Australian the event "attracted unwarranted levels of publicity amid manufactured passion."

The "Bib-and-Bub Show" was a monumental fizzer if you were a Collingwood fan. For Carlton, it was a day of records—the highest score, the greatest winning margin and their best quarter of football of 221 meetings against the Magpies since 1897.

After a mediocre first half, Carlton played at a blistering level kicking 19 goals to four to post their 13th consecutive win. The Blues were well-served by AARON HAMILL, BRETT RATTEN, TRENT HOTTON, SCOTT CAMPOREALE, CRAIG BRADLEY and ADRIAN HICKMOTT. NATHAN BUCKLEY had the most disposals of any player and with 33 possessions was tireless for Collingwood—the Blues had seven players with 21 disposals or more. Channel Seven's GameDay program noted that early in the last quarter in a five and-a-half minute period, Carlton kicked four goals without a Collingwood player touching the ball – CARLTON 28.12-180 (Whitnall 5, Hotton 5, Ratten 3, Beaumont 3) best, Ratten, Hamill, Whitnall, COLLINGWOOD 10.9-69 (L.Davis 2) best, Buckley, Licuria.

<||> The Gabba had good conditions on a warm Sunday in the low 20's when 26,782 were surprised as a tenacious and talented Hawthorn defeated red-hot favourites Brisbane. The win lifted the Hawks back into the eight at the expense of the Lions. The Hawks exposed Brisbane's two major weaknesses—lack of height and lack of presence at centre bounces.

Hawthorn's gun-forwards clicked for the first time in weeks and with PAUL SALMON in his 303rd game getting first use of the ball delivering his on-ballers DANIEL CHICK and TONY WOODS a feast of the footy. The aerial strength of NICK HOLLAND, JOHN BARKER and NATHAN THOMPSON was a telling factor with the trio marking 33 times, with Holland taking 18 of them.

The Hawks were by far the better side for three quarters but has to withstand a withering finish by the Lions after the home team made wholesale positional changes. Hawthorn's defence was led superbly by TRENT CROAD and JONATHON HAY who shut down Lions duo DANIEL BRADSHAW and ALASTAIR LYNCH who were restricted to five marks between them. The test of whether the Hawks have discovered the magic ingredient will be revealed on Saturday when they play the unbeaten Bombers at Colonial – HAWTHORN 18.16-124 (Lord 3, Barker 3, Dixon 3) best, Holland, Salmon, Croad, BRISBANE 16.10-106 (Power 3) best, Lappin, Clarke, M.Voss.

Rory Hilton suspended again

Richmond's tough backman RORY HILTON was booked for the third time this year. He was cited from video for charging BYRON PICKETT (Kangaroos) in the first quarter at the SCG on Saturday night.

On Tuesday night Hilton pleaded guilty and was suspended for two matches.Tribunal chairman BRIAN COLLIS QC warned HILTON not to continue his poor disciplinary record.

It's the third time this year HILTON has received a two match suspension. He was suspended for two matches for striking St Kilda's TONY BROWN in a February practice match and served another two games for striking Collingwood's CHRIS TARRANT in Round 10.

HILTON will have to address the Richmond match committee and his team-mates in the next few days to explain his actions.

AFL investigations officer RICK LEWIS on Tuesday was busy with three separate investigations involving Geelong's CARL STEINFORT and Adelaide's MARK RICCIUTO ... ROHAN SMITH (Bulldogs) and JARRAD SCHOFIELD (Port), also DAVID MENSCH (Geelong) and PETER CAVEN (Adelaide). However. no charges were laid.

Stab Kicks ...
** The last quarter of the Geelong-Adelaide match in R18 was officially timed at 36 minutes, 23 seconds — 16 minutes and 23 seconds of time on ...

** First it was a $200,000 deal with Carlton in 1997 playing in a one-off light blue guernsey to promote a sweet. Then last year Geelong's GARY HOCKING for one week changed his name by deed poll to "Whiskas" in return for $70,000 to Geelong, $20,000 for himself and $10,000 for a Geelong-based animal shelter.

Collingwood are poised to sign a one-match commercial arrangement with a confectionery company that will see the team renamed the Crispies.

They said it ...
JOHN O'NEILL, Australian Rugby Union CEO, Thursday, July 6
— "They have club AFL, which is a nice, domestic game ... Inside sources at Colonial have told me the only two events that matter for them this year is our game and the cricket."

SIMON KELLY, Vili's "Focus on Football", Sydney's 2SER-FM, Saturday, July 8 — "Remember John, it (rugby) is the only game where the crowd claps when the ball goes out of bounds."

PHIL CARMAN, The Advertiser, Friday, July 7 — "There will be some people who applaud AFL chief WAYNE JACKSON for having a crack back at John Elliott and Eddie McGuire.
But, although the two presidents are too big for their boots, Jackson should not drop to their level and get involved in any slanging match. In his position, he just has to cop it and get on running the AFL.
If Elliott and McGuire need to be straightened out, do it behind closed doors or ask someone else in the AFL to get his hands dirty."

BRIAN SIERAKOWSKI, former St Kilda player and West Coast board member, ABC TV, July 1 — reported in The West Australian, July 5 — "I foresee within two years, maybe three at the maximum, that St Kilda will be lucky to survive as a club. The best thing they could do is amalgamate."

CHRIS LINES,, July 9 — "Australian rugby had a product to sell in Melbourne and the Australian and South African teams excelled as sales reps, exhibiting the shiniest example of the game to lure the new market.
Two years from now, it is hoped Melbourne will become the home of Australia's fourth Super 12 team, competing against NSW, Queensland and ACT, plus New Zealand and South African provincial teams."

WAYNE JACKSON, Talking Footy, July 10 — "We mustn't get too confident with ourselves in the southern states and here in Victoria in particular. Rugby Union, Rugby League and Soccer are very, very strong sports in Sydney, NSW, Brisbane, Queensland, much stronger than we are. So I don't think I want to be throwing too many darts in that direction."


Bombers make best-ever start
Bulldogs claw the Blues
Critical battles for the finals
Last AFL match at the WACA Oval

ROUND 19 — Fri-Sat-Sun, July 14-15-16.
MILESTONES — ESSENDON won their 19th successive game to record the best start to a season in League history and eclipse Collingwood's long-standing record of 18 straight wins in 1929 ... ESSENDON with only three rounds to play are certain to secure the Minor Premiership ... in so doing the Dons will become the first club to twice finish on top for the entire season ... this equals their accomplishment of 1923, from where they won the premiership ... by the end of this season Essendon will have led the ladder for 29 weeks.

200 games were recorded by STUART MAXFIELD (111 Syd 1996-2000, 89 Rch 1990-95) ... 100 games for TYSON EDWARDS (Ade 1995-2000), MATTHEW LLOYD (Ess 1995-2000) ... 50th matches by NATHAN BASSETT (Ade 1998-2000), DANIEL BRADSHAW (Bri 1996-2000), BRENDON FEWSTER (17 Fre 2000, 33 WCE 1996-99), CLINT BIZZELL (Gee 1996-2000) and ROGER JAMES (PA 1997-2000) ... umpire BRYAN SHEEHAN officiated in his 300th senior match (1986-2000) ...

<> COREY McKERNAN in his 156th game for the Kangaroos kicked a career top of 8 goals one behind — his previous best was five goals on two occasions ... ANTHONY STEVENS (NMK) reached 100 goals in game 212 ...

<> against the Crows, ASHLEY McINTOSH (WCE) passed 100 goals in game 194 ...

<> the Bulldogs defeated the Blues for the second time this season — last time this occurred was in 1985 ...

<> DANIEL BRADSHAW (Bri) in his 50th game passed 100 goals, registering five goals, the best tally by a Brisbane player versus Port Power ...

<> the Freo-Richmond game was the 72nd and final AFL match at the WACA Oval ...

<> officially the fourth quarter of the Saints-Demons game at Docklands lasted 37 minutes, 7 seconds—the longest last term so far this season ... STEWART LOEWE (StK) reached 550 career goals in game 291 ... JOE McLAREN (StK) kicked a personal-best four goals ...

<||> Under the closed roof of Docklands Stadium on Friday night the Kangaroos comprehensively took care of any challenge Geelong could offer to win by 39 points before 37,446 fans. It was the 'Corey and Carey' show as McKernan helped himself to a career-best return of eight goals (8.1) while thankfully for the Cats, Carey left his kicking boots home for an off-line 3.6.

In one of its most clinical performances for the year, the Roos simply thrashed Geelong, to prove the reigning premiers must be at least the third-ranked side on the sports books of Canberra-based CANBET who now sponsor Roo coach DENIS PAGAN. Corey McKernan who has struggled for consistency since his stellar season of 1996 went on a rampage in the first quarter with four goals and finished with eight for the night.

Their backline though still undermanned by the absence of Martyn and Archer stood tall, led by JASON McCARTNEY and LEIGH COLBERT. Their big men, MATTHEW BURTON and Carey were effective while DAVID KING, PETER BELL and BRENT HARVEY provided spark across the ground. The Cats are in trouble and slipped to fifth place with the Eagles, Demons and Swans to face before the finals – KANGAROOS 18.16-124 (McKernan 8.1, Carey 3) best, McKernan, Carey, King, GEELONG 13.7-85 (Houlihan 4, Graham 3) best, Sanderson, Hocking, McGrath.

<||> Friday night at Football Park was a hard test for both players and the 35,425 spectators, with an icy five-goal breeze and rain during the third quarter. A slim 17 point win gained some revenge for Adelaide who were humiliated by the Eagles earlier this year by 114 points at the WACA. The Crows led by five goals at half-time but West Coast in the rain burst back into the match to grab the lead mid-way into the last quarter.

ANDREW McLEOD, the dual Norm Smith medalist produced several stunning pieces of wizardry to keep Adelaide in the game when the Eagles threatened. SHAUN REHN's early aerial dominance was ominous, as was the superb touch of MARK RICCIUTO and SIMON GOODWIN; PETER VARDY from the wing was also was a prolific contributor.

In the third quarter Eagles' coach Ken Judge threw ASHLEY McINTOSH to the forward line where he kicked three goals (including the 100th of his career) but with the Crows kicking with the wind in the last recovered to defeat a brave West Coast outfit – ADELAIDE 15.17-107 (McLeod 4, Goodwin 3) best, McLeod, Goodwin, McGregor, WEST COAST 13.12-90 (McIntosh 3) best, Jakovich, Kemp, Turnbull.

<||> After 13 successive victories and without loss in 11 games on their home turf, Carlton on a great surface met their match on a sunshine-filled Saturday. The reality check was delivered by the Western Bulldogs in front of a mainly Blues' crowd of 25,397. A swirling wind contributed to the tightness of the contest but the Bulldogs played the game on their terms—old-fashioned, bone-jarring crunches, fierce pressure and guts. Carlton without late withdrawals CRAIG BRADLEY and ADRIAN HICKMOTT were outplayed and out-generalled and their frustration was apparent.

SIMON GARLICK proved a bonus for the Bulldogs, as a one-out forward he had a blinder with six of his team's 11 goals—it was a just reward for an honest hard-worker. With SCOTT WYND leading the way and terrier outfielders TONY LIBERATORE, JOSE ROMERO and SCOTT WEST throwing themselves into everything, there was never more than 11 points in the game. ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES gave the Blues hope with some great work and two goals in as many minutes in the third and Carlton were well-served by BRETT RATTEN and ANDREW McKAY.

The narrow three-point loss is unlikely to cause Carlton too much trouble other than a wake-up call, but the Bulldogs telegraphed, they are far from a spent force – BULLDOGS 11.9-75 (Garlick 6) best, Brown, Liberatore, Croft, CARLTON 11.6-72 (Culpitt 2 Koutoufides 2, Ratten 2) best, Koutoufides, Lappin, Hamill.

<||> A near capacity Dockland audience of 46,946 on Saturday night saw both clubs honour the champion ruckman PAUL SALMON with a guard of honour before the start of the match. Essendon swept to the greatest-ever start to a League season winning their 19th successive game and securing the Minor Premiership—not that it counts for much these days, other than the Dr William McClelland trophy.

Though the margin was 83 points, Hawthorn did muster several periods when they were free scoring, however the Hawks simply couldn't match the pace and brilliance of the Essendon side. DEAN RIOLI in his comeback game for the Dons kicked two first-half goals; MARK MERCURI, despite a dislocated finger, booted two goals in as many minutes midway through the second; GARY MOORCROFT played a similar cameo soon after, kicking three; BLAKE CARACELLA popped up for two last-quarter goals—MATTHEW LLOYD in his 100th game spread his five goals over three quarters, while SCOTT LUCAS scattered his four goals across the evening.

NATHAN THOMPSON's six goals for Hawthorn was an outstanding effort when NICK HOLLAND was thrashed by the persistent AARON HENNEMAN. The overall skills of Essendon continue to astound followers of the game – ESSENDON 25.15-165 (Lloyd 5, Lucas 4, Mercuri 4, Moorcroft 3, Caracella 3) best, Hardwick, Ramanauskas, Mercuri, HAWTHORN 13.4-82 (Thompson 6, Barker 3) best, Thompson, Barker.

<||> The Gabba was bathed in Queensland sunshine on Sunday afternoon when 21,956 watched the Brisbane Lions continue their frustrating win-loss-win sequence into a 12th week. The Lions were too powerful and blew Port Power away with a 10 goal to two performance after half time to secure a percentage boosting 67 point victory and regain their place in the top eight.

Despite the gallant efforts on Port on-baller NICK STEVENS who finished with 34 possessions, Brisbane led by a goal at quarter-time after a willing opening. Lions' co-captain MICHAEL VOSS (31 possessions) as always, was everywhere; BEAU McDONALD provided much-needed aerial support, while JASON AKERMANIS and CHRIS JOHNSON provided invaluable links between defence and attack. They capped off their games with two goals each, Akermanis kicking one of the season's best. He freakishly gathered the ball on the boundary line, 20 metres from goal, threw it on to his boot across his body, somehow threading the needle.

In the warmth of 21 degrees, apart from STUART DEW's three goals, Port's forward line was non-existent—Tredrea was restricted to one goal while Cornes was benched before half time. Crunch-time for Brisbane comes at the weekend — Adelaide at Football Park – BRISBANE 18.12-120 (Bradshaw 5, Lynch 3) best, Johnson, M.Voss, Akermanis, PORT 7.11-53 (Dew 3) best, N.Stevens, Poulton, James.

<||> The threat of rain held off on Sunday afternoon for the 72nd and final AFL match at the WACA—19,116 attended. A blustery wind and sunshine was present as Richmond fought hard to break a four-game losing sequence. Fremantle with a three-goal breeze started ferociously before the Tigers drew them back, but wayward shooting from Richmond allowed Freo with three quick goals to close the gap to only one point by half time.

The key player for the Dockers was youngster PAUL HASLEBY who used the ball with surety into the wind in the second term. MARK DUFFIELD for The Age noted: ... with ANDREW KELLAWAY and DARREN GASPAR closing down key Fremantle forwards CLIVE WATERHOUSE and TONY MODRA, and MATTHEW KNIGHTS and BRAD OTTENS playing strongly in the midfield, the Tigers had too much to play for and too much poise in the end.

Richmond with the strong breeze at their back finished comfortably in front, thanks to 8.2 to one goal in the final quarter. Richmond's WAYNE CAMPBELL, who is often under rated, gave a quality performance with 30 effective handpasses from his 38 disposals. The Tigers are a game clear in 7th place, with an excellent chance of hanging on – RICHMOND 15.16-106 (Holland 3, Rogers 3) best, Gaspar, Knights, Ottens, FREMANTLE 12.7-79 (Waterhouse 2, Holland 2) best, Hasleby, Pavlich, Fletcher.

<||> The MCG meeting between Collingwood (14th) and Sydney (12th) drew 33,182 on Sunday afternoon under clear blue skies. For a second week, Sydney's MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN produced a sparkling third quarter when the Swans kicked 7.5 to 2.2 and set up their 20 point victory over the Magpies. Theoretically the Swans can still make the finals.

O'Loughlin's six goals for the day could easily have been nine or ten after some misses late in the game, but they included three superb goals in the third term, the one often described described as 'the premiership quarter'.

MARK RAY reported for The Age: Sydney's senior players who did well were midfielder WAYNE SCHWASS, who gathered a game-high 35 possessions; GREG STAFFORD, who dominated the ruck contests, kicked two goals and did well in general play; DARYN CRESSWELL, who negated the dangerous NATHAN BUCKLEY; and the embattled TROY LUFF. Luff only played when ANDREW DUNKLEY failed a fitness test after a scan on his bruised kidney on Friday revealed a small amount of remaining blood. Sydney's STUART MAXFIELD played his 200th League game, while Collingwood were well-served by NICK DAVIS, SHANE O'BREE and the returning DAMIEN ADKINS, after a stint in the Two's – SYDNEY 15.14-104 (O’Loughlin 6) best, Luff, O’Loughlin, Schwass, COLLINGWOOD 12.12-84 (Tuckey 2, L.Davis 2, N.Davis 2) best, Dimattina, Lockyer, Buckley.

<||> The roof of Colonial Stadium was open to the blue skies of the day when 24,039 supporters watched League cellar-dwellers St Kilda give major contenders Melbourne one heck of a scare on Sunday afternoon. In what was one of St Kilda's more committed efforts of a nightmare season, an undisciplined act in the last quarter by BRETT MOYLE which resulted in a 50 metre penalty, a goal to Melbourne and the Demons' TRAVIS JOHNSTONE being stretchered with concussion, robbed the Saints of a likely win. Moyle was reported and dragged by coach Watson who was caustic in his assessment of the incident.

Until the dying minutes of the match, a major upset was possible. Early, the Saints found an unlikely spearhead in JOE McLAREN playing his 55th game in five seasons who booted four first-half goals. St Kilda were desperate with their game plan working, to shut down most of Melbourne's major playmakers.

Greater poise in the closing stages by Melbourne narrowly won the day. It was however a bitter-sweet victory by the Demons who had two players stretchered in the last quarter while PAUL WHEATLEY strained a hamstring and at the end JAMES McDONALD was hobbling on crutches and will require a knee reconstruction. PETER WALSH also suffered concussion. Proving a win is a win in all languages, Melbourne moved from fifth to fourth place on the ladder – MELBOURNE 17.14-116 (Green 3) best, Yze, Powell, Brown, ST KILDA 14.14-98 (McLaren 4, Hall 3) best, Moyle, Baker, Knowles.

Three weeks for St Kilda's Moyle
Aaron Hamill cleared of kicking
Three fined for melee
The AFL Tribunal sat on Tuesday night (18th) to hear several charges arising from Round 19.

St Kilda's BRETT MOYLE was found guilty of charging Melbourne's TRAVIS JOHNSTONE and was suspended for three matches.

AARON HAMILL (Car) faced the serious charge of kicking TONY LIBERATORE (WB). Hamill pleaded not guilty and was acquitted of the charge.

ANTHONY STEVENS (Kan), DAVID KING (Kan) and CARL STEINFORT (Gee) were charged with engaging in a melee in the second quarter of Friday's game at Colonial Stadium. All players pleaded not guilty. However, the Tribunal all were found guilty and each player was fined $1500.

Stab Kicks ...
** A new dedicated signal for umpires was introduced in Round 19 — when a free kick or 50 metre penalty has been paid for abusive language towards an umpire, they will signal with an open hand raised to chest level.

** The Olympic Stadium at Homebush accommodated 109,874 on Saturday night, July 15 when Australian played New Zealand. It was announced as the world record crowd for a Rugby match.

80-year-old fan evicted for ringing a bell
** Security guards evicted 80-year-old BILL FRENCH from the MCG last Saturday. His offence? For some 40 years he has rang a bell three times for every goal his team kicked. A noise complaint was lodged against the diehard supporter of the Red-and-White colours and he was instructed to take the bell to the cloak room. The Herald Sun reported Mr French refused to give up the small watchkeeper's bell which was from HMAS Mercedes on which he served as a petty officer. Bill French swears he will never return to a game. As he was escorted out, he dumped his Sydney Swans membership card and his MCC membership card and medallion.

** MALCOLM BLIGHT has agreed to become a member of the AFL's Queensland Commission. The AFL has established an eight-person commission which has been handed an extra $2 million to increase the code's standing in the northern state.

** ST KILDA has commenced its search for a new coach. A sub-committee headed by Saints football director GRANT THOMAS is considering a list of 153 names.

** The Kangaroos signed a two-year sponsorship deal for their coach DENIS PAGAN with Canberra-based betting agency CANBET. By next season the deal could net the Roos $500,000 a year when a new national tipping competition is introduced. The Kangaroos have flagged they will play at least one home game in Canberra in 2001.

Graham Huggins passes
A driving force which took the St Kilda club from the Junction Oval to Moorabbin and mounted a team to capture the only premiership for the club has passed away.

GRAHAM HUGGINS, president of St Kilda from 1958 until 1979 died on the eve of his 79th birthday.

As MIKE SHEAHAN wrote in the Herald Sun, Huggins, as president, and IAN DRAKE as secretary, assembled the group that won the 1966 flag by the narrowest of margins at Collingwood's expense.

Graham later was the chief architect which brought about the move of the embattled South Melbourne club to become the Sydney Swans in 1982.

He is survived by his wife June.

Adelaide's Team of the Decade
Heavily weighted with players from their dual premierships of 1997-98, the Adelaide club in their 11th season of League competition announced their Team of the Decade on July 15.

The team:
B: Ben Hart, Rod Jameson, Mark Bickley (Vice-Capt.)
HB: Nigel Smart, Peter Caven, Mark Ricciuto
C: Greg Anderson, Andrew Jarman, Simon Tregenza
HF: Kane Johnson, Matthew Robran, Andrew McLeod
F: Darren Jarman, Tony Modra, Matthew Liptak
Foll: Shaun Rehn, Chris McDermott (Capt), Tony McGuinness
Inter: Mark Mickan, Simon Goodwin, David Pittman, Rodney Maynard
Coach: Malcolm Blight


Bomber-Blues blockbuster
91,571 sets new MCG night record
Battle for top eight continues

ROUND 20 — Fri-Sat-Sun, July 21-22-23.
MILESTONES — ESSENDON won their 20th successive game ... BEN HART for Adelaide at 26 years and 14 days became the second youngest player to reach 200 League matches (second to Hawthorn's ALAN MARTELLO who in 1978 passed the mark at 25 years, 359 days) ... JOSE ROMERO played his 200th for the Footscray Bulldogs club ... 50th games by ANTHONY FRANCHINA (Car 1997-2000), STEPHEN POWELL (20 Mel 2000, 30 WB 1997-99), STUART DEW (PA 1997-2000) ...

<> The crowd of 91,571 is the fifth occasion a home-and-away match has drawn in excess of 90,000 to the MCG …

<> WARREN TREDREA (PA) reached 100 goals in game 57 ...
<> MITCHELL WHITE (WCE) reached 100 goals in game 149 ...
<> BEN HOLLAND (Rch) passed 100 goals in game 85 ...
<> BARRY HALL (StK) passed 100 goals in his 70th game ...

<> The Demons registered a new Highest Score versus Fremantle — their 25.10-160 topped 18.11-119, 97-R22-MCG, and the final margin of 83pts was greater than the 52pts of 95-R14-S ... the Demons posted new highest scores in the first and third quarters versus Freo ...

<||> The most eagerly awaited home-and-away match for years drew a record night attendance of 91,571 to the MCG on Friday in fine but cold conditions following heavy pre-game showers. In every way, the match lived up to its blockbuster status. Though leading at every change, the unbeaten Essendon were seriously challenged by second-placed Carlton. Two crucial injuries were suffered by the Blues in the first quarter, when ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES struck his right knee in a marking collision with JASON JOHNSON (Ess) nine minutes in, while Carlton captain CRAIG BRADLEY suffered a strained right hamstring six minutes later—both were out of the game.

Despite being undermanned most of the night, Carlton played their hearts out and led by 10 points 22 minutes into the third quarter as BRETT RATTEN then FRASER BROWN goaled. Then, Essendon captain JAMES HIRD snapped a goal and MATTHEW LLOYD kicked his only major for the game and the Dons were back in front.

The Blues continued to press and only in the final 20 minutes did they fade as JASON JOHNSON stepped up, muscled his way through the midfield crushes, booted two inspiring goals and gathered a staggering 13 kicks in a splendid last quarter effort when Essendon added seven goals to four. That the Bombers recorded their 20th win when their forward-line trio of Hird, Lloyd and Lucas were held to just two goals, and that Carlton pressured the Dons without the injured Bradley and Koutoufides, and the sidelined Hickmott, Allan and Murphy—thoughts for what the next meeting may bring.

The match was live-to-air on Melbourne's Channel Seven, rated 38 and peaked at 936,000 viewers – ESSENDON 16.13-109 (Mercuri 3, Blumfield 3) best, Blumfield, J.Johnson, Solomon, CARLTON 12.11-83 (Whitnall 3) best, Ratten, Camporeale, Silvagni.

<||> Saturday afternoon was fine but windy at the MCG when 18,976 attended. Fighting for a place in the final eight Hawthorn had to battle to overcome Port Adelaide in a match which left a lot to be desired. Disposal by both was terrible, the Hawks were indirect and allowed the Power plenty of time to get to the contest and swamp the ball.

At three-quarter-time the Hawks led by only eight points and though a win seemed within reach, Port would not lie down. The last quarter looked set to deteriorate into a game of kick to kick between the two half-back lines, before Port decided to bomb long goals beyond the 50m arc. Goals to FABIAN FRANCIS and NICK STEVENS had the Power trailing by three points and the upset seemed possible.

Hawthorn somehow pulled away starting with a goal to JOEL SMITH and won by 21pts, but it was a far from impressive showing by a hopeful finalist. RAYDEN TALLIS produced one of his best games for the Hawks, while 20-year-old NICK STEVENS won the ball and used it well in his 55th outing for the Power. Stevens who was sought by two Victorian clubs signed a long-term deal with the Power on July 25 – HAWTHORN 15.11-101 (Rock 2, Barker 2, Dixon 2, Bowyer 2) best, Chick, Hay, Bowyer, PORT 12.8-80 (Dew 3) best, Primus, James, Burgoyne.

<||> A cold grey day with rain and near gale force winds was the run into the Saturday night fixture at Subiaco which brought in 30,615 fans—ground conditions were slippery and wet. West Coast set to miss the finals for the first time since 1989 were always in the contest, assisted greatly by a wayward Geelong who with twice as many opportunities kicked point after point—their second quarter resulted in 2.8 and they finished with 14.24.

GARRY HOCKING and GLENN KILPATRICK were industrious but Geelong's major playmaker was ruckman STEVEN KING, who was dominant in the midfield gathering 22 possessions, four marks and he had 33 hitouts. Missing many chances, Geelong always left the door slightly ajar for the Eagles. In a tense final quarter, the two traded goals until a brilliant banana from RONNIE BURNS sealed the outcome and sent the Cats onto a five goal victory, which keeps up a frustrating WLWLW sequence.

West Coast had many passengers and the result was an angry coach captured graphically by TV cameras — KEN JUDGE will take the Eagles to less than 10 wins for only the second time in their League history – GEELONG 14.24-108 (Bizzell 2, Milburn 2, C.Mooney 2, Burns 2) best, King, Graham, Kilpatrick, WEST COAST 12.6-78 (Phillip Matera 3) best, Morrison, Cousins, Jakovich.

<||> A fine Sydney day brought 30,551 to the SCG on Saturday night – conditions were firm, but slippery from a dew. Sydney's late season form following the return of skipper PAUL KELLY continued, as they shocked the third-placed Kangaroos with a 54-point thrashing. The Harboursiders led at every break, yet in the second quarter (2.9) and early in the third, its poor kicking for goal and better play by the Kangaroos' big guns, WAYNE CAREY, GLENN ARCHER and DAVID KING, threatened to pull back the lead. The Swans however in the last term, with winners all around the ground rammed home a substantial physiological victory over their rivals.

Early in the last quarter Sydney's ROBBIE AHMAT made a play which will be a contender for Goal of the Year. From a throw-in on the half-back flank, a WAYNE SCHWASS handball found AhMat. Running along the wing, the Swan bounced the ball twice, a third bounce slightly eluded him but he recovered and continuing his sprint, from inside the 50m zone slotted through Sydney's 17th goal.

Among many, Sydney were well-served by big man GREG STAFFORD, ADAM GOODES (though his kicking for goal with 1.5 let him down), and MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN (four goals) who was brilliant until injury curbed his effectiveness.

To arguably the finest footballer in the country, 'The King' hardly deserved the treatment when Sydney fans chanted "Carey's a wanker" in the final quarter—it may have been another nail in the coffin of the Kangaroos' two-year attempt to capture part of the Sydney market. AFL Legend and Sydney director RON BARASSI was strong in his condemnation of Swan fans, calling their actions "cowardly and shameful" – SYDNEY 21.19-145 (O’Loughlin, AhMat 4, Stafford 3) best, Nicks, Kelly, O’Loughlin, KANGAROOS 14.7-91 (Carey 4) best, Carey, Bell, King.

<||> A closed roof at Docklands on Saturday night protected 30,342 fans who saw a ripper of a finish by Collingwood, winners only once in the past 15 weeks. The finals-bound Western Bulldogs were 34 points in front at the last change and tried to protect their margin as the Pies unleashed their most coordinated play for many weeks—Collingwood went so close to stealing the game. Only at the 27th minute mark did the Bullies clinch the result when specialist forward PAUL HUDSON slotted through a goal off a 40m set shot from the boundary.

Earlier, the Dogs had stacked their backline with height, forcing Collingwood to deliver high, long and directionless. Both sides frittered away chances but when the ball went forward for the Pies there was no one there. Collingwood started to sneak back from the third term and when MAL MICHAEL came off the bench and went to the forward line for the last quarter, he sneaked a goal within three minutes and added another three before the siren. Late missed chances by Buckley and Brown saved the day for the Dogs.

SCOTT WYND was great in the ruck for the Bullies while that little bit of extra class came into play. NICK DAVIS, BEN KINNEAR, JOSH FRASER and BEN JOHNSON show there is hope ahead for the Pies. A highlight was a 70m goal after the three-quarter-time siren by ANTHONY ROCCA from near the centre of Colonial Stadium – BULLDOGS 15.10-100 (Garlick 3, Robb-ins 3) best, Johnson, S.West, Contessa, COLLINGWOOD 13.13-91 (Michael 4) best, O’Bree, Michael, Scotland.

<||> The Brisbane Lions claimed back-to-back victories for the first time since April when they were rewarded with a crucial 37-point win against a surprisingly listless Adelaide before 40,817 fans at Football Park on Sunday afternoon when it was cool and sunny with a blustery wind favouring one end. The Lions were inspired by the brilliance of MICHAEL VOSS and SIMON BLACK, with strong support from STEPHEN LAWRENCE, BEAU McDONALD and the forward line pair of DANIEL BRADSHAW (four goals) and ALASTAIR LYNCH.

The Lions curbed the influence of Adelaide's major playmakers—ANDREW McLEOD, MARK BICKLEY and MARK RICCIUTO who mustered only 22 kicks between them. Voss was back to his Brownlow winning best, with PETER KRUPKA noting in The Australian — "Since he won the Brownlow Medal in 1996, Voss has fought back from knee surgery, a broken leg as well as serious finger and ankle problems, confirming he has deserved his place in the game's elite".

Should the Lions make sixth place they will gain a home final—they face cellar-dwellers St Kilda and Freo at the Gabba, while the Crows must overcome Hawthorn then Port to have any chance of making the finals – BRISBANE 17.13-115 (Bradshaw 4, Akermanis 4, Power 3) best, M.Voss, Black, Akermanis, ADELAIDE 11.12-78 (Welsh 4) best, Edwards, Johnson, Rehn.

<||> An icy wind swirled down through the open roof around the tiny 16,120 who were under sunshine at Docklands on Sunday afternoon. They were treated to another magical display by Melbourne wizard JEFF FARMER. He kicked a personal tally of eight goals straight and two others from direct assists.

JAKE NIALL reported in The Age: Farmer booted eight goals and enlivened a match that would otherwise rank as one of the season's dreariest. Of his eight, three or four goals were candidates for goal of the day. He snapped across his body, he pick-pocketed the ball from the grasp of a hapless BRAD DODD in the goalsquare and he out-smarted JAMES WALKER in a body-on-body marking duel. His most audacious and wizardly goal, however, was his seventh. Farmer had gathered the ball on the half-forward line and appeared to be in a tight spot 70m from goal. Play the percentage? Not the Wiz. He handballed into space, outsprinted HEATH BLACK with a burst of turbo speed, regained the ball, balanced himself and dobbed it from 45 metres.

Fremantle's 83-point defeat marked the seventh time it had been flogged by 10 goals or worse this season. The club has won seven games and improved on last season, yet its percentage is worse and seems to be sliding inexorably down to the level of St Kilda and the Aussie dollar – MELBOURNE 25.10-160 (Farmer 8.0, Green 3, Neitz 3) best, Yze, Farmer, Nicholson, FREMANTLE 11.11-77 (Waterhouse 3) best, Bootsma, Hasleby, Waterhouse.

<||> The roar of the Tiger fans warmed the chill of Sunday at the MCG when 35,463 saw Richmond edge toward their second finals series since 1982—they made the Preliminary in 1995. In firm and windy conditions, St Kilda kicked the first three goals of the game and six of the last seven, but in between Richmond thrashed the Saints.

Early in the last term when 74 points in front, Richmond coach Danny Frawley rested several key players and allowed the Saints back into the game to reduce the final margin to a semi-respectable 40 points. BEN HOLLAND kicked five goals and MATTHEW ROGERS four, but it was defence where ANDREW KELLAWAY and DARREN GASPAR were efficient in putting the Tigers back in attack.

Player stats showed 12 of the 22 St Kilda players had a dozen or less possessions for the game — two defenders, DARRYL WAKELIN (full back) and MAX HUDGHTON (centre half-back) had one handball between them, though Wakelin did manage to give away two free kicks – RICHMOND 18.11-119 (Holland 5, Rogers 4) best, Chaffey, Bowden, A.Kellaway, ST KILDA 12.7-79 (Loewe 4) best, Sierakowski, Loewe, Sziller.

Loewe & Notting cleared
Croad guilty of head-butting
The AFL Tribunal on Tuesday night (25th) heard three cases resulting from Round 20 matches.

St Kilda's STEWART LOEWE charged with striking Richmond's ANDREW KELLAWAY was found not guilty. The Tribunal said there was no doubt contact was made but gave the Saint veteran the benefit of the doubt.

Brisbane's TIM NOTTING cited from video for charging Adelaide's MARK BICKLEY was cleared of the charge.

Hawthorn's TRENT CROAD will miss the critical game against Adelaide on Saturday after being found guilty of head butting Port Adelaide ruckman MATTHEW PRIMUS and suspended for one match. The Tribunal warned Croad that had injuries been suffered, his penalty would have been more severe.

Stab Kicks ...
** AFL Legend and Sydney director RON BARASSI was strong in his condemnation of Swan fans. He labelled their actions of their constant jeering of Kangaroo superstar WAYNE CAREY during the Swans-Roo match at the SCG on Saturday night July 22 as "cowardly and shameful".

Demons to play *home* games at Gabba
** MELBOURNE FC announced July 25 it will play one AFL home game in Brisbane for the next five years. Over that period the Demons' home game against the Brisbane Lions will be played at the Gabba providing the club "with a considerable financial return".
Melbourne chief executive JOHN ANDERSON said "this transferred match guarantees Melbourne FC a financial benefit equal to a home game attracting around 70,000 spectators to the MCG in each season of the next five years."
The Lions are in discussion with another club which could result in 13 AFL matches being played at the Gabba next season.

** St Kilda player SEAN CHARLES at reconciliation talks conducted on Wednesday July 19 apologised to former Melbourne teammate DAVID SCHWARZ for calling him a racist. It followed a probe by AFL investigations officer RICK LEWIS after Schwarz had complained to a field umpire during the July 16 match at Docklands Stadium.

** SAVERIO ROCCA who was set to try out soon as a punter for America's NFL suffered a set-back to his plans. In a comeback match for Collingwood Reserves in the VFL against North Ballarat at Waverley Park on Monday night, Sav received a knock to the calf muscle. Swelling and bruising caused surgeons to open the troubled area to allow the blood to flow freely again. The injury effectively ends his season.

Kangas to wear orange jumper
** The Kangaroos are preparing to break with tradition by wearing a predominantly orange jumper in Sunday's game against Collingwood. Roo chief executive GREG MILLER said details were still being negotiated on Tuesday, but telecom company Orange will pay the Kangaroos for the deal, similar to Carlton's decision to wear a light blue jumper for M+M's in a 1997 game.

AFL demands clubs pay 95% of salary cap
** The demand that AFL clubs pay at least 95 per cent of the salary cap to their players each season is to be reviewed before the end of the year.
AFL football operations manager ANDREW DEMETRIOU said yesterday that the minimum-payments system, enshrined in the collective bargaining agreement, was likely to be reconsidered after a number of clubs argued for change at last week's meeting of football department heads.

** FRASER GEHRIG may have played his last game for West Coast. With an unsigned $900,000 three-year deal still on the table, Perth doctors are expected to confirm he requires further surgery on a knee operated on a month ago. He hurt the knee at training last week and had trouble during the game against Geelong. The out-of-form big man who has been subjected to bronx cheers from Eagles supporters, has been sought by Collingwood, Sydney, St Kilda and Geelong.

Hird and Koutoufides sign five-year deals
ESSENDON captain JAMES HIRD and Carlton’s ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES signed new five-year agreements with their clubs.

In a deal reported to be worth $3.5m until the end of 2005, Hird, the 1996 Brownlow Medalist will last out his career with the Bombers.

The Blues secured Brownlow-favourite Koutoufides on a contract believed to be worth $5 million.

They said it ...
GREG BAUM, The Age, Saturday, July 22
— The final reckoning was 91,571; put that in your Colonial and smoke it. It helped that the predicted rain, sleet and hail stayed away, but you suspected they would have all come anyway; it's too late for turning back now. The MCG was its own boast; it was the people's ground. Whoever wins the AFL versus MCC power struggle here, it will have been worth the fight.
And let's not be too modest about this: Blue and Bomber sat cheek-by-jowl in the same stands, drank shoulder-to-shoulder in the same pubs, journeyed to and from in the same trams and trains, and not a drop of bad blood was spilt. It's something to show to the world.

PETER KRUPKA, The Australian, Monday, July 24 — Brisbane Lions' demolition of Adelaide yesterday was so savage it confirmed that if the Crows made this year's finals series, it would be one of the AFL's great injustices.

Ray Gabelich passes
A memorable vision of football is the giant Collingwood ruckman RAY GABELICH racing downfield to kick what was thought to have been the winning goal in the 1964 grand final.

His memory will live on following his passing on Tuesday July 18, aged 66.

Former Collingwood captain MURRAY WEIDEMAN described Ray as "a gentle giant who we all adored." They were teammates in the 1958 Collingwood premiership victory. Gabelich in his 160 matches for the Magpies from 1955-60 and 1962-66 played in five Grand Finals, was captain in 1964-65 and won the Copeland Trophy in 1960.


Bulldogs end Dons' winning run
Geelong's 1952-53 record survives
Tribunal record: 55 charges, 44 players
Geelong play their 2000th match

ROUND 21 — Fri-Sat-Sun, July 28-29-30.
MILESTONES — ESSENDON's record winning start to a season was halted at 20 games when  the BULLDOGS won by 11 points at Docklands on Friday night ... GEELONG played its 2,000th League match ... WAYNE SCHWASS played his 250th game (66 Syd 1998-2000, 184 NMK 1988-1997) ... 150 games for MITCHELL WHITE (WCE, 1991-2000) ... the 100th game for MATTHEW LAPPIN (45 Car 1999-2000, 55 StK 1994-98), RONNIE BURNS (Gee 1996-2000), JEFF FARMER (Mel, 1995-2000), ANDREW SCHAUBLE (21 Syd 2000, 79 Col 1995-99) ... MATTHEW KNIGHTS captained Richmond for the 100th time ... DARYN CRESS-WELL played his 100th consecutive match for Sydney ... 55 charges involving 44 players were made — a record for one round ...

<> Published figures for the 21st round totalled 305,183 for the eight matches, comparing to 241,813 in 1999 and the 1998 record of 327,861. The League said crowds for the year are now 5,424,344 as against 5,498,544 last year, a decrease of only 1.35 per cent. …

<> the Hawks defeated the Crows for the first time since 1996, breaking five successive victories by Adelaide ... NICK HOLLAND's seven goals was the best tally by a Hawthorn player versus Adelaide...

<> Brisbane against St Kilda extended their run to six successive victories, 98-R7 to 2000-R21 ...

<> Port Power with 5.5-35 enjoyed their biggest opening versus Carlton ... Port maintain a lead of four wins from six contests against Carlton ...

<> the Dockers came from 32 points down at half-time to win only their second Western Derby ... the one-point result was the 268th in League history ... CLIVE WATERHOUSE kicked seven goals – highest by a Docker against the Eagles ... CLIVE WATERHOUSE (Fre) passed 150 goals in game 84 ... PHILLIP MATERA (WCE) passed 150 goals in game 81 ...

<> Geelong's MARCUS BALDWIN wrote his name into the record books in the final quarter — a last-minute inclusion, the 20-year-old Finley lad kicked a remarkable THREE GOALS with his first THREE KICKS ...

<||> Friday night's event at Docklands was a sell-out, however only 45,725 passed through the turnstiles for the match which went to air live on Melbourne TV—the Colonial Stadium roof was closed. In a thriller, the Bulldogs pulled off the upset of the season when they became the first to defeat Essendon — halting the Bombers winning run at 20 games. With just one minute 31 seconds left, CHRIS GRANT from the boundary kicked a superb pressure goal to give the Dogs the lead—Grant's contribution was enormous throughout the match.

In a rugged, often fierce encounter, the biggest lead of the night was 21 points early in the last quarter when Essendon seemed to have the measure of the Dogs. With pressure continuing to mount, the Bulldogs peppered the goals for the last 10 minutes of the match. The fightback started when Grant kicked his first for the night, then two majors came from STEVE KOLYNIUK pulling the margin back to only five points. The ball moved quickly to the Dons scoring zone, but the Dogs to a man stood tall—none more so than MATTHEW CROFT. SCOTT WEST, too, was sensational in the last-minute pressure—running free on the outer wing with time on his side. That ROHAN SMITH kicked a goal after the siren to give an 11 point margin did not matter.

When scores were level, almost all of the 36 players were involved in a half-time brawl following a clash between JOHN BARNES (E) and BRAD JOHNSON (B). Essendon were clearly affected from the previous game against Carlton, but it was a stunning result for the Bulldogs who have beaten the leaders — Dons, Blues and Roos, with a potent tactic of flooding the backline. The Bulldogs secured their place in the finals — for the Bombers, maybe the pressure of winning week after week has been relieved – BULLDOGS 14.8-92 (Kolyniuk 3) best, Grant, Johnson, Cox, ESSENDON 12.9-81 (Fletcher 3) best, Fletcher, Misiti, J.Johnson.

<||> Saturday was a grey day when 25,512 at the MCG saw Hawthorn in windy but firm conditions put paid to Adelaide's finals chances with a well-deserved victory by 31 points. The Hawks with a round to go precariously hold on to 8th position by a bare 0.7 per cent over the Tigers. Hawthorn controlled the aerial duels at both ends of the ground as their key forward NICK HOLLAND returned to form, taking 15 marks and booting seven goals on his 26th birthday, the best return of his 117 matches for the brown-and-gold.

The Hawks were always in control after quarter time with their second tier of DANIEL CHICK, ANTHONY ROCK, RAYDEN TALLIS and LUKE McCABE turning in winning performances. Adelaide lacked spirit and a forward line and apart from McLeod, Ricciuto and Eccles in the midfield not many Crows seemed worried their season was slipping away.

Despite the scrappiness of the match, Hawthorn's win was deserved. Their fate is in their hands with a win against the Bulldogs required to make the Eight – HAWTHORN 15.8-98 (Holland 7.3) best, Holland, Rawlings, Chick, ADELAIDE 9.13-67 (Ricciuto 2) best, McLeod, Eccles, Ricciuto.

<||> A crowd of 35,697 attended Dock-lands on Saturday afternoon — the roof was open under a grey sky. In a cliff-hanger of the first order, Sydney scored one of the most tenacious one-point victories to keep their slim hopes for the finals alive. It was a gut-wrenching loss for the Tigers who tumbled from the Eight for the first time since April.

Sydney, who goaled through DANIEL McPHERSON in the opening 15 seconds never relinquished the lead, scores were level several times as neither the Tigers nor the Swans kicked successive goals across 120 minutes. EMMA QUAYLE noted for The Age the winning goal was kicked three minutes before the end when MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN clambered to his feet at the edge of the Sydney goal square, squirmed his way through three Tiger defenders and threaded through the goal that would his side's best for the day, its last for the day ..."

Neither club have surety of making the finals. The Swans, written off a month ago have now won at five of their past six outings and need to beat Geelong and have other results fall in their favour to be in the finals for a fifth straight year, matching their record club run of 1932-36. For Richmond to make only their second finals series since 1982, they have to defeat Carlton on Sunday – SYDNEY 12.12-84 (O’Loughlin 3) best, Schwass, Schauble, McPherson, RICHMOND 12.11-83 (Rogers 3) best, Daffy, Chaffey, Biddiscombe.

<||> The Gabba was in near perfect condition on a balmy Saturday night — 25,603 fans saw St Kilda lead the first charge. STEWART LOEWE kicked four goals in the first quarter and the Saints still led halfway into the second term. Thereafter it was pretty much the same old story as the recently re-signed PETER EVERITT gave off at the mouth, giving away 50m and the first major of Brisbane's run on which yielded 18 goals to two and a 90 point Brisbane victory.

Lions skipper MICHAEL VOSS had 37 possessions and was simply brilliant again, BILL McDONALD reported for The Age — Voss was best on ground by a mile to make a large charge for the Brownlow. SIMON BLACK (29 touches) did as he pleased as well, and when defender ADAM HEUSKES can return after a month out in a good paddock and snap a sensational goal, you know the opposition has been murdered. JONATHAN BROWN was productive at centre half-forward, JUSTIN LEPPITSCH was in chard in defence, and LUKE POWER, DANIEL BRADSHAW and ALASTAIR LYNCH probed up forward, while TRENT KNOBEL played all over Everitt. It's really difficult to wax on the Saints, who were best served by ANDREW THOMPSON and STEWART LOEWE.

To be assured of a home final, Brisbane needs to beat Freo and hope Hawthorn can sink the Bulldogs – BRISBANE 23.15-153 (Lynch 3, Power 3) best, M.Voss, Black, Brown, ST KILDA 8.15-63 (Loewe 4) best, A.Thompson, Carr, Delaney.

<||> In fine, sunny conditions, with a stiff breeze favouring the southern end, 30,152 were at Football Park on Sunday afternoon. Port Adelaide produced a more creative and direct style rather than the much-maligned methods which have produced barely more than 25% success this year.

Port already weakened by the long-term absence of Lade, Bond, Cockatoo-Collins and Wanganeen suffered late withdrawals by Paxman, Bishop, Harwood, Bassett and Steinberner, the 22 however who took the field in the colours did so with the passion of the famous history of their club. Carlton too, were seriously hampered by injuries to Bradley, Koutoufides, Hamill, Christou and Hickmott and were unable to withstand the furious Port determination.

Only with the last kick of the day was the contest decided — for Carlton, so soon after their 13-game winning streak to be defeated so close to the finals by a team sitting 15th on the ladder must raise serious concern in the Blues' camp – PORT 12.16-88 (James 3, Burgoyne 3) best, N.Stevens, Francou, Francis, CARLTON 12.11-83, best, Camporeale, Ratten, McKay.

<||> Often maligned by Dockers fans, CLIVE WATERHOUSE produced a sensational seven-goal effort to pilot Fremantle to only its second western derby triumph in a match that will be long remembered – for its unrestrained violence, its amazing transformation after West Coast led by 42 points six minutes into the third quarter, and its dramatic climax — so recorded by GARY STOCKS from Subiaco for Fairfax on Sunday afternoon. It was fine and ground conditions were good for the 12th derby watched by 37,710 spectators.

There were a host of highlights — great grabs, running individual battles, a furious third quarter brawl, and PHILLIP MATERA's bone-crunching collision with umpire STEVEN HANLEY in a desperate last quarter after which Matera departed spitting blood.

West Coast had two chances to steal the match in the dying minutes. Rookie DARREN GLASS (his 13th game) initially, missed a set shot from 35m and then, cruelly, received a fickle bounce when alone in the goal square. It was only Fremantle's second win over the Eagles, but with one game to go, the Dockers stand the chance of finishing above their rivals for the first time since their inception in 1995 – FREMANTLE 15.11-101 (Waterhouse 7.2) best, Hasleby, Waterhouse, Shipp, WEST COAST 15.100 (Phillip Matera 5), best, Jakovich, Phillip Matera, Fletcher. Reports: 17 players from the two clubs faced 27 charges resulting from the game.

<||> The Olympic flame returned to Melbourne for the first time in 44 years on Sunday. A ceremony involving Australian Test captain MARK TAYLOR, Australian soccer captain PAUL WADE and AFL Legend RON BARASSI, the torch on its 100 day journey across the nation was carried around the vast MCG arena packed with 75,033 before Olympic legend RON CLARKE rekindled the 1956 cauldron. JOHN LANDY repeated the Athletes' oath he delivered at the XVI Olympiad on November 22 1956. Then, there was a football game.

Fifth-placed Geelong, playing its 2,000 League match were challenging the 4th-placed Melbourne. The Cats dominated the first half everywhere but on the scoreboard. Led by GARRY HOCKING and several brilliant patches by RONNIE BURNS, Geelong seemed to have Melbourne's measure. Right on the half-time siren DAVID NEITZ goaled for the Demons to narrow the lead to eight points then BRAD SHOLL (G) was bowled over by SHANE WOEWODIN (M) and a wild melee erupted.

After the long break, Woewodin's brilliance all over the ground and Neitz's aerial dominance in attack enabled Melbourne to kick 4.8 to 2.1 in a decisive third quarter. The Demons maintained their grip in the last term broken only by the entrance of Geelong debutant MARCUS BALDWIN who kicked three goals with his first three kicks in League ranks. In his 100th game for Melbourne, JEFF FARMER disappointed — he was goalless and benched in the third quarter – MELBOURNE 18.18-126 (Neitz 5, Woewodin 4, Yze 3) best, White, Neitz, Woewodin, GEELONG 17.6-108 (Burns 4, Baldwin 3) best, Burns, Milburn, King.

<||> The Kangaroos in their challenge to survive broke further ground in the game against Collingwood at Colonial Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The traditional blue stripes and kanga motif were coloured a pale orange in a sponsorship deal with a telecommunications company, Orange.  The Kangaroos intend to use the alternate strip to avoid clashes in future matches next season. In front of 30,003 under grey skies through the open roof, the Roos in the early stages appeared to be cruising toward an expected victory.

Collingwood, arguably the youngest and least experienced combination in the AFL displayed enough purpose and self belief to inflict the most embarrassing of defeats the Roos have suffered this season. As JIM MAIN noted in The Australian: Although Collingwood's effort deserved the highest praise, their opponents were slack, careless and spiritless.

A highlight of the Collingwood victory was the enormous composure of second-year player NICK DAVIS. He gave the Pies momentum in a tense last quarter with a towering 55m goal and minutes later from a slightly closer distance goaled again in his four for the day. Magpie coach MICHAEL MALTHOUSE spoke glowing of Collingwood's youth program — his counterpart DENIS PAGAN with brutal candour was quoted: "I've been here for eight years, what was at stake today, to let it pass and get beaten the way we did, is probably the most disappointing loss I've been involved in." – COLLINGWOOD 14.14-98 (N.Davis 4) best, N.Davis, Prestigiacomo, Dimattina, KANGAROOS 11.14-80 (Bell 3) best, Bell, McCartney, Simpson.

Record 44 players on 55 charges
Suspensions; fines total $87,000

The AFL Tribunal on Tuesday night (1st) heard the first of a record round of – 55 charges involving 44 players.

Essendon's JOHN BARNES (one match) and Bulldogs' BRAD JOHNSON (one match) were the first suspensions. Barnes was found guilty of charging Johnson while Johnson was found guilty of striking Barnes during the third quarter.

In handing down the penalty upon Barnes, Tribunal chairman BRIAN COLLIS said the Tribunal had taken into account Barnes' outstanding record — during his 16-year career he had not previously been before the Tribunal.

Five Essendon players and nine Bulldogs' were found guilty of engaging in a melee during half-time of the match at Docklands. Fourteen players were fined a total of $35,000 with Essendon rover GARY MOORCROFT receiving the heaviest penalty of a $3500 fine. Charges against Essendon's Blake Caracella and Sean Wellman were withdrawn. Players found guilty – Bulldogs: Scott Wynd ($3000), Jose Romero ($2500), Nathan Brown ($2000), Steven Kolyniuk ($2500), Matthew Croft ($2000), Scott West ($2500), Trent Bartlett ($2500), Steven Kretiuk ($3500), Adam Contessa ($2000). Essendon: John Barnes ($3000), Mark Johnson ($2000), Gary Moorcroft ($3500), Michael Long ($2000), Mark Mercuri ($2000).

On Wednesday, 10 players, seven from Melbourne and three from Geelong were cited for their part in a half-time melee. Charges against Ben Graham (G) were withdrawn. Melbourne's Shane Woewodin and Jeff Farmer were found not guilty of their part.

Players found guilty and fined a total of $20,500 – Geelong: Brad Sholl ($3000), Matthew Scarlett ($2000). Melbourne players: David Neitz ($3500), Jeff White ($3000), Adem Yze ($3500), Russell Robertson ($3000), Travis Johnstone ($2500).

A further 17 players, 10 from Fremantle, seven from West Coast faced 24 charges arising from Sunday's match at Subiaco.

Veteran DALE KICKETT of Fremantle faced six charges; three of the charges were withdrawn – of engaging in a melee, wrestling and attempting to strike ANDREW EMBLEY.

Kickett however was suspended a total of nine matches – of striking PHILLIP READ and ANDREW EMBLEY in the first quarter and suspended for five matches; Kickett was found guilty of striking PHILLIP READ in the third quarter and suspended for four matches.

MICHAEL GARDINER (W) was found guilty of striking MATTHEW PAVLICH (F) before the commencement of play and suspended for two matches.

BRAD DODD (F) was found guilty of attempting to strike PHILLIP READ (W) in the first quarter and suspended for two matches.

PHILLIP READ (W) was found guilty of striking BRAD DODD (F) in the first quarter and suspended for two matches.

Players faced 18 charges of engaging in a third quarter melee. Charges against  Brad Dodd (F), Troy Cook (F), Phil Read (W), Peter Matera (W), Andrew Embley (W) were withdrawn. 10 players were fined a total of $31,500 — Fremantle: Andrew Shipp ($2000), Jason Norrish ($2500), Jess Sinclair ($3000), Shaun McManus ($4000), Heath Black ($3000), Paul Haselby ($2500), Clem Michael ($3000). West Coast: Kane Munro ($2000), Ben Cousins ($3000), Michael Gardiner ($3500), Phillip Read ($3000).

Overall, when hearings concluded on Thursday, the marathon Tribunal hearings for the round had lasted three days and resulted in a record 37 players convicted of rule breaches and fines totalling $87,000. Suspensions were: JOHN BARNES (Ess, 1 match), BRAD JOHNSON (WB, 1), MICHAEL GARDINER (WCE, 2), BRAD DODD (Fre, 2), DALE KICKETT (Fre, 9).

Previously the largest number of players booked after a brawl was 13, in the Brisbane-Melbourne clash in 1999-R21, although not all were charged with taking part in a melee.

Nine of the 13 players booked in a 1998 practice match between Port and Fremantle faced melee counts.

Stab Kicks ...
Magpies tell Sav Rocca to go

** RETIREMENTS & DEPARTURES — Collingwood have told SAVERIO ROCCA his services are no longer required. The 26-year-old full forward played 156 matches and kicked 514 goals ... The trickle of retirees become a flood — Scott Wynd (WB), Steve Kolyniuk (WB), Guy McKenna (WCE), Barry Stoneham (Gee), Richard Champion (Bri), Paul Salmon (Haw), Peter Caven (Ade), Daniel Southern (WB), Liam Pickering (Gee), Jamie Shanahan (Mel), Michael Sexton (Car), Chris Lewis (WCE), Craig O'Brien (Syd), Scott Russell (Syd), Brendan Krummel (Haw), James Cook (Mel), Scott Turner (Rch), Gary Dhurrkay (Kan), Adam Heuskes (Bri), Gavin Brown (Col) and Gavin Crosisca (Col).

York Park in Launceston will be next AFL venue
** Following a $7 million upgrade and installation of lights, Launceston's YORK PARK is set to become the next AFL venue. An Ansett Cup pre-season game will be scheduled  next season.

They said it ...
CLIVE WATERHOUSE (Fremantle) in a pre-recorded interview for Network Seven's GameDay before Sunday's July 30 match at Subiaco to the question "what can we expect"
— "I think a very, very hard encounter. I think there's going to be a lot of physicality about the game — and let's hope there's a bit of blood spilt as well"...
17 players were reported from the match which Fremantle won by 1pt.

MICHAEL MALTHOUSE, Collingwood coach, quoted in The Australian, July 31 — "Why in God's name do you have orange and white with black shorts. If you are going to go for orange and white, go for a complete change. What genius is in there (the AFL) that is going to have the bottom half almost identical to the club they're playing (Collingwood which traditionally wears black socks)."


Big wins for Demons, Blues & Lions
Tigers miss out of finals, again
Malthouse coaches 400th game

ROUND 22 — Fri-Sat-Sun, August 4-5-6.
MILESTONES — FINAL EIGHT — Essendon, Carlton, Melbourne, Kangaroos, Geelong, Brisbane, Bulldogs, Hawthorn ... ESSENDON concluded the home-and-away season with a benchmark 21 wins from 22 matches ... MICHAEL MALTHOUSE coached his 400th League match with Fsc, WCE and Col ... 200th game by WAYNE CAMPBELL (Rch, 1991-2000) ... 100 matches by BEN COUSINS (WCE, 1996-2000) and TODD CURLEY (96 FWB 1996-2000, 4 Col 1994) ... 50th game by JESS SINCLAIR (Fre, 1997-2000) ...

<> The Dogs-Hawks match produced the biggest home and away crowd to watch these two — the 45,527 at Docklands topped the previous best of 35,706, 1997-R22 at Waverley …

<> The Magpies led the Bombers at half time for the second time this season — Adelaide in Round 10 were the only other club this year to lead Essendon at the long break — the Bulldogs at half time in R21 were level-pegging, going on to become the only side to beat the Dons in the minor rounds ... at Kardinia Park, an injury to umpire GAVIN DORE extended the duration of the first quarter and created a new record of 37 minutes, four seconds — which exceeds 36m 17s, 98-R17-FP, PA v Haw ...

<> The Lions beat the Dockers at the Gabba by a huge margin, the 107pts falling short only to their 114pt margin in 1999-R20 ...

<> The Kangas balanced the ledger against St Kilda — from 132 contests since 1925, both have won 65, with two drawn in 1943 and 1980 ... it was the Roos' fifth successive win over St Kilda ...

<> Port Adelaide's 9.6-60 was the biggest first quarter of the season; the biggest start of Port's 89 League games; the biggest first term of 155 AFL games played at Football Park ...

<> Melbourne finished third on the ladder, the highest finish for a home-and-away season by the club since 1964 ...

<> Richmond finished in 9th place for the fourth time in seven years ...

<||> Hawthorn secured a place in the final eight when they hung on to beat the Bulldogs on Friday night at Docklands. A big crowd of 45,527 attended. Conditions were fair under the closed roof. The centre area was soft after recent laying of cricket pitches and the ball for ruck contests was thrown up. The pitches have been installed for the world's first indoor cricket games — Australia will play South Africa at Docklands in three one-dayers on August 16, 18 and 20.

The Bulldogs began the game using flooding tactics, but abandoned them in the second quarter. Hawthorn led at each change and as LEN JOHNSON observed for The Age, the 21 point lead at three-quarter time was precisely that which Essendon held early in the final term of the epic battle the previous week. However, the Hawks were fierce throughout and dictated terms as the Bulldogs were flat and anything but the giant-killers which had beaten the Bombers.

NICK HOLLAND booted three goals for the Hawks, while Chick (BoG), Harford and Bowyer combined to outrun the Dogs, with a notable exception—Brownlow prospect SCOTT WEST, who collected 22 first-half possessions. The Dogs never gave up but looked tired and badly missed the suspended BRAD JOHNSON. CHRIS GRANT played well as a loose man in defence in the first half and when he was forced to retire in the second term with a shoulder or neck injury, the game plan was wounded. He returned but was not the same. Two late goals by the Bulldogs reduced the end margin – HAWTHORN 11.15-81 (Holland 3) best, Chick, Harford, Bowyer, BULLDOGS 9.12-66 (Smith 2, Bartlett 2) best, S.West, Brown, Bartlett.

<||> Saturday was a cloudless, springlike day, though a swirling wind was present when 66,608 attended the MCG. For a second week, pressure was applied to Essendon and not until the third quarter did they start to gain control of proceedings. The Bombers found their pathway to converting, was frustrated by a flood of Magpies.

Trailing by as much as four goals, Essendon lifted their work-rate and it was fitting the spark came from ADAM RAMANAUSKAS who ran all day — his long-bomb goal from 55m at the 24-minute mark of the third quarter bounced through to give the Bombers the lead for the first time. MATTHEW LLOYD crept closer to his century but his tally of 4.5 included several missed chances. Essendon's inaccuracy may have prolonged the inevitable but there is no denying the Pies gave it their all with good usage and a determined defence.

The Bombers may have slipped a touch in the past three weeks, but they are still playing as a confident premiership aspirant. No matter how tight the game gets, their strong group still gets them over the line. JOE MISITI was near brilliant on the day with 39 possessions, and with the return of Hird, Barnes and Mercuri in the first final, the Dons are still flag favourites – ESSENDON 13.19-97 (Lloyd 4) best, Misiti, Ramanauskas, Fletcher, COLLINGWOOD 11.12-78 (Lane 3) best, Lane, Burns, Buckley.

<||> On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, 26,011 squeezed into Kardinia Park for Geelong's most important match of the season. The Cats were still under threat with 11 seconds left, yet survived to beat Sydney by four points and secure fifth place in the eight. The win by Hawthorn the night before had snuffed out any chance Sydney had of making the finals, and not even a broken-down bus, nor the necessity of hitch-hiking to the ground deterred the Swans from fighting on right down to the finish.

RONNIE BURNS was in sparkling form for Geelong and kicked four first-half goals for a second week, while ADAM GOODES went marginally better when he booted four goals for the Swans in the second quarter. It was a free-flowing, error-prone, but absorbing contest — three times the Cats established a four-goal lead. Yet, three times the Swans came back.

RICHARD HINDS reported for The Age: It will be the last of those Swans' surges that is remembered ... after a 21-point buffer had been whittled down to 10 by the Swans with three minutes left, the Cats took two minutes off the clock with some efficient keepings off. Yet, when PAUL KELLY snapped a goal from a bounce, there were 11 seconds left. Enough time for Kelly to get on the end of a GREG STAFFORD tap, burst out of the centre and bomb the ball into the Swans' attack. But, this time, the ball spilt over the boundary and five months of hard work by Geelong was rewarded. Sydney missed the finals for the time since 1995 — it was the Swans' seventh loss by less than 10 points – GEELONG 18.16-124 (Burns 6) best, Burns, Graham, Snell) SYDNEY 18.12-120 (O’Loughlin 5, Goods 4, Kelly 3) best, Maxfield, O’Loughlin, Schwass.

<||> The Gabba was in good condition on Saturday night—some showers during the game however did make the ball slippery. A crowd of 25,070 watched Brisbane storm into a home final with a crushing 107 point win over the Fremantle Dockers — the Lions gained sixth place, their highest ranking for the season.

BILL McDONALD reported for Fairfax: JARROD MOLLOY was the star for Brisbane shrugging off a knee injury to boot five goals off the bench in a masterful cameo on the Lions' forward line, which did as it pleased from the second quarter on — ALASTAIR LYNCH chipped in with four. The Lions piled on 13 goals to two in the second half to obliterate the opposition and coach Leigh Matthews took the opportunity to rotate his forwards and provide a chilling reminder of just how many options he has at his disposal, with 10 separate goal kickers.

CHRIS SCOTT led a vintage display by the Lions defence, shutting CLIVE WATERHOUSE out of the game with a suffocating man-on-man display. CHRIS SCOTT wasn't far behind, while MICHAEL VOSS, SIMON BLACK, SHAUN HART and JASON AKERMANIS gave dominant displays. Voss was in Brownlow touch again amassing 33 possessions before being put in cotton wool for most of the last term – BRISBANE 23.18-156 (Molloy 5, Lynch 4, Power 3) best, Black, M.Voss, Hart, FREMANTLE 7.7-49, best, Cook, Sinclair, Michael.

<||> A bare 16,310 were at Docklands on Saturday night which marked TIM WATSON's final appearance as coach of St Kilda. The Saints showed plenty of heart but were overrun in the second half as the Kangaroos confirmed their double-chance spot in the top four with a 43 point win. The year ended as St Kilda's worst since 1986 when they also managed just two wins.

There was not a great deal of solace for the Roos — they enjoyed a strong win but they had to work their way through a grinding game against the wooden-spooners who led them by three goals at one stage. Before the seven-goal final term that ended the Saints' sorry season, the Roos had to drag themselves back from from a very poor first half. St Kilda's BARRY HALL gave WAYNE CAREY a torrid time and kept him statless in the first quarter. Neither Carey nor COREY McKERNAN had any influence until after the long break.

Carey had his shackles removed when Hall limped off and soon after The King after 23 minutes of the third quarter gained his first goal. No doubt stung by hard words of coach Pagan, the Roos finished with a withering burst, able assisted with the run of speedsters BRENT HARVEY, DAVID KING  and PETER BELL – KANGAROOS 18.12-120 (Carey 3, King 3) best, Stevens, King, Simpson, ST KILDA 10.17-77, best, Everitt, Harvey, Hall.

<||> A strong breeze favoured the scoreboard end in fine conditions at Football Park on Sunday afternoon when 42,659 rolled up to see Showdown 8 between the cross-town rivals. Port kicked their highest single quarter in the opening term — 9.6 to 1.1 to be 53 point leaders at the first change.

Adelaide were woeful in the first term then looked to ANDREW McLEOD and MARK RICCIUTO to get them back into the contest. The Crows kicked back with seven majors and in the third got to within a goal as Port yet again slipped into inaccuracy. The Power however surged away in the last term for a comfortable 47 point victory to equal the Showdown slate at four games each.

The performances by Port's talented array of youngsters such as Stevens, Dew, Tredrea, Lockwood and Carr gives hope there is a future for the Power — yet, it was a forgettable game as much of the season has been for both units. Afterwards, Adelaide's inaugural chairman BOB HAMMOND announced that after 10 years he would retire from his post in December. There's a strong feeling many Adelaide players will also be seeking other fields – PORT 20.19-139 (Lockwood 4, Burgoyne 4, Dew 3) best, Francou, N.Stevens, Primus, ADELAIDE 14.8-92 (McLeod 4, Vardy 3), best, McLeod, Ricciuto, Edwards.

<||> Subiaco Oval drew 34,470 for the late Sunday clash, played under cloudy conditions. The match marked the 267th and final appearance of West Coast veteran GUY McKENNA who at the end received a standing ovation when he marked a pass from BEN COUSINS and put through his side's 15th goal with his last kick in League football. A slick Melbourne squad however failed to respond to the celebrations as they whipped the Eagles by 12 goals to finish third, the highest placing the Demons have achieved since 1964.

The Eagles were sharp early in the piece, but Melbourne unleashed a nine-goal blast in the the second and went on to overwhelm and outclass the home side. ADEM YZE was at his best collecting 29 touches and five goals while STEPHEN POWELL and GUY RIGONI cut through the Eagles defence with 32 and 28 possessions respectively.

Melbourne's running brigade could not be quelled as they piled on goal after goal. The Demons advance into the finals as the form side, with a one point defeat their only failure from the past nine matches – MELBOURNE 26.14-170 (Yze 5, Bruce 4, Farmer 3) best, Yze, Powell, Farmer 3) WEST COAST 15.10-100 (Donnelly 4) best, Kemp, Donnelly, Jones.

<||> To make the finals for the second time since 1982, Richmond required a five goal win over the second-placed Blues on Sunday afternoon when 65,078 fans were present at the MCG. The sky was blue, though a swirling breeze slightly marred the great conditions. After half-time, Carlton swept to an emphatic 73 point victory.

Under immense pressure, the Tiger forwards were unproductive and largely unsighted. Carlton needed to regroup after three successive losses and their confidence would have zoomed when SCOTT CAMPOREALE cut loose in the third quarter to boot four goals. Another bonus for the Blues was the return of ruckman MATTHEW ALLEN after six weeks on the sidelines with a knee injury.

The Blues added another six goals in the last quarter and ended with the of luxury of resting on the bench the precious talents of Whitnall, Silvagni and McKay. ANDREW RAMSEY noted in The Australian: "The win was topped off by SIMON BEAUMONT's last-minute entry for goal of the year when he intercepted a Richmond short pass near the centre and sprinted more than 100m with six bounces before dribbling it through from 20m". It revived memories of the recently departed RAY GABELICH's dash for Collingwood in the 1964 Grand Final – CARLTON 19.11-125 (Camporeale 4, Fevola 4) best, Camporeale, Silvagni, McKay, RICHMOND 7.10-52, best, A.Kellaway, Knights, Biddiscombe.

Ladder after Round 22
W L D F A % Total
1 ESSENDON 21 1 2816 1770 159.1 84
2 CARLTON 16 6 2667 1979 134.8 64
3 MELBOURNE 14 8 2557 2159 118.4 56
4 KANGAROOS 14 8 2447 2304 106.2 56
5 GEELONG 12 9 1 2234 2306 96.9 50
6 BRISBANE 12 10 2602 2222 117.1 48
7 WEST.B'DOGS 12 10 2321 2241 103.6 48
8 HAWTHORN 12 10 2198 2251 97.6 48
9 Richmond 11 11 2068 2221 93.1 44
10 Sydney 10 12 2254 2219 101.6 40
11 Adelaide 9 13 2255 2347 96.1 36
12 Fremantle 8 14 1886 2618 72.0 32
13 West Coast 7 14 1 2216 2399 92.4 30
14 Port Adelaide 7 14 1 1928 2295 84.0 30
15 Collingwood 7 15 2089 2431 85.9 28
16 St Kilda 2 19 1 1855 2631 70.5 10

All-Australian team of 2000
The AFL and the AFL Players' Association on Monday (7th) honoured the outstanding performers of the season at the awards dinner at Melbourne's Sofitel Hotel.
The AFL named the 2000 All Australian team while the AFLPA presented its Most Valuable Player, Most Courageous Player, Best Captain, Best First-Year Player and media awards.

The selected team —

B: Damien Hardwick
Dustin Fletcher
Andrew Kellaway
HB: Andrew McKay
Darren Gaspar
Simon Goodwin
C: Scott Camporeale
Brett Ratten
Scott West
HF: Andrew McLeod
Wayne Carey (Capt)
North Melb
James Hird
F: Jeff Farmer
Matthew Lloyd
Michael O'Loughlin
Foll: Steven King
Anthony Koutoufides
Nathan Buckley
IC: Brad Johnson
Mark Ricciuto
Lance Whitnall
Brent Harvey

Most Valuable Player:
sponsored by The Australian
Anthony Koutoufides (Car) 1021,
Wayne Carey (Kan) 272, Dustin Fletcher (Ess) 219.
Best Captain: sponsored by Ansett Australia
Wayne Carey (Kan) 665, Paul Kelly (Syd) 427, James Hird (Ess) 350
Robert Rose Most Courageous Player Award:
Paul Kelly (Syd) 526, Glenn Archer (Kan) 192, Brett Ratten (Car) 185
Best First Year Player: sponsored by Preston Motors, Essendon
Paul Hasleby (Fre) 1107, Josh Fraser (Col) 340, David Spriggs (Gee) 223
Grant Hattam Trophy: Coors Chambers Westgarth
Winner — Mark Robinson – The Herald Sun
Article: Hird feels the pain, published March 8
Honourable mentions:
Jake Niall, The Age – Home away from home & It would be a sorry game
The Grant Hattam Trophy has been created in honour and memory of Grant Hattam, leading sports solicitor and media commentator, who died of cancer in 1998.

Awards Time
DUSTIN FLETCHER took out the ABC Footballer of the Year Award. With 22 votes the Essendon defender finished in front of WAYNE CAREY (Kan) and NATHAN BUCKLEY on 20, ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES was one vote away in third on 19.

> Carlton’s BRETT RATTEN polled 92 votes to win The Age award ahead of SCOTT WEST (WB) on 89 then SCOTT CAMPOREALE (Car) 86.

> The Herald Sun award winner was ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES (Car) with 47 votes ahead of teammate BRETT RATTEN 45 and DUSTIN FLETCHER (Ess) 41.

> Bulldog SCOTT WEST headed the tally for Inside Football. A front-runner for the Brownlow, West polled 27 votes , with WAYNE CAREY (Kan) 24 and NATHAN BUCKLEY (Col) 21.

Jarman & Lucas cleared
Everitt, McKernan, Licuria fined

The AFL Tribunal sat on Tuesday (8th) to hear three charges.

Adelaide's DARREN JARMAN a veteran of 210 League games (with Hawthorn and the Crows) pleaded not guilty to striking MICHAEL WILSON (PA). Wilson and Jarman both told the Tribunal they had bumped each two or three times but there had been no striking involved. BRIAN COLLIS, the Tribunal chairman said there was doubt about the report and as no video was to hand, he gave Jarman the benefit of the doubt.

PETER EVERITT (StK) and COREY McKERNAN each pleaded guilty to wrestling each other and were fined $1200.

Essendon's SCOTT LUCAS pleaded not guilty to wrestling Collingwood's PAUL LICURIA. Lucas was cleared. A guilty Licuria however was fined $1200.

Radio Ratings
Honours shared in ratings

The latest Melbourne radio ratings for were published on August 9.

Friday (call) 11.2 13.1 9.9
Saturday overall (12-6) 16.2 15.1 12.2
Saturday (12-2) 13.3 11.4 8.9
Saturday call (2-4.30) 18.3 16.9 14.4
Saturday nights 11.0 6.7 10.8
Sunday overall (12-6) 11.7 13.4 9.8
Sunday call (2-4.30) 11.9 15.4 12.0

Stab Kicks ...
** RETIREMENTS— injury has overtaken WADE CHAPMAN — the former Sydney player failed to play this season with his new club PORT ADELAIDE ... CRAIG LAMBERT announced he will retire at the end of the season, after 219 matches with Richmond and Brisbane (1988-2000) ... SEAN DENHAM will hang up his AFL boots, following 186 games with Geelong and Essendon (1987-2000).

10 added to All-Australian squad
= Brisbane's JASON AKERMANIS, JUSTIN LEPPITSCH, MICHAEL VOSS, Bulldog pair NATHAN BROWN, ROHAN SMITH, Richmond's WAYNE CAMPBELL, Hawthorn youngster TRENT CROAD, Melbourne duo SHANE WOEWODIN and ADEM YZE and Carlton fullback STEPHEN SILVAGNI have been added to the squad All Australian squad. The team which will depart on September 30 will play a two-match International Rules series against Ireland at Dublin's Croke Park on October 8 and 15. Both matches will be televised by Channel Seven.
The team will again be coached by former Hawthorn player DERMOTT BRERETON who'll be assisted by former Melbourne ruckman and Gaelic football champion JIM STYNES.

** ADELAIDE will play MELBOURNE in the annual exhibition match at The Oval in London on Saturday, October 7.

No charges following rape investigation
** It is understood no action is likely against AFL players who were alleged to have raped a woman in London during an end-of-season trip last October. ADAM HEUSKES was one of several Brisbane players questioned in Brisbane by Scotland Yard detectives in April. An announcement is expected soon.

Season crowds total 5,742,338
AFL crowds for the 176-game 2000 series showed a drop on 1999 figures of only 0.51 per cent. The total for 2000 was 5,742,338 as against 5,771,579 last year. Crowds including the finals will exceed six million for the fourth successive year.

2000 1999 %
ADELAIDE 423,095 433,324 –2.36
BRISBANE 301,470 240,791 +25.20
CARLTON 378,273 385,403 –1.85
COLL'WOOD 495,134 430,386 +15.04
ESSENDON 532,365 630,399 –15.55
FREMANTLE 245,768 263,689 –6.80
GEELONG 304,819 273,242 +11.56
378,593 383,490 383,490 –1.28
KANGAROOS 243,050 284,786 –14.66
MELBOURNE 413,153 351,504 +17.54
PORT ADEL 290,034 343,963 –15.68
RICHMOND 483,952 445,863 +8.54
ST KILDA 268,998 365,006 –26.30
SYDNEY 282,889 335,930 –15.79
WEST COAST 364,452 339,549 +7.33
W.B'DOGS 336,293 264,254 +27.26


5,742,338 5,771,579 –0.51


They said it ...
ANDREW RAMSEY, The Australian, Monday, August 7
— "The win was topped off by SIMON BEAUMONT's last-minute entry for goal of the year when he intercepted a Richmond short pass near the centre and sprinted more than 100m with six bounces before dribbling it through from 20m."

MIKE SHEAHAN, Herald Sun, Tuesday, August 8, on the exit of TIM WATSON — "To his credit, he has departed in style. Like so many great players before him, he had been humbled by the coaching job. Unlike many, he was prepared to own up."


Hawks hold on to pip Cats
Records fall to awesome Bombers
Lions roar into semi territory
Demons steal glory from Blues

Friday-Saturday-Sunday, August 11-12-13.

MILESTONES — ESSENDON with 31.12-198 kicked the highest score of 485 League finals, and recorded the second-highest margin in a final of 125 points ... TONY LIBERATORE played his 250th for the Footscray-Bulldogs ... 150 games by Brisbane teammates MICHAEL VOSS (1992-2000) and NIGEL LAPPIN (1994-2000) ...

<> Hawthorn won their first final since the 1991 Grand Final ...
<> BARRY STONEHAM played game 241 and his final match for Geelong — his injury-ravaged career spanned 1986-2000 ...
<> MATTHEW LLOYD became the 26th player to kick a century of goals in a season—from a mark 35m in front eight-minutes into the last quarter his left-foot punt kick brought up his sixth goal for the game and the first 100 goals by an Essendon player for 28 years since GEOFF BLETHYN in 1972 ...
<> DAVID KING (Kan) kicked a personal-best seven goals straight ...

<> the 134th meeting since 1925 between the Dons and Shinboners produced – (a) new highest Essendon score, previous 29.16-190, 34-R8-WH ... (b) new GWM of 125pts, previous 104pts, 85-R18-WH ... ¾ Brisbane won their fourth successive game against the Westerners …

<> 21 minutes into the second quarter, the all-clear for Brisbane's 7th goal kicked by DANIEL BRADSHAW was over-ruled and produced the rare cross-flags signal — the score instead became Brisbane's 7th behind ...

<> SCOTT WYND (237 games) and STEVE KOLYNIUK (176) made their farewell appearance for the Bulldogs ...

<||> Hawthorn held on to defeat Geelong by nine points in the First Elimination Final played at Docklands on Friday night to a crowd of 44,709 which was below expectations. Ground conditions under the closed roof was patchy, even slippery and muddy in some areas, after cosmetic enhancements had been used to improve the appearance of the surface.

Although Hawthorn dominated the aerial contests, the result was always in doubt with the match having many false turns. LEN JOHNSON in The Age reported: The momentum of the game swung back and forth like a pendulum through the first three quarters. The last swing went Hawthorn's way.

The first two quarters were the mirror image of each other. The Cats dominated the first part of the first term, leading by 15 points at one stage, before Hawthorn surged back. The Hawks took that momentum through the second term, even adding panache when GLEN BOWYER, deep on the half-forward flank and with nothing and no one presenting near the goal square, bent one back through the posts for the night's most memorable goal.

BEN DIXON engineered the decisive moment when he took the ball in the forward pocket, fired a handpass towards a teammate, then ran around to regain the ball centimetres before it bounced out to steer through a goal to put the Hawks up by 16 points. Geelong would not lie down — ADAM HOULIHAN missed one set shot, PETER RICCARDI drilled a long shot. RONNIE BURNS well held all night, marked in a forward pocket and steered the shot home to reduce the deficit to three points. But then Hawk BARRY YOUNG chipped wide to ANTHONY ROCK, and Rock's little kick forward was marked by JOHN BARKER, who kicked his fourth goal to make the game safe — it was Hawthorn's first win in a final since 1991 – HAWTHORN 14.8-92 (Barker 4) best, Crawford, Thompson, Harford, GEELONG 12.11-83 (Bizzell 2, Riccardi 2, Mensch 2) best, Graham, Snell King.

<||> Saturday afternoon was 12 degrees and overcast, but ground conditions at the MCG were great for the impressive crowd of 68,443. Notwithstanding their powerful 21 wins of the home-and-away season, Essendon gave one of the greatest performances in a League final to defeat the Kangaroos by more than 20 goals. The match finished late after a crowd invasion of some 5,000 fans celebrated MATTHEW LLOYD's 100th goal and held up proceedings for seven minutes—lights were turned by three-quarter time.

The day was filled with milestones — the highest score of 485 finals; the second-highest margin of a final; MATTHEW LLOYD's 100th goal; and 13 Bombers ending up on the scoresheet, often, seemingly, after raffling the ball 30 metres from goal.

Essendon kicked nine goals in the first quarter, 15 to half time when they led by 57pts and as CHARLES HAPPELL noted for The Age: ... if that wasn't enough, JAMES HIRD showed glimpses of irresistible form in his first game in three weeks, JOE MISTI gathered 41 possessions, MICHAEL LONG produced one of his best games for the year and even unsung types such as PAUL BARNARD were dominant.

The second half was so embarrassingly lop-sided it seemed inconceivable that one of the sides competing finished in fourth place, and was the reigning premier. But, this was attributable, as much as anything, to Essendon's astonishing ability to win the ball in contested situations, then punish the tiniest Kangaroo mistake. Time after time, a North player would fumble slightly in a 50-50 contest, or miss a target, and be set upon by a swarm of Bombers. Even