Footystats Diary, footy's best kept secret, 2001 Review
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2001 Review
September-October 2000 to September 2001

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The AFL agreed to the early finish of season 2000
with the playing of the Grand Final on September 2nd, so
not to distract from the preparation of the Olympic Games in Sydney.


First flag for Central District
SEPTEMBER 2000 – The SANFL Bulldogs gained their first premiership success when they defeated Woodville-West Torrens before a crowd of 34,819 at Football Park on Sunday (10th). Centrals who entered the SANFL in 1964 won by 22pts, 8.13-61 to 5.9-39.

Saints get Blight for $1.6 million
The new administration at St Kilda led by president ROD BUTTERSS pulled off a great coup when MALCOLM BLIGHT accepted the post of coach at Moorabbin. The announcement came on September 14.

Blight, coach of Geelong and Adelaide in 219 League matches (1989-94 & 1997-99) emerged from a one-year sabbatical to accept a two-year deal believed to be worth at least $1.6 million, making Blight football's best paid coach.

St Kilda, the perennial wooden-spooner finished last for the 26th occasion last season with only two wins and a draw in the second year under coach TIM WATSON who resigned.

The Saints have capitalised in drafting and trading, grabbing FRASER GEHRIG (WCE), AARON HAMILL (Car), MATTHEW CAPUANO (NMK), STEVEN LAWRENCE (Bri) and CRAIG CALLAGHAN (Fre). The club will also have the first two picks at the National Draft to be held on October 29.



ADELAIDE – Simon Goodwin

BRISBANE – Michael Voss

CARLTON – Brett Ratten, Scott Camporeale

COLLINGWOOD – Nathan Buckley

ESSENDON – Dustin Fletcher


GEELONG – Peter Riccardi

HAWTHORN – Daniel Chick, Nick Holland

MELBOURNE – Shane Woewodin

NORTH MELB – Peter Bell

PORT ADELAIDE – Brett Montgomery

RICHMOND – Andrew Kellaway

ST KILDA – Andrew Thompson

SYDNEY – Andrew Schauble

WEST COAST – Glen Jakovich

WEST.B'DOGS – Scott West

Stab Kicks ...

Trade moves
As of Monday night (11th) the official moves in trading were — SHAUN REHN (Ade) to Hawthorn ... KENT KINGSLEY (Kan) to Geelong ... PAUL WILLIAMS (Col) to Sydney ... EVAN HEWITT (Kan) to Adelaide ...

St Kilda sign Hamill and Capuano
Media reports via Southern Cross Radio News on Tuesday afternoon (12th) reported St Kilda had signed Carlton's AARON HAMILL and the Kangaroos' ruckman MATTHEW CAPUANO. The deal for Hamill was in exchange for the #4 draft pick and youngster SAM CRANAGE. CAPUANO, the Roo premiership ruckman is a swap for midfielder JOE McLAREN who heads to Arden Street. The Saints have also taken STEVEN LAWRENCE from Brisbane in exchange for a third round selection—Steven is son of former Saint captain Barry Lawrence who played 126 games (1969-76).

In other moves, the Kangaroos have obtained Fremantle's JESS SINCLAIR and drafts picks 6 & 8 in exchange for Roo best & fairest winner PETER BELL ... Richmond's MARK MERENDA has been taken by West Coast in exchange for draft pick 40 ... Hawthorn's RICHARD TAYLOR and MICHAEL COLLICA have been traded to West Coast ... MITCHELL WHITE (WCE) will become a Geelong player ...

Mal Michael to Brisbane Lions
Collingwood's MAL MICHAEL will return home to Queensland with the Brisbane Lions in exchange for JARROD MOLLOY who shifts to Victoria Park ... also moving to the Magpies is Geelong's CARL STEINFORT in exchange for a draft pick ... RICKY OLARENSHAW will move again, this time back to the Kangaroos where he played in the 1992 Reserves premiership under Denis Pagan.

Stone to front Tribunal on drug test
NICK STONE (West Coast) who was delivered an infraction notice on August 30 after testing positive for substances amphetamine and methamphetamine is scheduled to appear before the AFL Tribunal on October 4.

Paul Williams to Sydney; Fraser Gehrig to St Kilda
In exchange for two draft picks, Collingwood's 190-game veteran PAUL WILLIAMS was traded to Sydney ... St Kilda concluded the deal for FRASER GEHRIG on Monday (11th) — West Coast will exchange Gehrig for DAVID SIERAKOWSKI and draft pick #18 — Gehrig will play for the Saints on a four-year deal reportedly worth $2 million ... NICK DAFFY will stay with Richmond after being touted as being axed — BEN HARRISON instead will be sacrificed and heads to the Bulldogs (his third club) in exchange for a draft pick ... JUSTIN MURPHY will head for his third AFL club after Carlton traded him to Geelong ... the Saints traded DARRYL WAKELIN to Port Adelaide in exchange for what will result in St Kilda having three picks of the first four picks at the October 29 draft.

Round 22 ump votes clinched Brownlow
MIKE SHEAHAN noted in the Herald Sun, Melbourne's SHANE WOEWODIN won the Brownlow by two votes from SCOTT WEST of the Bulldogs. Woewodin's two votes came in the final round which broke the deadlock when both were on 22 votes. In the count for the Melbourne club best & fairest, the Demon voting panel of coach NEALE DANIHER and his assistants BRIAN ROYAL, CHRIS FAGAN and TODD VINEY and JIM STYNES voting as a pair in the 22nd round win against the Eagles in Perth cast their votes as — ADEM YZE with 36, JEFF WHITE and DANIEL WARD each with 30, STEPHEN POWELL 23, GUY RIGONI 15, CAMERON BRUCE 14 and DAVID NEITZ 7. Umpires of the day voted for the Brownlow, Yze three, Woewodin two, Powell one.

Buckley's fifth Copeland
NATHAN BUCKLEY won his fifth Copeland Trophy with Collingwood this year — a record which he now shares with Magpie great LEN THOMPSON.

Hawks to play Crows at York Park
Hawthorn will play a home game at Launceston's redeveloped York Park next season. GREG DENHAM reported in The Age, probably against Adelaide in the April meeting in round six. The match has been underwritten by the Tasmanian Government which should net the Hawks about $350,000. Hawthorn has agreed to play one home game in Launceston for the next three years. The $6.4 million upgrade of York Park is AFL specifications — the oval is several metres longer than the MCG and only two metres shorter on the wings.

Heuskes and Burgoyne ordered to answer charges
ADAM HEUSKES who played with Sydney, Port Adelaide and Brisbane and Port Adelaide player PETER BURGOYNE on September 7 were represented by lawyers at Adelaide Magistrates Court when facing charges of rape and indecent assault to an alleged incident in Adelaide in the early hours of August 17. The men were ordered to answer the charges on November 17.

Thumbs up for 2001 draw

The League have finally got it right — this is the consensus of opinion when the draw for season 2001 was released on September 14.

ROHAN CONNOLLY in The Age and GEOFF POULTER in the Herald Sun focussed on the positives with Rohan commenting — "The AFL has certainly delivered on its pledge to a more 'family friendly' schedule, evident not only in 172 of 176 games being played on either Friday night, Saturday or Sunday, but in the earlier 7pm starts for Saturday night games, nearly 25 per cent more games on Saturdays, and more games at the MCG."

Geoff Poulter observed
> a split round (four matches each weekend) has returned for mid-June, but State-of-Origin has not.
> there will be 44 MCG games (17 on Saturdays) and 43 at Colonial.
> the Wednesday Anzac Day match will be played in Round 5, which will run until the following Sunday. The only other midweek matches are on the Queen's Birthday, Easter Monday and Easter Thursday night.
> there will be 103 games in Victoria with 20 on Friday night, 35 on Saturday afternoon, 13 on Saturday night and 31 on Sunday afternoon.
> no team will have to endure more than two six-day breaks.
> travel has been minimised and equalised as much as possible.
> eight Victorian teams will play Round 22 matches in Melbourne (the Kangaroos' SCG home game is against Collingwood).
> the final eight system, altered for 2000, will be kept.

The draw was constructed based on the ladder as it stood at the end of this year's Round 15
> Essendon will play 18 games in Melbourne, nine at the MCG, nine at Docklands.
> top-eight teams will play each other twice, 28 times
> bottom-eight teams will play each other twice, 28 times
> the 22-round roster will conclude on the weekend of September 2.
> the Grand Final will return to the last Saturday in September on the 29th.

Stab Kicks ...

Changes at St Kilda
The appointment of MALCOLM BLIGHT as coach of St Kilda resulted in assistant coaches KEVIN MORRIS, ANDY COLLINS and PETER BANFIELD being told their "services were no longer required."

Olympics return to MCG
After an absence of 44 years, the MCG welcomed back the Olympic Games on Wednesday September 13 when the Australia-Italy soccer game was staged to a crowd of 93,252. Matches that evening were also played at the Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide, the Brisbane Cricket Ground and Canberra's Bruce Stadium.

Nick Stone among delistings by Eagles
NICK STONE who is due to face the AFL Tribunal on October 4 on recreational drug charges was delisted by West Coast, together with BRANDON HILL, MICHAEL O'BRIEN and TODD HOLMES ... Fremantle cut five players from their list – MARK GALE, TRENT CARROLL, GARTH TAYLOR, MATTHEW CLUCAS and PAUL MAHER ... Port Adelaide have delisted five players – STEVE BROSNAN, PAUL EVANS, DANNY MORTON, DONALD DICKIE and STEPHEN DANIELS ...

Homebush not ready for AFL until 2002
The Olympic Stadium at Homebush will not be ready for AFL football until at least 2002. Works costing $50 million following the XXVII Olympiad will reduce capacity from 110,00 to about 80,000. The stadium's managers notified the Australian Stock Exchange on September 13 they were in dispute with the AFL over the $5 million agreement to stage matches at the venue.
The AFL draw for 2001 has programmed 14 matches at the SCG.

SACA consider challenge
The South Australian Cricket Association is considering a challenge through the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on being denied the opportunity to have AFL matches played at Adelaide Oval.

AIS draft camp starts September 20
The country's elite youngsters will enter the AFL draft camp at the Australian Institute of Sport on September 20. From the 16 clubs, 95 representatives are expected to watch the process when 109 hopefuls will be assessed on their athletic potential, personalities and character. The League have precluded player agents from attending the camp.

Blues get Internet rights for games – to members
An out-of-court settlement on September 12 gave Carlton the right to show its matches on the Internet, but only to club members where the games are not shown live on free-to-air or pay TV.

Last March, Carlton in a Supreme Court writ claimed damages for trespass and breach of contract over the presence of Channel Seven cameras at Carlton on Labor Day March 13 this year when the Blues played Brisbane. Carlton accepted a $7500 payout from Channel Seven for trespass and there was no adverse finding against the station. Legal costs were understood to have reached $500,000.
Carlton has agreed to provide unrestricted access to the ground for all media approved by the AFL.

They said it ...
MALCOLM BLIGHT, Thursday, September 14 —
Blight said St Kilda faced a huge task to improve its playing list when the trading period commenced, and once it became clear that the club had made some inroads, that his enthusiasm to the task had warmed.

"Once it happened, I started to get bubbly about it and my wife and family then did also,'' he said. "I won't get the opportunity to help a club like this again...I'm not getting any younger.''

"But now it's great. I'm going for a ride...get ready.''

also, another from BLIGHT —
"... I suppose it's that underdog thing that touches me and gets me ... this is the ultimate challenge.''

ROD NICHOLSON, Sunday Herald Sun, September 17 — "Next season the players' list will be trimmed to 38, and the salary cap lifted to $5,187,500 (up from $4.75 million in 2000). Again, 95 per cent of that amount must be paid to players."

Stab Kicks ...

ecord crowd at Homebush is 112,524
A record crowd for the Olympic Stadium at Homebush was established on Monday, September 25 when 112,524 were in attendance to see CATHY FREEMAN win the women's 400m final. Her feat recorded Australia's 100th gold medal in the modern Olympics.

Kangas strike deal with Docklands
Of their 11 'home' matches next season, the Kangaroos will play five at Colonial Stadium. The management of the Docklands venue struck a deal with the Kangas who reportedly will reap $50,000 per game in advertising money. The remaining "home" games by the Kangas will see two in Sydney and two in Canberra.

Jarman to go round again
DARREN JARMAN will play one more season, adding to his 210 League games since 1991 with the Crows and Hawthorn. The 33-year-old has signed a one-year contract ... TYSON EDWARDS and ANDREW ECCLES have also been re-signed by Adelaide ... WINSTON ABRAHAM who had sought to be traded back to Fremantle has decided to serve the remaining year of his contract with the Kangaroos ...

Jonas to assist Blight
PETER JONAS a member of the staff who coached Central District to their first SANFL premiership will be assistant coach to MALCOLM BLIGHT at St Kilda. Though breaking through the 37-year drought and contracted to the SANFL Bulldogs for another year, Centrals will not stand in his way. Jonas was the Adelaide runner in Blight's 1997 premiership year. He played 82 games for North Melbourne in eight injury-plagued seasons (1981, 1983-88), twice breaking his leg.

Coaching changes
GARRY LYON and TODD VINEY will not be part of the Melbourne's coaching panel next season ... retired Lion CRAIG LAMBERT will become an assistant coach at Brisbane, joining GARY O'DONNELL and SCOTT McIVOR under LEIGH MATTHEWS.

Dogs to stay with the Bees
The Western Bulldogs ties with the VFL next season will align with only the Werribee club – Williamstown has been dumped by the Dogs ...

McFooty is no more
After seven years "McFooty" is no more. In 1993, Footystats Diary recorded — "Saturday-Sunday, September 4-5 – The food-chain logo of McDonald's Family Restaurants – a golden 'M' – found its place in football, on the Tom Sherrin balls ..."
The "M" was bounced in the 1993 finals series and has been an AFL feature since then.

The Big M will no longer appear on AFL match balls as McDonald's maintains its sponsorship focus on "junior development, and grassroots sporting, cultural and environmental programs".

McDonald's have also concluded a similar arrangement with the NRL.

Voss and Fletcher withdraw from Ireland squad
The International Rules squad to play two Tests in Ireland in October suffered its second withdrawal. Brisbane captain MICHAEL VOSS withdrew following the birth of twins to his wife Donna. Essendon's DUSTIN FLETCHER has also withdrawn for personal reasons. Replacements named are – LUKE POWER (Bri), BLAKE CARACELLA (Ess) and JUSTIN BLUMFIELD (Ess). The squad will freshen-up on the rule changes to the round-ball at a four-day camp to be conducted at Colonial Stadium on September 30. The Australian team, together with coach DERMOTT BRERETON and All-Australian umpire BRETT ALLEN leave for Ireland on October 4. Two Tests will be played against Ireland at Croke Park in Dublin on October 8 and 15.

Only four remain from 1997
Collingwood's website reveals how far the clean-out of players has extended over the past two seasons — only four players from their 1997 squad remain — Captain NATHAN BUCKLEY, defenders SCOTT BURNS and MARK RICHARDSON and forward ANTHONY ROCCA.

Last year 13 players were dumped, this year another 15 will depart.

McKenna will assist Judge
The retired West Coast veteran GUY McKENNA will remain with the Eagles as an assistant coach to KEN JUDGE in 2001. McKenna had been sought by both Melbourne and the Kangaroos in a support role, but the loyalty factor proved too strong for him.

St Kilda: Harvey replaces Burke; Don Hanley exits
Continuing the extensive changes at Moorabbin, ROBERT HARVEY will captain St Kilda next season. The dual Brownlow Medalist replaces NATHAN BURKE who led the Saints for the past five years. The 30-year-old Burke will play out the final two years of his contract.

St Kilda chief executive DON HANLY announced his departure on Monday (2nd) after six years in the post.

Carlton re-sign Porter; Bradley undecided
The Blues are understood to have re-signed promising ruckman MARK PORTER for a further two years. CRAIG BRADLEY will make his decision to play on when he returns from the International Rules series in Ireland. Bradley who turns 37 on October 23 has played 333 games and is the second-longest serving to BRUCE DOULL's 356 matches.

Rape charges dropped
South Australia's Director of Public Prosecutions dropped rape charges against a former AFL footballer and a current player. It was determined there was no reasonable prospect of conviction on any criminal charge.

Fitzroy-Coburg link in doubt
The future of the Coburg-Fitzroy Lions looks bleak. Hopes have faded that the financially-strapped club could strike a deal with the Kangaroos. Without a deal, the Coburg-Fitzroy Lions' assets would be liquidated and the club's licence to play in the Victorian Football League competition rescinded.

Farmer dumped from Ireland squad
Melbourne's JEFF FARMER failed to attend training sessions for the All-Australian squad and was axed from the team to play Ireland in Dublin. Essendon's CHRIS HEFFERNAN was named as the replacement. Farmer was known to be in Western Australia but could not be contacted.

Cats back in the black
GEELONG have pulled themselves back from the brink of disaster and are expected to announce a profit of almost $100,000 at their AGM in December. Only 10 months ago, Geelong posted a loss of $1.1 million, owed Westpac $5.5 million and other creditors $2 million.

Through a combination of increased membership (21,000 to 26,000), new sponsors, fund raising, on-field success and shrewd management by chief executive BRIAN COOK has resulted in the spectacular improvement. The "Stand Up and Fight" fundraising unit alone brought in $350,000 through a series of money-making schemes.

Byron Pickett pleads guilty to drunk-driving
Kangaroo player BYRON PICKETT pleaded guilty to speeding and drink-driving charges in Kalgoorlie Magistrates Court on September 26. He was fined $1000 and his licence suspended for six months. Last November, Pickett was disqualified from driving in Victoria for 10 months following an accident in Melbourne.

Alan Miller passes

Alan Thomas Miller, coach of South Melbourne in two seasons of 1967-68 passed away peacefully at the Alfred Hospital on September 9 aged 75.
Miller was a rarity of League football succeeding to coach the seniors without having played at the top level. He graduated through the ranks at the Lake Oval as coach of the Under 19s and Reserves.
During testing times, the Swans finished ninth in both seasons but the warmth and friendships forged during his coaching span and with the Middle Park Bowling Club lasted throughout Miller's life.



Australia open in style
Less than 24 hours following their arrival in Dublin, the All-Australian’s squad played a trial on  Thursday afternoon (October 5th) at Parnell Park against a combined Dublin side.

A third-quarter blitz enabled the Aussies to record a comfortable win. ROHAN CONNOLLY noted for The Age: While the opposition contained only a handful of senior Dublin players, the rest enthusiastic youngsters, the Australians held their own not only physically but also worked hard to carry the ball into good scoring positions. Many of the visiting squad are growing rapidly in confidence as they become more sure with their kicking of the round ball, for the Australians still the most difficult skill to be learnt.

AUSTRALIA 2-18-14—80 (Caracella 11pts, Yze 11, West 9) best, West, Bradley, B.Johnson, DUBLIN 2-10-5—47 (V.Murphy 17, G.O’Connell 9) best, V.Murphy, B.Kelly, S.Ryan.

Exhibition Match
Demons remain unbeaten

Melbourne defeated Adelaide in the annual exhibition match played at The Oval in London on Saturday, October 7. The match was played in drenching rain with only 4,500 attending.

The scrappy game did little more than provide a highlight for many homesick Australians. The Crows were goalless at half-time and though there was little excitement generated there was still a great atmosphere at the famous cricket ground.

The result maintained Melbourne's undefeated record in six overseas exhibition games since the UK concept began in the early 1980s.
MELBOURNE 5.10-40 (Robertson 2) best, Walsh, Brown, Beams, ADELAIDE 3.3-21, best, MCGregor, Stevens, Biglands.

Internationl Rules
Late charge swamps Ireland

The All-Australian squad stormed home in the dying minutes to defeat Ireland 55-47 in the First Test played at Croke Park in Dublin on Sunday.

ROHAN CONNOLLY for The Age reported:
It seemed the home side might have had more than enough of a buffer early on, Ireland racking up four `"overs'' (worth three points) before Australia had scored, and important forward MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN carried off with concussion, TRENT CROAD almost conceding a disastrous own goal, and goalkeeper ANDREW KELLAWAY forced into a great save from Irish playmaker GRAHAM GERAGHTY when six points and perhaps an uncatchable lead beckoned.

The change in fortunes came, conceded Australian coach DERMOTT BRERETON, almost by accident. The small Irish forwards attempted to drag key defender JUSTIN LEPPITSCH up the ground, succeeding so well that when Leppitsch marked late in the second term, he was within kicking distance. A light bulb went on.

"ROBERT WALLS (selector) said he'd like him to stay up there, and with O'Loughlin going off, we looked back across their full-forward line and they were playing three small, so we thought 'why not','' Brereton said.

Leppitsch and Essendon's BLAKE CARACELLA, whose cool, precise kicking with the difficult round ball seemed merely a continuation of his seamless year with the Bombers, would end up sharing eight of Australia's crucial 14 three-pointers.

None was as spectacular as the sole goal scored by Geraghty, the result of a slick chain of passes between Irish stars LARRY REILLY, captain TREVOR GILES, and ending with a sublime little flick from the equally classy PETER CANAVAN, allowing Geraghty to punch the ball into the back of the net. But the increasingly regular supply of scoring chances wore down the Irish not long after that highlight, Aussie captain JAMES HIRD starting to exert a real influence, JASON AKERMANIS and DAMIEN HARDWICK full of spirit in defence, and WAYNE CAMPBELL and BRENT HARVEY the hard runners as the visitors made the very most of their eight-man interchange. Even KEVIN SHEEDY would have had trouble topping the 60-plus interchanges the Australians pulled, but the effectiveness of the mass rotations showed in the final-quarter, Australia finishing with five overs and six behinds as Ireland stopped to a walk, managing only a wasteful one over and four behinds.

Caracella, who scored three overs in the last quarter, gave Australia the lead for the first time with just eight minutes remaining. Harvey put through another over to give Australia a seven-point lead, and when Caracella ran down DERMOT EARLEY, who was dashing into goal, the game was up.

It was Australia's first victory since the hybrid game was revived in 1998 and sets up the prospect of as many as 60,000 attending the Second Test on Sunday October 15 at Croke Park.

The modified game embraces a mix of Australian Football (AFL) and Gaelic football (GAA) — a goal in the net is worth six points, an over between the main goal posts is worth three points and a behind is worth one point.
AUSTRALIA 0-14-13—55 (Leppitsch 17pts, Caracella 14) best, Leppitsch, Caracella, Akermanis, IRELAND 1-11-8—47 (G.Geraghty 14, D.Earley 7) best, Cullen, Lockhart, Gehaghty.

Stone given "Clayton's penalty"

The AFL Tribunal on October 4 handed former West Coast defender NICK STONE a six week suspension after he pleaded guilty to a drug offence.

The Age reported: Stone returned a positive test to amphetamine and methylamphetamine after an out-of-competition test on June 19. The 28-year-old denied knowingly taking the drug, claiming it had been administered without his knowledge at a social outing two nights before the testing date.

After Tribunal chairman BRIAN COLLIS commented that Stone's six-week suspension, effective immediately, was little more than a "Clayton's penalty" the League through chief executive WAYNE JACKSON gave notice the AFL will tighten its rules regarding suspension of players.


Watson back on Seven
TIM WATSON returned to TV, signing back on with the Seven Network on October 6. Watson joins PETER MITCHELL on Melbourne's weekend news, while JIM WILSON will move to the weekday sports desk replacing SANDY ROBERTS.

1940 Brownlow passed in at auction
The 1940 Brownlow Medal won by South Melbourne's HERBIE MATTHEWS was passed in at Christie's auction of sporting memorabilia in Melbourne on October 4. Despite more than $1 million being outlayed on sporting treasures including boxing trophies of Lionel Rose, cricket bats of Sir Garfield Sobers and a 1924 Olympic Medal won by jumper NICK WINTER, bidding for the football icon stopped at $28,000, well below the pre-auction estimate of $40,000 to $60,000.

Dogs reach agreement at Docklands; St Kilda close ...
The Western Bulldogs reached agreement with Colonial Stadium management on financial compensation where several matches at the new venue were affected by operational problems. St Kilda are also close to being satisfied on the same matter.

No footy at Homebush in 2001
The Olympic venue at Homebush will be without either the AFL or NRL next season. The Canterbury rugby league team have opted to play at the adjacent 22,000-capacity Showground for four years before moving to their proposed complex at Liverpool in 2005. Reconfiguration to remove the north and south grandstands at Homebush will take all of 2001 – the $68 million project will have yet to be determined capacity of between 65 and 90,000

Some 43,000 volunteers may see an AFL match next year. In post-Games spirit, the Sydney FC announced they would give every Olympic volunteer two tickets to a 2001 Swans home game.

Lindsay Fox gives old teammates a trip
Millionaire trucking magnate LINDSAY FOX is about to enjoy the ultimate footy trip with most of the side he played with more than 40 years ago. Mr Fox recently looked at a colour photograph of the 1959 St Kilda FC and noted five of the clan had passed on. On October 27, 16 former players and a couple of friends will depart Melbourne to be guests of Lindsay Fox to stay at the luxurious Outrigger Hotel in Waikiki. He was quoted by the Herald Sun: "I thought time was getting on and maybe it was time to do something about it." The generous gesture for flights and accommodation is likely to cost $75,000.

Carlton re-sign their stars
CARLTON have re-signed ANDREW McKAY, MATTHEW ALLEN, MARK PORTER and SCOTT FREEBORN while CRAIG BRADLEY, DARREN HULME and ANTHONY FRANCHINA are near to penning a deal. The Blues insist that FRASER BROWN has not been delisted and is expected to resume training on November 20 ...

International Rules
Australia wins the series

DUBLIN: Sunday — Australia turned in a superb performance to take out the International Rules football series against Ireland at Croke Park on Sunday afternoon.

After winning the first Test by eight points last week, the Aussies were even better in the second and last encounter, winning 68-51 before a bumper crowd of 57,289.

The win completed Australia's first series win since the hybrid game was revived in 1998 and would have sent shockwaves through Ireland fans contemplating future series, after both countries on Friday agreed in principle to extend the annual series to 2005.

The 17-point margin was also the largest of the six games played since the game's rebirth and was reward for Australia's noticeable lift in handling and kicking skills with the round Gaelic football from the first match to the second.
The Aussies were led by Sydney Swan Michael O'Loughlin, who scored 17 points, including a tremendous six-point goal, one of two the Aussies put into the net today after going goalless last week.

``It's a great feeling to get the win and it's been great to see how these boys have all come together,'' said coach Dermott Brereton.

His side had been shocked at the opening of last week's match when Ireland - possessing superior ball skills but lower levels of fitness - raced to a 12-0 lead after 14 minutes.

Today they were so vigilant against another such start from the home side that they swamped Ireland from the first bounce, breaking to a 20-6 lead at quarter time.

The match erupted into a melee at the first break when a spat between fiery Brisbane Lion Jason Akermanis and Gaelic football legend Peter Canavan sparked an all-in brawl. Both Akermanis and Canavan were sent off.

The Aussies began where they left off in the second quarter, with a three-point over to new boy Luke Power followed by a dynamic piece of play from O'Loughlin for Australia's first six-pointer goal of the series.

The Aboriginal with the Irish name had missed all but two minutes of last week's match after being concussed and clearly relished his chance today.

Fellow forward Justin Leppitsch played well to drag his marker Darren Fay under a long ball, O'Loughlin scooped it up, expertly dodged Irish goalkeeper Cormac Sullivan and slammed it into the net.

That made it 32-10 and, while Ireland replied with a goal through Eoin Gormley with eight minutes to half time, Leppitsch responded seconds later with Australia's second six-pointer, which he punched through like a Gaelic veteran.

Australia went into half time with a comfortable 28-point lead and, while the Irish scored four overs to their two in the third term, it was still 21 points the difference at the last change.
To their credit, Ireland clawed back to 14 points down eight minutes into the last 20-minute quarter, through two overs to Dermot Earley and one to Seamus Moynihan.

But Australia had enough fitness on their side to see out the win, thanks to late overs to Blake Caracella and Adam Yze, who kicked three apiece for the match.

Richmond's Andrew Kellaway played a fine game in goal for Australia, saving three shots on goal in a manner which would make compatriot Mark Bosnich proud, while Carlton veteran Craig Bradley was tireless throughout.

AUSTRALIA 2.15.11–68 (O’Loughlin 17pts, Leppitsch 11, Caracella 9, Yze 9) best, O’Loughlin, Bradley, Leppitsch, IRELAND 1.12-9–51 (Dermot Earley 13, Eoin Gormley 7) best, Dermot Earley, Seamus Moynihan, Trevor Gilles.
Australia won the series 2-0.
Player of the Series: James Hird

They said it ..., Monday, October 16

DUBLIN: Australian and Irish officials have agreed to continue the International Rules football series between the two countries for at least another five years.
The game, a hybrid form of Australian and Gaelic football, was revived in 1998 after an eight-year hiatus, with both nations agreeing to the annual series until at least 2001.
But, following the unquestionable success of the game, the series will continue until 2005.
The AFL and GAA decided to stick with a two-Test series, held at the end of each countries' season in October.

PATRICK SMITH, The Australian, Tuesday, October 17 – AUSTRALIA have wrapped up the International Rules series against Ireland 2-0 and that is wonderful. More than 57,000 people turned up to watch Sunday's match at Croke Park in Dublin and barracked raucously. Wonderful, too.
Australian captain James Hird said afterwards that he was proud to represent his country and that his team-mates had worked assiduously over the past fortnight to ensure that Australia would return triumphant. They deserve our heartiest congratulations. They were quite brilliant.
Right on the end of the first quarter of Sunday's game, Australia's Jason Akermanis stood toe-to-toe with his Irish opponent Peter Canavan and traded blows. A conservative estimate has Akermanis throwing a minimum of seven left hooks. Both players were sent off. That was disgraceful and shameful.

ROHAN CONNOLLY, The Age, Tuesday, October 17
Australia's emphatic win in the international rules series against Ireland on Sunday, its first for 13 years, may have created a monster. The question now is can the Irish catch up in a code in which they appear to have been left behind.

The touring AFL team's 17-point defeat of Ireland at Croke Park was a tribute to the way the Australian players have come to grips with the difficulties of the round ball and the strategies peculiar to Gaelic football, upon which international rules is based.

But the Australians' improvement in the natural skills of the game has also magnified their considerable edge over the Irish in terms of fitness and strength. And the 2-0 win has raised serious doubts about whether the amateur Gaelic Athletic Association players and clubs can now make up the ground.

DERMOTT BRERETON, The Australian, Tuesday, October 17
"They are amateurs by their status in that they don't get paid a wage," Brereton said, describing Ireland as semi-professional, or as players were in the then-Victorian Football League in the mid-80s.
"The defeat will be good for them to realise that professionally their fitness levels will have to be better."


Stab Kicks ...

Willy and Collingwood combine
VFL club WILLIAMSTOWN who are now affiliated with Collingwood will retain its blue and gold strip but will play in Pie colours in some feature matches ...

AFL makes no call on Madam Fleiss
A Sydney-based callgirl agency which has escorts available at $1500 an hour, has been denied sponsorship of AFL clubs. The Madam Fleiss agency were offering $300,000 per year.

Swans re-sign veterans
ALEX BROWN in Sydney's Sun Herald reported: the Swans have re-signed veterans STUART MAXFIELD and TROY LUFF to two and one-year contracts respectively. Veteran DALE LEWIS and the promising SIMON FEAST have also re-signed while Fitzroy and Sydney champion PAUL ROOS of 356 matches has been appointed a full-time assistant coach. Paul joins GEORGE STONE and STEVE MALAXOS on the Swans' coaching staff under RODNEY EADE.

Dogs and Demons revive Irish experiment
=Melbourne and the Bulldogs will revive the Irish experiment in the most meaningful way, reported STEPHEN RIELLY in The Age. The Demons will sign the 18-year old Dubliner KEVIN DEVINE while the Dogs have their eyes set on an un-named 190cm talent who will be listed as an international rookie before the pre-season draft in December.

Fred Campbell returns to the Alice
FRED CAMPBELL the 20-year old who played 12 AFL games with Sydney (5 in 1999) then St Kilda (7 in 2000) has quit the Saints and returned to life in Alice Springs.

Bits 'n pieces
SHAUN REHN will continue to wear the No.52 guernsey with his new club Hawthorn ... under the father-son rule, Collingwood have claimed the 18-year-old JASON CLOKE (son of David), taking him with their second round selection at No.19 overall in the draft ... Hawthorn similarly will grab STEVEN GREENE (son of Russell) at selection No.28 ... Brisbane have drafted 17-year-old former Nudgee College student and All-Australian ruckman JAMIE CHARMAN on a Queensland recruiting priority — the Lions have four remaining draft picks at No.13, 22, 29 and 59 ... an imminent announcement is expected from Punt Road that WAYNE CAMPBELL will succeed MATTHEW KNIGHTS as captain of Richmond ... former Melbourne player KELLY O'DONNELL (80 games, 1979-84) is a new assistant coach at Fremantle. Kelly who has been coaching the Murray Bushrangers for the past eight years will join CHRIS WATERMAN and TERRY BRIGHT under DAMIAN DRUM ... Melbourne is the only club still to settle its coaching staff for 2001 — interviews for Demon assistants include former Essendon and Brisbane player PETER BANFIELD and former Collingwood defender ALLAN RICHARDSON ...

Get a seat at Subi – for 75 years
The West Coast Eagles are offering seats at Subiaco Oval – for 75 years. Members under a $795 investment plan can reserve a seat until 2075. Normal annual membership and seating fees will still apply — as reported in The Sunday Times, October 22.

Book launch: "Second-chance winners"
Essendon supercoach KEVIN SHEEDY has collaborated with HARRY ('The Big H') BEITZEL to produce a motivational book titled "Second-Chance Winners". The book which took three years to develop was launched in Melbourne on October 23 when media personality SAM NEWMAN and AFL commissioner GRAEME JOHN spoke.
The book serves as a return to the public spotlight by Beitzel, well-known for his broadcasting work as a commentator with 3KZ and 3AW, as publisher of "Footy Week" and generating the touring Galahs which took our code into the arena of International Rules in 1967. Harry Beitzel at 21 in 1948 was then the youngest man to umpire a League match.
AAP noted Beitzel served eight months of an 18-month term after pleading guilty to one count of obtaining a financial advantage by deception. He served his term in 1994-95.

Tribunal to meet on Irish charges
The Age reported: Brisbane's JASON AKERMANIS will face a specially convened Tribunal in the next fortnight to face charges arising from the Second Test against Ireland at Croke Park on October 15. If Akermanis and Ireland's PETER CANAVAN are found guilty by the AFL and Ireland's governing body the GAA they will be automatically suspended for one Test match. Both players were sent off in the Second Test following an exchange of punches at the end of the first quarter. A telephone hook-up with the GAA will occur on the return to Australia of umpire BRETT ALLEN.

They said it ...
MARK RUSSELL, The Advertiser, October 21
— The AFL is threatening to take legal action against Internet website owners running footy tipping competitions.

In a letter sent to Internet companies this week, the AFL's legal services manager, Andrew Dillon, warned about unauthorised use of the AFL's intellectual property rights.

''The AFL invests substantial time, money, skill and effort in creating the AFL fixture each year,'' Mr Dillon said in the letter.

''As a result, copyright subsists with the AFL in the AFL fixture and the AFL holds all rights over the reproduction of the AFL fixture in whole or in part.''

He said companies could not list fixtures without the written consent of the AFL. Unauthorised use would lead to legal action.

An AFL spokesman said the organisation had no concerns about an office or local pub running a footy tipping competition. But the AFL did have a problem with Internet companies using fixtures for commercial gain.

National Draft
Rocca to Roos, Pike to Lions

From more than 1700 hopefuls just 74 players were chosen when the National Draft was conducted at Melbourne Park on Sunday, October 29 – 64 youngsters and 10 delisted players will get their chance with a new club.

At pick number 30, former Collingwood forward SAVERIO ROCCA at 26 heads to North Melbourne, while ex-Kangaroo bad boy MARTIN PIKE was selected by Brisbane, making the Lions his fourth AFL club after Melbourne, Fitzroy and the Roos.

Collingwood gained SHANE WAKELIN from St Kilda while another Saint discard STEVEN SZILLER will wear Richmond colours in the new season.

Others to move clubs —
TRENT CARROLL (Fremantle) to West Coast
MARK GALE (Fremantle) to St Kilda
ROBERT POWELL (Richmond) to St Kilda
ROSS FUNCKE (Richmond) to Melbourne

After delisting them, Geelong chose to re-draft both DANIEL LOWTHER and HAMISH SIMPSON.

Wooden spooners St Kilda with their first choices drafted two 18-year-old hot properties, Southport youngster NICK RIEWOLDT and JUSTIN KOSCHITZKE (Murray Bushrangers).

DARYL TIMMS in his October 30 Herald Sun review of draft proceedings commented: Recycled—Saverio Rocca was the first big name to go when Denis Pagan threw him a lifeline at pick No.30. Big Sav's selection caused a laugh at one club table overheard joking: "That's the end of Pagan's paddock".

They said it ...
MIKE SHEAHAN, Herald Sun, Monday October 30
— More than 1700 footballers, untried or discarded by AFL clubs, aged between 17 and high-20s, were up for grabs yesterday. Fewer than 80 were claimed.

WAYNE CAMPBELL on his appointment as captain of Richmond — "Just before I went overseas to Ireland I watched a video called The Tigers of Old and that stirred the spirit. There was a lot of Jack Dyer, KB, Tom Hafey, these sorts of people ... and to be hopefully remembered in six years', seven years' time or 50 years' time in the same light as what they have been would certainly be an honour".

PATRICK SMITH, The Australian, October 31 — When Essendon were fined more than $250,000 last year for salary payment breaches, Carlton president John Elliott called them cheats. He shouldn't have done that. Silly man.

Elliott also demanded that since Essendon's fiddling with the books included 1993 — the year the Bombers beat Carlton for the AFL premiership — Essendon should hand that premiership over to Carlton. Elliott shouldn't have said that either. Silly, silly man.

Today the AFL will announce that Carlton have been fined more than $100,000 for breaches of the total player payment rules in 1998. Part of the penalty also provides for Carlton to be fined again and lose draft picks if they re-offend. So far their dealings for 1999 and 2000 have passed AFL scrutiny.

Stab Kicks ...

Everitt arrested at Phillip Island
PETER EVERITT, the 26-year-old 147-game veteran and a candidate for the St Kilda captaincy had another charge added to his sheet of indiscretions when police arrested him among the 56 race-goers charged with alcohol-related incidents after the Australian motorcycle grand prix held at Phillip Island on Sunday (29th). He was charged with discharging a missile and being drunk in a public place. Everitt is expected to plead not guilty when he appears in Korumburra Magistrates' Court to answer the charges on December 21.

Power to play Buffaloes in Darwin
PORT ADELAIDE will play the Northern Territory Buffaloes in an Australia Day match at Marrara's Football Park in Darwin on January 26. Port will also conduct clinics in Darwin and outlying communities on days before and after the match.

Taggers will targeted
At their annual post-draft meeting with the AFL on Sunday, coaches were warned the AFL will clamp down next season on illegal tactics employed by taggers. GREG DENHAM reported in The Age: AFL football operations manager ANDREW DEMETRIOU told coaches that umpires would be harsher on players who hang on to opponents or use illegal blocking tactics.

Salary Cap breaches
Carlton caught out again
Blues fined $172,728

An A bomb went off in League circles on October 31 when the AFL revealed the Carlton club had been found to have breached the salary cap in 1998. It was the club's third salary cap fine since 1992.

The League fined the Blues $172,728 for the breach and $10,000 in relation to lodgement of additional services agreements for the 1999 season. $57,576 of the fines have been suspended and will be paid only if the club re-offends before the end of the 2003 season. The Blues must pay $125,152 by the end of November.

Though only the raw details were made public, Carlton will be barred from the pre-season draft on December 19 and will lose picks in rounds two and three of the 2001 National Draft.

With the words of Carlton's JOHN ELLIOTT still ringing in his ears that the Bombers "cheated" to win the 1993 flag, Essendon president GRAEME McMAHON labelled his arch-rivals as "serial salary-cap offenders".

While Elliott was tight-lipped after Carlton issued a short media statement, he told Channel 10 — "It's a highly technical matter. One can debate our view is we didn't breach the cap. We've reach an accommodation with the AFL so the matter's closed."



AFL moves to Docklands
The AFL moved its operations from the MCG to new headquarters at Colonial Stadium on November 4-5.

Stab Kicks ...

Central Highland FL players convicted
The Ballarat Courier reported Friday (3rd) that three players of the Hepburn club had been convicted from incidents which occurred during a Central Highlands FL match against Dunnstown in central Victoria on April 15.

Ballarat magistrate ROWAN McINDOE sentenced Hepburn's on-field leader MATTHEW DAVID BROWN to four months jail over an attack of "naked brutality" on Dunnstown player JARROD BICKLEY. Teammates of Brown, DARREN HARRIS and SHANE COLLINS were each fined $1500 for their part which involved more than 40 first and reserve grade players and spectators. Brown appealed the sentence and was allowed bail.

Brisbane Lions to extend Matthews' contract
MIKE SHEAHAN reported in the Herald Sun on Friday (3rd) that LEIGH MATTHEWS will sign for an extra two years as coach of Brisbane. Matthews in 2001 will have the assistance of full-timers GARY O'DONNELL, CRAIG LAMBERT, SCOTT McIVOR, while CRAIG BRITTAIN will coach the Lion Cubs in the QAFL.

Eagles discover a late bloomer
A powerful forward from East Perth may be a late bloomer for West Coast. The Eagles, seeking a key position replacement for the departed MITCHELL WHITE and FRASER GEHRIG invited the 28-year-old TROY WILSON to train with them – he turns 29 in January and has performed consistently with the Royals at WAFL level. Wilson has joined the Hawthorn pair MICHAEL COLLICA and RICHARD TAYLOR, former Dockers GREG HARDING and TRENT CARROLL for the pre-season. Others from the WAFL to try out are ZAC BECK (East Perth), ANTHONY BEATTIE (Subiaco), STEVEN DEWAR (South Fremantle), DEAN BUSZAN (Peel Thunder) and the East Fremantle duo KRIS MILLER and ANDREW McCARREY.

Swans back training at the SCG
Collingwood veteran of 189 games PAUL WILLIAMS is training well with Sydney, but the Swans are cock-a-hoop how well skipper PAUL KELLY is enjoying his first injury-free pre-season for three years. After being denied use of the SCG for the past 20 years because of cricket, the Swans now have their own summer training ground in parkland just outside the SCG across Driver Avenue.

The Sydney newsletter reports: Vice-captain ANDREW DUNKLEY spent quite a bit of time of the surgeon's table after the season, undergoing ankle, shoulder and hand operations — the good news he will be doing modified weights and ball-work for the next couple of weeks.

Bits 'n pieces
** MARK RICCIUTO takes over the captaincy of the Adelaide Crows from MARK BICKLEY who has stepped aside ... ** following a brief dalliance with Tasmania, ST KILDA will field its own side in the 16-club VFL, joining three other stand-alone's Carlton, Essendon and Geelong ... ** alignment with RICHMOND will create the "Coburg Tigers" in the VFL next season – playing home games at Coburg, Punt Road and occasionally at the MCG the team will wear the Richmond guernsey when it plays AFL clubs, and use the Coburg jumper when it meets old VFA sides ... ** in rugby league, one out, one in – SOUTH SYDNEY failed in its legal bid to be reinstated to the NRL on the same day the MELBOURNE STORM announced they will play a minimum of 13 games at Colonial Stadium in 2001, three Monday night, two Friday night and five Sunday afternoon games. The Docklands venue will host 43 AFL games, six Ansett Cup matches, 13 rugby league games and a rugby union Test when Australia play England on Saturday night July 7 ...

Telstra striving for Internet
Details of Telstra's bid to develop exclusive Internet coverage of the AFL competition were provided to League club CEO's on Friday (3rd). The presentation was made by BEN BUCKLEY, the AFL's gm of commercial operations. The deal requires the approval of at least 12 of the 16 member clubs and may require side deals to be completed with other participants in the field.

Sportsview whose investors include STEVE VIZARD and EDDIE McGUIRE hold 10-year deals for the Internet sites of Carlton, Collingwood, Hawthorn and the Bulldogs, while ** a 23% shareholder of Sportsview manage sites for Melbourne and Richmond.

They said it ...
DARRYL TIMMS, Herald Sun, October 31
— Carlton has been fined
and suspended from next month's pre-season draft after being found guilty of making a hefty undisclosed payment to captain Craig Bradley – it is understood Carlton paid Bradley about $130,000 which was not shown in the club's salary cap.

MICHAEL DAVIS, ANDREW RAMSAY, The Australian, November 1, on the Carlton salary cap breach — And to make matters worse for the Blues, the AFL did not need to call in Sherlock Holmes to uncover the rort. It is understood the breach was revealed in handwritten notes left attached to documents by a Blues office staff member and later delivered to the AFL.

Parkin returns to Glenferrie
DAVID PARKIN has returned home to Glenferrie Oval when he will be director of football for the next three years. He will be responsible for developing player facilities and player welfare for the club.

The 58-year-old Parkin after 10 years with Carlton will start his new position at the beginning of December. David played 211 games with Hawthorn (1961-74), leading the Hawks 1969 to 1973 including the premiership win of 1971.

Bombers switch to Orange
Reigning premier ESSENDON kicked off their pre-season training schedule on Monday (13th) with the announcement of one of the biggest sporting sponsorship deals — a three-year deal with telecommunications giant ORANGE worth an estimated $4 million.

The Bombers are poised to announce a profit from their premiership season of at least $1.2 million.

The sponsorship by Orange will not include alteration to the Essendon guernsey.

Stab Kicks ...

SANFL bans swearing, alcohol and smoking
The Herald Sun reported Tuesday (14th) — Swearing will be banned in so-called safe havens at South Australia football grounds.

SANFL clubs will set aside areas where swearing, alcohol and smoking will be banned in a bid to keep families attending matches next year.

** CHRIS GRANT has been appointed captain of the WESTERN BULLDOGS. Grant replaces SCOTT WYND — SCOTT WEST will be vice-captain, BRAD JOHNSON the deputy ... ** discarded Geelong forward PAUL LYNCH has been invited to complete the pre-season with COLLINGWOOD ... ** RIC CHARLESWORTH, the legendary Hockeyroos coach has joined the Fremantle football department — a desire to stay in Perth and close friendship with Freo CEO DAVID HATT were reasons given for him joining the Dockers ...

Norm Dare to assistant coach at Geelong
NORM DARE, assistant coach with the Kangaroos for the past five years has been appointed as assistant to MARK THOMPSON at Geelong. Dare played 72 games with Fitzroy (1968-74 & 1977) and also coached Brisbane in 1990.

Extra time for Crawford to refresh
Hawthorn have given their captain SHANE CRAWFORD an extra six weeks off to mentally freshen up for next season — the 1999 Brownlow Medalist will spend most of his time overseas.

Tribunal postponed
Due to the heavy rains experienced in the UK, a joint hearing scheduled for November 8 between the Gaelic Athletic Association and the AFL was postponed by a week. The hearing is to hear the charges of the incident which occurred between Ireland's PETER CANAVAN and Brisbane player JASON AKERMANIS during the Second Test played in Dublin on October 15.

Report: AFL TV rights $100 million; rugby league $13 million
Reports that the AFL TV rights bid by Nine and Foxtel put the worth at upwards of $100 million a year for five years bear comparison — a ball-park figure for rugby league telecast rights per season is about $13 million.

They said it ...
PATRICK SMITH, The Australian, Saturday, November 11
— Channel 10 network is emerging as a key player in the intricate media rights deal that could deliver the AFL its $500 million deal of a lifetime.
Channel Nine and Foxtel are set to offer the AFL a lucrative five-year deal for free-to-air and pay-TV rights that is unlikely to be matched by Channel Seven.
Worth as much as $500 million, the weakness in the offer is Channel Nine's limited capacity to show as much free-to-air football as demanded by the AFL.

CAROLINE WILSON, The Age, Sunday, November 12 — As Leigh Matthews observed in The Sunday Age a year ago, if football clubs prepared their players in the manner that Seven trains its football commentators, then the on-field results would see the game fall apart as a multi-million-dollar TV jewel .
Why is it that a company that has covered football for the best part of 40 years has made so many wrong calls in its choice and development of big-name football-playing recruits in recent years?

GEOFF ROACH ON MONDAY, The Advertiser, November 13 — In fact, some industry observers see the Nine bid as more mischievous than serious. Their rationale is that Nine, knowing Seven has already shelled out $20m to have the last bid, has done its figures and upped the ante to ensure Seven would be gambling with the bottom line if it retained football.
Others, however, consider Seven might not now even bother coming to the party, particularly given that it continues to be thrashed by Nine in Melbourne despite holding the rights in the country's footy capital.

MICHAEL DAVIS and ALISON CROSWELLER, The Australian, November 14 — The AFL's richest ever agreement for free-to-air and pay TV rights involving Channel Nine, Channel 10 and Foxtel, as forecast exclusively in The Australian last Saturday, will be signed before Christmas.
Although club presidents denied the figure was as high as the reported $500 million, they gave the agreement the thumbs up, listening avidly yesterday as details of it were outlined to them at AFL headquarters at Colonial Stadium in Melbourne.

Changes at Seven
In: Walls, Out: Dunstall
Amid the speculation of who will gain the telecast rights starting in 2001, the Seven Network still have one AFL season to run on its current contract.

To maintain their leadership, the Seven Network have inked ROBERT WALLS to a one-year deal. The former coach of Fitzroy, Carlton, Brisbane and Richmond will leave Channel Nine's Sunday Footy Show to join BRUCE McAVANEY and DERMOTT BRERETON on Seven's Friday Night Football. The 259-game veteran player with Carlton (1967-78) and Fitzroy (1978-80) will also be part of Seven's Sunday morning football panel.

CAROLINE WILSON reported on November 18: Walls' media career has continued to climb since he joined The Age as a columnist four years ago and said he would continue his special commentary role on 3AW.

JASON DUNSTALL's departure from Friday Night Football is his second blow since the end of the 2000 season. He recently learnt that he had been dumped from The Game and his contract with Seven expires before the start of season 2001.

Stab Kicks ...

WAFL's Peel Thunder under threat
The Mandurah-based PEEL THUNDER club is under threat. KIM HAGDORN reported in The Sunday Times on November 19, it is believed a meeting of club president's will call for Peel's instant dismissal after four turbulent years in existence, in which it has won just six of 78 games.

John Cahill: another court action
Port Adelaide legend JOHN CAHILL is suing for unspecified damages after an August 7, 1996 car accident left him depressed and with ongoing physical and psychological problems. PAUL KERMODE in the Sunday Mail on November 19 reported: the 60-year-old Cahill was consulting psychological and psychiatric specialists while coaching the fledgling AFL team. Cahill is seeking damages for past and future economic loss, medical expenses, legal costs and interest. The claim is set for trial on December 11.

Stefan Carey retires
STEFAN CAREY announced his retirement from AFL football. Brisbane will delist the former Pennant Hills and Sydney player before the December 19 pre-season draft — Carey played 45 games with Sydney (1996-99) and just three for the Lions in 2000 ...

International Rules tribunal
Brisbane utility JASON AKERMANIS received a two-match suspension while his Irish opponent PETER CANAVAN was ruled out for one game at the specially convened telephone hook-up involving GAA and AFL officials on November 14. Charges arose when the two players traded punches late in the first quarter of the Second Test in Dublin on October 15. It was the first suspension for Akermanis after seven years of AFL, while Canavan had never been sent off in 15 years of senior Gaelic football.

Coca-Cola ends sponsorship
After spending an average of $5 million a year since 1997, the world-wide COCA-COLA company will conclude its AFL sponsorship at the end of season 2001. This follows the withdrawal of the McDONALD's logo from match balls which had been present since 1993.
MALCOLM MAIDEN and CAROLINE WILSON reported in The Age: Coca-Cola's withdrawal is expected to lead to a new sponsorship agreement playing a significant role in the media rights negotiations, which AFL chief executive WAYNE JACKSON is confident will be resolved by Christmas. Seven is believed to have included the promise of a major new sponsor as part of its bid to retain TV rights beyond 2001. Market insiders have estimated the value of AFL naming rights at between $45 million and $50 million over five years.

Stab Kicks ...

Bits 'n pieces
** PAUL HUDSON and JOSE ROMERO have agreed to one-year deals with the Bulldogs, leaving only TONY LIBERATORE at the club without a contract ...  ** former Essendon and Sydney player RYAN O'CONNOR is training with the Kangaroos, together with Geelong's PAUL LINDSAY ... ** JIM PLUNKETT (WB) and CRAIG JACOTINE (Col) are doing pre-season with Carlton ... ** the under-utilised former Collingwood player SHANE WATSON at 26, is training by invitation at Windy Hill ... ** a notable absentee when Carlton commenced pre-season training on Monday (20th) was ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES who has sought acupuncture to his troublesome right knee which was first operated on in early September – MICHAEL STEVENS reported Tuesday in the Herald Sun: It is understood Koutoufides required further surgery in October to remove tissue that was causing inflammation to the knee. The Blues' top playmaker previously had fluid drained from the knee at least twice ... ** also missing on Monday were STEPHEN SILVAGNI who is holidaying at Noosa and CRAIG BRADLEY who still has not completed negotiations ...

Jim Watts leaves St Kilda
JIM WATTS, the successful businessman and caretaker CEO since DON HANLEY departed six weeks ago is St Kilda's new chief executive.

Settlement reached over Waverley catering
A confidential settlement was reached between the AFL and AVS Catering. AVS in the Supreme Court had sought redress of $7 million compensation over lost catering rights following the closure of Waverley Park. AVS md JONATHAN TRIBE was quoted: "Both parties are committed to the success of AFL football at Colonial Stadium and we anticipate a long partnership."

John Elliott loses driving licence
Carlton president JOHN ELLIOTT lost his driving licence for two years on Monday (20th) after being convicted of a drink driving charge. Mr Elliott had pleaded guilty to refusing to remain at a breath test station for a breath test. He was found to have alcohol in his blood when pulled over on Royal Parade about 8.30pm on Saturday, June 17. Mr Elliott was also fined $500 and ordered to pay $35 costs.

They said it ...
JANE SCHULZE, The Age, November 17
— Speaking at the network's annual meeting, executive chairman KERRY STOKES said Seven's best hope of keeping the rights beyond next season was to offer a long-term solution. "There can be no question of doubt that Telstra, News, Publishing & Broadcasting together can spend whatever it takes to get what they want. If they want it bad enough they will find ways of making it pay." One option being floated by the Nine-led consortium is helping the AFL unlock the value of Waverley Park, the sale of which has been restricted by a heritage order. But Stokes said Seven would not pursue that option.

DEAN RITCHIE and PETER TRUTE, Daily Telegraph, November 18 — The Seven Network has launched a $250 million bid for control of rugby league pay-TV rights as its grip on AFL coverage comes under threat.
C7, the Seven network pay-TV sports arm, has tabled an offer to telecast NRL matches for the next five seasons.
Although the deal is at least four weeks from completion, it would represent the biggest commercial deal in the 92-year history of rugby league.

Ansett Australia Cup
Rules to be trialled in 2001
A faster, more efficient blood rule and a larger circle for centre bounces will be among rules to be trialled when the Ansett Cup series gets under way on February 16.

> In an attempt to remove jostling at centre bounces and prevent knee injuries among ruckmen, the centre circle will be larger, the centre line will be removed, thus allowing ruckmen to contest the bounce from any angle.

> When a player with blood on his uniform or his body is detected he will no longer have to depart through the interchange gate but will leave the field by crossing the nearest boundary line and his replacement can then go on immediately.


Bits 'n pieces
** ALAN RICHARDSON has been appointed coach of Richmond's VFL offshoot COBURG. The former Collingwood defender (114 games, 1987-96) who is now 35, coached his club of origin East Burwood, to the last two premierships in the Eastern Football League ... ** COLLINGWOOD and WILLIAMSTOWN players enjoyed a seaside bonding session on Saturday (25th) – the Magpies have embraced the Seagulls as their VFL partner ... ** LEE WALKER has started a skills role with the FREMANTLE Dockers – the 27-year old ruckman had his career destroyed with four knee reconstructions and was restricted to just 16 games with Collingwood, 7 in 95, 8 in 96 and one in 1997. Lee will also be the off-field eye for player welfare ... ** XAVIER TANNER, North Melbourne's centreman in the 1977 Premiership win will take up coaching the Under 18 MURRAY BUSHRANGERS – Xavier replaces KELLY O'DONNELL who has moved to the Fremantle Dockers coaching panel under DAMIAN DRUM ...

Wanganeen yields captaincy to Primus
GAVIN WANGANEEN has relinquished the Port Adelaide captaincy and following tradition the No.1 guernsey to MATTHEW PRIMUS. Gavin has been allocated the famous No.4 which he wore with Essendon in 127 games (1991-96). Wanganeen won the 1993 Brownlow Medal with the Bombers before returning to his club of origin Port Adelaide as captain in their AFL debut season in 1997.

Bits 'n pieces
** TRAVIS JOHNSTONE has signed a two-year deal with MELBOURNE where he has played 42 matches (1998-2000) ... ** former high-profile Aboriginal footballers will become mentors to young indigenous players, possibly in time for the 2001 season, under a scheme adopted by the AFL Players Association ... ** Collingwood FC president EDDIE McGUIRE confirmed the Magpies had acted on complaints on how captain NATHAN BUCKLEY had spoken to some teammates during matches — Buckley is expected to be saying less in the new season and will join other players in work to improve leadership skills ... ** Infusion of a further $350,000 from JOE GUTNICK has completed his 1996 pledge to give $3 million to the MELBOURNE club. The Age reported the Demons president saying: "I haven't committed for next year, but I will consider it once the year continues. But it is important that Melbourne stands on its own feet. Three million dollars is a very hefty contribution to a club, but I will always be there for Melbourne."

Groin surgery for Scott Cummings
SCOTT CUMMINGS had further surgery in Perth on Saturday (25th) for a groin injury which ended his 2000 campaign for West Coast in July after kicking 47 goals in 13 games. The 26-year-old Cummings suffered an accident at training last week and went under what club officials reported as a "precautionary procedure". Cummings is unlikely to resume training until January.

Ex-players sought as umpires
AFL umpires chief JEFF GIESCHEN is hopeful of attracting the recently retired MATTHEW DENT and MARK FRASER to umpiring ranks. While not confirming who, Gieschen was quoted: "I can say that our talks have been very promising."

Cats seek live TV against gate
GEELONG are aiming for live TV games against the gate next season – the Cats are understood to have asked Channel 7 that three Sunday matches drawn at Kardinia Park, Round 1 v West Coast, R5 v Port Adelaide and R21 v Brisbane be given live to air cover.

Tingay appears in Sydney
Melbourne discard STEPHEN TINGAY who only weeks ago was mooted to be doing a pre-season at Punt Road instead, has turned up in Sydney and is training with the Swans — a persistent hip injury restricted him to only nine games with the Demons in the past two seasons.

Bulldogs to play Gaelic rules against Storm
Dockland co-tenants the WESTERN BULLDOGS are booked to play Gaelic football against rugby league club MELBOURNE STORM at Colonial in mid-January – "Crackers" KEENAN is assisting the Storm on the finer points of the Irish code ...

Hawks hold family day at York Park
HAWTHORN held a family day at York Park in Launceston on Sunday (26th) as part of a weekend in Tasmania which included a sports night on Friday at the Vista Hotel in Hobart and a family fun day on Saturday at John Turnbull Park, Lenah Valley.
Hoping to build on the 1200 members gathered from Tasmania in 2000, the Hawks will play an Ansett Cup game against Richmond at York Park on Sunday February 18 and will meet Adelaide there for premiership points on Sunday May 6.

ASIC sues John Elliott
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is suing businessman JOHN ELLIOTT and two other directors (WILLIAM HARRISON and BERNARD PLYMIN) of companies running the Waterwheel mill at Bridgewater in central Victoria. The civil action is due to be heard in the Supreme Court on December 15.
ASIC alleges they let the companies incur debts after becoming insolvent, and is seeking up to $5 million compensation on behalf of secured creditors and each director to be fined up to $400,000. The Herald Sun on November 28 reported: Mr Elliott in a brief official statement, Mr Elliott blasted court action as "unwarranted, unfounded and gratuitous".
Mr Elliott has been a director of the Carlton FC and its president since October 1983.

AFL extends NZ development
The AFL has budgeted a further $450,000 to the development of the code in New Zealand. A League press release detailed that since November 1997 New Zealand AFL Inc. has delivered a junior development program, the highlights of which were:
> Over 17,000 children participated in the program from 70 schools in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland in the past three years.
> 502 coaches completed the Level 0 accreditation course and 70 the Level 1 course.
> 66 umpires completed the Level 0 course and 15 the Level 1.
> Live AFL games gaining strong viewership on Prime TV and Sky.

NZ AFL general manager since November 1997, WILL McKENZIE is shifting to Melbourne, and a replacement structure for the General Manager's position will be announced shortly.

Colonial debuts with $25 million loss
Trading figures for the financial year ending June 30 revealed the much-troubled $460 million Colonial Stadium suffered losses of $25 million.

MIKE SHEAHAN broadcast a reader comment in the Herald Sun — "a loss of the best part of $70,000 for every day of the financial year ..."

Reports persist that the contracted turf supplier StrathAyr will be dumped, with HG TURF, a Victorian family-owned company a prospect. HG Turf supplied lawn to Canberra's Bruce Stadium, the Gabba and the MCG for Olympic soccer preparation. The Cincinatti-based MOTZ Group are also understood to be under consideration.

Mark Fraser turns to umpiring
AFL Director of Umpiring JEFF GIESCHEN on November 30 confirmed that former Collingwood and Essendon player MARK FRASER will move to umpiring.

The 29-year-old Fraser who played 110 League games (1992-2000) will move through the ranks. The most recent AFL player to take up the whistle was STEPHEN RAE. After his 75 games for Richmond and St Kilda between 1969 and 1973, Rae gained his most senior appointment with the Under 19s.

In the early history of the League many retired players graduated to umpiring ranks. LARDIE TULLOCH during his span of 130 League matches with Collingwood (1897-1904) also captained the Magpies to their premierships of 1902-03. He umpired 65 VFL matches between 1905-11 and was the central umpire in the 1907 Grand Final.

Another Collingwood player to follow was ALEX MUTCH who in his 144 matches with Collingwood (1911-21) was a member of two Pie premierships in 1917 and 1919. Mutch then umpired and enjoyed a swift elevation when in only his ninth game with the whistle controlled the 1923 Grand Final between Essendon and Fitzroy. Alex Mutch went on to umpire 47 League games as the man in the middle.

Another early notable who made the transition was LES LEEDS. He played 27 games for Carlton in 1903-04-05. In 1904 he retired and actually umpired one League match before being recalled by the Blues. He returned and played with Carlton in their 1904 Grand Final loss to Fitzroy.



Financial forecasts
Financial figures from season 2000 continue to be tabled by AFL clubs. Expectations and the latest updates –


<> The Crows profited by $1,439,976 on season 2000. The distribution of 80% of the profit to SANFL clubs amounting to $1,099,265 brings Adelaide's 10-year contribution to the SANFL to $11,043,228. Gross revenue for the season was $13,408,230 (down from $15,772,102 in 1999). Club merchandise sales reflected poor on-field results falling from $1,123,098 in 1999 to $665,808 this year. On Thursday (14th) BOB CAMPBELL was appointed chairman of Adelaide FC as BOB HAMMOND's successor. Hammond together with Campbell and CEO BILL SANDERS were awarded life memberships. Inaugural players of the club since 1991, BEN HART and SHAUN REHN were also made life members.

The Blues are expected to announce a modest profit of $120,000. Legal fees of some $200,000 have bitten into the operation. The separate Carlton Social Club profited by $650,000. No challenges will mean the board will be re-elected unopposed.

COLLINGWOOD, who finished 15th on the ladder still managed to turn their figures around from the 1999 loss of $1.261 million to a profit of $103,991. Marketing revenue was up by almost $1 million, while gate receipts gained a $150,000 boost, however running the football department increased by $1.3 million this year. The AGM is on December 14. In the Annual Report, president EDDIE McGUIRE stated the Magpies will have a designated social club with 18,000 seats in the new northern stand development at the MCG.

48-year-old NICK THOEDOSSI, a prestige car dealer and 17 year member of Collingwood who was an assistant to former coach TONY SHAW together with RICK SCIESSERE, a civil engineer and PAUL MURPHY, a finance consultant will run for positions on the CFC board at the December 14 election — three board members seeking re-election are, BRAD COOPER, ALEX WAISLITZ and JACK KENNEDY.

Premiers ESSENDON on an income of $20 million will profit $1.6 million with an estimated $1 million worth of merchandise sold since the September 2 win over Melbourne. The Bombers enjoy the highest membership in Victoria, a rise of 15 per cent took them to 34,278 members. The anticipated profit is believed to be a record for a Victorian AFL club. No elections are required, five directors of the 10-man board will be returned unopposed — Pat Legget, Brad Teal, Neville Gay, Alec Epis and Ben Dunn. The AGM is on December 21.

GEELONG following their $913,000 loss in 1999 are poised to announce a profit of about $77,000. This is a staggering turnaround in a time when debt of $6 million has been halved. The Cats also had a 21 per cent growth in membership and raised $400,000 through the Stand Up and Fight campaign. The AGM is on December 19.

HAWTHORN will record a $501,000 profit for the 2000 season. The club had originally hoped for a profit close to $1 million. Social club and membership suffered downturns by the move from Waverley to the MCG but was overwritten by an undisclosed compensation payment from the AFL. A confidentially agreement prevents disclosure of the AFL payment. Hawthorn profited by $720,000 in their last year at Waverley Park in 1999.

The MELBOURNE Football Club recorded a 17 per cent increase of revenue to $14.2 million to return a moderate profit of $105,539. Football costs increased, however the $1.6 turnaround from the crippling loss of $1.494m in 1999 is an achievement. In spite of their runner-up season, the Demons' membership of 18,000 remains a concern, ahead of only the Bulldogs and the Saints. Major sponsors LG and Tooheys have each signed for another three years.

The Kangaroos are expecting a loss of about $600,000 — cash flow problems have caused the Roos to miss a deadline to finalise player match payments of up to $110,000 by the end of November. Low returns from gate revenue are chiefly to blame for the losses even though the AFL contributed $850,000 covering the club's involvement in Sydney. In the new gates-receipts agreement which started in 2000, home clubs keep all gate revenue, but also have to pay any losses. The AGM will be held in February.

The League have granted relief to Port Adelaide — $1.6 million remains of the $4 million entry fee and the remaining two payments will now be spread over the next five years. Port's figures are still to be tabled but are likely to dip sharply following their disappointing 2000 season – winning only one of the first 12 matches cut deeply into gate receipts at Football Park. Last year Port's AFL operations profited by over $300,000.

RICHMOND while yet to announce its final result is expecting a substantial loss of about $500,000. The Tigers suffered declines in membership (30,000 to 27,000), gate receipts and heavy spending which saw $1.5 million being spent on football operations. Unexpected injury payments also contributed to the loss.

The Saints mirrored their disappointing season with a drop in profit from a surplus of $130,000 in 1999 to a profit of $45,229 for the period ending October 31. Membership dipped to 17,800 but the Saints are committed to make Colonial Stadium work for it. New CEO JIM WATTS praised the previous administration led by president ANDREW PLYMPTON and the recently depart chief executive DON HANLY. The board has voted outgoing president ANDREW PLYMPTON with life membership. The AGM will be held at Moorabbin Town Hall on December 20.

An early prediction forecasts the Eagles will profit near to $4 million for the season — SCOT PALMER, Herald Sun, Punchlines, December 3 ...

Bulldog president DAVID SMORGON indicated his club would post a modest profit of between $25,000 and $30,000 to the AGM to be conducted in February. The positive was that the Bulldogs achieved a 25 per cent increase in home ground attendances at Docklands and in spite of the problems associated with the venue, an extra 70,000 fans watched their games at Colonial.

Stab Kicks ...

Tigers head for the Grampians
RICHMOND will go to the rugged Victorian Grampians for a three-day training camp from December 17-20. For two nights, the group will be required to find their own shelter, bedding, food and water — roll on Christmas ...

Demons sign Internet deal with Sportsview
MELBOURNE signed a 10-year deal for SPORTSVIEW to run their Internet website. It adds the Demons to the Eddie McGuire and Steve Vizard group who already prepare the websites of Carlton, Collingwood, Hawthorn and the Western Bulldogs.

Bayes to runner for Brisbane Lions
MARK BAYES, the former Sydney veteran of the near-record 246 games with the Swans (1985-1998) is the new runner and part-time skills coach for the BRISBANE LIONS — he takes over from DANNY CRAVEN who is coaching AFLQ club Mt Gravatt, replacing WAYNE JOHNSTON — Baysey and his family moved to Brisbane two years ago and was keen to rekindle his association with the game ...

Russell Athletic add Brisbane
The 99-year-old giant United States manufacturer of sporting apparel RUSSELL ATHLETIC has joined the BRISBANE LIONS as the club's new official uniform supplier for the next three years. The 'athleisure' and teamwear company are earnest in their desire to forge a prominent place in the Australian sportswear industry. Russell Athletic will play a very visible role in the AFL with similar deals struck with the KANGAROOS and FREMANTLE.

They said it
CAROLINE WILSON, The Sunday Age, December 3
— In my view, the prospect of Seven losing football is a frightening one. The AFL and its wonderful, precious game is not without its significant problems but it remains the biggest game in town and surely its broadcaster deserves much credit for this.

ANDREW IRELAND, Brisbane Lions CEO, The Lions Tale, Issue 22 — "...the contentious issue is when Lions matches are shown on Friday and Saturday night. I believe 9.30pm is acceptable. It's not 'live', which local broadcasters have traditionally found hard to justify in the ongoing battle for precious ratings points, but it's not so late that it means getting to bed at 2am. It's a reasonable compromise. Happily, the odds are that we've seen the last of midnight replays regardless of who wins the rights battle."

I am very happy to record, I have received the Australian Sports Medal.
On going to their post boxes in recent weeks many would have been curious at first then pleasantly surprised, as I was, on opening a large box from the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia.
Inside was a letter, and a warrant on behalf of The Queen signed by the Governor-General, Sir William Deane, and the Prime Minister, John Howard, together with a boxed set of a medal bearing a gold and green ribbon suitably inscribed with my name and a miniature.
The letter advised me I have been awarded the Australian Sports Medal in recognition for my services to Australian Football.
Mr Martin Bonsey, the secretary to the Governor-General detailed that the Australian Sports Medal is being awarded during the year 2000 to commemorate Australian sporting achievement and has been established as a commemorative award within the Australian honours system. The medal has been created to recognise the contributions of both current and former sports participants and for those who have provided support services to sport. The medal is a unique way for Australia to recognise the wide-ranging efforts of those who have made Australia a great sporting nation.
The letter continued – The Governor-General authorises all awards within the Australian honours system and nominations for the Australian Sports Medal have been recommended by the Prime Minister; Federal, State and Territory sports ministers; Senators; Members of the House of Representatives; or peak sports bodies recognised by the Australian Sports Commission.
I am obliged to those who put forward my nomination and accept the award with pleasure.

Wayne Carey leads AFL money earners
AFL money earners in 2000 fell short of Australia's highest in the sports business — golfer GREG NORMAN topped the list with $47.8 million while LUC LONGLEY was placed second gaining $11.4 million from basketball.

In the Business Review Weekly list on December 8 of the top 50 sporting money earners in 2000, Kangaroo captain WAYNE CAREY slipped from 1999 when he was No.21 to No.28 but still leads the AFL with $1.2m. Essendon's JAMES HIRD was No.34 (last year 26) on $1.1m, while Carlton's ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES made his first appearance at No.38 on $1 million. Collingwood's NATHAN BUCKLEY was the only other AFL player mentioned in the BRW Top 50, at $900,000.

Olympic swimming sensation IAN THORPE was a first-time BRW listing at No.22, drawing an estimated gross of $1.3 million.

Bradley continues with Carlton
Protracted negotiations between CRAIG BRADLEY and the Carlton club have been concluded.

The 37-year old had been seeking a two year deal but the veteran of 333 games and captain for the past three seasons accepted a one-year contract. In his 15 years with the Blues Bradley has won three best & fairest awards, was runner-up on four occasions and third twice.

His 333 matches is second only to the Carlton record of 356 played by BRUCE DOULL (1969-1986). Bradley also played 98 games with Port Adelaide in the SANFL before crossing to Carlton in 1986.

New stand benefits Manuka Oval
Improvements to facilities at Manuka Oval in Canberra have increased the prospects of more AFL football being played in the nation's capital.

Prior to the recent meeting of the Prime Minister's XI and the West Indies, the new Sir Donald Bradman Stand at Manuka costing $4.3 million was opened as part of the $9 million joint commitment to the venue by the ACT and Commonwealth governments.

Appointments for players and the media at Manuka are now second-to-none.

The Kangaroos emphasised their intentions on December 8 with a media conference at the Hyatt Hotel in Canberra, with the Roos agreeing to play one Ansett Cup match and two regular season games at Manuka Oval for the next three years. The Kangaroos have not abandoned Sydney, though their home games at the SCG in 2001 will be reduced from four to only two.

Games in Canberra will be underwritten by about $400,000 per year, compared with the $250,000 they received from the AFL for each Sydney game last year.

Manuka Oval in 2001 will host the Kangaroos v St Kilda on February 24 and Sydney v Essendon on March 3 in the Ansett Cup, while the Roos in premiership matches will play St Kilda on May 10 and Port Adelaide on June 30.

Stab Kicks ...

Cats seek control of Kardinia Park
GEELONG are seeking to take over the management of Kardinia Park following problems with the playing surface. The Age reported half the grass has died in the past month as a result of fungal and acidity problems with resodding and turf replacement necessary.

Surprisingly, Kardinia Park does not have a full-time curator and is looked after by three people who work on the whole of the park complex which includes cricket, netball, St Mary's FC, the park and recreation and the main footy ground. Geelong's first major engagement at home is the 3rd round Ansett Cup fixture against Port Adelaide on March 3.

Libba will play a 16th season
Though a contract still has to be signed TONY LIBERATORE will play on into his 16th season with the Western Bulldogs — he turns 35 in February and the veteran has agreed to a one-year deal ... it was confirmed the planned Gaelic match between the Bulldogs and the Melbourne Storm for mid mid-January will not take place — maybe in 2002 ...

Bombers off to Gold Coast
ESSENDON players are spending a week at the secluded Couran Cove resort on South Stradbroke Island off Queensland's Gold Coast – it's a $100 million, state-of-the-art athletics facility managed by running legend RON CLARKE ...

Ansett Cup changes
BRISBANE succeeded in having early Ansett Cup matches changed so they would not be required to play successive weeks in hot conditions. Geelong will now play Sydney at Marrara Oval in Darwin on February 16 with the Adelaide and Brisbane moving to Westpac Stadium in Wellington on February 17.

Draft age may be increased
ROHAN CONNOLLY in The Age reported: The minimum age for the AFL draft could be increased to 18 again after an apparent rethink by many of the clubs who so vehemently opposed the same idea two years ago.

Spotless win MCG catering rights again
The Spotless Group which have held the catering rights at the MCG for 15 years have successfully tendered for the next five years, with an option for another five — estimated to be worth some $40 million a year ... ST KILDA are investigating the possibility of aligning with Springvale in the VFL next year.

Cooling vests for all clubs
To combat early season heat stress, 352 cooling vests costing about $250 each are being distributed by the League to the 16 member clubs — the vests contain a gel developed by the CSIRO which can keep the skin cooler by up to 25 degrees. Former Geelong player ANDREW BEWS for the distributors Arctic Heat,  predicted that a vest that players wear while playing may soon be available.

New turf suppliers for Docklands
Colonial Stadium management and turf suppliers STRATHAYR parted company – a confidential settlement believed to be worth $1 million ended the deal.

HandG Turf, based at Alexandra in north-eastern Victoria will be the new suppliers – HandG uses the US Motz group's technology which involves a thinner turf layer. Strathayr will continue to supply portable cricket wickets to the venue when required.

They said it ...
FINOLA BURKE, The Australian, December 6
— The Australian Football League has upped the ante in the battle for its television and online rights, signalling to Seven Network it expected to almost double the money it receives for its broadcast rights.
Sources close to negotiations yesterday said Seven was reeling from the AFL's suggestion that it could get substantially more than the $38 million Seven will pay for the rights in 2001.

The West Australian, December 7 — The State league will undergo its seventh name change in 116 years when it reverts to the WA Football League for the 2001 season.

MR RON EVANS, AFL Commission Chairman, December 7 — I have read with interest a report in The Age newspaper this morning claiming that I am expected to announce my retirement as Chairman of the AFL Commission.

The Chairman is appointed by members of the AFL Commission who are elected in turn by our 16 clubs. Australian football is making outstanding progress, I will not be retiring, and I am looking forward to continuing in my present role if that is the wish of my colleagues.

I do not intend to make further comment on this subject.

JOHN QUINN, Essendon fitness coach, The Age, December 8 — "The days of football just being about getting fit, getting out there and handling the ball are over. We're talking about life skills here, about preparing these players. They're role models for society, and if we can make them better people, more well-rounded, then they play better football and football becomes a better game as a result.''

Stab Kicks ...

Draft review to start in January
Major changes may be made to the Draft in 2001. An exhaustive six-month review will begin in January with a working party under AFL gm of football operations ANDREW DEMETRIOU. The panel will comprise representatives from clubs, the AFL Players Association and accredited player agents. Under consideration will be the increase of the draft age from 17 to 18 (as of June 30 in the year of the draft), the duration of the trading period, zoning and the timing of the national and pre-season drafts. The working party is expected to have a maximum of 10 members.

Lynch steps aside from Brisbane captaincy
ALASTAIR LYNCH has stepped aside as joint captain of Brisbane, paving the way for MICHAEL VOSS to become the sole skipper — Lynch who served four seasons in tandem with Voss kicked 68 goals for the Lions this year and will continue as a player.

Bits 'n pieces
** Port Adelaide opted to retain CHE COCKATOO-COLLINS on their list — the injury-prone goalsneak after his 109 games for Essendon (1994-98) has played 12 matches in 1999 and only two in 2000 ... ** PEEL THUNDER seem set to be retained for the 2001 season at least — the WAFL draw for next season when released on December 12 included the Thunder in a nine-team competition ... ** if St Kilda align with VFL club Springvale, it may deliver a lifeline for the inclusion of a side from Tasmania to make up a 16-team comp. ... ** with a new Foxtel-NRL $400 million six-year deal in place, rugby league are set to dump Saturday afternoon 2.30pm matches in favour of those starting at 5.30pm and 7.30pm ...

Tattersall's part of footy tipping consortium announced Tuesday (19th) that the Victorian Government has chosen Footy Consortium Ltd, a joint venture between Tattersall's and a private company owned by EDDIE McGUIRE and ED GORDON CLARK to conduct a national footy tipping competition beginning next year.

McGuire, the Collingwood FC president and TV compere of The Footy Show and Who Wants to be a Millionaire on Channel Nine was recently selected by the Herald Sun as Victoria's TV Personality of the year. The News Ltd tabloid front-paged news today that McGuire and his wife Carla were now the proud parents of a healthy son, Joseph, born Monday afternoon at a Melbourne hospital.

They said it ...
Private Eye, December 15, World of Sport section
— Despite raking in squillons from TV deals, it seems the FA Premier League is still greedy for more.  On 27 November it sent menacing letters to several "unofficial" football websites, mostly run by fans as a hobby, demanding anything from 300 to 4,000 pounds, for the right to display a list of fixtures – "failing which we have instructed our solicitors to commence proceedings forthwith and without further notice.  Please note that we may also contact your web server with a view to placing a block on your website until all your infringements are estimated to our satisfaction".

Some on-line fanzines, fearful of huge legal bills, have capitulated and removed the fixtures.  Others. however, are taking a more robust attitude. There is no copyright in facts; and, since a football fixture is merely a fact consisting of two names and date, how can it be a breach of copyright for fans to mention some of their side's forthcoming games?

One unofficial Arsenal website, the charmingly named "Up The Arse", has retaliated by publishing a list of every possible combination and permutation of fixture for next year – and writing to the pathetic box wallahs at the FA Premiers League threatening them with legal action if they reproduce any part of it in next season's list.

PHIL GOULD, The Sun-Herald, Sunday December 17 — Please note: Reports signalling the death of rugby league have been grossly exaggerated.
Life is not what you are worth. It's about what you can negotiate.

The NRL has negotiated well and credit must go to the partnership board and chief executive DAVID MOFFETT for pushing the bidding parties to the limit.

Details of the pay-TV finance have been well documented. A possible $400 million over the next six years is nothing to sneeze at.

Pre-season and rookie drafts
Tingay for Swans; Dent to Hawthorn
The pre-season and rookie drafts were held in Melbourne on Tuesday December 19th, when the key movements were —

Round One
1 St Kilda — Brett VOSS (from Brisbane)
2 Collingwood — Chad RINTOUL (West Coast)
3 West Coast — Troy WILSON (East Perth)
4 Fremantle — Simon EASTAUGH (Essendon)
5 Adelaide — Chris LADHAMS (Essendon)
6 Sydney — Stephen TINGAY (Melbourne)
7 Western Bulldogs — Nicholas BRUTON (Diggers Rest)
8 Hawthorn — Matthew DENT (Bulldogs)
9 Brisbane — Dylan McLAREN (Gippsland)
10 Melbourne -- Nick GILL (Oakleigh)
Round Two
11 St Kilda – Pass
12 Adelaide – Adam RICHARDSON (West Adelaide)
The following are the first round selections —
Round 1
1. St Kilda — Christopher OLIVER (NSW-ACT Rams)
2. Collingwood — Christopher ODELL (Dandenong Stingrays)
3. Port Adelaide — Christopher HALL (South Adelaide)
4. West Coast — Dean BUSZAN (Peel Thunder)
5. Fremantle — Deren UGLE (South Fremantle)
6. Adelaide — Kane McLEAN (Norwood)
7. Sydney — Michael SWAN (Port Melbourne)
8. Richmond — Garth TAYLOR (Fremantle)
9. Western Bulldogs — Bernie COLLINS (Casteltowsend, Ireland)
10. Geelong — Paul CHAMBERS (Western Jets)
11. Hawthorn — Michael OSBORNE (Labrador)
12. Brisbane —- David MAPLESTON (Morningside)
13. Kangaroos — Leigh HARDING (Geelong)
14. Carlton — Ian PRENDERGAST (Carlton)
15. Melbourne — Kevin DEVINE (Clontarf, Ireland)
16. Essendon — Marcus KENNY (Eastern Ranges)

News Limited $500 million bid wins TV rights
Nine, Ten & Foxtel to replace Seven

The Australian Football League chief executive WAYNE JACKSON on Tuesday, December 19, five days following the presentations made by the Seven Network and News Limited to AFL Commissioners, announced the League in-principle had awarded its TV broadcasting rights for five years, 2002 to 2006, to the consortium headed by News Limited.
The News Ltd bid for free-to-air and pay-TV understood to be as much as $500 million for the five-season rights, was higher when compared to the offer by the Seven Network which Jackson said was "significantly wide apart". Seven however have the "last rights" bid for which they paid $20 million in September 1997.
Channel Seven in Melbourne has held the TV rights to VFL-AFL matches for 42 of the past 44 seasons. Channel Seven are expected to play their last card sometime in January.
As details of the preferred News Ltd bid became known, it was apparent the pay-TV rights would be sub-licenced to the cable network Foxtel and five matches for free-to-air each week will be sold to the Nine and Ten networks. The Nine Network would cover AFL matches on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons, with Channel 10 showing Saturday AFL fixtures and the finals. Under the deal starting in 2002, Foxtel would broadcast three matches live on cable each weekend.
At the December 19 press conference, WAYNE JACKSON said: "The deal represents the most significant financial broadcast rights deal in the history of Australian sport and that means the AFL can offer unprecedented financial security to our clubs and a major injection into football at the grassroots level."
The AFL deal together with Foxtel a week earlier securing the pay-TV rights of the National Rugby League will give Foxtel a decided edge in cable sports programming over Seven's rival C7 sports channels. Foxtel paid the NRL $400 million for the six years of 2001-2006, the end of the span of AFL rights.
The Australian on December 20 reported: The Nine and Ten networks are believed to have bid at least $45 million a year cash and as much as $60 million with non-cash support, substantially more than the $38 million Seven will pay in its final year for the rights. Meanwhile, Foxtel bid $30 million a year for the pay-TV rights and Telstra, Foxtel's largest shareholder, is believed to be bidding as much as $10 million in cash and support for the online rights. Those rights are yet to be decided."
Fans in the 'developing' AFL states of NSW and Queensland under the televising of matches by the News Ltd consortium are expected to receive more favourable delivery than the long winter nights of waiting until midnight, several hours after the games have been played by the Sydney and Brisbane clubs.

Bold new MCG facelift planned
The Melbourne Cricket Ground Trust on December 22 announced the biggest development in the ground's 150 year history — a $400 million, three and-a-half year project to replace the Northern, Members and Ponsford stands with a single stand sweeping the northern half of the ground from scoreboard to scoreboard. Rebuilding will be completed in time for the 2006 Commonwealth Games to be staged at the MCG.

Funding for the project has still to be negotiated, with the AFL expected to play a key role and the Victorian Government underwriting the project.

The promise that the famous Long Room in the Members' Stand built in 1927 would be replicated in the new development drew protests from the National Trust, that "the MCG will lose its character, its individuality, and look just like another doughnut."

 A telephone poll by the Herald Sun brought a voter response of only 500 calls, with 310 against and 190 in support of the question "Should the Members' Stand be knocked down for MCG redevelopment?"

New features of the planned development will include —
> escalators between levels of the stands
> a glass roof extension giving 60 per cent of seats protection from the weather
> bucket seats with 15 per cent more leg room
> permanent cafes outside the ground
> the Gallery of Sport to be rebuilt
> a Collingwood FC social club and seating area
> bronze Cordner gates and Olympic panels

During construction, capacity for major events including AFL Grand Finals is expected to be reduced to about 70,000. The present 96,500 capacity will be retained in the new development.

The MCC will place the plans and a model on display for public comment.

CEO resigns at Carlton
JOHN GURRIERI, chief executive officer of Carlton FC for only 12 months announced his resignation effective February 16. Mr Gurrieri resigned for personal and family reasons.

AFL links with soccer end

A five-year flirtation with the round-ball code by AFL clubs is over.

It began on February 16, 1996 when Essendon, Carlton and Collingwood made official bids to field teams in the National Soccer League, meeting with Soccer Australia officials in Melbourne.

Essendon's venture never eventuated, but Collingwood in February 1996 aligned with Heidelberg for a team which became known as the Collingwood Warriors based at Victoria Park where they played their first game in October. This arrangement however soon soured and the AFL Magpies retreated from the deal.

Carlton registered the name for a soccer club which John Elliott launched on November 25 1996 with a budget of $2 million, and though the team made the NSL grand final in its first season of 1996-97 the soccer venture was sold off and went through several phases of reorganisation.

Player manager-agent PETER JESS purchased the club in 1999. After discussions late November and early December with two prospective buyers who both pulled out, the appointment of an administrator and a $267,000 bill for unpaid tax from the Australian Taxation Office, the Carlton Soccer club died on December 19.

The collapse left 23 players without a job and is likely to leave Jess $1.7 million out of pocket.

Stab Kicks ...

Cats retain leaders
GEELONG will continue with the same on-field leaders in 2001 — captain BEN GRAHAM, vice-captain PETER RICCARDI and deputy vice-captain TIM McGRATH ...

Bits 'n pieces
** dual premiership player TONY EVANS who retired in 1998 through injury after 108 matches will be honoured as West Coast Eagles No.1 ticket holder for season 2001 ...** ALINTAGAS have signed on as Fremantle's major sponsor for the next three seasons in one of the biggest commercial deals in WA sport ... ** former Carlton veteran MARK MACLURE will join St Kilda's match committee in a part-time capacity for next season – Maclure will join coach MALCOLM and two assistant KEN HINKLEY and PETER JONAS in the four-man team ...

Rumours ...
Around the traps, two rumours persist — that Foxtel will apply a pay-for-view surcharge of $4 for AFL matches from 2002 and, the prospect that if Seven do not gain the AFL rights they may sell off their broadcast rights for 2001 to the News Ltd consortium ...

Saints stick with Springvale
ST KILDA on December 22 confirmed it will align with VFL club Springvale in 2001—the side will play home games at both Moorabbin and Shepley Oval.

Young Kangas for the cup
WAYNE CAREY and COREY McKERNAN are not expected to take part in the Ansett Cup pre-season competition – two Kangas who may get their chances in the Cup are WA rookies, DIGBY MORRELL (West Perth) and ROD TREGENZA (East Fremantle). The 21-year-old Tregenza has led the WAFL goalkicking the past two years and kicked 10 goals against Tasmania in a 1998 State game ...

Kangas lose Vic Health
The KANGAROOS in 2002 will lose the sponsorship of VICHEALTH who have modified their commitment to sport ... prior to Christmas, the Roos met outstanding payments to players with an advance of funds from the AFL.

Freo asks "is salary cap working?"
Fremantle chief executive DAVID HATT has written to the AFL asking it to revisit the salary cap process. Hatt was quoted: "It is significant to us that some clubs that have been penalised for encroachment over the designated levels remain very strong in the competition. We'd like the AFL to investigate fully whether the system is working well enough for everybody involved."

They said it ...
CHRIS LINES,, December 20
— The salary cap for each club in 2001 would be $5,187,500. An increase of 10 per cent in 2002 – which appeared likely given the richness of the News deal – would mean an additional $518,750 per club, or around $12,000 per player.

MIKE SHEAHAN, Herald Sun, December 21 — Has Eddie McGuire manoeuvred himself into a position so powerful he no longer can justify or afford the role as Collingwood president?
McGuire's ever-expanding and remarkably broad business and media interests raise the question of whether he can meet all commitments without conflict.

JAKE NIALL, The Age, December 28 — What the TV rights demonstrated was the true strength of the AFL in comparison to other sports in this country. It can make plenty of mistakes, alienate its core supporters, lose money here and there, but the game is so popular and well resourced that the League can't really lose too much ground. It must have been galling for plodders like rugby league and soccer to see the gifted AFL come up trumps.

ROSS WARNEKE, The Age, December 28 — Perhaps it is a case of us not appreciating something until, suddenly, there's a chance we will lose it. I have begun to reflect more seriously than ever on Seven and footy and annulling that marriage might leave all of us the poorer. There is a rawness about Seven's coverage and an appealing informality that reflects a simple and unsullied suburban passion for the game. I worry that Nine and Ten cannot duplicate that. They might not even try.

MARK DAY, The Australian, December 28 — The AFL rights game will play on through January. Two months ago, the AFL decided to make an early call for bids for the 2002 season, and the subsequent four years. The first stage of the bidding process came on December 8 when the chairman of News Limited, Lachlan Murdoch, representing a consortium of networks Nine and Ten and dominant pay TV provider Foxtel, slapped a $500 million offer on the table.

That represented about $50 million a year from Nine and Ten to broadcast three games a week on their free-to-air networks, $30 million a year from Foxtel for three live games, plus replay rights to all games, plus a $20-million-a-year marketing and promotion package to be provided by all parties, including News Limited newspapers (News publishes The Australian).

The Seven network, which had held the rights for all but one of the past 40 years, now pays $38 million a year for all rights. It could afford to lift free-to-air rights to match the News consortium offer of $50 million; but it is unable to match the free-to-air component.

Stab Kicks ...

Farmer guilty of drink-driving
Melbourne player JEFF FARMER pleaded guilty to driving under the influence on December 30 and was fined $600 plus $38 costs in Perth Magistrates Court on January 3. Farmer who returned a blood level of 0.11, more than double the legal limit, was disqualified from driving for four months.

Frank Sparrow passes
FRANK SPARROW, a noted commentator in the Perth media passed away on December 31 aged 74. Sparrow is well-remembered in partnership with PERCY JOHNSON on 6PR between 1958 and 1995, when Frank called the first season of Fremantle in the AFL.

He played 200 WAFL games for East Perth, Swan Districts and West Perth, and also coached the Swans from 1953 to 1955 and West Perth in 1956-57. Sparrow also made 17 State appearances and was a handy cricketer as well.



Bob Pratt passes, aged 88

BOB PRATT, one of football's greatest full-forwards lost his long battle with illness and passed away peacefully at the Frankston Hospital in the early hours of Saturday January 6. He was the last surviving member of South Melbourne's 1933 premiership.

The Football Record called him the 'Bradman of the football field — The Age dubbed him the 'Wonder of the age'.

The 1930s was an era which boasted many great full-forwards — Bill Mohr (St Kilda), Jack Titus (Richmond), North Smith (Melbourne), George Moloney (Geelong), Gordon Coventry and Ron Todd (Collingwood), Harry Vallence (Carlton) and South Melbourne’s Bob Pratt.

Born on August 31 1912, Pratt graduated from Mitcham to play with South in 1930. Between 1932 and 1936 he became a Legend of League football. Possibly the most brilliant high-flyer the game has produced, he had an amazing spring, was tremendously acrobatic and when the rest of the pack came down—he was still soaring—he was a photographer’s dream.

Pratt was a polished forward kicking 109 goals in South’s premiership year of 1933. The following season is the one for which Pratt will be long remembered.
His rivalry with Laurie Nash with whom Pratt formed a twin-assault on the record books obtained 199 goals for South in 1934 was interesting. When asked years later how they combined, Pratt recalled that Nash had passed to him once, "but it was a mistake."

Pratt kicked 150 goals in 21 games, the highest tally recorded in the VFL. This record was equalled in 1971 by Hawthorn’s Peter Hudson (in 24 games) but it has never been exceeded.

Harold Robert Pratt was declared one of the 12 Legends of the Game when the AFL established the Hall of Fame in 1966.

Bob Pratt suffered a stroke days after the 1996 grand final, but lived on until January 6, 2001. He is survived by his wife Olive, Bob jnr and daughters Elvie, Margaret and Sandra. His family included 11 grand-children and 13 great-grand-children.

Players seek long service leave
"Boris" started it and now two former Bulldogs, DOUG HAWKINS and STEVEN KOLYNIUK have joined Essendon's DARREN BEWICK in seeking long service leave compensation from their former clubs.

Bewick wants a pro-rata payment of some $50,000, having served more than the minimum 10 years required at Windy Hill — he played 238 matches with the Bombers (1988-2000). Hawkins played 329 games in 17 seasons with the Bulldogs (1978-1994) before concluding his career with 21 games with Fitzroy in 1995; Kolyniuk played 177 for the Doggies (1987-2000).

GUY McKENNA, the 267-game West Coast veteran (1988-2000) weighed in with his firm opinion in the West Australian on January 10, that former players who tried to cash in on the wealth of the game were risking disaster — "If they feel they are hard done, by then so be it, I personally don't. I chose to play football, I understood what the benefits were and what the disadvantages were".

Perth journalist CRAIG O'DONOGHUE in his article said: The AFL Players' Association is approaching the issue with caution, saying the industry needs to review the matter of long service leave before making any decisions.

The association has already established retirement funds for players. Those who play AFL football for 10 years receive $120,000 after retiring. McKenna said such a lump sum significantly outweighed benefits paid to an employee who worked in any other business.

Trevor Poole back with the Tigers
Richmond FC on Friday (12th) announced the appointment of former player TREVOR POOLE as its football operations manager from March.

The 36-year-old Poole duties will include negotiating contracts, overseeing of recruiting, and players welfare. He will work in tandem with the club's present football manager GARY O'SULLIVAN who will be retained as football administration manager.

Trevor Poole played 99 games for Richmond (1984-89) before moving to Geelong for a further 54 games (1990-93) including the 1992 grand final.

Elliott backs AFL in MCG dispute
In an intriguing twist to the bid for television rights, the MCG Trust have made direct approaches to TV networks seeking payment for access to the MCG. This supports the belief of the MCC that it is entitled to a portion of the $500 million AFL television rights because it owns access to the MCG – the AFL disagrees.

Approaches were made to both the Seven and Nine networks, but it is understood the Trust "received no joy" from the Packer network and Seven signalled its resistance.

The Age reported on January 11: Carlton president JOHN ELLIOTT supported the AFL in its current dispute with the MCG Trust which is seeking a bigger slice of the AFL's $500 million television rights revenue.

Elliott, who also said that the Blues would only play "a minimum" of games at the MCG until planned development to the stands were completed, argued broadcasting should remain within the control of the AFL.

"The State government will have to intervene to resolve the matter and it can't be done at the expense of football which keeps all these grounds. including the MCG, going," he said.

Elliott was speaking at the announcement of the Blues' new major sponsor, MAYNE NICKLESS. As Mayne, the company is relaunching its brand as a private healthcare provider and logistics operator. The new deal is believed to be worth about $2.5 million to the Blues over three years.

Bob Pratt farewelled
Swan legend BOB PRATT was farewelled at a one-hour funeral service conducted in Burwood on Thursday (11th) attended a large group of mourners which included Brownlow medalists BOB SKILTON and PETER BEDFORD. Also present were Sydney FC chief executive KELVIN TEMPLETON, Collingwood champion BOB ROSE, Hawthorn's PETER HUDSON together former players from the 50s and 60s and a sizeable contingent from Pratt's large family. He was later cremated at a private ceremony.

Stab Kicks ...

Bits 'n pieces
** West Coast full-forward SCOTT CUMMINGS appears to be on track for a successful comeback, but PHIL MATERA looks like missing the start of the premiership season. His recovery from left shoulder surgery has been slower than hoped for ... ** GLEN JAKOVICH and BEN COUSINS are the leading candidates to succeed the retired GUY McKENNA for captaincy of the Eagles — the 27-year-old Jakovich is recovering from a left ankle injury suffered during a social cricket match in November at Waroona. He will continue with swimming and cycling for another month before returning to full training ... ** former Richmond forward MARK MERENDA is shaping well for a place in the Eagles line-up with good work in training ... ** across at Fremantle, coach DAMIAN DRUM suggested ADRIAN FLETCHER and SHAUN McMANUS are likely to continue as joint leaders of the Dockers ... ** Subiaco Oval on February 7 will host a function to formally launch Carlton & United Breweries' $30 million sponsorship of WA football for the next 10 years ... ** former Essendon and Sydney player RYAN O'CONNOR who trained pre-season with the Kangaroos has been signed and will play the 2001 season in the SANFL with the Port Adelaide Magpies. O'Connor played 87 AFL games, Essendon 64 (1994-98) and Sydney 24 (1999-2000) ...

On the comeback trail ...
On the comeback trail following injuries in season 2000 are — Carlton's ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES and STEPHEN SILVAGNI ... CLARK KEATING and CRAIG McRAE (Brisbane) and STEPHEN TINGAY (Sydney) ...

Swans fine Jason Ball
Sydney fined injury-prone JASON BALL for his part in a New Year's Eve food fight involving former West Coast teammate FRASER GEHRIG at Cafe Laguna in Yallingup, about 250km south of Perth. It is believed Ball was fined half of the maximum fine provision by the AFLPA code of conduct rules for player behaviour. St Kilda were satisfied that Gehrig was not at fault in the incident.

Profit and losses, season 2000
The following are financial results of member clubs for season 2000 —

ADELAIDE profit, $1,439,976
BRISBANE LIONS not available
CARLTON profit, $121,609
COLLINGWOOD profit, $103,991
ESSENDON profit, $1,600,000
FREMANTLE not available
GEELONG profit, $169,000
HAWTHORN profit, $501,472
MELBOURNE profit, $105,530
NORTH MELB loss, $1.14 million
PORT ADELAIDE loss, $284,052
RICHMOND loss, $639,667
ST KILDA profit, $45,229
SYDNEY profit, $146,000
WEST COAST profit, $4 million
WEST.B'DOGS profit, $24,582

Tassie joins VFL
The board of Football Victoria on Thursday (18th) announced a team from Tasmania would compete as the 16th club in the 2001 season of the Victorian Football League (VFL) competition.

The agreement however is conditional for one season only, during which Tasmania must prove its viability. Next October, Football Victoria will decide whether a full licence is granted. This year, Football Tasmania will pay the travelling costs of visiting teams for matches expected to be played in Hobart, Launceston, Burnie and Devonport.

Though un-named and without a team list, the Tassie side is scheduled to play its first VFL match against Sandringham in Melbourne, on Saturday, April 7.

The State Wide League (SWL) which originated in 1986 as the premier competition of the Apple Isle and expanded the former Tasmanian Football League (TFL) has collapsed, leaving three Hobart-based clubs Hobart, Clarence and Glenorchy to join the Southern Football League (SFL) which will play a 15-team competition.

Meanwhile, former SWL members North Launceston, Burnie and Devonport have joined the Northern Tasmanian Football League (NTFL) which will have 12 clubs for the 2001 season.

Stab Kicks ...

Turley to West Perth
Bell to wear Freo's 32
Denham back to Bomber

West Coast premiership and former Melbourne player CRAIG TURLEY has returned to the West Perth club where he played 90 games, accepting an assistant coaching role to ANDREW LOCKYER with the WAFL Falcons for 2001 ... PETER BELL back at Fremantle from the Kangaroos in 2001 will sport the #32 guernsey he wore for two games with the Dockers in 1995 ... SEAN DENHAM is back in the Bomber camp, assisting TERRY DANIHER in preparing the Essendon VFL side for which Denham will be a top-up player — the AFL premiership rover said: "coaching is something I've thought about for a while and this is the right place to start."

In training ...
Sydney are happy with their pre-season work — one of the few sidelined is rookie LUKE ABLETT with a knee strain, however the good news is the freedom in which captain PAUL KELLY is moving, while the explosive PAUL WILLIAMS (from Collingwood) is enjoying his first injury-free pre-season in three years ... at Collingwood, JOSH FRASER has has his pre-season interrupted on contracting chicken pox ... the BRISBANE LIONS are also enjoying an almost injury-free pre-season — the exceptions are ruckman CLARK KEATING (knee), half-forward CRAIG McRAE (foot), defender MICK MARTIN (groin) and CHRIS JOHNSON (hamstring) who are all expected to miss the Ansett Cup opener against Adelaide in Wellington on February 16 ... former Sydney  and Geelong utility SIMON ARNOTT has signed on with reigning SANFL premiers CENTRAL DISTRICT for season 2001 — Arnott won the 1998 Gardiner Medal as the best-and -fairest player in the AFL Reserves ...

Wayne Carey marries Sally
=In a simple, but elegant ceremony, Kangaroo captain WAYNE CAREY married SALLY McMAHON at St Andrew's Uniting Church, in Wagga Wagga on Saturday, January 20. Both Wagga born and bred, Wayne and his long-time sweetheart Sally were cheered outside the church by about 300 onlookers. When Kangaroo coach DENIS PAGAN was asked what advice he had given Carey before the match of his life, he quipped: "You only get 20 years for murder." Following a reception which lasted until dawn, the couple departed to honeymoon at an Australian island resort.

Cats mothballs #5
Geelong will keep the #5 guernsey in mothballs. The web site of the club received 2,345 participants to their recent poll with 56 per cent voting to keep the jumper for one of Gary Ablett's sons. 23% said it should be used immediately, with 21% voting to retire it forever in honour of Ablett, GRAHAM 'Polly' FARMER and GARY MALARKEY who all wore the #5 with distinction. Farmer, the great innovative ruckman who played in the 1960's with Geelong when he also captained the side and was later its coach, stands beside Ablett, as does Malarkey who in his 172 games (1977-86) was recognised as one of the great full-backs of his time.

They said it ...
Daily Telegraph, Monday. January 22
— Sydney Swans Friday and Saturday night home games would be shown live in Sydney on free-to-air TV under the AFL broadcast rights deal, it was claimed yesterday.

The claim was made as Channel 7 digested details of the bid by the News Limited-led consortium comprising channels 9 and 10, who would share the free-to-air rights.

The Channel 9/10 bid offered to show all Sydney games live in Sydney on Friday or Saturday nights.

Channel 7 has until this Friday to make a counter offer matching the superior cash deal of the News bid.

Seven abandons the fight

The Seven Network on January 25 announced they would not counter the $500 million offer from a consortium led by News Limited for AFL TV and pay-TV rights from 2002.

Seven's decision will sever a 45 year connection with Australian Football at the end of 2001.

Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd and consortium partners, Network Ten, Foxtel and Kerry Packer's Nine Network will telecast AFL football for five seasons from 2002 to 2006.

The Age on January 30 confirmed that the Seven Network intends to channel its broadcast clout into rugby union and soccer – the two sports considered to pose the most serious threat to the AFL's position as the nation's dominant football code.

MICHAEL LYNCH reported: Rugby union has already revealed its desire to move in on air-time that will become available at Seven by flagging plans to expand its highly successful Super-12 competition to 15 teams. Australian Rugby Union chief executive JOHN O'NEILL last weekend said that the increase would provide more matches and potential programming and a higher profile.

For soccer, a greater prominence is likely to mean Seven demanding that the Socceroos play more internationals at home – or at least in compatible times zones – as Seven seeks to build a mainstream audience for the global game by positioning high-quality matches in prime-time free-to-air slots. At present, there are between 400 and 500 hours of AFL programming in the southern states each year.

Soccer, with its massive global appeal and big money, has been steadily building support at junior ranks here in recent years, as Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released earlier this month showed.

The figures revealed that last year, soccer was the main sport played by boys nationwide, more popular even than rugby in its New South Wales heartland, and the numbers of players in Victoria was growing.

More than 300,000 Australian children aged five to 14 were playing regular organised soccer last year, according to the ABS, of which 265,000 were boys – twice the number who played cricket, tennis, or any form of rugby.

Port down Buffaloes in Darwin
Port Adelaide's superior defence paid off in Darwin's humid conditions on Friday night (26th) to defeat the Northern Territory All Stars by 34 points at Marrara Oval.

Essendon's DEAN RIOLI returning from injury, played four quarters for the NTFL All Stars and survived a strenuous test on his shoulder. Playing in his usual half forward role, Rioli showed no signs of favouring his shoulder in several bursting tackles. Though still lacking match fitness, Rioli is set for a return to AFL ranks.

The Port Adelaide website reported that NATHAN STEINBERNER was named best by NTFL officials and the media, whilst JARED POULTON, NICK STEVENS and JOSH FRANCOU were not far behind. Of the rookies which took part, KANE CORNES (who started on the back flank on Rioli), SHAUN BURGOYNE, DOMENIC CASSISI and ALLAN MURRAY all showed promise.
PORT 15.13-103 (Tredrea 4, Dew 2, Chad Cornes 2, Stevens 2), NTFL 10.9-69 (Burns 2).

Stab Kicks ...

Swans and Dons at North Sydney Oval
Sydney will play Essendon in a trial starting at 4.30pm at North Sydney Oval on Saturday, February 10 when the Swans are expected to use upwards of 30 players.

Around the traps ...
** MICHAEL VOSS at 25 will be the sole captain of Brisbane this season — Voss has shared the duties with ALASTAIR LYNCH for the past four years. NIGEL LAPPIN and DARYL WHITE will join CHRIS SCOTT and JUSTIN LEPPITSCH as vice-captains in the Lions' leadership group of five ... ** former St Kilda and Melbourne full back JAMIE SHANAHAN will coach Ainslie in the ACT AFL this season where he will be joined by another ex-Demon MARCUS SEECAMP ... ** TONY LIBERATORE has signed a one-year contract with the Western Bulldogs and will line up for his 16th season. 'Libba' who turns 35 on February 11 is the second oldest player in the AFL – as well, he has accepted a full-time job with the club, working in the club's membership and corporate sales programs ... ** former Melbourne hero JIM STYNES was named Victorian of the Year by the Herald Sun newspaper – the award recognises the work Stynes has done helping more than 120,000 young Victorians through Reach Youth, a program he co-founded in 1994 ...

Draft overhaul
The AFL has appointed a working party to look at many issues of the draft with a return to the minimum age of 18 for this year's national draft a likely outcome.

Hockey duo
Hockey with an Olympic flavour is now present at both Perth AFL clubs. Following the appointment of Hockeyroos' coach RIC CHARLESWORTH as West Coast's consultant, Fremantle have inked Australian men's hockey (the Kookaburras) coach TERRY WALSH as a video technology consultant.

Cat fans want Saturday
Sixty nine per cent of Geelong supporters want their club to primarily play matches on Saturdays. A poll to the Cats' website brought 21% in favour of Friday night while only 10% supported Sunday.

Ump punch earns 15 month jail
An amateur footballer has been jailed for 15 months for punching an umpire in the face during a match last August. GEORGE COYNE, 33, who pleaded guilty was sentenced by a Perth magistrate on January 24. Coyne attacked umpire MARK GILDAY fracturing his jaw in three places. It occurred in the fourth quarter of a D-reserves game when Coyne was about to be sent off.

Nathan Brown strikes back problem
MIKE SHEAHAN revealed in the January 30 Herald Sun that a back problem alarmingly similar to the condition that forced Test faster bowler BRETT LEE out of cricket for six weeks has struck stylish Bulldog NATHAN BROWN.

The problem flared about two weeks before Christmas and Nathan is no more than hopeful of starting the AFL premiership season on March 31.

They said it ...
PETER MITCHELL, The Courier Mail, January 26
— Seven said matching the News consortium offer would have cost it $89 million a year, not including marketing and production costs. The $89 million would have included $46 million cash and $10 million in contra airtime per year, for five weekly matches.

In addition, Seven would have been required to invest a further $33 million cash in rights fees each year. The network said to outlay so much money would "have compromised Seven's long-term profitability and significantly eroded shareholder value".

Although all details are not yet set in concrete, it is believed Nine will broadcast one AFL game on Friday nights and two on Sundays.

PATRICK SMITH, The Australian, January 26 — At a specially convened commission meeting early last season the AFL powerbrokers were presented with a detailed paper that showed AFL football coverage could be successfully structured around a multi-media alliance. Previously the commission had been keen to ensure that its football coverage remained with one broadcaster for ease of negotiations and assurance of quality and promotion.

However, senior commissioners pushed the plan that said football would benefit locally and internationally if it embraced a philosophy that saw its broadcast rights broken up.

Once the commission decided on this course of action, the paper was distributed to the leading players in the broadcast rights debate. Immediately the new plan appealed to News Ltd, publisher of The Australian, and the Nine Network. It also made it difficult for Seven because it remained committed to winning not only free-to-air but pay-TV as well for its C7 station, which survived only for its AFL content.

In the end Channel Seven lost out on all counts. Foxtel won the pay-TV rights, Telstra is favoured to win Internet broadcasting and Nine and 10 will become the official carriers of AFL football within 12 months. News Ltd and PBL magazines will offer editorial support, especially in the northern states, where AFL football is at its weakest. The deal combined is worth $500 million over five years.

EDDIE McGUIRE, Sunday Sun Herald, January 28 — The fact that it is Australia's only indigenous game is something special.

MICHAEL LYNCH, The Age, Tuesday, January 30 — The figures revealed that last year, soccer was the main sport played by boys nationwide, more popular even than rugby in its New South Wales heartland, and the numbers of players in Victoria was growing.



Don Hanley is new Carlton CEO
With a background of a quarter of a century in football administration, DON HANLY is the new CEO of the Carlton club. Blues president JOHN ELLIOTT announced the appointment on February 2.

The 46-year-old Hanly spent 20 years with the League before his six seasons as CEO at Moorabbin. He was one of several casualties during the clean out which the St Kilda club went under last October. Hanly who starts with the Blues on Wednesday (7th) replaces JOHN GURRIERI who resigned in December after heading the Carlton administration for only 10 months.

Three new League life members
The League at its Annual General Meeting on March 22nd will elevate BOB HAMMOND, GREG SEWELL and RON RICHARDS to Life Membership.

Hammond served as the inaugural chairman of the Adelaide club (1991-2000) following a distinguished career in the SANFL as a three-time premiership player with North Adelaide in his 234 games for the Roosters, plus 14 with Norwood and 7 State matches. Bob in six years at Norwood coached the Redlegs to flags in 1975 and 1978. He also coached Sydney for eight matches after a mid-season disruption of the Swans in 1984.

GREG SEWELL played 171 games for Essendon (1952-61) and later served as vice-president and its president (1981-87).

RON RICHARDS played 143 games for Collingwood (1947-56) including the 1953 premiership win under the captaincy of his famous brother Lou. Ron following his playing career coached the Magpie Under 19 side, then the Reserves and has been Chairman of Selectors for the club since 1984.

Changes to Talking Footy

BRUCE McAVANEY after a two-year layoff will return to host Seven's Talking Footy when it resumes on Monday, April 2 – McAvaney was chosen over last year's host GERARD HEALY.

CAROLINE WILSON the chief football writer from The Age and Fairfax columnist ROBERT WALLS will be the new members of the couch as the "thinking person's" TV program enters its seven season.

Wilson replaces Herald Sun feature writer MIKE SHEAHAN who had been with Talking Footy since its inception. GERARD HEALY the host for last year was also overlooked in the makeover.

(A fortnight later, Talking Footy was dumped to 11.30pm on Tuesday.)

It was reported that Sheahan is likely to move camps as a panellist across to Nine's Sunday morning football program seen across the southern states.

Changes between broadcasters can be expected as Seven's last season of AFL coverage winds down before the News Ltd-consortium of Nine-Ten-Foxtel take over in 2002. Several commentators are expected to be sought by rivals.

The respected Robert Walls previously with Nine signed a one-year contract with Seven and appears set for a return to Channel Nine when the new rights deal begins next year.

Stab Kicks ...

Back to the *WAFL*
As the Perth competition returned to its time-worn name as the *WAFL* the future of SWAN DISTRICTS seemed more secure when they announced a season 2000 profit of $412,139, a figure assisted with the inclusion of $178,103 from the Project 2000 fundraiser and a write-off of the $187,500 debt from the WA Football Commission.

Kangas lose Tregenza for season
East Fremantle recruit ROD TREGENZA will be lost to the Kangaroos for season 2001 after he tore the cruciate ligament in his knee in a collision during an intra-club trial – Tregenza twice topped the goalkicking in the WAFL ...

Trent Croad in hospital
Hawthorn's highly-rated TRENT CROAD was hospitalised with an infection to his right knee which may have stemmed from a kick to his lower leg during a game last year. A mosquito bite during a January backpacking trip to Thailand was thought to have contributed to the infection. However, Trent returned to training on Monday (5th) and will proceed with light work after confirmation he had staphyloccus aureas, which causes boils and internal abscesses – it was a painful recurrence of an earlier infection ...

Complaints on Bomber website
Following complaints, Essendon has been forced to monitor and remove offensive postings to its website chat room ...

Heady as Eagles runner
BRETT HEADY will be a runner for West Coast — the 156-game veteran (1990-99) will run in tandem with ANDY LOVELL ...

Port players in pub brawl
Of 13 Port Adelaide players at Adelaide's General Havelock Hotel on Saturday night (3rd) several became involved in a brawl with hotel bouncers when staff tried to eject some players – STEVE BROSNAN is understood to have suffered a broken nose, while PETER BURGOYNE was sporting a black eye. Burgoyne was suspended on Monday by the club, while other players were fined ...

Free commuter news sheets in Melbourne
Following a successful overseas trend in London, New York and Stockholm, rival newspapers in Melbourne launched free commuter CBD editions on Monday (5th) – the Herald and Weekly Times with a run of about 60,000 copies published MX in the afternoon with a focus on lifestyle and entertainment, while John Fairfax, publisher of The Age, produced their morning tabloid Melbourne Express which highlights entertainment and sport.

NBC-TV launches *XFL* in United States
The NBC television network in partnership with World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc, launched a more brash and aggressive form of football on network TV in the United States on Saturday night – a sort of World Championship Wrestling meets Gridiron, called the XFL football league.

NBC used a "skycam" and in the broadcast from Las Vegas, 26 players in the game wore microphones. The XFL season is planned for 10 regular-season games, playoffs and a championship game. Teams which took part in the debut were, the New York-New Jersey Hitmen, Las Vegas Outlaws, Orlando Rage and Chicago Enforcers.

Mark Fraser with the whistle
The man with the whistle – at Optus Oval on the weekend when the Bombers went through an intra-club trial, blowing the whistle in the centre was MARK FRASER ...

They said it ...
GLENN McFARLANE & DAMIEN BARRETT, Sunday Herald Sun, February 4
— As we have seen, anything can happen. Who would have thought Channel Seven would have lost the TV rights after committing $20 million for the rights to bid last? Supporters must not be allowed to be lulled into a false sense of security regarding their club, either. Their current apathy needs to be addressed.

Their clubs – particularly those most vulnerable in St Kilda, Geelong, the Kangaroos and Western Bulldogs – desperately need them to buy memberships.
Season tickets remain the lifeblood of a team and provide massive cash flow. New Saints president Rod Butterss felt compelled to make this point this week in a desperate plea of his club's supporters.

ROD BUTTERSS, St Kilda president, AAP, Thursday, February 1 — "Unless we get up to 25,000 (members) we could end up as the Southport Saints and we don't want to do that.".

Subscriber PETER COATMAN from Melbourne responding to the 'Visions of the Past' question (Diary #254), noted that the sports section of Thursday's Age (Feb 1) in Geoff McClure's Sporting Life feature carried a par relating to David Barham of AFL Films quitting as boss of  Seven's footy coverage, which said:

"Truth is that no-one is perfectly sure how the archives issue will be sorted out because although the AFL owns all matches since 1987, all pre-1987 tapes are the property of Channel Seven which, to complicate matters further, also has a 40 per cent-plus share in AFL Films."

Peter's note concluded, "I don't know whether this clarifies anything or not!"

Docklands payment
News Corp to pay AFL's $30 million
League may lose $24m over two years

The AFL's new TV broadcasting rights partner News Corporation have eased financial pressure on League borrowings which is estimated will save each member club up to $150,000.

News Corp have agreed to pay the first $30 million due from the AFL to Colonial as part of the original deal for which the League eventually will secure freehold of the Docklands stadium.

On Wednesday (7th) CAROLINE WILSON chief footballer writer of The Age: reported: "Before signing the historic new media deal with News Corp, the AFL had been facing a massive bank loan to meet the March Colonial payment following its inability to sell the heritage-listed Waverley Park."

"AFL chief executive WAYNE JACKSON, who yesterday announced that the League would lose up to $24 million over two years, having pledged extra money totalling an estimated $8 million to the 16 clubs at the end of this season, confirmed that the News Corp consortium which includes the Nine and Ten networks and Foxtel, would cover the Colonial Stadium payment, saving the AFL a massive interest bill."

"Once marketing and advertising estimates are removed from the total cash value of the media deal is expected to total almost $80 million. The AFL will receive more than $30 million from the consortium this year and the other half in 2002.

The AFL is negotiating with state and local government and Heritage Victoria over the Waverley issue and Jackson hopes agreement could be reached within six months."

AFL takes up rugby league slack
ABC Radio on their key stations in Sydney and Brisbane will now carry regular broadcasts of AFL matches on Saturday. Australian Football will benefit following the withdrawal from afternoon matches by rugby league.

While the announcement was made on Wednesday (7th) that this change would occur, it was not made clear if the limited cover of Sunday AFL matches carried last year by the ABC News Radio frequencies will continue in the states above the Murray and in the Northern Territory.

Kangaroos' $1.14 million loss
Serious financial problems for the Kangaroos were exposed on February 10 when MIKE SHEAHAN in the Herald Sun revealed the club will report a trading loss of $1.14 million for the 2000 season.

This follows a $68,000 profit in the Roos' premiership year of 1999.

Sheahan reported the financial predicament was so acute late last year when there was a shortfall on player payments, two directors including chairman ANDREW CARTER injected $250,000 of their own money to revive the cash flow.

The Kangas suffered a significant shortfall in several areas for which they had budgeted – membership was down by $330,000, gate receipts by $550,000 while returns from reserved seating at Colonial Stadium was short by $150,000. Figures reported by Mike Sheahan included the loss of $38,000 on the Round 10 game against Fremantle at the MCG, while the late-season Round 21 game versus Collingwood at Docklands cost the Roos $701 to stage when only 30,003 attended on Sunday July 30.

Though the Kangaroos received $836,000 in AFL grants for playing four matches in Sydney last year, the exercise is on hold with the club opting to play only two games at the SCG in 2001, with a further two at Manuka Oval in Canberra.
The trend is not bright as supporters of the blue-and-white are traditionally late in signing on as members for a new season. Only 8500 of a target of 25,500 have so far registered for 2001.

Saturday arvo telecasts in 2002

The League has softened its stance to a long-standing TV blackout on Saturday to protect grassroots football across the southern parts of Australia. This was revealed when Channel Ten announced last week that when the new TV deal begins in 2002, live telecasts will be brought into Melbourne. Up to 12 Saturday afternoon games from Perth, and possibly Adelaide are expected.

GREG DENHAM reported in The Age: AFL football operations manager ANDREW DEMETRIOU will schedule up to 10 Saturday afternoon games involving West Coast and Fremantle from Subiaco Oval next season.

The SANFL is said to be keen for both the Crows and Port Adelaide to play some Saturday afternoon home games.

BEVAN EAKINS reported in The West Australian: The WA Football Commission, the WAFL and local clubs were informed of the decision about two weeks ago.

Football Victoria chief executive KEN GANNON said he was nervous about the AFL's decision to go head-to-head with community football.

AFL communications manager TONY PEEK said research carried out over the past four years in rural areas indicated live AFL telecasts did not hinder local football.

Channel Ten may also program at least 10 double-headers on Saturdays in the 2002 season with a news break between interstate games televised live and its Saturday night coverage.

The AFL will not schedule Saturday afternoon games in Sydney or Brisbane next year because of the Lions' preference for Saturday night and the Swans' desire to play on Sunday.

MCG plans unveiled
The AFL, cricket authorities and MCG tenant clubs received their first comprehensive look at the $400 million plan to redevelop the Melbourne Cricket Ground last Thursday (8th).

KAREN LYON reported in The Age: Under the ambitious plan, the Olympic and Ponsford stands, as well as the members' pavilion, will be razed and rebuilt in time for Melbourne to host the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Under the plans, the famous Long Room will be rebuilt, becoming more spacious, with more room to exhibit the club's impressive memorabilia collection. Redevelopment of the MCG will also increase the crowd capacity of the ground by about 5000.

Demons may lose heavily on pokies
MELBOURNE FC are facing a financial loss of at least $850,000 from the decision of the Victorian government to ban licences for new poker machines in five key state areas – Maribyrnong, Greater Dandenong, Darebin and regional areas of Bass Coast and La Trobe.

For five years the Demons have planned a social club, investing some $2.5 million in the venture. Their current location in the northern Melbourne suburb of Fawkner falls within the City of Darebin, which is one of the areas the government designated as one of the state's most economically deprived and one of the five areas falling under the government cap where no new pokie venues can open.

Stab Kicks ...

Mayne reinstated to AFLQ
MAYNE, Queensland's oldest club has been reinstated to the State League expanding the 2001 competition to 10 clubs. AFL Queensland chairman DARRYL BRAY was reported as saying the readmission of Mayne was not due to any decision of the Federal Court, however a Wednesday (7th) decision was in favour of the Mayne club which was awarded a settlement of $40,000. The club was cut in 1999 for failing to meet AFLQ requirements and fought the League through the courts for reinstatement. Two licences remain to be taken and three Brisbane-based clubs, including MOUNT GRAVATT have applied. The AFLQ competition is slated to start its 2001 season on April 7.

Around the traps ...
** The Game, Channel Seven's flagship one-hour program moves to Friday night at 7.30pm when it returns on March 30 ... ** Nine on Feb 7 sacked STEVE PERKIN, producer for the past three years of the top-rating FOOTY SHOW and replaced him with COS CARDONE, the 31-year old former South Australian TV sports journalist who is also ear-marked as production boss of Nine's AFL coverage which begins in 2002 ... ** have the northern states seen the last of Rex Hunt's FOOTY PANEL on Sunday? – rugby union highlight packages of the Super 12s are programmed at 11am from February 25 through May 27 which by then we'll be heading into Round 10 ... ** seems as though we can also farewell GAMEDAY following Seven's axing of JOHN LONGMIRE and TODD VINEY ... PAUL SALMON is a new addition to the Seven commentary roster – the Fish will also host AROUND THE GROUNDS on Saturday afternoons ... ** COLLINGWOOD launch their new-look Ansett Cup strip —a larger Magpie on the guernsey which VFL club Williamstown will wear when it plays in Collingwood curtain-raisers ... ** West Coast voted DEAN KEMP and BEN COUSINS as joint captains for the new season; GLEN JAKOVICH, DAVID WIRRPUNDA and PETER MATERA will be vice-captains ... ** Fremantle have stuck with ADRIAN FLETCHER and SHAUN McMANUS, their leaders of 2000; the returning PETER BELL will share vice-captaincy with JASON NORRISH ... ** coach PETER SCHWAB has confirmed that SHANE CRAWFORD will lead Hawthorn for a third season, with NICK HOLLAND and MARK GRAHAM continuing as vice-captains.

Hawks promote John Hook
HAWTHORN have promoted JOHN HOOK to business operations manager. The 48-year-old Hook has been football manager since 1988. Hook will work closely with chief executive MICHAEL BROWN and will also oversee the operations of the VFL Box Hill club, the Hawks' social club as well dealing with major AFL issues and salary cap management.

WAFL retains Peel Thunder
The WAFL rejected a move by the West Australian Football Commission to reduce the Perth-based competition to eight clubs at the end of 2001. Peel Thunder which joined the WAFL in 1997 was felt to be the most likely club to be cut. The WAFL board on Monday (12th) ruled the only way the competition can be reduced is if two clubs merge or one of the nine clubs closes its doors. The WAFC has offered financial incentives of $750,000 to any clubs prepared to merge.

Swans narrowly beat Essendon
Though marred by persistent rain, 12,460 attended the boutique-sized North Sydney Oval on Saturday (10th) when Sydney and Essendon okayed an often frantic 15-a-side trial in which the Swans ended eight points in front, SYDNEY 13.9-87, ESSENDON 11.13-79.

They said it ...
DAMIAN BARRETT, Sunday Herald Sun, February 11
— Sustained abuse of AFL umpires will not be tolerated in 2001, with the game's controllers being ordered to toughen the penalties imposed on players who dispute their decisions.
Umpires director Jeff Gieschen said players had been allowed for too long to verbally attack umpires and that continuation of a lenient approach would send the wrong message to players in junior competitions.

Coca Cola released from agreement
CUB is new AFL Premier Partner

A new four-year multi-million deal will bring the return of CARLTON & UNITED BREWERIES as the AFL's naming rights sponsor this season. The League announced on Monday (19th) that "the AFL is delighted to welcome CUB back on board as our Premier Partner."

CUB replaces Coca Cola which had indicated to the League midway through last year a desire to relinquish the final season of its contract due to expire at the end of 2001. Coca Cola which has been the major sponsor of the AFL for five seasons since 1996 will continue as a secondary sponsor for the next four years under a newly signed deal.

Arrangements with CUB for a contract believed to be worth $35 million, grants the company with naming rights to the premiership season, finals series, grand final and International Rules games against Ireland – CUB have a two year extension option.

EMMA QUAYLE reported in The Age: "While it hasn't been decided how CUB will apply its naming rights – what the competition will be called – the deal has created logistical problems, with the League having already distributed season fixtures and prepared invitations bearing the Coca Cola logo."

CUB have been in sponsorship with the League since 1985, and is involved with 13 of the 16 AFL clubs. They are the major sponsor of the Brisbane Lions.

'Roos to rattle the tins
The cash-strapped Kangaroos in an appeal to its supporters are poised to launch their BEWARE campaign. With a logo designed as a road sign, the BEWARE operation aims to lift membership to stabilise a financial predicament.
Last week it was estimated that the Kangaroos will report a loss of $1.14 million for season 2000.

MARK ROBINSON in the Herald Sun reporting on the activity quoted Kangaroo chief executive GREG MILLER: "The campaign is a call to arms of all our supporters and members out there who have enjoyed watching the club over the past decade, over the past 100 years I guess, to be aware of the situation."

The Roos BEWARE campaign wants to lift this season's membership to about 29,000 and attract 100 to the corporate Vice-Presidents club at $8500 each.

CAROLINE WILSON for The Age reported that Miller could leave the Roos as early as the end of this season — Miller, who said he had taken responsibility for the club's $1.14 million loss in 2000, told The Age: "I'm only going to be here for the short term. My goal is to identify new leaders for the club and finding a replacement with a view to stepping back after one more season or perhaps two.

Ansett Australia Cup

Week One – Fri-Sat-Sun, February 16-17-18.
<||> In torrential rain on Friday night, Geelong and Sydney played the Ansett Cup opener in some of the worst conditions experienced for a game. The Swans with import PAUL WILLIAMS in great form were too efficient at Marrara Oval in Darwin and swam home by 13 points. In the tropical conditions both sides made extensive use of eight interchange players.
SYDNEY 6.11-47, best, Maxfield, Schwass, Dunkley, GEELONG 4.10-34, best, Burns, Corey, Graham, At Marrara: 7,739.

<||> With both teams without many regulars the Friday night contest in good conditions at Subiaco Oval turned the spotlight on former Collingwood forward SAVERIO ROCCA. The 'Big Sav' provided four last half goals as the Kangaroos powered away for a convincing win by 49pts over the Eagles. From a spirited first half, five players will face the Tribunal.
KANGAROOS 14.12-96 (Rocca 4, Abraham 2) best, Harvey, Pickett, Colbert, WEST COAST 6.11-47 (Peter Matera 2) best, Wirrpunda, Glass, Banfield. At Subiaco: 16,905. Reports: Dylan Smith (K) for striking Peter Matera (W) in the first quarter. Trent Carroll (F) for striking Leigh Colbert (K) in the second quarter. Jess Sinclair (K) and Adam Simpson (K) for wrestling Peter Matera (W) in the second term. Peter Matera (W) for wrestling Adam Simpson (K) in the second term. At Wednesday's Tribunal, TRENT CARROLL (W) was suspended two matches for striking LEIGH COLBERT (K) while DYLAN SMITH (K) was cleared of striking PETER MATERA (W). On wrestling charges PETER MATERA (W), JESS SINCLAIR (K) and ADAM SIMPSON (K) accepted first-charge fines of $1200 each. From a video review, five players pleaded guilty for involvement in a melee. BRENT HARVEY (K) and BYRON PICKETT (K) were both fined $2000 while TROY MAKEPEACE (K), DANIEL KERR (W) and CHAD FLETCHER (W) were each fined $1200.

<||> Collingwood in perfect conditions at Colonial Stadium on Friday night impressed as they steam-rolled St Kilda. The anticipated 'magic' of the Malcolm Blight-coached Saints was hard to find and they could not contain the spirit of the Magpies led in brilliant fashion by NATHAN BUCKLEY who collected 34 possessions. St Kilda's forward line, so ineffective last season, was hardly any better. BARRY HALL (St Kilda) became the first to be booked for the year – for striking Collingwood's JARROD MOLLOY in the last term.
COLLINGWOOD 12.14-86 (Tarrant 3) best, Buckley, O’Bree, Betheras¸ ST KILDA 10.8-68 (Burke 2, Davis 2) best, Thompson, Loewe, Burke. At Docklands: 30,472. Report:  Barry Hall (S) for striking Jarrod Molloy (C) in the fourth quarter On Tuesday, BARRY HALL (S) was cleared of the charge.

<||> MELBOURNE, last year's premiership runners-up easily defeated he Dockers at Subiaco Oval on
Saturday night in fine conditions. Key interest was the use of JEFF FARMER in an on-the-ball role for the Demons, with the Wizard vying for honours with GUY RIGONI on the night. Fremantle, apart from promising signs from TONY MODRA (three goals) and TROY COOK still have a way to go — Melbourne should be up near the top for another season.
MELBOURNE 14.14-98 (Schwarz 3) best, Rigoni, Farmer, White, FREMANTLE 8.9-57 (Modra 3) best, Cook, Bell, Fletcher. At Subiaco: 11,392. Report: Leigh Brown (F) for tripping David Schwarz (M) in the fourth quarter. At the Tribunal on Tuesday, LEIGH BROWN (F) was suspended for two matches for tripping DAVID SCHWARZ (M).

<||> Port Adelaide devastated Essendon on Saturday night in good conditions at Football Park. Striving to atone for their last season's poor showing Port were determined, sharper and match primed to hand the Bombers their biggest thrashing in two years. It opened the way for all clubs and sent a wake-up call to the reigning premiers. What's that old saying? — "heads as big as boarding-house puddings" ...
PORT 16.25-121 (Cockatoo-Collins 2, Harwood 2, James 2, Tredrea 2, Wanganeen 2) best, James, Kingsley, Dew, ESSENDON 5.12-42 (Lloyd 2) best, J.Johnson, Rioli. At Football Park: 19,498.

<||> Only for wayward kicking, the Brisbane Lions would have put Adelaide away much earlier in their late Saturday match played at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington to a disappointing 7,920 which may spell doom for future games in NZ. Brisbane with a great defence anchored by JUSTIN LEPPITISCH were too strong for the Crow forwards. Leppitsch however strained a hamstring likely to sideline him for some weeks. DANIEL BRADSHAW was on target with five goals in a very easy win for the Lions.
BRISBANE 16.18-114 (Bradshaw 5, Brown 2) best, Voss, Akermanis, Black, ADELAIDE 10.13-73 (K.Johnson 2) best, K.Johnson, Bode, McLeod. At Westpac, Wellington: 7,920.

<||> Carlton in the Saturday afternoon outing at Colonial Stadium were lifted to a 14pt win when JIM PLUNKETT a discarded Bulldog rose to taunt his former teammates when the Dogs was caught flat-footed in the early part. Plunkett, taken as a rookie by the Blues in December collected 24 midfield possessions and was devastating in the first half against SCOTT WEST. Chief cause for satisfaction by Carlton was the performance of their youngsters, filling gaps left by seasoned stars. BRENDON FEVOLA gave further hopes with a four goal showing, when he combined well up forward with MARK PORTER.
CARLTON 16.10-106 (Fevola 5, Allan 2, Freeborn 2) best, Camporeale, Plunkett, Fevola, BULLDOGS 14.8-92 (Johnson 6, Fuller 2) best, Johnson, West, Croft. At Docklands: 15,815.

<||> LUKE McPHARLIN was instrumental to Hawthorn's 44pt win over Richmond on Sunday afternoon at York Park in Launceston which is to become the League's 35th venue. The best crowd since 1960 turned out with 13,958 attending. The 19-year-old McPharlin who played four senior games in his debut season last year, booted five goals for the Hawks after being moved to centre half-forward in the second quarter. Richmond's BEN HOLLAND from an accidental clash in the second quarter with teammate MARK CHAFFEY suffered a fractured cheekbone below his left eye which was reported as relatively minor. The Tigers had problems at both ends, not helped by their injury list.
HAWTHORN 13.11-89 (McPharlin 5) best, McPharlin, Tallis, Croad, RICHMOND 6.9-45 (Holland 2, Rogers 2, Tivendale 2) best, Ottens, Knights, Tivendale. At York Park: 13,958.

Stab Kicks ...

K-Rock leads the way from Darwin
Geelong's K-ROCK.FM displayed initiative with a match broadcast of the Friday night game from Darwin which was also available through the Geelong FC website. SAM KEKOVICH, PETER LE GRAND and MICHAEL TURNER provided the commentary for the welcome return of King Footy to a legion of starved footy fans across the Internet.

Everything old is new again
The "new-look" Collingwood guernseys will in fact see a return to the one worn in 1917 and 1928-29. The traditional white-on-black stripes reverse the black-on-white stripes worn since the 1930s. A new Ansett Cup jumper features a swooping Magpie emblem and will also be worn by Collingwood's sister VFL club Williamstown.

Hockey and netball boots footy in Tassy
ABC-TV in Tasmania will not telecast local matches this season, moving to televise Southern A Grade hockey and Tasmanian Netball League matches instead ...

Two-a-day at Docklands
The transfer of the 3rd round Ansett Cup Geelong-Port Adelaide fixture on Saturday March 3 from Kardinia Park to Docklands will result in two matches being played at the venue on the same day. Geelong will play Port starting at 12.40pm with the Kangaroos versus Collingwood fixture that night at 7.40pm.

During the summer a poisonous weed ravaged the playing surface at Geelong. It still needs further time to be ready for the start of the season. The Cats are due to play West Coast at home on Sunday, April 1.

Polly to sell his awards
To finance his retirement, footy legend GRAHAM FARMER is putting his vast collection of awards up for sale. The 65-year Farmer who had heart surgery several months ago and now lives on a pension hopes a sale may bring as much as $1 million. He has three Sandover (1956, '57 and '60) and four Simpson Medals (1956, '58, '59 and '69), the 1956 Tassie Medal and 10 fairest-and-best awards, seven from East Perth, two from Geelong and one from West Perth. Collingwood's LEN THOMPSON sold his 1972 Brownlow two years ago for $74,000 while last year South Melbourne's FRED GOLDSMITH raised $43,700 for his 1955 Brownlow.

Cold? – w
hen Tommy wore a cardigan ...
Chatting with master statsman COL HUTCHINSON on Monday, that conditions at Marrara Oval on Friday night for the Geelong-Sydney contest in Darwin were among the worst experienced for any VFL-AFL match – Col said "probably not". He went on, "what about the night in 1977 when Geelong played Hawthorn when KEVIN SHEEHAN playing for the Cats was treated for frostbite" – I asked Col if it was cold? – he said "it was so cold that night at Waverley, TOMMY HAFEY was wearing a cardigan!" ... Col also pointed me to the fact that four umpires are running a rotation for the three-man system during the early round-robin part of the Ansett Cup series. The panel will revert to three umpires for the semi-finals and grand final ... another note for statophiles, the correct score for West Coast at half-time against the Kangaroos on Friday was 4.10 — some reports stated 4.9 ... in consultation with Col, and to remove confusion, it was determined that reports for the Ansett Cup series would note the Group under which the match was being played, but make no reference to a match number ...

15 metres billboard for Lions
The BRISBANE LIONS launched an aggressive advertising campaign when they unveiled a 15m billboard on Sandgate Road in Clayfield featuring captain MICHAEL VOSS and the club's new slogan "AFL ... Better Action, Better Venue, Better Live ... Better Get a Ticket". A series of billboards with the same focus will be displayed at prominent locations throughout Brisbane.

** A torn hamstring will keep St Kilda captain ROBERT HARVEY out of the early Ansett Cup action ... ** Carlton confirmed the appointment of CRAIG BRADLEY as Captain with STEPHEN SILVAGNI as vice-captain ... ** it was announced on Monday by Port Adelaide that STEPHEN PAXMAN will join WARREN TREDREA as vice-captains to MATTHEW PRIMUS ...

Underwriting York Park games
ABC Online reported the Tasmanian Government could spend up to $500,000 underwriting the two Hawthorn matches being played at York Park in Launceston this year. Depending on tickets sales and sponsorships the funding could reach half a million dollars. Response to the Ansett Cup match on Sunday drew the biggest crowd in the state for 30 years when 13,958 attended boosting hopes for the next Hawk visit on May 6 when they play Adelaide in a premiership match.

Further m
atches in NZ on hold
League officials were disappointed to the response of only 7,920 which attended the Saturday Ansett Cup game at Westpac Stadium in Wellington. The AFL will closely review the scheduling of more games in New Zealand.

They said it ...
PATRICK SMITH, The Australian, February 20 — Football, an increasingly tense mix of business and sport, has always been a paradox. For most of its history it has touted that football made men of boys yet constantly treated players as though they were forever children.
You are allowed as a player to legally bump an opponent unconscious yet forbidden to hold his jumper between your thumb and index finger. Football administrators now pay their stars millions of dollars a season and scratch their heads when the club's balance sheet doesn't show a profit.
It seems incomprehensible that a sport which is proving so attractive to broadcasters and sponsors is – in the words of Kangaroos chief executive Greg Miller – in danger of seeing a powerful playing club spiral out of existence.
It is fair to ask just how much money does the AFL need to work properly? How is it that $100 million a year plus various sponsorships, memberships and gate receipts is no guarantee that clubs will not collapse?

Reports in finals to be tougher
AFL Football Operations Manager ANDREW DEMETRIOU on Monday (26th) announced the AFL Tribunal would follow two new recommendations for the 2001 season when dealing with players found guilty of a reportable offence.

The AFL Tribunal panel met Sunday to discuss all matters relating to the game's judiciary system and Mr Demetriou said all clubs had now been advised of the following alterations:

1 – Any player found guilty of a reportable offence in the Grand Final will receive a more severe penalty than the penalty he would have received if found guilty of a similar offence during a Home and Away match.

2 – Any player found guilty of a reportable offence in a Home and Away or Finals match, and subsequently suspended, may not necessarily be permitted to serve that suspension during the pre-season competition only.

"There was a strong belief from the meeting that the Grand Final is our showpiece game for the year and, especially with the stakes involved for clubs in the pursuit of a premiership, must not be allowed to be decided by on-field violence as against the skill of the teams," Mr Demetriou said.

"As such, illegal incidents will be treated much more severely to recognise the fact that the Grand Final should be the high point to the AFL year," he said.
Mr Demetriou said Ian Hill QC had also been appointed to the AFL Tribunal as a panel member for 2001.

Finally, spitting has been deleted from those charges where a player may take an automatic monetary penalty. Any future cases of spitting will now be referred to the tribunal for a hearing.

Commissioner under challenge?
Two AFL Commissioners, TERRY O'CONNOR and BILL KELTY are likely to stand for re-election at the AFL's AGM on March 22. Both have indicated they want another three-year term.

However, lobbying was expected to result in a challenge to WA's O'Connor at a meeting called by Carlton president JOHN ELLIOTT to be held on Tuesday (27th) at the Australia Club in Melbourne. O'Connor, a QC, has been a Commissioner since 1993.

PATRICK SMITH in The Australian on February 21 said: "O'Connor's sins as perceived by some clubs are these: he has never supported Victorian football, alienated Victorian football people with his abrasive manner, offended many presidents with his verbal savaging of Gutnick at the final presidents-commission information meeting last year, and was unimpressive in his role as head of the study of football in NSW and the ACT. Just why that means non-Victorian clubs would move against him is unclear."

Ansett Australia Cup

Week Two – Fri-Sat-Sun, February 23-24-25.
<||> Port advanced when they outlasted a fighting Sydney to win by five points in good conditions at Football Park on Friday night. Port dominated the first half after which the Swans fought back but inaccurate kicking for goal proved costly. After kicking three goals, star Port forward WARREN TREDREA was stretchered in third term with a dislocated left kneecap. Sydney also suffered injuries to ANDREW DUNKLEY (hip and thigh) and GREG STAFFORD (twisted left ankle).
PORT 17.10-112 (Wanganeen 4, Tredrea 3) best, Dew, Kingsley, Montgomery, SYDNEY 15.17-107 (Williams 4, O’Loughlin 2) best, Williams, O’Loughlin, Kelly. At Football Park: 15,709.

<||> The Bombers slipped to their second successive loss when Geelong exploited Essendon's lack of height in the backline in good conditions at Colonial Stadium on Friday night. The Cats won the game in the second term with five straight goals while the Dons until half time had only one goal from 12 shots. Things are unlikely to improve for the Bombers with MARK MERCURI (groin), JOE MISITI (knee), JUSTIN BLUMFIELD (thigh), DAVID HILLE (ankle) and ADAM RAMANAUSKAS all nursing wounds at the end of the match.
GEELONG 17.10-112 (Mooney 4, Burns 4) best, Sholl, King, Milburn, ESSENDON 12.18-90 (Lloyd 4) best, Mercuri, Rioli, M.Johnson. Reports: Adam Houlihan (G) for tripping Damien Peverill (E) in the first quarter. ADAM HOULIHAN (G) was suspended for one match. At Docklands: 22,829.

<||> The Crows while controlling play in the first half never broke away from Carlton in the Saturday afternoon game played at Optus Oval in fine conditions. The Blues lifted in the third term when their trio of stars, McKay, Bradley and Camporeale ran the ball against little pressure and it was enough to get them over the line. Adelaide at least showed improvement on their previous outing against Brisbane in Wellington.
CARLTON 10.12-72 (Whitnall 3, Hulme 2) best, McKay, Christou, Camporeale, ADELAIDE 9.12-66 (Bassett 2, Edwards 2) best, Edwards, McLeod, Stenglein. At Princes Park: 7,291.

<||> Warm conditions were the order at Manuka Oval for the mid-Saturday afternoon contest in Canberra where COREY McKERNAN again gave promise for the Roo fans with four goals. The lead see-sawed throughout with the Kangas just shading an improving St Kilda. The Saints however were on the back foot when veteran STEWART LOEWE left in the first half, suffering a hamstring injury.
KANGAROOS 14.12-96 (McKernan 4) best, King,  (McKernan 4) best, King, McKernan, Grant, ST KILDA 12.9-81 (Burke 2, Hayes 2) best, Burke, Delaney, Hayes. At Manuka Oval: 8,157.

<||> Battling both the Bulldogs and the pelting rain from Cyclone Abigail proved too much for the Brisbane Lions on Saturday night at Cazaly Oval in Cairns. Earlier, torrential rain threatened to postpone the game and the crowd was well down on expectations. Brisbane continued their puzzling off-target dilemma landing a mid-game 11 successive behinds before their fifth goal late in the last quarter. Even so, the Bulldogs had not wrapped it up until ADAM CONTESSA's match-turning smother on a clearing kick from MARCUS ASHCROFT in the last term went to BRAD JOHNSON who goaled with a long bomb. Soon after NATHAN EAGLETON sealed it for the Doggies with another long shot which went through an unguarded goal.
BULLDOGS 9.7-61 (Eagleton 3) best, Eagleton, Murphy, S.West, BRISBANE 5.15-45, best, Leppitsch, White, Voss. At Cazaly Oval, Cairns: 5,894.

<||> The Eagles were guilty of another second-half fade-out and ended being clipped by Collingwood in the closest Ansett Cup finish so far this year. Played on a firm Subiaco surface, the Pies swept back in the second term when a strong marking JARROD MOLLOY came under notice. The second half became an arm wrestle as goals were traded. Collingwood ruckman JOSH FRASER who was out on his feet, gained the crucial deciding goal moments before the siren. The Magpies' NICK DAVIS became another knee victim — he was carried off before half-time.
COLLINGWOOD 12.8-80 (Molloy 2, Holland 2, Scotland 2) best, Wakelin, Buckley, Fraser, WEST COAST 12.6-78 (Peter Matera 3, Fletcher 3) best, Morrison, Peter Matera, Gardiner. At Subiaco: 16,090.

<||> The Dockers comprehensively beat the Hawks in a boilover on Sunday night in good conditions at Subiaco. PETER BELL confirmed the value of his transfer back to Freo from the Roos as he combined with Cook, Norrish and Fletcher to outclass Hawthorn's midfield. Though kicking only one goal in the last half, Fremantle gave signs of marked improvement. Whether they can carry that across the Nullarbor is another thing. Hawthorn were most disappointing.
FREMANTLE 10.12-72 (Modra 2, Pavlich 2, Bell 2) best, Cook, Bell, Black, HAWTHORN 5.16-46 (Holland 2, Crawford 2) best, Lord, Harford, Smith. At Subiaco: 9,193.

<||> The old-firm of WAYNE CAMPBELL, MATTHEW KNIGHTS and NICK DAFFY combined to provide Richmond's forward drive to bring the Tigers their first pre-season win (after five losses) since the 1999 opener. Played in good conditions on Sunday afternoon at Optus Oval, the Tigers also exploited the Ansett Cup only trial ruck rule – no line through the centre circle – to double-team on Melbourne's JEFF WHITE, preventing him from competing at bounces. The Demons spent much of the game struggling to find any real winners. JEFF FARMER (Mel) was reported in the first 10 minutes of the match for charging NICK DAFFY (Rch).
RICHMOND 14.13-97 (Campbell 3, Rogers 3) best, Campbell, Bowden, King, MELBOURNE 9.11-65 (Farmer 3, Neitz 2) best, Williams, Brown, Nicholson. Report: Jeff Farmer (M) for charging Nick Daffy (R) in the first quarter. JEFF FARMER was suspended for two matches.At Princes Park: 7,875.

Stab Kicks ...

Salary cap rises
It is expected that the $5.2 million salary cap for season 2001 will rise to $5.6m in 2002 and $6.2m in 2003.

90 minute "happy hour" at Docklands
In a bid to draw spectators earlier to Colonial Stadium matches, management for last Friday night's Essendon-Geelong match introduced a "happy hour" between 4.30pm to 6pm. Extra gates were opened, and more open ticket booths were added. Even though the effect was 'marginal' the concept is likely to continue.

Southern FL aligns with Kangaroos
The 15 clubs of Tasmania's Southern Football League have formed an alliance with the North Melbourne Kangaroos, reports the SFL website. In return for each team providing at least 50 members, the Kangaroos will offer their resources to send players and staff to Hobart for functions, clinics and fund raising. The SFL are the first league in Australia to form such an alliance. The Roos aim to have 123 clubs throughout Australia either calling themselves the Kangaroos or wearing the Roo colours.

GREG BAUM reported in The Age that the Commonwealth Bank are endeavouring to find a buyer for the naming rights to Colonial, nee Docklands, nee Victoria Stadium — "The original naming rights deal was reported to be $50 million over five years, though Colonial management maintains that it was not nearly as lucrative. Commonwealth is believed to think that Colonial paid far too much anyway, and is now prepared to onsell the rights for whatever it can get ..." — Commonwealth bought Colonial last year and generally is doing away with the Colonial name.

Tigers win surprise compensation
Easing their loss of $640,000 on last season, RICHMOND won a surprise $200,000 compensation payout from the AFL. The League agreed to several claims by the Tigers including losses suffered when the Round 13 Friday match against Adelaide had been transferred to Docklands. The move enabled the Essendon-Kangaroo match to be played at the MCG on Sunday when 67,152 attended. Richmond in 2000 suffered the transfer of four games to Colonial Stadium; three from Princes Park and one from the MCG.

Lions worried about Gabba restrictions
The Brisbane Lions are concerned that tougher parking restrictions to the precinct surrounding the BCG at Woolloongabba will threaten membership numbers and walk-up sales on AFL match days. Brisbane president GRAEME DOWNIE was quoted: "Night time is a real issue and we are working hard to have the restrictions minimised." The Brisbane City Council brought in the new restrictions last September.

Swans king-hit in pub brawl
Sydney players LEO BARRY and ADAM GOODES received cuts and bruises when they were attacked and king-hit during a brawl at a Coogee nightclub early on Sunday morning. The two players were in different parts of the nightclub when they were reportedly simultaneously king-hit. A large group of Swans had attended a function to celebrate the 21st birthday of JUDE BOLTON and HEATH JAMES. Police were not called to the incident. An internal investigation cleared Sydney players of any wrongdoing.

Around the traps ...
** Collingwood's NICK DAVIS and JAMES CLEMENT were cleared of major knee damage. Davis hyperextending his knee while trying to mark on Saturday night against the Eagles at Subiaco — Clement has a slight tear to his medial ligament — the two lengthened a worrying injury list at Victoria Park which includes: DAMIEN ADKINS (osteitis pubis), SCOTT BURNS (back), PAUL LICURIA (fractured eye socket), MARK RICHARDSON (soreness) and DANNY ROACH (groin) ... ** St Kilda's 32-year-old veteran STEWART LOEWE is expected to recover from a grade two hamstring injury in time for the start of the premiership season ... ** Melbourne's TROY SIMMONDS has a broken bone in his right ankle expected to sideline him six to eight weeks ... ** it was reported that Channel 9 and Western Bulldog midfielder JOSE ROMERO settled a defamation suit by Brisbane Lions' doctor PAUL McCONNELL for an undisclosed sum of money ... ** subscriber JAMES HOTHERSALL reports from Adelaide that SANFL wooden spooners Glenelg played AFLQ club Southport at the Max Basheer Reserve adjacent to Football Park on the weekend. With a noticeable difference in class, Glenelg dealt severely with the Sharks; the SANFL Tigers won 20.9-129 to 4.6-30.

They said it ...
PATRICK SMITH, The Australian, February 21
— "Elliott, who has historically called more meetings than Johnny Tapp ..."

GREG BAUM, The Age, February 23 — "Reportedly, Colonial paid up to $5 million for neon signage around the stadium soon to be known as Whatever. It might be better from now on if the management just put up a chalkboard. More than anything else, this demonstrates the grasping shallowness of the naming-rights business. The value of the names of Victoria Park, Princes Park and the Western Oval did not change as the market changed. They stood for something constant, distinct and evocative. It just wasn't money.

CUB rejects Seven
CARLTON & UNITED BREWERIES, the AFL's premier sponsorship partner for 2001 has rejected a package to place advertisements during League games televised by Channel Seven this season.

CUB's vice president of marketing PAUL KENNEDY was quoted: "It's a commercial decision, we did not see the value in Seven's offer."

Channel Seven confirmed that rival brewer LION NATHAN would be chief sponsor of the network's 2001 AFL telecasts. Lion Nathan which produces Tooheys and Hahn Premium beers is understood to have inked a deal with Seven worth some $4 million. Lion Nathan will also sponsor Rugby coverage on Seven.

In the highly parochial Victorian market Lion Nathan recently won the naming rights to the Melbourne Cup from CUB.'

O'Connor to be axed
The retiring AFL commissioner TERRY O'CONNOR has effectively been sacked as a result of a ballot from a meeting held between club presidents at the Australian Club in Melbourne on February 27.

GREG DENHAM reported in The Age: After the meeting in which 13 clubs attended and 14 clubs voted, Carlton president JOHN ELLIOTT, who instigated and chaired the meeting, said: "A majority of presidents decided to nominate BOB HAMMOND for the position on the commission. The three clubs who will be doing that are the Western Bulldogs, Carlton and Melbourne."

The meeting at the Australian Club was attended by all clubs except Sydney, West Coast and Fremantle. Two clubs abstained and the vote is believed to have been 10-4 in favour of Hammond. Geelong was the only Victorian club not to vote for Hammond.

Bill Kelty, who is seeking another term on the commission is expected to be re-elected unopposed at the AFL annual general meeting to be held on March 22.


MARCH 2001

Sydney profits by $146,000
Sydney FC chief executive KELVIN TEMPLETON announced on Thursday (1st) his club had profited for a fifth successive year.

On an operating revenue of $19.8 million (up from $18.2m), the Swans profited in season 2000 by $146,000.

The club maintains a significant investment in developing the code with costs of $300,000 incurred where the Swans reached 100,000 students in 260 schools last year. This raised the investment by the club over the last four years to $1.25m in development work in Sydney and across NSW.

A reconfiguration of seating at the SCG will provide Sydney with an additional 3,000 seats this season, raising general admission seats from 7,000 to 10,000. Sydney following a four per cent rise in members last year will again cap their membership at 26,000 for a fourth successive year.

Roos still in financial trouble
The Kangaroos launched their BEWARE campaign to supporters on Saturday night at Colonial Stadium before the Ansett Cup match against Collingwood (March 3).

The membership drive for cash and supporters came amid further fears to the financial problems surrounding the Roos.

CAROLINE WILSON reported in The Age on Monday (5th): The depth of the Kangaroos' financial crisis intensified yesterday when it was revealed that the club had not yet paid at least five of its 2001 draft picks and still owed significant amounts to a small group of its senior players for performances last season.
AFL chief executive WAYNE JACKSON on Monday said the League had been having regular meetings with the Kangaroos for some time.

Ansett Australia Cup

Week Three – Fri-Sat-Sun, March 2-3-4.
<||> St Kilda enjoyed its first win since last July when they defeated a depleted West Coast in good conditions at Docklands on Friday night. The forward set-up of PETER EVERITT and AARON HAMILL clicked as Hamill kicked four goals and set up several others. The Eagles were without Cousins, Kemp, Peter and Phillip Matera, Jakovich, McIntosh, Cummings and Carroll. Replacement forward TROY WILSON kicked four goals for the Coasters in a promising outing.
ST KILDA 19.9-123 (Everitt 5, Hamill 3, Callaghan 3) best, Moyle, Callaghan, Voss, WEST COAST 15.7-97 (Wilson 4, Gardiner 3) best, Gardiner, Wilson, Wirrpunda. At Docklands: 8,642.

<||> In a low-scoring slog at Football Park on Friday night, Adelaide had the better of the Bulldogs in good conditions. The Crows boasted two left-foot forwards who scored well, former North Adelaide player CHRIS LADHAMS after two years without a senior game with Essendon kicked four goals while ADAM RICHARDSON (West Adelaide) bagged three. Key interest was the playing of 34-year-old veteran DARREN JARMAN off the Crows' half-back flank. After a slow start, things did not improve for the Bulldogs in the second half.
ADELAIDE 11.11-77 (Ladhams 4, Richardson 3) best, Recite, Jarman, Ladhams, BULLDOGS 9.5-59 (Grant 2, Johnson 2, Fuller 2) best, Romero, Grant, Johnson. At Football Park: 20,169.

<||> BRENDON LADE made his much-awaited comeback for Port Adelaide in good conditions at Docklands on Saturday afternoon. Lade, returning from a broken leg suffered in Round 2 last year played well in the first half kicking two goals. Early in the third term Lade tragically broke his right leg again. In spite of a successful return for Geelong by GARRY HOCKING who picked up 32 possessions, the Cats were flat.
PORT 16.9-105 (Burgoyne 4, Dew 3) best, Dew, Burgoyne, Mead, GEELONG 12.15-87 (Burns 5, Sholl 2) best, Sholl, Burns, Corey. At Docklands: 4,474.

<||> Reigning premiers Essendon showing little of their champagne style, remained winless for the year when Sydney accounted for them in fine and warm conditions on Saturday afternoon at Manuka Oval. The Swans lost PAUL KELLY after only eight minutes of the match when the Sydney captain suffered a grade one hamstring injury. However, the Swans were well served by RYAN FITZGERALD, SIMON FEAST, ADAM GOODES, together with MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN and PAUL WILLIAMS. The lengthy Bomber injury list was added to when key forward MATTHEW LLOYD suffered a problem with his buttock.
SYDNEY 11.17-83 (Ball 2, Fitzgerald 2, Schwass 2) best, O’Loughlin, Cresswell, Goodes, ESSENDON 8.11-59 (J.Johnson 2, Alessio 2) best, Alessio, J.Johnson, Hardwick. At Manuka Oval: 12,358.

<||> The Kangaroos came out victors by 28pts in a hard-fought contest against Collingwood on Saturday night in good conditions at Colonial stadium. WAYNE CAREY in his first match appearance for the year had an impact in the second half when the Magpies threatened — Carey combined well with SAV ROCCA who kicked four goals for the Roos. Though Buckley, O'Bree and Ukovic were prominent for the Pies, the Kangas held the edge.
KANGAROOS 18.12-120 (King 5, Rocca 4) best, King, Stevens, McCartney, COLLINGWOOD 14.8-92 (Buckley 3, Lane 3, Tarrant 3) best, Buckley, Ukovic, O’Bree. At Docklands: 28,983. Reports:
DAVID KING (K) for striking ANDREW DIMATTINA (C) in the third quarter. King at Tuesday's tribunal was suspended for one match. From video, ANTHONY STEVENS (K) for striking NATHAN BUCKLEY (C) in the second quarter. Stevens was suspended for one match.
An AFL investigation resulted in a further Tribunal hearing on Wednesday at which DAVID KING was suspended a further two matches for interfering with Collingwood runner PETER HARRINGTON. The Tribunal deemed one match be served concurrently with the striking charge brought down against King on Tuesday night. ANTHONY STEVENS was found guilty of interfering with Collingwood club doctor PAUL BLACKMAN and fined $3,500.

<||> Brisbane gave a polished team display to defeat Carlton by 13pts in good conditions on Saturday night at the Gabba. The game marked the successful return from long-term injury by Lions' ruckman CLARK KEATING. While ANDREW McKAY picked up a game-high 26 possessions for the Blues and BRENDON FEVOLA kicked four goals, Brisbane controlled proceedings through their running midfield led by Voss, Power, Hart and the tireless SIMON BLACK.
BRISBANE 10.14-74 (Black 2, Bradshaw 2) best, Leppitsch, Black, Keating, CARLTON 9.7-61 (Fevola 4) best, McKay, Camporeale, Christou. At the BCG: 22,957.

<||> The Tigers by their emphatic 94pt blitz of Fremantle in fine conditions of the early Sunday afternoon contest at Princes Park had seemingly clinched a place in the Ansett semi's — as would later unfold, Hawthorn went six points better. Richmond's forward strength of BRAD OTTENS was a standout, however Freo's overall defence and midfield efforts were very disappointing.
RICHMOND 22.13-145 (Ottens 6, Hilton 3, Tivendale 3) best, Ottens, Tivendale, Hilton, FREMANTLE 7.9-51 (Schell 4) best, Black, Schell, Parker. At Princes Park: 4,391. Report: WAYNE CAMPBELL (R) for charging DANIEL METROPOLIS (F) in the first quarter. Campbell was cleared of the charge.

<||> Needing a huge victory to make the semi's, Hawthorn responded with a sustained effort to thrash last year's premiership runner-up Melbourne by 100 points in good conditions at Docklands stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Hawks dominated proceedings with the stats telling the story, Hawthorn 331 disposals, Melbourne 203.
HAWTHORN 21.17-143 (Thompson 6, Dixon 5) best, Thompson, Dixon, Smith, MELBOURNE 6.7-43, best, Thompson, Yze, Brown. At Docklands: 9.813.

Stab Kicks ...
** Surgery to trim cartilage in the left knee of WINSTON ABRAHAM will keep him out of the Kangaroo line-up for six to eight weeks ... ** Port's BRENDON LADE was expected to undergo surgery Tuesday (6th) to repair his right leg, broken a second time on Friday night at Colonial – Lade is expected to return to Adelaide later in the week from a Melbourne hospital ... ** DEAN KEMP was of many West Coast players to miss on the weekend following surgery to an old hamstring injury, bringing him doubt for the season opener against Geelong on April 1st ... ** WARREN TREDREA one of the major casualties at Port Adelaide had successful surgery on the knee injured in the February 24 Ansett Cup match, but during the surgery additional minor bone damage was discovered — his recuperation is expected to last some 6-8 weeks.

Draft review
ABC News Online reported the AFL has launched a review of the competition's Draft procedure. A working part will examine whether all aspects of the Draft are promoting the Commission's equalisation policy among clubs. Key areas include player mobility between clubs, equalisation boundaries, list sizes, the timing of the draft and the age of draftees.

Clash of colours debate emerges
Under new AFL rules, the 'away' club this season may be forced to wear their Ansett Cup strips where a clash of colours occur, such as Collingwood and the Roos, or Richmond and Essendon – colours to be worn will be confirmed to all clubs in the week before each match.

Plugger scores big with greyhound – but ...
The League's greatest goalkicker TONY LOCKETT scored a first prize $100,000 as part-owner of his greyhound called Brett Lee in the Australian Cup run at The Meadows in Melbourne on Saturday night. Brett Lee's triumph took his stake earnings to $192,736 in 19 wins and three placings from just 23 starts. Days later is was discovered Lockett’s name was not officially entered as a part owner. An inquiry was slated for April 2.

They said it ...
CHIP Le GRAND, The Australian, February 28
— Carlton, Melbourne and Hawthorn led the revolt against O'Connor, who appears set to become the first AFL commissioner effectively sacked by the clubs. He was not available for comment.

Symbolically, it was Carlton president JOHN ELLIOTT, flanked by other club presidents on the steps of Melbourne's establishment Australian Club, who announced the outcome of the ballot after an hour-long meeting.
Sydney, Fremantle and West Coast did not attend but informed the meeting of their voting intentions.

JANE SCHULZE, The Age, March 1 — Mr Stokes denied the loss of the AFL rights would harm Seven.

"Our problem with the AFL was that in some ways it was regarded as our crown jewels," he said. "The facts are we have removed a crown of thorns and freed us up on a national basis."

Seven injects $45 million into Docklands

The Seven Network has agreed to inject up to $45 million into the financially struggling Colonial Stadium in a deal that could see the television group take majority ownership of the second home of football.

MALCOLM MAIDEN reported in The Age: Seven's stake in the stadium could vault from about 7 per cent to almost 60 per cent as a result of the deal, which throws a lifeline to Colonial until the end of this year.

A confidential report to shareholders suggested another $25 million was needed to cover an expected "financial shortfall" at the stadium this calendar year.

The network's move is also driven by the need to buttress a separate, profitable $100 million-plus exposure it has to Colonial, through its purchase and resale of rights to seating, signs and the stadium's name. The stadium went into the red as soon as it went into service last year and posted a $24 million loss in the year to June 30.

Demons to write off a million?
MELBOURNE is the latest football club to give concern to its financial stability.

The Demons are set to write off more than $850,000 from an investment in a club venue in Melbourne's northern suburb of Fawkner that is likely to be scrapped after the Victorian State Government introduced a cap on new poker machine installations.

Ex-Blue fined $23,000 over tax
A test-case judgement against STEPHEN OLIVER who played 14 senior games with Carlton in 1993-94 has resulted in the former player being penalised nearly $23,000 by the Australian Tax Office for underpaying tax.

The Carlton FC was accused in a federal Administrative Appeal Tribunal judgment of contriving with player-manager PETER JESS to breach the AFL salary cap with secret payments to players.

The tribunal's written decision quoted Mr Jess as saying Carlton had sought advice from him specifically for the purpose of disguising payments from the football payments commissioner.

At least six Carlton players including Brownlow Medalist GREG WILLIAMS and two Collingwood players are believed to have been issued with assessments for allegedly unpaid tax.

GEOFF WILKINSON reported in the Herald Sun on Saturday (10th): Carlton could be hit with a bill of up to $500,000 for unpaid fringe benefits tax if the Oliver decision is applied in all outstanding cases.

Harvey out on umpire charge
Appeal dismissed
Kangaroo player BRENT HARVEY was suspended for two matches when found guilty by the Tribunal on Tuesday (13th) of making "inappropriate" contact with field umpire SHANE McINERNEY during the third quarter of last Friday's Ansett Cup semi-final against Port Adelaide.

STEPHEN RIELLY in The Age reported: The tribunal acknowledged that Harvey's case was a difficult one to determine and one almost beyond the spirit with which the relevant law was framed. According to rule 23.7.3, a player is not to make contact with an umpire in an intentional, reckless or negligent manner. Therefore Harvey was a doomed man unless he could establish that his contact was accidental. This he did not attempt to do.

Umpire McInerney conceded that Harvey's intention was to alert him to an incident behind play and that the contact he felt to his shoulder bore no malice or aggression. Similarly, television commentator Neil Kerley, who saw the contact from his position on the boundary line and who appeared as a witness for the defence, described the incident as harmless. ''I saw him reach out to touch the umpire as if to say 'hey, look at this','' Kerley told the tribunal. ''It wasn't an aggressive touch. It wasn't malicious. It was just to gain the umpire's attention.''

Harvey pleaded not guilty and tribunal chairman Brian Collis offered what compassion he could by acknowledging Harvey's motive for making contact and ridiculing the suggestion that it could be described as the most serious offence in football.

''This is an entirely different matter to a situation where contact is made with an umpire that is aggressive or threatening,'' Collis said.

''There are degrees of these things and the suggestion that this could be regarded as the most serious offence in the game is inappropriate.''
The other case before the AFL Tribunal involved Port Adelaide's MICHAEL WILSON. The charge of abusive language was dismissed when the Tribunal ruled procedure was not followed when the player was informed he had been reported.
During the 2001 season results of all charges including the Ansett Cup, will be found in the general section of the *Stats & Trivia* library under the heading *Tribunal*.

APPEAL DISMISSED — On Thursday the AFL Appeal Board dismissed the Kangaroos' petition to have the BRENT HARVEY sentence reduced. The board took 20 minutes to deliberate, concluding that Harvey's contact with umpire McInerney was inexcusable – "we're far from convinced the penalty of two weeks is excessive and in these circumstances the appeal is dismissed."

The board refunded the $10,000 bond the club had submitted.

Ansett Australia Cup

Semi-Finals – Friday-Saturday, March 9-10.
<||> Port Adelaide enjoyed its first success over the Roos at any level and won their way through to their second Ansett Cup grand final when they accounted for the Kangaroos by 16pts in warm Friday night conditions at Football Park. Port had plenty of run in the free flowing affair with Roo speedster BRENT HARVEY and SHANNON GRANT always threatening for the visitors. Port deserved their win, as Kanga coach DENIS PAGAN conceded — "they deserved to win, they were the better side on the night, they were far more disciplined."  Both WAYNE CAREY and COREY McKERNAN were casualties for the Roos.
PORT 15.12-102 (Wanganeen 4) best, Francis, James, Wilson, KANGAROOS 13.8-86 (Grant 2, Rocca 2, Archer 2) best, Harvey, Grant, Blakey. At Football Park: 18,615. Reports: MICHAEL WILSON (P) for abusive language. The charge was dismissed when the Tribunal ruled proper proper procedure was not followed when the player was informed he had been reported.
BRENT HARVEY (K) for interfering with an umpire in the third quarter. Harvey was found guilty of making inappropriate contact with field umpire SHANE McINERNEY and suspended for two matches. The club appealed the sentence. On Thursday, the AFL Appeal Board found Harvey's contact was inexcusable and was far from convinced the two match ban was excessive and dismissed the appeal.

<||> Both the Lions and the Hawks impressed on Saturday night under the closed roof at Docklands. The Brisbane Lions hit back hard to win by 15pts after letting an early five-goal lead slip through their fingers. Hawthorn dominated the third term and seemed set to take the game but the Lions saved their most explosive and very best football for the last.
BRISBANE 14.10-94 (Power 2, Cupido 2, Lappin 2) best, Voss, Pike, White, HAWTHORN 12.7-79 (Dixon 3) best, Rehn, Barker, Clarke. At Docklands: 15,866.

Practice matches
AFL approved trial matches, Saturday-Sunday, March 10-11 —
ESSENDON v MELBOURNE — at Optus Oval on Saturday, Melbourne sent the Bombers to another pre-season defeat in a trial which resulted in no major injuries for either side, MELBOURNE 19.8-122 (Neitz 4, Green 3, Farmer 3), ESSENDON 13.12-90 (Fletcher 3, Alessio 3).
<> BULLDOGS v RICHMOND — the Dogs with a good start and eight goals in the third term were given a boost with good form from their key position players at Whitten Oval on Saturday when they cruised to a very easy win over the Tigers who played poor football, BULLDOGS 16.16-112 (Grant 4, Hudson 3), RICHMOND 4.12-36 (Bowden 2), crowd: 4,000.
<> SYDNEY v COLLINGWOOD — the Swans won well over Collingwood on Saturday in Newcastle but suffered three serious injuries – DALE LEWIS broke his right arm while RYAN FITZGERALD tore a cruciate ligament in his left knee which ends his season and BEN FIXTER suffered ligament damage, SYDNEY 14.9-93 (Ball 3, Ahmat 3), COLLINGWOOD 11.10-76 (Tuckey 3), crowd: 5,250.
<> FREMANTLE v GEELONG — the Dockers at Fremantle Oval faded badly against the Cats on Saturday and suffered another thumping. Compounding Freo's woes CLIVE WATERHOUSE broke his left collarbone during the second quarter, GEELONG 17.15-117 (Mensch 5), FREMANTLE 9.7-61 (Schell 3), crowd: 4,200.
<> ADELAIDE v WEST COAST — on Saturday at Football Park, the Crows easily had the measure of the Eagles which prompted former Adelaide captain CHRIS McDERMOTT to say on local radio, "They're a rabble, this mob. There are real worrying signs for them." — ADELAIDE 14.12-96 (Richardson 2, Ladhams 2, McLeod 2), WEST COAST 6.10-46 (Munro 2), crowd: 5,236.
<> CARLTON v ST KILDA — the two met at Bendigo's Queen Elizabeth Oval on Sunday afternoon with the Saints getting up to pip the Blues, ST KILDA 13.15-93 (Harvey 2, Everitt 2), CARLTON 12.13-85 (Fevola 3), crowd: 12,000 (approx.).

Stab Kicks ...

Serious injuries for the Swans
Sydney suffered serious injuries to DALE LEWIS, RYAN FITZGERALD and BEN FIXTER in the trial match played at Newcastle on Saturday — Lewis who in the past two years suffered two breaks in his left arm, on this occasion broke his right arm (10 weeks); Fitzgerald ended his season when he tore the cruciate ligament in his left knee which will require a reconstruction; Fixter first thought to have broken his right leg suffered ligament damage which will sideline him four to six weeks ... Fitzgerald missed 1999 with surgery to both shoulders ...

West Coast lose Read and Embley
=PHILLIP READ will miss West Coast's 2001 season following a knee reconstruction ... more bad news for the Eagles, ANDREW EMBLEY will miss up to eight weeks with a right shoulder injury suffered in the Saturday trial versus Adelaide at Football Park ...

ontract time ...
Essendon have signed DUSTIN FLETCHER to a new deal for seasons 2002 to 2004 believed to be worth close to $1.3 million, tying the All-Australian full-back to the Dons until his 29th birthday at least ... MARK JOHNSON and PAUL BARNARD have also agreed to two further seasons after 2001 ... MARK MERCURI and MATTHEW LLOYD come out of contract with the Bombers at the end of this season ... 27-year-old four-time club champion GLEN JAKOVICH has signed a three-year $1.2 million agreement with West Coast for seasons 2001-02-03 ...

Hawks try short sleeves
Hawthorn in the Ansett Cup semi versus Brisbane on Saturday at Docklands wore the rugby-style strip with short sleeves but switched to the sleeveless traditional brown-and-gold stripes in the second half — the Hawks explained to the League it was caused by the humid conditions under the Colonial Stadium roof.

$40,000 painting stolen
A life-size $40,000 painting of Collingwood's MICK McGUANE stolen from AFL House at Docklands the previous weekend turned up on Nine's Footy Show on Thursday night (8th) with the man responsible for its return. Later, police interviewed two men who were expected to be summonsed at a later date. The painting by Melbourne artist LEWIS MILLER forms part of the AFL's centenary art collection.
An inquiry is likely to take place on April 2.

Talking Footy bounced to late-Tuesday
ROBERT FIDGEON reported on Saturday (10th) in the Herald Sun that Talking Footy, once a flag-bearer of Channel 7's AFL coverage has been bounced to Tuesday night at the later time of 11.30pm when it returns on April 3. The Monday 10.30pm slot once the domain of the footy program for seven seasons will be filled by the return of Roy and HG who were a popular late-night item last year during Sydney's Olympic Games.

Gary Ablett at inquest on death of girlfriend
The former Geelong footballer GARY ABLETT was a witness at the inquest into the death of his 20-year-old girlfriend Ms Alisha Horan.

The inquest held on March 5-6 at the Coroner's Court in Melbourne heard Ablett and Ms Horan spent five days drinking and partying in Melbourne last year before Ms Horan collapsed into unconsciousness in their Hyde Park Hotel room on Thursday February 17 2000. She died the following day without regaining consciousness. A post mortem found traces of heroin and ecstasy in Ms Horan's body. Coroner Noreen Toohey reserved her findings.

Saints get timely cash injection
JAKE NIALL reported Tuesday in The Age: that St Kilda had finally received the compensation they had negotiated with the AFL and Stadiums Operations Ltd, the Colonial Stadium operator, late last year ... while the money, believed to a six-figure sum, was counted in the club's result for the last financial year, its settlement has given the Saints a timely cash injection.

Sean Charles suspended
St Kilda suspended SEAN CHARLES from playing with the club for four weeks. A media release reported Football Operations gm BRIAN WALDRON saying "this action has been taken following Sean's constant failure to comply with training requirements."

The AFL's recent change of major sponsor from Coca Cola to Carlton and United Breweries has brought its difficulties. In Melbourne's major circulation Sunday Herald Sun, a premiership fixture and tipping chart still bore the old logo. Tickets for all games including the Anzac Day blockbuster between Essendon and Collingwood which were due to go on sale a week ago are being reprinted with the CUB logo.

They said it ...
MIKE SHEAHAN, Herald Sun, March 10
— In reality, the consortium — News, Channels 9 and 10 and Foxtel will pay about $420 million during the five-year term.
Contra — advertising in newspapers and on television — represents an additional $50 million. New media — Internet rights — is expected to bring $30-$35 million, but remains unsold.
The problem for expectant clubs is that the AFL has already spent at least $35 million of the estimated $80 million from the first year of the new agreement.

ROHAN CONNOLLY, The Age, March 11 — Hawthorn had re-appeared for the second half wearing its traditional brown and gold stripes, having shed its garish-looking pre-season uniform, which players complained made them too hot, and which, frankly, they would have been within their rights to refuse simply on the grounds of taste.

STEPHEN RIELLY, The Age, March 14 — The tribunal acknowledged that Harvey's case was a difficult one to determine and one almost beyond the spirit with which the relevant law was framed. According to rule 23.7.3, a player is not to make contact with an umpire in an intentional, reckless or negligent manner. Therefore Harvey was a doomed man unless he could establish that his contact was accidental. This he did not attempt to do.

Ansett Australia Cup 2001
Port slaughter Lions

Port Adelaide won their first AFL trophy when they thrashed a disappointing Brisbane by 14 goals on Saturday night (March 17) at Football Park — the first VFL-AFL premiership to be be decided outside of Victoria drew 35,304. Following an intense first quarter Port in the good conditions piled on a match-winning 8.2-50 in the second term to go to an unassailable lead.

ALAN SHIELL reported for The Age: NICK STEVENS'  cool snap from the right foot pocket gave Port its second goal just over a minute into the second quarter. Four minutes later, the floodgates burst open as STUART DEW sank three long goals within three minutes. It was a brilliant, inspirational cameo by the solidly built left-footer, who at only 21, is one of the longest and most accurate kicks in the AFL, as his hapless opponent CHRIS SCOTT would testify. It was a horror night for Scott, who was reported for striking CHAD CORNES.

Apart from the first term, it was never a contest as the disparity of disposals attest — Port had 308, the Lions 179. Brisbane coach LEIGH MATTHEWS said: "You can't get more comprehensively beaten that that — we had only five guys who had 10 or more possessions.

ADAM KINGSLEY was best afield for Port Adelaide with 21 kicks, taking 11 marks and serving out eight handballs — he was presented with the MICHAEL TUCK MEDAL from its 426-match namesake when post-match presentations were made.

From the prize pool of $600,000 provided, the winner of the Ansett Cup 2001 received prize money of $125,000 and the runner-up $95,000.

The five matches won by Port in the Ansett Cup — against Essendon by 79 points, Sydney (5pts), Geelong (18), Kangaroos (16) and Brisbane (85) may bring a re-evaluation of their prospects for the premiership season which starts for the Power on March 31 when Brisbane returns to Footy Park – this time for match points.

Port Adelaide v Brisbane Lions
Saturday(N) March 17, 2001
at Football Park, (8.10pm AEDT), crowd: 35,304
  1/4 time 1/2 time 3/4 time Final
PA 1.3-9 (–) 9.5-59 (50) 15.6-96 (72) 17.9-111 (85)
BRI 1.3-9 (–) 1.3-9 3.6-24 3.8-26
Goals: Port: Stuart Dew 4, Chad Cornes 3, Kane Cornes 2, Fabian Francis 2, Cain Ackland, Peter Burgoyne, Josh Francou, Brent Guerra, Brent Montgomery, Nick Stevens. Brisbane: Daniel Bradshaw 2, Luke Power.
Best: Port: Adam Kingsley, Stuart Dew, Peter Burgoyne, Josh Francou, Nick Stevens. Brisbane: Daniel Bradshaw, Darryl White, Martin Pike.
Umpires: Darren Goldspink, Gavin Dore, Bryan Sheehan, Corin Rowe.
Michael Tuck Medal: Adam Kingsley (Port Adelaide).
Reports: CHRIS SCOTT (Brisbane) for striking CHAD CORNES (Port Adelaide) in the last quarter. Scott was suspended for one match.
From video, JONATHAN BROWN (Brisbane) for striking FABIAN FRANCIS (Port Adelaide) in the first quarter. Brown was suspended for three matches.
Brisbane appealed the penalty on JONATHAN BROWN. The AFL Appeal Board after a two-hour hearing on Friday (23rd) lifted Brown's three match suspension. It is the fourth occasion a penalty by the Tribunal has been overturned. Appeal chairman PETER O'CALLAGHAN, QC, pointed out the decision to overturn the ban relied on his board viewing the video evidence against Brown completely differently from the way the tribunal had interpreted the video from Brown had been charged.

Practice matches
AFL approved trial matches, Saturday, March 17 —
The trial game on Friday night at Lavington was abandoned following torrential rain, which disappointed the 8000 fans who turned up. Many less on Saturday morning watched on at a windy Sandringham Oval which marked the successful return from injury of Richmond's MATTHEW RICHARDSON. In a sloppy, rain-marred game, ESSENDON 9.6-60 (Mercuri 2, J.Johnson 2, Jacobs 2), RICHMOND 7.8-50 (Ottens 4) ...
<> In sparkling sunshine, 3000 fans at the SCG watched Sydney go to a 69pt lead by half-time. The Blues with a last half fight back cut the margin to only 8pts but the Swans held on to win by 16, SYDNEY 16.17-113 (Fosdike 2, Goodes 2, Cresswell 2, Crouch 2), CARLTON 13.19-97 (Whitnall 3, Ratten 3) ...
<> 4,500 in Hamilton watched a generally poor standard match – scrappy and low scoring in cold and blustery conditions. An inexperienced Hawk squad upset a strong Cat line-up by one goal, HAWTHORN 9.12-66 (Bowyer 2, Thompson 2, Greene 2) GEELONG 7.18-60 (Bizzell 2) ...
<> Injury woes continued for the Eagles when DAVID WIRRPUNDA in the second quarter suffered a hamstring injury on Saturday night at Subiaco. The Doggies may have been without 12 regulars, even so, West Coast posted a confidence boosting win, WEST COAST 17.11-113 (Munro 3, Cousins 3), WESTERN BULLDOGS 7.18-60 ... from video, SCOTT CUMMINGS (WC) was booked for charging MATTHEW ROBBINS (WB) in the third quarter. The Tribunal cleared Cummings of the charge.
<> On the pocket-sized North Hobart Oval, Melbourne were three-goal winners over the Magpies who made their first appearance in Hobart for 30 years. Brownlow winner SHANE WOEWODIN played his first full game of the season for the Demons – he picked up 23 possessions, MELBOURNE 16.9-105 (Neitz 4, Beams 3), COLLINGWOOD 13.9-87 Tarrant 3, L.Davis 3) at North Hobart, 7649 ... BRENT GRGIC (Melbourne) charged with abusive language to a field umpire during the practice match versus Collingwood at North Hobart Oval on Saturday. Grgic pleaded guilty to the charge and was fined $1200.
<> It was cold and windy, with frequent showers on Saturday afternoon at Carlton when the Kangas handed yet another thumping to the Dockers. To rub salt in the wounds, among the best were two Docker discards, MATTHEW BURTON and JESS SINCLAIR who played well for the Roos. A rare bright spot for Freo was the form of Rising Star winner PAUL HASLEBY, KANGAROOS 17.10-112 (Harvey 4, Rocca 3), FREMANTLE 7.6-48 (Hasleby 3, Koops 2) ...
<> At Port Augusta on Saturday, conditions were windy and tough for the Crows as their old coach ran in an easy win, ST KILDA 11.13-79 (Milne 2, Voss 2), ADELAIDE 4.10-34 (Richardson 2).


Volkswagen is new ball sponsor
Ansett extends to Rising Star award
German car manufacturer Volkswagen is the League's new match-day ball sponsor. The announcement was made on Tuesday (20th) when AFL chief executive WAYNE JACKSON was quoted: "Volkswagen is regarded as the people's car, we'd like to think we are the people's game."

The distinctive VW logo is the third on the Sherrin — McDonald's were first during the 1993 finals, followed by Challenge Bank in 1994-95, then McDonald's returned in 1996 for another five seasons. The two-year deal with Volkswagen is reported to be worth $900,000 for each season.

Ansett Australia have extended their commitment to the Australian game beyond their sponsorship of the pre-season competition as reported by GREG DENHAM in The Age: Ansett is expected to inject a further $900,000 into football by sponsoring the AFL's rising star award, the national draft, the AIS draft camps and the national Under 16 and Under 18 championships.

Lions' pair suspended
Brown wins reprieve on appeal
The Brisbane Lions lost two players from the opening to the premiership season next week when the AFL Tribunal on Wednesday (21st) handed down suspensions to both vice-captain CHRIS SCOTT and 19-year-old half-forward JONATHAN BROWN. The charges came from the Ansett Cup grand final played on Saturday night at Football Park.

> CHRIS SCOTT (Brisbane) for striking CHAD CORNES (Port Adelaide) in the last quarter. Scott was suspended for one match.
> From video, JONATHAN BROWN (Brisbane) for striking FABIAN FRANCIS (Port Adelaide) in the first quarter. Brown was suspended for three matches. The Brisbane Lions appealed the penalty on JONATHAN BROWN. The AFL Appeal Board after a two-hour hearing on Friday (23rd) lifted Brown's three match suspension. It is the fourth occasion a penalty by the Tribunal has been overturned. Appeal chairman PETER O'CALLAGHAN, QC, pointed out the decision to overturn the ban relied on his board viewing the video evidence against Brown completely differently from the way the tribunal had interpreted the video from Brown had been charged.
> From video, SCOTT CUMMINGS (West Coast) for charging MATTHEW ROBBINS (Western Bulldogs) in the third quarter of the Saturday practice match at Subiaco. The Tribunal cleared Cummings of the charge.
> BRENT GRGIC (Melbourne) charged with abusive language to a field umpire during the practice match versus Collingwood at North Hobart Oval on Saturday. Grgic pleaded guilty and was fined $1200.

Stab Kicks ...
— ** BRAD SEYMOUR has been added to Sydney's string of injuries – the reliable defender will miss the first four games with cartilage damage to his knee ... ** Kangaroo captain WAYNE CAREY has another tear to his right calf which will cause him to miss the opening two matches – The King suffered the injury at training on Monday (19th); it is a fresh tear unrelated to when Carey was kicked in the same region during the Ansett Cup semi-final against Port ... ** Hawk ruckman BRETT O'FARRELL jarred his knee during the practice match against Geelong in Hamilton, and though not serious, O'Farrell is in doubt for the opening round ...

Nathan Brown booked
In his return from a serious back problem, Western Bulldogs midfielder NATHAN BROWN playing with VFL club Werribee on Saturday was reported with striking Geelong Amateurs' TIM CLARKE — the VFL Tribunal on Tuesday (20th) cleared Brown of the charge ...

1992 shares back with the Kangaroos
A parcel of shares in the North Melbourne club purchased by Carlton in 1992 have been sold to Kanga white-knight JOHN MAGOWAN; the Roo board member paid $150,000.

Jackson hits the stop button
League supremo WAYNE JACKSON swiftly hit the *stop* button to remove a countdown clock from the scoreboard at Colonial Stadium. He was quoted in the Herald Sun: "The AFL controls the video scoreboard at the ground for AFL matches so we'll determine how the game is presented, not the venue manager."

Support staff numbers
Top scribe MIKE SHEAHAN noted in the Herald Sun that pressure is mounting on coaches to cut the number of support staff on the ground during games. Mike quoted AFL football operations manager ANDREW DEMETRIOU: "We will monitor things this season to see whether we need one or two runners in future."

Tribunal to sit interstate
The AFL Tribunal is booked to sit at interstate venues on four occasions during season 2001. DARRYL TIMMS reported in the Herald Sun: The League will fly its three-man panel to Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide. AFL reporting officer RICK LEWIS, the tribunal secretary and player advocates will also fly interstate for the four hearings, which will be held on a Tuesday or Wednesday instead of the traditional Monday.

Melbourne president suffers business glitch
The Melbourne FC expressed its full support for president JOSEPH GUTNICK as his Centaur Mining and Exploration company went into voluntary administration on March 14 with debts of around $A500 million. Mr Gutnick was re-elected president of the club for a further two-year term last December.

Drug tests clear
The Australian Sports Drug Agency confirmed on Wednesday (14th) that no AFL player tested positive to banned drugs in the final three-month period of testing from September 1 to December 31. The only player to test positive during the 2000 season was West Coast's NICK STONE who admitted to the presence of stimulant recreational drugs amphetamine and methylamphetamine known as "speed" which was detected from a random test at training on June 19. Stone was suspended for six weeks and has since been delisted by the Eagles.

AFL warned on run-down Waverley
Homebush in "dire" financial difficultie

Two stadiums came under notice – the AFL were warned by the Victorian State Government of its responsibility to maintain the appearance of Waverley Park where vandals have broken windows and scrawled graffiti on the walls of the disused stadium ... Stadium Australia at Homebush was reportedly in "dire" financial difficulties only six months following the most successful Olympics ever — the stadium has failed to attract enough major events to pay its debts. The Sydney Morning Herald reported the company has liabilities of $196 million and little cash flow.

Geelong fined $5000 over ASDA tests
GEELONG has been fined $5000 for recently breaching guidelines during testing by the Australian Sports Drug Agency. BRIAN COOK, the Cats' CEO admitted his club were at fault when they failed to allow ASDA officials to continually observe a player once he had been selected for a urine test during a pre-season training session.

They said it ...
PETER HANLON, Sun-Herald, March 18
— Only time will tell, but football has a history of turning March champions into the jokes of July.

STEPHEN RIELLY & GREG DENHAM, The Age, March 21 — Carlton president John Elliott yesterday claimed to have held merger talks with the Kangaroos in 1999. Elliott said he had ''extensive discussions'' with Roos' chairman, the late Ron Casey, about a merger mid-way through the season.

''We actually decided in the middle of the year that we'd seriously get down to it at the end of the season and the odd thing was Carlton finished up playing North Melbourne in the grand final,'' Elliott said yesterday on Sport 927.

''We put it on ice because it was too hard again ... It would have been too hard to pull off. If two teams play off in the grand final, are the AFL going to sanction those two teams to do a merger?

''It was one of those odd years when Carlton finished playing North Melbourne in the grand final, so we had to call it off again.''

The Kangaroos dismissed Elliott's merger claims and described them as fanciful.

AFL support to clubs results in $7.2m deficit

Increased dividends to the clubs amounting to $50.2 million caused the AFL to record a $7.2m deficit for the financial year ending October 31, 2000. The financial result was reported when the League held its 104th Annual Meeting in Melbourne on Thursday, March 22.

Distribution in the year 2000 to the 16 member clubs increased from the $42.1m in 1999.

AFL chief executive WAYNE JACKSON said the League was under financial pressure, largely due to its recent $30m payment for the stake in Colonial Stadium, the inability to sell Waverley Park, its obligation to contribute to the MCG redevelopment and the imminent negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement with the players' union. Jackson reported the current season may bring an even bigger bottom-line loss, but projected the League would be back in the black by 2002.

The League has budgeted for a loss of $17 million in 2001.

The financial result spanning six years was detailed in the AFL Annual Report 2000 —
Revenue 68.058 74.246 82.941 92.420 108.447 110.736
Operating Expenses 33.998 35.970 41.693 45.662 52.795 52.578
Operating Surplus 34.060 38.276 41.248 46.758 55.562 58.158
Payments to Clubs 27.345 29.227 32.815 36.019 42.153 50.230
Development Grants 4.860 5.566 6.534 8.617 12.124 15.156
Net Surplus/Deficit 1.855 3.483 1.899 2.122 1.375 (7.228)

Clubs warned on spending
DARYL TIMMS reporting on the AFL Annual Meeting for the Herald Sun said: The AFL has warned clubs to curb their massive spending, which is spiralling out of control.

AFL football operations manager ANDREW DEMETRIOU labelled it an "absolute disgrace" that some club's expenses had climbed 29 per cent last year.

Many clubs had splurged an extra $1 million on their football departments, including massive salaries to coaches.

Demetriou said there were areas in clubs such as administration, marketing and coaching where the average increase had been 16 per cent in 2000.

He said many clubs were making more money but returning less profit.

In a move to prune spending, the league has provided clubs with a detailed breakdown of every club's spending in key areas.

AFL figures reveal total player payments for the 16 clubs in 2000 were $85 million, while other costs were $168 million.

The main costs for clubs in 2000 were:
<> $50 MILLION for football departments (does not include player payments).
<> $80 MILLION for membership and marketing.
<> $34 MILLION on administration and
<> $4 MILLION on ground management.

The clubs' revenue has grown from $90 million in 1993 to $279 million in 2000.

Daniel Hulm passes
DANIEL HULM, the 26-year-old captain in the 2000 season SANFL premiership success by Central District died in London on March 12 after he was struck by a train near his home in Surbiton, just outside London. Ernst & Young's London office paid tribute to Danny, saying his death was a great tragedy.

Hulm was recruited to the SANFL Bulldogs in 1997 from the Tasmanian club Clarence where he played 78 matches. In his four seasons of 77 games at Elizabeth, Hulm carved out an impressive reputation, not only at Central, but throughout the SANFL, as proven with his selection as SA captain for the State League match against Western Australia last May.

Possibly his proudest achievement was to lead Centrals to their first SANFL premiership by their defeat of West Torrens-Woodville on September 10 after which Danny was named Coach of the Year.

A funeral service in Hobart on Friday March 23, was followed by a private cremation.

AFL Commission
Out: O'Connor, In: Hammond
At the League AGM, BOB HAMMOND was voted on to the AFL Commission, replacing TERRY O'CONNOR, a commissioner since 1993.

BILL KELTY retained his place as a Commissioner.

Carlton fines three players
The Carlton club on Monday (26th) moved swiftly to deal with a widely publicised incident involving players MATTHEW LAPPIN, BRENDAN FEVOLA and ANDREW MERRINGTON.

Lappin and Merrington were arrested by police early on Friday morning and later charged for being drunk in a public place after a series of incidents at Victoria University's campus at Maidstone. They spent four hours in a cell. The two were bailed and are due to appear in Sunshine Court on April 9.

Fevola who was not arrested is alleged to have sprayed a woman in the face with a fire extinguisher and tried to fight security guards.

Carlton club president JOHN ELLIOTT described the drunken rampage as pathetic and embarrassing behaviour. The club did not suspend the three players but imposed a fine, ordered them to complete community development work, attend alcohol and anger management courses and do extra training sessions.

Umpires win pay increases
The AFL Umpires Association has won pay increases from a new collective bargaining agreement with the League.
Payments for central umpires will rise to $1550 for one match, and will become $1750 in 2003. Umpires also collect a base payment, which will be between $23,000 and $33,000 in 2001 depending on seniority, rising to $25-$35,000 two years later.
A grand final umpire will be paid $11,500 this season.

NRMA sponsors injury buggy
Five years after the Adelaide club were banned from using a motorised injury buggy, the AFL on March 23 announced a sponsored version which will be used at all matches this season.
The NRMA, the motoring and insurance group based in Sydney will sponsor and have provided eight of the buggy's which will driven out on the field to collect players who otherwise would have been carried off on hand-held stretchers.
When not in use, the buggy will not be allowed to remain on the ground.

The age of footy litigation
(1) Rombotis starts proceedings against Richmond

SCOT PALMER in his Punchlines feature in the Sunday Sun Herald reported: Richmond has been given 14 days to deal with a damages claim by former player JOHN ROMBOTIS before he starts legal proceedings against the club. The notice sent to the Tigers claims that the nature of the injury Rombotis, 25, suffered to his right shoulder in Round 2 last year was such that he was unlikely to play AFL in "the foreseeable future". There has been mention of what could be permanent disability.

(2) Adrian Whitehead questions 1997 shot
ADRIAN WHITEHEAD lodged a writ in the Supreme Court for unlimited damages over medical treatment he claims halted his AFL career. The 1995 Carlton premiership player was given an injection before the game against Geelong in Round 20, 1997 which only masked the pain and he went on to injure his right  foot severely. The Herald Sun reported on March 28: As football's governing body, the AFL have been joined in the matter as a defendant.
Whitehead, also refer Diary, Week 481, July 22-28, 2005

Stab Kicks ...

AFL report names Carey, Hird and Buckley as highest earners
The 104th Annual Report of the League revealed three players are now earning more than $500,000 from football which excludes the $330,000 marketing component each club can pay one or more players. Though no names were given, the top earners are believed to be WAYNE CAREY, JAMES HIRD and NATHAN BUCKLEY. The report said seven players earn between $401,000 and $500,000 and another 80 receive between $200,001 and $300,000. The most common pay range is in the $100,001 to $200,001 bracket which 245 players receive.

Port's "Greatest Team" postponed
Port Adelaide's naming of the "Greatest Team of the Greatest Club Celebration" was postponed when it clashed with the Port-Brisbane Ansett Cup Grand Final on March 17. The function will now be held on June 16.

Roof at Docklands jams again
Brownlow to be public to Colonial?

A "technical hitch" left the roof of Colonial Stadium open for a rugby league game on Sunday (25th) — the glitch should be fixed in time for the AFL opening ... also at Colonial Stadium, will the 2001 Brownlow Medal count become a public event? – the idea has been put to the AFL by stadium boss IAN COLLINS, but early indications are it will not receive the blessing of the AFL ...

Around the traps
** 2000 Brownlow winner SHANE WOEWODIN has been named vice-captain of the Demons – replacing DAVID SCHWARZ; deputy's will be JEFF WHITE and ANDREW LEONCELLI ... ** 57 have paid $8500 and signed on with the new Kangaroos' coterie group, the Vice-President's Club – they include players WAYNE CAREY, ANTHONY STEVENS and GLENN ARCHER ... ** for $170,000, the Kangaroos have relinquished management rights to their Round 3 "home" match against Sydney at the SCG – the Swans will promote the game as an opportunity for their fans to "Boo a Roo".

Age polls
In the week before the March 30th start of the season, The Age in Melbourne came out with several Saulwick polls –

(1) a telephone survey of 1000 people revealed 43 per cent (22% "very interested", 21% "somewhat interested") supported AFL football ...
(2) 35 per cent believe that EDDIE McGUIRE has a conflict of interest in being Collingwood president and his role in the broadcast and written media; another 21% believed McGuire "probably" had a conflict ...
(3) three-quarters of AFL fans believe TV coverage of the game will improve or at least stay as good when Nine-Ten-Foxtel takes over from Seven next year — 44% expected the coverage will not alter ...

=JOSH FRASER who won Collingwood's best first year player award last season has signed on with the Magpies for another two years – the rangy 19-year-old is expected to make $250,000 a season for 2002 and 2003 ...

Roy Allen celebrates 100th birthday
102-year-old Melbourne veteran discovered

=ROY ALLEN celebrated his 100th birthday on March 27 – he played two games with Collingwood in 1924 and was thought to be the oldest living League player.

The Melbourne club however have discovered 102-year-old HARRY SELOVER living in a nursing home in Carrum. Harry played three matches and kicked two goals in 1919 for the club when it was known as the Fuchsias in the season after World War One – Mr Selover has spanned three centuries, he was born on July 24, 1898.

Hawthorn and St Kilda share $2.7 million Waverley compensation
The AFL Annual Report revealed that HAWTHORN and ST KILDA have shared a $2.7 million compensation package from the AFL for leaving Waverley Park, where the Hawks had an agreement to play home games for 30 years. The Hawks now play home games at the MCG while the Saints chose Colonial Stadium.

Opening round breakthrough for TV
GEOFF McCLURE reported in Wednesday's Age newspaper: History will be made during this weekend's AFL opening round when Melbourne football fans will be able to watch two Victorian matches on television live against-the-gate simultaneously.

Not only will Sunday's MCG match between Melbourne and Richmond be shown on Optus pay-TV channel C7, but the AFL is expected to announce today that the Geelong-West Coast match at Shell Stadium will be screened live on free-to-air Channel Seven.

And in a further breakthrough for Seven, it will screen Saturday night's Western Bulldogs-St Kilda match starting at 7.40, only on a 40-minute delay, not an hour as has been the custom.

New ABC Radio show
ABC Radio 774 in Melbourne will add a new football program titled "When Saturday Comes" – hosted by FRANCIS LEACH, it will be heard for two hours from 10am to noon.

Jibe generates $10,000 bet
A jibe on which club would provide the greater number of fans at the Round 1 game at Docklands has resulted in Bulldog president DAVID SMORGAN wagering $10,000 from his own pocket with his St Kilda counterpart ROD BUTTERSS.

They said it ...
CAROLINE WILSON, The Age, March 23
— ousted commissioner Terry O'Connor: "if the worst thing that happens to me in my life is that I get voted out by a bunch of clubs led by John Elliott, then God will have been kind to me''.

GREG DENHAM, The Age, March 26 — Punters and fans can now legitimately demand to know what they are betting on or against. It is time to act against AFL clubs that continue to rort the system by naming false teams.

DARYL TIMMS, Herald Sun, March 28 — Carlton president JOHN ELLIOTT has renewed hostilities with Essendon on the eve of the season, labelling Bomber premiership coach Kevin Sheedy a twerp.

Fresh from calling the behaviour of a few Blue boys "pathetic" earlier in the day, Elliott was at his provocative best at the club's guernsey presentation night on Monday.

At same function last year, Elliott called Sheedy a "s...".

The Herald Sun noted the Macquarie Dictionary defined: TWERP (colloquial noun): An insignificant or stupid person.

MIKE GIBSON, Daily Telegraph, March 28, in an observation of the behaviour of three Carlton players — The AFL prides itself on being the national code, the game that exemplifies the best of footy in Australia.

What it exemplifies at the moment is the hypocrisy and expedience of lily-livered officials who are too weak to take a responsible stand against players who – by their club's own admission – have disgraced themselves, their club and their game.

Note: It is also recorded in the Diary – Carlton club president JOHN ELLIOTT described the drunken rampage as pathetic and embarrassing behaviour. The club did not suspend the three players (Lappin, Fevola and Merrington) but imposed a fine, ordered them to complete community development work, attend alcohol and anger management courses and do extra training sessions.

A further note: Charges of being drunk in a public place against Carlton players MATTHEW LAPPIN and ANDREW MERRINGTON were dismissed in Sunshine Magistrates' Court on April 9. The charges resulted from incidents at Victoria University in the early hours of March 23. Neither player was in court to hear their charges dismissed.


After 209 days without footy
Bombers start as they finished
Kangas slump to 16th; lowest ever

ROUND 1 — Fri-Sat-Sun, March 30-31, April 1.
MILESTONES — The Kangaroos slumped to 16th on the ladder, the lowest placing of their 1,555 match League history — previous lowest was 14th place after the opening round of 1988 when they were defeated at Windy Hill by Essendon 25.14-164 to 12.10-82 and last season when the Roos lost in Round 1 to West Coast at the MCG, 24.10 to 16.15 …

Field umpire CHRIS MITCHELL officiated his 300th match, the eighth man in League history to reach the benchmark … CHE COCKATOO-COLLINS played his 100th (85 Ess 1994-98, 15 PA 1999-01) … 50th games by BRAD SCOTT (Bri), JADE RAWLINGS (Haw), SHANE CLAYTON (13 Fit 1996, 5 Bri 1997-98, 32 Kan 1999-01) … LEIGH MATTHEWS coached Brisbane for the 50th time … Carlton and Fremantle recorded the 269th one-point margin — the Dockers over the past 12 months have figured in three of the six one-pointers …

<||> After 209 days without footy, Essendon started the new season just as they finished the last with a resounding MCG victory in near perfect conditions on Friday night before 56,028 spectators. The Dons with 13 goalkickers were remarkably accurate, booting 23.8 for the night.

LEN JOHNSON reported for The Age: Dominant for all but one of the four quarters, Essendon powered its way to a 85-point win. For the injury-hit Kangaroos, it was not quite as bad as the 125-point thrashing the Dons handed them in last year's qualifying final to precipitate their exit from the finals campaign, but worse than the 50-point loss to Melbourne in the preliminary final which ended it.

Essendon was able to indulge several of its stars, notably skipper JAMES HIRD, who nursed his calf through the game. Hird started on the field and played almost all the first half, but left midway through the third for good. Before he did, he produced a typical Hird piece of play, diverting on his course to the interchange bench to sprint 120 metres into defence and dive full-length to touch a shot for goal by JESS SINCLAIR.

The Kangaroos started with a depleted list - WAYNE CAREY and MICK MARTYN out injured, BRENT HARVEY and DAVID KING out suspended – and things rapidly got worse. SHANNON WATT and WINSTON ABRAHAM were both off by the end of the first term, Watt freakishly, Abraham perhaps predictably given that he was a surprise inclusion. Abraham injured his knee when he rushed in to prevent Hird from playing on after taking a mark on the wing. For his troubles, he copped a shoulder in the face and appeared to re-injure his knee – ESSENDON 23.8-146 (Lloyd 4, Barnard 4) best, Blumfield, Solomon, Misiti, KANGAROOS 9.7-61 (McKernan 2) best, Stevens, Blakey, Harris.

<||> Terrific conditions on a warm and sunny Saturday afternoon drew 52,190 to the MCG where Collingwood had more of the ball, six more scoring shots, and put the ball into their 50-metre arc 24 times more than the Hawks — the Pies lost by four points in a fast and fiery game which brought three players to the Tribunal.

Even though there were many errors by both, it was a great opener and confirmed the rebuilding program the Hawks have undertaken in the past 18 months.

JAKE NIALL observed for The Age: You could see the benefits of Hawthorn's edge in maturity and experience in the helter-skelter of the final two minutes of the match, when Collingwood was storming, but simultaneously, making bad decisions with the footy. Collingwood had several players who might have been lauded had it got home. Recruits CHAD RINTOUL, CARL STEINFORT (who tagged Shane Crawford), SHANE WAKELIN and first-gamer RYAN LONIE (who held his own on Ben Dixon) did fine work.

DANIEL CHICK, the spirited on-baller whom Hawthorn went to such extraordinary length to retain last year, was another key contributor. In past clashes between these clubs, NATHAN BUCKLEY has played at a level far above the other 43 on the field – despite typically solid stats (31 touches), the Collingwood captain was reduced to a good on-baller's game, while Chick has his share of constructive balls – HAWTHORN 13.7-85 (Holland 3) best, Smith, Bowyer, Rawlings, COLLINGWOOD 11.15-81 (Molloy 3) best, Lockyer, Molloy, Rintoul.

<||> Carlton, who for two quarters looked as though they had no right to win, called on all of their reserve to deny a persistent Fremantle in a nail-biter in good conditions for 23,716 patrons at Subiaco on Saturday night.

MARK DUFFIELD for Fairfax reported: It was a spirited but scrappy opening quarter, but the Blues seemed to have survived Fremantle's early onslaught when they kicked two clear at the 20-minute mark. From there until half-time, the Dockers completely controlled the game. With ADRIAN FLETCHER the most prolific midfielder on the ground, gathering 22 first-half possessions and TROY COOK and PAUL HASLEBY also prominent, the Dockers for half a game at least, took on and beat the Blues at their strength. Freo's 7-goal second quarter was almost too good to be true, with the question lingering, were they good enough to sustain their first-half excellence.

The Blues appeared to answer that question when they stormed to within seven points in a 20-minute third quarter burst. In a last-man-standing effort after Freo kicked away again, STEPHEN SILVAGNI stretched his 33-year-old legs and broke Freo's heart by sinking a 50-metre drop punt only four minutes from the end. And Silvagni wasn't alone as the 37-year-old CRAIG BRADLEY proved again that age is no barrier to excellence – CARLTON 18.11-119 (Lappin 3, best, Koutoufides, Allen, Ratten, FREMANTLE 18.10-118 (Modra 5) best, Fletcher, Cook, Jones.

<||> The between-season activity seemed all worth it for St Kilda at the end of the Saturday night match at Docklands. The Saints had a dramatic five point win over the Western Bulldogs but as coach MALCOLM BLIGHT offered: "Tonight was really the first dance. We're a long way from the Albert. There's a million miles to go, and the players know it." A crowd of 30,047 had watched a spirited encounter played on a soon to be replaced sub-standard Colonial surface.

PETER HANLON reported for The Age: For a club so publicised in the off-season for its new blood, the real heroes came from old hands. ROBERT HARVEY was magnificent; NATHAN BURKE not far behind him and PETER EVERITT again showed he can be all things to all people, and all in the space of the same match.

The Bulldogs horribly missed the retired SCOTT WYND however, while LUKE DARCY battled valiantly in the ruck, the Saints held sway in the hard, close-in contests, an area in which Wynd reigned supreme. Former Tiger BEN HARRISON had a strong first outing for the Dogs, keeping new Saint AARON HAMILL out of harm's way – Hamill finished the game better than he had started, but kicked only three behinds. CRAIG CALLAGHAN was the best of the Saints recruits, particularly after half-time. The balance of the on-ball divisions was also tipped St Kilda's way by the fine blanket job STEVEN BAKER did on SCOTT WEST, who had just 12 touches – ST KILDA 16.16-112 (Everitt 5) best, Everitt, Callaghan, Harvey, BULLDOGS 16.11-107 (Grant 4, Kingsley 4) best, Grant, Smith, Darcy.

<||> Port Adelaide stretched their unbeaten 2000 run when they stormed back in the second half to capture a six-point win over the Brisbane Lions — 25,948 watched Port repeat their Ansett Cup final win in good conditions on Saturday night at Football Park.

The Lions hit Port with everything – and quickly – leaving no doubt they would be a tougher proposition than a fortnight before. The Lions dominated everywhere but on the scoreboard and in the first half put the Power under pressure. At half-time Port made wholesale changes to restructure their side with BOWEN LOCKWOOD moving to centre half-forward and CHAD CORNES at full-forward. With MATTHEW PRIMUS taking control at centre bounces the impact was dramatic as Port slammed on 10.5 for the third quarter, their best term of 90 AFL matches.

From thereon the match became a shootout as Brisbane moved JUSTIN LEPPITSCH forward where he kicked two of their three last quarter goals. In a tense finish, GAVIN WANGANEEN goaled for Port at the 24-minute mark to secure a hard-earned victory for the Power – PORT 14.15-99 (Cockatoo-Collins 3, Guerra 3) best, Primus, Carr, Schofield, BRISBANE 14.9-93 (Cupido 4) best, Lappin, Keating, Cupido.

<||> Geelong displayed new aggression in their 66-point win over West Coast in fine, sunny conditions at Shell Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Cats displayed vigour at the ball, tackled with reckless abandon and harassed a new-look West Coast outfit out of the contest. The Eagles introduced eight new players to the colours – the biggest number of additions since their admission to the League in 1987.

Geelong was served by an even spread of talent as CHARLES HAPPELL from The Age noted: Ten players contributed goals, no one kicked more than three. Indeed, there can be few teams in the competition that boast such a small gap in ability between the best and worst player.

The Cats dominated all over the ground with 341 disposals to 297, taking 110 marks to 83. PETER RICCARDI was a standout with 25 disposals. A late, rushed behind to the Eagles tilted the calculations with the Cats just failing to unseat Essendon from top place on the ladder for the first time in three seasons. The downside for Geelong was the vigour they employed resulted in three of their players facing the Tribunal on Tuesday – GEELONG 17.13-115 (Bizzell 2) best, Riccardi, Bizzell, Sholl, WEST COAST 7.7-49 (Cummings 3) best, McIntosh, Kerr, Cummings.

<||> The tall marking power of Richmond's forward line proved too much for MCG co-tenants Melbourne to overcome, in the Sunday afternoon clash played in fine, sunny conditions at headquarters before 44,466. The Tigers were boosted by the return after injury of crack forward MATTHEW RICHARDSON who kicked five goals and survived the contest without trouble.

Though there were periods of uncertainty, Richmond controlled most of the contest with one of the main contributors being their captain-denied MATTHEW KNIGHTS who was responsible for a crucial goal on the three-quarter time siren which broke the back of a Demon fightback.

Melbourne found themselves chasing the Tigers as Richardson and BRAD OTTENS shared five of the first eight goals during a marking spree, well served by accurate delivery upfield that exposed Melbourne's defensive vulnerability. Both Schwarz and Neitz ending in attack for the Dees but it was outweighed by their absence at the other end. In a long season, Richmond can stand tall at the start. For the Demons, a 37-year wait since their last premiership, may stretch further – RICHMOND 20.14-134 (Richardson 5, Ottens 3, Campbell 3) best, Campbell, Knights, Hilton, MELBOURNE 15.13-103 (Schwarz 4) best, Schwarz, Bruce, Leoncelli.

<||> Warm, sunny conditions were the order on Sunday afternoon at the SCG where 31,174 attended. A pre-game motorcade of Swans' players from 1982 celebrated the 20th competitive season as the Harbourside club. Sydney honoured their veterans with a dominant display to defeat Adelaide by 52 points.

Sydney's old guard made a mockery of their birth certificates as evergreen midfielders DARYN CRESSWELL, 29, and WAYNE SCHWASS, 32, notched 27 and 30 possessions respectively. Midway in the second quarter, the Crows led 40-33 but the Swans kicked 11 of the next 12 goals and went through for a convincing victory.

With MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN at his silky best up forward and while STUART MAXFIELD, BEN MATTHEWS and ROWAN WARFE gave Sydney strong midfield support; it was the superb authority by which captain-of-the-day 32-year-old ANDREW DUNKLEY controlled the backline. Even if Adelaide had been able to include the injured DARREN JARMAN, PETER VARDY and KANE JOHNSON it is doubtful the result would have gone the other way. The Crows are likely to struggle this season – SYDNEY 19.12-126 (Cresswell 4, Ball 3, Goodes 3) best, Cresswell, Dunkley, Schwass, ADELAIDE 10.14-74 (Stenglein 2, Welsh 2, Perrie 2) best, Edwards, Bickley, Goodwin.

Coroner: Ablett 'irresponsible'

When she brought down her findings in Melbourne on March 28, Coroner NOREEN TOOHEY did not attach direct responsibility with GARY ABLETT for the death of 20-year-old ALISHA HORAN, however she found it was an example of a sports celebrity failing to take their responsibilities seriously.

SIMON JOHANSON reported in The Age (March 29): "Melbourne coroner Noreen Toohey found Alisha Keely Horan, of Geelong, died of a lethal cocktail of heroin, ecstasy and amphetamines after 'partying out of her league' over a five day period".

Ms Horan died on February 18 last year after being found unconscious at Melbourne's Park Hyatt Hotel where she was sharing with Mr Ablett. The coroner observed Horan had been "clearly infatuated" with Mr Ablett, who was almost twice her age. It was likely Mr Ablett was also affected by drugs and alcohol and had failed to notice Ms Horan's deteriorating condition.

The findings will be forwarded to Victorian and Federal Sports Ministers, the Australian Institute of Sport, the AFL and Geelong Football Club.

St Kilda's Barry Hall booked by police
St Kilda's BARRY HALL celebrated the five-point win at over the Bulldogs on Saturday night. In the early hours of Sunday, Hall was involved in a brawl outside the Metro nightclub in Bourke Street and later charged at Prahran police station with being drunk in a public place. It is believed Hall became involved with several bouncers after a friend was ejected from the nightclub. Hall was released from the Prahran lock-up about 4am into the custody of St Kilda manager BRIAN WALDRON.

The St Kilda club on Sunday decided not to fine or suspend Hall, but he would undergo counselling to help avoid a repeat of the incident. The next day St Kilda found itself under pressure in defending its discipline policy. STEPHEN  RIELLY of The Age reported on Tuesday: St Kilda president ROD BUTTERSS said he was totally comfortable with the club's three-strikes policy that stipulates counselling for all first offenders.

BRIAN WALDRON supporting Butterss said that as much as the club was embarrassed to be dealing with another off-field indiscretion, the suggestion that St Kilda's disciplinary standards might not be as high as elsewhere in the league was unfounded.

Hall will face a Melbourne Magistrate in two weeks.

Trams & footy travel together
Think Melbourne, think football ... think Melbourne, think trams — National Express, one of the two private contractors who operate the tram system in Melbourne have put the two together.

RON BARASSI, the legendary premiership player, captain and coach is the first to lend his name to a fleet of refurbished trams which were unveiled by the Victorian Transport Minister PETER BATCHELOR on March 28.

Barassi is the first of 12 football heroes to be honoured. The Herald Sun said KEVIN SHEEDY, TONY LOCKETT, DOUG HAWKINS, BOB DAVIS and PETER HUDSON will be among those featured on the new trams to be rolled out each month.

The move supported by the AFL will see a footy jumper with the player's number painted near the driver's window on the revamped Z and B-class trams.

Magpies seek game moves to MCG
COLLINGWOOD have asked the AFL to move its four home games at Docklands this season to the MCG.

Speaking on ABC Radio in the Saturday pre-match segment, Collingwood president EDDIE McGUIRE said that the club did not want to play its games at Colonial Stadium, providing customers and financial support to Delaware North, money that in turn would be used to sue the club.

Delaware North are suing Collingwood for $1.5 million, over the lapse of a 1992 contract. The company has taken over the catering contract at Colonial Stadium from Nationwide Venue Management and was contracted to cater at Victoria Park before the AFL's ground rationalisation.

The AFL on Saturday (March 31) confirmed that Collingwood's request to shift the Round 2 match versus Fremantle on Saturday night had been rejected.

Eight bookings from Round 1
No action on Licuria incident
The AFL Tribunal met both on Monday and Tuesday (April 2-3) to hear cases arising from the opening round of the premiership season.

Essendon v Kangaroos
MARK JOHNSON (Ess) reported by umpire ANDREW COATES for striking SHANNON GRANT (Kan) during the final quarter. The charge was withdrawn. However, on Monday from video evidence Johnson was cited for charging SHANNON GRANT. The Tribunal found Johnson not guilty of the charge.

Hawthorn v Collingwood
AARON LORD (H) for wrestling SCOTT BURNS (C) in the second quarter. SCOTT BURNS (C) for wrestling AARON LORD (H) in the second quarter. Burns and Lord accepted the first charge fine of $1200 each for these offences. CHAD RINTOUL (C) for charging NICK HOLLAND (H) in the third quarter. The Tribunal found Rintoul not guilty.

Fremantle v Carlton
JASON NORRISH (F) for unduly rough play against DARREN HULME (C) in the second quarter. The Tribunal found Norrish not guilty.

Geelong v West Coast
STEVEN KING (G) for striking DAVID SIERAKOWSKI (W) in the first quarter. King was cleared of the charge. JUSTIN MURPHY (G) for striking BEN COUSINS (W) in the first quarter. Murphy pleaded guilty and was suspended for one match. CAMERON MOONEY (G) for striking MICHAEL GARDINER (W) in the third quarter. Mooney was suspended for two matches.

No further action was taken on the incident involving Collingwood player PAUL LICURIA which occurred during the Hawthorn v Collingwood match at the MCG on Saturday.

AFL investigations officer RICK LEWIS scrutinised the available video evidence and conducted interviews with players and officials from both clubs.

On Wednesday (4th) it was announced there was not enough evidence to take the matter further. 

Stab Kicks ...
Shorts deal for Kangas

The Kangaroos signed a new shorts sponsorship deal with Internet company *iPrimus* ...

Docklands resurface on hold
Plans costing some $1.5 million to completely resurface the 19,000 square metres playing surface of Colonial Stadium have been put on hold until at least the end of April (Age, March 29) – in Round 2 the Docklands venue will host AFL games on Friday and Saturday nights and on Sunday afternoon; rugby league club Melbourne also play NRL homes games at Colonial ...

TipStar in slow launch
The State Government and AFL-sponsored tipping competition, TipStar, had an inauspicious launch at the weekend, with less than $200,000 wagered and dividends much lower than those paid by rival TAB Sportsbet (Age, April 3).

AFL ask clubs to lodge dates
=The AFL has asked all 16 clubs to lodge their arrangements for the ever-increasing number of club sponsor days and on-field presentation of trophies. PATRICK KEANE of AFL Media said the League was intent on safeguarding the interests of their official corporate sponsors (Herald Sun, April 1).

St Kilda's Team of the Century
St Kilda named its Team of the Century in the presence of 1400 guests at Melbourne's Crown Casino on Thursday, April 5th.

Selectors for the team which contains 18 players and four interchange were: Grant Thomas, Allan Jeans, Danny Frawley, 1930s champion Ken Walker and historian Russell Holmesby.

The criteria for selection was –
> service with a minimum of 100 games
> awards and personal recognition
> the level of success the club had during service.

The team:
B: Barry Lawrence, Verdun Howell, Kevin Neale
HB: Trevor Barker, Neil Roberts, Daryl Griffiths
C: Nicky Winmar, Ian Stewart, Lance Oswald
HF: Stewart Loewe, Darrel Baldock, Bill Mohr
F: Dave McNamara, Tony Lockett, Nathan Burke
Foll: Carl Ditterich, Robert Harvey, Ross Smith
Inter: Barry Breen, Alan Morrow, Bob Murray, Jim Ross
Coach: Allan Jeans


Inquiry follows torrid MCG start
13 players booked – fines total $29,500
Hawks first win since 1991 at Carlton
Swans reach 900 League wins

ROUND 2 — Fri-Sat-Sun, April 6-7-8.
MILESTONES — The Swans as South Melbourne-Sydney recorded their 900th win in League company, 1897-2001 ... ANTHONY INGERSON (Mel) played his 150th game ... HEATH BLACK (Fre) his 50th ... TODD CURLEY played his 150th club game for Footscray-West.B'dogs, also 3 Col 1994 ... MALCOLM BLIGHT suffered his 100th defeat as a League coach ...

<||> Port Adelaide made a brave attempt but failed to halt the Essendon juggernaut on Friday night when 34,918 saw the Bombers in a comprehensive display sweep to a 38-point victory in dry conditions. The event brought the unfurling with little ceremony of the 2000 premiership pennant as the Dons went through their pre-match warm-up. In the opening 15 minutes, Port matched the Bombers for force at the ball and put pressure on the premiers in defence and attack, but Essendon weathered the passage.

The Dons kicked the last six goals of the first quarter and turned an 11-point deficit into a 27-point lead in little more than 10 minutes. The Essendon engine room provided their forwards with plenty of chances and although star forward MATTHEW LLOYD could not get into the game until the third term, skipper JAMES HIRD with flawless skills made amends with three superb first-half goals.

Port didn't surrender but lacked the class and marking strength to match the Bombers. The Power were well served by STUART DEW (6 goals) and CHE COCKATOO-COLLINS (4 goals) who dominated their scoring. In contrast, Essendon again were on target with 23.7 and 14 players sharing their goals.

A seven-goal third quarter by the Bombers put paid to any thought of a come-from-behind Port win. The Power from 55 points down gained some respectability in a lack lustre final term when Hird, Fletcher and Blumfield were rested. Essendon are the heavyweights and a formidable combination – ESSENDON 23.7-145 (Lloyd 4, Hird 3, McVeigh 3) best, Hird, McVeigh, Fletcher, PORT 16.11-107 (Dew 6, Cockatoo-Collins 4, Tredrea 3) best, Dew, Cockatoo-Collins, Francou.

<||> Hawthorn posted their first Princes Park win over Carlton for 10 years in warm, humid and overcast conditions on Saturday afternoon – 27,597 attended. Apart from the opening 15 minutes when the Blues kicked four of the first five goals, the Hawks mastered the midfield and dominated proceedings. Indeed, Hawthorn kicked 10 unanswered goals across the first, second and third quarters. Winning just once from the past 13 contests, Hawthorn's crop of young key position players demonstrated they had come of age.

LEN JOHNSON for The Age reported: Once again, Hawthorn demonstrated that man-for-man it is as strong as any team in the competition ... LUKE McPHARLIN was strong at full-back against Fevola; JADE RAWLINGS had much the better of Whitnall at centre half-back; SHANE CRAWFORD was the best of several players working the centre of the ground; and JOHN BARKER, with three goals, NICK HOLLAND (while he was on) and TRENT CROAD were effective forward targets.

Carlton were under great pressure and while Ratten, Camporeale and Bradley got their usual share of the ball, they were not allowed to use it with their usual efficiency. ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES did well for the Blues and was thrust into a variety of roles to plug gaps. The Hawks up by 49pts, took their foot off the pedal and a five-goal to one finish flattered the Blues – HAWTHORN 16.11-107 (Barker 3) best, Hay, Croad, Thompson, CARLTON 11.15-81 (Hickmott 2, Camporeale 2, Fevola 2, Beaumont 2) best, Koutoufides, Hickmott, Ratten.

<||> Stung by the pundits during the week, the Bulldogs responded with characteristic aggression against Richmond in good but overcast Saturday afternoon conditions at the MCG before 36,427 fans. In the opening minutes, a targeted, bloody-headed MATTHEW KNIGHTS was off for six stiches to a wound above the right eye; he was soon followed by WAYNE CAMPBELL, which unsettled the Tigers – the Dogs kept up the pressure throughout the match to win by 42 points. Thirteen players were cited for a melee in the first quarter, when TONY LIBERATORE (WB) was booked for striking MATTHEW KNIGHTS (R).

ROHAN SMITH, CHRIS GRANT, BRAD JOHNSON, along with SIMON COX and former Tiger BEN HARRISON were the architects who laid the foundations of a ferocious Bulldog win. Richmond nearly had as much of the football, but they were never in control and their expected dominance of the air never eventuated – they kicked it high and wide, but seldom handsome.

JAKE NIALL summed the game up for The Age: The difference in finish was evident, not only in delivery to forwards, but in scoring attempts. The Tigers missed too many, while the Dogs, led by long-range missiles from Smith's boot, kicked some beauties. When it was over, (Terry) Wallace was asked about the game, giving his vertically challenged defence "confidence". The coach, as ever, was quick with the jab. "We've got a lot of confidence. We don't have to go looking for it. It's others that perhaps need confidence in us." – BULLDOGS 17.9-111 (Grant 4, Smith 3) best, Smith, West, Grant, RICHMOND 9.15-69 (Richardson 2) best, Hilton, Tivendale, Cameron.

<||> Collingwood put their first points on the board with captain NATHAN BUCKLEY getting 46 possessions (32 kicks and 14 handballs) against Fremantle at Colonial Stadium on Saturday night – a modest 26,067 went through the gate. The Dockers were competitive but never seriously threatened. Buckley may have had the stats, but the winners for the Pies were JOSH FRASER, STEVEN McKEE, CHRIS TARRANT and PAUL LICURIA.

KEN PIESSE observed the match for the Sunday Sun Herald: Malthouse's move of rucking Steven McKee non-stop, with Josh Fraser a permanent forward, paid handsome dividends with both being among the best afield – Fraser kicking four goals. The Magpies used Fraser and Tarrant as marking targets – the pair taking 18 marks between them. Former Docker BRODIE HOLLAND was lively with three early goals, while JARROD MOLLOY was again a force, despite poor disposal.

MATTHEW PAVLICH, playing only his 20th game, was clearly best for the Dockers with five goals, including three after three-quarter time. Fremantle kicked the first two goals of the final term through Pavlich and Hasleby to move to within 16 points, before Buckley finished proceedings in mid quarter with a set shot from a difficult angle – COLLINGWOOD 15.15-105 (Fraser 4, Holland 3) best, Buckley, Fraser, Tarrant, FREMANTLE 13.10-88 (Pavlich 5, Modra 3) best, Bootsma, Bell, Longmuir.

<||> Wet and slippery conditions at Football Park on Saturday night drew 35,653 patrons for a match decided with only three seconds remaining. Melbourne's ANDREW LEONCELLI kicked a dramatic goal to lift his side to a thrilling three-point win over Adelaide. The Demons had cleared the ball from the centre bounce as the final siren sounded.

Adelaide in the rain staged a spirited last-half comeback after being outclassed by Melbourne in the first half when Leoncelli produced a brilliant onball display. Down by 35 points at the long break, the Crows though outscoring the Dees eight goals to two narrowly took the lead with a goal through SIMON GOODWIN, 30 seconds from the end of the game.

In a desperate finish, Leoncelli grabbed the ball from a boundary throw-in and kicked accurately to give Melbourne their first win of the season. Adelaide remain winless but buoyed that injuries will mend and add strength to the line up. In Saturday's match, 11 of the 22 players had made few than 25 AFL appearances – MELBOURNE 12.11-83 (Robertson 3) best, Leoncelli, Robertson, Yze, ADELAIDE 11.14-80 (Welsh 4) best, Welsh, Bickley, Ladhams.

<||> The Kangaroos endured another crushing defeat when the Brisbane Lions proved too powerful in good but overcast and muggy conditions on Sunday afternoon at the Gabba – 22,970 were in attendance. The Lions won by 10 goals, and added to the thrashing suffered at the hands of Essendon in the opening round, which brought a starting deficit of 24 goals in two games against the Roos.

Though dominating, inaccurate kicking by the Lions reared its head early when six straight behinds resulted in a first quarter of 3.8 to 2.3. The Kangas stayed in the game to half-time chiefly from the three goals kicked by SAV ROCCA in the second term. When Rocca kicked his fifth (and last) early into the third, the floodgates opened as onballer SIMON BLACK gathered 14 touches for the term and Brisbane banged on six unanswered majors, three of them from JUSTIN LEPPITSCH.

The Roos were unable to risk WAYNE CAREY, still suffering from a calf injury, while an injured MICK MARTYN and the suspended BRENT HARVEY were also absent. Brisbane were well served by JONATHAN BROWN, the young, emerging centre half-forward and CLARK KEATING who, from the ruck, gave them first use of the ball. Keating topped his effort to kick three goals late in the game to be one of 11 goalkickers for the Lions – BRISBANE 17.16-118 (Keating 3, Leppitsch 3) best, Keating, Brown, Ashcroft, KANGAROOS 8.10-58 (Rocca 5) best, Stevens, Harris, Pickett.

<||> Masking Melbourne's wet Sunday afternoon; the roof was closed at Docklands when 33,687 saw Geelong slam on eight goals to one in the third quarter to overrun St Kilda's first half promise. Before the long break, AARON HAMILL, CRAIG CALLAGHAN and PETER EVERITT were spot on with their conversion, taking the Saints to a 22-point lead.

After half-time, with PETER STREET spending more time in the ruck, Geelong got their act together, with PETER RICCARDI working hard to clear his tag, with STEVEN BAKER and GLENN KILPATRICK winning plenty of the ball. RONNIE BURNS was irrepressible in the forward pocket and ended with five goals (he could have had eight). The Cats were again served with an even spread of goalkickers, following up from their 10 of last week, with nine sharing the 17 goals at Colonial. Defeated coach MALCOLM BLIGHT was scathing in his criticism, rating PETER EVERITT's performance against Geelong as "terrible, it was terrible." Everitt had three kicks, one handball and two marks – he kicked two goals – GEELONG 17.13-115 (Burns 5, Mensch 3) best, King, Burns, Scarlett, ST KILDA 13.8-86 (Hamill 3, Harvey 3) best, Harvey, Loewe, Moyle.

<||> Warm and sunny Subiaco conditions were present for the local timed midday start (12.10pm WST) with a good roll-up of 32,673 patrons. West Coast can count itself unlucky not to have won their contest against Sydney. However, the Eagles were always going to play catch-up footy going in with a long list of injuries, with more suffered during the game as Braun, Jakovich, Morrison and Munro were forced to retire.

With PAUL WILLIAMS displaying outstanding form, MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN at his dashing best and WAYNE SCHWASS ruling the midfield, Sydney were dominant for most of the second quarter when they slammed on 8.6-54, their best score for the stanza in six seasons. But from there on, though the Eagles wasted many scoring opportunities, they fought back with true grit from 47pts down and just fell agonisingly short of their first win.

BEN COUSINS provided the Eagles with an inspirational 38 possessions, 20 of which came after half-time; he received great support from CHAD FLETCHER and newcomer DANIEL KERR. Sydney may have faltered but a win in Perth no matter by what margin, is always a big plus – SYDNEY 15.14-104 (Goodes 3, Ahmat 3) best, Saddington, Goodes, Maxfield, WEST COAST 13.11-89 (Taylor 3) best, Cousins, Gardiner, Fletcher.

Heritage council lists MCG
The Heritage Council has given the Melbourne Cricket Ground its highest level of protection.

The Herald Sun on April 7 reported that the Council singled out the Melbourne Cricket Club members' stand as an important building to be conserved. Any alteration or demolition requires a permit from the Council.

The ground and surrounds were put on the register, largely for their social and cultural importance.

In December, a $400 million redevelopment was announced to replace three stands including the members' stand in time for the 2006 Commonwealth Games. The MCC and MCG Trust said 7500 seats could be lost if the members' stand remained. If the stand was demolished the ground would retain its present capacity of 97,500.

Liberatore admits contact with Knights
In an unexpected aftermath to an incident which occurred early in the first quarter of Saturday's match at the MCG, Western Bulldog onballer TONY LIBERATORE during a five-minute press conference at the club's Footscray headquarters on Monday, admitted to making contact with Richmond's MATTHEW KNIGHTS.

The Herald Sun reported Liberatore, reading from a prepared statement said: "I reacted in self-defence to Matthew Knights running at me. I lifted my arm and this made contact with Matthew.

"The act was not premeditated and it was a spontaneous reaction and I acted instinctively.

"I certainly regret the outcome of the incident, however contact was certainly not deliberate.

"I apologise to Matthew for the outcome."
Knights, under the blood rule, left the ground soon after the clash with a gash to his forehead which required six stitches.

Stab Kicks ...
Charges against Lappin and Merrington dismissed

Charges of being drunk in a public place against Carlton players MATTHEW LAPPIN and ANDREW MERRINGTON were dismissed in Sunshine Magistrates' Court on April 9. The charges resulted from incidents at Victoria University in the early hours of March 23. Neither player was in court to hear their charges dismissed.

The Medical Room
** Adelaide's MATTHEW BODE making his first appearance for the Crows since transferring from Port, broke three bones in his right hand against Melbourne on Saturday night — the goalsneak will miss at least six matches ... ** Carlton's MATTHEW ALLEN has his leg in plaster with a stress injury to his right foot – prognosis, 8 weeks ... ** St Kilda's DAMIEN RYAN early in the week was in hospital and in a neck brace after injuring his neck playing with VFL club Springvale on Saturday – the Saints are confident he is in no danger and will resume in a couple of weeks ... ** Fremantle's CLIVE WATERHOUSE has made rapid progress from a broken collarbone and will return soon ...

Helmet in a match – the first?
Master statsman COL HUTCHINSON in conversation this week recalled that BRIAN McGOWAN would have been the first player recorded to have worn a bicycle helmet in a League match. The South Melbourne player (1955, 1957-63, 118 games, 171 goals) as the Swans' longest serving with 103 consecutive League matches (1958-63) is overtaken in Round 3 by DARYN CRESSWELL.

To maintain his unbroken run of matches for the red-and-white, Brian suffered a head injury and in order to continue playing turned to the protection of a helmet. The practice has been followed more recently by St Kilda's NATHAN BURKE, Brisbane's SHAUN HART, and let us not overlook the other great Lion, Fitzroy rover GARRY WILSON.

Bits 'n pieces
** The Saints have passed 20,000 in memberships, up from 17,855 last year (Age, April 10) ... ** Richmond are seeking $3.5 in development funds from the AFL, members and Melbourne City Council for a multi-level building at the Punt Road Oval to house changes rooms, training and warm-up areas, medical rooms, coaches and a heated swimming pool – the project is planned to be finished by the 2002 season (Herald Sun, April 11) ... ** the Kangaroos in their efforts to be perceived as a national club could play a home game at York Park in Launceston as early as next year (Age, April 7) ... ** Sydney announced on April 4 it had signed MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN until the end of season 2003. New contracts were also sealed with young guns JARED CROUCH, JASON SADDINGTON and NIC FOSDIKE ... ** meanwhile in the Sydney camp, the Swans will be without captain PAUL KELLY with his hamstring injury for at least another week ...

Magpies settle with Vic Park caterer
SCOT PALMER reported in his Herald Sun "Punchlines" feature on Sunday, April 8 — "... the Magpies have reached settlement finally in their $1.5 million contract with former caterers at Victoria, Delaware North, with the club making agreed payments over the next three years. The parties could link up again in the future."

Medical procedures under review
The AFL Medical Officers Association has formed a working party to develop a future policy on the medical management of players and, in particular, the use of local anaesthetics to treat injuries. The move to protect club doctors followed the recent Supreme Court action taken by former Carlton player ADRIAN WHITEHEAD who claims his career was prematurely ended after a painkilling injection (Age, April 5).
Whitehead, also refer Diary, Week 481, July 22-28, 2005

Tooheys return as Swans clubhouse goes to Fox Studios
The Sydney Swans have a new official clubhouse next door to the SCG. After a 14-year hiatus TOOHEYS have returned to the club as a major sponsor for the next three years, with the Fox & Lion Hotel at Fox Studios becoming the official clubhouse of the QBE Sydney Swans. The venue will be used for functions both pre and post match.

Liberatore: out for 5 weeks
Melee draws fines of $29,500
Fourteen players were charged on Tuesday (10th) following investigations made by AFL Investigations Officer RICK LEWIS into incidents during the first quarter of Saturday's MCG match between Richmond and the Western Bulldogs. The hearings were held on Wednesday.

Richmond v West.B'dogs
TONY LIBERATORE (WB) was charged with striking MATTHEW KNIGHTS (Rch) during the first quarter. In a hearing lasting 80-minutes when descriptions of events differed greatly, the Tribunal found the charges sustained and described it as "an unnecessary act." Liberatore was suspended for five matches.

Thirteen players were charged for engaging in a melee during the first quarter following the clash between Liberatore and Knights. Ten pleaded guilty, and after deliberations, only ROHAN SMITH (WB) was found not guilty.

Seven from Richmond and five Western Bulldog players were fined a total of $29,500 —
WAYNE CAMPBELL, fined $3000

Other cases from Round 2 were heard by the Tribunal on Monday night —
Collingwood v Fremantle
JARROD MOLLOY (Col) for abusive language to a boundary umpire in the match against Fremantle. The Tribunal found Molloy guilty and fined him $600.

Essendon v Port Adelaide

JOSH FRANCOU (PA) charged with striking MICHAEL LONG (Ess) in the third quarter. The Tribunal found Francou not guilty.
One other charge was heard of Wednesday — DARREN MEAD (PA) for tripping JASON JOHNSON (Ess). Mead was found guilty and suspended for one match.

They said it ...
PATRICK SMITH, The Australian, April 9
— What sort of game is Australian football if it requires melees and punch-ups to add colour and thrills; that it needs gratuitous violence to raise it above the mundane? Not much at all. We've been kidding ourselves.


Brilliant Blues upset Essendon
Port take over as king of Adelaide
Swans play 2000th match

ROUND 3 — Thu, Sat-Sun-Mon, April 12 & 14-15-16.
MILESTONES — The Swans as South Melbourne-Sydney played their 2000th League match … 200 games for MICHAEL MANSFIELD (181 Gee 1990-99, 19 Car 2000-01) and ASHLEY McINTOSH (WCE, 1991-2001) ... 150th by PETER EVERITT (StK, 1993-2001) … 100 games for ANTHONY ROCCA (22 Syd 1995-96, 78 Col 1997-2001) … 50th for ADAM HOULIHAN (Gee, 1997-2001)… DARYN CRESSWELL (Syd) establishing a new Swans' club record playing his 104th consecutive game …

<||> Carlton produced a stunning upset when it defeated Essendon by 17 points in good conditions at the MCG on the evening of Maundy Thursday — 63,088 attended. Pre-match losses by the Blues made the Bombers almost unbackable favourites — Allan was out with a foot injury, while Bradley, Silvagni and Koutoufides withdrew hours before the game.

CHARLES HAPPELL reported for The Age: Carlton's heroes on a night to remember were headed by midfielders SCOTT CAMPOREALE and BRETT RATTEN, with MATTHEW LAPPIN providing brilliant support both in the middle of the ground and as a crumbing forward. In a low-scoring match, the Blues trailed by a goal at half-time, hit the lead briefly in the third quarter when BRENDAN FEVOLA score a goal, but went into the final break 11 points down.

Essendon seemed to have shaken off Carlton when MATTHEW LLOYD kicked his fifth goal in the first minute of the last term put the Dons 17pts clear. But the Blues responded with successive goals to Camporeale, Fevola, Houlihan, Ratten, Fletcher and Whitnall to sweep to what Carlton president JOHN ELLIOTT commented: "I think it's one of the best home-and-away wins I can remember." The Bombers lost only their second game in 28 starts and had led the ladder for 31 successive premiership weeks – CARLTON 14.9-93 (Fevola 3, Houlihan 3, Camporeale 3) best, Ratten, Camporeale, Porter, ESSENDON 11.10-76 (Lloyd 5, Misiti 3) best Hardwick, Lloyd, Misiti.

<||> Saturday was a warm mid-20s afternoon when a disappointing 31,688 turned out at the MCG. Those that missed the contest may have been fortunate as the first half at times was downright ugly. The Tigers marginally improved after half-time and went away with a 22 point win over the Brisbane who failed yet again, giving the club an appalling 5-35 win record at headquarters.

Both teams struggled to find their targets, fumbles and turnovers ruining the match as a spectacle, reported KAREN LYON for The Age. From the eight-minute mark of the third quarter the Tigers turned on the spark; they kicked seven unanswered goals – emerging ruck talent RAY HALL and half-forward AARON FIORA each providing two goals in the quarter and MATTHEW ROGERS ran free. Richmond went out to a 40pt lead before the Lions kicked three goals in the first three minutes of the last term to put life back into the game.

The Lions whittled it back to only 12 points yet they ran out of steam and late goals to Hilton and Richardson secured a confidence building win for the Tigers after a messy media aftermath of the Liberatore-Knights clash from the week before. Lions coach Matthews summation — "We're overrated" – RICHMOND 17.14-116 (Richardson 3, Hall 3) best, Cameron, Tivendale, Bowden, BRISBANE 14.10-94 (Keating 4) best, Voss, Scott, Notting.

<||> Collingwood may be emerging from years in the wilderness by the manner in which they chopped up the more favoured Bulldogs by a thumping 12 goals in the Saturday night fixture played at Colonial Stadium attended by 37,598 patrons. The Bulldogs clearly missed the in-and-under abilities of the suspended TONY LIBERATORE and played as if the continuing controversy about their playing style was finally eating into their morale.

LEN JOHNSON from Docklands noted for The Age: CHRIS TARRANT kicked five goals for the Magpies, but he was only one focal point in a multi-pronged attack. JOSH FRASER was used mainly at centre half-forward, even staying there when STEVEN McKEE went off with an arm injury in the third quarter. JAMES CLEMENT and JARROD MOLLOY were also effective forward targets.

Collingwood kicked their best third quarter for 10 years, with their 10.2 beating its previous best for the term against the Bulldogs set in 1926. The Bulldogs were shocked by the fluency and skills exhibited by the Pies. After being dropped to the VFL, ANTHONY ROCCA returned for his 100th senior game, gaining 12 possessions in the last half and stood out among a host of players who impressed for the Magpies – COLLINGWOOD 23.15-153 (Tarrant 5, Clement 3) best, Buckley, Rintoul, Tarrant, BULLDOGS 12.9-81 (Bartlett 2, Grant 2) best, West, Bartlett, Johnson.

2011 note: It was noted that in 2001-R3 the Collingwood club recorded 14 goalkickers in a match for the first time.

Sydney shot to top place on the ladder when they maintained their undefeated run with an 80-point victory over the bedraggled Kangaroos in fine Saturday night conditions at the SCG. It was the Swans' 2000th League match. The Roos' 'home' fixture was managed for a $150,000 fee paid by the Swans – 22,395 attended.

Sydney fans didn't seem that bothered to "Boo a Roo" as the Swans broke away from a 14pt half-time lead to flatten the Kangas, booting 10 goals to one in the final stanza. STUART MAXFIELD was one of the best all night for the Swans, with DARYN CRESSWELL in his 104th consecutive game and GREG STAFFORD prominent, while MATTHEW NICKS in his return from injury quickly became a key playmaker.

Many other Swans contributed – MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN and JASON BALL each kicked three goals, while ADAM GOODES, WAYNE SCHWAS and PAUL WILLIAMS were always dangerous. The Kangaroos, one of the most successful combinations of the past decade have suffered a horror start to this season, dropping three games by 85, 60 and 80 points – SYDNEY 23.13-151 (O’Loughlin 3, Ball 3) best, Maxfield, Cresswell, Stafford, KANGAROOS 11.5-71 (Carey 4, King 3) best, King, Harvey, Colbert.

<||> Port Adelaide became 'king of the heap' when they scored their second successive win over Adelaide when Showdown IX was decided in fine conditions in front of 40,296 fans at Football Park on Saturday night – the match was also a live local telecast. The Power recorded their best win and their highest score against their cross-town rivals.

The victory by the Power was a thorough team effort, compared with the Crows who are clearly in rebuilding mode. The Crows again left too much to too few against a confident Power performance. Port captain MATTHEW PRIMUS combined well with the brilliance of JOSH FRANCOU (31 touches) and NICK STEVENS (26), setting up the victory while GAVIN WANGANEEN was the forward focus with a return of six goals.

PETER VARDY in his first match of the season was a lone beacon for Adelaide in the unusual role of full-forward after coming off the interchange bench in the first term to kick 4.2. In four-quarter work, SIMON GOODWIN was best for the Crows while both MARK BICKLEY and ANDREW McLEOD battled hard against the odds – PORT 23.15-153 (Wanganeen 6, Carr 3, Burgoyne 3) best, Francou, Stevens, Wanganeen, ADELAIDE 13.10-88 (Vardy 4) best, Goodwin, Vardy, Bickley.

<||> West Coast put their first points on the board with an 18-point win over St Kilda in the Sunday sunshine at Docklands — only 19,496 were present. The Eagles 29-year-old recruit TROY WILSON was the star of the day when led beautifully then beat off four opponents to kick an outstanding 7 goals 5 from 19 kicks and 15 marks.

PETER MATERA showed his old spark was back, helping his brother PHILLIP to four goals with pin-point passes. St Kilda had a solid start but quickly wilted and were overtaken by the Eagles whose backline led by ASHLEY McINTOSH (playing his 200th) and GLEN JAKOVICH recalled days of the early 1990s.

The Saints has some winners and there were encouraging signs in the first half when AUSTINN JONES had an outstanding three-goal, 13-possession effort. Two imports for the Saints, AARON HAMILL and FRASER GEHRIG (against his old side) are struggling to find form. For West Coast, relief arrived; for the Saints, the honeymoon is over and plenty of hard work is ahead of them – WEST COAST 19.11-125 (Wilson 7.5, Phillip Matera 4, Merenda 3, Williams 3) best, Wilson, Peter Matera, Phillip Matera, ST KILDA 16.11-107 (Callaghan 4, Jones 3, Harvey 3) best, Harvey, Jones, Callaghan.

<||> Disgruntled Perth supporters left the Subiaco stadium less than half full when a bare 20,703 attended another near-noon start on Sunday. Cloudless skies, 27 degrees and the offer of a live telecast of the Eagles game from Melbourne provided the opportunity to stay away from supporting the Dockers — and they did.

Hawthorn's unbeaten run remained intact when they survived a brave third quarter fight back by Fremantle when they got to within three points. Earlier it had been a pretty-tame affair with plenty of skill errors.

ANDREW HAMILTON in Perth for The Age noted: "when CLIVE WATERHOUSE and SHAUN McMANUS collided at half-forward, leaving the Hawks to run the ball out of defence and mount an attacking raid that netted LUKE McPHARLIN a goal. From there the momentum was back in the Hawks' favour and they were able to run away in the final quarter, adding two goals and keeping the Dockers scoreless as Modra and Waterhouse both kicked out on the full. Fremantle can blame only its inability to hit a target by foot or hand and the usual poor decision-making – HAWTHORN 11.16-82 (Barker 3, Dixon 3) best, Harford, Rawlings, Barker, FREMANTLE 8.11-59 (Modra 3) best, Carr, Black, Waterhouse.

<||> It was warm in the high 20s on Easter Monday – 48,551 patrons were at the MCG for what was a terrific game, close, exciting, with plenty of skills on show. Geelong fired only briefly and lost out to Demon onballers in the midfield and the more-efficient Melbourne attack.

JAKE NIALL who reviewed the match for The Age reported: There were some outstanding individual displays of skill – including the mandatory couple of freak shots from RONNIE BURNS and an even better goal from SHANE WOEWODIN, who rediscovered the touch and run that netted him an unexpected Brownlow. Geelong were dogged, hard-at-it and actually played well enough to beat most opposition, but didn't quite have the same polish.

Melbourne, after a sluggish start against Richmond and Adelaide were a shade more impressive than the Cats and the Dees look as though they have gone to the level which made them a grand final team last year – MELBOURNE 18.16-124 (Robertson 3, Green 3) best, Woewodin, Yze, Snell, GEELONG 15.14-104 Burns 3, Mensch 3) best, King, Hocking, Milburn.

Bulldogs demand a Tiger apology
A lengthy telephone discussion on Tuesday (17th) between Western Bulldog president DAVID SMORGON and his Richmond counterpart CLINTON CASEY appeared to have started the process of reconciling the two parties over comments made after the Tony Liberatore-Matthew Knights incident.
However, the Herald Sun reported Wednesday (19th) that Richmond president CLINTON CASEY the previous day had received a letter from a major Melbourne law firm — "The letter outlined the Bulldogs' anger at comments made by Casey and was accompanied by a full-page retraction and apology for Casey to sign".
The Bulldogs set a deadline of 2pm Friday for an apology from the Richmond president.

Lloyd and Moorcroft get one match each
Cresswell cleared of striking

The AFL Tribunal heard charges arising from Round 3 resulting in the following —
Carlton v Essendon
> One charge was withdrawn after field umpires Rowe and Sheehan charged MARK MERCURI (E) for rough play on MICHAEL MANSFIELD (C)  in the third quarter — it was realised the wrong player had been named for the offence.
> MATTHEW LLOYD (E) charged for rough play on MICHAEL MANSFIELD (C) in the third quarter. Lloyd was suspended for one match.
> MARK McVEIGH (E) and SCOTT CAMPOREALE (C) for wrestling each other in the second quarter. Both players pleaded guilty and accepted first-charge fines of $1200 each.
> From video, GARY MOORCROFT (E) for striking DARREN HULME (C) in the third quarter. Moorcroft pleaded guilty and was suspended for one match.

Kangaroos v Sydney
Umpire STUART WENN lodged a notice of investigation after the match but League officials had to wait until Wednesday for vision from behind the goals. After viewing the available video Wenn confirmed the booking that afternoon. From video evidence DARYN CRESSWELL (S) was charged with striking BRADY RAWLINGS (K) in the third quarter. On Thursday, the Tribunal found Cresswell not guilty.

Fremantle v Hawthorn
RAYDEN TALLIS (H) and TROY COOK (F) for wrestling in the second quarter. Both players pleaded guilty and accepted first-charge fines of $1200.

Melbourne v Geelong
DANIEL WARD (M) for abusive language towards a goal umpire in the third quarter. The charge was later withdrawn.

Waverley Park set for sale
The Herald Sun on Wednesday (18th) reported the way ahead for the sale of Waverley Park appears to be clearing.

It was reported the City of Monash has agreed in principle for the sale of the football landmark. Plans to demolish the stadium and redevelop the site have been put to the council, as well as the option of retaining the ground for elite sport.

While Heritage Victoria wishes to retain the playing surface and other key features of the ground, the AFL is expected to invite expressions of interest from developers as early as next month.

The League is hopeful of attracting at least $80 million from the sale of  Waverley Park.

Racial taunt draws apology
Mediation took place on Wednesday (18th) between Melbourne's DAVID SCHWARZ and Geelong's JUSTIN MURPHY over Schwarz's alleged racial taunt during the first quarter of Monday's game at the MCG. An apology saved Schwarz from a racial vilification charge for calling Murphy a "coconut".

Public comments by Melbourne president JOE GUTNICK on Tuesday stating "I don't believe David has racist attitudes" drew the ire of the AFL and the request for an explanation, as well as a possible $20,000 fine. To this, Gutnick accused the AFL of acting like "communist Russia".

By Friday, most fans were looking forward to the next game of football.

Stab Kicks ...
Perth fans rebel against starting times

Complaints by fans from across the Nullarbor to the starting times of Perth matches are growing in number. To parallel required TV broadcasting times for the eastern states, matches have been starting in midday Perth heat at 12.10pm (WST).

One of the reasons by Channel Seven in their last season of AFL broadcasts is the determination not to program Sunday double-headers which proved so popular in previous seasons — a 12.40 start (12.10 CST) at Football Park, then a 3.20pm (1.20 WST) bounce-down at Subiaco. Double-headers for season 2001 have disappeared from Seven's schedule.

With forecasts that Perth will have regular Saturday matches from next season by both the Eagles and the Dockers, it seems that Perth fans will not only have to adjust their sets, but also their football-going habits.

Sheedy and Walls end the slanging
The public slanging match over some days between Essendon coach KEVIN SHEEDY and 3AW's ROBERT WALLS ended with their appearance on Channel Seven's Talking Footy on Tuesday (17th). Sheedy admitted they had been behaving "like two old guys with a hose over the fence". Both had once been neighbours.

The Medical Room
** Essendon's JOE MISITI on Tuesday (17th) was operated on for a significant tear in the posterior cruciate ligament of his left knee – he will miss at least 10 weeks ... ** St Kilda's NICK RIEWOLDT had further surgery on his right knee and will not be available until Round 7 ... ** fellow Saint JASON TRAIANIDIS will be out for up to two weeks after sustaining an ankle injury in the loss to West Coast ... ** Fremantle's DAVID SIERAKOWSKI will miss the rest of the season following a knee reconstruction for an injury suffered against Geelong in Round 1 ... ** tests on Adelaide's MARK RICCIUTO revealed he suffered a cracked rib a month ago in the Ansett Cup fixture against the Bulldogs when he collided with a teammate – Ricciuto left the field in Saturday night's game against Port with breathing difficulties ... ** Geelong forward JASON SNELL will miss at least 12 weeks – he landed awkwardly in the third quarter of the Demons-Cats game on Monday, breaking the tibia bone low down on his left leg and dislocated his ankle ...

First charge for Lloyd
The charge of rough play against Essendon's MATTHEW LLOYD was a first — he had not been previously reported on a striking or similar booking. In his 35 reserve and 109 senior matches, his only indiscretion was a $2000 fine for engaging in a melee in last year's Grand Final.

They said it ...
— Coming on the back of a spate of sporting scandals, the boo campaign has caused many to question where sportsmanship is heading.

On the footy field, the recent bad blood between the Bulldogs and Richmond was evident in the lack of post-match handshakes.

The actions of some rugby league players, including sticking their fingers up other players' backsides, haven't done much for the image of the sport and its fans.

International Rules — Youth Tests
Aussies too strong in two Tests
The Australian Under 17 team won the first two of three Tests against a visiting Irish team under International Rules. The First Test was played as the curtain raiser to the Carlton v Essendon match on Thursday April 12 which resulted —
Australia: 1 goal 18 overs 13 behinds (73), Ireland: 2 goals 10 overs 7 behinds (49)

In the Second Test played at the MCG on Easter Monday before the Melbourne v Geelong game, the green and gold proved too powerful for the visitors, winning 121 points to 25.
Australia: 1 goal 32 overs 19 behinds (121), Ireland: 2 goals 3 overs 4 behinds (25)


Hawks on top; first time since 1993
Violent storm affects Blues-Crows
Kangaroos break through for a win

ROUND 4 — Fri-Sat-Sun, April 20-21-22.
MILESTONES — HAWTHORN remain the only undefeated club, and took over top place on the ladder for the first time since 1993-Round 18 … JASON NORRISH played his 100th club match with Fremantle (1995-2001) also 20 Mel 1993-94 … PAUL HUDSON passed 450 goals from his 224 career matches with Hawthorn and the Bulldogs … Geelong's RONNIE BURNS passed 200 goals in game 106 … Carlton's MATTHEW LAPPIN passed his 100th goal in game 108 … BEN COUSINS (WCE) passed 100 goals in game 104 … GEELONG posted their lowest score of 134 contests since 1925 against the Roos .… as well, it was Geelong's second lowest score in 533 matches at Kardinia Park since 1941 … for the round only 1233 points were scored for the eight matches — the lowest tally since 1241 points in 1997-R21 …

<||> Richmond made it three wins from four starts when they held off Collingwood's last quarter comeback in fine and cool conditions on Friday night at the MCG. The best crowd of the season, 78,638, were in attendance. The Magpies were 33 points down at the last change, then kicked five goals to draw to within one point of the Tigers — then two quick goals to PAUL BRODERICK for Richmond killed off the challenge.

Most of the key playmakers for both sides were held across the game – DUNCAN KELLAWAY did well to contain NATHAN BUCKLEY while MATTHEW KNIGHTS, BRAD OTTENS and MATTHEW RICHARDSON (who played with his left knee taped) were all quiet.

DWAYNE RUSSELL noted for The Sunday Age: "... despite the build-up of steam and a one-point quarter time lead, the Magpies failed to burn anyone but themselves. Richmond did not win because it was too highly skilled, or because it had dominant forwards who kicked an unbeatable score. The Tigers won a low-quality contest because Collingwood was not good enough." – RICHMOND 13.8-86 (Hilton 2, Cameron 2, Broderick 2) best, Hilton, Andrew Kellaway, Campbell, COLLINGWOOD 10.11-71, best, Fraser, Molloy, Rintoul.

<||> Steady rain proved no obstacle for Essendon on Friday night when the biggest SCG crowd for two seasons, 40,131, watched Sydney disintegrate and suffer a 47 point thrashing. The Bombers were not phased by the absence of Lloyd (suspended), Misiti (knee injury) and the late withdrawal with a virus of both Blumfield and Jacobs. First-gamers ROBERT FORSTER-KNIGHT and DAMIEN PEVERILL confirmed Essendon's depth with Peverill cutting Sydney's WAYNE SCHWASS out of the game.

PETER HANLON reported for The Age: Eleven unanswered goals from the two-minute mark of the second quarter defied all — not the least the weather. The Swans had gone in without JASON BALL, and lost ROHAN WARFE after MARK JOHNSON used him as a step-ladder on the members' wing. Warfe went down hard with what appeared to be a shoulder injury. Sydney simply couldn't find a way past the moving forcefield that is DUSTIN FLETCHER. Essendon kicked the last five goals of the first half and the first six of the second, and led by 68 points when MARK MERCURI casually slotted his second and the Bombers 14th. By then, JOHN BARNES was kicking exclusively with his left foot, and his teammates were kicking goals that would have severely tested Eade's manners.

Finally, 52 minutes after their second, ADAM GOODES soccered the Swans' third goal. Even then it was at the third swing of his leg ... Sydney dropped from top to third place, while the Dons move to second position, with the best percentage of the 16 clubs – ESSENDON 15.12-102 (Caracella 3, Hird 3, Mercuri 2) best, Ramanauskas, Mercuri, Mark Johnson, SYDNEY 6.19-55 (Ahmat 2) best, Cresswell, Schwass, O’Loughlin.

<||> The Carlton ground was deluged with heavy rain from a violent electrical storm for most of the first half on Saturday afternoon – 21,110 braved the day. Timekeeper clocks and the scoreboard at Optus Oval suffered from a power failure but the deepest wound was inflicted by Adelaide who with tough, intimidated pressure gained only their second win over the fancied Blues at Carlton since 1991.

The Blues were without their best running player SCOTT CAMPOREALE, a late withdrawal due to a hamstring injury. BRETT RATTEN with 37 possessions was best-afield while ANDREW McKAY was always prominent, but many others struggled. Carlton's key playmakers had days to forget, as the overhead sound of lightning cracking overhead seemed to act as a spur for the Crows.

Adelaide played veteran DARREN JARMAN off the half-back line and his roaming presence proved he is one of the most gifted players of recent times. MARK RICCIUTO was a beacon for the Crows, aided beautifully when he was needed, by MATTHEW ROBRAN, and three match-winning goals from PETER VARDY. Adelaide following three successive defeats gained their first points for the season and a memorable victory in the dreadful conditions – ADELAIDE 9.8-62 (Ricciuto 4, Vardy 3) best, Jarman, Hart, Smart, CARLTON 8.8-53 (Lappin 4) best, Ratten, Hickmott, Lappin.

<||> The benefit of the Docklands stadium was proved on Saturday afternoon when two minutes before the match started the roof was closed, in protection from the violent thunderstorm overhead. Only 20,322 saw the Western Bulldogs hand the Brisbane Lions yet another hiding on a visit to Melbourne. Spotlight of the day fell on veteran PAUL HUDSON who kicked 8.2 for the day, passing 450 goals for his 224 match career with Hawthorn and the Dogs.

PETER HANLON from Colonial reported for The Age: The Bulldogs' dominance started in the middle, when LUKE DARCY gave BEAU McDONALD a bath. Their prolific running brigade did much of its work unnoticed, but SCOTT WEST was still in their best few, and BRAD JOHNSON moved steadily through the gears to provide the finish. JOSE ROMERO's job on SIMON BLACK was also meritorious, the Bulldog denying himself the pleasures of possession in typical fashion for the team gain of reducing one of the Lions' playmakers to a virtual spectator.

Not for the first time, the Lions best players were MICHAEL VOSS – even with only five last-half touches – followed by Voss, Voss and Voss. Moving forward in an attempt to offer some sort of option, he found it hard to find the ball without having Voss streaming forward to kick it to him. The Lions with a 1+3 start will need all of their remaining 11 home games at the Gabba to be in anyway a chance this season – BULLDOGS 21.14-140 (Hudson 8.2, Johnson 3) best, Darcy, Hudson, Johnson, BRISBANE 12.15-87 (Headland 3) best, Voss, Headland, Picken.

<||> A crowd of 38,804 witnessed another Western Derby in good Saturday night conditions at Subiaco Oval. Seemingly home and hosed in the third quarter when West Coast went to a 31 point lead, the Dockers led by their midfielders ADRIAN FLETCHER, SHAUN McMANUS, PAUL HASLEBY and MATTHEW CARR kicked four unanswered goals to draw level at three-quarter time.

However, Freo ran out of steam as BEN COUSINS and MICHAEL GARDINER had last quarter blinders for the Eagles, kicking them to a four-goal win. Overall, West Coast were well served by ruckman MICHAEL GARDINER with five goals, DREW BANFIELD who cut loose with 30 possessions and three goals, with fine outings from ASHLEY McINTOSH and PETER MATERA.

Fremantle's attack was hampered by the injury to CLIVE WATERHOUSE. Returning from a broken collarbone, Waterhouse marked well in the opening stages then suffered a hamstring injury and took no part after half time. Fremantle dropped back to bottom place — the Eagles with 2+2 have started much better than a lot expected – WEST COAST 16.16-112 (Gardiner 5, Banfield 3) best, Gardiner, Banfield, Cousins, FREMANTLE 13.10-88 (McManus 3) best, Fletcher, McManus, Hasleby.

<||> Port Adelaide with a 6.6 to two behinds start, kicked themselves to their second 10-goal-plus victory in as many weeks when St Kilda were no match on Saturday night at Football Park; following early rain, ground conditions were generally good — 27,017 attended. The Saints slumped back to their old ways and lost their third successive game.

The tone of the match was set in the first quarter, ALAN SHIELL reported for The Age, when Port probably never played better and St Kilda rarely has played worse. The Saints were made to look slow, scrappy and loose by Port's quick, skilful play-on game, which flourished through the endeavour of its lively midfielders, led by NICK STEVENS, FABIAN FRANCIS, STUART DEW, JOSH CARR, JOSH FRANCOU and PETER BURGOYNE. Inevitably, (coach Malcolm) Blight blasted his players at quarter-time. And he asked them some questions, to which they replied by raising their right arms.

The Saints then charged back for their best period of play, then after half time added but one goal in each of the remaining quarters. Port did as it pleased for most of the match, and are looming as a serious contender for the Final Eight. For the record, it was Port's first win over St Kilda – PORT 17.12-114 (Burgoyne 4, Dew 4, Wanganeen 3) best, Burgoyne, Dew, Francou, ST KILDA 7.8-50, best, Voss, Harvey, Milne.

<||> Though scoring only two goals after quarter time, the Kangaroos enjoyed a 20-point victory in some of the worst conditions experienced for years. Heavy rain and driving wind at Geelong lasted most of the match, which ended in near darkness. Against live TV cover of the game, the crowd of 14,298 was the lowest for 10 years at Kardinia Park, meaning the cash-poor Cats suffered a financial loss of almost $50,000 on the day. The Weather Bureau at 9am Monday reported 117mm of rain had fallen in the Geelong area in the previous 24 hours.

Geelong was unfortunate to strike the winless Roos on such a day. The Kangas played no nonsense, wet weather footy, which Geelong was too slow to adapt to. The Roos won the game in the first quarter and were backed by a pair of Kings as MICHAEL HORAN noted in the Herald Sun, WAYNE CAREY and DAVID KING who each took his turn at showing classy hands.

The Roos knew how to pick up a greasy ball, and gained distance with their kicks. JAKE NIALL in The Age suggested – "The only consolation, perhaps, is that the Cats didn't have to attempt the trip back to Melbourne. The Kangas must have been stuck in Lara and Little River for hours, but, as the lovers of adversity, you get the feeling they wouldn't mind." – KANGAROOS 7.11-53 (King 3) best, King, Harvey, Carey, GEELONG 4.9-33 (Burns 2) best, Sholl, Spriggs, Burns.

<||> Steady rain and wind marred the Sunday afternoon match at the MCG, with only 30,113 present—against live TV cover of the game from Geelong. Much of the game was at ground level with no-frills, wet-weather footy. Hawthorn created their fourth victory of the year in the first quarter when a 22-point margin was huge in the conditions.

Hawthorn's midfield was dominant, where the match-up of the day between DANIEL CHICK (H) and SHANE WOEWODIN (M) was a beauty. AARON LORD kicked five goals with Dixon and Barker getting a couple each. JOEL SMITH was given the job on JEFF FARMER; though the Wiz had a forgettable day, he didn't help himself with dropped marks.

Melbourne trailed all day, yet fought back to within 12 points early in the last term before a critical umpiring decision went Hawthorn's way. BEN DIXON received 50m from a late spoil by Melbourne's ANDREW LEONCELLI. The easy goal from the square broke the heart of the Demons and the Hawks went on to record a solid win by 39 points.

The unbeaten Hawthorn went to top place for the first time since the 18th round in 1993 – HAWTHORN 11.17-83 (Lord 5) best, Chick, Lord, Harford, MELBOURNE 5.14-44 (Neitz 2) best, Walsh, Woewodin, Nicholson.

Bulldogs withdraw legal threat
Fences have been mended and the Western Bulldogs withdrew their threat of legal action after Richmond president CLINTON CASEY gallantly offered his apology.

A joint press statement from the two presidents, DAVID SMORGON of the Western Bulldogs and CLINTON CASEY was released on Monday (23rd) which said:

The presidents of the Richmond and Western Bulldogs Football Clubs today issued the following statements:

Mr Clinton Casey, President of the Richmond Football Club said: "Considerable discussion has taken place regarding my lunchtime address on Saturday, 14th April 2001, prior to the Richmond-Brisbane Lions game, on the incident involving Matthew Knights and Tony Liberatore.

My address was made in response to earlier comments, which I saw as challenging the integrity and credibility of our players including the Richmond captain, Wayne Campbell.

I recognise that remarks made in my address, which suggested or inferred that the Western Bulldogs Football Club, and in particular its president David Smorgon and its coach Terry Wallace, suggesting they condone or support in any way unsportsmanlike behaviour on the football field, were incorrect. I withdraw and apologise for those remarks.

It was not my intention for the remarks to be taken in this way, rather I was intending to protect the interests of my players and the club.
Clearly, both clubs accept the tribunal's decision, but have differing views regarding the Knights/Liberatore incident and cannot agree on the circumstances surrounding the issue."

Mr David Smorgon, President of the Western Bulldogs FC responded by saying: "On behalf of the Western Bulldogs Football Club, Terry Wallace and I accept Clinton's statement.

Mark Patterson, CEO of the Western Bulldogs, apologises to Richmond captain Wayne Campbell for remarks which may have reflected adversely on Wayne's credibility as a witness."

Both presidents and their respective clubs agree that this matter is behind them and that there will be no further comments.

Turf replacement begins at Docklands
A $1.4 million returfing program of the Colonial Stadium at Docklands began on Monday (23rd).

HG, the new turf contractor using the Motz system which has rye grass with couch sewn into it on a synthetic base started the 19,000 square metre task, first replacing the centre corridor.

The western wing will be resurfaced after Round 5 matches and the following week the eastern wing will be replaced.

Molloy and Kirk not guilty
Nicks & Peverill both fined
The AFL Tribunal on Monday (23rd) heard charges arising from Round 4.

Collingwood v Richmond
JARROD MOLLOY (C) for charging DARREN GASPAR (R) during the first quarter. The Tribunal found Molloy not guilty.

Sydney v Essendon
BRETT KIRK (S) for striking BLAKE CARCELLA (E) in the fourth quarter. The Tribunal found Kirk not guilty. MATTHEW NICKS (S) for wrestling in the second quarter. DAMIEN PEVERILL (E) for wrestling in the second quarter. Peverill (E) was fined $600, Nicks (S) $1200.

Ian Drake and Micky Crisp pass
IAN DRAKE, the architect of St Kilda's only premiership in 1966 passed away on April 14, aged 71.

Drake as secretary of St Kilda and in partnership with club chairman GRAHAM HUGGINS recruited the talent which brought premiership glory to Moorabbin.
He was farewelled at The Necropolis at Springvale on April 19.

WILLIAM EDWARD CRESSWELL 'Micky' CRISP, centreman of Carlton's 1938 premiership team passed away peacefully at his home in Kirra, Queensland on April 15, aged 92.

Crisp played 183 matches with Carlton between 1931 and 1941, winning the club best & fairest award in 1934 and 1938 and was vice-captain of the Blues in 1935-36.

Stab Kicks ...
Concern for player safety in Saturday storm

Sidelights to the violent thunderstorm when both sheet and fork lightning blanketed Princes Park on Saturday was a genuine concern of player safety. Media reports noted that at one a rivulet running down the gutter next to the interchange bench swept away the spare boots and water bottles of the Carlton team.

Not too many kilometres away at Thomastown, six players from a soccer game were taken to hospital after a lightning strike. ABC-TV interrupted their cover of the VFL match from Williamstown where the Seagulls were playing Coburg with concerns to workplace safety where cameramen were working from scaffolding – a power failure brought in the use of a police car to replace the siren at Willy until supply returned.

harges against Barry Hall dropped
Charges against St Kilda's BARRY HALL and his friend JOE ALESSI of being drunk in a public place laid on April 1 failed to reach court. The matters were discharged before reaching the courtroom.

New GG is Lions fan
No 1 ticket holder for the Brisbane Lions is PETER HOLLINGSWORTH, current Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane who becomes Australia's new Governor-General in June.

Federal government grants $90 million for MCG upgrade
The Federal Government is expected to contribute a grant of $90 million toward the $400 million plans to revamp the stands at the MCG in time for the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

They said it ...
KEN PIESSE. Sunday Herald Sun, April 22
— Adelaide chairman BOB CAMPBELL believes AFL club presidents should be seen and not heard, especially if they bring the game into disrepute. Campbell says he has been amazed at the feuding in the past few weeks between the Western Bulldogs and Richmond and says the focus on the game itself should never again be so diverted.

"We come from the City of Churches not the City of Lawyers," he said on 3LO. "We concentrate on what we should be doing and that's making our great game even greater. I don't think it is happening here in Melbourne."

MIKE GIBSON, Sunday Telegraph, April 22 — "I have seen more rotten games of football than Derryn Hinch has been sacked.

But on Friday night, the Swans were so awful I sat there mesmerised by their sheer ineptitude.

It was like listening to Tiny Tim sing. Like watching Hugh Grant act. Like John Hopoate writing a book on etiquette.

When they put out a video on how not to play the game, they need look further than the Swans' performance against Essendon on April 20, 2001. This wasn't football. It was slapstick. A comedy of catastrophe. Four quarters of high farce."


Anzac Day glory to the Bombers
Hawks remain unbeaten
Lions' 64pt comeback in 27 minutes
Two new longest quarters

ROUND 5 — Wed, Fri-Sat-Sun, April 25, 27-28-29.
MILESTONES — Brisbane, kicking an amazing 13.6-84 against Fremantle at the Gabba recorded the fourth highest last quarter in 11,952 League matches – it was an astonishing 64-point turnaround in 27 minutes of football ... JASON McCARTNEY played his 150th League match – 38 Col 1991-94, 37 Ade 1995-97, 75 Kan 1998-2001 ... 150th by BRAD JOHNSON (FWB) 1994-2001 ... 50th by LUKE POWER (Bri) 1998-2001 and PAUL LICURIA, 10 Syd 1997-98, 40 Col 1999-2001 ... DENIS PAGAN steered the Kangaroos in his 200th game as coach, as did MARK WILLIAMS at the helm of Port Adelaide in his 50th AFL match ... MATTHEW RICHARDSON (Rch) passed his 400th goal ... PAUL BRODERICK played his 150th club game for Richmond (1994-2001), also 93 Fit (1988-93) ... JOHN BARKER played his 50th club game for Hawthorn (1998-2001) also 47 Fit (1994-96), 8 Bri (1997) ... BEN GRAHAM played his 50th consecutive game for Geelong ... DAVID NEITZ (Mel) passed 250 goals in game 163 ... new longest quarters were recorded – Saturday's second term at Colonial lasted 40 minutes, 39 seconds, and the last quarter on Sunday at the Gabba was timed at 37 minutes, two seconds ...

<||> A bumper crowd of 83,905 attended the MCG on the Anzac Day Wednesday afternoon in cool, overcast conditions. The traditional contest was played on a remarkably good surface and a credit to the ground staff in light of the heavy rains experienced in the days before. The match followed ceremonies to honour the fighting men and women who served our nation in conflicts over the past 100 years. The game was highly entertaining and was played with inspirational style both by Essendon and Collingwood.

The scores changed five times in a tight-as-a-drum contest. Twice the Magpies led by three goals – once in a seven-goals-straight second quarter, again in the third – but they never could find the extra one to put Essendon away. Under intense pressure, the Dons twice rose to the challenge, coming back to trail by less than a kick at half-time, then again to lead by a goal at the final change. In the last term, in every respect a championship quarter, Essendon remained under siege, but was never headed.

STEVE ALESSIO in the ruck for Essendon played a huge part in the last half when they lifted their workrate and in the thrilling closing stages went on to capture an eight point win. It was the third successive win by the Dons in the traditional Anzac Day event and their sixth on-the-trot over the Pies. Though the Magpies lost, they never surrendered and won a lot of hearts.

After the match, RSL Victorian president BRUCE RUXTON presented the RSL Trophy to Essendon captain JAMES HIRD, while League legend RON BARASSI presented the RSL Medal to Collingwood CHRIS TARRANT as best player afield – ESSENDON 15.13-103 (Barnard 4) best, Barnard, Caracella, Mercuri, COLLINGWOOD 14.11-95 (Tarrant 5, Lockyer 3) best, Tarrant, Lockyer, Licuria.

<||> Subiaco Oval was near perfect with only a slight breeze present on Friday night when a big 38,424 saw Richmond power away in the last quarter to win easily from West Coast – it was the first victory over the Eagles by the Tigers in eight visits to Subi since 1987.

West Coast suffered the late withdrawal of full-back ASHLEY McINTOSH; the replacement was GREG HARDING, in for his first game of the season. The forward-line strength of MATTHEW RICHARDSON (six goals) and MATTHEW ROGERS (five) was a deciding factor. West Coast with PHILLIP MATERA prominent threatened to blow the game apart with a sensational third quarter when they swept back from a 38 point deficit to be only 13pts down at the last change.

Proving that good sides win their interstate clashes, Richmond held the Eagles to a goal in the last stanza and were comfortable 39 point winners. Richardson, in spite of conceding three 50m penalties, that last of which saw him dragged, provided the Tigers with something special when needed. Richmond were further blessed with fine showings by WAYNE CAMPBELL (32 touches), MARK CHAFFEY (29) and JOEL BOWDEN (18) – RICHMOND 17.7-109 (Richardson 6, Rogers 5, Bowden 3) best, Bowden, Richardson, Rogers, WEST COAST 11.4-70 (Phillip Matera 4) best, Fletcher, Phillip Matera, Williams.

<||> It was fine weather, but slippery conditions were present at Optus Oval on Saturday afternoon when 24,385 attended – there was also a passage of rain early in the last half. Though St Kilda gave some sign their large number of imports are starting to come together in the game plan, they were no match in the long haul for Carlton.

EMMA QUAYLE noted for The Age: was a more serious and skilled St Kilda side that didn't let the Blues believe they had won until the final phase of the game. Carlton's early dominance was born in midfield, with the likes of BRETT RATTEN, DARREN HULME and CRAIG BRADLEY getting at the bottom of MARK PORTER's ruck work to set up BRENDAN FEVOLA, ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES and Ratten himself. The problem for the Saints was that when Carlton relaxed, they started making mistakes too, almost as if they had no idea what to do should they possibly get in front.

The Blues broke the Saints in the last quarter and only for wayward kicking (7.9 in the last) the margin should have been greater. Following much media speculation, the focus was on AARON HAMILL in his return to Princes Park — late in the last quarter he reminded Blues fans what he could do – kicking the goal, nine minutes in, that at least kept his Saints in the game, however his impact was minimal – CARLTON 17.23-125 (Koutoufides 4, Hickmott 3, Fevola 3) best, Porter, Ratten, Hulme, ST KILDA 14.8-92 (Hall 5) best, Beetham, Hall, Hudghton.

<||> A crowd of 34,400 on Saturday afternoon at Colonial Stadium watched an entertaining, high-scoring contest under a closed roof. The conditions were good, on the relaid turf down the centre corridor. The match ebbed and flowed with Hawthorn twice taking control and withstand the always-spirited Bulldog fight back. The 29-point win maintained the Hawks unbeaten run and top place on the ladder.

LEN JOHNSON reporting for The Age noted that Hawthorn's fitness and resilience survived a searching examination when they were put under siege both physically and mentally by the Bulldogs. Hawthorn were 46 points in front late in the second quarter – the Bulldogs with three goals pulled it back to 28 points at the long break. The Tricolours by the 20-minute mark of the third had produced a 47-point turnaround to take the lead by a point. Hawthorn seemed to be past the crisis point with two goals and went into the last term up by 12 points.

The Hawks kicked five of the first six goals in the final quarter and went on to win by 29 points. Hawthorn's AARON LORD from five goals in the wet of the MCG the previous week, kicked six on the firm Docklands surface. NATHAN BROWN battled hard all day for the Dogs, and in spite of the influence SHAUN REHN had for the Hawks, LUKE DARCY was a good player for the Westerners – HAWTHORN 24.11-155 (Lord 6, Barker 5, Croad 4, Rehn 3) best, Rawlings, Rehn, Barker, BULLDOGS 19.12-126 (Hudson 4, Brown 3, Hunter 3) best, Darcy, Brown West.

<||> Football Park had a dewy surface and a fair breeze to the northern end in the fine Saturday night conditions when an audience of 37,596 cheered Adelaide on to their second close victory in as many weeks. The Crows would not lie down; winning back control after the Kangaroos attacked strongly in the early part, but both WAYNE CAREY and SAV ROCCA failed to translate that to the scoreboard. The defeat to the Roos came in DENIS PAGAN's 200th coaching game, and the 1+4 start keeps them down at 15th place.

ANDREW McLEOD and SIMON GOODWIN led the way for Adelaide in the second half, with MATTHEW CLARK's clever tapwork giving the Crows first use of the ball, while BRYAN BEINKE's three goals after half-time were crucial to the result. In his 150th League game JASON McCARTNEY shone at centre half-back for the Kangas; BRENT HARVEY was a lively onballer, DAVID KING provided great run out of the centre and WAYNE CAREY produced four goals.

The Roos were always within a goal or two in the frantic last quarter, but the Crows prevailed to win their first over the visitors at Football Park since 1995, and only their second in the past eight meetings – the other was the 1998 Grand Final – ADELAIDE 12.18-90 (Beinke 3) best, Goodwin, McLeod, Edwards, KANGAROOS 10.14-75 (Carey 4) best, King, Carey, McCartney.

<||> Fremantle led the Lions by 15 points at the 10-minute mark of the last quarter yet lost the game by 49 points. Producing an astonishing 64-point turnaround in 27 minutes of football, Brisbane in the last term kicked 13.6-84, the fourth-highest final quarter in 11,952 matches, in what was the longest last quarter on record, 37 minutes, two seconds. Only 20,059 were at the Gabba on a fine and warm Sunday afternoon.

It was a remarkable game of contrasts; Fremantle just couldn't go the distance against a Brisbane side who was deplorable for almost three and-a-half quarters. Statistically, JASON AKERMANIS and TIM NOTTING for the Lions both collected 31 possessions, and shared 13 uncontested marks. PETER BELL was the most effective afield for the Dockers with 36 disposals, HEATH BLACK had 30 touches, MATTHEW CARR (26) while DANIEL BANDY and TROY COOK each had 21 possessions.

The Lions had 11 goalkickers including ALASTAIR LYNCH with five goals, who was benched in the last term with CHRIS SCOTT taking over at full froward. JONATHAN BROWN also went back to the interchange for the final stanza, with MICHAEL VOSS going to centre half-forward. What a remarkable game – BRISBANE 25.21-171 (Lynch 5, Notting 4, Lappin 3, Akermanis 3, Scott 3) best, Akermanis, Notting, Power, FREMANTLE 19.8-122 (Pavlich 4, Hasleby 3, Bandy 3) best, Bell, Pavlich, Carr.

<||> Port Adelaide in a stunning performance led Geelong by 80 points in the third quarter before easing back to win by a comfortable 46 points on a fine Sunday afternoon, though it was cloudy at times – only 18,736 were on hand at Kardinia Park, the match was also televised live into the Victorian area. The result brought Port's first win at Geelong on their third visit.

The first term was tight when the lead changed on five occasions. When GARRY HOCKING goaled early in the second term, the Cats went to a one point lead. Then the floodgates opened with Port ramming on six goals in the next 11 minutes to stun Geelong – Port players were lining up at goal as if it were a training drill.

Geelong were more physical in the second half but it failed to stem the flow as the Power with eight goals to two held a 68 point lead at the last change. Geelong kicked seven goals to four in the last quarter but the reduction of the margin was only cosmetic and failed to mask the fact that Port Adelaide had recorded a big and very important win in Victoria.

Port Adelaide's STUART DEW regularly kicked out from goal yet booted 6.3, which shot him to goal leader after five rounds with 18.5. In one instance, Dew kicked the ball from full-back before bolting up forward, where he gained possession and, in what is quickly becoming a trademark style, pumped it home from 50 metres that's from one who had a question mark over his fitness level and played only 13 games last year – PORT 23.10-146 (Dew 6, Schofield 5, Tredrea 4) best, Dew, Schofield, Tredrea, GEELONG 15.12-102 (Murphy 3) best, King, Murphy, Sanderson.

<||> Melbourne captain DAVID NEITZ gave his side a dream start against Sydney, kicking four goals in the first 12 minutes of the Sunday afternoon match at the MCG played in fine conditions. While the Swans led at the first change, the absence of a five-pack in Stafford, Kelly, Warfe, Barry and Lewis bit deeply, as did the loss from a shoulder injury by half time of SIMON FEAST, the ruckman who had replaced the injured Stafford.

The Demons surged ahead in the second term with JEFF FARMER kicking three goals before he was taken out of the game late in the quarter with a hamstring injury. Following a closely fought third quarter, Sydney broke loose and with five goals went to a 10pt lead (15.14 to 14.10) midway through the last. What the Swans couldn't counter was RUSSELL ROBERTSON — he had already kicked one in the first minute of the last, but after Sydney had taken the lead, Robertson popped through another three goals in five minutes – one from a screamer of a mark 20m from goal over former Tassie Mariner teammate GERRARD BENNETT of the Swans. Neitz with his sixth for the day kicked the sealer.

Melbourne's JEFF WHITE clearly won the centre hit-outs over Sydney stand-in rucks ADAM GOODES and JASON BALL ... GUY RIGONI and DANIEL WARD with 24 each were top possession winners for the Dees, with close-at-hand STEVEN FEBEY (24), ANDREW LEONCELLI (23) and DAVID SCHWARZ (20) ... best to serve the Swans were JARED CROUCH (26), WAYNE SCHWASS (24), MATTHEW NICKS (23) and DARYN CRESSWELL (21) – MELBOURNE 18.11-119 (Neitz 6, Robert-son 4, Farmer 3) best, White, Schwarz, Ingerson, SYDNEY 15.14-104 (Goodes 2, Stevens 2, Nicks 2) best, Bolton, Nicks, Goodes.

Hawthorn's Team of the Century
Hawthorn named its Team of the Century at Melbourne's Crown Casino on Friday, April 27th.

Players from the greatest era, between 1971-91, as epxected dominate the team, when the club won eight of its nine premierships. Only seven of the 22-man team played before the Hawks' second flag in 1971.

For players after 1960, there was a 100-game minimum qualification.

The team:
B: Gary Ayres, Kelvin Moore, Albert Mills
HB: Col Austen, Chris Mew, Peter Knights
C: Robert Dipierdomenico, Jim Bohan, Brendan Edwards
HF: Graham Arthur, Dermott Brereton, Gary Buckenara
F: Jason Dunstall, Peter Hudson, John Platten
Foll: Don Scott, Michael Tuck, Leigh Matthews
Inter: Chris Langford, Ian Law, Paul Salmon, Roy Simmonds
Coach: John Kennedy

Gutnick plans board reduction
A report that the Melbourne FC presidency of JOSEPH GUTNICK was under threat from high-profile businessman RON WALKER drew a swift reaction from the Demons' benefactor.

On Sunday (29th) at the Melbourne-Sydney MCG match day, Gutnick speaking on ABC Radio 774 (3LO) revealed his plans to cut the size of the Melbourne board by almost half at the end of the season. Gutnick who later joined Demon fans to watch his team said: "I think I've got the support of the members, but I don't know if I've got the support of the upper end of Collins Street."

The Melbourne board presently has 11 directors, of which Gutnick is one, and any alteration would require the agreement by three-quarters of directors.
The Age reported on May 1 that over the five years of Gutnick's presidency, three chief executives and 20 directors have served the club. There is a belief that an underlying tension remains between pro and anti-merger directors from the time of the aborted marriage with Hawthorn in 1996.

Mr Gutnick since rising to the presidency in 1996 has contributed some $3 million to the Melbourne FC.

The talking point drew the AFL website in a poll to ask the question – "Are you sick of hearing about club president's?" – the last check showed 92% of 1361 respondents voted in the affirmative.

Curley out for umpire contact
12 incidents from 8 matches
Another case of 'mistaken identity'

The AFL Tribunal convened on both Monday (April 30) and Wednesday (May 2) to hear charges from Round 5.

In addition to the reports laid on match days, 12 incidents from the eight matches received video scrutiny after the weekend.

West.B'dogs v Hawthorn
An rare charge was heard at Wednesday's sitting – that of making contact with an umpire – Western Bulldog player TODD CURLEY collided with field umpire KIERON NICHOLLS during the third quarter of the Saturday match at Docklands versus Hawthorn. Curley ran into Nicholls' back as he ran to help teammates clear the ball out of Hawthorn's forward 50m zone. The umpire after being bumped on the shoulder blew his whistle and paid a free kick against Curley to Hawk ruckman SHAUN REHN. Rehn's kick resulted in a goal, which interrupted a comeback by the Dogs and prompted a post-match comment from coach TERRY WALLACE.

The Tribunal found that Curley had "recklessly" made contact and suspended the player for four matches. His club was considering an appeal. The Age reported on Wednesday: In handing down the penalty, Tribunal chairman BRIAN COLLIS said that while Curley's actions were not deliberate, he should have deviated to ensure he did not collide with Nicholls. "The obligation on any player is not to make contact with an umpire either intentionally, negligently or recklessly. Some of the purpose of this rule is to ensure the umpires focus on umpiring without expecting any contact."

Adelaide v Kangaroos
Kangaroo captain WAYNE CAREY pleaded guilty to the charge of striking Adelaide's KANE JOHNSON and was suspended for one match. It was Carey's first suspension since 1994. Between 1992 and 1994 the Roo received six matches on three striking charges.

Brisbane v Fremantle
In the other cases, Brisbane's MATTHEW KENNEDY was suspended for two matches for kicking Fremantle's PAUL HASLEBY. Keating's good record, only one melee fine in a 12-year career, favoured the penalty on this occasion. Bulldog ruckman LUKE DARCY was found guilty of tripping Hawthorn's JONATHAN HAY and suspended for one match.

Geelong v Port Adelaide
In another foul-up of procedure, charges against Geelong's BRENTON SANDERSON and Port Adelaide's JOSH CARR were both dismissed by the Tribunal when it was realised that a goal umpire could not lay a video report. Originally goal umpire MARK CANNING at Geelong reported CAMERON MOONEY instead of Sanderson, for wrestling Port's Josh Carr and vice-versa. These charges were withdrawn and Sanderson was named from video evidence.

In Round 3, Essendon's MARK MERCURI was charged with rough play which was withdrawn when it is was realised the wrong player had been named. MATTHEW LLOYD was later cited instead on the charge and was suspended for one match.

Bulldogs v Hawthorn
JOHN BARKER (H) for wrestling CRAIG ELLIS (WB) in the third quarter. The Tribunal fined Barker $1500.00. CRAIG ELLIS (WB) for wrestling JOHN BARKER in the third quarter. The Tribunal fined Ellis $3000.  From video TODD CURLEY (WB) was cited for making contact with field umpire KIERON NICHOLLS during the third quarter. Curley was suspended for four matches. From video LUKE DARCY (WB) was cited for tripping JONATHAN HAY (H). Darcy was suspended for one match.

Adelaide v Kangaroos
From video WAYNE CAREY (K) was cited for striking KANE JOHNSON (A) in the second quarter. On a plea of guilty, Carey was suspended for one match.

Brisbane v Fremantle
MATTHEW KENNEDY (B) for kicking PAUL HASLEBY (F) in the third quarter. Keating was suspended for two matches.

Geelong v Port Adelaide
JOSH CARR (P) for wrestling CAMERON MOONEY (G) in the first quarter. CAMERON MOONEY (G) for wrestling JOSH CARR (P) in the first quarter. Both these charges were withdrawn.
MATTHEW SCARLETT (G) for striking CAIN ACKLAND (P) in the third quarter. The Tribunal suspended Scarlett for two matches.
From video, BRENTON SANDERSON (G) cited for wrestling JOSH CARR (P) in the first quarter. From video, JOSH CARR (P) cited for wrestling BRENTON SANDERSON (G) in the first quarter. The charges were dismissed on a fault of procedure.

Stab Kicks ...
ACB searching for Malcolm Speed replacement

Several AFL CEO's including Geelong's BRIAN COOK, Collingwood's GREG SWANN and Richmond's MARK BRAYSHAW are attracting the interest of the Australian Cricket Board as they seek to replace the highly respected MALCOLM SPEED who will soon take up his appointment as the London-based ICC chief executive.

Sixty years later ...
AFL master statsman COL HUTCHINSON in conversation on Tuesday noted that he would have to delve back at least 60 years to when forbears of the two captains of Sunday's Kardinia Park game led respective sides against each other. Geelong captain BEN GRAHAM is the grandson of South Melbourne icon JACK GRAHAM, while Port Adelaide captain MATTHEW PRIMUS is the grandson of the Cats' most famous son REG HICKEY, who was captain, captain-coach and later coached Geelong until BOB DAVIS took over in 1960.

Incidentally, JACK GRAHAM is the last man to kick 10 goals at Kardinia Park — he did so for the Swans against the Cats back in Round 8 1948. His feat is one of the oldest extant records on the books.

hort odds for Drum
The Herald Sun on Monday noted that Centrebet has withdrawn the market on *the first coach to be sacked* — Damien Drum was $2.25 when betting ceased.

Charging rule to be reviewed
Speaking on ABC Radio 774 (3LO) on Sunday, AFL football operations manager ANDREW DEMETRIOU said the AFL's contentious charging rule could be the subject of a mid-season review. The review by a discussion group will take place during Round 12 which will be split over 10 days.

Swans and Demons for Anzac Day?
The Sydney and Melbourne clubs have put a submission before the AFL for the two to play an Anzac Day fixture next season at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

SANFL goal umpires wired for TV
At the Adelaide Oval on Anzac Day, ABC-TV during its telecast of the Central District v Woodville-West Torrens grand final rematch trialled goal umpires wearing a small television camera attached to their hats. A report noted the camera looks similar to a lipstick case and sits just above the umpire's ear. One camera was in operation on Wednesday, with each umpire wearing it for half a game.

Call for ground managers to be responsible
AFL Players' Association chief executive ROB KERR went on record saying, ground managers and not field umpires should be entrusted with stopping matches when there is a threat of lightning. This followed in the wake of violent electrical storms experienced in Melbourne at the Saturday match played at Princes Park in Round 4. The AFLPA will formally express its views to the League.

Hume Council demands on Kangaroos
Following the Kangaroos' loss of $1.14 million last year, The Age on Thursday (3rd) reported the social club had received a statutory demand from the Hume City Council for unpaid rents totalling between $100,000 and $200,000. CAROLINE WILSON and CHRISTOPHER WEBB in their story suggested the Kangaroos face the near-certain failure of their $1.6 million Broadmeadows Social Club venture.

They said it ...
GREG BAUM, The Age, May 2
— Confusingly, the laws that decree ''intentional, reckless or negligent'' contact to be a free kick elsewhere rule that ''intentional, reckless or negligent'' contact is reportable.

In the recent controversy over the charging rule, no one could say unequivocally what was the difference between a legal bump, a free kick and a reportable offence. Fine lines are not the game's strong suit.

It is difficult to see what will be gained by putting Curley before the tribunal. If he is suspended, it will appear to be heavy-handed. If he is cleared, it will give rise in all minds to the idea that the incident was scarcely even worth a free kick in the first place. It's a curly one.

Appeal Board
Todd Curley sentence halved
The Western Bulldogs appealed the four-week suspension handed down by the AFL Tribunal on Wednesday (2nd) against their player TODD CURLEY.

The AFL Appeal Board on Friday upheld the Wednesday night decision that Curley was guilty of making contact with an umpire. However, the Board ruled Curley had been negligent, but not reckless, in colliding with umpire KIERON NICHOLLS and cut the penalty from four weeks to two weeks.


Fitzroy's Team of the Century
Hawthorn announced their Team of the Century to a sold-out 1400 guests at Melbourne's Grand Hyatt Hotel on Thursday, May 3rd.

Chairman of selectots was former Fitzroy board member George Coates together with Arthur Wilson, Bob Henderson and Arthur 'Tich' Edwards.

Former coach Bill Stephen dismissed the suggestion that acrimony still existed among supporters at the club's decision to merge with Brisbane in 1996. "The fact that it (the function) was booked out in two days was quite incredible when the club hasn't functioned for five years."

Fitzroy played its 1,928th and last League match against Fremantle at Subiaco Oval on Sunday, September 1, 1996.

The team:
B: Bill Stephen, Fred Hughson, Frank Curcio
HB: Kevin Murray (Capt.), Paul Roos, Gary Pert
C: Wilfred Smallhorn, John Murphy, Warwick Irwin
HF: Owen Abrahams, Bernie Quinlan, Gary Wilson (v.c.)
F: Allan Ruthven, Jack Moriarty, Norm Brown
Foll: Alan Gale, Norm Johnstone, Haydn Bunton
Inter: Michael Conlan, Alastair  Lynch, Harvey Merrigan, Richard Osborne, Percy Parratt, Percy Trotter
Coach: Len Smith


Melbourne's 2000th match
Stewart Loewe reaches 300 game
Federation Cup to Collingwood
10.4 by Matthew Lloyd

ROUND 6 — Fri-Sat-Sun, May 4-5-6.
MILESTONES — MELBOURNE played their 2000th League match ... St Kilda's STEWART LOEWE played his 300th match (1986-2001), the 38th League player to achieve the milestone; Loewe equalled the St Kilda club record of BARRY BREEN (1965-82) ... BRISBANE played the 100th VFL-AFL premiership match at the Brisbane Cricket Ground (1981-2001) ... 100 games by SHANE
WAKELIN, 94 StK 1994-2000, 6 Col 2001 – LUKE McCABE (Haw) 1995-2001 – SHANE WOEWODIN (Mel) 1997-2001 which have been consecutively since his debut, only the fifth player to achieve this feat ... 50 games by ANDREW WILLIAMS (WCE) 1998-2001 and DAVID WIRRPUNDA (WCE) 1996-2001 ... DAMIAN DRUM coached his 50th League match ... York Park in Launceston became the 35th venue of VFL-AFL football ... MATTHEW LLOYD with 10.4 against West Coast became the first double-digit goalkicker at the Docklands venue ... COLLINGWOOD captured the Centenary of Federation Cup with an eight point win over Carlton ...

<||> Richmond made it five wins from six matches when they dominated the final quarter to score a decisive 51 point win over the Kangaroos on Friday night under the closed roof of Colonial Stadium. The Tigers retained fourth place on the ladder behind the leaders Hawthorn 24pts, in parallel with Essendon and Port Adelaide on 20 premiership points.

It was a fair struggle for three quarters with Richmond's tall forward duo of BRAD OTTENS and MATTHEW RICHARDSON always threatening — Richardson finished with four goals from 13 marks. The Roos painfully missed the suspended WAYNE CAREY while COREY McKERNAN remained ineffectual, prompting his coach DENIS PAGAN to describe his efforts as "tragic". McKernan's zero-stats for the night were, no kicks, no marks, no handballs and just five of the 28 hit-outs contested.

One of the few winners for the Kangas was veteran DAVID KING (162 games) – his bursts out of the middle gave the lead which were not taken up by most of his teammates. The exception was former Geelong captain LEIGH COLBERT who as Carey's replacement at centre half-forward who at last is finding form – RICHMOND 19.15-129 (Richardson 4, Rogers 3, Bowden 3) best, Knights, Richardson, Chaffey, KANGAROOS 12.6-78 (King 3) best, Stevens, King, McLaren.

St Kilda played inspirational football in celebration of STEWART LOEWE's 300th League game and were thorough victors by 26 points over Sydney on a fine Saturday afternoon at Docklands stadium – 28,933 were in attendance. Loewe played an outstanding game, finishing with 29 possessions, 11 marks and three goals.

With WAYNE SCHWASS providing a fiery game the Swans played well in passages, with their second term putting them a good position, only to see the Saints whip back through goals from Loewe (2), Burke, Everitt and Hayes to take and eight point lead at the long break. Golden opportunities were presented to Sydney in the third but renewed pressure by the Saints forced the Swans into costly errors.

Imports to St Kilda showed great improvement with FRASER GEHRIG's efforts at full-back suggesting he has found a home in defence for the season, while AARON HAMILL's straight-ahead approach added bite to the forward line both in the air and at ground level. But, it was an old-stager BARRY HALL who stepped up to kick three last quarter goals in 10 minutes to seal the Saints' second win for the season – ST KILDA 18.12-120 (Hall 5, Milne 3, Loewe 3) best, Milne, Jones, Hall, SYDNEY 14.10-94 (Schwass 3) best, Schwass, Saddington, O’Loughlin.

<||> Melbourne in their 2000th League game sent Fremantle crashing to their seven straight defeat on Saturday night at Subiaco Oval for a modest 19,775 was around for the remainder of the night. The Demons suffered the late withdrawal with a knee injury of key ruckman JEFF WHITE.

The Dockers seemed hungry for victory, however an off-target start nullified the midfield dominance enjoyed by PAUL HASLEBY, ADRIAN FLETCHER and TROY COOK when they led the Dees 4.10 to 2.6 early in the second term. Melbourne sensing the occasion were snapped into life by a long goal from GUY RIGONI, eight minutes into the third quarter.

SHANE WOEWODIN continued his strong work in his 100th consecutive match as the Dees took control. The last-quarter capitulation by Fremantle for the second week in a row was hard to believe as Melbourne breezed away with 8.4 to finish all over the Dockers by 45 points. The pressure on Fremantle coach DAMIAN DRUM in his 50th League game was obvious as he suggested that his board "Sack me, or back me". JOHN WORSFOLD, the former Eagle player and current assistant coach at Carlton was said to be waiting in the wings – MELBOURNE 18.11-119 (Green 4, Robert-son 3) best, Ward, Yze, A.McDonald, FREMANTLE 9.20-74 (Modra 3), best, Bell, Hasleby, Cook.

<||> Port Adelaide confirmed they are the "big improvers" of this season when they registered a comfortable 43 point win over the Western Bulldogs before 30,197 on Saturday night at Football Park – it was the 50th premiership match under lights for the Bulldogs.

The Westerners were depleted without the suspended trio Darcy, Curley and Liberatore, while Romero, Croft and Dimattina were sidelined by injury. Coach TERRY WALLACE was reduced to employ flooding tactics to counter deficiencies and that provided an ugly spectacle. CHRIS GRANT was used mainly at centre half-back to counter WARREN TREDREA with regulars SCOTT WEST, NATHAN BROWN, BRAD JOHNSON and ROHAN SMITH all working hard. But, by three-quarter time it was evident by just how far Port would stretch their lead.

CHE COCKATOO-COLLINS impressed for Port while MATTHEW PRIMUS asserted his authority around the ground. Defender DARRYL WAKELIN provided great rebound out of defence with his cool approach and clever reading of the play. Port with a great 5+1 start hold third place alongside Essendon and Richmond, behind the undefeated leaders Hawthorn – PORT 20.9-129 (Burgoyne 3, Cockatoo-Collins 3, Chad Cornes 3, James 3) best, Francou, Primus, Francis, BULLDOGS 13.8-86 (Johnson 3) best, Johnson, Eagleton, Grant.

<||> Brisbane and Geelong played the 100th VFL-AFL match at the Gabba in fine conditions on Saturday night – 25,881 attended. The Lions were in command throughout and swept to a 55 point victory while the Cats after such a promising start to the season plummeted to their fourth successive defeat. Centre half-forward JONATHAN BROWN kicked seven goals as the Brisbane team produced their best team effort of the opening six matches.

BILL McDONALD reported for The Age: Brown played the game of his life to see off three opponents – BEN GRAHAM, JASON MOONEY and TOM HARLEY – by half-time, and had two more goals (five) than the Cats' total. JASON AKERMANIS, MICHAEL VOSS, SIMON BLACK and NIGEL LAPPIN were ruthless and provided direct penetration into their forward line with monotonous regularity by hand and foot. When LUKE POWER and CRAIG McRAE chipped in, the Cats' DAVID SPRIGGS, DAVID CLARKE, DARREN MILBURN and co, took on the appearance of revolving doors.

All too often the Cats were too slow, and the rebounding ball was converted at the other end with ease as the Lions revelled in the open space, compounding a monumental problem for coach MARK THOMPSON. The Lions ran away, kicking 14 of the last 16 goals to celebrate the 100th game since the merger with Fitzroy – BRISBANE 17.14-116 (Brown 7.0) best, Akermanis, Brown, Voss, GEELONG 8.13-61 (Houlihan 2, Burns 2) best, Spriggs, Bizzell, Sholl.

<||> The Centenary of Federation Cup was at stake when traditional rivals Collingwood and Carlton met for the 222nd occasion on a beautiful autumn Sunday with 73,572 present at the MCG. The match paralleled a meeting between the two clubs on the same weekend 100 years ago when Federal Parliament sat for the first time in Melbourne. This time the result was the same though the margin was much closer.

LEN JOHNSON reported the occasion for The Age: Twice within the dying minutes the Collingwood spearhead ANTHONY ROCCA kicked for the game to the scoreboard goal from virtually the same spot. The first time he steered his shot just wide; the second time he drove the ball through for his sixth goal and a crucial 10-point lead to the Magpies. A rushed point to the Blues and another point to BRETT RATTEN later, Collingwood had won by eight points. Both the final scoreline, 15-13-103 to 14.11-95 and the margin were the same as the Anzac Day blockbuster against Essendon. Then, the Magpies were on the wrong side of the margin; now, deliriously, they were on the right one. Win me a big game, Michael Malthouse had challenged his players during the week, and they had.

For much of an enthralling last quarter the match had been slipping out of Collingwood's grip. Other parallels with Anzac Day were emerging; Collingwood again led at half-time; again took control of the game in the first part of the third quarter; and again appeared to run out of steam towards the end of it. In the end, Collingwood won the match because it made, and took, enough half-chances and – as he done with his season – when Anthony Rocca got a second chance he took it – COLLINGWOOD 15.13-103 (Rocca 6) best Buckley, Rocca, Freeborn, CARLTON 14.11-95, best, Porter, Camporeale, McKay.

<||> From late in the first quarter when Eagles' ruckman MICHAEL GARDINER limped off with a bad ankle injury it was only a matter of time when Essendon would overwhelm West Coast. The Bombers went away to win by a massive 88 points on Sunday afternoon in fine conditions at Docklands when 33,829 were present.

The fortunes of West Coast were dealt a further blow when captain BEN COUSINS went off after being crunched by DEAN RIOLI, and although Cousins later returned he was not effective. Essendon did as they pleased, as Sheedy rotated players through the interchange to preserve them for more telling challenges to come. MATTHEW LLOYD following first term errors was on-target in the remaining quarters kicking 3.3, 5.0 and 2.1 to finish with 10.4, the first player to kick double-digits at Docklands. It was a second-best career tally for Lloyd who kicked 13.4 against Sydney in 1999.

While West Coast received good service from PETER MATERA and TROY WILSON who kicked 5.3, the task before them was too great. Interestingly, DUSTIN FLETCHER had a poor day at full-back for the Dons – Wilson was too much of a handful, and several undisciplined free kicks resulted in Fletcher seeing out the game on the bench – ESSENDON 24.14-158 (Lloyd 10.4, Rioli 3) best, Lloyd, Hird, Peverill, WEST COAST 10.10-70 (Wilson 5) best, Taylor, Wirrpunda, Kerr.

<||> York Park in Launceston became the 35th venue of League premiership matches when a record 17,460 spectators were present on a fine and sunny Sunday afternoon. In beating Adelaide by 13 points the Hawks have become the first side from Glenferrie to win its first six matches of a season. And importantly, from a club perspective, the club also set a Tasmanian AFL attendance record, surpassing the 15,230 who witnessed the Tasmania-Victoria state match in June 1960 at York Park.

The Launceston experiment was a huge success and GEOFF McCLURE for The Age noted: ... apart from an 11-minute burst in the second quarter when they kicked six unanswered goals, the Hawks were never in complete control and late in the game looked as though they could even lose the match when the mercurial DARREN JARMAN booted two quick goals. Jarman, the former Hawk who switched to Adelaide in 1996, was the star of the match, winning accolades from both coaches, Schwab and Adelaide's Gary Ayres, for his 39-possession performance that included 13 marks and then three goals when he was switched from defence into attack in the second half.

Hawthorn were indeed sluggish at times and coach Schwab said after the match: "It wasn't a convincing effort." NICK HOLLAND on his return from three weeks of injury time lasted only the first 10 seconds of the game when he laid a tackle on Jarman, dislocating his left shoulder — surgery will sideline him 4-6 weeks – HAWTHORN 16.8-104 (Barker 3) best, Dixon, Barker, Chick, ADELAIDE 12.19-91 (McLeod 4, Jarman 3) best, Jarman, McLeod, Welsh.

Drum holds on at Fremantle
A lengthy board meeting of the Fremantle FC on Tuesday (8th) confirmed the Dockers will undertake a complete review of the clubs coaching options for season 2002. They will also focus on the structure of the football department.

DAMIAN DRUM therefore seems certain to last the distance as coach of the club, at least until the end of the season.

The West Australian reported on Wednesday: "Although it appears Drum has lost the support of the majority of the Dockers board about continuing for more than the short term, the board baulked at the thin list of potential replacements for the remaining 16 weeks of the 2001 season."

News from around the traps indicate there is no one immediately holding up their hand for the position — JOHN WORSFOLD, currently assistant coach at Carlton is unlikely to shift from the Blues before the end of this season while others suggested, PETER SUMICH, MARK RILEY or STAN MAGRO are happy with their current coaching positions with WAFL clubs South Fremantle, Claremont and Perth.

Other AFL personalities DENIS PAGAN and DAVID PARKIN have categorically ruled they have no interest in the position.

Fremantle with six defeats have registered the worst start of any year and together with a loss to Brisbane in the final round last season, have lost seven in-a-row. The Dockers last victory was on July 20 over West Coast in the 12th Western Derby.

Since he took the helm in 1999, of their 50 matches under Drum, Fremantle have won 13.

A "not guilty" week
The AFL Tribunal in a rare week found no reason to suspend any player that appeared before them on charges laid from Round 6. Only two players were out of pocket, Hawthorn's JONATHAN HAY and Adelaide's ANDREW McLEOD who on Tuesday pleaded guilty to wrestling each other and accepted the first-offence fine of $1200 each. The charges for the weekend were —

Brisbane Lions v Geelong
JASON MOONEY (G) for headbutting JASON AKERMANIS (B) in the third quarter. The Tribunal found Mooney not guilty. From video, JASON AKERMANIS (B) for striking BRENTON SANDERSON (G). Akermanis was found not guilty.

Collingwood v Carlton
DEAN RICE (Car) for striking BRODIE HOLLAND (Col) in the second quarter. The Tribunal found Rice not guilty.

Hawthorn v Adelaide
JONATHAN HAY (H) for wrestling ANDREW McLEOD (A) in the second quarter. ANDREW McLEOD (A) for wrestling JONATHAN HAY (H) in the second quarter. Hay and McLeod both accepted first-charge fines of $1200.  From video, JONATHAN HAY (H) for striking ANDREW McLEOD (A) in the second quarter. The Tribunal found Hay not guilty.

Stab Kicks ...
Consuming passion of Fitzroy fans

(Stephen) 'Phillips Australia', reported to the Diary that a new record was set on the night of Fitzroy's announcement of their Team of the Century. The staff of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Melbourne were caught off guard when 82 slabs of heavy beer was consumed by the 1400 guests before 8.40pm. Back-up supplies of a further 60 slabs were rushed in to satisfy the consuming passion of guests.

round the traps
** The Herald Sun on Friday (4th) reported: Richmond want to play a blockbuster with Collingwood as the first game of each season ... ** Essendon are close to finalising a multi-million deal to wear the * i7 * logo of the Internet arm of Channel 7 on its shorts from next year ... ** DARREN JARMAN has indicated he's willing to go around for another season with the Crows in 2002 when in January he turns 35 ... ** great to see the supporters rolling up to SANFL footy – Friday night at The Parade drew 13,745 to see Norwood play Sturt ... ** Puma produced a special one-off guernsey with a small *300* woven on the front and back for St Kilda's STEWART LOEWE to wear last Saturday — Puma will do the same for Burkey in a fortnight's time ... ** the Adelaide squad in Launceston last Sunday contained 17 SA-bred players who started their careers with SANFL clubs ...

Sean Charles quits Saints
25-year-old SEAN CHARLES resigned from the St Kilda club on Monday – after missing weekend training sessions he was destined to be chopped – Charles played 56 League matches, 47 with Melbourne 1992-97, one with Carlton in 1998 and eight for the Saints in 2000 ...

The Medical Room ...
** NICK HOLLAND, Hawthorn's key forward had an arthroscopy on Tuesday to determine the damage to his left shoulder suffered in the opening seconds of the match against Adelaide in Launceston on Sunday – Nick damaged the same shoulder six years ago and now may be absent for the best part of two months ... ** following knee surgery last Friday, Essendon's MICHAEL LONG has returned to hospital on Tuesday with a high temperature and infected tonsils ... Richmond's MARC DRAGICEVIC faces a total knee reconstruction after injury suffered against the Kangaroos last Friday night at Docklands ... ** will PAUL KELLY finally make it back in two weeks? – if he does it would be at the SCG against the Bulldogs when TONY LIBERATORE is over his five-week suspension ...

TV plans for 2002
Talks on TV coverage for next season with the new consortium indicate that Sydney viewers to Channel 10 in Saturday night prime time will see at least four or as many as 11 Swans matches live, depending on the draw ... discussions with the SANFL also suggest that the Crows and Port will play several of their 2002 AFL matches on Saturday afternoons at Football Park ...

They said it ...
— It was a wake of monumental proportions. More than 1400 people assembled in two function rooms at the Grand Hyatt Hotel to share memories of a lost and loved footy club.

It was much more than a Team of the Century announcement; it was a Team for Eternity, because Fitzroy is no longer.

DOUG STEWART, Daily Telegraph, Monday, May 7 — Swans skipper Andrew Dunkley yesterday said too many of his teammates were selfish and did not care enough about each other and their club as their season threatened to destruct ... "I think we have too many people who are too concerned with their private lives; they're not keen enough to do it for each other and the club" ... "The club looks after us, we're well paid, we get it pretty easy up in Sydney and guys have to start hurting more. Footy's not as important as it should be for some guys" ... "At the end of the day it's up to us. We have to knuckle down and work harder. Maybe we're not as good as we think we are." …


Port crush the Eagles
Dons too good for Tigers
Swans on the slide
Collingwood loses 800th match

ROUND 7 — Fri-Sat-Sun, May 11-12-13.
MILESTONES — MARCUS ASHCROFT (Brisbane) played his 250th League match (1989-2001) … 100th games by JUSTIN BLUMFIELD (Ess, 1996-2001) and RAYDEN TALLIS (Haw, 1994-2001) … 50 matches by CHRIS TARRANT (Col, 1998-2001) and BEN MATHEWS (Syd, 1997-2001) … NATHAN BUCKLEY played his 150th club match with Collingwood (1994-2001), also 20 Bri 1993 … two players passed the 250-goal milestone at the MCG; Essendon's MATTHEW LLOYD in 74 games and Richmond's MATTHEW RICHARDSON ... BRAD JOHNSON (FWB) passed 150 goals in game 152 ... CHE COCKATOO-COLLINS reached 150 goals in game 106 for Essendon and Port Adelaide … RICHMOND played their 500th premiership match at the MCG since 1908 ... COLLINGWOOD suffered its 800th defeat in League football since 1897 ... STEWART LOEWE played his 301st League match to become the longest-serving player for St Kilda … though the weather was fine at all venues and conditions were good over the three days of Round 7, the highest score recorded was Port Adelaide 17.19-121 over West Coast at Subiaco Oval.

<||> A rainless Friday night and good conditions were in order for the MCG clash when 32,299 were present. The Bulldogs returned to the winners circle and kept themselves in touch with the top bracket by a comfortable five goal victory over the more-favoured Melbourne. The Dogs found their targets all evening and in spite of a wasteful first half, always looked the better side. It was the sixth successive win by the Bulldogs, the best-ever between the clubs – they have not lost to the Dees since 1996, before the name change from Footscray.

LEN JOHNSON noted for The Age: Certainly, a loss would imply negative consequences for both teams. The Bulldogs would have been left at 2+5 and with a lowly percentage, their finals' campaign badly holed, if not totally sunk. Melbourne boasted a 4+2 record coming in, but had hardly been impressive in the first six rounds, to all appearances a good team struggling for consistent form. The Bulldogs led by 12 points at the end of a first half strangely devoid of passion. It was as if both teams were more fearful of losing than fired up to win.

The Bulldogs couldn't finish off the Demons due to their wasteful kicking at goal. The Demons suffered several injuries – a returning JEFF WHITE had leg problems again, while BRAD GREEN badly bruised his arm in the second quarter. Generally the Melbourne field play was sloppy, while the Bulldogs work rate remained high and more efficient with their deciding goals coming at the proper time – even a goal after the siren by BRAD JOHNSON who finished with 2.5 for the Dogs – BULLDOGS 15.17-107 (Brown 4) best, Brown, West Penny, MELBOURNE 12.5-77 (Bruce 3, Robertson 3) best, A.McDonald, Ward, Bruce.

<||> Expectations of the Saturday afternoon meeting between Richmond and Essendon were the same as those before Round 17 last year — same venue, similar conditions, same result, though the margin was smaller. It was fine and overcast with 77,576 in attendance at the MCG. The Bombers again exposed the Tigers as pretenders with a ruthless 46 point victory. Essendon came through their biggest test to date and won in almost every aspect of the game, though the count of behinds for Dons was lopsided.

The Tigers, so keen to match themselves against the Bombers were out of the contest by quarter time as Essendon continued to stretch their lead by points instead of goals because of inaccurate kicking. MELISSA RYAN reported for The Age: The Bombers had bombarded the goals to rack up a wasteful 4.10 by quarter time. Only in the last term did they kick more goals than points. Their forward pressure was a telling force all day, as MATTHEW LLOYD was bulldozing around the ball to set up teammates such as DANNY JACOBS, the youngster redeeming an easy miss early in the game, and providing good support.

The first roar from the stunned Tiger fans came almost six minutes into the second quarter when LEON CAMERON scooped up the ball from a DEAN SOLOMON transfer out of defence to kick the team's first goal. The much-vaunted Richmond midfield had been invisible, but captain WAYNE CAMPBELL generated some spark in the second quarter. But the ball in Richmond's attacking zone was a rarity. The final margin flattered the Tigers, as it may well have been three figures had Essendon converted more efficiently – ESSENDON 16.24-120 (Lloyd 4, Lucas 3) best, Lucas, Wellman, Peverill, RICHMOND 10.14-74 (Krakouer 2) best, Ottens, D.Kellaway, Campbell.

<||> The future of Fremantle coach DAMIAN DRUM was placed into further question when his charges faded yet again to suffer a seventh loss of the year and the worst start of their seven AFL seasons on Saturday night at Football Park. In fine, though cool conditions, Adelaide went on to post a 20 point win before the watchful eyes of 38,292.

The Crows looked set to blow the match apart with a dominating first quarter when the Dockers kicked a woeful 1.8. But Freo fought back bravely in the second stanza when they started winning the ball in the midfield with Hasleby, Black, Fletcher and Bootsma giving their forwards opportunities. However, ANDREW McLEOD in a tireless, match-long performance gave the Crows something special. SIMON GOODWIN, NIGEL SMART and MATTHEW ROBRAN (until injured) delivered the thrust required for Adelaide.

Giving credit where it is due, the Dockers came back on three occasions and were only two points adrift of the Crows 18 minutes into the last quarter when a lengthy hold up occurred to remove the injured Robran who was accidentally struck in the back of the head by the knee of Freo's JUSTIN LONGMUIR during a marking contest. The break halted Fremantle's momentum and goals for Adelaide quickly followed from Beinke, Edwards, McGregor and Smart as the Crows seized the initiative to capture their third win – ADELAIDE 14.19-103 (Robran 2, Ladhams 2, Goodwin 2) best, McLeod, Goodwin, Jarman, FREMANTLE 12.11-83 (Waterhouse 4) best, Longmuir, Waterhouse, Black.

<||> Hawthorn retained top place on the ladder with their seventh-straight victory on Saturday night on the fully replaced Colonial Stadium grass surface. A robust 37,940 saw St Kilda with nagging persistence apply pressure to the Hawks with the lead changing 11 times during the match.

EMMA QUAYLE reporting for The Age said: Hawthorn started the match as though it had arrived straight from the MCG intending to do everything Essendon had done in its win over Richmond earlier in the day, including inaccurate kicking for goal. While the JONATHAN HAY-led backline was giving the likes of AARON HAMILL and BARRY HALL grief – new games record holder STEWART LOEWE was the only St Kilda forward on top of his opponent – the Hawks could not match their efficiency in attack and finished the opening with as many points as it had goals, NATHAN THOMPSON being the major offender.

The Saints won the centre breaks all night, with PETER EVERITT magnificent, only to see the Hawthorn half-backs, led by JOEL SMITH constantly rebound. Playing his 299th game, NATHAN BURKE was a tireless worker for the Saints, collecting 29 possessions, more than anyone else. When the Saints pressed, Hawthorn refused to panic when JOHN BARKER and TRENT CROAD became the rock and coming from behind by kicking five of the last six goals the Hawks survived undefeated – HAWTHORN 16.14-110 (Barker 5, Croad 4) best, Smith, Tallis, Thompson, ST KILDA 15.9-99 (Loewe 3) best, Burke, Everitt, Begley.

<||> Though it was fine & sunny weather, the Docklands roof was closed on Sunday afternoon – a disappointing 34,600 were reported as seeing a tense struggle with the Kangas surviving by two points over Collingwood, which may be the turning point of the season for the financially-embattled Roos. The match was a game-long struggle with margins at breaks - 7, 8, 4 and 2 pts.

Early, the Pies found it impossible to open up the game to play their own brand of football – the Roos kept the game tight and by flooding their defence when they needed to, slowed the Magpies down. The Kangas were not only frustrating their opposition into overusing the ball, but also kept the game flowing in a style they're used to.

The match, though, would ultimately be decided by the players who, going into the match, found most eyes focussed on them. When the ball flew over Shannon Grant's head just into time-on, former Magpie SAV ROCCA found himself sitting on the end of it and popped the ball through the goals to push the Roos ahead by three points. Less than two minutes later, the ball found itself at the other end of the ground in the arms of Sav's brother, Anthony. The shot on goal, which narrowly missed and would certainly have won Collingwood the game, would have made for some interesting Mother's Day discussion back at the Rocca household. (EMMA QUAYLE, The Age). ALAN DIDAK on debut for Collingwood kicked a goal with his first kick – KANGAROOS 15.9-99 (Carey 4, Grant 3) best, Grant, Harvey, Kickett, COLL’WOOD 14.13-97 (Tarrant 5) best, N.Davis, Licuria, Fraser.

<||> Only 29,150 were at the MCG on Mother's Day when Carlton in fine & sunny conditions sent Geelong tumbling to their fifth successive loss. The Blues made every use of their scoring opportunities whereas Geelong were confused and dispirited on their forward line where nine separate players kicked their goals.

LANCE WHITNALL returned to centre half-forward in his 98th game for Carlton and was a critical factor in the result, which proves the Blues are a better side when he is on-song. He played a wonderful game taking 10 marks. Whitnall was ably supported in the forward zone by ADRIAN HICKMOTT who delivered three goals from his 17 touches. However, the thumping possession count by BRETT RATTEN (29), SCOTT CAMPOREALE (24), MATTHEW LAPPIN (22) and the class of ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES (25) provided Carlton's dominance.

PETER RICCARDI, a key playmaker for Geelong from a clash of heads with Blues ruckman MARK PORTER suffered a fractured cheekbone after only two possessions, with the two David's CLARKE and SPRIGGS stepping into the breach and both recording 25 possessions. From captain BEN GRAHAM down, the Cats are badly out of touch and as MIKE SHEAHAN recorded in the Herald Sun: "Simply don't have the class to cut it with the big boys." Next up for Geelong, the winless Fremantle at Subiaco – CARLTON 17.6-108(Whitnall 4, Hickmott 3) best, Whitnall, Camporeale, Franchina, GEELONG 9.14-68, best, Spriggs, Clarke, King.

<||> The SCG was fine & sunny, with good conditions and a light breeze on Sunday afternoon when a less than expected 22,390 arrived to watch on Mother's Day – most fans preferring to see what happened on live TV. Brisbane, in spite of wayward kicking were comfortable winners by 32 points over Sydney who etched another black day into the book of records – some reports went as far to describe the Swans as "hopeless".

From the "big improvers" atop the premiership ladder after the first three rounds, Sydney is going backwards. The Swans were very lucky – lucky that Brisbane was so inaccurate. The Lions had 37 scoring shots but kicked only 15 goals. In the final quarter, when the game was in the balance, Brisbane kicked 4.7 to Sydney's two behinds. Swans coach RODNEY EADE estimated: "We probably should have lost by 12 goals." But changes to the Harbourside squad are unlikely, as the depth on the sidelines is either injured or not there.

Brisbane would be lifted by their 'away" win with JASON AKERMANIS playing an outstanding role with a 30 possession game from 19 kicks, 11 handballs and seven marks. SIMON BLACK was the busiest Lion with 32 touches, while MICHAEL VOSS (24) and NIGEL LAPPIN (24) were efficient with the ball while BEAU McDONALD provided a willing physical presence against a struggling GREG STAFFORD – BRISBANE 15.22-112 (Lynch 3) best, Akermanis, Black, Voss, SYDNEY 12.8-80 (O’Loughlin 4, Goodes 3) best, Mathews, Barry, Goodes.

<||> Port Adelaide continued their winning run with a resounding 71-point victory over West Coast in fine and sunny conditions at Subiaco Oval on Sunday afternoon. It was a bleak day for West Coast, hit by injury both before and during the match. The tenor of the match was so devastating many supporters left before half time. Only 28,026 were on hand, less than Port's first visit to play the Eagles in 1997 when 29,723 watched the R15 game.

Ruckman MICHAEL GARDINER with an ankle and PETER MATERA with a calf injury were late withdrawals before the start – ASHLEY McINTOSH limped off in the first term; MICHAEL PRIOR with a knee injury requiring a reconstruction was off by half time; CHAD MORRISON was lost in the third term while DEAN KEMP with back soreness was on the bench by three-quarter time. This however did not mask a comprehensive Port Adelaide success who had winners on every line.

MATTHEW PRIMUS dominated the ruck, NICK STEVENS and FABIAN FRANCIS were rampant in the midfield, WARREN TREDREA was too quick for GLEN JAKOVICH while CHE COCKATOO-COLLINS was at his creative best across half-forward. So complete was Port's dominance, 11 Eagles failed to have double-figure disposals. It was only when Port eased off in the last quarter to allow West Coast to kick four goals which enabled them to record 7.8 for the game. Eagles coach KEN JUDGE suffered his heaviest defeat at Subiaco since taking charge at the start of 2000. The coming weeks with matches against Collingwood (FP), Melbourne (FP), Hawthorn (MCG), Sydney (SCG) and Carlton (FP) will define the season for Port Adelaide – PORT 17.19-121 (Burgoyne 4, Francis 3, Tredrea 3) best, Francis, Stevens, Primus, WEST COAST 7.8-50 (Wilson 3) best, Fletcher, Merenda, Banfield.

Freo's Fletcher suspended for contract with umpire
Fremantle co-captain ADRIAN FLETCHER became the third player this season to be suspended on the most controversial of charges, that of *making contact with an umpire*.

It followed a last quarter incident on Saturday night at Football Park when Fletcher had a free kick awarded against him when he collided with field umpire MATTHEW HEAD. Head from a ball-up was running backwards when the 31-year-old veteran of 217 games experience ran into the back of Head. From 40m away, fellow field umpire SHANE McINERNEY paid a free kick which resulted in Adelaide's DARREN JARMAN having a set-shot for goal.

Fletcher was cited on Monday following a video review. Already this season, BRENT HARVEY of the Kangaroos and the Western Bulldog TODD CURLEY have been suspended for two matches for making contact with an umpire.

At the hearing conducted in Perth on Wednesday, the Tribunal found ADRIAN FLETCHER had been negligent in his actions and suspended him for one match.

Another collision occurred in Round 7 when West Coast captain BEN COUSINS collided with umpire BRYAN SHEEHAN at Subiaco Oval on Sunday afternoon after a ruck-bounce. Cousins escaped penalty.

MICHELANGELO RUCCI in The Advertiser on Tuesday reported: Essendon coach KEVIN SHEEDY supported Fremantle coach DAMIAN DRUM's call for the free-kick for accidental contact with umpires to be scrapped.

Sheedy said umpires should call play on, note when they had collided with a player and then make a decision after a video replay on whether to lodge a report.

The contact with umpire Head by Fletcher comes only days after ROB ANDERSON, the CEO of the AFL Umpires Association disappointed by the ambiguous Tribunal verdict of Todd Curley's clash with Kieron Nicholls, warned that his body could be forced to take future incidents of player contact to court.

Legend suggests five umpires
LEIGH MATTHEWS, coach of Brisbane claims to have the answer to the incidence of players colliding with field umpires. Matthews' plan is to have five umpires control the game.

He calls for one central umpire and four others running a quarter of the ground along the boundary lines, serving the dual capacity of umpire and boundary.

The Hall of Fame Legend explained, "The central umpire would control the middle corridor and the other four would do a quarter of the ground each, including throwing the ball in. They would get a good view and they would be out of the road."

Fletcher – one match on ump bump
Sentence sustained on appeal

Geelong v Carlton
RONNIE BURNS (G) for striking ANTHONY FRANCHINA (C) in the second quarter. Burns was suspended for two matches.
Burns pleaded not guilty to the charge however, the Tribunal on Monday found the player guilty and when deciding the penalty took into account a striking conviction against Burns in each of the past two seasons.

Sydney v Brisbane
DARRYL WHITE (B) by a goal umpire for abusive language. White was fined $2500.
White apologised to goal umpire GREG YOUNG at the Monday hearing. The $2500 fine imposed was a second offence – White had been fined $1000 for abusive language in a 1995 State-of-Origin match.

Adelaide v Fremantle
From video, ADRIAN FLETCHER (F) for making contact with field umpire MATTHEW HEAD in the final quarter. Fletcher was suspended for one match.

The Tribunal at their sitting in Perth on Wednesday heard the charge against Fremantle co-captain ADRIAN FLETCHER of making with contact with an umpire. Fletcher, who has played 217 AFL games pleaded not guilty, and said the collision during the last quarter of the Adelaide v Fremantle match was caused by the umpire changing direction twice as he backed out of the pack. In defence only one witness was called, Dr Thor Besier – a research associate in biomechanics at the University of WA – who said an analysis of the video showed contact was impossible to avoid.

Deliberation lasted more than 30 minutes. Fletcher was found to have been negligent in his actions. In handing down the verdict of a one match suspension, tribunal chairman SHANE MAGUIRE sent a clear message that players must avoid all contact with umpires, rejecting evidence that the collision was unavoidable.

Fremantle appealed. At the Friday hearing the Appeal Board sustained the sentence, warning there was never a consideration the penalty be reduced, but whether it ought to have been increased.

Stab Kicks ...
Relaying of turf finished at Docklands

IAN COLLINS, the CEO of Colonial Stadium speaking on ABC Radio's Saturday pre-game confirmed the replacement of the turf surface had been completed during the week. In answer to a question from DWYANE RUSSELL, Collins stated two football-sized ovals of back-up turf is on hand by HG TURF in country Victoria outside of Alexandra, ready to be relaid if needed.

The Medical Room
** A recurring calf injury hampered WAYNE CAREY on Sunday yet he still kicked four goals against Collingwood – Carey will continue on a restricted training regime ... ** an update on Swans captain PAUL KELLY – in spite of claims "he may not play again" Sydney doctor NATHAN GIBBS said Kelly's hamstring had virtually recovered but he had developed problems in his lower back and was suffering sciatic nerve pain down his leg – Gibbs predicted Kelly should be back in "three to four weeks" ... ** knee surgery on Tuesday (15th) to Essendon's MARK MERCURI and Hawthorn's JADE RAWLINGS will have them out for the next four weeks ... ** the season is over for MICHAEL PRIOR after Port Adelaide's CHE COCKATOO-COLLINS fell across his leg on Saturday night; Prior is the third West Coast player to have a knee reconstruction this season ... Adelaide's MATTHEW ROBRAN has a sore head but was not concussed in the match versus the Dockers; x-rays cleared him ... ** a torn calf muscle to Sydney's DARYN CRESSWELL from the match against Brisbane on Sunday threatens his club-record 108 consecutive games played for the Swans – he is in doubt for the crucial clash against the Dogs.

What to do with Peverill?
AFL rules threaten the immediate future of Essendon's 21-year-old rookie DAMIEN PEVERILL. Elevated to the senior list when JOE MISITI was placed on the long-term injury list, Peverill has performed very well in successive games against Sydney's WAYNE SCHWASS, NATHAN BUCKLEY (Col), BEN COUSINS (WCE) and the Richmond pair WAYNE CAMPBELL and MATTHEW KNIGHTS. The injured Joe Misiti is expected to return soon, which under the rules means Peverill must be dropped back to the rookie list from where he cannot play senior footy. The Bombers are already two players short because of the salary cap.

In a line ...
** Colonial Stadium has been booked for Australia-India one-dayers between September 14-18 ...** the Kangaroos-St Kilda game on Saturday at Manuka Oval will clash with a rugby union Super 12 final expected to draw 28,000 that night at Bruce Stadium  ... ** the AFL agreed with a request by the Bombers not to move the Round 9 Essendon-Hawthorn event from Docklands to the MCG ... ** new contracts, CHRIS SCOTT with the Brisbane Lions to the end of 2004; ADAM SIMPSON with the Roos until the end of 2004, while in the west, MICHAEL GARDINER and DAVID WIRRPUNDA re-signed with the Eagles on three-year deals ... ** the North Melbourne Football Club Social Club applied to the Supreme Court for an order to set aside the demands for $100,000 for rent allegedly owing under a lease of the Broadmeadows Town Hall ... ** WA sports minister ALAN CARPENTER has called for an overhaul of the board of the two Perth-based AFL clubs – Carpenter wants the WAFC's commissioners elected by nominations from the general public, not political appointees ... ** Channel Seven's TIM WATSON will return to Windy Hill in a leadership role under KEVIN SHEEDY – in 1997 before coaching St Kilda, the Bombers viewed Watson as a successor to Sheedy ... ** Geelong's MARC WOOLNOUGH played two VFL quarters on Sunday, his first match time in two years ... ** CRAIG BRADLEY on Saturday in game 340 becomes only the third Carlton player to captain the Blues in 100 games – the others are STEPHEN KERNAHAN (226) and JOHN NICHOLLS (187) ... ** 1999 Norwich Rising Star ADAM GOODES will play his 50th for the Swans on Sunday ... ** SIMON COX who made his debut with two games (R9 and R10) in 1995 finally reaches 50 games for the Bulldogs on Sunday ... ** NATHAN BURKE plays his 300th for St Kilda at Manuka Oval on Saturday, having missed only 13 matches from a possible 313 ... ** SIMON PRESTIGIACOMO for Collingwood has sat on the interchange bench maybe longer than any other player this season – in the past two matches he has been required for only 25 seconds ...

Percy Beames – 70th anniversary of debut
Round 8 marks the 70th anniversary of the debut on June 20th 1931 of PERCY BEAMES with the Melbourne club who during his 213 games played in the Dees triple-premiership victories of 1939, 1940 and 1941.

STEPHEN PHILLIPS told me the story this week (which Percy tells so much better) that as a 20-year-old Ballarat man, he came down by train in the middle of the week and his debut was the first VFL match he had seen. Percy's early lodgings were an interesting experience. Noting there was a lot of activity in the house when trying to sleep on his first night, it was not until the morning did he learn his digs were in a house of *ill-repute*.

Beames was later a highly respected journalist on football and cricket with The Age. He covered grand finals for The Age until 1965 when he opened his report with the words — "Essendon clearly established itself as undisputed "king" of Victorian football by downing St. Kilda by 35 points in Saturday's grand final, and it can look forward to a rosy future." — some things never change, do they?

A friendly "pat" ...
So-called high-jinks between WAYNE CAREY and NATHAN BUCKLEY in the Collingwood-Kangaroos match when both patted the other's face, prompted AFL Umpires' director JEFF GIESCHEN to write to the 16 clubs with the warning "we do have a concern when players push, grab, touch or rub opponents' heads and faces." Fear of retaliation which may bring the *game into disrepute* is the essence of concern.

League denies Kangaroos' lifeline report
CAROLINE WILSON in The Age on Wednesday (16th) reported the AFL could hand the financially stricken Kangaroos an annual $500,000 lifeline to enable the club to recruit a new team of off-field personnel to rebuild and save it from folding.

However, the AFL chief executive WAYNE JACKSON following his address to the National Press Club luncheon in Canberra yesterday denied the report.

Jackson said the AFL Commission had not offered any financial help, nor had it been approached on the matter.

Jackson however would not rule out short-term help to the Roos or any other AFL club under the right circumstances.

Later in day AFL football operations manager ANDREW DEMETRIOU speaking on 3AW said everyone was aware the Kangaroos had financial difficulties together with a couple of other clubs. "We have been working with the Kangaroos over the past few weeks to try and provide some assistance where we can."

An independent review by Pitcher Partners into the finances of the club was funded by the League and will be studied.

Gil Langley passes
GIL LANGLEY, the noted SANFL footballer and Test cricketer passed away in an Adelaide nursing home on Monday night after a long illness aged 81. Langley played 160 matches over 11 seasons with Sturt which he captained in 1947. He was the Best & Fairest winner of the Two Blues in 1945 and 1946 and its leading goalkicker in 1948. He also represented South Australia on 15 occasions.

As the Encyclopedia of AFL Footballers records, GIL LANGLEY played in a VFL Grand Final. During World War 2, as a munitions worker he was transferred to Melbourne and in one of the four late season games he played for Essendon, he was named as 19th man for the 1943 Grand Final won by Richmond at Princes Park.

Brought up in Colonel Light Gardens, Gil's sporting career embraced both cricket and football. Langley took up the gloves for SA in the Sheffield Shield in 1947/48 and performed so well he was selected to tour South Africa in 1949/50 as understudy to RON SAGGERS. By the following season Langley had become Australian keeper and took seven wickets in his first Test against the West Indies in 1951/52 and 21 wickets in the series. Langley kept wickets for Australia for the next five series in a total of 26 Tests for the baggy green.

Langley had the distinction of captaining both the cricket and football clubs of Unley Oval. After sport, Mr Langley was a Labor member of the South Australian parliament for 20 years during which time he rose to Speaker.

They said it ...
— More than 2000 umpires around Australia were lost to football between the end of 1999 and the beginning of the 2000 season. While figures obtained by The Age from am AFL survey indicated the game had recruited almost 2500 umpires in the same period, those figures are misleading because none of those recruits have any umpiring experience and a significant number would not have survived the season.

BRUCE MATTHEWS, Herald Sun, May 14, reporting on the Collingwood v Kangaroos match — Imagine the jumbled emotions of Mama Rocca in those frantic final minutes. Mother's Day 2001 reverted to Brother's Day as both Mrs Rocca's boys, who had barely impacted on the game, eventually decided the result between them.

On the final siren, Anthony sank to his haunches in despair and 30m away an ecstatic Sav fell into the arms of a milling, dancing group of Roos ...

Had younger Rocca's shot been a couple of metres further left, the post-match cynics would still be sifting through the rubble of the crumbling AFL superpower.

STEPHEN RIELLY, The Age, May 15 — Geelong is preparing for further financial pain this season as the team's slump eats into match-day revenue.

Moreover, the club's push into Melbourne, which began with such promising results last year, has regressed, with a disturbing 25 percent decline in its Melbourne-based membership.

Geelong chief executive Brian Cook revealed yesterday that the club's match-receipt revenue was approximately $100,000 short of expectations already with three of its four home games coming in under budget.

MIKE SHEAHAN, Herald Sun, May 15 — Since an honourable fifth in 1998, the Swans have had two negative years: 11-12 and 10-12, and are a wobbly 3-4 this year. Eight of their players are in their 30th year or older; 14 players have played more than 100 games.


Dees pressure the Dons
300th for Nathan Burke
Bulldogs back in the eight
Cats blitz the Dockers

ROUND 8 — Fri-Sat-Sun, May 18-19-20.
MILESTONES — NATHAN BURKE became only the third to play 300 matches for St Kilda (1987-2001), missing only 13 of a possible 313 games ... DUNCAN KELLAWAY (Rch) reached 150 games (1993-2001) ... 100 matches by five players – PAUL BARNARD, 11 Haw 1994-95, 89 Ess 1996-2001; SCOTT LUCAS (Ess) 1996-2001; JOEL SMITH, 58 StK 1995-97, 42 Haw 1998-2001; MATTHEW BURTON, 70 Fre 1995-99, 30 Kan 2000-01; AARON HAMILL, 92 Car 1996-2000, 8 StK 2001 ... 50 games by five players – TRENT HOTTON, 17 Col 1994-96, 33 Car 2000-01; NATHAN THOMPSON (Haw) 1998-2001); ADAM GOODES (Syd) 1999-2001; SIMON COX (FWB) 1995-2001 ... CRAIG BRADLEY in his 340th game captained Carlton for the 100th time ... COREY McKERNAN (NMK) passed 200 goals in game 168; LANCE WHITNALL (Car) passed 200 goals in game 99; ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES (Car) passed 150 goals in game 175 ...

FROM THE ROUND  — Geelong supporter COL HUTCHINSON was in Perth on Sunday. It was the 850th consecutive occasion Col has seen his beloved Cats play in a League premiership match. His unique and maybe world record started in Round 11 of 1963 when he was 19 years-old. When the draw is released each year, Col at his own expense plans his journeys to any part of Australia, usually flying out and back the same day. He needs to return and be at his desk each working day – Col has been the AFL statistician since 1992. While Col saw the 1963 Geelong premiership victory, he has since endured five grand final defeats in 1967, 1989, 1992, 1994 and 1995.

<||> Adelaide in a stunning second-half comeback produced some its best football in years when they blitzed the Tigers with eight goals in 13 minutes on a cool Friday night at the MCG with 29,073 in attendance. A shower during the second quarter only slightly hampered the teams. The Crows kicked nine goals to one in the third term, and swept back after an inaccurate and scrappy first half which left them 22 points down at the long break.

Richmond received a reality check the previous week when they were ruthlessly exposed by Essendon and the Adelaide revival further compounds the problems facing the Tigers. To top off a woeful night for Richmond, MATTHEW RICHARDSON in the last term suffered a hamstring injury to his right leg. Almost unable to buy a goal in their 5.12 first half, the Crows perversely could not miss in the third term with nine straight goals, falling just one point short of their best-ever third-quarter tally.

Adelaide's BRETT BURTON wearing a substantial left knee brace marked well and was back to his 2000 form when he clinched the match for the Crows with his 5th goal late in the final quarter. Though off-target with six behinds, ANDREW McLEOD played a pivotal role for the Crows and was too skilful around the ground the ball. DARREN GASPAR and LEON CAMERON were the best for the Tigers with Cameron kicking a personal-best 4.1. After being tipped to win the wooden spoon, Adelaide have won four of the past five and go forward with a 4+4 record – ADELAIDE 17.18-120 (Burton 5, Robran 3) best, McLeod, Goodwin, Burton, RICHMOND 14.8-92 (Cameron 4, Richardson 3) best, Gaspar, Cameron, Richardson.

<||> Carlton took a while to get going on Saturday afternoon at Princes Park where occasional sunshine and good conditions were experienced. A modest 21,997 saw the Blues go from strength to strength, extending their lead at each change to thrash the Brisbane Lions by 74 points. It was another disappointing visit to Melbourne by the Queenslanders.

ALASTAIR LYNCH kicked two early majors for Brisbane, then Carlton piled on 10 of the next 11 goals and it was curtains for the Lions who were toothless. The control over proceedings was emphasised by ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES who racked up a 36-possession game, taking 11 marks and kicked three goals, yet, he was not the best afield. That laurel belonged to SIMON BEAUMONT who shut down the highly-rated Brisbane centre half-forward JONATHAN BROWN and delivered an endless supply to the Blues' forwards. In support came ADRIAN HICKMOTT, MATTHEW LAPPIN and LANCE WHITNALL.

It was a convincing performance by Carlton and while Brisbane was disadvantaged by the late withdrawal of both LUKE POWER and CRAIG McRAE the Lions had neither the pace nor the avenues to goal to compete seriously. Only SIMON BACK and MARCUS ASHCROFT provided any midfield drive, with skipper MICHAEL VOSS typically at his efficient best. Brisbane may stay in touch with four of their next five games programmed for the Gabba but they continue to struggle badly on the road – CARLTON 21.16-142 (Whitnall 3, Lappin 3, Fevola 3, Koutoufides 3) best, Beaumont, Koutoufides, Hickmott, BRISBANE 9.14-68 (Black 3, Lynch 3) best, Ashcroft, Voss, Notting.

<||> The good conditions and frequent sunshine at the MCG on Saturday afternoon gathered a lowly 22,988 as Hawthorn maintained their undefeated run with an effortless 80 point win over an injury-ravaged West Coast. Before the match the Eagles reported 17 players injured from their list of 38. Only when the Hawks relaxed in the last quarter did West Coast double their score to end with a modest 8.10 for 120 minutes of footy.

As MELISSA RYAN noted for The Age: With Hawthorn looking ahead to the much-anticipated  meeting with reigning premier Essendon next Saturday — the ease with which JOEL SMITH (his 100th match), ANGELO LEKKAS, JONATHAN HAY (before his injury) and MARK GRAHAM mopped up in defence was staggering, and captain SHANE CRAWFORD and RAYDEN TALLIS were also destructive in this area. KRIS BARLOW, a late replacement for LANCE PICIOANE (hamstring), did not let his opportunity slip by (20 possessions), kicking three goals, two of which came in a particularly strong third term.

No matter how many times the West Coast powers tried to make repairs, little was achieved. Ex-Hawthorn player RICHARD TAYLOR for the Eagles won praise from his former teammates with a 30 possession game, while West Coast captain BEN COUSINS though making several glaring errors had much of the ball in his contest against DANIEL CHICK. The Hawks gained their confidence-boosting eighth win but the loss with an ankle injury of JONATHAN HAY will further deplete their stock of talls for the crucial match-up against the Bombers – HAWTHORN 21.12-128 (Barlow 3, Lekkas 3, Thompson 3) best, Crawford, Smith, Lekkas, WEST COAST 8.10-58 (Embley 2) best, Wirrpunda, Cousins, Kemp.

<||> A crowd of 10,958 in fine, sunny and windless conditions at Canberra's Manuka Oval welcomed the third AFL match for premiership points to be played in the national capital. The two highlights of the day were NATHAN BURKE's 300th match for St Kilda and the return to form by the Kangaroos who won for the third time this season.

Apart from an even first quarter, the Roos took the younger Saints apart and widened the margin as the game grew longer. One player who tried hard to win the milestone match for his mate was STEWART LOEWE, making the most of his chances playing out of the goalsquare to kicked 7.2 for St Kilda. COREY McKERNAN for the Kangas came back from his recent run of the horrors and in a powerful return to form kicked 4.3 from 18 possessions.

In an otherwise ordinary game, DAVID KING with characteristic authority dominated the midfield; BYRON PICKETT in the absence of the injured Carey attacked the ball with vigour in the forward line, while SHANNON GRANT with 39 disposals and three goals was in superb touch. The tough and disciplined Roos will be tested when they meet Carlton on Friday night. Meanwhile as coach MALCOLM BLIGHT observed, the Saints have plenty of ground to make up – KANGAROOS 19.24-138 (McKernan 4, Pickett 3, Grant 3) best, Harvey, Stevens, Grant, ST KILDA 13.11-89 (Loewe 7.2, Hamill 3) best, Loewe, Milne, Burke.

<||> It was fine and cool, with good conditions on Saturday night at Football Park when 34,232 were treated to a thrilling finish. While Port Adelaide started well leading by 10 points at the first change, Collingwood kicked eight goals before their first behind to take control through the mid-game quarters. Overall, it was an entertaining struggle.

The Pies went out to a 34-point lead seven minutes into the last term, then Port slammed on four goals in six minutes. When CHE COCKATOO-COLLINS kicked his third for the quarter (4th for the night) the Power got to within two points of Collingwood. As Port captain MATTHEW PRIMUS lay in the centre of the ground clutching his right knee, LEON DAVIS gave the Woods breathing space with a goal. Play was held up for several minutes before Primus was stretchered off with what was later diagnosed not as a cruciate, but medial ligament damage to his knee which was reconstructed in 1999.

On resumption, Port hit back with a goal, then the sealer came as Port defender BRAD JOHNSON attempted to handpass over the head of Collingwood's JOSH FRASER – the costly interception brought the Pies' 18th goal. This was soon followed by a behind from ANTHONY ROCCA for a final margin of nine points to break Port's five-game winning streak and Collingwood's first success over the Power since 1997 – COLLINGWOOD 18.11-119 (Tarrant 5, Lonie 3) best, O’Bree, Buckley, Tarrant, PORT 16.14-110 (Wanganeen 5, Cockatoo-Collins 4) best, Stevens, James, Wanganeen.

With never much more than a goal between the two sides, 47,452 at the MCG under an overcast sky on Sunday afternoon witnessed an intense struggle as Essendon and Melbourne faced each other for the first time since last year's grand final. The Demons went into the game with the pre-match media tag of being "soft".

There were those who felt Essendon did just as much as they had to in the match – it didn't look that way in the first term as Melbourne went hard at it and held the Bombers goalless until the 23rd minute of the first quarter. With two early goals in the second term, Essendon grabbed the lead and were never headed again — but gee, it was close. As MARK STEVENS noted for the Herald Sun: It was full of one-on-one battles and often frustratingly sloppy. There was no room for fancy, free-running footy. No pure highlights that will feature in end-of-season wraps.

One of the intriguing battles of the day came when Brownlow medalists JAMES HIRD (Ess) and SHANE WOEWODIN (Mel) were opposed. Hird kicked four goals from half-forward, two in five minutes early in the third term at a critical time when the Demons were pressing. Woewodin collected 22 possessions and even outmarked the decorated Bomber on a couple of occasions. Each would be satisfied; Hird moreso, leading the Dons to a tight six point result – ESSENDON 12.13-85 (Hird 4, Lloyd 3) best, Wellman, Hird, J.Johnson, MELBOURNE 11.13-79 (Neitz 3, Green 3) best, Whelan, Yze, A.McDonald.

<||> The Western Bulldogs played another "home" game against Sydney at the SCG. It was a sunny and fine Sunday afternoon with 22,874 in attendance. In spite of a more productive effort by the Swans, the midfield battles were clearly won by the Bulldogs. They collected back-to-back wins for the first time this season and a return to the top eight following an absence of three weeks.

The Dogs played their usual gritty style of non-nonsense footy, with the trio of SCOTT WEST, BRAD JOHNSON and NATHAN BROWN doing well in the middle. PAUL HUDSON finished off their work up forward with five fine goals for the day. The 21-point win was also due to the ruckwork and around the ground effort by LUKE DARCY.

Down by five goals, the Swans dug deep in the last quarter and seemed poised to pull off a miracle win when PAUL WILLIAMS kicked three booming goals but a silly free kick in favour of PAUL HUDSON stopped the momentum. MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN turned in another good performance answering Hudson's five with a like tally for the Swans. GREG STAFFORD had another bad day for Sydney, with JASON BALL shouldering the ruck and did well, before running out of puff. The Swans from their fifth successive defeat slipped to 11th place – on April 16 they were in top place – BULLDOGS 18.14-122 (Hudson 5, Johnson 3) best, Johnson, West, Brown, SYDNEY 15.11-101 (O’Loughlin 5, Williams 3) best, Ball, O’Loughlin, Fosdike.

<||> The matching of the winless Fremantle against Geelong, losers of their past five games, attracted a poor crowd of 20,231 on a fine Sunday afternoon at Subiaco Oval. One can imagine the desperate plight of embattled Fremantle coach DAMIAN DRUM when at half-time his team with only two first half goals trailed the Cats by 53 points.

The stats reveal that of 74 kicks Fremantle had to half time (to Geelong's 118), 12 of the player squad had registered either none, one or at best two kicks in a half of footy. ADAM HOULIHAN before injuring his groin had kicked five goals for Geelong to the 13th minute of the second quarter. Predictably the Dockers returned and performed more willingly in the second half, reducing the deficit to 36 points at three-quarter time and on the back of three unanswered goals edged to within 17 points before Geelong's DAVID MENSCH sealed Freo's fate with a goal, typically achieved courtesy of two errors on the goal-line by Fremantle's BRENDAN FEWSTER and ASHLEY PRESCOTT, deep in time on.

STEVEN KING's ruck dominance for Geelong against Freo's youngster JUSTIN LONGMUIR was understandable and with much improved BEN GRAHAM leading an even younger LEIGH BROWN a merry dance in the half-forward line was half-expected. But the no-shows by Fremantle's key forwards TONY MODRA (6 possessions, one goal) who was trounced by MATTHEW SCARLETT and CLIVE WATER-HOUSE (7 touches, two goals) beaten thoroughly by BRENTON SANDERSON left the winless Dockers without hope – GEELONG 14.11-95 (Houlihan 5, Graham 4) best, Graham, Spriggs, McGrath, FREMANTLE 10.13-73 (Waterhouse 2) best, Hasleby, Kickett, Toia.

Gutnick resigns – "I shall return"
Bold challenge fails, for a time
Gabriel Szondy is new president

JOSEPH GUTNICK resigned as president of the Melbourne FC on Thursday May 24. During the day he was denied an injunction by the Supreme Court of Victoria to prevent a meeting of the Melbourne board which was expected to dismiss him from the top office.

Gutnick reignited the boardroom battle when he used the pre-match club luncheon on Sunday, calling for the resignations of two vice-presidents IAN JOHNSON and BILL GUEST and director ALAN STOCKDALE.

Speaking at the luncheon and later on ABC Radio, Gutnick announced he would call an extraordinary meeting and put the fate of the three directors to the vote of Melbourne members.

In the days following, Gutnick's public outburst came under fire as the internal bickering threatened to destabilise the Melbourne FC. The football department were understood to be furious of the action taken on match day. Coach Neale Daniher expressed criticism of Gutnick's action after Sunday's six-point defeat by Essendon.

STEPHEN RIELLY and KAREN LYON reported in The Age on May 22: "After taking legal advice, Gutnick announced he would be presenting three motions to members at the extraordinary meeting he hopes to call within the coming weeks. The first would be to remove Johnson, the second to remove Guest and the third to remove Stockdale."

While Gutnick has given almost $3 million to the club since he assumed the presidency following the failed merger with Hawthorn in 1996, no one has questioned his right to lead, but in the boardroom he had been challenged on the way he leads.

As numbers began to tally, and with directors taking sides, former chairman STUART SPENCER aligned himself with Johnson, Guest and Stockdale with director GARY HARDEMAN prepared to join the group. This resulted in a special meeting of the board being called for Thursday.

In court on Thursday, PETER HAYES, QC said Gutnick had abused his position as chairman by spreading untrue and defamatory information on television and radio that some board members were drunkards and had attended meetings while drunk.

CHIP LE GRAND reported in The Australian on Friday – in a final ignominy for Gutnick, Hayes revealed Gutnick was not even re-elected as president at the start of the year, as he had claimed so many times. Gutnick brought the action, arguing that he was elected president for two years in January this year and the board had no power to remove him before his term expired. Hayes said, and (JACOB) FAGENBAUM (QC) conceded, that the election never took place.

GABRIEL SZONDY, senior partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers was unanimously elected president on Thursday evening, with former ABC broadcaster BEVERLEY O'CONNOR, his vice-president. In a conciliatory gesture IAN JOHNSON and BILL GUEST had stepped down as vice-presidents.

Gutnick in a statement issued on Thursday said: "There will be an extraordinary meeting as soon as one can be arranged. The members will have their say. I shall return."

Three players suspended
Shannon Motlop appeal rejected

Charges abd verdicts from Round 8 —

Kangaroos v St Kilda
From video, SHANNON MOTLOP (K) for striking BRETT VOSS (S). Motlop was suspended for two matches. The club appealed. On Thursday May 24, the AFL Appeal Board upheld the verdict of the Tribunal.

Melbourne v Essendon
DAVID SCHWARZ (M) for striking GARY MOORCROFT (E) during the third quarter. This charge was later withdrawn.

Western Bulldogs v Sydney
From video, ROHAN WARFE (S) for "misconduct" for making contact with a leg to SCOTT WEST (WB). Warfe was found guilty and suspended for one match. From video, JOHN STEVENS (S) for kneeing PAUL HUDSON (WB). Stevens pleaded guilty and was suspended for one match.

Umpires & players meet on contact issue

The AFLPA and the AFL met on Thursday (24th) to discuss the duty of care players owe umpires. This followed the recent suspensions of three players, BRENT HARVEY (Kangaroos), TODD CURLEY (Western Bulldogs) and ADRIAN FLETCHER (Fremantle) for making contact with an umpire.

Umpires who attended were Darren Goldspink, Bryan Sheehan, Chris Mitchell and Scott McLaren, while players were represented by Brendan Gale (Rch), Nathan Buckley (Col), Glen Archer (NMK) and John Blakey (NMK).

A joint statement from the parties read:

"In relation to rule 19.2.2, both parties agreed that since the AFL has informed the AFLPA that the tribunal is the body responsible for interpreting the rules of the game, it would be valuable if the tribunal expanded on the principles underlying their decisions. To this end the AFLPA and AFLUA will request that the tribunal speak on the point of 19.2.2.”

“Both the AFLPA and AFLUA expressed concerns regarding the lack of communication to players with respect to the application of 19.2.2. The collective view was that both the AFL and the Clubs have an obligation to ensure that players have a clear understanding of the laws of the game before they take the field.”

This forum was productive for both parties. It promoted a greater understanding between the two parties with each side demonstrating a professional respect for the other. It was apparent that the relationship between players and umpires was healthy.  There are many issues common to both parties and the AFLPA and AFLUA have made a commitment to continue to explore these.

Hall of Fame
Barrie Robran named a Legend
The AFL announced on May 21 that former South Australian star and three-time Magarey Medalist BARRIE ROBRAN had been made a 'Legend of the Game'.

Robran was named as only the 17th 'Legend of the Game', the highest honour which can be bestowed within the sport, at the annual Australian Football Hall of Fame induction dinner in Melbourne.

Robran is the first player to be named as a 'Legend' without having played some part of his career in the then-VFL or now-AFL competition.

A further eight former players – Essendon captain KEN FRASER, Carlton captain STEPHEN KERNAHAN, Brownlow Medalist BARRY ROUND, dual Hawthorn premiership captain DON SCOTT, East Fremantle and East Perth premiership player JACK SHEEDY, Footscray Brownlow Medalist NORM WARE, Richmond captain DALE WEIGHTMAN and dual Brownlow Medalist GREG WILLIAMS – were inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The Australian Football Hall of Fame was established in 1996 and serves to recognise players, coaches, umpires, administrators, and media representatives who have made an outstanding contribution to Australian football.
AFL Commission Chairman Ron Evans at a dinner at the Regent Theatre Ballroom made the presentations to the eight new inductees into the Hall of Fame and the announcement of Robran as a Legend of the Game.

'Big Bob' Johnson passes
Harry Selover dies at 102

ROBERT B JOHNSON, better know as "Big Bob" and one of football's well-known personalities of the 1960s and 1970s passed away at his Southport home on Monday, May 21 aged 65.

Bob was the son of a famous Demon, Bob Johnson Sr, who played 113 games for Melbourne between 1926 and 1933.

The lanky Big Bob followed in the footsteps of his father, playing 140 matches with Melbourne between 1954 and 1961 in seven grand finals and the premierships of 1955, 1956, 1957, 1959 and 1960.

The Encyclopedia of AFL Footballers describes Bob as a "real character who infuriated opposing fans with his penchant for staging for frees".

At 27, Bob left Melbourne, coaching East Fremantle in the WAFL to four successive grand finals, including a flag in 1967. During his stay in Perth, Johnson was selected for WA, adding to the nine interstate matches he played for the Big V – the WAFL selectors were mindful of his great competitive record. Johnson in 1967 did not let WA down at the MCG where he kicked 5.2 in WA's tally of 11.16-82 that fell short of Victoria's 20.15-135.

When Bob returned east, he coached Hamilton, Oakleigh in the VFA, McKinnon in the Federal League and Greensborough in the DVFL where he retired aged 43.

HARRY SELOVER, who was the oldest living League footballer passed away peacefully on Friday, May 18, aged 102.

Harry played three matches for the Melbourne FC in 1919.

The mantle of the longest surviving League player passes to ROY ALLEN who played two matches for Collingwood in 1924. Mr Allen recently turned 100. He became an umpire and later a goal umpire and was the man who reported Essendon full-forward JOHN COLEMAN in the last home-and-away match in 1951. The Tribunal suspended Coleman for four matches, causing him to miss the 1951 grand final, when Geelong defeated the Bombers by 11 points.

Stab Kicks ...
Bulldogs to keep SCG "home" game

The Western Bulldogs are certain to continue playing one "home" game a year at the SCG against the Swans. Last year the Doggies made $150,000 from the trip, and $250,000 from last Sunday. The Swans can market and extend their deal for supporters to 12 games a year.

Post-match kick-to-kick under threat
The traditional kick-to-kick enjoyed after the match at the MCG is under threat – not for reasons of cutting up the hallowed turf but from soaring insurance premiums. Public liability for the MCC jumped 55 per cent this year and is tipped to be $1.1 million by 2002-03. MIKE SHEEHAN in the Herald Sun noted: The MCC's problem is complicated by the growing propensity of victims to take action.

The Medical Room
** 24-year-old Melbourne midfielder ROBERT POWELL will not play this season — afflicted by osteitis pubis he has not recovered following an operation last October – the painful condition has also affected WAYNE CAREY and MATTHEW KNIGHTS ... ** MATTHEW RICHARDSON (Rch) will miss two matches with a hamstring injury ... ** Port Adelaide are satisfied that MATTHEW PRIMUS has only a strained medial ligament and may miss only two or three ...

FLPA want "ump-bump" confusion removed
The AFL Players Association is seeking clarification from the League of the confusing rule on the controversial "ump-bump" topic. AFLPA chief executive ROB KERR is concerned that the words "negligent" and "reckless" in the rule regarding contact with umpires are causing confusion and deep concern among the players. The Tribunal can find a player's contact with an umpire was accidental, but he can still be rubbed out if his actions are deemed to be reckless or negligent. "If they come out and say, 'You've got to avoid umpires at all costs,' then at least the players know," Kerr said.

atthew Lloyd – "$6000 a goal" ...
Essendon's MATTHEW LLOYD signed a new two-year deal with the Bombers, believed to be worth around $1.3 million – which SCOTT GULLAN (Herald Sun)
suggested may be worth around $6000 a goal ...

mps meet Bulldogs to smooth things out
In a positive step by both parties, umpires chief JEFF GIESCHEN and senior umpires DARREN GOLDSPINK and JOHN HARVEY met with the players and coaching staff of the Western Bulldogs at Whitten Oval on Tuesday to hear each other's point of view.

They said it ...
GREG BAUM, The Age, May 22
— The question that hangs over Gutnick's leadership is not his authority, but his style. When David Schwarz was accused of making a racist remark to Geelong's Justin Murphy earlier this season, Gutnick leapt intemperately to Schwarz' defence, saying he was sure the remark would have been made by mistake.

Gutnick was doubly out of order, for saying anything at all about a matter that was meant to be kept confidential, and for intimating that a racist remark was less offensive if it was made in ignorance. He of all people should have known better. Gutnick then engaged in a protracted slanging match with AFL chief executive Wayne Jackson that did neither any credit. Leadership is not just about making the most noise.

MICHAEL GLEESON, Herald Sun, May 22 — All AFL teams will be asked to design new away jumpers, with radically different colours, to be worn next year to avoid colour clashes.

DAVID BURTENSHAW, The Advertiser, May 24 — South Australian great BARRIE ROBRAN did not deserve to be in the Australian Football Hall of Fame, outspoken Carlton president JOHN ELLIOTT said yesterday.

The millionaire businessman told a lunch at the North Melbourne Social Club that two other South Australians – MALCOLM BLIGHT and STEPHEN KERNAHAN – should have received a "Legend of the Game" honour ahead of triple Magarey Medal-winner Robran.


Essendon thrash Hawthorn
Amazing MCG comebacks
Crows climb to eighth place

ROUND 9 — Fri-Sat-Sun, May 25-26-27.
MILESTONES—LEON CAMERON played his 200th League match, 172 FWB 1990-99, 28 Rch 2000-01 ... 150th by TROY LUFF (Syd) 1990-2001 ... 100 games for LANCE WHITNALL (Car) 1997-2001 who at 21 years 275 days is the youngest to achieve this milestone for the Blues ... 50 games by TYSON LANE, 19 FWB 1995-98, 31 Col 1999-2001 – SHANE O'BREE, 19 Bri 1998-99, 31 Col 2000-01 ... ALASTAIR LYNCH passed 400 career goals in game 235 for Fitzroy (1988-93) and Brisbane (1994-2001) ... DARREN JARMAN passed 350 career goals in game 216 for Hawthorn (1991-95) and Adelaide (1996-2001) ...
FROM THE ROUND — The WESTERN BULLDOGS at Subiaco versus West Coast had a club-record 13 goalkickers, which tops 12 goalkickers on six previous occasions in their 1535 League matches since 1925.

<||> The Friday night opener was played at the MCG under slightly greasy conditions following the rain of previous days – a crowd of 43,624 attended. Playing gritty and disciplined footy, the troubles of the Kangaroos seemed to have melted away in the first half as LEIGH COLBERT held a seemingly unfit ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES, SHANNON GRANT had the better of SCOTT CAMPOREALE and ANTHONY STEVENS shaded the effectiveness of BRETT RATTEN.

In a surprising turnaround, Carlton after an insipid first half came back from 37pts down, kicked five unanswered goals to trail by only five points at three-quarter time, then went away to win by 13. LEN JOHNSON noted for The Age: It was the unsung players who kept Carlton in the match. DARREN HULME won a lot of the ball when it was hardest to get. SIMON BEAUMONT was strong in defence and created opportunities running in attack. SCOTT FREEBORN initiated many attacks from the wing.

A goal from Beaumont seven minutes into the last put the Blues in front for the first time followed two minutes later by one from Hulme, it was 10.8 to 9.7. While the Roos flirted briefly with a comeback, any chance was snuffed out by a goal from LANCE WHITNALL playing his 100th for the Blues, and another from MATTHEW LAPPIN which sealed the amazing comeback – CARLTON 12.10-82 (Mansfield 2, Lappin 2, Camporeale 2 (Best, Camporeale, Mansfield, Whitnall, KANGAROOS 10.9-69 (Rocca 2, McKernan 2) best, Burton, Blakey, McKernan.

<||> It was a cool Saturday afternoon at the MCG which was damp after overnight rain. The always-promising contest between the Saints and Pies was played under heavy cloud-cover with a cold swirling breeze – a good crowd of 49,937 was present – lights were on in the first quarter for the rest of the match. The contest closely resembled the one played at the G the night before. At half time, Collingwood were staring at a six-goal deficit, Carlton had been 35pts behind – in the end, the Pies won by 18, the Blues had done so by 13 points.

MELISSA RYAN reported for The Age: Much as with the Kangaroos, St Kilda enjoyed a first half in which everything it touched turned to gold. While Collingwood started the game with wasteful shots in front of goal, St Kilda's attack was incisive and the pressure applied to bring about goals was proving difficult for Collingwood to contain.

As with Carlton's second half restructure on Friday, Collingwood's had immediate effect. ANTHONY ROCCA, benched for part of the second quarter as he underperformed in the forward line, was put into the ruck and had the ball forward within 30 seconds and the first goal four minutes later – NICK DAVIS shifted the momentum to wreak havoc as Collingwood steadily reeled in St Kilda. Though the Saints held a 19pt lead at the last break, three critical injuries in the space of 10 minutes – the Saints lost Gehrig with a groin injury, Jones (hamstring) and Capuano (strained knee) – six unanswered goals to Collingwood brought the curtain down on St Kilda – COLLINGWOOD 14.14-98 (Molloy 3, N.Davis 3) best, O’Bree, N.Davis, Fraser, ST KILDA 12.8-80 (Voss 2, Loewe 2, Powell 2, Milne 2) best, Jones, Burke, Gehrig.

<||> Saturday night at Subiaco Oval was fine, with good conditions and a good roll up of 30,063 fans. The Bulldogs went a long way to burying their Perth 'hoodoo' downing the Eagles for a third occasion from 13 visits since 1987. Chief architect of the victory was NATHAN BROWN who was targeted for special attention, but the 23-year-old was able to break the shackles to ignite the Dogs' second half charge. After a shaky start to the season it was the third on the trot for the Bulldogs who moved to 6th place in the eight.

The Eagles already down on their luck with injuries also lost experienced midfielder DREW BANFIELD whose right knee gave way in the third quarter – he suffered bruising to the femur bone and minor damage to the medial cartilage and thankfully will not become the fourth knee reconstruction casualty of the season. The Bulldogs overall produced a great team effort with a club-record 13 goalkickers sharing the spoils of their 18.17 for the night. LUKE DARCY gave a stand-out performance in the ruck once again for the Bulldogs, ably assisted by the fast emerging 20-year-old LUKE PENNY in defence and at ground level by SCOTT WEST and BRAD JOHNSON, particularly in the second half.

West Coast captain BEN COUSINS was well held in the first half by SIMON GARLICK but burst to life after half time and although DEAN KEMP and at times PETER MATERA provided support, the Eagles were simply missing too many of their stars to challenge the Bulldogs – BULLDOGS 18.17-125 (Brown 4, Johnson 3) best, Darcy, Brown, Johnson, WEST COAST 11.11-77 (Cousins 2) best, Cousins, Kemp, Phillip Matera.

<||> Saturday night at the Gabba was fine, and the match was played in good conditions – 24,122 watched Adelaide hold out to snatch a thrilling win over the Lions. It was a high class and free-flowing encounter – never more than a goal separated the two at each break.

The Crows trailed for most of the match but dominated the second half to win their fifth from its past six matches with ANDREW McLEOD, DARREN JARMAN and BRETT BURTON the key playmakers. BILL McDONALD reporting for Fairfax from Brisbane said: Adelaide's BRETT BURTON, the hero of last week's win over Richmond, did it again with three match-winning goals in the last quarter, one of them after a towering mark in the goal square, that put paid to Brisbane's hopes of keeping their unbeaten record intact at the Gabba this year.

PETER VARDY sprung to life in the last term when Adelaide kicked 4.1 in six minutes. Critical injuries during the match for Brisbane – LUKE POWER (groin) and MICHAEL VOSS (ankle) did not assist their cause, nor when MARCUS PICKEN had a 70-metre shot after the siren to grab what would have been an unbelievable victory for the Lions but, not surprisingly, failed to make the distance. Adelaide moved into the top eight for the first time this season and may well look back at this result as one of their turning points of the season – as Brisbane may well do – ADELAIDE 19.13-127 (Burton 4, Beinke 3) best, Edwards, McLeod, Burton, BRISBANE 18.14-122 (Lynch 4, Lappin 4, Keating 3) best, Ashcroft, Lappin, Akermanis.

<||> The largest crowd of 50,701 to attend the 63 matches at Colonial Stadium were shielded from the outside rain by a closed roof on Saturday night – when 55,240 tickets were sold the match was granted live TV cover by Channel Seven in Victoria. The undefeated Hawthorn faced an Essendon without nine injured players from the 2000 grand final – Fletcher, Wallis, Heffernan, Misiti, Caracella, Mercuri, Long, Bewick (retired) and Alessio – which on the final margin may have been a blessing. The Bombers regained top place on the ladder.

Essendon were comprehensive 65-point winners and repeated the shell-shock tactics they recently employed against the Tigers – hit 'em fast and hit 'em hard – they kicked four goals in the opening nine minutes. The Bombers rained in 7.4 in the first quarter to Hawthorn's 4.1. The Hawks were always expected to struggle without the height of the injured NICK HOLLAND, JONATHON HAY and JADE RAWLINGS, but they could have at least been expected to match the Bomber's running division. MARK GRAHAM took the key defence role and had MATTHEW LLOYD in a near-faultless evening kick eight goals-straight.
Essendon were impressive and performed a ruthless dissection of the Hawks, emphasising the amazing depth of the playing squad that the Dons have built. It is a sobering thought to consider how the Bombers may play when they have a full side to present. As DAVID 'Swan' McKAY on ABC Radio noted – Essendon have made 'keepings-off', an art form ...

Both sides suffered further injuries – Essendon's JUSTIN BLUMFIELD (knee) and Hawthorn's SHANE CRAWFORD (medial knee and ankle injury) will be sidelined for several weeks – ESSENDON 18.14-122 (Lloyd 8.0) best, Lloyd, Hird, Wellman, HAWTHORN 8.9-57 (Thompson 3) best, Thompson, Bowyer, Johnson.

<||> Football Park had a bit of everything on Sunday afternoon – wet and windy then patchy sunshine. Only 22,423 turned out to watch Port Adelaide post their seventh win from nine starts. They met a Melbourne side probably affected by the distraction of a boardroom battle. Demon coach NEALE DANIHER certainly considered so when speaking post-match, when he pleaded for an election to be shelved until after the playing season.

SAM LIENERT's report in The Age noted: "The Power won the match based on quality midfield performances by NICK STEVENS and ADAM KINGSLEY and the ability of small forwards CHE COCKATOO-COLLINS, GAVIN WANGANEEN, PETER BURGOYNE and ROGER JAMES to handle the conditions." After falling five goals behind, Melbourne showed plenty of spirit in the third quarter when they came from 29 points down with CAMERON BRUCE kicking tow goals in two minutes, then NATHAN BROWN and ALISTAIR NICHOLSON added their names to the scoresheet.

But, Port's response was emphatic – Cockatoo-Collins, Wanganeen and WARREN TREDREA goaled and STUART DEW's 55-metre kick after the siren was the perfect end to the term. Melbourne now have a 4+5 record and may have to be more worried with their off-field battles rather forthcoming matches with St Kilda, Collingwood and Brisbane – PORT 13.10-88 (Wanganeen 3, James 3, Tredrea 3) best, Stevens, Kingsley, Tredrea, MELBOURNE 9.14-68 (Bruce 4) best, Bruce, Whelan, Yze.

<||> An overcast, and brisk day turned to an afternoon of sunshine at Kardinia Park on Sunday where before 27,421 spectators, the Cats and Tigers were locked in a battle lasting three and-a-half quarters. Geelong in a barnstorming finish of the concluding 15 minutes ended seven goals in front of Richmond who lost their third successive match. In 20 years, the Tigers have won only twice at Geelong, in 1982 and 1990.

With little more than a goal separating the two at the end of each break the finish was an amazing contrast. BRAD OTTENS with four first quarter goals for Richmond threatened a blowout, but for Ottens, the Tigers would not have stayed in touch for as long as they did. MICHAEL STEVENS noted in the Herald Sun: Richmond was outclassed in the ruck, where STEVEN KING did as he liked, and in the critical midfield contests, where captain WAYNE CAMPBELL was a solid four-quarter contributor. King's input was sensational, against BRENDAN GALE, RAY HALL and Ottens, from halfway through the last term when the match was fading out of the Tigers' reach.

Richmond's only goal in the final 30 minutes of play came from ANDREW KELLAWAY early in the quarter, and then from a free kick. In the end, Richmond lost because Geelong had a much more even all-round contribution. The Tiger's always seemed to be under pressure and consequently kicked poorly. The loss raises a real question mark about the Tigers' prospects this season, and how competitive they are without MATTHEW RICHARDSON. As Cat coach MARK THOMPSON commented "that was probably our best win of the season." – GEELONG 17.16-118 (King 4) best, King, Kingsley, Graham, RICHMOND 11.10-76 (Ottens 6) best, Campbell, D.Kellaway, Tivendale.

<||> Only 20,611 fans enjoyed the Sunday sunshine at the SCG where it is possible they witnessed one of the poorest opening quarters of football played at the ground since the first game in 1903. DOUG STEWART reported in the Daily Telegraph that nine-time club champion BOB SKILTON was overheard to say if he had ever seen a worse game then he could not remember it. The match deserved the lowest attendance to a Swans home match since 1996-R5 when 20,227 saw Sydney play Hawthorn at the SCG.

In spite of the good conditions the first quarter was a comedy of errors and produced only three goals. JOHN McGRATH noted in The Age: The lowest point came midway through the term when Fremantle's CLIVE WATERHOUSE missed everything from a set shot 40 metres out and then Sydney's kick-in also went out on the full. In an effort to find a positive from the game, Sydney by a 19 point margin, broke a five-match losing streak against a still winless Fremantle which chalked up its 10th successive home-and-away defeat.

The return for Sydney from injury of DALE LEWIS, DARYN CRESSWELL and MATTHEW NICKS carried the day for the team, together with the marginally improved form of big man GREG STAFFORD who kicked three goals, and JASON BALL who was reported for tripping. However, the Swans were far from convincing winners and nearly threw it away when they let the Dockers get to within a goal in the last quarter. Sydney was relieved by two deft touches from veteran DANIEL McPHERSON – SYDNEY 12.12-84 (Stafford 3, Cresswell 3, Nicks 3) best, Cresswell, Barry, Nicks, FREMANTLE 10.5-65 (10 singles) best, Fletcher, Cook, Black.

Carlton honour Stephen Silvagni
More than 1800 guests attended Crown Casino on Saturday night to honour Carlton's STEPHEN SILVAGNI in his testimonial year. Stephen, who turns 34 on May 31, was named five years ago at full back in the AFL's Team of the Century.
Guests of the packed assembly included former Melbourne skipper GARRY LYON and dual Richmond premiership player REX HUNT. Host of the occasion was Channel Seven's SANDY ROBERTS.

ROBERT WALLS recorded in The Age: "A highlight of the night was when BRUCE DOULL stepped on stage. The ovation he received showed that he, above all, is the favourite of the favourite sons.

Bruce is the only Carlton player to have had the privilege and longevity to have played alongside both Serge and Stephen.

Well-known Melbourne surgeon David Young was also there. He knows the family well, having operated at one time or another on every member of the Silvagni household. Old Serge thinks he has personally funded Mr Young's latest house extension. Over 17 seasons, SOS has had an amazing 15 operations.
As each operation was explained, a red dot was placed on the graphic showing him in his football outfit. By the end of the 15th explanation, there was more red than blue on the battle-scarred veteran."

Stephen has played 298 games and on Sunday, June 10, against Richmond at the MCG will become only the fourth Carlton player to reach the 300-match milestone. BRUCE DOULL with 356 games, CRAIG BRADLEY (now 341) and JOHN NICHOLLS with 328 games lead the honour board of the Blues.

Two suspended, two fined
David Clarke not guilty
Kilpatrick appeal fails

Charges and verdicts from Round 9 —

Geelong v Richmond
DAVID CLARKE (G) for wrestling GREG TIVENDALE (R) in the first quarter. Clark was found not guilty of the charge.
GREG TIVENDALE (R) for wrestling DAVID CLARKE (G) in the first quarter. Tivendale accepted the first charge fine of $1200.
GLENN KILPATRICK (G) for striking DUNCAN KELLAWAY (R) in the first quarter. Kilpatrick was suspended for one match. The finding was appealed. The Appeal Board on Thursday upheld the suspension.

Sydney v Fremantle
JASON BALL (S) for tripping BRENDON FEWSTER (F) in the first quarter. Ball was suspended for one match.

Port Adelaide v Melbourne
JAMES McDONALD (M) for wrestling JOSH FRANCOU (P) in the first quarter. McDonald accepted the first charge fine of $1200.

Stab Kicks ...
Driest May since 1984

The Melbourne area had its driest May since 1984 with only 14mm of rain compared with the average 68mm. All districts in Victoria, except East Gippsland, received less than half of their usual May rainfall.

Rumours, rumours
Two items which circulate about next season — the umpires will not be wearing white – *green* is a possible choice ... the Roos have been pressing for Good Friday footy ever since they were just plain North – they will get their wish in 2001 ...

The Medical Room
** Hawthorn's SHANE CRAWFORD who was hurt in the first quarter on Saturday night had scans on Monday – he has a strained medial ligament in his left and ligament damage to his left ankle – the Hawk captain is expected to miss four matches ... ** strained knee ligaments is likely to keep JUSTIN BLUMFIELD out of the Essendon side for four weeks ... ** LUKE POWER (Brisbane) will be out for until mid-July after scans confirmed a 2cm tear to the groin-abductor muscle – a check whether surgery is required is awaited ... ** Sydney defender ROWAN WARFE will have surgery to his shoulder which will end his season ...

Grass, at $75.00 a square metre
Have you ever considered how much your front lawn is worth? Colonial Stadium boss IAN COLLINS on ABC Radio on Sunday responding to a question from anchorman MICHAEL CHRISTIAN told listeners, a square metre of the much talked-about surface costs $75.00 – there's 19,000 square metres at Docklands – that totals $1,425,000.

In a line ...
** Seems that (thankfully) INDIA have turned down an invitation to play one-dayers at Colonial Stadium and the Gabba in September ... ** Essendon's membership has reached 36,055, the first Melbourne-based club to top 36,000 ... ** with $4 million in the bank, Essendon is about to start $2 million worth of building work at Windy Hill, including extensions to the players' gym, new auditorium and new merchandise and administration facilities ... ** AFL chief executive WAYNE JACKSON is recovering with six broken ribs after falling on Monday from a trailer loaded with hay at his farm property near Keith in South Australia ... ** Fremantle chief executive for the past seven seasons DAVID HATT will quit the Dockers in four weeks to take a position with the WA government's Department of Planning and Infrastructure ... ** Hawthorn coach PETER SCHWAB highlighting the many injury woes of clubs called for the shortening of games or the season itself ... ** the pre-season draft is set for a complete overhaul – a ballot between the four bottom clubs is set in 2003 to replace the old system that uses the reverse of the finishing order to determine selections ... ** PORT ADELAIDE will play their 100th AFL match against Sydney at the SCG in Round 11 on June 10 ... ** the Gabba ground record of 34,743 set against Carlton last year is likely to be broken on Saturday night when the Lions play Essendon – capacity is 37,500 ... Geelong's Team of the Century will be announced on June 22 ... ** PORT ADELAIDE plays five of its next seven games interstate – in Melbourne (Hawthorn), Sydney (Swans), Canberra (Kangaroos), Perth (Fremantle) and Brisbane (Lions) ...

Dreary AFL
Friday 's ahead for TV fans north of the Murray
As Channel Nine confirmed AFL matches will not get to air in NSW and Queensland on Friday nights in 2001 before 11pm, and after the NRL, TONY PEEK, g.m. of AFL corporate affairs and communications confirmed that Foxtel will also be blacked out for Friday AFL games ...

Tiger fan dumps a load at Punt Road
On Monday, in an obvious protest to recent performances by the Tigers who have lost the past three matches, a Richmond supporter who only wanted to be known as "Gecko" dumped a $600 load of chook manure outside the Punt Road offices of the club.

Glenorchy *storms* Football Tasmania
Tasmania's GLENORCHY FC launched a $348,850 damages claim over the demise of the Statewide League. The club is taking Football Tasmania to the Federal Court to recoup money, it says the club lost after the SWL's death last year. Following the collapse of the SWL, Glenorchy joined the 15-club Southern Football League as the "Storm" where it is undefeated in its first seven matches.

Everitt guilty of charges
St Kilda's PETER EVERITT appeared in Moe Magistrates' Court on Tuesday and Wednesday where he pleaded not guilty to charges arising from incidents at Cowes on Phillip Island in the early hours of October 29 last year. Everitt was convicted for offensive behaviour and being drunk in a public place and fined $250. Magistrate Edwin Batt suggested Everitt "needed to take a good hard look at himself." The magistrate dismissed charges of littering and discharging a missile to endanger persons.

They said it ...
Herald Sun, editorial, May 24 – Ablett, a dilemma
— The passionate debate over whether Gary Ablett should or should not be in the AFL Hall of Fame has obscured one fundamental issue.

Football stars these days have been elevated to the status of deities.
They inspire others — particularly young people — to fierce unquestioning loyalty, adoration and emulation.

Gary Ablett in his heyday was a gifted player. His personal decline has been a tragic matter of public record.

Recently, Ablett, 39, was involved in a coronial inquest into the death of a 20-year-old girl who died of a drug overdose while in his company.
The coroner said Ablett could have saved her life had he not been so drunk and probably drug-affected. No charges have been laid.

Sadly, raising Ablett to the Hall of Fame would be the equivalent to those who favour eliminating "fairest" from the Brownlow citation.

DAVID MURPHY, ABC Radio, May 27 – the Swans are in an unusual position – they lead at three-quarter time.

SAM NEWMAN, The Footy Show, May 24 — "... as sincere as Madonna saying 'ouch' on her wedding night ..."

MICHELANGELO RUCCI, The Advertiser, May 29 — Controversial Carlton president John Elliott has been dumped as a guest speaker at an official SANFL luncheon because of a slur against new Australian football legend Barrie Robran.
Mr Elliott was to have been SANFL president Max Basheer's guest speaker on Friday, August 10, the eve of the Crows-Carlton match at Football Park.

But SANFL chief executive Leigh Whicker wrote to Mr Elliott yesterday, withdrawing the invitation to the monthly function that usually attracts 400 paying guests.

Mr Basheer, a member of the Australian Football Hall of Fame selection committee, said Mr Elliott's presence was now inappropriate.

"Inappropriate in all circumstances," he said. "Inappropriate certainly after an outburst against one of our game's truest champions."

Mr Elliott, however, will face his first SA audience at a Port Adelaide Magpies vice-president's dinner on July 13.

The Magpies yesterday chose to keep Mr Elliott as guest speaker for the $50-a-head function at the Port Club at the Port club at Alberton Oval.

Swans coach RODNEY EADE, The Age, May 31 — "... Sydney loves a winner but they also love the smell of a rotting carcass  ..."

Fremantle sack Damian Drum
Ben Allen takes over Dockers
The Fremantle FC sacked DAMIAN DRUM as coach on Thursday morning, May 31st. BEN ALLEN, inaugural Fremantle captain in 1995, will replace Drum on a caretaker basis for the remaining 13 matches. The 32-year-old former Hawthorn premiership player will be contracted as assistant coach of the club in 2002 and 2003.

Drum coached Fremantle to 13 wins during his 53 matches in 1999, 2000 and 2001. The club has lost its last 10 home-and-away matches. Drum previously was assistant to Rodney Eade in Sydney.

Gutnick puts his challenge on hold
Givoni to fill vacancy
JOSEPH GUTNICK on Thursday night (31st) conducted a public rally at his Kimberley Gardens hotel and function centre in East St Kilda, where he announced he will delay his challenge to the current Melbourne FC board until the end of the playing season.

Though the meeting was called for 7pm, Gutnick's address to members did not come until 9.40pm when he went live on the Channel Nine Footy Show program. Many of the 300-odd supporters in the function room were surprised when he failed to name the people who would share his ticket, and declared he would not be proceeding with his call for an extraordinary meeting.

Gutnick said on Nine: "It has become increasingly clear to me that the playing fortunes of the club must come first. While it is clearly evident to me that I would win an election if it is held immediately, and I have a wealth of contenders for my ticket, I have now decided to move for an election as soon as possible after the end of the season". Cheering followed his words.

It is understood a deal between Gutnick and the Melbourne board had been struck before the meeting, when the ex-president was offered the right to fill the vacancy he created with his resignation on May 24. MICHAEL GIVONI, a marketing manager with the Spotless Catering Group, will be co-opted as a director at the next board meeting on June 18.

For several days, Melbourne's press and radio, even the Internet, had been inundating with matters of the Melbourne boardroom affair. A telephone poll conducted by Melbourne's Channel 7 attracted 7500 respondents. 71 per cent voted in favour of Gutnick being returned as president of the Melbourne FC.

The Herald Sun on Wednesday conducted a poll by fax message to which 202 responded, of which 150 as requested included their membership details which were verified with club records. The Herald Sun poll resulted in 74 per cent voting "yes" to the question "would you vote for Joe Gutnick at an extraordinary general meeting".


Brisbane stop the Bombers
Sydney back in the race
Dons, Port & Hawks are equal top

ROUND 10 — Fri-Sat-Sun, June 1-2-3.
MILESTONES—150th matches by MARTIN PIKE, 24 Mel 1993-94; 36 Fit 1995-96; 81 NMK 1997-2000; 9 Bri 2001, also GLENN MANTON, 21 Ess 1994-94; 129 Car 1995-2001 ... 100 games by CRAIG CALLAGHAN, 1995-2000; 5 StK 2001 – JUSTIN MURPHY, 12 Rch 1994-95; 79 Car 1996-2000; 9 Gee 2001 – GLENN FREEBORN, 55 NMK 1995-98; 45 Col 1999-2001 ... 50th matches by BRAD DODD (Fre) 1998-2001 and JASON JOHNSON (Ess) 1997-2001 ... CHRIS GRANT (FWB) passed 450 goals in game 240 ...

FROM THE ROUND — The Roos posted their biggest finish for 21 years against the Bulldogs … the 119pt win by Carlton was the biggest of 24 meetings against West Coast with the final score second only to the 29.17-191 kicked in 1987-R4-PP ... the Eagles 3.12-30 was its lowest score against the Blues … brothers CHAD and KANE CORNES were together for the first time in the Port side – both are the sons of former SANFL champion GRAHAM, now of 5AA fame, who called the match … the Cats were scoreless in the 2nd quarter for the first time since 1971-R9-AS against North … master statsman COL HUTCHINSON confirmed the 17-season span between scoreless quarters by Geelong is a League record – the last occasion Geelong were pointless for any quarter was 84-R22-P … the Dockers lost their 11th consecutive premiership match, equalling their worst losing run 1998-99, R18-22, R1 to 6 ... Freo with 6.10-46 kicked their lowest score in 10 meetings against Richmond.

<||> The Kangaroos kept their hopes alive for a ninth successive finals series when they blitzed the Bulldogs in the last quarter to run out 46 point victors under a closed roof at Colonial Stadium on Friday night – 32,793 attended.
LEN JOHNSON reported for The Age: After the Bulldogs drew within two goals at the end of the final term, the Roos exploded with a nine-goal-to-three final term. Overcoming a sluggish start, the loss of WAYNE CAREY with a serious ankle injury in the second quarter and a third-term comeback by the Bulldogs that evoked nervous memories of the second-half fadeout against Carlton a week ago, the Kangaroos bolted away to record their fourth win in 10 rounds.

COREY McKERNAN readdressed the horrors of his season with a six-goal performance, BRENT HARVEY had one of his best games as a midfielder, JOHN BLAKEY completely shut down the Bulldogs' most dangerous forward BRAD JOHNSON, and DAVID KING ran tirelessly through the lines. The Bulldogs were best served by SCOTT WEST who in the third term continually pumped his team forward, CHRIS GRANT, LUKE DARCY and KINGSLEY HUNTER but they had to carry a lot of baggage by a team possibly sapped by two consecutive interstate trips – KANGAROOS 19.11-125 (McKernan 6, Rocca 3) best, Stevens, McKernan, Pickett, BULLDOGS 11.13-79 (Grant 3, Brown 3) best, Grant, Hunter, Darcy.

<||> For West Coast, it was a day of records, for all the wrong reasons as Carlton thumped the Eagles by 119 points in good conditions on Saturday afternoon at Princes Park. The slight cross breeze did not affect proceedings for the lowly crowd of only 19,757. It was little more than a glorified training run for the Blues as West Coast with a crippling injury list, sunk to the lowest depth they have experienced since 1989, suffering their third-worst defeat in their 15-year history.

The Age noted: The lopsidedness of the contest can be demonstrated with a few statistics. Carlton had three times as many scoring shots, 44 to 15. The Blues has 100 more possessions, 300 to 235, and half as many marks again as the Eagles, 96 to 67. Moves inside the attacking 50  were the order of 50 to 20. MICHAEL GARDINER, BEN COUSINS (the only Eagle to have more than 20 possessions), DANIEL KERR, GREG HARDING and a handful of others tried hard for West Coast, but were bereft of structure and system.

As one report noted: ... the Blues had the luxury of STEPHEN SILVAGNI (his 299th game) shepherding and clearing the way for LANCE WHITNALL. And the luxury of sitting BRENDAN FEVOLA on the bench most of the day until taking seven marks and kicking three goals in the last quarter. Whitnall's confidence has returned since Silvagni came back and they kicked five goals between them in the first half. By three-quarter time with the difference 84pts, Silvagni and CRAIG BRADLEY were able to retire to the bench. The only   match-up which did not finish in a knockout win to the Blues was the ruck duel between MARK PORTER and MICHAEL GARDINER. Porter won clearly on points, but Gardiner can hold his head high, he toiled honestly all day. Too many of his mates cheated – CARLTON 21.23-149 (Whitnall 3, Beaumont 3, Fevola 3) best, Porter, Beaumont, Whitnall, WEST COAST 3.12-30, best, Kerr, Jakovich, Gardiner.

<||> Saturday afternoon at the MCG was generally overcast, with patches of sunshine when 28,228 attended to watch Port Adelaide enjoy the rarity of playing at headquarters. In a far from pleasing, often scrappy affair, Port were thorough victors over Hawthorn by 43 points – the Power took over second position on the premiership ladder with an 8+2 record, the equal of Essendon and Hawthorn.

EMMA QUAYLE reported for The Age: Most who arrived at the ground would have expected the game to be a fairly tight and tough encounter and, there seemed little reason why it would unfold any other way. JONATHAN HAY lined up on WARREN TREDREA, STEPHEN PAXMAN took TRENT CROAD and, with SHAUN REHN unavailable to take on MATTHEW PRIMUS, only the centre bounces seemed certain to veer the Power's way. But as is often the case, this wasn't the case.

The dominating performance of Primus in the ruck – he had a hand in 32 of Port Adelaide's hit-outs while the combined Hawthorn tally came to just 21 – was the only thing that went remotely as expected. It wasn't until the second half that Port blew the Hawks right away, but the game sat in the Power's hands virtually all day. Hawks coach PETER SCHWAB took little time to try a more defensive approach. His decision to flood succeeded in slowing down the game and the scoreboard, but it didn't take the Power long to learn how to handle the tactic. CHE COCKATOO-COLLINS and another former Bomber, GAVIN WANGANEEN, have spent most of the season proving how explosive they can be as forwards and they proved themselves equally calm, threading the ball carefully through the gaps. The game opened up in the second term and stayed that way until the end of the match. But that merely resulted in an ongoing display of errant handballs, hospital kicks and other skill errors that bordered on boring – PORT 17.14-116 (Stevens, Burgoyne 3, Wanganeen 3) best, Stevens, Primus, Cockatoo-Collins, HAWTHORN 10.13-73 (Hay 2, Croad 2, Lekkas 2) best, Smith, Hay, Rawlings.

<||> Though it was fine outside the roof was closed (as required by the AFL) on Saturday night at Docklands – 30,497 were on hand. The match was played in good conditions as Melbourne stemmed a three-match losing streak by over-turning a 19pt three-quarter time deficit with a supercharged 10 goal to two finish which buried the Saints.

For three quarters, St Kilda were sensational, answering every challenge in an entertaining match. The flood was nowhere to be seen as both teams went on the attack. KAREN LYON noted in The Age: In a pattern that was repeated for most of the night, the Saints surged forward only to be pegged back by a determined Demon outfit. Dual Brownlow medalist ROBERT HARVEY, tagged all night by SIMON GODFREY, was the spark behind the Saints. He was in fine touch, creative around the packs and penetrated into the forward line.

However, the undermanned Saints could never shake the Demons and were never more than 20 points ahead. For the sixth time in 10 games after leading at three-quarter time, St Kilda were overrun again. Coach MALCOLM BLIGHT employed a most unusual post-game tactic by returning the entire team and the coaching staff to the centre of the ground where he gave the team a 10-minute pep talk. Blight said he was not humiliating his players but trying to stop the club's horror run of soft-tissue injuries. Knee injuries suffered, will sideline dual 300-gamers STEWART LOEWE for some two months and NATHAN BURKE for up to four weeks, adding to Gehrig, Jones, Capuano and Hudghton – MELBOURNE 22.12-144 (Green 4, Neitz 4, Bruce 3) best, Yze, Whelan, Brown, ST KILDA 17.11-113 (Callaghan 3) best, Harvey, Everitt, Hamill.

<||> A new AFL record crowd of 36,149 attended the Gabba on a fine Saturday night when the locals in full roar cheered the Brisbane Lions to a comfortable 28 point win over Essendon.  In one of the major upsets of the season, the Bombers never looked like winning as the Lions meticulously stuck to their game plan.

At each centre bounce, the Lions posted eight men in defence, cramping the Bombers' forwards, making it known early what terms the premiers were playing on. It forced Essendon's midfield to bomb the ball in long to contests where they were outnumbered both in the air and on the ground. Lions coach LEIGH MATTHEWS had obviously planned his attack for quite a while, because his tactics and match-ups reaped huge dividends against the club which had won at their previous five meetings. The heavily depleted Essendon line-up was further eroded when Barnes and Moorcroft were lost from the side posted on Thursday night.

CHRIS SCOTT made SCOTT LUCAS ineffective; MAL MICHAEL took MATTHEW LLOYD out of the equation, while MARCUS ASHCROFT superbly threw a blanket over JAMES HIRD. Essendon's two goals to half-time were testimony to the effectiveness of Brisbane's plan, and a final score of 10.14-74 was the lowest kicked by the Dons since 3.5-23 versus the Eagles, 1999-R4-S – BRISBANE 15.12-102 (Lynch 4, Brown 3) best, Black, Ashcroft, C.Scott, ESSENDON 10.14-74 (Lloyd 3) best, M.Johnson, Peverill, Wellman.

<||> A clear sky and lush conditions drew 40,466 to Football Park on Sunday afternoon. It is therefore difficult to understand why only 17 goals were kicked all day. As the winning Adelaide coach GARY AYES commented: "For a perfect day, conditions-wise, I don't think that would have gone too far in a video-highlights package."

ALAN SHIELL was moved enough to rate the game for The Age: as – "a surprisingly low-scoring, error-ridden scrap ... one of the worst spectacles seen for a long time ..."  Geelong swamped Adelaide's forward line at almost every opportunity, yet when MARK THOMPSON was asked, he seemed to absolve himself from any responsibility. Ayres was not amused: "If that's good for football, I think we're not doing ourselves justice. I don't think that's a great advertisement for where we want our game to go."

MATTHEW CLARKE challenged STEVEN KING in the ruck which was crucial to stopping him from dominating around the ground. BRETT BURTON, TYSON EDWARDS, ANDREW McLEOD, KANE JOHNSON and to a lesser extent SIMON GOODWIN and MARK RICCIUTO had their productive moments, which amounted to more than the Cats could muster – ADELAIDE 9.12-66 (Edwards 2, Goodwin 2) best, Hart, Burton, McLeod, GEELONG 8.7-55 (Graham 2, Mensch 2) best, Spriggs, Murphy, Houlihan.

<||> On a beautiful sunny day in Melbourne, the roof at Docklands was closed on Sunday afternoon (as required by the AFL) for the Magpie-Swans match. Sydney produced one of their gutsiest efforts of recent years when with they finished with only 15-fit players to down the more-favoured Collingwood by three goals. Sydney captain of the day ANDREW DUNKLEY was off at three-quarter time after Collingwood's JARROD MOLLOY landed on him from a great height, after a grab which would have been a candidate for Mark of the Year, had Pie teammate ANTHONY ROCCA not infringed nearby into the back of ANDREW SCHAUBLE. Two 50-metre penalties resulted, but a kick for goal by Sydney's JASON SADDINGTON on the siren was off line.

Sydney went into the last term just 21 points in front, and with a full bench of Dunkley, Cresswell, James and Fosdike who would take no further part. In addition, Goodes (finger), Kirk (knee) and Matthews (concussion) though wounded, would play on. MATTHEW NICKS was also under pressure after heavily colliding with umpire SCOTT JEFFREY in the first quarter. Jeffrey backed into the fast-moving Nicks when he was leading to a pass off the wing from MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN. Fellow umpire MARK McKENZIE penalised Nicks with a free kick, yet on Monday, umpire Jeffrey admitted he had been in the "wrong place". No report resulted from the ump-bump.

Though Collingwood got to within a goal of the Swans at quarter time, it would be the closest the Pies would be for the rest of the match. The tactics by Sydney of running hard and swarming the Magpies forward half bamboozled the young Pies, who constantly missed targets and turned the ball over. Both sides were frequently sloppy with flooding and possession the tactics in a far from pretty display. PAUL WILLIAMS (his 199th game) was best afield against his old side, with WAYNE SCHWASS also a top contributor for the Swans – SYDNEY 11.7-73 (McPherson 2, Goodes 2) best, Williams, Stafford, Barry, COLLINGWOOD 7.13-55 (Tarrant 3) best, Tarrant, Molloy, Licuria.

<||> A mid-week change of coach failed to spark greater support for the winless Fremantle who faced Richmond of a fine Sunday afternoon at Subiaco Oval — only 19,626 were present. New Docker coach BEN ALLAN had a few ideas with the inclusion of two players recently overlooked - JAMES WALKER was resurrected from the WAFL's South Fremantle side and gave a good 21-possession performance off the wing, while ASHLEY PRESCOTT eclipsed former Richmond teammate MATTHEW KNIGHTS. It was however a case of, if you haven't got the cattle ... Freo went into the match as predictable underdogs when both CLIVE WATER-HOUSE and ANTHONY JONES didn't come up and then mid-game injuries were suffered by BRAD DODD and LEIGH BROWN. Still, the Dockers were fierce at the opening and shocked the Tigers with their attack on the ball. While Richmond's big man strength, particularly BRAD OTTENS, would always trouble them, the Dockers were still in touch early in the last term until Ottens kicked two goals to put the game out of reach.

SHAUN McMANUS was a midfield leader for Freo and played one of his strongest matches of the season and handled the task of curbing JOEL BOWDEN. But it was the strength of performances from DARREN GASPAR, JASON TORNEY and ANDREW KELLAWAY which gave the Tigers the edge. With the return from injury of forward MATTHEW RICHARDSON and powerful midfielder CLINTON KING to the line up, Richmond now on 6+4 can only get better – RICHMOND 12.12-84 (Ottens 3) best, Ottens, Tivendale, Campbell, FREMANTLE 6.10-46 (Dodd 2, Schell 2) best, McManus, Walker, Prescott.

22-round season to remain
The rubber stamp of the AFL Commission is about to be applied to a set of recommendations to cover AFL seasons for at least the duration of the new five-year TV agreement with Nine-Ten-Foxtel —

> 22-round home-and-away season
> Matches on
Friday night (one game)
Saturday afternoon (two)
Saturday night (two)
Sunday afternoon (three)
> Five matches each round on free-to-air (Nine & Ten)
> Three matches on Foxtel pay-TV

The next season will commence on Easter Thursday (March 28) with a split round to include Easter Monday. No football will be played on Good Friday in season 2002.

The 2002 Ansett Cup will start on Friday February 15. To provide a more equitable travel load, the pre-season competition will be linked to the premiership season, where each Victorian team would travel at least once to Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth and Sydney.

Footy chief suffered in fall
It was revealed that AFL supremo WAYNE JACKSON fell four metres from the top of feed bales stacked on a trailer on to the A-frame and smashed eight ribs in the accident that occurred on Monday, May 28. Mr Jackson was working on his farm property at Willuka, 45km from Keith in the south-east corner of South Australia.

Mr Jackson's chest was crushed and some splinters of bone lodged next to his lungs. He was fortunate not to have ruptured his spleen.

SCOTT PALMER reported in the Herald Sun: Mr Jackson managed to stagger to his homestead and was found by his daughter Meridie, who had been alerted by a farmhand.

"I lay on the ground for five minutes or so and then dragged myself up and made myself walk for about 500 metres back toward the homestead," Jackson said.

Meridie, 29, drove her father from the paddock to Keith where the Flying Doctor Service flew him the remaining 250km to Adelaide's Calvary Hospital.

Members of the AFL executive staff will share Mr Jackson’s duties until he is fully recovered.

Cheaper seats at Footy Park
Football Park will open its new $12.5 million 7000-seat northern grandstand on July 22 when Adelaide plays Sydney. Capacity at the venue will be increased to 52,000.

MICHELANGELO RUCCI revealed in The Advertiser that both the Crows and Port Adelaide will test the reasoning that entry prices are keeping fans away from AFL matches — tickets for the new grandstand will cost $20.00, less than a ticket bought at the gate to the outer where the basic charge is $23.00.

Nicks & Garlick escape bookings
Two players from Round 10 came under video scrutiny following collisions with umpires at the weekend.

On Monday, field umpire SCOTT JEFFREY admitted he was in 'the wrong place' when he was bumped by Sydney's MATTHEW NICKS in the first quarter at Docklands on Sunday afternoon. No report was made as a result of the incident.

The AFL's response on Monday was, under Law 15.5 (c) – penalising any contact with an umpire – Nicks should have stopped to avoid Jeffrey.

Western Bulldog player SIMON GARLICK collided with umpire BRYAN SHEEHAN in the third quarter of Friday night's match against the Kangaroos at Colonial Stadium. Sheehan said he felt both parties had contributed to the contact and as it was not severe, and unavoidable, the matter was closed.

One week for Fletcher & Barker

Charges and verdicts from Round 10 —

Carlton v West Coast
From video, SCOTT FREEBORN (Car) and GLEN JAKOVICH (WCE) for wrestling in the third quarter. Jakovich pleaded guilty. On his second offence of wrestling, Jakovich was fined $2500. Freeborn pleaded not guilty. He was found guilty and fined $1500.

Hawthorn v Port Adelaide
JOHN BARKER (Haw) for striking MATTHEW PRIMUS (PA) in the third quarter. Barker was suspended for one match.

Brisbane v Essendon
DUSTIN FLETCHER (Ess) for tripping CRAIG McRAE (Bri) in the first quarter. The Tribunal suspended Fletcher for one match on this charge. From video, DUSTIN FLETCHER (E) for tripping CRAIG BOLTON (B) in the fourth quarter. The Tribunal found Fletcher not guilty of the video charge.

Roy Morgan Research
Australia's favourite footy team
Swans can count on 1.3 million fans

The Herald Sun in Melbourne in a front-page story on June 6 published a ROY MORGAN RESEARCH poll of 24,508 people over the age of 14, which revealed the Sydney Swans are Australia's favourite footy team.

Herald Sun feature writer TERRY BROWN quoted the ROY MORGAN survey which showed —

> The Swans have 1.3 million fans
> The Bulldogs, Demons and Port are the AFL also-rans
> Essendon is well clear of Collingwood as Victoria's top club
> More than half of Australians barrack for an AFL team.

For the record, the ROY MORGAN figures from the survey were –

Sydney 1,289,000
Essendon 789,000
West Coast 727,000
Adelaide 670,000
Collingwood 642,000
Brisbane 637,000
Carlton 608,000
Richmond 387,000
Geelong 378,000
Hawthorn 346,000
Kangaroos 277,000
St Kilda 269,000
Fremantle 245,000
Melbourne 226,000
West.B'dogs 222,000
Port Adelaide 219,000

Stab Kicks ...
Alan Stockdale quits Melbourne FC board

The Herald Sun on Saturday June 2 front-paged the story that ALAN STOCKDALE had quit the Melbourne FC board. His departure, together with a stinging attack on renegade president JOSEPH GUTNICK came only 24 hours following a Thursday night "ceasefire". The newspaper devoted three pages for Stockdale to air his views.

Special merchandise for Silvagni's 300th
Stephen Silvagni plays his 300th league match against the Tigers on Sunday. The Carlton club released a special range of merchandise celebrating the occasion. On offer – an unlimited supply of 300-game caps; 300 signed Silvagni guernseys, featuring a 300-game logo; prints signed by Carlton's four 300-gamers, Silvagni, Craig Bradley, Bruce Doull and John Nicholls, and a testimonial print featuring four photographs that track SOS' 1998 mark of the year.

The Medical Room
** poor news for St Kilda fans, STEWART LOEWE will miss up to two months with knee damage to the posterior ligament while NATHAN BURKE with lateral ligament damage will be out for a month – as well, STEVEN LAWRENCE  has suffered a recurrence of a hamstring and may miss a further month with the injury ... ** Fremantle's BRAD DODD damaged the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the second quarter of the Richmond game and underwent knee reconstruction surgery on Monday – he will miss the rest of the season ... as well, the Dockers' LEIGH BROWN hyper-extended his elbow during the Richmond game and will miss three weeks ... ** MURRAY VANCE (Carlton) has a tear to his posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and is expected to miss the next six weeks ... ** scans are awaited to reveal the extent of knee damage to Richmond's CRAIG BIDDISCOMBE ...

Gutnick sues Dow Jones
A case involving recently resigned Melbourne FC president JOSEPH GUTNICK is being heard in the Victorian Supreme Court. Mr Gutnick has taken out a defamation action against US publisher Dow Jones Inc. for an article published in the October 2000 issue of "Barron's" and the material published also on the magazine's website. London-based GEOFFREY ROBERTSON, QC, is appearing for Dow Jones Inc. in Melbourne before JUSTICE JOHN HEDIGAN.

In a line ...
** one brewer is suing Melbourne star DAVID SCHWARZ for selling a rival beer at his Crockford Bay Hotel in Port Melbourne ... ** football operations manager ANDREW DEMETRIOU confirmed the roof of Colonial Stadium at Docklands will be closed for all premiership matches ... ** Colonial Stadium are pressuring the League to improve its fixture list next year to gain crowds to average 40,000 and meet the criteria of the original user agreement, otherwise a compensation claim may be lodged ... ** Richmond stand a good chance of hosting the Easter Thursday opening in 2002 against Collingwood at the MCG – the Tigers wants the match to be a fixture of the fixture ... ** the Fremantle board came under scathing criticism for their handling of the sacking of coach DAMIAN DRUM – a leak had the media breaking the news, before the meeting which sent Drum on his way.

They said it ...
MARK FULLER, The Age, Sunday, June 2
— Carlton president John Elliott yesterday sought to set the record straight over his criticism of Barrie Robran's elevation to AFL legend status.

Elliott said that players who had not starred at the highest level should not be admitted until the year 3000 when the league was "scraping the barrel''.

If Elliott's comments, made at the president's lunch before the Carlton-West Coast match at Optus Oval, were intended as an apology, it is likely they have failed.

MICHELANGELO RUCCI, The Advertiser, June 5 — The folly of the umpire-collision rule continues with field umpire Scott Jeffrey last night admitting he was in the wrong place before he was bumped by Sydney's Matthew Nicks at Colonial Stadium on Sunday.

This admission has saved Nicks being cited to the AFL tribunal tonight. But it poses the question why Nicks was penalised with a free kick when the umpire admits he was in the wrong?

ANDREW RAMSAY, The Australian, June 6 — Australian football's warring tribes have suspected it for aeons, but according to new research it's true.

In addition to reaffirming Sydney as the AFL's most popular club, a survey of 24,508 footy folk, conducted by Roy Morgan Research, has provided an idiosyncratic sketch of each team's diehard fans.

Supporters of the Melbourne Demons, long characterised as the AFL's blue bloods, are reportedly more likely to earn an executive salary, read the financial press and own four-wheel-drives.


Magpies humble the Demons
Sydney crush Port Adelaide
12,000th League match

ROUND 11 — Fri-Sat-Sun-Mon, June 8-9-10-11.
MILESTONES—The 12,000th League match since 1897 was played when Melbourne met Collingwood at the MCG on the Queen’s Birthday Monday ... PORT ADELAIDE played their 100th AFL match (1997-2001) ... STEPHEN SILVAGNI when he played for Carlton on Sunday became the 40th player in VFL-AFL football to reach 300 games ... WEST COAST lost a club-record seventh successive match ... 200 games for PAUL WILLIAMS, 189 Col 1991-2000; 11 Syd 2001 ... 150th game by MARK GRAHAM (Haw (1993-2001) and DAVID SCHWARZ (Mel) 1991-2001 ... 50th match by MARK JOHNSON (Ess) 1999-2001 ... JOHN BLAKEY played his 200th club match with the Kangaroos (1993-2001), also 135 Fit 1985-92 ... JARRAD SCHOFIELD played his 50th club match with Port Adelaide (1998-2001), also 63 WCE 1993-97 ...

<> Attendances published for the Queen's Birthday holiday split round exceeded 300,000 for the 11th time in League history. The total of 322,756 for eight matches was greater than any round for season 2000, but fell short of the record 367,974 established across Friday-Saturday-Sunday, August 28-29-30, 1998. Crowds for this season have increased and are on track to exceed last year's figure of 5,740,811 for the 176-game home-and-away season, and to pass six million fans overall for the fifth successive year.

<||> The roof was closed at Docklands on Friday night when in a clinical display, Essendon were never headed by St Kilda and posted their ninth premiership victory of the year. The brilliance of JAMES HIRD and DEAN RIOLI was on display for the 40,075 which attended.

KAREN LYON noted for The Age: DEAN RIOLI was the spark for the Bombers from the opening bounce. He had three opponents, TONY DELANEY, BRETT VOSS and BRETT MOYLE, all before the first break. Playing on the half-forward flank he found space and, it wasn't only Rioli creating headaches for the Saints. PAUL BARNARD continues to impress. His aggressive attack on the ball opens up space in the forward half and he was dynamic, particularly in the first half. DAMIEN PEVERILL, the rookie elevated through injury to others and set to return to the VFL any time soon, was again the tagger of the evening. His job was to mind ROBERT HARVEY, once more he completed his mission with style.
Essendon again showed what wonderful depth they have on their list. With 10 of their premiership players missing, ruckman PETER EVERITT and key forward BARRY HALL offered resistance, but their efforts for the Saints was only of a token nature against the Bombers' onslaught. The Saints kicked the first four goals of the last quarter to give the scoreline more respectability, but with leaders STEWART LOEWE and NATHAN BURKE off injured and Harvey heavily tagged, they had no one to turn the inevitable conclusion – ESSENDON 19.14-128 (Rioli 4) best, Rioli, Hird, Ramanauskas, ST KILDA 13.8-86 (Everitt 4, Hall 4) best, Everitt, Gehrig, Peckett.

<||> Melbourne was foggy early on Saturday – the roof at Docklands was closed for the afternoon clash between Geelong and Hawthorn which drew a crowd of 37,526. The final margin of only three points continues the pattern of recent tight contests between the two where single digits have resulted in seven of the last 11 meetings.

In a pattern which is becoming all too familiar, boring footy of the first half turned to a close, exciting finish when both sides threw off the shackles after half-time to play adventurous football. The game was highlighted by the blunders of Geelong's RONNIE BURNS in the first half when he was both dragged and reported for indiscretions. His second half was inspirational with three match-winning goals for Geelong. GARRY HOCKING too, in game 265, after being told by his club that retirement would come "sooner, not later" was a vital player with 11 possessions in the third quarter when he applied plenty of physical pressure. BRETT NICHOLLS had a great debut for the Hawks – his three goals almost stole the match.

The greatest margin at any time in the match was 19 points and the closeness reflected too generously for what was a first half of a poor standard, riddled with skill errors. The match however ended as a gripping struggle when the Cats who have not played well since the start of the season sent Hawthorn to a worrying third successive loss – GEELONG 14.9-93 (Burns 4) best, Burns, Sholl, Clarke, HAWTHORN 13.12-90 (Thompson 4, Nicholls 3) best, Thompson, Smith, Harford.

<||> Threatening weather over Subiaco Oval on Saturday for the 5.40pm local start turned to drizzle near three-quarter time then rain, solid at times which continued until the final siren. Though Brisbane were firm favourites, they had to fight every inch of the way to scratch out a 22-point win over West Coast. So near to a win, the deflated Eagles slumped to their seventh successive defeat – the worst run of their 343-game history in the League.

The Coasters battled gamely to overcome their lack of options – coach KEN JUDGE set TRAVIS GASPAR onto young Lions' forward JONATHON BROWN while TRENT CARROLL played close on Brisbane's gun forward ALASTAIR LYNCH – their first-half efforts were good. However, after half-time the Brisbane midfield of JASON AKERMANIS, MICHAEL VOSS, TIM NOTTING and NIGEL LAPPIN broke free and when the rain finally arrived, the influence was with the Lions.

At the half-way mark, though the Eagles are down at 15th place they can take heart with solid performances from BEN COUSINS and MICHAEL GARDINER, but this time they had some mates with the return of JOSH WOODEN and burly forward SCOTT CUMMINGS who booted three goals. In the other camp, Brisbane with a 6+5 record still have a way to go – in their favour is the fact that seven of the last 11 games will be played at the Gabba – BRISBANE 11.18-84 (Akermanis 2, Lynch 2) best, Akermanis, Black, Voss, WEST COAST 9.8-62 (Cummings 3) best, Cousins, Wirrpunda, Jones.

<||> Following rain during the day, Football Park was wet and slippery as rain continued into the night – a crowd of 38,829 was on hand. In spite of Adelaide's physical endeavour, the Western Bulldogs were smarter and slicker and ended the four-match run by the Crows. The Dogs with four wins from their past five starts turn at the half-way mark with a 6+5 record just outside the eight on percentage.

CHRIS GRANT was the match-winner for the Bulldogs kicking six goals for the night, five in the second quarter as the Bulldogs put together their second-highest score of the season and handed Adelaide a lesson in how to handle the greasy conditions. ALAN SHIELL observed for The Age: Despite the misty rain, both sides turned on quite an exhibition in the first quarter, using mostly unorthodox placings and forward set-ups to amass 12 goals.

Grant in the second term kicked two brilliant goals on the run within two minutes and closed the quarter with three more in the space of six minutes. Adelaide's midfielders, McLeod, Goodwin, Ricciuto and Johnson struggled in the first half but made inroads in the second half when McLeod lifted his workrate and had he kicked more accurately may have put the Crows in a better position. The Bulldogs were well-served by their mainstays in Darcy, West, Smith and Liberatore – BULLDOGS 19.13-127 (Grant 6, Hudson 3, Croft 3) best, Grant, West, Liberatore, ADELAIDE 14.13-97 (Stevens 3, Edwards 3) best, McLeod, Smart, Edwards.

<||> Though the day in Melbourne was mostly sunshine, the roof of Colonial Stadium remained closed on Sunday afternoon – only 18,023 attended. After quarter time, the Kangaroos ripped the heart out of Fremantle to record the biggest defeat the Dockers have suffered in season 2001.

COREY McKERNAN, SAV ROCCA and LEIGH COLBERT were supplied with abundant opportunities from the lethal midfield of Stevens, Grant and Harvey. McKernan maintained his recent form and with authority booted five goals without a blemish. Much of the powerful 86 point win came from the boot of the explosive BYRON PICKETT who kicked three goals in three minutes of the third quarter.

Recent criticism of the hard surface at Colonial came under scrutiny again when Freo's LEIGH BROWN fell dangerously on his head after a spoiling attempt and was concussed. Other incidents which reduced Fremantle's squad — JUSTIN LONGMUIR in the second quarter went down face-first and was taken off by the cart after a heavy bump to the head ... TROY LONGMUIR copped a heavy and legitimate bump that stunned him, as did SHANE PARKER when running with the flight of the ball in the third quarter. The assessment by new Docker coach BEN ALLEN was he would just have to get "back to the bare basics of football." – KANGAROOS 23.16-154 (McKernan 5, Pickett 5) best, Stevens, Pickett, Archer, FREMANTLE 10.8-68 (Modra 4) best, McManus, Prescott, Cook.

<||> Sunday was mostly sunshine which brought a big crowd of 71,767 to the MCG for the 300th match of Carlton's STEPHEN SILVAGNI and a clash with old rivals Richmond – conditions were firm underfoot. Far from being intimidated by the occasion, the Tigers proved themselves against one of the power sides of the competition.

LEN JOHNSON reported for The Age: The game represented the best and worst of football 2001. The flood sloshed from one end of the ground to the other – Richmond's slender lead throughout the day built on its ability to score from on or outside of the 50-metre arc. Richardson, returning from a hamstring injury and suffering a recurrence of it, had three goals to half-time. Carlton's KRIS MASSEY (fractured fibula) and RYAN HOULIHAN (sprained wrist) were off the ground for good by half-time. BRENDAN FEVOLA (knee) and ANTHONY FRANCHINA (bruised shin) did not see out the final term after crashing into each other. Richmond lost Richardson (hamstring) and RORY HILTON had a shoulder injury.

If the price was heavy, the victory was sweet, The Tigers' performance representing an astonishing turnaround. In the three weeks since the Essendon loss they had lost to Adelaide and Geelong (badly) and got home against Fremantle last week. Four weeks ago, as the beaten Tigers trudged off the MCG, you couldn't imagine them being contenders. Now, they just might be – RICHMOND 13.10-88 (Richardson 3, Tivendale 3) best, Gale, A.Kellaway, Campbell, CARLTON 8.13-61 (Whitnall 4) best, Bradley, Whitnall, Hulme.

<||> Sydney shattered a confident Port Adelaide with a 47-point defeat on Sunday afternoon at the SCG when a crowd of 28,187 attended. The day though sunny at the start was quickly overtaken by heavy clouds which turned to rain for the last half of the match. The Swans who only a fortnight before had painfully struggled to defeat a winless Fremantle showed a new spirit and character to win their third successive match and take seventh spot on the ladder.

The Swans were focussed and unceremoniously dragged Port off its mid-season mountain – some of the tackling was magnificent and forced Port into countless errors and turnovers. Sydney coach Eade has to be credited with identifying and nullifying the ruck strength of MATTHEW PRIMUS with his duo of GREG STAFFORD and JASON BALL, together with Port's chip-and-pass game in the forward 50m zone. The Power struggled to find free men up within scoring range and if they did, the opportunity more often was wasted. Sydney controlled proceedings when they kicked 13 goals to four in the two middle quarters.

Sydney captain PAUL KELLY with a handful of quality possessions made his first premiership appearance while defender BRAD SEYMOUR enjoyed a strong comeback in his first game of the season. Others to do well were DANIEL McPHERSON, MATTHEW NICKS and WAYNE SCHWASS. Port suffered when MICHAEL WILSON suffered a season-ending knee injury in the opening 30 seconds after PETER BURGOYNE was a late-withdrawal due to a virus – SYDNEY 18.17-125 (Goodes 3) best, Nicks, Maxfield, McPherson, PORT 10.18-78 (Cockatoo-Collins 2, Wanganeen 2) best, Stevens, Kingsley, Francou.

<||> In the credibility stakes, Melbourne lost big-time when Collingwood posted a powerful 77-point victory at the MCG on the Queen's Birthday holiday Monday – the crowd was 62,761. In dark and chilly conditions, the lights were on in the first quarter. The Magpies took control of the match in the first two minutes when joint-captain of the day ANTHONY ROCCA took a tough mark in the goal square and landed the first of his four goals.

Rocca stepped up in the absence of the injured Collingwood duo, NATHAN BUCKLEY (captain) and SCOTT BURNS (vice-capt) and it was his hip and shoulder on DAVID SCHWARZ which sent the 150-game Demon out of the contest with a corked buttock in the opening minutes. The Pies were clearly the classier side and while JEFF WHITE was beating STEVEN McKEE or JOSH FRASER for the hitouts, and would do so for much of the day, it was the Collingwood runners who pounced hungrily on his work.

Pie coach Malthouse used Fraser in an unexpected manner – after a bounce, floating him on the wing, where the 202cm ruckman collected many valuable kicks. It was however the efficient Magpie forwards, Molloy, Davis and Davis, Rocca and Tarrant (who may collect Mark of the Year for a towering effort in the third quarter) who finished the work. ANDREW DIMATTINA cleaned up SHANE WOEWODIN, holding the Brownlow medalist kickless in both the first and last quarters – COLLINGWOOD 19.20-134 (Rocca 4, Holland 3) best, Rocca, McKee, N.Davis, MELBOURNE 8.9-57 (Neitz 2, Bruce 2) best, Neitz, Thompson, Bruce.
Twice the speed of the 1960s
A research paper by the University of South Australia and the Adelaide FC says today's AFL matches are played at twice the speed compared to 40 years ago.

Present-day AFL players can expect twice the collisions than when BOB SKILTON and his colleagues played.

While the game may be quicker, the players of today are seeing less of the ball. The study found games in the 1960s had 75 per cent "play time" (where the ball was in play) compared to less than half now.

Measuring 32 midfielders in 17 AFL games last season, researchers found they ran an average of 16.8 kilometres a game. When PETER BELL was measured in one quarter for the Kangaroos, he covered 6.25km, including 2.5 at sprint speed. This was during the July 1 match at Docklands last season when overall Bell ran more the 21km.

It was also revealed that Melbourne-based AFL teams received more injuries when playing interstate while non-Victorian clubs' injury rates dropped when playing in Melbourne. It was said this was due to Melbourne grounds generally being softer than those in other states.

Alan Killigrew
The little bloke they called the "hot gospeller" passed away in Perth on June 10, aged 82.

Killigrew at only 163cm (5ft 4in) roved in 78 matches with St Kilda, 1938-41 and 1943-45 where he was club champion in 1940. He served with the navy in the Pacific during World War 2. As recorded in The Encyclopedia of AFL Footballers, after the war he suffered tuberculosis of the spine and triumphed when not expected to live.

After running a pub in Ballarat where he coached Ballarat East and Golden Point, Alan landed the coaching job at St Kilda in 1956 where he cleaned out 26 players. During his time at Junction Oval, the Saints may have won only 19 of 54 matches in 1956-57-58 but he produced successive Brownlow medalists, BRIAN GLEESON (1957) then NEIL ROBERTS (1958) and was widely credited with laying the foundation stone for the success the club would enjoy in the 1960s. Killigrew departed when he felt he did not have the total support of the St Kilda committee and was appointed coach of Norwood. He steered the successful SANFL Redlegs to successive grand finals in 1960 and 1961 and went close to becoming the first Victorian to coach a club to a SANFL premiership. Norwood were preliminary finalists in 1962, then Killigrew returned to the VFL as coach of North Melbourne for the next four seasons following the retirement of WALLY CARTER. It was during this time, a bloody clash between Killigrew and Geelong's GEOFF ROSENOW in the players' race at Kardinia Park in 1964 became a legend of VFL history.

After coaching Victoria to their success in the 1966 Carnival in Hobart, Alan went to WA where he coached the Subiaco club in 1967, his last senior coaching appointment.

Wally Carter
The man who coached North Melbourne to their first VFL grand final in 1950, passed away in Melbourne on June 6 aged 92.

Wally in all, coached North in 214 League matches and is the longest serving coach of the club. He played 137 matches with the Shinboners between 1929 and 1940 and was regarded as one of the best ball players of the era. He was the winner of the inaugural Syd Barker Trophy for best and fairest in 1937.

Carter had a brief exposure to coaching North first in 1940, then took the reins of coaching the Third 18s to the 1946 premiership followed the next season with success for a Second 18 flag. He became senior coach in 1948, with North making the preliminary final in 1949. The club first became known as the Kangaroos in 1950 when the club made their first VFL grand final only to be beaten by Essendon.

Carter coached the Kangas to the end of 1953 then migrated across to the VFA where he coached Williamstown to triple premierships of 1954-55-56 defeating Port Melbourne on each occasion. The VFA Seagulls seemed destined to be the first to win four successive Association premierships in 1958, only to lose both the second semi-final and preliminary and finish third. The following year, Carter returned home to North Melbourne with the club finishing third in the VFL competition in 1958. However, the remainder of his five seasons to the end of 1962 was a period spent in the lower order.

Wally Carter became a life member of the League in 1999.

One week for Jordon Doering
Two matches for Ronnie Burns

Charges and verdicts from Round 11 —

Geelong v Hawthorn
From video, RONNIE BURNS (G) reported for striking LUKE McCABE (H) in the second quarter. Burns was suspended for two matches.
Hawthorn v Port Adelaide
JORDON DOERING (C) for striking NICK DAFFY (R) in the third quarter. Doering was suspended for one match.

Stab Kicks ...
Talking points

Listening to talk-back callers on ABC Radio during Round 11, the following were highlighted —

> an agreement between the AFLPA and the umpires there will be no further bookings on *ump-bumps* unless the hit is clearly deliberate ...
> the hard, unforgiving surface of Colonial, causing foot problems to players and greater likelihood of concussion incidents – Essendon captain JAMES HIRD was quoted, the surface could even reduce the career of many footballers if they play frequently at Docklands ...
> the long-held pride has been lost and poor bouncing-of-the-ball ability by many umpires is a major concern – will the bounce become a casualty and be lost from our game ...
> the time-worn criticism on interpretation of rules by umpires – that more than one umpire means twice the mistakes and with three, well you get what I mean ...
> that most coaches and players suggest, leave the rules alone, that in time *flooding* will look after itself ...

Honour for ABC statistician Jack Cameron
Congratulations are in order for JOHN DANIEL CAMERON, the resident statistician on cricket and football for ABC Radio in Melbourne since November 1955. Jack was named in the Queen's Birthday honours, receiving the Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to cricket.

Special TOTC jumper for Geelong
Geelong against Hawthorn on Saturday wore a one-off, special-edition guernsey in honour of their Team of the Century. The guernseys will be auctioned for the next week at the Geelong club website. By late Tuesday, Gary Hocking's jumpers attracted bids of $1725 and $1850, while Ronnie Burns's jumper has reached $1525.

Carlton pioneered this form of sponsorship. On Sunday, April 3 1997, in the match against Adelaide at Princes Park as Footystats Diary recorded: The Navy Blues in their 1,995th League game, became the Pale Blues and received $250,000 for the trouble in sponsorship for a new M&M blue-coloured sweet—the white logo on a mid-blue background was unchanged but the familiar white numbers were replaced by black ones.

The Roos in Round 21 of 2000 also went down this path on Sunday July 30 which the Diary recorded — 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 the telecommunications company Orange. The Kangaroos intend to use the alternate strip to avoid clashes in future matches next season.

Ross Henshaw – 167 games, but never a Brownlow vote
MIKE SHEAHAN's answer to a reader's letter in Saturday's Herald Sun carried an interesting piece of trivia — ROSS HENSHAW played 167 matches with North Melbourne (1971-83) including the 1975 and 1977 premierships without recording one vote in the Brownlow Medal. Ross holds the record for playing the most number of VFL-AFL matches without polling a single Brownlow vote.

Tigers honour Silvagni
After Sunday's match at the MCG, the Richmond team in a simple but powerful gesture formed a guard of honour for STEPHEN SILVAGNI to depart through following his 300th League game.

The Medical Room
** St Kilda's NATHAN BURKE will miss the rest of the season following surgery to repair lateral ligament damage to his left knee suffered during his 302nd game in the Round 10 match against Melbourne at Docklands on June 3 ... his veteran partner STEWART LOEWE is expected to miss eight matches from injury to a knee ... ** double-injury woes for the Blues – BRENDAN FEVOLA (Carlton) will miss up to six weeks with posterior cruciate ligament damage to his right knee – whether surgery is necessary will be decided today – KRIS MASSIE suffered a broken leg against Richmond last Sunday ... ** Brisbane's JUSTIN LEPPITSCH stayed over in Perth following the Saturday night match when he suffered a recurrence of a hamstring injury for the fourth time this year – he has been receiving trigger-point injections from a Perth specialist ...

31 years later, Jezza gets a settlement
SCOT PALMER in his Punchlines feature in the Herald Sun revealed on Sunday that both Jezza and Jerker have reached settlements with a confectionery company for the use of the image without their permission of the famous mark taken during the 1970 grand final. ALEX JESAULENKO was the first to act then GRAEME JENKIN did, and to the satisfaction of all parties, 31 years after the event, the matter has been closed.

WA brace themselves for a $1 million loss
The on-field failure of both West Coast and Fremantle this season will have an impact on local football – the WA Football Commission is bracing itself for a loss of up to $1 million ...

Mother's Day loss for Cats
The Mother's Day match at the MCG on May 13 against Carlton when only 29,150 attended cost Geelong a loss of some $80,000 ...

They said it ...
JEFF WELLS, Daily Telegraph, June 11
— Meanwhile the Swans interchange bench has now been officially named the Troy Luff Stand. And there is now a green Troy Luff Shirt for the player who commits the absolute dipstick deed of the day.

That, too, is an old Eddie Thomson team ploy for relieving pressure. The shirt was always the hot topic of the day in his camps. It was worn with a grin of pride.
After yesterday cult figure Luff can rest easy for a while.

Eade reckons John Stevens has the shirt for three months after the ball landed on his back when he was trying to shepherd a Paul Williams bomb through for a goal in the last quarter.

Eade said it was the most ridiculous moment in football since the Seventies when Carlton's lumbering eccentric Percy Jones took aim at the footie and kicked the goalpost. Gobsmacked teammates forced Stevens to front the crowd on the lap of honour for it.

RON REED, Herald Sun, June 11, on STEPHEN SILVAGNI's 300th match — It is difficult to recall another milestone game that has attracted quite so much attention, all of it highly complimentary.

He has come across as the man with a million admirers and not an enemy in the world.

SCOTT GULLAN, Herald Sun, June 11 — Kangaroos coach DENIS PAGAN said he was amazed when informed of the penetrometer reading for Colonial during the week. "I heard the penetrometer reading the other day, I think it was 1.8." Pagan said, "I thought to myself, 'Strike a light, you wouldn't want your racehorse running on a surface like that yet, we're sending around our footballers on a hard track like that.'"

ALAN KENNEDY, The Age, June 11 — ... the Swans have found a new confidence in their abilities and while the guernseys may be the same they are a different team to the one that surrendered so horribly against St Kilda, threw away the game against Melbourne and went missing in action against Essendon.


ROUND 12 was played over two weekends.

Bulldogs in amazing comeback
Lions toss Demons in ‘away’ game

ROUND 12 — Fri-Sat-Sun, June 15-16-17 (split round).
MILESTONES—DAVID MENSCH (Gee) played his 150th game ... 50th for LENNY HAYES (StK) 1999-2001 ... MATTHEW LLOYD (Ess) passed 400 career goals in game 117 ... KINGSLEY HUNTER (WB & Fre) reached 100 goals in game 70 ... MELBOURNE played a 'home' game at the Gabba versus Brisbane ...
<> The Bulldogs staged their second-best recovery on record – against Geelong they were 47 points down 15 minutes into the second term and won by seven points … the recovery is topped only by the 52pt revival from a 2nd quarter deficit at the 22 minute mark of the 1978-R5 game against Essendon at Western Oval which the Dogs won by 17 points, 15.20-110 to 13.15-93 …

<> ALASTAIR LYNCH kicked 8 goals for the 8th occasion in Brisbane's 328-game League history since 1987. His 8.1 closely parallels the last occasion it occurred for the club when Lynch kicked 8.3 versus St Kilda, 94-R4-BCG — the 9.6 by BRAD HARDIE, 89-R10-PP versus Carlton remains the top goalkicking feat for the club ... the 8.1 by Lynch is the best versus the Demons and tops the 7.1 of JARROD MOLLOY, 97-R12-MCG ...

<||> A solid 38,816 attended Docklands on Friday night to start the first half of the split round. Under the closed roof, Adelaide showed the early initiative with a strong attack on the ball and if anything Essendon were a little off the boil. Bomber captain JAMES HIRD lasted only the first half. He was hospitalised with concussion and was kept overnight at Epworth after a wound to the right temple was reopened in a clash – this was first suffered in the Brisbane match on June 2.

The Bombers took time to reach top pace but when they did, they proceeded to carve up the Crows in clinical style. While MATTHEW CLARK won the ruck duels for Adelaide, Essendon were superior at ground level where JASON JOHNSON led the way sweeping the ball out of the centre, and if he didn't get it, a teammate did. DAMIEN PEVERILL in his last senior game this season and who because of the rules will return to the rookie list was another strong contributor for the Dons.

The superiority of teamwork and Essendon's unselfish ability to find a teammate in a better position was clearly on display in the second half during which they were in front by 61 points. MATTHEW LLOYD led the forward line brilliantly, kicking his 400th career goal and his 50th for the season from his 6.2 on the night. The opportunity to apply "flooding" never occurred in the game, almost as if there was a gentleman's agreement between the two coaches. SIMON GOODWIN along with Clarke and ANDREW McLEOD were good performers for the Crows, who lost MATTHEW ROBRAN with a serious right knee injury early in the second quarter. Peverill who limited the brilliance of McLeod on the night, and for his efforts in the past nine matches was clapped off the ground by his Essendon teammates in a fine show of sportsmanship – ESSENDON 18.14-122 (Lloyd 6, Rioli 3) best, J.Johnson, Lloyd, M.Johnson, ADELAIDE 11.7-73 (Vardy 3) best, Goodwin, Stevens, Shirley.

<||> After a murky morning, the clouds broke up for weak sunshine to come through on Saturday afternoon at Kardinia Park, which was a little soft underfoot from the rain of the week. It was however curious that all three umpires failed to bounce, but threw the ball up at every opportunity during the match. The Western Bulldogs in a strong and gritty performance produced one of the great comebacks in League football to defeat Geelong by seven points.

CLINT BIZZELL's goal at the 15-minute mark of the second quarter put Geelong 47 points in front. The Bulldogs clawed their way back to be only 17 points behind by half time. Geelong who had one of their best openings of the season kicked seven goals when they dominated the first quarter. While the Cats added another three in the second, the Dogs kicked five goals in 14 minutes to be back in the game. It was however in the third quarter when the Bulldogs restricted Geelong's use of a two-to-three goal breeze to the city end where the match was decided.

Though still trailing by three goals at the last change, the Dogs defended strongly when Geelong attacked persistently against the breeze early in the last term. SCOTT WEST who gained 37 possessions (for the second time this season), NATHAN BROWN and BRAD JOHNSON who were effective all day came into their own for the Bulldogs who engineered six goals to one and deny Geelong a victory in a match they should never have lost. West was outstanding for the Dogs, while BEN GRAHAM was a powerful Cat captain with 16 marks, three goals and 19 possessions – BULLDOGS 15.4-94 (Johnson 3) best, West, Johnson, Brown, GEELONG 13.9-87 (Graham 3, Bizzell 3) best, Graham, McGrath, Milburn.

<||> The Saturday night match at Subiaco was played in generally good conditions following a light drizzle in the afternoon — 19,857 attended. After a five match losing streak, St Kilda recorded its third win of the season when they outlasted the winless Fremantle. The win however came at a serious cost. Dual Brownlow winner ROBERT HARVEY was stretchered off 15 minutes into the last quarter and will undergo a reconstruction of his right knee which will take him out of the game for up to 12 months. His injury when added to those knee injuries already suffered by veterans STEWART LOEWE and NATHAN BURKE will seriously jeopardise recovery plans for the club.

St Kilda exposed Freo's lack of defensive height in the first half when AARON HAMILL was too quick and became the most dangerous player afield. With PETER EVERITT the key player in the ruck with 17 hit-outs alone in the first quarter, the Saints dominating the contest. Recently installed Docker coach BEN ALLAN made some moves which improved Fremantle in the last half, when SIMON EASTAUGH went into the ruck and JUSTIN LONGMUIR earned a break by going to centre half-forward.

ASHLEY PRESCOTT continued his task in holding Harvey after he had been moved on to the champion. While the Dockers edged ahead by three-quarter time, many of their thrusts into the forward line lacked co-ordination and inaccuracy proved costly. ANDREW THOMPSON added to his already impressive possession count with STEPHEN MILNE stepping up in the last term to carry the Saints over the line by 10 points – ST KILDA 12.18-90 (Hamill 3, Milne 3) best, Thompson, Hamill, Everitt, FREMANTLE (Modra 4) best, Black, Modra, J.Longmuir.

<||> Melbourne on Sunday afternoon at the Gabba, for a financial return of some $300,000, played the first of what will be five "home" games over the next five seasons. On a warm Brisbane day of 21 degrees, for a crowd of 23,740, the Lions were impressive over a badly out of form Demons outfit who have lost five of their past six matches.

Brisbane's major plays came out of the centre through SIMON BLACK, NIGEL LAPPIN and MICHAEL VOSS. But the focus was on the forward line where on the eve of his 33rd birthday ALASTAIR LYNCH booted 8.1 for the day. It was his second haul of eight goals for Brisbane and a career third – he kicked 8.1 for his alma mater Fitzroy versus Footscray, 93-R18-WO.

While Melbourne improved immeasurably from their poor showing against Collingwood, they often used the wrong option, were sloppy in their execution and turned the ball over to the Lions too frequently. A saving grace was the return from injury of JEFF FARMER who contributed three goals, two of them in vintage "wiz" style. The Demons were well in it when they crept within 10 points of the Lions four minutes into the third term. However, Brisbane kicked the next four goals and 16.4 overall in the second half to be convincing winners – BRISBANE 23.10-148 (Lynch 8.1, Bolton 3, Bradshaw 3 (best, Black, Lappin, McDonald, MELBOURNE 14.15-99 (Yze 3, Farmer 3) best, Yze, Nicholson, Neitz.

“The Footy Show “ incident
Pie-in-the-face was stunt

Sport 927 in their 8am news on Wednesday morning reported that JOHN LONGMIRE, the manager of Melbourne's DAVID SCHWARZ suggested his star had been warned he could expect a "surprise" during Channel Nine's Footy Show last Thursday night (21st).

SAM NEWMAN during the program pushed a cream topped sponge cake into the face of the Melbourne player. While Newman's action received wide condemnation, Schwarz's reaction by pushing the former Cat ruckman to the floor meant that ratings for the TV program are unlikely to suffer.

On the AFL website, of almost 5500 respondents to the question "Do you think Sam Newman's "pieing" of David Schwarz was: insulting, poor taste or funny" — only 25% found the incident "humourous".

MICHAEL DAVIS in The Australian on June 21 revealed – "That pie-in-the-face stunt involving Melbourne's DAVID SCHWARZ on The Footy Show a week ago was just that – a stunt." The article described how the incident was concocted.

Schwarz on The Footy Show put the matter to rest in a five-minute appearance on June 28 when he sat alongside Newman with both shaking hands. The Melbourne player admitted he and Newman had spoken on what topics would be discussed the previous Thursday. He was however surprised by the "pie" episode.

The Melbourne FC have placed a media ban on Schwarz for the balance of the season.

Will Shaun Rehn take action?
Channel 10 in a Tuesday report on Sports Tonight suggested that former Adelaide ruckman SHAUN REHN is considering taking action against the Crows and the AFL over a 1999 incident which occurred in the Ansett Cup match at Football Park on February 19 that year.

Rehn suffered a knee injury which required a full reconstruction to his left knee, when he slipped on a rubber plate. The surgery followed two similar injuries to his right leg, in 1995 and 1996.

Footystats Diary in February 1999 recorded the following —
A disc of hard rubber, measuring 90cm centimetres in diameter, made of synthetic grass with a rubber base supported by a concrete foundation below the playing surface became the centre of attention as the AFL came under pressure on reasons of how the injury occurred to Adelaide's SHAUN REHN in the Ansett Cup fixture of Friday night (19th) at Football Park.

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

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

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

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

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


Robert Harvey to miss 12 months
St Kilda's dual Brownlow Medalist ROBERT HARVEY will miss 9-12 months of football following injury to his right knee suffered in the Fremantle-Saints match at Subiaco Oval last Saturday night.

Mid-way into the last quarter Harvey was tackled by Fremantle players from a couple of angles when he was caught in the crush and his leg failed to move in the turf.

Surgery to repair his anterior and medical ligaments was performed this week.

Three football deaths
Three football deaths occurred in Victoria on June 23-24 weekend.

TASMAN PETTIT, 28, collapsed mysteriously about 1.40pm while playing with the Boort seconds in the North Central FL on Saturday afternoon. Efforts failed to revive him.

Further south at Warrnambool at 3pm, 23-year-old MATTHEW GRUNDY was playing at full-back for the Merrivale Tigers against Allansford in the Warrnambool District FL. When play was at the other end of the oval, Grundy collapsed in the goal square. He was pronounced dead at Warrnambool Hospital about 3.30pm.
A rugby league footballer MALCOLM HAKE, 31, after a match for the Altona Roosters in reserve grade at Ballarat on Sunday, when walking to his car, collapsed in front of his wife and died at the scene.

Tribunal – Round 12 (first part)

Charges and verdicts from first half Round 12 —

Essendon v Adelaide
From video, SCOTT WELSH (A) was reported for engaging in rough play against JUDD LALICH (E) in the second quarter. Case will be heard Monday, June 28.

Melbourne v Brisbane Lions
ANTHONY INGERSON (M) for attempting to trip ALASTAIR LYNCH in the third quarter. Ingerson was found guilty and suspended for one match.

They said it ...
MALCOLM BLIGHT, The Age, June 16
— "I've been a pretty good bloke all my life, but the footy gods are really getting me and the club at the moment."

RON REED, Herald Sun, June 16 — Clearly and understandably furious after copping an unexpected pie in the face, Schwarz left nobody in any doubt that he would have loved to have dealt with his tormentor in the old-fashioned way.
And Newman would have deserved it.

MICHAEL WARNER, Herald Sun, June 16 — Newman's antics also angered Schwarz's mother who lashed out at the former Geelong ruckman for his disrespectful treatment of her son.

"It has been a public humiliation, not only for David but for the rest of the family." Mary Schwarz said last night.

JON ANDERSON, The box seat, Herald Sun, June 19 — The fallout from last Thursday's cream-pie incident on The Footy Show continues, with Sam Newman being pelted with food at the football at the weekend.

MICHAEL DAVIS, The Australian, June 21 — "That pie-in-the-face stunt involving Melbourne's DAVID SCHWARZ on The Footy Show a week ago was just that – a stunt."

Jack Mueller
Melbourne FC lost one of their greatest players when JACK MUELLER passed away peacefully on June 14 at Epworth Hospital following a long illness. He was 85.

His contemporaries as one of the finest to wear the red and the blue ranked Mueller. He did so in 216 League matches between 1934 and 1950. A powerfully built man, Mueller commenced his career at centre half-back but it as a forward some of the greatest memories of him have been entered to the record books.

In the year when he turned 33, he played two First 18 matches in the 1948 home-and-away series and was recalled from the Seconds where he was playing coach to the seniors for the finals that year. Playing in the forward pocket alongside Norm Smith, Mueller kicked eight goals in the preliminary final win over Collingwood and six goals each in the drawn Grand Final and the replay against Essendon – 20 goals for a finals series.

Jack played four senior matches in 1949 and five in 1950, concluding his First 18 career in the First Semi-Final that year. He continued to play in the Melbourne Seconds and finally retired when 39-years-old in 1954.

Jack Mueller played in four premierships for the Demons in 1939-40-41 and 1948, and was an original member of the AFL Hall of Fame.

Stab Kicks ...
Hawks pass 30,000 members again

On the cut-off day to qualify for finals tickets, HAWTHORN now have 30,010 members in 2001, the second highest membership total achieved by the club – in 1999 the Hawks had a record 32,120 members.

Time on the ground ...
Essendon's MARK McVEIGH who was the Ansett-AFL Rising Star Award nominee in Round 11 when being interviewed on Melbourne's Sport 927 on Tuesday made an interesting statement. He answered a question from presenters KEVIN BARTLETT and GARY HONEY on The Big Sports Breakfast, when Mark said he has played 22 AFL matches – of the 22, in only five has he been on the ground for all of the match.

Blood rule change
Players leaving the field of play under the blood rule will be required to head straight to the interchange bench within 30 seconds of being sighted – walking around the boundary line splattered with blood is presenting a poor image. The AFL is expected to confirm this change to the rule at a meeting of football managers this week.

Geelong chief executive BRIAN COOK fired a broadside at former players SAM NEWMAN and DWAYNE RUSSELL for their criticisms of their old club – "they talk about the culture of the club being a problem – but they were the ones to build the glasshouse and now they keep throwing stones at it."

Matthew Robran to miss four weeks
Adelaide's MATTHEW ROBRAN will miss at least the next four matches after straining the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee against Essendon at Colonial Stadium last Friday night.

Herald Sun names Carlton players
Carlton players and their friends were twice evicted by police from a Brunswick hotel on June 3, the day following a win over West Coast. The club has investigated the incidents, which included the theft of a small quantity of alcohol. Players named by the Herald Sun were Matthew Lappin, Brendan Fevola and Michael Mansfield. The Carlton club said the players who were not inebriated on the night will not be disciplined as a result of the incident.

WA Commission slash budgets
The WA Football Commission who face a $1 million shortfall of funds from the failure this season of West Coast and Fremantle are slashing next year's budgets for most departments – the WA Football League will be cut by $225,000 and umpires by $25,000, the Developing Trust by $150,000 ...

Geelong's Team of the Century
Long-serving players of the past were honoured when Geelong named their Team of the Century before 1500 attendees at Melbourne's Crown Casino on Friday, June 22nd.

The selection panel of AFL statistician and Geelong devotee Col Hutchinson, club historian Russell Stephenson and long-time administrator Bill McMaster produced one of the strongest teams of the century yet named.

Highlights included the naming of former captain and wingman Michael Turner and his late father Leo, selected on opposite wings and legends, Graham "Polly" Farmer and "Carji" Greeves, the first Brownlow medalist in 1924.

Garry Hocking was the only current-day player named.

The criteria was 100 games for the club and the 26-man team was selected from a list of 67 nominees.

The team:
B: Bernie Smith, George Todd, John Newman
HB: Dick Grigg, Reg Hickey (Capt.), Joe Slater
C: Michael Turner, Edward Greeves, Leo Turner
HF: Gary Ablett, Fred Flanagan, Bob Davis
F: Henry Young, Doug Wade, Peter Pianto
Foll: Graham Farmer, Garry Hocking, Bill Goggin
Inter: David Clark, Paul Couch, Alec Eason
Emerg: Cliff Rankin, Ian Nankervis, Tommy Quinn, Jack Collins
Coach: Reg Hickey

Pies blitz the Eagles by 81pts
Swans struggle against Tigers
Carlton too good for Port

ROUND 12 — Fri-Sat-Sun, June 22-23-24 (split round).
MILESTONES—MATTHEW KNIGHTS (Rch) played his 250th match ... 1993 Brownlow winner GAVIN WANGANEEN played his 200th game (127 Ess 1991-96; 73 PA 1997-2001) becoming the fourth Aboriginal to reach the 200 premiership game milestone ... MATTHEW NICKS (Syd) played his 100th ...

<> The Magpies ended a 10-match losing streak lasting seven years and won their first game against West Coast since 94-R13-MCG ...
<> the 146th contest between the Hawks and Roos since 1925 brought the 5th three-point margin …
<> 8.12-60 was Sydney's lowest score versus the Tigers in 19 matches since 90-R9-MCG when they kicked 9.6-60 ...
<> Carlton held Port to their lowest score of the 2001 season ... Port lost their second successive match for the first time this season ...

<||> Collingwood broke a seven year long, 10-match losing streak on Friday night at Docklands when they humiliated West Coast by 81 points — conditions were good under the closed roof and 36,589 attended. The Eagles were competitive in the first quarter, but after that they were at the mercy of the Magpies who dominated the contest.

The Eagles led by by four points at the first change, chiefly through the centre-bounce dominance of ruckman MICHAEL GARDINER, but after that his influence waned as the Pies' running game exposed weaknesses when they ran in nine goals to one in the second quarter. West Coast already short on talent were in disarray when they lost MICHAEL BRAUN, DEAN KEMP and PETER MATERA to injury before half-time. A 34-possession game by Eagles captain BEN COUSINS was an outstanding effort, but he had little support.

JOSH FRASER stood out for Collingwood. Ranked currently as the best young talent running around in the AFL, Fraser dominated across the half-forward zone, and kicked four goals in a best-afield performance. NICK DAVIS (until injured), SHANE O'BREE, JARROD MOLLY and ANTHONY ROCCA gave powerful presence in the forward line, while RYAN LONIE and PAUL LICURIA impressed in the back half – COLLINGWOOD 26.17-173 (Fraser 4, Molloy 3, Rocca 3, Tarrant 3) best, Fraser, McKee, Tarrant, Licuria, WEST COAST 14.8-92 (Cousins 3, Cummings 3, Phillip Matera 3) best, Cousins, Williams, Chambers.

<||> Saturday afternoon was overcast and dark clouds brought the lights on during half-time for what was an energy-charged contest at the MCG played in firm conditions — 41,295 were in attendance. In a pulsating finish, Hawthorn broke a three-game losing streak to down the Kangaroos by three points. Twice in the first quarter the Hawks led by five goals and just before have time went to lead by 37.

With Crawford, Chick, Barker and Holland back in the side, Hawthorn launched an explosive attack in the first 20 minutes of the game and gave every indication they would blow the Roos away. However, with many of the squad lacking match practice, they could never hope to continue this way. Yet, the Hawks slipped away again to a six goal lead in the second term. The Kangas replaced a labouring Carey with 20-year-old DIGBY MORRELL who in only his third game kicked two goals before half-time to get them back in the game.

After the lights came on, the Hawks first lost Barker, then Crawford who was vigorously collected by McCartney. With Hawthorn tiring, the time was right for a trademark Kangaroo comeback. Given the odds stacked against them, the fighting qualities were on show with SAV ROCCA contributing two trademark 65m bomb goals and the Roos went so close. Time ran out after a charging DAVID KING in sight of the goals was run down by a sensational one-arm tackle by JONATHON HAY. The Hawks retained second place with a 9+3 record. For the Roos, it seems as though their powerful era may be coming to a close, with coach DENIS PAGAN admitting for the first time in nine seasons, he is not thinking about finals – HAWTHORN 15.11-101 (Lekkas 3, Dixon 3) best, Hay, Smith, Graham, KANGAROOS 14.14-98 (Morrell 3) best, Harvey, Stevens, Grant.

<||> The best football of the Saturday night match played in good conditions at Docklands came in the first term, when the crowd of 37,196 saw both Richmond and Sydney zip the ball around the arena. But the competition didn't continue past the first break. While both squads were depleted through injury it was especially the Swans who struggled poorly for the last three quarters.

The Tigers gained a win by being more efficient. After a promising start, MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN obviously still carrying the effects of a shoulder injury suffered the week before, was contained by the hard-working DARREN GASPAR ... ADAM GOODES had limited opportunities in attack and struggled ... GREG STAFFORD turned in a poor performance with the stats sheet registering no possessions until lemon time, then just one kick and two handballs in the last quarter, when Richmond were held goalless.

After half-time, whenever Sydney scored a goal, the Tigers replied within two minutes. Only for a last term burst by veteran PAUL WILLIAMS who topped the effort category with 27 touches and three goals, did Sydney save face. Though the Tigers seem to be on track, they will have to work harder against sides with more class than the Swans. JOEL BOWDEN and WAYNE CAMPBELL worked hard for Richmond, particularly in the last half – RICHMOND 12.14-86 (Ottens 3) best, Bowden, Campbell, Gale, SYDNEY 8.12-60 (Williams 3) best, Schwass, Goodes, Lewis.

<||> Football Park gained 35,805 fans on an overcast Sunday afternoon for the Blues-Power clash. Carlton desperately wanted to atone for losing to Richmond in Stephen Silvagni's 300th match in the previous round, and Port was anxious to celebrate Gavin Wanganeen's 200th match in winning style. In firm conditions, the Blues out-muscled the Power to record an emphatic 34-point win.

ALAN SHIELL reported for The Age: The Blues hardly had a passenger, while the Power had very few players who stamped any authority on the game. Carlton's midfielders were dominant, ANTHONY KOUTOUFIDES and LANCE WHITNALL were wining forwards – an essential Port lacked, save for some heroics from Wanganeen – and Silvagni and ANDREW McKAY led a mean defence which restricted Port to its lowest score since Round 19 last year.

SCOTT CAMPOREALE's hard running and penetrating disposal hurt Port repeatedly in the first half when the contest was at its tightest ... McKay's dash, anticipation and rebound and Bradley's silky skills, like those of BRETT RATTEN, also helped to keep Carlton in business ... JIM PLUNKETT playing only his third game this season controlled the centre with astonishing panache. While Carlton show signs of hitting their straps, the going gets tougher for Port who are starting to hear alarm bells – CARLTON 15.14-104 (Koutoufides 4) best, Koutoufides, Camporeale, Ratten, PORT 10.10-70 (Wanganeen 3) best, Primus, James, Schofield.

Laws of the Game Committee
Bounce will remain

The umpire's bounce of the ball will be retained.

The eight-man AFL Laws of the Game Committee met in Melbourne for three hours on June 26 to discuss several issues submitted from clubs, State bodies and AFL executives, including —

> bounce of the ball
> melee rule
> size and use of the interchange bench
> flooding of the game

The Australian quoted League operations manager ANDREW DEMETRIOU: "There was overwhelming support to retain the bounce in some form. It is certainly unique to our sport and by removing the bounce we think our game would be compromised".

The League will continue experimenting with ball-ups around the ground for next summer's Ansett Cup pre-season competition.

The committee recommended an increase of the minimum distance of a markable kick from 10-metres to 15m.

Also under consideration – rucks to contend with a new centre circle; players may be allowed to break up melee fights; rules governing contact with umpires; and that a second ball may be introduced to quicken the start of play after a behind has been scored.

The issue of "flooding" will be discussed when the rules committee meets again in August.

All recommendations from the Laws Committee are subject to ratification by the AFL Commission.

Allen Aylett returns to Arden Street
After an absence of 25 years, former VFL President DR ALLEN AYLETT has returned to the board of the North Melbourne FC.

CAROLINE WILSON reported in The Age (June 27) that Aylett has taken up the position vacated by former chairman of selectors MARK DAWSON.

Aylett after a distinguished 220-game playing career with the Kangaroos between 1952-64 presided over North Melbourne's emergence as a potent force in League football when they captured their first premiership in 1975. He was the eighth and final president of the League from 1977 to 1984 until the formation of the VFL Commission.

It was Aylett's vision which sparked the move of South Melbourne to Sydney in 1982, and the forerunner to the establishment of the VFL as a national competition in 1987

Radio Ratings
Good survey for 3AW

The second radio ratings for Melbourne's football coverage brought an excellent result for 3AW in most categories. ABC Radio 774 showed a lift from their disappointing first survey while MMM will be well satisfied with their overall result. Figures from the first ratings are in brackets —





Friday nights 13.9 (13.1) 9.6 (9.9) 9.2 (8.6)
Saturday overall 15.7 (12.9) 12.2 (12.2) 11.1 (8.4)
Saturday (12–2pm) 14.5 (11.8) 9.9 (9.9) 7.5 (6.8)
Saturday (2–4.30pm) 17.1 (14.0) 13.9 (13.7) 13.2 (9.4)
Saturday (4.30–6pm) 14.7 (12.5) 12.6 (13.1) 12.4 (9.3)
Saturday night 9.6 (11.6) 5.4 (7.1) 9.6 (7.6)
Sunday overall 12.1 (10.6) 12.1 (9.6) 10.6 (8.9)
Sunday 12–2pm) 11.2 (11.9) 9.9 (7.2) 7.5 (5.7)
Sunday 2–4.30pm 13.3 (10.1) 13.5 (10.9) 12.5 (10.9)
Sunday 4.30–6pm) 13.3 (9.6) 13.5 (11.0) 12.5 (10.4)

They said it ...
MICHELANGELO RUCCI, The Advertiser, June 22
— Robran became the first legend without VFL or AFL experience, prompting Elliott to declare his legend status ''without playing at the highest level'' as a ''disgrace''. He also is the first South Australian to become a legend in the Hall of Fame.

''I do not wish to demean or devalue the Hall of Fame by getting into a debate with John Elliott,'' said Robran, who played 201 SANFL games with North Adelaide and repeatedly ignored offers to play in the VFL. ''I think I will not miss out on anything if I have to live out the rest of my life without John Elliott's approval. I can live quite happily without his approval."


Essendon v Adelaide (June 15)
From video, SCOTT WELSH (A) was reported for engaging in rough play against JUDD LALICH (E) in the second quarter. This case was heard in Adelaide on Monday, June 25. Welsh was cleared of the charge.

Port Adelaide v Carlton (June 24)
From video, JOSH FRANCOU (PA) to making contact high contact with the left arm to SCOTT CAMPOREALE (C) in the first quarter. Francou at the Tribunal hearing held in Adelaide on June 25 was found guilty and suspended for two matches.

Memberships increase but, interstate clubs slip
Figures tabled by all clubs to the AFL at the cut-off date of June 18 reflect an increase in memberships of two per cent on those from last season. The total of 447,359 is 8,855 higher than season 2000.

However, all six interstate member clubs – Adelaide, Brisbane, Fremantle, Port Adelaide, Sydney and West Coast suffered a slump in support.

Adelaide with 42,014 members holds the biggest number of the interstate clubs.

The Bombers with an almost six per cent rise in ticket holders, maintain their lead of the traditional Victorian clubs with St Kilda enjoying a 25% lift, while both Melbourne and Hawthorn had big increases.

Members June 18

Adelaide 37,389 2,853 1,772 42,014 – 2.1-%
Brisbane 15,029 1,679 1,622 18,330 – 9.7%
Carlton 18,920 3,041 5,764 27,725 + 0.6%
Collingwood 21,471 2,951 7,033 31,455 + 8.7%
Essendon 25,917 4,003 6,307 36,227 + 5.7%
Fremantle 16,847 1,739 5,312 23,898 – 4.1%
Geelong 17,723 3,363 4,334 25,420 – 0.7%
Hawthorn 20,495 3,444 6,201 30,140 +12.1%
Kangaroos 17,470 2,037 3,433 22,940 +3.5%
Melbourne 14,988 2,379 4,042 21,409 +17.5%
Port Adel 29,037 2,028 2,231 33,296 – 4.7%
Richmond 18,460 2,474 5,567 26,501 – 1.4%
St Kilda 15,663 1,983 4,602 22,248 + 24.6%
Sydney 21,273 3,120 3,629 28,022 – 7.1%
West Coast 29,915 4,079 4,655 38,649 – 0.6%
West. B'dogs 12,336 2,421 4,328 19,085 + 5.7%


      447,359 +2.0

Stab Kicks ...
Crowd milestone at SCG

Match attendances to see the Swans at the SCG since they moved to Sydney in 1982, will reach four million on Sunday in the match against Geelong. The current figure is 3,989,501 – 10,499 short of four million. The two millionth fan took 149 matches and was reached in 1995s Round 14 game versus St Kilda. Another 68 matches later, which include Sydney's "home" finals in 1996 (versus Hawthorn and Essendon) and 1998 (v Adelaide), the four millionth will be reach on Sunday.

The attendances do not include matches in which the Swans have played where the Kangaroos or the Bulldogs have been the home club. The lucky four millionth fan will receive a prize pack including 2001 AFL Grand Final tickets, a framed guernsey signed by all Swans players from the game, family membership for 2002, and the chance to toss the coin at an upcoming home game.

Burke, third youngest to reach 300
MIKE SHEAHAN in the Herald Sun when answering a letter from a reader last Saturday provided an interesting piece of trivia. St Kilda's NATHAN BURKE played his 300th match in Canberra on May 19 when he became the third youngest to reach the milestone in League records. The youngest to do so is Essendon's SIMON MADDEN at 30 years and 233 days, followed by RUSSELL GREENE (StK & Haw) who was 31 years, 76 days – Nathan came in at 31 years and 102 days.

In the middle of a three-year contract, DANNY FRAWLEY has agreed in principle to an extension that will keep him at Punt Road until at least the end of 2004 ...  Frawley is the second of four first-year coaches from last season to have his contract extended. PETER SCHWAB contracted to Hawthorn for two years at the start of 2000, was given a two-year extension late last year after taking the Hawks into the finals, securing him to Glenferrie Oval until at least the end of 2003 ... Geelong's MARK THOMPSON will wait until after the season before starting negotiations on a new contract ... Carlton coach WAYNE BRITTAIN is in the second season of a three-year contract ... despite interest from Fremantle, Roo chairman ANDREW CARTER has ruled out the prospect of extending coach Denis Pagan's contract before the end of 2002.

AFL appointee to South Africa
The AFL has appointed 20-year-old DALE ALSFORD to spread the good word on Australian Football in South Africa. Dale, from Canberra leaves on Monday for a 12-month tour of duty, spending six months each in the Western Province and Capetown. The League has allocated $375,000 in 2001 to push the game internationally, with $120,000 allocated for the United States and $150,000 for New Zealand.

AFLPA likely to accept compromise
From their original demand for a 10 per cent increase, the AFL Players' Association are set to accept a compromise for a seven per cent increase (about $6 million) to player payments for 2002 and 2003 – total payments to players between clubs now, represents some $83 million ...

Interstate Match
SANFL too strong for VFL
In just their fourth clash in as many decades, interstate football between South Australia and Victoria was revived and the Big White V worn once again in competition, when SA and the VFL played at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday afternoon.
The class of the SANFL side boasting 16 players with AFL experience proved too much for a youthful VFL side, with an average age of 23. While the Vics challenged repeatedly, their inability to kick goals under pressure and many missed chances proved costly.
The Big V should get their opportunity for revenge in 2001, as the contests are expected to become an annual fixture.
SANFL 20.14-134 d VFL 14.12-96.


Carlton to second place
Freo beat Lloyd, but not the Dons
The Eagles have landed a win

ROUND 13 — Fri-Sat-Sun, June 29-30, July 1.
MILESTONES—CARLTON played its 2100th League match ... FREMANTLE lost its 100th AFL contest ... PAUL BRODERICK played his 250th match for Richmond (1988-2001) ... a century of games for ANDREW THOMPSON (StK, 1997-2001) – BRENT HARVEY (NMK, 1996-2001) – BEN HOLLAND (Rch, 1996-2001) ... ADEM YZE played his 100th consecutive game for Melbourne ... GLENN KILPATRICK played his 100th club match for Geelong (1995-2001), also 26 for Essendon (1992-94) ... MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN (Syd) reached 200 career goals in game 136 ...

<> The Bombers went into the match versus Fremantle at 50/1 on. The defending premiers were up against the winless and potential wooden-spooners Fremantle at the shortest odds posted for the past 10 years ... one service wagered on MATTHEW LLOYD to kick more than the Dockers ... Fremantle kicked the first four goals of the match but lost by 46pts ...

<> the third match played for premiership points at Manuka Oval drew only 10,030. ABC Radio in Sunday's coverage of the football reported that the Friday night match at Norwood Oval between the Redlegs and Port Magpies would be the first time in years that a SANFL match has outdrawn an AFL game. The Sunday Mail reported the crowd at the Parade was 10,565.

<||> The Gabba was affected by afternoon rain for Friday night's clash with more falling during the match – conditions were slippery underfoot and muddy in the cricket-pitch area. Second-placed Hawthorn and Brisbane (7th) did battle in a tightly fought first quarter for the 30,573 fans on hand.

As BILL McDONALD reported for The Age: Compounding a miserable night for the visitors, skipper SHANE CRAWFORD limped off the ground 10 minutes in the third was a leg injury, LANCE PICIOANE badly broke his nose in an accidental collision with JONATHAN BROWN, and DANIEL CHICK was assisted off after a sickening head-on clash with teammate JADE RAWLINGS in the dying minutes. Brisbane blew the game apart in the middle of the ground, MICHAEL VOSS (37 possessions), NIGEL LAPPIN (20), JASON AKERMANIS (31) and SIMON BLACK (32) proving they are as good as any midfield rotation around.

After quarter-time, the Lions blasted the Hawks off the park, sending Hawthorn who had won the first eight matches, to an embarrassing fourth failure of the past five games. Brisbane with a thrashing of the first order posted their fourth successive victory and biggest win (87pts) of the season. They were in complete control at the end when 18 successive scoring shots went unanswered. At the Gabba, the Lions have an average winning margin of 48pts from seven matches – BRISBANE 20.20-140 (Bradshaw 5, Lynch 3) best, Voss, Akermanis, Johnson, HAWTHORN 8.5-53 (Crawford 2, Croad 2) best, Hay, Tallis, O’Farrell.

<||> Saturday afternoon at Princes Park was overcast, with no breeze worth speaking of — a crowd of 30,067 attended. The ominous signs of the opening two goals heading Carlton's way soon turned into a nightmare for the Bulldogs. In a blistering first half performance the Blues kicked 13 goals to two and led the Dogs by as much as 71 points at one stage.

JIM MAIN recorded for The Australian: The Bulldogs' only possible excuses were that the normally prolific SCOTT WEST was hampered by illness and CRAIG ELLIS (leg nerve) and MITCHELL HAHN (ankle) were injured in the first half. Although the Bulldogs kicked the first four goals of the third quarter to move to within 29 points of Carlton in the final quarter, it was more of a case of the Blues relaxing than the Bulldogs fighting to the death.

As the Bulldogs discovered, Carlton in the first half dominated every aspect of the game with LANCE WHITNALL and ADRIAN HICKMOTT acting as marking magnets, and BRETT RATTEN and CRAIG BRADLEY controlling the onball brigade. Others who must receive due credit were MICHAEL MANSFIELD, ANG CHRISTOU and ANDREW McKAY. In advance of meeting Essendon in the next contest, the Blues telegraphed they are "ready to play" in the strongest possible way – CARLTON 23.15-153 (Hotton 4, Whitnall 3, Lappin 3, Beaumont 3) best, Beaumont, Whitnall, Lappin, BULLDOGS 13.13-92 (Hudson 3) best, Darcy, Garlick, Liberatore.

<||> Punters wagered some $25,000 with Centrebet that Essendon's gun-forward MATTHEW LLOYD would kick more than Fremantle in this match – the Dockers 10.12 beat Lloyd 5.1. However, the 29,528 on hand under the closed roof at Docklands on Saturday afternoon saw Essendon cruise to their 11th win of the season with a more than comfortable 46 point win over Freo.

The Dockers threatened to make a mockery of the fact that the Bombers were rated 50/1-on, when they rarely let Essendon have the ball, won it from the middle, and used it intelligently to have four goals on the board to nil in the opening 15 minutes. Thereafter, the Dons threw off whatever hangover they were suffering from and kicked 18 goals to six to restore the natural order. As JAKE NIALL noted in The Age: By the middle of the second quarter, Essendon was in front. Fremantle, which had opted to play a short chipping game, wilted once the tempo was raised. The teams reverted to type, with the Dons moving the ball with surety from defence to attack, while the Dockers began their famous dance, the turnover shuffle.

SCOT PALMER recorded in the Herald Sun: When the Bombers realised their opponents had lost their nerve to take risks, there was no stopping JASON and MARK JOHNSON, MARK McVEIGH and Barnard. In defence, SEAN WELLMAN was outstanding ... Essendon lost captain JAMES HIRD in the first half with a groin strain certain to have him miss the much-awaited match against the Bulldogs on Friday night – ESSENDON 18.10-118 (Lloyd 5, McVeigh 3) best, Wellman, Caracella, Fletcher, FREMANTLE 10.12-72 (Cook 3) best, Cook, Carr, Black.

<||> AFL football returned to Canberra under cloudless skies on Saturday afternoon when a disappointing 10,030 ventured to Manuka Oval. The Kangaroos, now in 10th place, renewed their hopes for the final eight when they posted a comfortable 22 point win over Port Adelaide, who with successive defeats have dropped from second to seventh in three weeks.

DENIS PETERS in the Fairfax press reported: The midfield brigade of SHANNON GRANT, ANTHONY STEVENS, ADAM SIMPSON and BRENT HARVEY (in his 100th) cut Port to shreds and the Roos had better marking strength up forward, with COREY McKERNAN again showing he has turned his form around. The Roos tackled harder and simply overpowered Port in close contests, a factor which must worry Power coach MARK WILLIAMS who has now seen his side lose three on end.

Without the suspended JOSH FRANCOU, Port's runners floundered and while CHE COCKATOO-COLLINS and WARREN TREDREA combined to take 18 marks, they were threatening, but failed to penetrate. The Power did not play well and stayed in touch to half-time, then fell apart. The 22-point margin flattered them after they trailed by 41 points at the last break. Tough times ahead for Port, as after Fremantle in Perth, they face Richmond (FP), Brisbane (BCG), Essendon (FP) then Adelaide (FP) – KANGAROOS 14.11-95 (Grant 3) best, Grant, Stevens, Colbert, PORT 10.13-73 (Cockatoo-Collins 2, Wanganeen 2, James 2) best, Cockatoo-Collins, Montgomery, Stevens.

<||> The temperature fell to single digits in Adelaide on Saturday night when 39,010 were treated to a fantastic struggle. In the overall good conditions, but slippery at times, the Crows and Pies took the game right down to the final siren. Collingwood survived with a great team effort and though they suffered the late omission through injury of ANTHONY ROCCA and MARK RICHARDSON, the Pies were lifted by the return of NATHAN BUCKLEY. The Collingwood captain had a superb match with 37 touches and eight marks, and no doubt three Brownlow votes.

"Collingwood played a tough disciplined style of game – and needed to because Adelaide issued a stern challenge and always looked as if it might snatch victory" reported ALAN SHIELL for The Sunday Age. It was one of the most entertaining battles seen at Football Park this year, and while most spectators were stunned into silence when the final siren sounded, they could not have been displeased with the home team's endeavour.

DARREN JARMAN was almost a match winner for the Crows. He booted six goals to half-time, five in the second quarter, three of which were in a burst of six minutes. It was however Buckley who seemingly gained possession for Collingwood every time the match was in the balance. His efforts in the last 10 minutes of the game were the reason his side won. ASHLEY PORTER observed in The Australian: that coach Malthouse has noted the self-belief in his players — it was not until round five, he said, that his players believed they were good enough. Good enough to make the finals for the first time in seven years – COLLINGWOOD 15.9-99 (L.Davis 2, Buckley 2, Clement 2, McKee 2, Tarrant 2) best, Buckley, Lockyer, Clement, ADEL-AIDE (Jarman 6) best, Clarke, Johnson, Jarman.

<||> Under the closed roof of Docklands on Sunday afternoon, a light fog-like mist was present, trapped from an overnight opening of the stadium roof. A big crowd of 40,783 were present to see Richmond finish strongly to gain a lift to third place on the ladder with a 39 point win over St Kilda.

With BARRY HALL playing well, the Saints had the Tigers struggling for the ball against an early deficit of 25 points – 23 minutes went by before Richmond troubled the scoreboard. As ordained, the Tigers settled with BRAD OTTENS and BEN HOLLAND proving effective against the sterling single-handed efforts of PETER EVERITT. JOEL BOWDEN moved into gear and he was an instrument toward Richmond's eventual victory. Bowden racked up 24 disposals and of his 13 kicks into the forward zone, he alone registered 5.1 for the day and was always creative. Together with GREG TIVENDALE and WAYNE CAMPBELL the Tigers seemed in control and would have been had Tivendale not been quite as wasteful as he was in the third quarter.

However, the Saints were not done and came again at Richmond with the first two goals of the last quarter to sneak within a reachable 15 points. Defender DARREN GASPAR's deft and timely clearance midway in the term was the turning point and with a rush of goals, the Tigers blew it out to win by 39 points, and their fourth on the trot. KAYNE PETTIFER in only his second game for Richmond made a good impression and kicked 3.1 for the match – RICHMOND 19.12-126 (Bowden 5, Pettifer 3) best, Bowden, Campbell, Tivendale, ST KILDA 13.9-87 (Hall 3) best, Thompson, Gehrig, Plapp.

<||> The four millionth fan for the Swans passed through the SCG turnstiles on the last day of June closing the warmest Sydney autumn for 44 years – 26,760 in total attended. Despite the fine conditions, only 21 goals were kicked for the entire match.

The match was frequently boring to watch and on the smallness of the SCG both played the mind-numbing chip and possession game. The Swans lacked confidence and forwards who could stand tall. The Cats set up the win in the second and third quarters when they dominated Sydney in the midfield through the tireless efforts of JUSTIN MURPHY (29 touches) and GARY HOCKING (20). They were rock solid across half back and played smart football to penetrate Sydney's predictable flooding of their forward line.

JENNY McASEY in The Australian summed it up: "Sydney's forward line was either as unpopulated as the Antarctic or as crowded as Times Square.” GREG STAFFORD was again a lame duck both in the ruck and on the forward line, and MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN appeared still to be restricted by a shoulder injury. Both clubs are now level on 24 points, a game outside of the top eight. The next games for both will tell the tale – Geelong play Collingwood while Sydney face the formidable Carlton – GEELONG 12.12-84 (Kingsley 3) best, Sanderson, Murphy, Sholl, SYDNEY 9.11-65 (Maxfield 2, Goodes 2) best, Seymour, Maxfield, Ball.

<||> Subiaco Oval suffered a strong breeze and dark clouds on Sunday afternoon. The lights were on by the middle of the third quarter and rain started as the last quarter began – 29,783 were in the crowd. West Coast ended weeks of disappointment as they broke through to win after eight straight defeats. The loss by Melbourne mindfully puts an end to their finals campaign.

CRAIG O'DONOGHUE reported for The Age: Inspirational captain BEN COUSINS and tireless ruckman MICHAEL GARDINER again led the way for the Eagles with Cousins following his great game against Collingwood with 38 possessions. He ran himself ragged and pumped the ball forward, where PHILLIP MATERA (5 goals) and ANDREW EMBLEY kicked nine goals between them.

Melbourne's renowned players all went missing in action. SHANE WOEWODIN who continues his post-Brownlow depression was benched shortly before half-time; ANDREW LEONCELLI sat on the bench until the 17-minute mark of the second term; GUY RIGONI was more concerned with stopping the rampant Cousins, and the team's best ball winner this season ADEM YZE, was comprehensively beaten by ROWAN JONES. With rain falling, the Eagles kicked the first four goals of the last term when the Demons staged a final rally, leaving them only nine points behind with two minutes remaining. However, when Robertson and Rigoni missed difficult chances time ran out. The Eagles won their first match since they beat Freo on April 21 – WEST COAST 15.5-95 (Phillip Matera 5, Embley 4) best, Cousins, Gardiner, Wirrpunda, MELBOURNE 13.10-88 (Green 3) best, Green, Brown, Rigoni.

Luke Toia fractures his neck
Fremantle rover LUKE TOIA suffered serious injury to his neck during a match in the WAFL competition last Saturday.

Playing for the Subiaco club, the 23-year-old Toia had kicked two goals in his return from a hamstring injury. Flying for a mark in the second quarter, Swan Districts defender WAYNE OTWAY crashed into Toia sending him headfirst into the turf.

The Subiaco Lions lodged a complaint and a video review on Tuesday by a panel consisting of WAFL general manager Grant Dorrington, league football operations manager Clint Roberts and WA umpires general manager David Johnson decided the collision warranted a free kick to Toia but was not reportable.

Toia after the incident on Saturday walked from the ground, but collapsed in the race and was rushed to St John of God hospital where tests revealed a fractured vertebra and two crushed vertebrae near the top of his spine. Toia's neck was put in traction and he was expected to remain in hospital for the remainder of the week.

Toia is in good spirits and reports said the injury though serious was not career threatening.

The gusty Docker who has played 62 AFL matches was quoted: "My feeling at the moment is that I'm happy to be alive and knowing I'll walk out of here is a huge bonus."


Financial concerns

The financial future of many AFL clubs brought forward several suggestions of concern including a call by Essendon president GRAEME McMAHON for a summit meeting of presidents.

A call has been made for the distribution of $2 million to each club from the forthcoming sale of Waverley Park and the infusion from the sale of TV rights to the Nine-Ten-Foxtel consortium.

Recent speculation includes —

> Melbourne, a downturn from $105,539 profit in 2000 to a loss of as much as $1 million – $1.3m if former president Joseph Gutnick does not commit his final $300,000 of his $3m pledge ... the losses for the Demons will chiefly result from the failure of the club's Fawkner social club facility ...

> The Western Bulldogs are budgeting for a loss of at least $250,000 — the Bulldogs have also requested an advance of some $2 million ...

> St Kilda president ROD BUTTERSS is prepared for a loss of $400,000 ...

> Geelong, Carlton, Fremantle and the Kangaroos are also expected to post losses ...

> that by 2005 a club will have to earn about $35 million just to break even ...

> Richmond are asking the AFL for $1.5 million over three years to develop the Punt Road headquarters ...

JAKE NIALL writing in The Age on Essendon's call for a summit, quoted that — according to 2000 figures, for instance, St Kilda spent about 95 per cent of its football revenue – which does not include the AFL's dividend or the proceeds of gaming – on its football department, compared with Essendon's 53 per cent and Hawthorn's 62 per cent. The lean and hungry Hawks have the lowest football operations costs in the competition, $7.54m compared with Sydney's $10m. The Kangaroos, possibly the most vulnerable of all clubs, spend about 83 per cent of their football revenue on football operations.

Stab Kicks ...

** PORT ADELAIDE have inked MARK WILLIAMS to a three-year extension which will keep him at Alberton until the end of 2004, at a very modest deal of around $300,000 a season ... ** DAVID PARKIN's name keeps popping up for the Fremantle job, however, while the 58-year-old four-time premiership coach did have talks in Perth earlier this year he has positively ruled out any interest in the job ... ** JOHN NORTHEY may be interested – he had good success in his first years at Sydney, Melbourne, Richmond and Brisbane ... ** and let's not overlook the names of MICK McGUANE, and TONY SHAW, and ROBERT SHAW – and – for the right man, they say the Dockers may shell out as much as $500,000 a year ...

Footy Show from London – mostly not seen
In the middle of wall-to-wall telecasts of tennis from Wimbledon, many devotees of the original Footy Show out of Channel Nine in Melbourne were ignorant of the fact that the Thursday night June 28 broadcast was live from the London's Theatre Royal for a packed audience of 2500 ex-pats. For us in Oz, the usual after-midnight replay for those living above the River Murray line, sadly was not broadcast.

Looking ahead ...
Whatever will they do if the ABC dump TIM LANE? — bring back NEVILLE OLIVER? ... don't go Tim, please don't go ... one day with DWAYNE is enough, two with you would be better ...

Looking back ...
The Talking Footy program on June 26 reported an important item, which apparently failed to reach the press. The Channel 7 show revealed that in the dying moments of the Hawthorn-Kangaroos match in Round 12 the previous Saturday, although all signals from the umpires were correct, no time was added and a crucial seven seconds was missed by the timekeepers. The match resulted in a Hawthorn win by only three points.

The Medical Room
** West Coast's run of knee injuries continues with utility CHAD MORRISON facing season ending knee surgery. Chad was injured eight minutes into the first quarter against Melbourne on Sunday at Subiaco Oval. Morrison joins DAVID SIERAKOWSKI, MICHAEL PRIOR and PHILLIP READ to have a knee construction, while severe damage to MICHAEL BRAUN will cause him to miss at least six matches ... ** Hawthorn's LANCE PICIOANE is sporting two black eyes and a broken nose after he crashed into the back of Brisbane's JONATHAN BROWN at the Gabba on Friday night. As the injury could not be subjected to pressurisation in an aircraft, instead of flying, club medico DR BERNIE CRIMMINS and team psychologist SIMON LLOYD acted as chauffeurs on the 21-hour drive back to Melbourne. Scans early in the week revealed no serious damage.

Tribunal – on live TV?
With the introduction of new AFL broadcasters and pay TV next season we can expect new initiatives to be tested – the latest is, live telecasts of Tribunal hearings — test broadcasts may be trialled soon ...

AFL and Telstra close to Internet deal
The Age reported: The AFL and Telstra are close to signing off a new Internet association that could be worth as much as $25 million over the next five years ... with the exception of Essendon, it should result in 15 of the clubs appearing on the AFL website next season – only Richmond, St Kilda and Sydney do so now ...

In a line ...
** CAMERON SCHWAB is the front-runner for the chief executive post at Fremantle ... ** under a regular maintenance program 7,000 square metres of turf was relaid in the centre corridor of Docklands stadium last week – on Saturday, ABC pre-game commentators highlighted the number of officials who scrutinised the surface before the Essendon-Fremantle match ... ** after no success in finding the true nature of the injury to JAMES HIRD on Saturday, ABC boundary rider PAUL CALLERY reported it could have been "a flu-related hamstring" ... ** TOM HAFEY on ABC Radio on hearing Sydney's meek effort of nine goals for the match against the Cats – "they used to kick 30 goals a week up there" ... ** judging from his appearance of ABC Radio's pre-game last Saturday, if Caro gets any more, warm, lovable and charming toward him, next time they meet, AFL supremo WAYNE JACKSON may need a fire blanket ...


Charges and verdicts from Round 13 —

Brisbane v Hawthorn
CHRIS SCOTT (B) reported for hitting SHANE CRAWFORD (H) in the second quarter. Scott pleaded guilty. The Tribunal suspended him for three matches. CHRIS JOHNSON (B) for attempting to kick AARON LORD (H) in the second quarter. The Tribunal cleared Johnson of the charge.

Essendon v Fremantle
From video, ADAM RAMANAUSKAS (E) for striking SHAUN McMANUS (F) in the first quarter. The Tribunal cleared Ramanauskas of the charge.

West Coast v Melbourne
DAVID NEITZ (M) and SCOTT CUMMINGS (W) for wrestling in the first quarter. The players were both fined $3000.
Melbourne captain DAVID NEITZ was been cleared of any wrongdoing following an AFL investigation into an incident involving West Coast's SCOTT CUMMINGS which resulted in the Eagles spearhead forced from the field under the blood rule during last Sunday's match at Subiaco.
JUSTIN SCHMITT, field umpire for the match, lodged the notice of investigation but the AFL investigations officer RICK LEWIS found no grounds for further action against Neitz or Cummings.

They said it ...
DOUG STEWART, Sunday Telegraph, July 1
— And although the past remains the only guide of predicting the future, it is far from an exact science.

JAKE NIALL, The Sunday Age, July 1 — Sheeds had been particularly annoyed by a bookmaker's entrepreneurial decision to create a Lloyd v Fremantle bet, offering a chance to back the gun full-forward to outscore the team that never wins. "I'm glad I hear it because, in the end, I'll play him at centre half-back just to annoy anybody who wants to make a joke of the game. Don't think I won't."

ANDREW CAPEL, Herald Sun, July 2 — Port gained some sort of revenge, when it learnt its sister club, Port Magpies, drew 10,565 to its game against Norwood on Friday night — 535 more than at Manuka Oval. It was the first time in more than a decade a SANFL match had attracted more spectators than an AFL fixture.

ANDREW RAMSAY, The Australian, July 3 — TIM LANE, one of Australian sport's best-known broadcasters, heads to England next week for what could be one of his final stints behind the microphone as a cricket commentator.

Lane is one of a number of ABC radio sports presenters given an ultimatum by the national broadcaster's management.

He must either shun lucrative part-time offers from the three commercial television networks, whose five-year deal to take over AFL telecasts begins next year, or sever his 28-year bond with the ABC at year's end.


Hawks pummel Tigers
Swans shock the Blues
1200th League win by Essendon

ROUND 14 — Fri-Sat-Sun, July 6-7-8.
MILESTONES—ESSENDON won its 1200th League match since 1897 ... Melbourne's STEVEN FEBEY played his 250th match (1988-2001) ... 100 games by ANDREW LEONCELLI (Mel, 1996-2001) – ANGELO LEKKAS (Haw, 1996-2001) – DARREN MEAD (PA, 1997-2001), Darren was the first Port Adelaide player to achieve this milestone ... 50 games by RUPERT BETHERAS (Col, 1999-2001) – BOWEN LOCKWOOD (PA, 1997-2001) – TARKYN LOCKYER (Col, 1999-2001) – BEN ROBBINS (Bri, 1996-2001) – PETER WALSH (Mel, 1999-2001) ... PAUL HUDSON played his 100th club match for the Western Bulldogs (1997-2001), also 134 for Hawthorn (1990-96) ... BRAD SHOLL played his 50th consecutive match for Geelong ... WAYNE CAREY (Kangaroos) passed 650 career goals in game 238 ...

<> The Docklands venue recorded a ground record crowd of 56,605 when Australia 35 defeated the British and Irish Lions 14 in the Second Rugby Union Test match on Saturday night July 7. The highest attendances reported for AFL fixtures are 50,701 when Essendon played Hawthorn and in R14 when 50,160 saw Geelong beat Collingwood …

<> The Bulldogs suffered its heaviest defeat (78pts) and kicked their lowest score of the season (11.10) ...
<> after 107 consecutive matches since his 1997-R1 debut, injury ended SHANE WOEWODIN's run for Melbourne …
<> Port Adelaide won by 92 points recording its biggest win in their 103-game AFL history, topping the 89-point win over Carlton at Princes Park in 1998-R7 ... in matches versus Fremantle, the Power kicked a new highest score, GWM and highest quarters for the second, third and fourth terms …

<||> Reigning premiers Essendon gained revenge for the single defeat the Bulldogs caused them last year when a return meeting was played at Docklands on Friday night for a big crowd of 48,728. The Bombers flogged the Dogs by 78 points. Essendon's GARY MOORCROFT single-handedly destroyed the Bulldogs with a superb first half. By half time with a stunning six goals, he had kicked more than the Dogs, had taken one of the great marks of our game, then disappeared without gaining another possession for the rest of the match.

Essendon went in without its best player JAMES HIRD. Then their best midfielder JASON JOHNSON and tough back flanker DAMIEN HARDWICK withdrew before the game. The Bulldogs threatened to make the match interesting with an early flurry, but the Bombers soon gained the momentum and were unstoppable with their strong defence led by the irrepressible MARK JOHNSON.

The Dons with JOE MISITI and MARK MERCURI near back to their best after knee injuries, and with MATTHEW LLOYD on target and a busy SCOTT LUCAS up front, the Bulldogs suffered their second straight defeat by more than 10 goals and were held to their lowest score of the season. It was yet another super team effort from the Bombers – ESSENDON 24.10-156 (Moorcroft 6, Lloyd 5, Lucas 3) best, Moorcroft, Misiti, Mercuri, BULLDOGS 11.10-76 (Johnson 3) best, Darcy, Brown, West.

<||> On a damp Saturday afternoon, 52,189 at the MCG watched Hawthorn in slippery conditions burst back into contention with a 58-point thrashing of Richmond. The lights were on by half-time and a brief period of rain came at the start of the third quarter. Injuries suffered by the Hawks may have given them a season-defining re-start. Going in with six changes from their 87-point drubbing the week before, questions hung over Hawthorn's credibility and whether they were able to meet the big challenges.

Barker and Rehn were late withdrawals and NICK HOLLAND cruelly injured his "good" right shoulder in a most innocuous way in the first quarter, only nine weeks since the second bout of surgery to his troublesome left shoulder. A knee injury to BRETT O'FARRELL also in the first quarter, caused the move of NATHAN THOMPSON to the ruck where he proved best afield when he dominated the centre bounces and silenced BRAD OTTENS. A productive SHANE CRAWFORD returned to his Brownlow-winning form of 1999 with a 28-possession game, and it was true commitment by DANIEL CHICK, BEN DIXON, JADE RAWLINGS and RAYDEN TALLIS in the return of confidence.

Richmond had a terrible second half, when they were outscored 4.5 to 13.7 – Hawk players after a woeful six weeks found their wings with a seven goal to one barrage in the last quarter as Richmond failed yet again in a crunch game – HAWTHORN 20.9-129 (Chick 3, Dixon 3, Thompson 3) best, Thompson, Crawford, Lord, RICHMOND 10.11-71 (Rogers 2, Ottens 2, Bowden 2) best, Campbell, Ottens, Bowden.

<||> Wet, windy and woeful was the summation on the Saturday night game at Football Park before just 31,534 spectators. The match aggregate was only 115 points with Adelaide posting an unconvincing 13-point win over the injury-ravaged West Coast. ALAN SHIELL for The Age reported: The closeness of scores was the only saving grace as the skill levels dropped to laughable levels at times. The frequency of errors was such that the crowd occasionally cheered ironically when there was any fluent ball movement of consequence.

DIGBY BEACHAM for Sunday's Herald Sun observed: That is not to say there were not several solid Eagles contributors. JOSH WOODEN provided excellent drive for the second week in a row, MARK MERENDA was lively in attack and the defence held firm under intense pressure for most of the evening. Merenda's miraculous left-foot snap on goal late in the last quarter could win him the goal of the year because it was even better than his Round 3 effort at Colonial Stadium against St Kilda.

Overall, though, Adelaide simply had more players doing more work. ANDREW McLEOD, MARK RICCIUTO and TYSON EDWARDS were busy onballers. Riccuito's form was encouraging again, after being well below his best with a mystery viral complaint for most of the season. The Crows withstood a late rally by the Eagles to take the match points by a margin of 13 points – ADELAIDE 8.16-64 (Jarman 3) best, Gallagher, Hart, McLeod, WEST COAST 7.9-51 (Merenda 2, Phillip Matera 2) best, Cousins, Wirrpunda, Jakovich.

<||> The Gabba was in great condition on Saturday when Brisbane in effortless fashion won their seventh consecutive match against St Kilda and posted their fifth successive victory for the season. The Lions continued their at "home" strike rate winning the 10th of the past 11 contests and strengthened their grip inside the eight. In celebration of his 26th birthday, Brisbane captain MICHAEL VOSS picked up 31 possessions to outpoint his direct opponent ANDREW THOMPSON who still had a very serviceable game for his side.

The faith of Brisbane's coaching staff in DANIEL BRADSHAW was rewarded when the full-forward returned his best effort for a long time with 14 marks and 24 possessions – his 5.4 for the night could have been eight or nine goals. For the Saints, CRAIG CALLAGHAN was a lively performer, capping off a strong second half with four goals when St Kilda looked as though they might mount a challenge, but the Lions hit back with four quick goals and extended the margin in the final term.

Without their mainstays, the Saints had little to offer — while BARRY HALL tried valiantly and had a fair night on MAL MICHAEL, AARON HAMILL failed to kick a goal and was well held. The challenge now for the Lions is to win in Melbourne. Next up, Collingwood at the MCG on Sunday. At the G from 40 visits since 1987, all they have reaped for their trouble is five wins, 1987-R1 v North Melb, 1987-R22 v Richmond, 1988-R19 v Richmond and twice against the Demons in 1997-R12 and 1999-R21 – BRISBANE 17.17-119 (Bradshaw 5, Hart 3) best, Bradshaw, Voss, Hart, ST KILDA 9.8-62 (Callaghan 4, Hall 3) best, Thompson, Callaghan, Beetham.

<||> The second biggest crowd to see an AFL match at Docklands were present on Sunday afternoon – 50,160. Collingwood impressed in the early stages by kicking five of the first six goals and went to a 26-point lead. Led superbly by NATHAN BUCKLEY who was well supported by SHANE O'BREE, the Pies twice led Geelong by the same margin until the momentum shifted after CAMERON LING was shifted on to Buckley and BEN GRAHAM went on the attack.

As the Cats kicked the last four goals before half time, CLINT BIZZELL marked spectacularly near the edge of the goalsquare and Geelong went in at the long break two points ahead. By the pre-match absence of key defenders SHANE WAKELIN and MARK RICHARDSON, the small Collingwood defence was put under enormous pressure in the second half. Magpies’ coach Mick Malthouse admitted later Geelong had "stretched the life out of our backline".

With MITCHELL WHITE and RONNIE BURNS giving solid contributions for Geelong, together with DARREN MILBURN and the five goals from Bizzell, the Cats were not going to let the match slip from their grasp. The Magpies never gave up but Geelong proved the steadier, and ran out winners – GEELONG 16.15-111 (Bizzell 5, White 3), best, Milburn, Graham, Bizzell, COLLINGWOOD 14.9-93 (Rocca 4, Tarrant 3) best, Fraser, O’Bree, Rocca.

<||> Though good ground conditions were the order on Sunday afternoon at the MCG, dark clouds hovered with the threat of rain – 27,464 were in attendance. Melbourne, determined to end their horror run, made the early charge led by goals from DAVID SCHWARZ, JEFF FARMER and DANIEL WARD. By quarter time, the Demons appeared to have found levels that had been missing in their previous three failures.

Roo captain WAYNE CAREY who started on Schwarz at centre half-back, moved into attack and with DAVID KING now on top of Farmer and SHANNON GRANT picking up multiple possessions, the Kanga show was back on the road. COREY McKERNAN and BRENT HARVEY added their influence and while still restricted and it was far from vintage Carey, the King kicked five last half goals, giving him six for the outing, his best return for the Roos in 14 months.

While the results have been pointing that way, it is inevitable one of the grand finalists from last year will now finish in the lower half of this year's ladder. It seems off field presidential and boardroom problems in the club would not have helped, but they are far from the cause. After 107 consecutive matches since his 1997-R1 debut, injury ended SHANE WOEWODIN's run for Melbourne – KANGAROOS 18.13-121 (Carey 6, Pickett 3, best, Grant, Carey, Rocca, MELBOURNE 13.15-93 (Schwarz 2, Green 2) best, Ward, Schwarz, J.McDonald.

<||> Sunday afternoon was overcast and rain threatened for the contest — 30,488 fans came to see history repeat itself when Sydney climbed off the floor to defeat Carlton for the fourth successive time at the SCG. Carlton coming off a 10-goal victory over the Bulldogs were flat and entered the match losing STEPHEN SILVAGNI to a stomach virus, while LANCE WHITNALL was out of the game after only 10 minutes, and for some weeks, with an injury to his right knee.

While newspaper reports described recent tension in the Swans camp between coach Eade and chairman Colless, the day ended with a brief celebratory embrace between the two. But only after the Swans nearly turned uncertain victory into glorious defeat. Sydney attacked the ball with ferocity unsighted in lame defeats in the past fortnight versus Richmond and Geelong. The contest was hard and often spiteful, in keeping with the lengthy history between the two clubs dating back to early in the last century.

Trailing the Blues by six points at quarter time and by two goals at the long break, Sydney worked hard to kick themselves out of the game. After the first break, the Swans succeeded in booting every which way – 8.18, including 3.9 in the third and 3.5 in the last, yet still got home by 10 points with the diminutive JARED CROUCH emerging as an unlikely match winner, kicking two goals to double his return for the season. In the euphoria of the Swans' win, some might have overlooked the debut of the 20-year-old Irishman TADGH KENNELLY. It was wonderful to see a young man so enthusiastic and so skilful making such an impressive start in AFL football. If he continues to improve, he has a long career ahead of him. Maintaining tradition, two reports resulted from the game.
SYDNEY 12.19-91 (O’Loughlin 3) best, Maxfield, Ball, Dunkley, CARLTON 12.9-81 (Lappin 2, Bradley 2, Hulme 2, Hotton 2, Koutoufides 2) best, Fletcher, Hulme, Bradley.

<||> Morning rain on a cold Perth day continued into the afternoon at Subiaco Oval where a small band of 15,961 onlookers saw Port Adelaide effortlessly sweep Fremantle off the board, posting a 92-point win – the biggest in Port's 103-game AFL history. The lack of skills by the Fremantle squad was embarrassingly on show. BEN ALLAN, the interim coach of Freo was quoted after the match: "Clearly, we had too many players who haven't got strong enough characters."

MARK DUFFIELD for The Age noted the match: "In playing terms, Fremantle's problems can be summed up in two words: skill level. The Dockers' skills are at least a couple of rungs below any other AFL rival and so when they play, they effectively take the field with one hand tied behind their backs. And so it was here yesterday.

While Tredrea's towering marks, Burgoyne's silky skills and Wanganeen's cat-like recovery shone like the Subiaco Oval floodlights in yesterday's gloom, Fremantle's shortcomings stuck out like a giant wart on the nose. SHAUN McMANUS missed so many targets, Port players started leading to him before the game was out. He kicked enough out on the full to give spectators some hope of getting a touch as well. In a three-minute space in the third quarter Port kicked three goals – two of them from embarrassing Docker blunders." – PORT ADELAIDE 25.13-163 (Burgoyne 6, Tredrea 4) best, Wanganeen, Tredrea, Carr, FREMANTLE 11.5-71 (Hasleby 3) best, Hasleby, Fletcher, Parker.

Charges and verdicts from Round 14 —

Bulldogs v Essendon
From video, SEAN WELLMAN (E) for charging ROHAN SMITH (W) in the third quarter. Wellman was suspended for two matches.

Richmond v Hawthorn
From video, JOEL BOWDEN for striking MARK GRAHAM (H). Bowden was cleared of the charge.

Geelong v Collingwood
BEN JOHNSON (C) reported with charging MITCHELL WHITE (G) in the fourth quarter. Johnson was suspended for two matches.

Sydney v Carlton
JASON BALL (S) for making contact with field umpire MATHEW JAMES in the first quarter. Ball was suspended for two matches. From video, STUART MAXFIELD (S) with charging MATTHEW LAPPIN (C) in the third quarter. Maxfield was cleared of the charge.

The AFL Tribunal sitting to hear charges from Round 14 was held in Sydney on July 10 at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal offices in Market Street Sydney.
> Essendon's SEAN WELLMAN who pleaded not guilty to a charge of rough play on the Bulldogs' ROHAN SMITH said his original intention had been to mark the ball uncontested, but, after realising he was competing with Smith, he tried to take a contested mark or spoil. The Tribunal found Wellman's actions, had been "clearly reckless" and "unreasonable". He was suspended for two matches.
> Sydney's JASON BALL became the fourth player to be suspended this year on a charge of colliding with an umpire. The Tribunal found that Ball had been derelict in his duty to the umpire and suspended him for one match. Tribunal chairman BRIAN COLLIS said while the panel appreciated that players "have to focus a great deal of attention getting to the contest ... to their team's benefit, we also say players must also be acutely aware of the obligations on them to the umpire".

Three clubs appealed the sentences imposed by the AFL Tribunal. Collingwood, Sydney and Essendon each lodged a $5000 appeal together with a $10,000 bond for the cases of BEN JOHNSON, JASON BALL and SEAN WELLMAN to be heard again by the AFL Appeal Board.

The board sat In Melbourne on Thursday evening and dismissed all three appeals. The bonds of $10,000 were refunded in all three cases. Suspensions imposed by the AFL Tribunal on Tuesday will stand.

Ansett AFL National U18 championships
The National U18 championships were conducted in Melbourne from July 1.
The Division 2 finals were played at Carlton on Friday when NSW-ACT won third place by defeating Queensland, 13.17-95 to 3.6-24. Heading Division 2 was Tasmania 8.8-56 who defeated Northern Territory 7.9-51.

Vic Metro 15.13-103 downed Victoria Country 11.6-72 to take the Division One title in the MCG curtain-raiser played on Saturday July 7. In the consolation final, WA 8.10-58 defeated SA 1.6-12.

Stab Kicks ...
Essendon and Richmond to play in London

Reigning AFL premier Essendon and arch-rival Richmond will meet in the traditional post-season fixture in London this year.
The teams will clash at The Oval on Saturday October 13 with the AFL hoping a match-up between two of the biggest clubs in the competition will guarantee a full house at a venue which holds about 18,000.

St Kilda to wear yellow against Blues
=ST KILDA, who are anxious to extend their three-year agreement with PURA MILK are said to be prepared (for an extra $300,000) to wear an all yellow strip of guernsey, socks and shorts when they meet Carlton at Docklands in Round 20.

John Elliott at 59 to play his 250th
The Sunday Herald Sun reported on page 3 – Carlton president JOHN ELLIOTT, three months shy of his 60th birthday will return to the football field to fulfil a dream.
On Saturday, July 27, Elliott will play his 250th game for amateur club Old Carey, with which he created a fearsome reputation in his younger days. "I'll be in the reserves, playing as a forward pocket. I won't be running around much, but that way I can help out and maybe get a few handballs off."

Injury causes lengthy third quarter
The injury to ROHAN SMITH of the Western Bulldogs during Friday's match at Docklands caused the time clock to run to 37 minutes 45 seconds – the second longest third quarter of VFL-AFL football on record.

South Sydney beat NRL in court
On July 6, after a bitter 18-month battle, the South Sydney rugby league club won a Federal Court ruling in that the National Rugby League two years ago had breached the Trade Practices Act by cutting the club from its revamped 14-club format. The inner-city Redfern club will make application to be included in the NRL competition next season.

** The Kangaroos ended speculation saying a priority is to re-sign DENIS PAGAN to a long-term contract at the end of the season, keeping him at Arden Street until the end of 2004 ... ** Geelong have started negotiations with MARK THOMPSON, who is currently midway through his contract ...

ruled out Rioli
If you were wondering why Essendon's DEAN RIOLI went to the inter-change bench as soon as the ball was bounced on Friday night — official team sheets for the run-on team must be finalised within 30 minutes of the start — Rioli was hit by a migraine soon after the deadline passed, brought on by a head-butt from his infant daughter earlier in the day. Rioli eventually returned to play in the last quarter and kicked one goal from his two possessions ...

They said it ...
MICHELANGELO RUCCI, The Advertiser, July 9, reporting on the Adelaide-West Coast match
— "... there was no rain until the 20th minute of the second quarter and that was preceded by neither team kicking a goal for 24 minutes, repeated turnovers and such basic skill errors that the AFL Players Association case for a 10 per cent pay rise lost all credibility."

ASHLEY PORTER, The Australian, July 9 — It is going to be tough for the Crows against St Kilda at Colonial on Friday the 13th. But as Malcolm Fraser meant to say: "Football was not meant to easy". And as the pay issue escalates, the words of Fraser's successor, Bob Hawke, continue to haunt us: "By the year 2002 no AFL footballer will be living in poverty."


Saints sack Blight after his 250th game
Battle for Eight hots up
Port, Lions & Hawks equal second
Demons shock win over Blues

ROUND 15 — Fri-Sat-Sun, July 13-14-15.
MILESTONES—STEPHEN PAXMAN played his 200th League match, 98 PA 1997-2001; 102 Fit 1991-96 ... 150 games by MATTHEW ROGERS (Rch) 1994-2001 – BRAD SHOLL, 148 Gee 1995-2001; 2 NM 1993-94 ... a century of games by DANIEL BANDY (Fre) 1995-2001 – FABIAN FRANCIS, 77 PA 1997-2001; 1 Mel 1991; 22 Bri 1993-94 – CRAIG ELLIS (FWB) 1994-2001 ... 50th games were played by BOWEN LOCKWOOD (PA) 1997-2001 – JOSH WOODEN (WCE) 1997-2001 – BRODIE HOLLAND, 14 Col 2001; 9 Syd 1996-97; 22 Rch 1998-99 – DAVID CLARKE (Gee) 1999-2001 – BRETT VOSS 15 StK 2001; 35 Bri 1997-2000 ... MALCOLM BLIGHT coached his 250th VFL-AFL match, 145 Gee 1989-94; 74 Ade 1997-99; 15 StK 2001 ... GLENN FREEBORN played his 50th club match for Collingwood, also 55 NM 1995-98 ... PAUL LICURIA played his 50th club match for Collingwood; also 10 Syd 1997-98 ... ANTHONY ROCCA (Col, Syd) reached 150 goals in League game 150 ...

MALCOLM BLIGHT suffered another loss by the Saints in his 250th League match as coach – five days later the 42nd coach of St Kilda was sacked.

<||> Adelaide continued to push for a berth in the top Eight when they thrashed St Kilda by 97 points on Friday night at Docklands for a crowd of 26,560. In a week when Saints' coach MALCOLM BLIGHT said the culture at his new base was "500 per cent worse than any other club" it was game-long skills and leadership on the field which St Kilda would have wanted to be on show – all were sadly missing in Adelaide's emphatic victory.

A match highlight was the return of JASON CRIPPS playing his first match for St Kilda since 1998-R7 after suffering a most horrendous run of injuries. He kicked the first goal, finished with a team-high total of 28 touches and was one of the few Saints who would hold his head high. Persistent skill errors by the Saints contrasted with Adelaide's sharp, clean possession and movement of the ball.

While DARREN JARMAN was kept quiet in the first quarter by FRASER GEHRIG, the 222-game veteran exploded in the second with three goals and another three in the last, for a lazy six goals for the game. Boasting class acts such as ANDREW McLEOD and MARK RICCIUTO the Crows devastated the Saints. While BARRY HALL, ANDREW THOMPSON and AARON HAMILL put in earnest efforts for St Kilda, they were clearly let down by the inefficiency of their teammates – ADELAIDE 23.18-156 (Jarman 6, Johnson 3) best, Clarke, McLeod, Bickley, ST KILDA 9.5-59 (Hall 3) best, Cripps, Thompson, Hamill.

<||> Melbourne, languishing at 13th place, who had lost seven of its past eight matches, caused one of the major upsets of the season when they defeated the second-placed Carlton by six points on Saturday afternoon at Princes Park before 23,901 fans. In good conditions, the Demons unleashed themselves into their biggest opening against the Blues for more than 60 years.

JAMES WESTON in Sunday's Herald Sun noted: Demon midfielders PETER WALSH and DANIEL WARD were the two standout contributors. Walsh, in his second match back after a month's break with a hamstring strain, gave the Dees early drive with a 17-touch first half. Ward was equally creative, his attack on the ball typifying the difference between the teams. Underline, too, the names of STEVEN FEBEY, ANDREW LEONCELLI and ALISTAIR NICHOLSON. Febey blanketed Carlton skipper CRAIG BRADLEY in the first half, keeping the Blues veteran to one kick while Nicholson nailed down centre halfback.

The Blues improved immeasurably after half-time when Koutoufides bounced back, but while Carlton dominated the frantic last quarter and drew to within one point, they clearly missed the injured duo Whitnall and Fevola, and dare anyone say, the presence of Hamill, who is now with the Saints. BRAD GREEN made a sizeable contribution to the Melbourne win, together with CAMERON BRUCE and JEFF FARMER. While Carlton with their third loss at home slipped to fourth place, hope still lives for the Demons to fightback and make the Eight – MELBOURNE 18.9-117 (Green 3, Farmer 3, Williams 3) best, Walsh, Nicholson, Leoncelli, CARLTON 16.15-111 (Hickmott 2, Mansfield 2, Lappin 2, Fletcher 2) best, Lappin, Hotton, Koutoufides.

<||> For the second week in a row Sydney accomplished a victory over the second placed side on the ladder when they led all day to defeat Hawthorn by 21 points in good conditions on Saturday afternoon at the MCG – 34,394 attended. The Swans in spite of their shortage of big men in the forward line dominated the second term in kicking five goals to two and though under pressure from the Hawks, were never headed.

The Swans were always able to recover and reestablish a gap. PAUL KELLY returned to near his desperate best with three telling goals while ADAM GOODES proved a capable substitute in the ruck for the suspended JASON BALL. Goodes finished with 21 kicks, four handballs and five marks – his presence was valuable and he was just the target the hard-tackling Sydney needed.

After their good win over the Tigers the week before, Hawthorn were surprisingly flat and not prepared to do the hard things. They had few options when they went forward, with JOHN BARKER struggling for form while DANIEL CHICK was a long way off his usual aggressive game. GREG STAFFORD became a key factor in the Swans holding on. His height, marking and two goals were critical to the victory. Through the middle Maxfield, Nicks, O'Loughlin, Barry and Schwass were well to the fore. The Swans remained in the Eight on eight wins – equal on points with Collingwood, Kangaroos, Adelaide and Bulldogs – SYDNEY 14.14-98 (Kelly 3) best, Goodes, Maxfield, Kelly, HAWTHORN 11.11-77 (Nicholls 2, Barlow 2, Thompson 2) best, Barlow, Johnson, Nicholls.

<||> In the Saturday afternoon match under a closed roof at Docklands, the Dockers at three-quarter time were again within reach of their first win of the season. Only a small part of the small crowd of 15,111 expected the Bulldogs to fall – and they didn't. Never mind that the final margin was 34 points – the Bulldogs survived a nightmare of a game.

The Dogs kicked 8.5 to quarter time and a welcome boost to their percentage seemed assured. However, the Dogs were so bad they did not gain their ninth goal until 12 minutes into the third term, when even their own fans booed them off at half-time. With Bell, Black and Parker driving them, Fremantle kicked six-straight goals in the middle of the match and were beginning to appear likely winners. The Dogs were reckless in their kicking with PAUL HUDSON finishing with 1.6 and NATHAN BROWN 1.5, although Brown picked up 34 possessions and won praise for his efforts.

In the last term, fans of the Dogs booed again for good measure, which fired LUKE DARCY to finish as he had started, in top form. ANTHONY JONES, SHANE PARKER and PAUL HASLEBY all carried out their designated tasks and it was their fault the Dockers suffered defeat for the 15th time this year (16 overall). It was the last League match for TONY MODRA. He retired from League football on Tuesday after 165 games for Adelaide and Fremantle. His 588 goals ranks him 22nd on the all-time list of AFL goalkickers – BULLDOGS 16.23-119 (Garlick 3, Eagleton 3, Darcy 3) Darcy, Brown, Eagleton, FREMANTLE 11.19-85 (Bell 3) best, Bell, Walker, Fletcher.

<||> Port Adelaide went to second place with an efficient 44-point win over Richmond in a fiercely contested match in good conditions on Saturday night – 26,773 attended in the chill of Football Park. The Tigers failed again in an important pressure game, however, much of the pressure may have been self-applied.

The Power were the dominant team for most of the night when Richmond failed in their forward line and found difficulty handling a tricky breeze. The Herald Sun reported: Tiger MATTHEW RICHARDSON had a terrible night, particularly in the first quarter. In that term, he was at his brilliant best and embarrassing worst. He was regularly in the play in the first term, however his high points were overshadowed by the low ones – he finished the match with 0.3 and one out of bounds on the full. JOEL BOWDEN and BRAD OTTENS also failed to fire. Port was led brilliantly, again, by ruckman and captain MATTHEW PRIMUS. Also solid were BRETT MONTGOMERY, STUART DEW (four goals), WARREN TREDREA, JOSH CARR and ROGER JAMES.

The Tigers' MATTHEW KNIGHTS in the second term received a heavy knock which appeared to open the wound suffered in controversial circumstances in Round 2. This time after eight stitches he returned to play with his forehead wrapped in a bandage. In a meagre night on the scoreboard Richmond's only third quarter goals came from KAYNE PETTIFER in the space of a minute without the ball being bounced in the centre. He goaled, then tangled with ADAM KINGSLEY, was decked, given a free, and kicked truly again. Richmond held onto sixth place, while Port travel to the Gabba this week, with Essendon, the following engagement – PORT 14.12-96 (Dew 4) best, Dew Montgomery, Burgoyne, RICHMOND 7.10-52 (Pettifer 2) best, Gaspar, Broderick, Bowden.

<||> The second biggest crowd to watch the Eagles this season of 34,259 turned out on Sunday afternoon for the clash against the Kangaroos. Conditions were good at Subiaco Oval. The Roos had too much strike-power for West Coast with a three-pronged attack of Carey, Rocca and Pickett contributing 17 of their 24 goals.

The Eagles displayed an early physical approach which surprised the Roos. By quarter time both DAVID KING and ANTHONY STEVENS were on the bench, and while King returned, Stevens suffered a season-ending right knee ACL injury. It was a red-hot contest for three and a half quarters which could have gone either way. In the end it was the big-guns in front of goal that won for the Kangas.

West Coast late in the third quarter trailed by 33 points, yet 12 minutes into the final stanza were only two points down. From that point, the Roos kicked eight straight to be 44 point winners. The record books will not reflect how close the game was. Full-forward TROY WILSON made a notable return to the Eagles from the WAFL – his strong attack on the ball split the Kanga defence and hotted up the game. BYRON PICKETT shaded BRENT HARVEY for best-afield honours, while SAV ROCCA produced his best return of the season – KANGAROOS 24.10-154 (Pickett 6, Rocca 6, Carey 5) best, Pickett, Harvey, Rocca, WEST COAST 17.8-110 (Wilson 4, Phillip Matera 3, Merenda 3) best, Cousins, Merenda, Jones.

<||> Morning showers cleared and players ran out onto the MCG in sunshine on Sunday afternoon where conditions were good, taking into account a swirling wind. The Brisbane Lions firmed in equal second place (3rd) on the ladder when they broke through to post a significant 26-point victory over Collingwood. The match produced the Pies' biggest loss of the season ... DANIEL BRADSHAW's third bag of five goals in as many weeks for the Lions ... and the best crowd to see Brisbane at a home-and-away game in Melbourne – 45,016.

It was an entertaining match with both sides issuing strong challenges. Brisbane set it up with a great opening kicking six goals to one in the first 25 minutes and while Collingwood always came back when the Lions threatened to run away it was not until the closing minutes that the Lions secured a most important win.

The ability of the Brisbane midfield to take command was crucial to the result. MICHAEL VOSS, SIMON BLACK and NIGEL LAPPIN were strong in getting the ball away from the centre with SHANE O'BREE and NATHAN BUCKLEY some of the Magpies to offer stiff resistance. CHIP LE GRAND noted for The Australian: As much as the performance will reinforce Brisbane's credibility as a serious finals threat, it served as a further reality check for Collingwood and the battle the Magpies face to see any part of the September action – BRISBANE 19.15-129 (Bradshaw 5, Lynch 3, Black 3) best, Black, Notting, Bradshaw, COLLINGWOOD 16.7-103 (Holland 4, N.Davis 3) best, Licuria, N.Davis, Holland.

<||> Sunday afternoon's contest was played for a big crowd of 48,152 under the closed roof at Docklands. For three quarters of the match Geelong put Essendon to some of the greatest pressure the Bombers have been under this season. Even though Essendon were without five premiership players including captain JAMES HIRD and DEAN RIOLI, the Cats were overawed by Essendon's off-target first quarter barrage on which the final result hinged.

The ineffectiveness of so many Geelong players was worrisome. After a quarter-time blast from coach Thompson that his charges had paid Essendon "too much respect" the second-quarter transformation was as swift as it was unexpected. Geelong's work-rate and determination lifted in the final three quarters but it always seemed the Bombers would rise to the occasion.

KAREN LYON observed for The Age: Time and again, the Cats would diligently haul in the Bombers, only to find JASON JOHNSON (best afield) and JOE MISTI had too many tricks in the centre of the ground. By the match's end, both teams had been inside their 50m zone 54 times, but Geelong could never quite match the fluency of its opponent. The Bombers have made a mess of many of their opponents, handing out beltings that have taken weeks to recover from, but the Cats came away with their pride intact. Still, there was a lesson for the Cats: it takes 120 minutes to beat the Bombers, not three quarters – ESSENDON 19.13-127 (Lloyd 6, J.Johnson 4) best, J.Johnson, Misiti, Lloyd, GEELONG 17.10-112 (Bizzell 4, Burns 3) best, Murphy, Milburn, Sanderson.

The AFL met both Monday and Tuesday to hear charges from Round 15 matches.

Charges and verdicts –

Port Adelaide v Richmond
ADAM KINGSLEY (P) for striking KAYNE PETTIFER (R) in the third quarter. Kingsley was found guilty and suspended for one match. NICK DAFFY (R) for wrestling BRETT MONTGOMERY (P) in the third quarter. Daffy was cleared of the charge. From video, BRENDAN GALE (R), RORY HILTON (R), BRETT MONTGOMERY (P) and FABIAN FRANCIS for engaging in a melee during the third quarter. The four players were found guilty and fined a total of $5200 – Francis $1600, Gale $1400, Montgomery $1200 and Hilton $1000.

West Coast v Kangaroos
MATTHEW BURTON (K) for striking DANIEL KERR (W) in the first quarter. Burton was cleared of the charge.

Collingwood v Brisbane
MARTIN PIKE (B) for abusive language toward field umpire STEPHEN McBURNEY in the third quarter. Facing his third career charge of umpire abuse the Tribunal found Pike guilty and fined him $4000. From video, CHRIS JOHNSON (B) for attempting to trip NICK DAVIS (C) in the second quarter. Johnson was suspended for one match.

Essendon v Geelong
MARK MERCURI (E) for striking CAMERON LING (G) in the second quarter. The Tribunal found Mercuri not guilty.

<> MARTIN PIKE's hefty fine of $4000 was in light of the fact it was his third offence of umpire abuse – umpire McBurney told the Tribunal that the Brisbane player Pike swore at him on four occasions immediately after the free kick, using the f-word seven times … <> CHRIS JOHNSON (Bri) was up for the second time in three weeks on a similar offence – he was cleared from a Round 13 booking of attempting to kick AARON LORD (Haw). It was only Johnson's second suspension in his 143-game career, his previous one being a controversial three match ban for interfering with an umpire in Round 14 of 1997.


Saints sack Blight

St Kilda shocked the football world when they sacked coach MALCOLM BLIGHT on July 19, only 15 matches into his contract. The Saints lured Blight from retirement on the Gold Coast last September when the presidency of ROD BUTTERSS signed the dual premiership coach of Adelaide on a two-year deal. The contact was reported as worth some $1.6 million, making Blight the highest-paid coach in the game.

CAROLINE WILSON, chief football writer of The Age on Tuesday indicated there were rumblings and all was not right in the St Kilda camp.

By early Thursday afternoon, the news which resulted brought the biggest football story of the past 20 years – since Collingwood sacked TOM HAFEY in 1982.

The St Kilda board met on Wednesday night and delivered the axe to Blight at their Moorabbin offices early on Thursday afternoon, about 45 minutes before club president ROD BUTTERSS tried to explain the sacking to a large media contingent.

The opinions expressed which followed showed since the early days of the Blight-St Kilda association, the Saints had been uneasy to the manner and style of how Blight was "embracing their culture" to which Blight on Adelaide's 5AA recently freely stated was "500 per cent worse" than at any other club he has been associated with.

The bottom line is both parties have been badly wounded by the exercise. Blight was sacked for failing to perform in his appointed task to the level of expectations of the club paying him a huge salary.  St Kilda are equally at fault for buying a big name and at the time of the appointment not knowing the character behind the man.

In a brief statement issued from the front of his Brighton home on Friday night, Malcolm Blight said: "Sadly, my commitment to the St Kilda Football Club was terminated yesterday. In this era of professional sport, every person is accountable. The team hasn't performed to expectations and I accept the consequences of that responsibility.

"To all the St Kilda supporters, I am dreadfully sorry that the ride was so short and ended this way." Blight then walked back inside his home.

In the aftermath, PETER JONAS and KEN HINKLEY, assistant coaches to Malcolm Blight quit St Kilda on July 23, leaving caretaker coach GRANT THOMAS and JIM O'DEA in charge of football affairs.

Stab Kicks ...
Three games – under different coaches

Until his return to the St Kilda team last Friday night JASON CRIPPS had not played a senior match for three years, since the Round 7 defeat by Brisbane in 1998. Cripps makes an unusual record – his last three senior matches will be under different coaches – 1998-R17 Stan Alves, 2001-R15 Malcolm Blight, 2001-R16 Grant Thomas.

Seven's C7 launches action
C7, Channel Seven's cable channel has launched legal action claiming Australia's biggest media organisations News Limited and Publishing and Broadcasting Limited may have conspired to "kill off" their pay-TV service. C7 is seeking orders with all relevant documents relating to the 2001-2006 subscription rights for the NRL and the broadcast and TV rights from 2002 to 2006 for the AFL — Herald Sun, July 17.

Garry Lyon named Australian team coach
GARRY LYON, former Melbourne captain and anchor of Channel Nine's Sunday Footy Show has been appointed the new Australian team coach for the International Rules series against Ireland in October. Gary replaces DERMOTT BRERETON who has stepped down for personal reasons. The First Test is at the MCG on Friday, October 12 with the second match a week later at Football Park.

They said it ...
ASHLEY PORTER, The Australian, July 16
— It wasn't bad luck for Richmond with those missed shots for goal, just damn awful football under self-applied pressure when goals needed to be kicked. The Tigers are not paid to drop chest marks, kick into the man on the mark 10 metres from the opposition's goal, knock each over, fall over and get caught holding the ball, and kick out on the full when not under pressure. Sorry, they were under pressure. Self applied.

ROD BUTTERSS, St Kilda president, The Age, July 18, commenting on a recent interview heard on 5AA — "I think if Malcolm had his time again he would not have said what he said," Butterss said. "The timing was unfortunate and he accepts that. We have discussed it with him and the matter is in the past as far as we are concerned."


Amazing recovery by Essendon
Dons eat up all the Roos can serve
Sunday match rated 'one of the best'

ROUND 16 — Fri-Sat-Sun, July 20-21-22.
MILESTONES— ESSENDON in their 200th premiership match at the MCG since 1897 staged the greatest recovery from 69 points down in the second quarter to win by two goals over the Kangaroos ... SIMON BEAUMONT (Car) played his 100th match (1995-2001) ... 50th games by ROWAN JONES (WCE) 1998-2001 – GREG TIVENDALE (Rch) 1998-2001 ... JOHN BLAKEY played his 100th consecutive game with the Kangaroos, also 135 with Fitzroy ... JOHN BARNES played his 50th club match for Essendon, also 144 with Geelong ... JOEL SMITH played his 50th club match for Hawthorn, also 58 with St Kilda ... BRISBANE won their seven successive match, equalling their seven of 1996 but trailing their record 10-straight of 1999 ... RUSSELL ROBERTSON (Mel) passed 100 goals in game 73 ... BRETT RATTEN (Car) reached 100 goals in game 230 ... CRAIG McRAE (Bri) passed 150 goals in game 123 ...

<> In one of the most amazing matches of our game, 52 goals were kicked for only the second time – Ess 27.9, Roos 25.9 ...
<> the Bombers staged the greatest-ever revival, recovering from a 69-point deficit 10 minutes into the second quarter and went on to win by two goals ...
<> the Kangaroos' amazing 12.1-73 in the first quarter is the second biggest the club has scored in its 1,570-match League history since 1925 – only 13.3-81 by North versus Richmond (2.1-13), 1990-R2-MCG is greater ...
<> the 58 point margin the Roos held at quarter-time was the biggest deficit Essendon has ever faced in its 2,063 League matches since 1897 – greater than 55 points, 1968-R8-M, when St Kilda led 8.7-55 to 0.0-0 ...
<> the 25.9-159 is the highest losing score by North Melbourne and the second-highest losing score in VFL-AFL history ...


<||> Richmond's blistering opening on Friday night virtually ended Melbourne's hopes of making the finals this year. The MCG was soft under foot and further rain during the contest made conditions greasy – 37,938 attended. The Tigers blasted through nine goals in the first quarter and took a giant step toward gaining a place in the finals for only the second time since 1982.

Richmond's record start against the Demons was a massive turnaround from the previous week and set it up for a comfortable 41 point win. Melbourne could never match Richmond's two big forwards, BRAD OTTENS and MATTHEW RICHARDSON, who took more than 20 marks and kicked eight goals between them. LEN JOHNSON reported for The Age: Richmond took a grip on the game in the first half when it slammed on 14 goals to five. If Melbourne was playing for its life, it did not seem to have a very high value on it.

The Demons were always going to be stretched countering Richmond's tall forwards, and so it had proved at the long break. Melbourne faces a near impossible task of winning all of its remaining games and boosting its percentage of 87.8. Melbourne coach NEALE DANIHER was very down after the game, bewildered as to how his side could let last week's form slip when it was most needed. The Tigers at sixth place cannot take relief as in the six remaining minor rounds they face, the Dogs, Pies, Lions, Eagles, Roos and Dons – RICHMOND 19.13-127 (Ottens 4, Richardson 4, Bowden 3) best, Ottens, Bowden, Richardson, MELBOURNE 12.14-86 (Bruce 3, Robertson 3) best, Ward, Leoncelli, Yze.

<||> Saturday afternoon was overcast but no rain fell at Princes Park where Carlton needed only one quarter to shrug off two successive defeats. In front of a slim audience of only 15,622 the Blues slaughtered Fremantle in the first term and with a 56-point margin the match was over at quarter time.

MELISSA RYAN for Fairfax reported: Fremantle had hoped it would be able to force a contest from the middle of the ground – with Carlton's talls depleted in the absence of MARK PORTER and MATTHEW ALLAN possibly opening a door for SIMON EASTAUGH and JUSTIN LONGMUIR – while backing players such as ADRIAN FLETCHER, PETER BELL and PAUL HASELBY at the fall of the ball. But, it was this area — well, all areas – in which they were slaughtered, even with the unconventional setups the Blues had in place throughout the day.

SCOTT CAMPOREALE was relegated to half-back on SHAUN McMANUS, STEPHEN SILVAGNI was deep in attack as full forward, while SIMON BEAUMONT, in his 100th game, would later shift out of defence to have a spell at full forward. The speed in which Fremantle shattered was stunning. JIM PLUNKETT was blinding out of the centre – and remained hard working all day with 30 possessions – while fellow youngster RYAN HOULIHAN had a silky first half on the wing, putting his precise kicking to best possible use. But from the second term, the signs from Carlton were less impressive despite the massive lead, and the Blues came to practically a dead halt in the last quarter as Fremantle outscored it for the only time of the match – CARLTON 19.17-113 (Lappin 6, Ratten 3) best, Silvagni, Lappin, Mansfield, FREMANTLE 8.8-56 (McPhee 2, J.Longmuir 2) best, J.Longmuir, McPhee, Brown.

<||> When they are bad, they're very bad – when they are good, the Hawks are very good, as they were on an overcast Saturday afternoon for 52,381 at the MCG. No rain fell on the game but it did fall on Collingwood's parade as they slumped to their third successive defeat and tumbled out of the top Eight. In the first quarter, it didn't seem as though the Pies could lose when they were 20 points up at quarter time after they were more determined to the ball and had complete control of the centre area.

Could it be that the enthusiasm of the youthful Collingwood side maybe be starting to wane and feel the effects of top-level demands? After the first changeover, Hawthorn dramatically moved into gear and became more physical, taking on the Pies. The Hawks lifted everywhere and in the middle of the game they deflated the Magpies with nine goals in the third term, when Hawthorn produced its best quarter of the season.

EMMA QUAYLE noted for The Age: NATHAN THOMPSON and his merry men would continue their work but, having already kept the Hawks in it with his two early goals, it was KRIS BARLOW who took his turn to dominate a match, marking and snapping with equal effect, and kicking five good goals. It was the Hawks this time, who played the cleaner, crisper football. They helped themselves to the kind of easy, flowing goals that Collingwood could not find again until the game was well out of reach – HAWTHORN 21.18-144 (Dixon 5, Barlow 5, Barker 4) best, Barlow, Barker, Thompson, COLLINGWOOD 14.5-89 (Rocca 4, Fraser 3) best, Rocca, Fraser, O’Bree.

<||> The Brisbane Lions moved toward securing a home final when it posted its seventh straight win when they played Port Adelaide on a near perfect Saturday night – 29,547 were at the Gabba. The Lions secured the victory when they obliterated the Power in the second term, kicking 6.3-39 to four behinds.

BILL McDONALD who analysed the match for The Age reported: Port's running brigade was unable to get going under the relentless pressure Brisbane applied at the fall of the ball, and in the second and third efforts. JASON AKERMANIS (25 possessions) cover for the suspended CHRIS JOHNSON superbly to nullify the dash of PETER BURGOYNE, and provided plenty of rebound, while MARCUS ASHCROFT blanketed opposition star GAVIN WANGANEEN.

While WARREN TREDREA was well held by MAL MICHAEL, JONATHAN BROWN was unable to exert much influence on the game under the close attention of DARREN MEAD and DANIEL BRADSHAW was held to just one goal by STEPHEN PAXMAN. It was a mark of strength of this Brisbane line-up that they were still able to overcome a quality opposition. A highlighted of the match was a superb mark by 33-year-old ALASTAIR LYNCH in the goal square from which he kicked one of four goals of the night. The Lions in second place on percentage face the Kangaroos in Melbourne on Saturday at Docklands – BRISBANE 13.16-94 (Lynch 4) best, Lynch, Copeland, Akermanis, PORT 8.12-60 (Tredrea 3) best, James, Carr, Francis.

<||> Only two days following the sacking of coach MALCOLM BLIGHT the Saints met the Western Bulldogs on Saturday night at Docklands. Caretaker coach GRANT THOMAS was in charge of the Saints who were no more competitive than they had been in earlier games of the season. For the 21,665 who attended, they saw the Western Bulldogs power away after half time to a predictable victory.

LEN JOHNSON noted for The Age: St Kilda had plenty of good players, none better than BARRY HALL, who kicked eight goals and attacked the ball and opponents with equal relish. PETER EVERITT and JASON CRIPPS were also dominant in St Kilda's first half, but Everitt could not and did not play with the same intensity all night while Cripps hardly appeared at all after half-time. The Saints led by up to 21 points in the second quarter but by the long break the Dogs had whittled the margin back to a point.

ROHAN SMITH kicked four goals for the Bulldogs and was one of their few four-quarter players. CHRIS GRANT exerted his influence on the game in the third quarter to put the Dogs in front for the first time. They led by 12pts at the final change. The Saints were still close enough, but the momentum had shifted the Bulldogs way since the first quarter – BULLDOGS 16.16-112 (Smith 4) best, Cox, Grant, Johnson, ST KILDA 12.6-78 (Hall 8.2) best, Hall, Jones, Riewoldt.

<||> With 46,852 attending under cloudless skies, Adelaide football fans celebrated the opening of the new 7000-seat northern grandstand at Football Park on a warm Sunday afternoon. The celebrations ended there for the Crows as Sydney continued their great mid-season form with a comfortable 49-point win.
Adelaide scored the first three goals of the match and had enough of the play in the first quarter to be more than 20 points ahead at the first break. Giant ruckman-forward JASON BALL fired up Sydney up and with their midfield feeding off his ruck domination the Swans roosted five goals in seven minutes early in the second quarter and two more soon after to exert its authority.

The Crows recovered slightly just before half-time and started the third term ominously with two more goals, but the rest of the match belonged to Sydney, whose flooding of the Crows' midfield, man-on-man accountability and their own race-forward tactics provided decisive. Coach Eade agreed it was the best of Ball's 22 games for Sydney with his five goals paramount to a third successive win for the Harboursiders. Adelaide are still a chance for the finals, while Sydney start to strengthen with four of their last six games at the SCG – SYDNEY 16.9-105 (Ball 5, Kelly 3) best, Ball, Williams, Seymour, ADELAIDE 7.14-56 (Hewitt, Ricciuto 2) best, Ricciuto, Stenglein, Gallagher.

Records tumbled and new ones were added when Essendon and the Kangaroos met for the 136th time on Sunday afternoon at the MCG in sunny and firm conditions. An extraordinary match resulted for the 51,878 in attendance. The game was universally rated as "one of the best ever".

The Kangaroos won all the crucial contests and kicked 12 goals before a behind on the siren to be amazing 58 point leaders at quarter time – the greatest first-change deficit the Dons had faced. STEPHEN RIELLY of The Age reported: Stung in their distracted mood by a 12-goal first term from the Kangaroos, the Dons kicked 25 goals in the next 90 minutes, including 10 in the second term, to win not only a match reminiscent of the free-for-alls Malcolm Blight's Geelong once turned on by the week, but a match witness to more goals than all but one, ever. At its end, the scores of 27.9 to 25.9 amounted not to the highest cumulative score of all time but the equal highest number of goals scored in four quarters.

Essendon from 69 points down 10 minutes into the second quarter kicked nine goals in the next 12 minutes and at half-time trailed by 21 points. Another 13 goals were added in the third term with the Dons twice getting within one point at the 27th and 31st minute of the third but the Roos came back and led by 14pts at the last change. Essendon with their fourth goal for the last quarter via Gary Moorcroft hit the front for the first time in the match 11 minutes into the final term, 23.8 to 23.7. The Kangas were not done and still came back but Essendon in their 200th premiership match on the MCG since 1897 held on to win one of the great games of the code by 12 points. JASON JOHNSON (Ess) judged by most scribes as best afield in the memorable contest became favourite for the Brownlow Medal – ESSENDON 27.9-171 (Lloyd 9.0, J.John-son 4, Caracella 3) best, J.Johnson, Lloyd, Caracella, KANGAROOS 25.9-159 (McKernan 5, Rocca 4, Sinclair 3, Pickett 3, Harvey 3) best, Harvey, McKernan, Sinclair.

<||> Sunday afternoon was fine at Subiaco Oval when 31,456 were on hand for the contest.  Geelong enjoyed a 92-point turn-around from the 14-minute mark of the second quarter when a BEN COUSINS goal put West Coast 22 points in front – the Cats went on to win by 70 points.

To the half-time break West Coast had controlled much of the game but led by only one point at quarter time and trailed by seven points at the long break. The Eagles opened the door for Geelong in the second term when it allowed BRAD SHOLL to give them drive from the wing which resulted in goals to Kingsley and Sholl within 90 seconds. Two more majors including a trademark snap from RONNIE BURNS brought the Cats a decisive half-time lead.

By mid-way in the third term, West Coast was just clinging on. While Eagles' captain BEN COUSINS was in great form and saw off three opponents – Ling, Kilpatrick and Spriggs his influence diminished as the game grew longer. For the second week in a row, West Coast conceded eight goals in the
final quarter. A minor plus for West Coast was the continued presence of forward TROY WILSON – his four goals could mean SCOTT CUMMINGS will continue to wear a WAFL guernsey – GEELONG 22.18-150 (Burns 5, Kingsley 4, Ling 3) best, Kingsley, Sholl, Ling, WEST COAST 12.8-80 (Wilson 4) best, Jones, Wilson, Carroll.

Stab Kicks ...
Longest first quarter

The first quarter of Friday night's Richmond v Melbourne match lasted 37min. 48secs. – a new record length for the first term.

Salary cap increased – AFL-NFL comparisons
The AFL salary cap will increase by 7.25 percent next season and 6.75 per cent the following season, representing a jump by $6 million a year over the next two years. The requirement for all clubs to pay at least 95 per cent of the salary cap has been reduced to 92.5 per cent.

In an interesting comparison between codes, DAVID HILL the former chairman of the North Sydney rugby league club was interviewed last Friday morning on Sydney's Big Sports Breakfast on 2KY. The recent merger of the North Sydney and Manly-Warringah clubs as the Northern Eagles, playing out of the Central Coast area, has broken apart and North are seeking to find backers to go it alone, as Manly have chosen to do.

Reviewing the prospects for North Sydney, Hill said the club to go it alone would need some $7 million per year, $2.5m coming from the NRL with the need to raise a further $4.5m in sponsorship. The Sydney AFL club is understood to be operating on a turnover of some $22 million each year, with an AFL salary cap in 2001 of $5.2 million. Geelong president FRANK COSTA recently predicted that in four or five years, each AFL club would need an annual income of $32 million, just to stay afloat.

At last, a goal to Peter Matera
When entering the goalkickers and scores from R16 on the weekend, the penny dropped on some who are in the twilight of their careers. I recorded the first goal in his 13th game of the season for PETER MATERA of West Coast ...

They said it ...
PATRICK SMITH, The Australian, July 21
— The Butterss Boys say they didn't like the way Blight coached. It is pretty clear Blighty didn't think much of the way The Butterss Boys administrated. Blight wanted director of football Grant Thomas tossed out of the coaching box. So did Stan Alves before him. Thomas is so regularly tipped out of boxes, we now dub him ''Cornflakes''.

And Cornflakes is now coach of the club. Maybe he is a cereal stirrer. Alves said Cornflakes worked against him. Blight found Cornflakes not only messy but inhibiting.

St Kilda have made fools of themselves. They have paid top dollar for players and a coach, and then cried poor. They have sacked one of the game's most respected coaches and not given a plausible explanation as to why.

CHIP LE GRAND, The Australian, July 23 — "While this match be considered in the short term the one that finally finished the Kangaroos' season, in the long term it may well be remembered as the one that helped define Essendon's place in history."

Brisbane coach LEIGH MATTHEWS, July 23, on the Essendon v Kangaroos match — 'I saw the game and it was great for the fans but I wouldn't be happy if I was either coach because you don't want games like that,' Matthews said.

'Kicking goals yourself is great but you don't want your defence to be like a sieve.
'I don't even know if 52 goals is a great exhibition of footy.

Tribunal – Round 16

Collingwood v Hawthorn
ADRIAN COX (H) for headbutting ALAN DIDAK (C) in the fourth quarter. Cox was suspended for one match.  From video, DANIEL CHICK (H) for rough play against BRODIE HOLLAND (C) in the first quarter. The Tribunal cleared Chick of the charge.

St Kilda v Bulldogs
STEVEN BAKER (S) for striking LUKE DARCY (W) in the first quarter. Baker was suspended for one match.

Essendon v Kangaroos
DUSTIN FLETCHER (E) for shaking the goalpost in the third quarter. Fletcher did not attend the Tribunal who found Fletcher guilty and imposed an automatic fine of $600.


Port strike out the Bombers
Last-kick boots home the Hawks
Carlton at risk of missing the eight
Heart scare for Peter Schwab

ROUND 17 — Fri-Sat-Sun, July 27-28-29.
MILESTONES—Feeling unwell, Hawthorn coach PETER SCHWAB with an irregular heartbeat was taken to hospital for tests on Sunday morning – assistant coach CHRIS CONNOLLY took over the duties against Carlton in the afternoon at the MCG ... SEAN WELLMAN played his 150th League game – 116 Ess 1996-2001, also 34 Ade 1994-95 ... 50th matches by BOWEN LOCKWOOD (PA) 1997-2001 – JAMES RAHILLY (Gee) 1998-2001 – TOM HARLEY, 49 Gee 1999-2001, also 1 PA 1998 ... BRAD SHOLL played his 150th for Geelong, also 2 NM 1993-94 ... STEPHEN PAXMAN played his 100th for Port Adelaide, also 102 Fit 1991-96 ... SAVERIO ROCCA in his 172nd game for Collingwood and the Kangaroos passed 550 career goals ... STEPHEN SILVAGNI passed 200 goals in game 305 ...

<> BRUCE McAVANEY in his call of the game for the Seven Network noted, in spite of Essendon's narrow loss to Port Adelaide, the Bomber full-forward MATTHEW LLOYD set a milestone by goaling in a 50th consecutive appearance. His 4.2 at Football Park takes him to 79.28 for his 16 matches of this season (he was suspended for Round 4) at an average of 4.94 per game. The last time Lloyd was pointless was in 1999-R14 …

<> The Lions recorded their eighth successive win of the season ... the 21pt victory was Brisbane's smallest margin of their 12 wins this season … rookie LEIGH HARDING for the Kangaroos in second quarter goaled with his first kick in League football …

<||> Richmond and the Western Bulldogs fought a thrilling finish at Docklands on Friday night for a crowd of 43,595. Under the closed roof, the match lived up to its pre-game hype when each enjoyed surges of dominance. It was tight, tough footy at its best.

The Tigers delivered a payback for the events which followed their clash earlier this season in Round 2 when the Bulldogs' TONY LIBERATORE was suspended for five matches following an incident with Richmond's MATTHEW KNIGHTS. The two failed to rekindle the clash apart for some pushing and shoving before the opening bounce. There were numerous comebacks in the match with the Bulldogs holding a lead of more than two goals both in the second and last quarters.

Richmond's LEON CAMERON, MATTHEW RICHARDSON and BRAD OTTENS worked hard in finishing run. Richardson, who had struggled for most of the night, kicked two vital last-quarter goals. He first drew the Tigers within nine points before Cameron steamed through the centre corridor to deliver the next. Tight on the boundary line, when Richardson next had his chance, his kicking did not fail. After Ottens kicked his fifth of the night, Johnson for the Dogs missed an easy shot five minutes into time-on, but Brown bagged his fourth with only two minutes left. In the dying seconds Bulldog fans screamed in vain for free kicks after high tackles on Brown—the club made an official complaint on the issue. The Dogs went into the match four points behind the Tigers and are now level on 36pts with the Pies, Cats and Crows. Richmond went to 5th place – RICHMOND 15.12-102 (Ottens 5) best, Gale, Campbell, Knights, BULLDOGS 15.10-100 (Brown 4, Grant 3) best, Smith, Darcy, West.

<||> Saturday at Kardinia Park was cool and overcast for the 22,414 in attendance. There really wasn't much to write home about this one. Geelong, knocking on the door of the top Eight got home over the 14th-ranked St Kilda. The Cats led at every change, had a good third quarter during which time the Saints' BARRY HALL "lost the plot" and was booked for the Tribunal twice in two minutes for striking and rough play.

At the end of the day, the Cats secured their ninth win of the season – seven wins from its past 10 games – but it wasn't easy. It may have been close and hard all day, but some of the skills on display meant hiding the eyes of the Little Leaguers in case it was catching. EMMA QUAYLE reporting for The Age suggested: MATTHEW CAPUANO gave the Saints some early heart yet the Geelong side looked more composed – BEN GRAHAM was strong in front of goal, CLINT BIZZELL was busy around the ground and controlling the ball from any sort of stoppage.

If the Cats were gallant in holding on to a lead that easily could have slipped away from them, the Saints were equally admirable in forcing them to do so, propelling themselves back to within 13 points midway during the final quarter before remembering that they don't know how to win. Geelong left the impression they will have no influence even if they make the finals, while coach GRANT THOMAS from his second game in charge of the Saints noted an "incremental improvement." – GEELONG 12.6-78 (Kingsley 3) best, Milburn, Hocking, Kingsley, ST KILDA 10.6-66 (Capuano 3) best, Capuano, Everitt, Callaghan.

<||> A crowd of just 17,566 were present on a cool Saturday afternoon when a strong, swirling breeze whisked around the MCG. Hopes for the resurrection of their year disappeared around half-past two for Melbourne even though they got to within eight points of Adelaide early in the last quarter. It would have been a crime had the Demons overhauled the Crows.

Melbourne's play was noteworthy for over-possession, lack of direction, embarrassing turnovers and an aversion to move the ball when a sideways or backwards move could be made. MELISSA RYAN noted in The Age: Furious Demons supporters screamed in frustration, pointing out obvious options as their players dallied with the ball. With the crowd as thin as it was most of their words from supporters would have reached the ears of the players.

Adelaide's DARREN JARMAN was in vintage form, booting six goals in what he later admitted he felt would be his farewell appearance at the MCG. It was only the second time this year the Adelaide Crows had a taste of the MCG reported SCOT PALMER in Sunday's Herald Sun, an arena during their premiership years, And when they were in full flight the small crowd could see why a number of the leading AFL club would still be wary of the Crows in another month. MARK BICKLEY and SIMON GOODWIN displayed their usual on-ball dominance, while MARK STEVENS was great as a rebounding defender. SCOTT WELSH in his return from the SANFL also made a good impression – ADELAIDE 15.10-100 (Jarman 6, Welsh 3) best, Goodwin, Jarman, Bickley, MELBOURNE 12.12-84 (Robertson 3) best, Neitz, Yze, Farmer.

<||> The Dockers before 20,498 fans on Saturday night in firm conditions at Subiaco Oval succeeded in reigniting the form of a club down on form. The Magpies survived a monumental mid-match scare to score their ninth win of the season and a return to the top Eight.

When Collingwood got the wobbles early in the third quarter, Fremantle went as far as 14 points in front deep into the third quarter, and their supporters dared to dream of a duck-breaking first win. The Magpies knew the Dockers were a real chance of beating them. But so did Fremantle. MARK DUFFIELD of The West Australian reported: The opening minutes of the last quarter told a telling tale. Dockers forward MATTHEW PAVLICH hit the post with the crucial first shot of the quarter. From almost the same angle, down at the other end, CHRIS TARRANT kicked a goal. And then the floodgates opened. NATHAN BUCKLEY finally broke free and nailed a set shot from 55 metres and the Magpies were in front and went on to kick eight goals to two in the final stanza to win by 29 points.

In the end, it was the efforts for the Pies of Tarrant (his fifth bag of five goals for the year), NICK DAVIS, SHANE O'BREE and PAUL LICURIA who staved off what would have been a devastating defeat. Collingwood captain Buckley who has been dominant in so many matches had little influence with only eight kicks and 12 handballs. Freo has now travelled 12 months without a win — the last one was on July 30 last year – COLLINGWOOD 19.5-119 (Tarrant 5, N.Davis 3) best, Licuria, Lockyer, Tarrant, FREMANTLE 12.12-90 (J.Longmuir 3) best, J.Longmuir, Carr, Bell.

<||> The Kangaroos for a second week enjoyed a flying start and 20 minutes into the first quarter led Brisbane by 26 points on Saturday night at the Docklands arena for an assembly of 26,776. STEPHEN RIELLY in his assessment of the match for The Age noted: The teams handed over domination of the other like a baton. The Roos held court early and in the middle stages, the Lions dictated terms late in the first quarter and, importantly, when it mattered at the death.

Ten minutes into the second term, the contest, at least for the Kangaroos, appeared as if it might even be a replay of last week's MCG classic writ small. The Roos led by 26 points inside the first 20 minutes, with Rocca and McKernan both kicking two goals, and then conceded the next six goals to trail by 11 points. When the pattern was repeated – a 23-point break established 11 minutes into the third term was reduced to one by the last change – it was almost as if the Roos were revisiting the events of last week to believe they did, in fact, happen.

In the second half, JASON AKERMANIS and the Brisbane band of runners began to cut through the lines and make less of the Roos earlier one-on-one pressure. The amount of possession continued to be shared, at least until the final minutes, but the Roos gradually lost their ability to make as much of their possession as Brisbane was able to go into the air through Bradshaw and Notting but also find a goal at ground level through McRae and Lappin. Only Pickett and Harvey, who shared four goals, looked dangerous when the ball came to ground and both were staunching the flow in defence in the last quarter.
By that point, the Lions looked like a team priming itself for a genuine challenge in September and the Kangaroos one that had spent itself trying to make it – BRISBANE 21.10-136 (Bradshaw 6, Notting 4, McRae 4) best, Akermanis, Voss, Bradshaw, KANGAROOS 18.7-115 (Rocca 6, McKernan 4, Carey 3) best, Rocca, Harvey, Pickett.

<||> The Port Adelaide club in their fifth season of competition in the AFL struck a blow at the time when journalists started referring to Essendon as *invincible* and quite possible the best team of 105 seasons. On a fine Sunday afternoon before a crowd of 37,930 at Football Park, Port decidedly put a question mark to those statements when they defeated the Bombers by seven points. ALAN SHIELL of The Age rated the match as one of the finest, in every respect, since Football Park was first used for senior football in 1974.

The wonder of it all was that both teams could be so fanatically competitive and generally maintain such high levels of skill and stamina after coming off torrid encounters the previous week. Port's powerful opening did not surprise Essendon and typically they hit back to trail by only a point at half time and 40 seconds into the third quarter led by five points after goals by SCOTT LUCAS.

Lucas and MATTHEW LLOYD (four) scored all seven of Essendon's second-half goals. But Port's WARREN TREDREA sank the match-clinching goal with only 90 seconds left after taking a courageous chest mark in front of AARON HENNEMAN, while STUART DEW's point from a set shot denied Essendon valuable time in the frantic finish. The significance of Port Adelaide's win could not be overstated, with the reigning premier having won 52 of its previous 57 matches and losing only twice before this year, to Carlton then Brisbane – PORT 15.14-104 (Guerra 4) best, Primus, Stevens, Francou, ESSENDON 14.13-97 (Lloyd 4, Lucas 3) best, Wellman, J.Johnson, Barnard.

<||> Hawthorn went into the match without coach PETER SCHWAB who was hospitalised for tests for an irregular heartbeat. CHRIS CONNOLLY the assistant coach took up duties for the game. The match at the MCG drew 52,472 and was played on a cold, overcast Sunday afternoon. Carlton at one stage were three goals in front of a tight and tough contest which they controlled but never dominated. Without the injured Koutoufides, and Whitnall plus Fevola to boot, the Blues swung STEPHEN SILVAGNI into attack and as their only tall forward he kicked four goals (it could have been six).

Both suffered early casualties with Hawthorn's GLENN BOWYER and Carlton's BEN NELSON taken off unconscious in the first quarter from hard but fair contests. Although Hawthorn had made the early breaks they trailed from midway in the second quarter and were largely outplayed by the Blues. MATTHEW ALLEN back after 14 weeks with a foot injury had an edge over NATHAN THOMPSON, while Ratten, Camporeale and Lappin were doing well for the Blues.

Though Carlton were in front at the final siren, the Hawks' BEN DIXON got the chance to live every boy's dream. With only five seconds left, Dixon split the pack to drag down his fifth mark for the day, and holding not only the game but perhaps Hawthorn's chance for a top-four finish, from 35 metres out he drilled the winning goal — the Hawks by three points. Besieged by teammates, best player afield SHANE CRAWFORD was the first on top of him – Dixon raised his arms in triumph, a smile stretching from ear to ear. As goal-striking power dries up for the Blues, they are now three games behind the top-placed Essendon – Hawthorn an almost certain finalist looking down from third position – HAWTHORN 15.6-96 (Lord 4, Dixon 4) best, Crawford, Thompson, Smith, CARLTON 13.15-93 (Silvagni 4) best, Silvagni, Ratten, Lappin.

<||> The SCG was heavy following heavy rain during the week – gale force winds of previous days had largely abated but still influenced proceedings, with further rain falling from the second quarter – the weather cut the crowd to only 20,669. In an ugly contest, Sydney posted their fourth successive win for the first time since 1998 which improved the possibility, but does not ensure a place in the Final Eight.

Sydney's already lengthy injury list was added to when GERRARD BENNETT was a late withdrawal for a calf injury, BRAD SEYMOUR took an early knock and did not return after halftime, while WAYNE SCHWASS was rest from midway through the third with back and groin soreness ... ADAM GOODES split the webbing between his fingers, STUART MAXFIELD was off with cramps and BEN FIXTER (Bennett's replacement) was off with a foot injury. It was a horrid match — West Coast had just two goals to halftime, three at the last break, and finished with six. Pressure on Eagles coach KEN JUDGE is closing in.

As ALAN KENNEDY reported for The Age: The funny thing about the game, is that none of the Swans played badly. They stuck to their guns, kicked goals when they were needed, tackled manfully and kept West Coast at bay. But when they were six goals up at three-quarter time, they should have stepped on the gas and flogged West Coast and boosted their percentage along the way. But they didn't. Their tackling was fierce, as was the hardness at the ball. But they lacked finesse in going forward and there wasn't a lot of science in the goals that were kicked. The Kangaroos will really sort them out if the Swans play like they did yesterday – SYDNEY 11.17-83 (Kelly 2, Williams 2) best, Williams, O’Keefe, Mathews, WEST COAST 6.12-48 (Jakovich 2) best, Taylor, Cousins, Peter Matera.

Tribunal – Round 17

Geelong v St Kilda
BARRY HALL (S) for striking JOEL COREY (G) in the second quarter. Hall was suspended for three matches on this charge.  BARRY HALL (S) for rough play on MATTHEW SCARLETT (G) in the third quarter. Hall was found not guilty on this charge.
From video, 10 players, five from both clubs, were cited for engaging in a melee during the third quarter. The Tribunal found BARRY HALL (S), STEPHEN MILNE (S), TOM HARLEY (G) and CAMERON MOONEY (G) not guilty to this incident. The following however were found guilty in the melee and were fined, PETER EVERITT (S) $3000, BRETT KNOWLES (S) $1250, CADYN BEETHAM (S) $1250, DAVID SPRIGGS (G) $2000, DAVID CLARKE (G) $2500 and TIM McGRATH (G) $2500.

Melbourne v Adelaide
NIGEL SMART (A) for tripping JEFF FARMER (M) in the second quarter. The Tribunal cleared Smart as his actions did not constitute tripping.

Fremantle v Collingwood
PAUL LICURIA (C), PETER BELL (F), CHRIS TARRANT (C) and SHANE PARKER (F) for wrestling in the last quarter. From video, BELL (F) and LICURIA (C) were cited for wrestling in the first quarter. For their digressions, the four were fined – Licuria $2500, Bell $2400, Tarrant $1200 and Parker $1200.

Port Adelaide v Essendon
From video, PETER BURGOYNE (P) for charging JASON JOHNSON (E) in the first quarter. Burgoyne was suspended for one match. An appeal to the sentence was filed and heard on Thursday – the appeal was dismissed. From video, GAVIN WANGANEEN (P) for attempting to trip SEAN WELLMAN (E). Wanganeen was cleared of the charge.

Hawthorn v Carlton
SHANE CRAWFORD (H) for striking SCOTT CAMPOREALE (C) in the second quarter. This charge was later withdrawn. ANDREW McKAY (C) for wrestling AARON LORD (H). McKay on a second offence was fined $2500. DEAN RICE (C) for wrestling DANIEL CHICK (H) Rice on a second offence was fined $2500. From video, TRENT CROAD (H) for striking ANG CHRISTOU (C) in the third quarter. Croad was found guilty and suspended for one match. From video, MARK GRAHAM for striking SIMON FLETCHER (C) in the third quarter. Graham was cleared of the charge.

Stab Kicks ...
Tom Reynolds joins Lions' board – BB-FFC to be added to jumper

TOM REYNOLDS, the former Victorian Sports minister and a Fitzroy supporter since 1945 has joined the board of the Brisbane Lions. From next season, the initials BB-FFC will be worn on the backs of their jumpers honouring both the Brisbane Bears and Fitzroy. The club in a gesture of goodwill has also dropped a $1.2 million debenture charge held over the directors of the Fitzroy Football and Social Club assets. The club has issued a request that outside of their home state they be called the Lions rather than Brisbane.

Preference of "Lions" cannot always be followed
The preference of the AFL club based in Queensland to be known only as the *Lions* outside of their home state is great in principle, but most difficult in practice. Yes, the *Lions* name can be displayed on every AFL scoreboard other than the Gabba — try writing 20-pars in reference to the club, never using the words other than the *Lions* or *Brisbane Lions*.

It is the same reason why the club from the Whitten Oval causes it to be referred to the Bulldogs, Dogs, Bullies, or whatever. Clearly the name *Western Bulldogs* is too lengthy to be frequently repeated. In the case of the name change for the Arden Street club, it is either the Kangaroos, Roos or Kangas. The Brisbane club must be applauded for their earnest efforts that following their July 4 1996 merger the proud history of the Fitzroy club is honoured, embraced and not left to die.

However, there are reasons why the singular reference to *Brisbane* in association with the *Lions* will always be seen and spoken of regularly in the media.

Lethal does not have all the answers
While Brisbane coach LEIGH MATTHEWS does not have the answers of how to, he believes it may be time for a change to the 3-2-1 method of votes by umpires for the Brownlow Medal. Leigh is torn between giving his star players mid-match breaks and letting them run free, thereby maximising their chances of securing the individual bounty that would be the cream on top of the team's success. Lions' captain MICHAEL VOSS has firmed to 4/1 favouritism in Brownlow betting while teammates SIMON BLACK 10/1 and JASON AKERMANIS 12/1 are in the top 10 for football's highest honour.

Collingwood will move to redeveloped Olympic Park
Although all the plans are not clear as yet, Collingwood will move from Victoria Park to the Olympic Park complex by February 2003 — the Victorian State government will approve a $20 million loan for the redevelopment. MARK ROBINSON in the Herald Sun reported: "the Glasshouse will be redeveloped, while a swimming pool, a Victorian Institute of Sport-controlled gymnasium, athletics track and MCG-sized football oval will be made available for the Magpies' use".

Bradley is eighth to reach 350 VFL-AFL games
CRAIG BRADLEY reaches 350 matches with Carlton on Sunday against Essendon at the MCG. His is only the eighth player is League history to reach this milestone.

Carey a likely name for AFLPA MVP trophy
WAYNE CAREY has emerged as a likely candidate for football immortality following decision by the AFL Players' Association to name its most prestigious award after a champion footballer. Carey is one of several names to have stood out in the early stages of a nationwide players' poll to determine which footballer's likeness will appear on a bronze statuette to be awarded to the AFL's most valuable player — The Age, July 25.

ABC-TV may ditch VFL footy
ABC-TV is considering slashing its commitment to the cover of VFL football, women's netball, the national men's and women's basketball competitions and lawn bowls are at risk. The VFL telecasts are part of the ABC's regional football coverage, which takes in the SA National Football League, WAFL and rugby. While the VFL does have a pay-TV deal, it values its ABC coverage, which has generated the best ratings of any sport in its timeslot — Herald Sun, August 1.

New levy on MCG admissions
Football fans will be levied $1 a game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground from next year, as part of an agreement between the AFL and the MCG to help pay for the redevelopment of the stadium.

The new levy is part of a $150 million, 31-year deal that is expected to be signed by the AFL and the MCG in the next few weeks.

After almost two years of negotiations, the AFL has agreed to contribute $5 million annually to the MCG. An estimated $3 million of that figure will come from the league's cash reserves and close to $2 million will come from adult cash-paying football fans — The Age, July 30

Seven ready to sign Sheedy
CAROLINE WILSON reported in The Age on Wednesday (August 1) that Channel Seven is set to sign KEVIN SHEEDY to a three-year deal following a bidding war with Foxtel.

Seven, though losing the broadcast rights to Nine-Ten-Foxtel for the next five years are keen to continue programs surrounding the AFL and a Saturday night slot featuring the Bomber coach is not out of the question.

Ridley returns to Demons; 90th birthday cake for Percy Beames
On Saturday night the Melbourne FC welcomed back to the fold former president and five-time premiership player IAN RIDLEY on the occasion when he was one of 24 inductees to the Demons' Hall of Fame.

The inductees which embraces the history of the club and of all Australian Football since 1858 were: Frank Adams, Sam Allica, Ron Barassi, Percy Beames, John Beckwith, Jim Cardwell, Albert Chadwick, Denis and Don Cordner, Brian Dixon, Robert Flower, HCA Harrison, Frank 'Checker' Hughes, Allan La Fontaine, Hassa Mann, William McClelland, Noel McMahen, Jack Mueller, Ian Ridley, Norm Smith, Stuart Spencer, Ivor Warne-Smith, Greg Wells and Thomas Wills.

Host of the dinner held at the Carlton Crest Hotel was STEPHEN PHILLIPS who told that, the oldest surviving member of the group in attendance was PERCY BEAMES who was presented with a cake for his 90th birthday.

Dockers sour financially
The financial situation at the embattled Fremantle Dockers is worse than expected with documents lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission showing the club made a $1.37 million loss last year.

Fremantle are also expected to make a loss of more than $1m this season, with the club unable to win a game after 17 rounds. The Dockers also posted a loss of $153,960 in 1999 — The Australian, August 1.

The Medical Room
** STEPHEN TINGAY has failed to overcome chronic hip and buttock problems. He announced his retirement from the Sydney FC squad on July 30 after making only a brief appearance for his new club in a practice match earlier this year. He failed to play a senior match for the Swans. The 30-year-old All-Australian played 162 matches for Melbourne between 1989 and 2000 ... ** heard STAN ALVES on Sport 927 say on Monday morning that IAN PRENDERGAST in his debut on Sunday for the Blues, broke his finger early in the match, went to hospital for attention, returned to the MCG and in the last term went back on and took three very good marks—gee, that's certainly making the most of your chances ...

They said it ...
The Herald Sun, July 30, caption to a two-page colour photo spread "Jack's Back"
— Everything was new – socks, boots, shorts, guernsey — except the body.
Then again, if you're playing for a team which calls itself "Old", then being the oldest member of the team is no small feat.
John Elliott, 59, stripped for Old Carey for the 250th time on Saturday and managed 1½ quarters in the reserves clash against St Leo's Emmaus Wattle Park in D grade amateurs.
Big Jack didn't have a possession in the team's 13th loss for the season, but who's counting?  The club's more than happy to count the $10,000 a sponsor shelled out for the game.

MICHAEL GLEESON, Herald Sun, July 31 — Coaches should have annual physicals to keep them fit to cope with the stress of the high pressure job, according to Collingwood coach MICK MALTHOUSE.

Focus on 16 clubs

The Australian Football League released its strategic plan on August 1st, outlining key priorities for the organisation over the next three years.

The strategic plan re-affirms the AFL's commitment to the 16-team competition and to equalisation policies, and flags that a key direction for the AFL will be a focus on ensuring the game remains accessible to supporters in general and families in particular.

The AFL's four key strategic priorities will be the management of the national competition, the development of the game, building the national brand and enhancing the financial position of the game in Australia.

AFL Chief Executive Officer Wayne Jackson said the strategic plan set out key objectives and announced a range of initiatives for implementation over the next three years.

Key initiatives include:

> The review into the price of all ticket categories, particularly for families, for implementation in 2002

> Review of National Draft Rules and procedures

> Review of national and state/territory game development programs

> Develop an AFL charter for supporters by which the AFL will ensure that the interests of the public are central to decision-making processes, for implementation in 2002

The strategic plan also announces the AFL will develop a five-year financial plan to ensure the distribution of increased funds from broadcasting and corporate sponsorship and the sale of Waverley Park has the greatest benefit for clubs, players and national development.


Fremantle break the ice
Upsets leave Eight wide open
Carlton have the wood on Bombers

ROUND 18 — Fri-Sat-Sun, August 3-4-5.
MILESTONES— Carlton's CRAIG BRADLEY played his 350th League match, only the eighth player to reach this milestone since 1897 ... 100th matches by JAMES CLEMENT, 16 Col 2001, also 84 Fre 1996-2000 – JOSH FRANCOU (PA) 1997-2001 – BRETT MONTGOMERY, 40 PA 2000-01, also 60 WB 1997-99 ... 50th matches by TRENT CARROLL, 17 WCE 2001, also 33 Fre 1997-2000 ... TOM HARLEY played his 50th consecutive club game for Geelong 1999-2001, also 1 PA 1998 ... Fremantle's 150th AFL game was celebrated with their first victory of the 2001 season – Fitzroy in 1964 remains the last League club to be winless in a League season ... BRISBANE won their ninth successive match ... PORT ADELAIDE enjoyed their 50th AFL victory to a new record Football Park crowd of 49,846 ... WEST COAST won in their 350th League match ... PETER VARDY (Ade) reached 150 goals in game 93 ... SIMON GARLICK (WB, Syd) passed 100 goals in game 128 ...

Crowds for Round 18 broke the 300,000 mark for the 14th time in League history. Three clashes between traditional rivals in Melbourne, together with Showdown 10 in Adelaide boosted figures to 334,237 for the eight matches — the second-highest aggregate to a round in 105 seasons of League football.

<> The Swans' 107 point winning margin was the 14th biggest win in 2,015 matches for the South Melbourne-Sydney club and the biggest over the Roos—greater than the 92pts of 1934-R9-AS (the day Bob Pratt kicked eight goals and Laurie Nash seven) ... the final score of 3.16-36 was one point more than the lowest against the Swans of 4.11-35 of 1932-R15-AP and the equal of 5.6-36 of 1930 at the Lake Oval and 4.12-36 of 1965 at Coburg ...

<> The Blues became the only club to defeat the Bombers three times in the past three seasons ...

<> Brisbane posted their ninth successive victory ...

<> The 92-point win by the Eagles was a new GWM over the Saints, bigger than the 88pts of 1987-R22-S ...

<||> Old suburban rivals Richmond and Collingwood met for the 184th time on Friday night at the MCG. A crowd of 69,930 watched a contest played in good conditions. The result took the Tigers closer to their first finals appearance since 1994 (only their second since 1982) but it was far from a memorable encounter. The Magpies scored no goals after the 11th minute of the third quarter while the Tigers in one patch failed to goal for 45 minutes.

Collingwood now face a stiff task of making the final Eight. The match so often descended to a terrible level, lacking the intensity of two sides battling for a place in the finals. The litany of skill errors made it difficult for most players to get a clean kick. As MELISSA RYAN noted in The Age: When Collingwood inched out to a 14-point lead early in the third quarter, Richmond was in trouble; but the slow-burning kindling burst into flame fire in the second half as the Tigers stumbled over the top of their fading opponents with six goals to one.

Whatever fighting spirit the Pies might have been able to muster disappeared five minutes into the final term when they chipped the ball across half-back only to lose possession, allowing BRAD OTTENS to saunter in to kick his third goal of the night. MATTHEW RICHARDSON then kicked his third, a long bomb 14 minutes into the quarter and the contest was over, with Collingwood's finals aspirations not far behind, as they finished with their lowest score of the year. The Pies have a near to impossible assignment for making the Eight – they face regular finalists, the Bulldogs, Essendon, Carlton and the Kangaroos in Canberra – RICHMOND 10.11-71 (Ottens 3, Richard-son 3) best, Campbell, Gale, Ottens, COLLINGWOOD 6.15-51 (N.Davis 3) best, N.Davis, O’Bree, Licuria.

<||> Saturday afternoon at the MCG was fine and sunny for 31,074 spectators. Melbourne kept their slim finals hopes alive with an exciting three-point victory over Geelong. In contrast to their recent efforts, the Demons after half time won handsomely in the midfield and were sparked by a big performance by forward RUSSELL ROBERTSON who finished with 5.3.

The Cats, given the stakes, leapt away at the start, ROBBIE BURNS the slippery danger with two of Geelong's first four goals. However, Burns was lost late in the first quarter with a torn hamstring. Geelong, in spite of a great game by BEN GRAHAM shot themselves in the foot when they failed to match the spirit of Melbourne in the third quarter.

As SCOT PALMER noted in the Sunday Sun Herald: What happened after halftime, when Geelong lead by 15 points, will haunt coach MARK THOMPSON for the rest of this month and possibly into September. Up stepped RUSSELL ROBERTSON and several other Demons. Robertson gave veteran STEVEN FEBEY a chance to put Melbourne head for the first time at the 16-minute mark. From that point it was obvious the Demons were not going to surrender the lead. As Geelong swept back from a four-goal deficit early in the last term if the Cats miss the finals it will be thanks to JAMES McDONALD's smother from the boot of Geelong's CLINT BIZZELL in the final few minutes – MELBOURNE 16.7-103 (Robertson 5, Green 3) best, Robertson, J.McDonald, Febey, GEELONG 15.10-100 (Graham 5, Kingsley 4) best, Graham, Kingsley, Sanderson.

<||> Although the skies were blue and the sun shone brightly on Saturday afternoon, the roof at Docklands was closed under an AFL ruling. PETER SCHWAB following his scare last week with an irregular heartbeat returned to the Hawks' coaching box. Fremantle after 18 successive premiership match defeats caused the major upset of the season when they defeated the third-placed Hawthorn by 16 points before a slim crowd of 16,595. The match was played on a deteriorating Colonial surface which requires urgent attention.

Hawthorn started with their best-ever opening against the Dockers and everyone looked toward another regulation thrashing for Fremantle as the Hawks were too classy, too quick. From being 41 points ahead 12 minutes into the second quarter, by half-time the Hawks lead had been narrowed to 29 points, and their bench was eliminated with key injuries to Clarke, Chick, Rawlings and Crawford who would take no further part.

After an error-filled first half, the critical move to the forward line of JUSTIN LONGMUIR in his 31st match ignited a surge which brought Fremantle 12 of the last 16 goals. Released from the burden of Crawford after half-time, PETER BELL's experience came to the fore. He took control of the centre square and in a 38-possession display, Bell would not be denied. In the final quarter, the Hawks ran out of legs and while NATHAN THOMPSON who had a superb day did his best to stem the tide, the rarely sung Freo club song was heard for the first time this season. It appropriately celebrated Fremantle's 150th AFL match – FREMANTLE 16.10-106 (J.Longmuir 5, Pavlich 4, Koops 3) best, Bell, Haddrill, J.Longmuir, HAWTHORN 13.12-90 (Lord 4, Barker 3) best, Thompson, Lord, Barker.

<||> The SCG was in perfect condition on Saturday night as Sydney won back the hearts of 32,689 fans with a 107-point demolition of the Kangaroos. It was another sour Sydney night for the Kangaroos who may have destroyed their chances for the finals. It was the fifth successive win as the Swans added to their recent trophies of Adelaide, Hawthorn and Carlton – will Essendon be the next one?

The dramatically inaccurate shooting by the Roos wasn't the cause of their problems. The Swans defence, led by ANDREW DUNKLEY did a tremendous job of bottling up WAYNE CAREY, SAV ROCCA and COREY McKERNAN who between them kicked six behinds for the whole game. JENNY McASEY observed in The Australian: With five wins in a row, Sydney have honed a style of football based on fearless tackling, merciless pressure and stingy defence, topped by a shuffling forward line that is confounding their opponents. Maligned for their sub-standard skills not so many weeks ago, they now have a thirst for blood.

From the opening bounce Sydney applied the pincers and so-called big-men were squeezed by Sydney's defenders – most notably BRAD SEYMOUR, BEN MATHEWS and JASON SADDINGTON — with MICHAEL O'LOUGHLIN playing the artful dodger all over the ground, the Swans used the turnovers effectively, moving the ball quickly to the forward line, where a rotating band of small and tall players caught out the Kangaroos. A sure sign of Sydney's supremacy was the fact 13 players kicked goals. With 1.8 at half time, and a finish of 3.18, not surprisingly, DENIS PAGAN said he could not remember a worse performance in his nine years as coach – SYDNEY 22.11-143 (Kelly 3, Stafford 3) best, Mathews, Kelly, Williams, KANGAROOS 3.18-36, best, Simpson, Grant, Harvey.

<||> Port Adelaide climbed to the top of the home-town heap in sunshine and good conditions to a new AFL-record crowd of 49,846 at Football Park on Sunday afternoon. Adelaide started brilliantly and finished strongly – it was the in-between period which counted, where Port dominated and ran out eight-point winners in one of the best of ten Showdown's.

The Crows seemed likely to square the local Showdown score when they led 58 to 21pts, nine minutes into the second quarter, having given as good as they've played all year. ALAN SHIELL reported for The Age: But the Power, invariably at its best in a crisis these days, climbed back into the match and outscored Adelaide to lead by 29 points at the eight-minute mark of the final quarter. Then in a desperate finish the Crows flew home, kicking five of the next six goals to draw within eight points before time expired, much to the relief of the Power coaching staff.

Adelaide were unable to collectively match Port, although ANDREW McLEOD was at his magical best at times and MARK RICCIUTO, TYSON EDWARDS, and MARK BICKLEY made telling contributions. WARREN TREDREA , who eclipsed the hard-working NATHAN BASSETT, and CHAD CORNES, who kicked three goals but was otherwise contained by MARK STEVENS gave Port marking targets in attack – something that Adelaide lacked again – and CHE COCKATOO-COLLINS sank two important goals in the first two-and-a-half minutes of the final term – PORT 16.11-107 (Primus 3, C.Cornes 3) best, Francou, Paxman, Tredrea, ADELAIDE 15.9-99 (Ricciuto 3) best, Clarke, McLeod, Stevens.

<||> The MCG was in good condition on an overcast Sunday afternoon, but drizzle early in the match and heavy rain at half-time marred the day — 75,873 attended. Carlton became the only side to beat Essendon three times in the past three seasons when they won by seven points in a tight and entertaining contest. The return of Koutoufides, Whitnall and Porter strengthened the Blues and there was no finer way of celebrating Craig Bradley's 350th game with the club.

MATTHEW LAPPIN was the most effective player afield. In his 5.3, he produced both goal and mark of the day. At the 11-minute mark of the third quarter, he soccered one through from deep in the forward pocket about 20 metres out. At the 23-minute mark of the final term, in the Blues' goalsquare, Lappin ran from the side and turned in mid-air at the top of the pack to steal it out of teammate Matthew Allan's hands.

As the first half closed, the Bombers had regained the ascendancy after Carlton held a 26 point lead four minutes into the second term. The third quarter proved to be a disaster for the Bombers when they kicked a miserable 2.7 and handed the Blues every opportunity to stay in it. Essendon looked like winning when Lloyd kicked his fourth goal with only 10 minutes to play. But a goal from Franchina shortly after, then two from Lappin secured the win for Carlton. The Bombers with two losses, their first back-to-back defeats since 1998-R7 and R8 are looking just a little fragile. The loss of captain JAMES HIRD for several weeks with a sprained right ankle and the two-week suspension of MATTHEW LLOYD brings pressure on Essendon not considered only a month ago – CARLTON 16.6-102 (Lappin 5, Franchina 3) best, Lappin, Ratten, Hickmott, ESSENDON 14.11-95 (Lloyd 4) best, Hird, McVeigh, Caracella.

<||> In firm and warm conditions of 25 degrees on Sunday, 26,872 saw the Lions run away in the last quarter for a 33-point win in one of the best games at the Gabba this season—the margin however failed to credit the gallant commitment of the Western Bulldogs. Brisbane recorded its ninth successive win and they moved to second place, only one game behind Essendon.

Brisbane's speed merchant JASON AKERMANIS turned in one of his finest games. He had 19 disposals in the midfield, four in the backline and six in the Lions' forward 50. Seven times he drove Brisbane into attack, while 26 of his 29 disposals hit the target. The Bulldogs had their share on occasions but despite their best efforts, Brisbane always seemed to have something in hand. Three times in the match the Lions had to rally from behind.

The Lions led at every change and were two goals up at the last break, even though the Bulldogs had edged their way in front in the third quarter. Typically it was the effort of Akermanis that hauled the Lions back – his four goals and pace through the middle ultimately denied the Dogs any chance they had of winning. MICHAEL VOSS and SIMON BLACK were also valuable contributors while DES HEADLAND's three goals were important. For the Dogs, SIMON GARLICK (five goals) and CHRIS GRANT (three goals) were good, while CRAIG ELLIS and MATTHEW ROBBINS did their best to hold back the sweeping tide of Brisbane's attacks – BRISBANE 19.22-136 (Akermanis 4, Headland 3, Lynch 3) best, Akermanis, Voss, Black, BULLDOGS 15.13-103 (Garlick 5, Grant 3) best, Garlick, Grant, Robbins.

<||> Overnight rain turned to a good Sunday at Subiaco Oval for the clash between 14th and 15th – 31,358 attended. In a remarkable turnaround from their six-goal haul the previous week against the Swans, West Coast thrashed St Kilda by 92 points, kicking a new record score and their best winning margin over the Saints. It brought WA fans the rare event of dual wins on the same weekend by both the Eagles and the Dockers.

West Coast poured it on when they kicked 18 goals to four in the second and third quarters with a stack of winners across the field. MICHAEL GARDINER in the ruck, BEN COUSINS on the ball, PETER MATERA down the back and ASHLEY McINTOSH, ANDREW EMBLEY and ROWAN JONES up forward. They met only feeble resistance from AARON HAMILL, DANIEL WULF, JUSTIN PECKETT and MAX HUDGHTON who were the only St Kilda players to have any impact.

MARK DUFFIELD for The West Australian noted: "By the end of the game at least four of St Kilda's most promising players were wearing the bruises of a battering. The Saints' two top draft picks – NICK RIEWOLDT and JUSTIN KOSCHITZKE – both wore the brunt of TROY WILSON charges. STEVEN BAKER was stunned by a heavy bump and Wulf, arguably his team's best, received a severe cork after a collision with Gardiner."    The result may have been meaningless in terms of the competition but it sets up a Western Derby between Freo and the Eagles which deserves a packed Subiaco Oval – WEST COAST 26.15-171 (McIntosh 4, Embley 4, Jones 3, Taylor 3) best, Jones, Gardiner, Cousins, ST KILDA 12.7-79 (Wulf 2, Milne 2) best, Hamill, Wulf, Peckett.

Tribunal – Round 18

Geelong v Melbourne
ADEM YZE (M) for charging DAVID CLARKE (G) in the second quarter. The Tribunal cleared Yze of the charge.

Hawthorn v Fremantle
HEATH BLACK (F) for striking RICHARD VANDENBERG (H) in the first quarter. The Tribunal found Black guilty of this charge and suspended him for one match.
> HEATH BLACK (F) for wrestling RICHARD VANDENBERG (H) in the first quarter. The Tribunal cleared Black of this charge.
> RICHARD VANDENBERG (H) for wrestling HEATH BLACK (F) in the first quarter. The Tribunal fined Vandenberg $1200.
> HEATH BLACK (F) for striking TIM CLARKE (H) in the second quarter. The Tribunal cleared Black of this charge.

Essendon v Carlton
MATTHEW LLOYD (E) for striking SIMON FLETCHER (C) in the third quarter. Lloyd pleaded guilty and was suspended for two matches.

Port Adelaide v Adelaide
From video, MARK BICKLEY (A) for charging JOSH CARR (P) in the third quarter. Bickley was cleared of the charge.

Cameron Schwab appointed Fremantle CEO
The long-awaited appointment of CAMERON SCHWAB as Fremantle's new CEO was announced in Perth on August 8.

Schwab will start work immediately on finding Fremantle's next coach and diagnosing the Dockers' strengths and weaknesses, chairman ROSS McLEAN said on Wednesday.

Schwab will also work in conjunction with the Dockers' football department on the retention and recruitment of players.

The 37-year-old, the youngest chief executive in the code's history when appointed at Richmond in 1988 at the age of 24, came highly recommended by the AFL heavyweights — MARK DUFFIELD, The West Australian, August 9.

Stab Kicks ...
True SA flavour for Showdown 10

Showdown 10 at Footy Park had a true South Australian flavour right down to the three central umpires, Justin Schmitt, Michael Avon and Derek Woodcock who all blew the whistle in the SANFL before becoming members of the AFL panel.

93 per cent agree with T-shirt Tommy
On the eve of his 70th birthday, KEVIN BARTLETT and GARY HONEY interviewed coaching legend TOM HAFEY on Sport 927’s Big Sports Breakfast. One of Tom's quotes was that when he watched footy on TV he always turned the sound down as "commentators talked too much drivel and over-analysed".

They put T-shirt Tommy's thoughts to the test in an online survey. More than 93 per cent of Sport 927 listeners agreed with Tom.

New record for Footy Park
The Port Adelaide v Adelaide match at Football Park on Sunday posted a new AFL crowd record of 49,846. All-time record for the venue, which opened in 1974, is 66,897 for the 1976 SANFL Grand Final between Sturt and Port Adelaide.

Jackson and Demetriou survey the West
AFL bosses Wayne Jackson and Andrew Demetriou have hosed down suggestions that a trip to Perth was for crisis meetings over the state of WA football. Fremantle in particular is struggling financially under the weight of its commitment to the WA Football Commission's $38 million debt for the redevelopment of Subiaco Oval — The Age, August 8.

AFL offers help to Fremantle
The AFL has offered struggling Fremantle assistance in the form of operational expertise rather than a cash injection, chief executive Wayne Jackson said yesterday.

Jackson and AFL operations manager Andrew Demetriou yesterday wrapped up a hectic two-day visit to Perth, during which they met West Coast, Fremantle and Western Australian Football Commission (WAFC) officials, and gave WA football the thumbs-up — The Australian, August 8.

Waverley will be residential development
Waverley Park will be transformed into a high-quality residential development, according to Anderson Real Estate, the AFL's consultant for the ground's sale. More than 20 developers have shown interest, including Australand, Mirvac, Lend Lease and Delfin – Herald Sun, August 3.

Thomas set to be full-time St Kilda coach
GRANT THOMAS looks certain to become full-time coach of St Kilda, with the club expected to offer its former board member a contract for at least two, possibly three, years.

The Saints have virtually abandoned their move to establish a subcommittee charged with selecting a full-time replacement for Malcolm Blight, who was sacked last month — The Age, August 8.

Crows try to lure Pavlich back
Adelaide have started moves to lure 19-year-old MATTHEW PAVLICH back home. The former Woodville-West Torrens player still has another year remaining on his contract with Fremantle. The trade bait of names including RHETT BIGLANDS, TYSON STENGLEIN and IAN PERRIE have been mentioned, as well as the Crows' first draft pick — Herald Sun, August 9.

Frugal Kangaroos
The Kangaroos had only 1.8 on the board at half-time on Saturday night against Sydney. JASON McCARTNEY kicked their second goal, seven minutes into the third quarter.

eye annual Kokoda commemoration
MICHAEL GLEESON reported the Sydney Swans want to play an annual football match to commemorate Australia's Kokoda Trail campaign during World War Two.

The idea stems from a trek taken in December by six players – Brett Kirk, Ryan O'Keefe, Leo Barry, Rowan Warfe, Andrew Schauble and Gerrard Bennett. Sydney chief executive KELVIN TEMPLETON said the trip had a profound impact of the players.

The players were also affected by the fact there are no official memorials on the track. Templeton said the match could be played on the first Sunday in August each year, to coincide with Victory in the Pacific Day.

The Kokoda campaign started on July 27, 1942 and during the ensuing two months, the Aussies fought against overwhelming odds as the Japanese advanced toward Port Moresby. The Aussies rallied and drove the Japanese back through the village of Kokoda and into the sea at Buna and Gona. — Herald Sun, August 7.

Salary cap breaches:
Kangaroos and Melbourne fined
The AFL fined the Kangaroos and Melbourne for salary cap breaches related to season 2000.

The Roos were fined $20,000 and the Demons $5000.

Both clubs protested but are unlikely to appeal. Melbourne chief executive JOHN ANDERSON said the club's auditors failed to lodge documents to their audit of player payments until 12 days after the prescribed time frame required by the League.


Gallant Swans fall to Bombers
Magpies hold on to eighth place
Kangaroos burst back with a win
Bradley plays his 468th

ROUND 19 — Fri-Sat-Sun, August 10-11-12.
MILESTONES— Carlton's CRAIG BRADLEY played senior game 468, passing PETER CAREY's record to become the longest serving player of 144 years of Australian Football ... Carey between 1971-88 played 448 for Glenelg and 19 State League matches for South Australia ... Bradley's total of 468 is 351 for Carlton, 98 for Port Adelaide (SANFL), 4 State League matches for SA and 15 State of Origin matches for SA ...

SHANNON GRANT played his 150th, 92 NMK 1998-2001, also 58 Syd 1995-97 ... 100 games by MATTHEW PRIMUS, 70 PA 1997-2001, 20 Fit 1996 ... 50th games by MARK PORTER (Car) 1997-2001 – JAMES WALKER (Fre) 1998-2001 ... PAUL BARNARD played his 100th club match for Essendon, also 11 Haw 1994-95 ... ANDREW McLEOD (Ade) reached 150 goals in game 142 ...

<> The Roos won their fifth successive match against Geelong ... the rebounding Kangas broke a three-match losing run – under Pagan since 1993, they have never lost four on-the-trot ...

<> for the second time this season Adelaide stunned Carlton immediately after the Blues had beaten the top-ranked Essendon ... the Blues equalled its lowest score of the season ...

<> Brisbane equalled their 1999 record of 10 successive wins ... the Lions defeated the Tigers for the first time under the coaching of LEIGH MATTHEWS.

<||> On a clear Friday night, the Kangaroos erased three successive failures and for a change, handed out a belting to someone else. The Roos were emphatic 49 point winners over finals hopefuls Geelong in good conditions at the MCG. Despite their need for a boost in percentage the Roos failed to improve on their three-quarter margin when both sides kicked 4.1 in the last term.

Looking a completely different side to the one which was embarrassed by Sydney the week before, the Roos enjoyed a night of deadly accuracy against a ragged Geelong and the Roo defence was in vintage form. After COREY McKERNAN's match opening goal, the Cats asserted itself with three unanswered goals, only for the momentum to swing again, with the Kangaroos getting two lots of two goals in a minute. That was capped by the undeniable highlight of the night when beanpole MATTHEW BURTON marked and from a flat-footed start executed four baulks around shorter opponents, leading to a DAVID KING goal.

Geelong were still alive when 25 points down entering time-on of the second term, only for the Roos to surge and SHANNON MOTLOP to kick a spectacular third goal to push the gap out to 43 point at halftime. The third quarter was tight and scrappy, with Geelong controlling play but too many of their attacks were off line and they yielded only 1.6 for the term. The Roos and Cats fought it out evenly in the last quarter with the Kangas' hopes still very much alive, winning by a solid margin – KANGAROOS 21.5-131 (Pickett 3, King 3, Motlop 3) best, Simpson, Burton Harvey, GEELONG 12.10-82 (Graham 3) best, Riccardi, Sanderson, King.

<||> Only 14,018 were present at Dock-lands on Saturday afternoon when St Kilda pushed Port Adelaide all the way. Conditions were fair, with Colonial's the patchy centre corridor surface in need of attention. The Saints clicked in patches and controlled much of the match with passion and possession.

In what turned into a crunch game, the Saints held Port goalless for the first 23 minutes and the visitors only hit the lead for the first time 10 minutes into the second quarter. Wayward kicking by the Saints – 3.8 in the first and 3.4 in the second – would be rued at the end of the game. St Kilda's PETER EVERITT had a superb match against Port's MATTHEW PRIMUS, arguably the best ruckman going around in the competition. Everitt's 21 hit-outs – 10 more than Primus – his three crucial goals and general leadership brought his side back into the game in the second half.

The game's finish gave St Kilda fans a flutter of hope, as the Saints rallied from a 31-point deficit at three-quarter time to boot the first five goals of the last term and hover within two points. But Port Adelaide's two-point lead became eight when rampaging ball-winner NICK STEVENS sliced out of the centre to CHE COCKATOO-COLLINS for goal, extending to two goals when FABIAN FRANCIS kicked his fourth from a quick rebound. CHAD CORNES finished with four goals as Port's best afield, while ROGER JAMES was persistently under notice – PORT 19.11-125 (Francis 4, C.Cornes 4, Tredrea 3) best, C.Cornes, Stevens, Wanganeen, ST KILDA 16.18-114 (Milne 4, Hamill 3, Everitt 3) best, Everitt, Milne, Thompson.

<||> In a rare Saturday night match at the MCG, Hawthorn in good conditions returned to form and convincingly thumped Melbourne by 85 points – 26,632 were present. The Hawks never relaxed and whatever mathematical hope of making the finals burned for the Demons was swiftly doused. The display put the Hawks back on track as coach PETER SCHWAB returned for the first time in three weeks to complete control of the squad.

Hawthorn were determined from the outset and the Demons were powerless to overcome the height and rebound out of the Hawks' defence. Hawthorn also boasted multiple winners in the midfield with SHANE CRAWFORD, ANGELO LEKKAS and DANIEL HARFORD all in devastating form. TRENT CROAD in his best outing for the season booted five goals, while BEN DIXON and KRIS BARLOW each kicked four. JOHN BARKER chimed in with three as the Hawthorn forward line clicked.

In a response to a red-faced blast from NEALE DANIHER, Melbourne's last quarter was a little better, the Hawks however finished strongly adding six-straight to 2.5. BRUCE MATTHEWS noted for the Herald Sun: Several Melbourne playmakers – such as SHANE WOEWODIN, JEFF FARMER and ANDREW LEONCELLI – looked like they couldn't wait for season's end, if nothing more than to recover from restricting ailments – HAWTHORN 24.12-156 (Croad 5, Barlow 4, Dixon 4, Barker 3) best, Crawford, Barlow, Croad, MELBOURNE 10.11-71 (Schwarz 2, Yze 2, Farmer 2) best, Yze, Schwarz, Funcke.

<||> Football Park on a great Saturday night accommodated 44,542 for the 17th clash between Carlton and Adelaide. For the second time this season, the Crows stunned the Blues immediately after Carlton had beaten the top-ranked side Essendon. Carlton were held to eight goals all night – last week against the Bombers they kicked seven in the first quarter.

MICHELANGELO RUCCI in The Advertiser noted: "Carlton were comprehensively beaten on the field and in the pre-match planning. Adelaide coach GARY AYRES picked his marks well: ROBERT SHIRLEY on SCOTT CAMPOREALE, TYSON STENGLEIN on MATTHEW LAPPIN. KANE JOHNSON on ADRIAN HICKMOTT." The Blues came off a miserable second-best in a spirited contest when the genius of ANDREW McLEOD and DARREN JARMAN inspired Adelaide to its best performance of the season.

Adelaide grabbed the initiative with the first two goals of the match and, with an aggressive play-on style, soon asserted a superiority that made Carlton look surprisingly second-rate – 40 minutes elapsed between Carlton's second and third goals. ALAN SHIELL reported for The Age: The Crows are at their best when their experienced players are firing, and this clearly was the case as McLEOD, MARK RICCIUTO, SIMON GOODWIN, BEN HART, Jarman, MARK BICKLEY and NIGEL SMART showed the way when the victory was set up in the first half. RHETT BIGLANDS shouldered the ruck burden magnificently in the absence of MATTHEW CLARKE. Amazingly, Biglands did not rest until he was taken off – to a standing ovation – late in the last quarter – ADELAIDE 16.10-106 (Jarman 4, Stevens 3, McLeod 3) best, McLeod, Biglands, Bickley, CARLTON 8.5-53 (Lappin 2) best, McKay, Houlihan, Lappin. Investigation: An investigation was launched for a behind-play incident during the fourth quarter from which TYSON STENGLEIN (A) was concussed. AFL reporting officer RICK LEWIS interviewed Carlton and Adelaide players and staff. No umpires witnessed the incident nor was it captured by cameras. No action was taken.

<||> The Brisbane Lions equalled their 1999 club record of 10 consecutive wins when they defeated Richmond in good conditions of 25 degrees at the Gabba on Sunday afternoon — 31,324 fans were present. The Lions eventually won by 31 points to maintain their grip on second place of the the ladder, one game clear of Port Adelaide and just one game and percentage behind Essendon with three rounds remaining.

Brisbane's forward combination of DANIEL BRADSHAW and ALASTAIR LYNCH always had Richmond worried. Bradshaw had one of his best games, finishing with five goals. More importantly, he proved difficult to match such was his high work rate, sure marking and accuracy near goal. MATTHEW RICHARDSON also finished with five goals (all in the second half), as Richmond capitalised in the foot injury to JASON AKERMANIS while MICHAEL VOSS suffered groin soreness. With the Lions 51 points up six minutes into the third quarter, BILL McDONALD  for The Age noted: ... "suddenly WAYNE CAMPBELL and MATTHEW KNIGHTS found themselves with breathing space and a comeback was on."

The pair picked up 24 possessions in the third quarter then by the 14th minute mark of the final term, with goals to Bowden and Richardson, the margin was reduced to 11 points. By then Voss had returned to the fray and in partnership with the old firm of Black and Lappin, the middle again became Lion territory. It was rookie ROBBIE COPELAND who stepped up to drill three crucial goals, two within a minute, to kill off any chance of a Tiger boilover. For most of the game and perhaps because of the Brisbane heat, the Tigers looked anything but a top-eight side – BRISBANE 19.14-128 (Bradshaw 5, Copeland, Lynch 3) best, Bradshaw, Lappin, B.Scott, RICHMOND 15.7-97 (Richardson 5, Rogers 3) best, Campbell, Knights, Chaffey.

Although Collingwood won only their second match of the past six weeks, their run of good fortune continued when they scored a confidence-boosting victory over the Western Bulldogs by seven goals at the MCG on Sunday afternoon in good but overcast conditions. Given the stakes of the match, only a modest crowd of just 38,793 witnessed a contest that will have a great bearing on the composition of the Final Eight.

At times, the Magpies looked as good as they have for much of the season. Collingwood shut the Bulldogs out of the contest and ran away from early in the third quarter. The Pies kept the shackles on the Bulldog midfielders and ran strongly from half-back, where TARKYN LOCKYER, RYAN LONIE and SIMON PRESTIGIACOMO proved an insurmountable barrier, and were able to produce enough entries into the 50-metre arc to have 35 shots at goal.

CHARLES HAPPELL for The Age observed: Perhaps the Magpies' only flaw, as coach Malthouse noted later, was their inability to convert their myriad chances in front of goal. The Bulldogs were flattered by the final score, having trailed by 62 points early in the last quarter before kicking four of the last five goals. CHRIS TARRANT didn't get much of the ball – but NICK DAVIS and LEON DAVIS made up for that and combined for seven goals – they were simply too quick for the Bulldog defenders – COLLINGWOOD 17.17-119 (L.Davis 4, Rocca 3, N.Davis 3) best, Rocca, Buckley, N.Davis, BULLDOGS 11.11-77 (Hudson 3) best, Johnson, Harrison, Hunter.

<||> A good crowd of 45,057 attended Docklands on Sunday afternoon to watch Sydney out-run, out-tackle and outplay Essendon for three-and-a-half quarters of a fascinating match. It took 18-and-a-half minutes for the first goal to be kicked. Both sides laid bone-crunching tackles that shook the rafters of the stadium. Sydney controlled most of the game, and always seemed to have an answering goal whenever the Bombers looked a chance of rallying.

It was a battle of defences, with the Swans' backmen, led by BRAD SEYMOUR, enhancing their reputation as the stingiest in the competition, while the Bombers' shining lights were DAMIAN HARDWICK, DUSTIN FLETCHER and PAUL BARNARD. Essendon looked nothing like a reigning premier as most players fumbled and under heavy pressure from the in-form Swans made unbelievable
errors – and they trailed at half-time 7.6 to 2.8.

To three-quarter time the Swans had held Essendon to just five goals and the game, it seemed, was as good as theirs. It would take only 15 minutes for the Bombers to steal it. Down 22-points midway through the final term, the Dons grafted a couple of goals to get within 9-points. Sydney missed their chance to seal the game and when STEVEN ALESSIO goaled from a set-shot it was down to four. The defining moment came in the dying moments when Fletcher hooked a speculative ball into the forward line – to see two Swans defenders flail at the footy and Alessio to come over the top in the pack to take the mark. He goaled from 30 metres – the Bombers hit the front for the first time in the match – and the siren sounded four seconds later – ESSENDON 11.13-79 (Alessio 4) best, Alessio, Hardwick, Fletcher, SYDNEY 11.11-77 (Nicks 3) best, Ball, Williams, Kelly.

<||> The 14th Western Derby drew 41,285, the biggest crowd of the season to Subiaco Oval on a fine Sunday afternoon. For more than three quarters it looked a game West Coast was not destined to win, but win comfortably. Yet, there was Fremantle, with 17 minutes to go, clawing its way back to within 14 points.
MARK DUFFIELD for The West Australian reported: As quickly as it appeared, the contest was gone. TROY WILSON slotted the goal that broke a run of four by Fremantle and broke the Dockers' hearts. It might have been an unlikely victory snatched from behind, but it also could have been a blow-out. The match had no bearing on the competition with 14th battling 16th. The few bright lights that the Eagles have had over the year shone even brighter for the Derby.

BEN COUSINS was excellent yet again in the middle, DANIEL KERR was exciting and PETER MATERA maintained what has been an outstanding run of form over the past month across half-back. Fremantle's best players came from their experienced midfield — with TROY COOK, ADRIAN FLETCHER and PETER BELL all working hard to keep the Dockers in the game. GLEN JAKOVICH held MATTHEW PAVLICH to just a handful of touches and had 23 himself in arguable his strongest performance of the year. His efforts gained Jakovich the Ross Glendinning Medal for best afield in the 14th Derby – WEST COAST 14.14-98 (Merenda 4) best, Cousins, Peter Matera, Jakovich, FREMANTLE 9.10-64 (Carr 2) best, Cook, Fletcher, Bell.

Tribunal – Round 19

Kangaroos v Geelong
CAMERON MOONEY (G) for striking JESS SINCLAIR (K) in the second quarter. Mooney pleaded guilty and was suspended for three matches.

Adelaide v Carlton
Investigation: An investigation was launched for a behind-play incident during the fourth quarter from which TYSON STENGLEIN (A) was concussed. AFL reporting officer RICK LEWIS interviewed Carlton and Adelaide players and staff. No umpires witnessed the incident nor was it captured by cameras. No action was taken.

Brisbane v Richmond
CHRIS SCOTT (B) reported by boundary umpire JOSEPH TOON for abusive language in the second quarter. The charge was later withdrawn.

Tribunal chairman Brian Collis on Tuesday reminded players appearing before him in coming weeks of the Tribunal's new power to direct that bans overhanging at the start of next year be served in the season proper rather than the Ansett Cup.

Aylett back as Kangaroos chairman
The Kangaroos on Monday announced that DR ALLEN AYLETT had been elected to the position of chairman elect of the club, effective immediately.

Dr Aylett, a former VFL president, was recently invited back to the board after being the club's president from 1971 to 1977.

In making the announcement, existing chairman ANDREW CARTER said the club was fortunate to have a person of Aylett's credentials and experience to lead the club into the next period.

Aylett, a former 220-game player for the 'Roos, went on to become the eighth and final president of the VFL from 1977 to 1984, overseeing the shift of South Melbourne to become the Sydney Swans in 1982 – the first step to the creation of a national league.

MCG redevelopment plans

The Melbourne Cricket Club, which manages the MCG, detailed some aspects of its redevelopment plans on Tuesday. Victorian premier STEVE BRACKS joined the MCC and MCG Trust to announce tenders will be called by December for the $460 million project to update the ground and ready it for the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Three AFL grand finals in 2002, 2003 and 2004 will be played before 70,000 to 80,000 with the majority of work performed each side of the grand finals to ensure capacity was not reduced too much. The redevelopment will lift capacity from the current 98,000 to over 100,000.

The MCC will spend $10 million per year for 31 years while the AFL will contribute $5 million annually until 2030. The federal and Victorian governments will also make contributions.

Over the next three weeks, 70,000 MCC members will consider some aspects of the redevelopment – there be no corporate naming rights for the ground, no creation of an exclusive membership class like Colonial's Medallion Club and no loss of parkland surrounding the ground.

Key features of the redevelopment include one giant new structure to replace the old Ponsford, Olympic and members' stands, bucket seating, a multimedia centre called MCG City to house the Australian Gallery of Sport and other memorabilia displays, an extra TAB, the recreation of the Long Room, more food outlets, merchandise stalls and improved player facilities.

Radio Ratings
Applause all around
All three Melbourne radio stations were able to applaud themselves when the third ratings of the season were released last week.
JON ANDERSON in the Herald Sun on August 8 predicted the figures set up an intriguing showdown come September. In the breakdown of all time slots over Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays, ABC 774 improved in 12 of the 16 slots.

Figures from the previous ratings are in brackets —





Friday nights 12.8 (13.4) 12.6 (10.5) 13.6 (8.8)
Saturday 12-6pm 14.6 (15.7) 13.7 (12.2) 12.6 (11.1)
Saturday night 7.0 (7.6) 8.2 (5.4) 10.1 (8.8)
Sunday 12-6pm 13.0 (12.1) 12.0 (12.1) 10.6 (9.8)


Turf replaced a third time at Docklands

The expensive turf at Colonial Stadium is causing concern to venue management.

Quality problems with the grass surface of Docklands Stadium this season has brought about the third replacement of the centre corridor – the centre strip from point post to point post. Before Friday's Round 20 Kangaroos–Adelaide match, 5400 square metres of turf costing nearly $300,000 was replaced.

Earlier in the year, in the weeks between Rounds 4 and 7, the total playing surface of 19,000 square metres of turf was replaced at a cost of $1.4 million.

Before the AFL's 14th round and when the the rugby test involving Australia and the British and Irish Lions was played at the venue, the centre corridor was renewed a second time, at a cost of some $300,000.

It appears a life of only five or six weeks at best is expected and two million dollars for grass in one season is an expensive exercise.

IAN COLLINS, the chief executive of Stadium Operations Limited said the Stadium had to investigate ways of ensuring that the turf lasted longer.

Stab Kicks ...
Tommy gives his votes ...

Four-time Carlton premiership player DAVID 'Swan' McKAY partners the much-loved TOM HAFEY on 'Around the Grounds' duties for ABC Radio broadcasts. 'Swan' and other ABC commentators broke up when T-shirt Tom gave his votes on Sunday afternoon for the Collingwood-Bulldogs match — Tom awarded two to *Presta-Perry Como* ... we all knew who Tom meant. What's next, "Hafey's Half-Hour"?

VFL to Waverley Park?
The VFL has been asked to consider making its new home at the redeveloped Waverley Park site. Potential property developers have discussed the possibility of the VFL using a new ground and offices on the site of the old stadium. Carlton has asked the VFL to base itself at Optus Oval, while Collingwood has made a similar offer at Victoria Park — DARYL TIMMS, Herald Sun, August 15.

Bulldogs won, but lost $90,000
The Western Bulldogs voiced concerns when it was found the club lost $90,000 when the Round 15 match at Colonial Stadium versus Fremantle drew only 15,111 spectators – Herald Sun, August 15.

The Medical Room
** JAMES HIRD is said to have made a swift recovery from his right ankle injury suffered in the Round 18 match versus Carlton – he could be a starter for the Collingwood clash ... ** Brisbane's JASON AKERMANIS was cleared of a suspected stress fracture to his foot, but is likely to sit out the match against Fremantle on Sunday in Perth ... ** St Kilda's games record-holder STEWART LOEWE has given up his plan to resume playing this season – at 33, he will have knee surgery in the hope of one last crack at League football in 2002 ...

They said it ...
MARK DUFFIELD, The West Australian, August 11
— Schwab has been around long enough to know the difference between hope, hype and reality.
For yesterday, he dispensed with the hype and dealt hope and reality checks in carefully measured doses.
If the Dockers get it right, he said, no club in the AFL has bigger scope for improvement.
If Cameron Schwab can deliver on his stated aim of turning the promising but wayward Dockers around, rescuing WA football clubs will be another thing that runs in the Schwab family.

MICHELANGELO RUCCI, The Advertiser, August 13 — In his 468th senior game (with Carlton and Port) CRAIG BRADLEY officially became football's most enduring player, breaking PETER CAREY's SANFL record with Glenelg.


Crows deny Roos a finals berth
Saints play in alternate guernsey
Bombers burst back to defeats Pies
Sydney throw one away

ROUND 20 — Fri-Sat-Sun, August 17-18-19.
MILESTONES—CHRIS GRANT (FWB) played his 250th League match (1990-2001) ... 200 games by DARYN CRESSWELL (Syd) 1992-2001 and SHAUN H