Category Archives: AFL

Gary Ablett wins the 2013 Brownlow Medal

By Brad Eveleigh ( @Brad_Eveleigh )

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Gold Coast superstar, Gary Ablett, has won his second Brownlow Medal overnight in a nail biting conclusion at Melbourne’s Crown Casino.

The Suns Captain pipped former Geelong team-mate Joel Selwood and Collingwood’s Dane Swan late in the tally count.

Ablett took an expected early lead in the voting but had to come from behind in the final round scoring 3 votes to clinch the AFL’s Best and Fairest award by just 1 vote, with a total of 28 polling points.

Geelong’s Joel Selwood took a late lead in Round 21 to overhaul Ablett’s advantage whilst Collingwood’s Dane Swan collected 3 votes over Rounds 21 and 22 to be 1 point clear of Ablett on 26 and 25 respectively.

Neither Selwood nor Swan gained votes in Round 23 therefore the AFL’s CEO Andrew Demetriou announced the Gold Coast Suns v GWS Giants match last, finally revealing Ablett as the 2013 winner with 3 votes to win by 1 at the death.

Whilst accepting the medal, Ablett said: “I was very nervous towards the end,”

“I was actually shattered I didn’t get two [points in the last round] because Joel deserves to be up here just as much as I do.”

“He’s an ex-team-mate of mine and a very good friend. You deserve to be up here mate.”

“No doubt it’s an honour, it has been a rare challenge up there. I knew when I moved to the Gold Coast it’s going to take time.”

“I’m really hoping we can win a premiership in my time.”

“I have fantastic people around me, I’ve got to thank Guy McKenna [Suns Coach], he’s given me fantastic support.”

“He gave me advice saying ‘mate, remember it’s going to take time up here. Just have patience and it will happen eventually.”

Ablett, who won the medal with the Geelong Cats in 2009, is the fifth player to win Brownlow Medals at different clubs, joining Ian Stewart, Peter Moore, Greg Williams and Chris Judd.

pic: the age

The 2013 AFL All-Australian Team

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Backline: Corey Enright (Geelong), Scott Thompson (North Melbourne), Michael Johnson (Fremantle).

Half-Backs: Jarrad McVeigh (Sydney) – Sam Mitchell (Hawthorn) – Harry Taylor (Geelong Cats).

Centre-line: Joel Selwood (Captain) (Geelong)  Ryan Griffen (Western Bulldogs) – Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood) .

Half-Forwards: Patrick Dangerfield (Adelaide Crows) Travis Cloke (Collingwood) Kieren Jack (Sydney Swans)
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Forwards: Jarryd Roughead (Hawthorn) – Jeremy Cameron (GWS Giants) – Chad Wingard (Port Adelaide)
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Ruckmen: Gary Ablett (Vice Captain) (Gold Coast Suns) – Will Minson (Western Bulldogs) – Dane Swan (Collingwood).

Interchange: Dan Hannebery (Sydney) – Travis Boak (Port Adelaide)  Andrew Mackie (Geelong) Jobe Watson (Essendon)
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FACTS AND STATS

  • 12 players honoured for the first time.

– Andrew Mackie (Geelong)

– Scott Thompson (North Melbourne)

– Will Minson (Western Bulldogs)

– Ryan Griffen (Western Bulldogs)

– Jarryd Roughead (Hawthorn)

– Michael Johnson (Fremantle)

– Travis Boak (Port Adelaide)

– Chad Wingard (Port Adelaide)

– Jarrad McVeigh (Sydney)

– Kieren Jack (Sydney)

– Dan Hannebery (Sydney)

– Jeremy Cameron (GWS Giants)

  • Jeremy Cameron (GWS Giants) became the first All-Australian in the club’s history.
  • Cameron kicked 62 goals from 21 games and took 106 marks.
  • Chad Wingard (Port Adelaide) made the team in just his second AFL season.
  • Andrew Mackie finally made the cut after being nominated on two previous occasions, three premierships and 197 games.
  • Joel Selwood (Geelong) was named Captain with Gary Ablett (Gold Coast Suns) as Vice Captain.
  • Gary Ablett has become the first VFL/AFL player in history to win All-Australian selection in seven consecutive seasons.
  • Collingwood’s Dane Swan was named for the fifth straight season and it’s four in-a-row for teammate Scott Pendlebury.
  • Out of the 12 clubs represented in the 22-man team, Geelong has four players – Collingwood and Sydney each have three.
  • Chad Wingard kicked 40 goals from 59 shots and took 101 inside 50’s.
  • Jarryd Roughead kicked 68 goals to win the Coleman Medal.

Ablett Jnr wins the AFL’s MVP award, again.

By Brad Eveleigh ( @Brad_Eveleigh )

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Gold Coast Suns star Gary Ablett Jnr has won the 2013 AFL Players’ Association’s Most Valuable Player award for the second consecutive year.

It is a record fifth Leigh Matthews Trophy for Ablett but this time by a record margin in the 3, 2 and 1 voting format by his peers.

With a staggering 1479 votes, the 29-year-old shattered second placed Geelong captain Joel Selwood, who totalled 1004 votes.

The margin of victory has now place Ablett as the favourite to take out the prestigious Brownlow Medal in two weeks time.

He also won the award three years straight when playing with Geelong from 2007 to 2009.

No other player has won the award more than twice. Chris Judd, Greg Williams, Wayne Carey and Michael Voss are the only other multiple winners.

This year, Ablett kicked 28 goals and averaged 31 disposals in his 21 games for the Suns.

He is also expected to receive his seventh straight All Australian honour next week.

Other results on the night seen Joel Selwood voted the AFL’s best captain and his third Most Courageous Player in the league award.

Gold Coast Suns medal tally grew as Jaeger O’Meara was named the Best First-Year Player and Essendon Bombers’ Dyson Heppell was honoured with the captain of the inaugural 22under22 team, a side containing the competition’s best players in that age category.

 

pic: afl players.

They Might Be Giants

 By Daniel Cousens ( @DanCuzns )

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I’ve been thinking about writing a piece on this subject for much of the 2013 AFL season and finally got around to it now. We are currently entering Round 19 of the season and the GWS Giants are still yet to win a game this season, after winning two games in the 2012 season. Now it is not a surprise to anyone that the Giants have struggled dramatically on the field in their first two seasons. The way the AFL expansion was set up, it has the new teams be awful early on, but with a dearth of young talent and draft picks to develop and be great by year four or five, as we are just starting to see the signs of with the Gold Coast Suns in their third season.

The problem isn’t the lack of success on the field for the Giants, but rather the lack of success off it. Whilst obviously if the Giants were doing better on the field it would then be easier to grow their fan base, the fact that it was made clear to everyone that the on field results wouldn’t be there should have allowed them to establish a decent core base of fans from which to grow. Unfortunately, that core base to get involved from the jump didn’t materialise in large enough numbers.

Now it may sound like it is purely a moment of ‘Captain Hindsight’ but I and pretty much every AFL fan from Sydney I know saw this coming. The fact is, the AFL never should have expanded and created the GWS Giants in the first place, or at least not for several more years. Whilst Western Sydney is a heavily populated area and is filled with sports fans, there was no evidence that the people in that region wanted their own AFL team. The truly hardcore AFL fans were already Sydney Swans fans or fans of Victorian teams and there weren’t many casual fans just waiting to get a team based closer to their home, like there was with the A-League.

Be that as it may, there is a very specific reason the AFL expanded into Western Sydney as early as it did and it isn’t about losing ground to NRL and the Western Sydney Wanderers. The AFL expanded into Western Sydney because they were negotiating a new TV deal and being able to say they had a second team in the biggest TV market, specifically in the most densely populated area of that market, was a huge bargaining chip for the AFL to use to increase the value of the deal. Whether the people in that market actually tune in won’t impact this TV deal, but it might impact the next one if they can’t right the ship.

The idea of having a team in Western Sydney is so much more appealing than the reality of it. But once they made that decision to expand into the market, they needed to execute it correctly to make it at least have a chance.

Unfortunately they seemed to have missed the mark in that way too. In terms of players, whilst their young draft picks are coming along nicely, their recruiting of marquee names was poor. Tom Scully, whilst a young talent, is not nearly the name nor the player that Gary Ablett is or was. Paying Scully to be the face of the organisation from Day One only made sense if he was going to be at All-Australian level from the beginning; otherwise he was just an overpaid and slightly more advanced version of all the kids they were drafting to play with him. If they believed Scully was a star already, they were badly mistaken and if they believed it was wiser to spend the money on a player still developing, it is yet to be proven and seems headed in the wrong direction.

Then they also signed an NRL convert to attract the NRL fans, much like the Gold Coast already did. However the difference is that Folau was never a beloved figure in Western Sydney even though he was born there, plus unlike Karmichael Hunt, he had never played a junior game of AFL. Not to mention the fact that learning a key position is significantly harder than Hunt learning to just attack the ball and his opponent around the ground. The Folau experiment was doomed to fail and whilst he earned good money, he wasted a couple of years of his career that he could have used to dominate the NRL or Super Rugby, as he has done since he switched to play for the NSW Waratahs this year.

Off the field, their promotions failed just as badly. Unlike the Western Sydney Wanderers, the Giants did an awful job endearing themselves to the local community of Western Sydney. I don’t live in that area but I’ve spoken to several sports fans that do and none had any knowledge or relationship with the Giants beyond the standard advertising we saw around the city. If anything, the Giants publically seemed to completely misunderstand the culture of the various people in the area and Kevin Sheedy as coach and figurehead did a truly awful job by being arrogant, dismissing the NRL culture of the area and of course the ethnic background of many in the area. The Giants needed to tap into the community at a grass roots level and if anything they went the other way and alienated many people that could have been won over eventually.

The other problem with the Giants from an AFL standpoint is that the manner in which they did the expansion ended up retarding the ability for struggling, existing clubs like the Melbourne Demons to rebuild. The AFL draft is the main way clubs can rebuild and the Demons have been left in purgatory waiting for the chance to get the draft picks their lack of success has earned them. Sure they made bad decisions along the way, but in the two years they had the number one pick, they selected one bust and one prospect that ditched them for the GWS anyway. If the AFL ever expands again, I think they need to reconsider the way the expansion team builds their squad.

All is not yet lost for the Giants. If they can land a legitimate star like Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin as rumoured to go along with the development of their young players, their on field performances will clearly improve and give the franchise some star power to try to reach the market again. But they need to throw out everything they have done to this point, all but apologise to the people of the area and start from scratch, building relationships within the communities they are trying to reach.

The on field success will come within the next few years and by default that will increase their fan base, but will it be increasing from abysmal to mediocre, or will it be increasing from mediocre to decent? That will come down to how they go about fixing what is clearly a broken model right now.

But if they can get it right, well then they might be Giants.

Sydney Swans Injury Crisis

By Brad Eveleigh ( @Brad_Eveleigh )

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The Sydney Swans injury list has added a new recruit with forward Sam Reid now in doubt for the rest of the season and possibly the finals.

Reid left the field in the first quarter of the game against the Melbourne Demons on Sunday after re-tearing the same quadriceps muscle that he did against the Collingwood Magpies in Round 9.

Swans coach John Longmire said: “The new tear is a lower grade to what Sam initially suffered against Collingwood five weeks ago, however, given he has reinjured it, we will need to be very conservative with his rehabilitation,”

“Sam has worked so hard to get himself right over the past month, so it’s certainly disappointing for him that he is going to spend another extended period on the sidelines.”

The Swans now have 9 players on the unavailable list. A list that is full of big name players as well:

Sam Reid (quadricep)

Adam Goodes (knee)

Lewis Jetta (shin)

Lewis-Roberts-Thomson (knee)

Rhyce Shaw (abomen)

Alex Johnson (knee)

Gary Rohan (leg)

Mitch Morton (quad)

Martin Mattner (retirement)

Lewis Jetta may be a late inclusion this week when the Swans take on their cross-town rival the GWS Giants at the SCG on Sunday.

Jetta was determined to return from his shin injury in Round 13 away to Port Adelaide but a slower than predicted recovery has seen him continue watching from the stands.

On a positive note, Ruckman Shane Mumford was one to be excluded from the injury list as he took to the field against Melbourne last Sunday.

Mumford had been missing for the 2 rounds prior with a fractured cheekbone. Standing 2cm shy of 2m, Mumford donned modified headgear that covered both cheekbones with an extension from the temple of the protective headwear.

Mumford was excited to take the field again last week, not only because it was his first game back from injury, but also because it was the first time the  “3 Giants” had played together in Canadian Mike Pyke (201cm), Kurt Tippett (202cm) and himself.

Tippett, who moved to Sydney from Adelaide at the start of the season, was sidelined for the first 11 round of the Premiership Season on suspension for his role in the Crows salary cap breaching last year.

pic: sydneyswans. com.au