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LIVE: Demons upset Crows in a thriller

Written By Unknown on Sabtu, 03 Mei 2014 | 16.41

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MELBOURNE forward Chris Dawes kicked three goals in the Demons' thrilling victory at Adelaide Oval.

The Demons withstood a late Crows' rally to defeat the home side by three points in front of about 45,000 people.

Dawes was brilliant up forward, while midfielders Dom Tyson and Bernie Vince starred around the stoppages.

There was injuries aplenty in the contest with Jack Watts (back), James Frawley (ankle), Tom Lynch (jaw), Alexis Georgiou (concussion) and Matthew Jaensch (back) receiving treatment during the first half.

Earlier, Hawthorn produced its biggest ever win over St Kilda, brutally thumping the hapless Saints by 145 points in a wet weather clinic at the MCG.

Jarryd Roughead, Ryan Schoenmakers and Luke Breust all kicked four goals in the massacre, while the Hawks' defensive line gave tremendous rebound, led by Grant Birchall, Shaun Burgoyne, Luke Hodge and Josh Gibson.

However the Hawks have suffered injury blows to key players, with star midfielder Sam Mitchell (hamstring) and Norm Smith medallist Brian Lake (calf) both finishing on the interchange bench.


In Canberra, Port Adelaide has recovered from a slow start to lead GWS by 39 points at quarter time.

Brendon Goddard returns to Essendon's line-up for the Bombers' clash with the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium, while Sydney travels north — without Lance Franklin — to tackle the Brisbane Lions, who could be without champion forward Jonathon Brown due to general soreness.


Hawthorn 27.13 (175) def St Kilda 4.6 (30) at MCG

GWS Giants v Port Adelaide at Startrack Oval (2.10pm)

Adelaide v Melbourne at Adelaide Oval (4.10pm)

Brisbane Lions v Sydney Swans at Gabba (7.40pm)

Essendon v Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium (7.40pm)

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Double injury blow for Hawks

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ALASTAIR Clarkson last night ruled star onballer Sam Mitchell out of Friday night's blockbuster against Lance Franklin's Sydney and said full-back Brian Lake would almost certainly join him on the sidelines.

The double injury blow was the only sour note in the Hawks' 145-point demolition, their greatest ever victory against St Kilda.


Mitchell (hamstring) was substituted off at quarter-time while Lake was stung with another calf niggle in the third term, but Clarkson said the extent of the damage was not yet known.

"If they're injured then they won't play," Clarkson said, with both players already missing matches with soft-tissue complaints this year.

"As soon as you sub someone out by quarter-time with a muscle injury they're usually in a bit of strife. Just how severe (Mitchell) is, we'll have to wait and see.

"I'm not really certain with Lakey. It looked like he'd been shot and then he recovered really well when he got to the bench.

"He's got a niggle in a calf. You'd reckon he'd be in doubt too, he was unable to come back on the ground."

Brian Lake leaves the field injured. Picture: Colleen Petch. Source: News Corp Australia

Clarkson typically downplayed the impending first battle against Franklin since he walked out on the Hawks to join Sydney on a $10m nine-year deal shortly after last year's premiership.

"We're not even sure if Buddy will play, if he does he's just another guy we've got to come up against," he said, pointing to the knee injury which kept Franklin out of last night's match against Brisbane.

"We know him pretty well, but they've got 21 others we've got to worry about and he'll just be wearing a red and white jumper."

The Hawks scooped 26 percentage points yesterday, easily eclipsing their previous best win against St Kilda of 129 points in 1983.

The Saints also endured a scoreless quarter against Hawthorn for the first time since 1986 and twice went for periods of longer than 20 minutes without a forward 50 entry as the Hawks enjoyed their fifth-biggest win in history.

It adds to their merciless record after obliterating the Lions (131 points) and Melbourne (110) in the NAB Challenge and Brisbane (48), Fremantle (58), Gold Coast (99) and Richmond (66) this year.

Clarkson was pleased with the four-quarter performance but immediately turned the focus to the Swans clash.

"We were strong in all facets of the game today so we were pleased with that. But we know full well that it's not going to be that easy next Friday night," he said.

"It's not often that you turn up and get a day like today, but we know we've got Sydney next Friday night up at ANZ and that's going to be a tough assignment for us."

He praised the spread of goalkickers as 200-gamer Jordan Lewis became Hawk No. 11 to hit the scoreboard in the dying minutes as Hawthorn showed it is in a football galaxy far, far away from the rebuilding Saints.

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WSW not distracted by Roar’s killer B’s

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WESTERN Sydney are braced for a Besart Berisha onslaught when the Albanian international makes his last appearance in a Brisbane Roar jersey in the A-League grand final at Suncorp Stadium.

Berisha is headed to Melbourne Victory on a two-year deal worth more than $1.5 million, an offer the Roar could not match, and is desperate to repeat his heroics from Brisbane's 2-1 grand final win over Perth two years ago, when he broke Glory hearts by scoring twice.


Sunday 4pm (EST), Suncorp Stadium, Fox Sports 2HD


Broich and Berisha are the Roar's Killer B's. Source: Getty Images

He also scored against his future team last Sunday to secure the Roar a third grand final appearance in four seasons.

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"You'd have to say he's among the best strikers in the league,'' said Wanderers defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley, who will captain Western Sydney today after coach Tony Popovic opted to omit club skipper Michael Beauchamp.

"He's dangerous and he can create things out of nothing, like he did in the semi-final (against the Victory).''

However, Topor-Stanley said the Wanderers would not fall into the trap of focusing only on Berisha and his fellow "Killer B'', Johnny Warren Medallist Thomas Broich.

"They're quality players, but it's not about shackling two players. It's about what we do on the field as well,'' he said.

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"You can't give one or two players more thought than any of the rest.''

Roar skipper Matt Smith predicted Berisha to fire in his last game for the Roar. His record speaks for itself,'' Smith said of the striker who has scored 44 goals in 75 A-League appearances for the Roar.

"That's why he's the best striker in the league. That's why everybody else wanted him (and) that's why we have him at the moment.''

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Roar coach Mike Mulvey said Irish playmaker Liam Miller would overcome a groin problem to start, but midfielder Steve Lustica remains on standby.

Wanderers coach Tony Popovic yesterday was not ready to rule out Mark Bridge (ankle) despite not having named him on Thursday in an extended 18-man squad.

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Motlop back bigger than before

Written By Unknown on Jumat, 02 Mei 2014 | 16.41

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REHAB sessions haven't been all boring and repetitive for Geelong forward Steven Motlop.

He put the recovery from knee surgery to good use — to work on the upper body in the gym.

Motlop will tackle the contests with an extra 5kg of bulk around the shoulders when he makes his AFL comeback against Richmond at the MCG tomorrow.

"What it has done is given me time to put a bit of weight on. I had shoulder problems when I was younger and it has given me time to strengthen that,'' he said.

"And to strengthen up my quads (thigh muscles) which I haven't been able to do because of my (knee) tendon issues. I mightn't be as fit because I've missed a pre-season (training), but I do feel stronger.''

Motlop is a critical component of Geelong's forward structure — his 44 goals last season was only five behind leading goalkicker Tom Hawkins.

Steven Motlop at training. Photos Mike Dugdale. Source: News Corp Australia

And he's raring to get stuck into this season after being sidelined for 14 weeks following knee surgery in London.

"It has been a hard couple of months. We didn't want to rush it, obviously, it's a long season,'' the lively Cat said.

"I've played every game the last two seasons and the body's feeling fresh and I've got the run in the legs. And coming off a loss, it's a good time to come into the side.''

Motlop played with discomfort in the right knee in 2013 and the Cats sent him to a surgeon in the UK through a connection with one of their physiotherapists who previously worked with the English cricket team.

There was certainly no time for sightseeing during the four days in London, although he had the luxury of stretching out the repaired knee in a business class airline seat for the 21-hours flight home.

Motlop eased back with two games with the VFL team and he's ready for the senior recall after clocking 12km last weekend against North Ballarat, getting closer to his normal workrate.

"As every player does when they're injured, you're not as confident coming back and I was just a bit worried how it would go,'' he said.

"But I got through the first game and I've got some good teammates to get me into the game. I had a lot of trust in our fitness staff and, thankfully, now it's all fixed.'''

Motlop said the Cats are fired up to bounce back against the Tigers following the first loss for the season to Port Adelaide.

"They're a bit like Port (Adelaide), they've got some really good ball users and if you let them get on top early they can hurt you. So, we'll be looking to nullify a few of their players,'' he said.

And the Cats will soon be able to inject even more pace into the line-up as Allen Christensen continues to step up his training workload for a first game of the season within a couple of weeks.

"He has been running on the sidelines at training. He joined me in one of the kicking drills today, so he's not far away. He's really positive, but he's taking it slow because it has been a problem and something he wanted to get right,'' Motlop said.


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Signing of the times

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THE Gold Coast and Gary Ablett have started informal negotiations to make the star a Sun for the rest of his career.

Ablett's current contract does not expire until the end of next year but his manager Liam Pickering and Gold Coast officials have agreed to get the ball rolling on talks soon.


Gold Coast CEO Travis Auld said the length of the contract, money and other terms were yet to be discussed but there was a willingness from both sides to get a deal done.

"We've had a number of informal discussions with Liam,'' Auld said. "It's pretty clear from those discussions that both Gary and the club would be keen to have a chat about post-2015.

"We haven't formalised those discussions yet but it's likely we'll do that soon.

"There's no obvious urgency because Gary doesn't come off contract until the end of next season and we are only a third of the way through this season.''

Suns Coach Guy McKenna and Gary Ablett talk during a Gold Coast Suns AFL training session at Metricon Stadium. Photo by Chris Hyde Source: Getty Images

Ablett signed a rich five-year deal to join the Suns for their inaugural season in 2011 and has been worth every cent in his club-high 67 senior games.

He has won three club champion awards, the 2013 Brownlow Medal and been the face of the start-up club that is sixth this season with a 4-2 record before tomorrow's clash with North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium.

Speculation has surrounded a possible return to Geelong at the end of his deal with the Suns but Ablett's faith in the rise of the Gold Coast is set to keep him on the tourist strip until it is time to retire.

"It is a great endorsement for the club and where we are at,'' Auld said.

"We are such a young club and it's great that the best player in the competition is keen to have a chat about extending his contract.''

Ablett turns 30 on May 14 but given his fanatical and ultra-professional approach to training, pre-game preparation and post-match recovery, the dual Brownlow medallist is capable of playing well into his mid-30s.

Suns coach Guy McKenna anticipates Ablett will spend up to 60 per cent of his time in the forward line in the coming years which will also extend his stellar playing days.

With the likes of Jaeger O'Meara, David Swallow, Harley Bennell, Dion Prestia and rookie Jack Martin likely to emerge as genuine midfield stars in the future, Ablett can dine out as a damaging small forward.

Ablett has been in sizzling form this season and could have as many as 12 Brownlow Medal votes after only six rounds, including his best-on-ground performance against GWS last Saturday.

It was the 94th time in his career he had more than 30 disposals in a game.

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Blues run riot over hapless Reds

The Blues were simply too slick for the Reds at Eden Park. Source: Phil Walter / Getty Images

THE Blues produced their best performance of the season to date to inflict more pain on Queensland Reds in a 44-14 victory at Eden Park.

The 30-point hammering is set to increase the pressure on embattled Reds coach Richard Graham with his side now well and truly out of contention for the semi-finals.

Ma'a Nonu was the star for the Blues, having a hand in each of their first three tries before he was given a deserved early shower.

In further bad news for the Reds prop James Slipper could find himself in front of a SANZAR judiciary after he was given a yellow card for a dangerous throw.

More to follow ...

Relive all the action from our live blog below and check out Match Centre for stats and video!

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Franklin out, stars return

Written By Unknown on Kamis, 01 Mei 2014 | 16.42

Lance Franklin will miss Round 7 due to a knee injury. Source: Mark Metcalfe / Getty Images

THERE have been some big moves at the selection table ahead of Round 7.

Big names Michael Barlow, Steven Motlop, Darren Glass, Brett Deledio and Brett Deledio have returned.

The likes of Lance Franklin, Chris Yarran, Tom Hickey and Pearce Hanley are all out.

CARLTON will regain leader Andrew Carrazzo for the Friday night blockbuster against Collingwood.


COLLINGWOOD have lost Alex Fasolo to a foot injury as well as key defender Alan Toovey while Sam Dwyer and controversial figure Marley Williams return.

ST KILDA have been forced to make a slew of changes with Adam Schneider, Tom Simpkin, former Sun Maverick Weller, Billy Longer and debutant Blake Acres all in.

Defender Josh Bruce, Seb Ross, Tom Hickey and young guns Luke Dunstan and Eli Templeton out.

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HAWTHORN have regained defender Ryan Schoenmakers from his knee reconstruction while top draft pick Billy Hartung is also in for Jonathan Simpkin and Will Langford.

ESSENDON get a major boost as they look to break their losing streak as Brendon Goddard and Heath Hocking return at the expense of Kyle Hardingham and Martin Gleeson.



The WESTERN BULLDOGS are also desperate for a win and have axed Daniel Giansiracusa, Tom Campbell, Tom Young and Lin Jong.

Tom Williams, Dale Morris, Jason Johannisen and top draft pick Marcus Bontempelli come into the team.

Michael Barlow returns for the western Derby. Picture: Wayne Ludbey Source: News Corp Australia

SYDNEY have decided to rest Lance Franklin but regain Sam Reid while Tom Mitchell is an emergency for the clash against Brisbane Lions.

Swans coach John Longmire said Franklin simply wasn't able to get up this week.

"His knee unfortunately didn't quite come up," Longmire said.

"As we saw last week, he was sore enough to get subbed out of the game.

"Structurally his knee is okay, but the soreness was enough that he wasn't able to train today.

"He wasn't able to do much, which means he's out this week."

GOLD COAST have regained some important names with Tom Murphy, Charlie Dixon, Tom Nicholls, Harley Bennell and Jeremy Taylor in the squad to face North Melbourne.

The KANGAROOS have regained All Australian defender Scott Thompson from suspension.

In the west, FREMANTLE are bolstered ahead of the Derby by Hayden Ballantyne and Michael Barlow's return

WEST COAST regain captain Darren Glass, key defender Shannon Hurn, Sam Butler and Simon Tunbridge but lose rookie Dom Sheed.



Friday 2 May at MCG, 7.50pm (EST)


B: S.White, M.Jamison, S.Rowe

HB: Z.Tuohy, A.Walker, K.Simpson

C: H.Scotland, A.Carrazzo, M.Robinson

HF: B.McLean, J.Waite, D.Thomas

F: T.Menzel, L.Henderson, L.Casboult

Foll: R.Warnock, M.Murphy, B.Gibbs

I/C: D.Buckley, A.Everitt, K.Lucas, J.Garlett

Emer: M.Watson, S.Docherty, T.Bell

INS: A.Carazzo

OUTS: C.Yarran


B: N.Maxwell, J.Frost, M.Williams

HB: C.Young, L.Keeffe, H.Lumumba

C: S.Sidebottom, B.Macaffer, D.Swan

HF: S.Dwyer, J.White, L.Ball

F: J.Elliott, T.Cloke, T.Goldsack

Foll: .Grundy, D.Beams, S.Pendlebury

I/C: J.Thomas, J.Blair, J.Witts, T.Langdon

Emer: T.Adams, N.Brown, B.Kennedy

INS: S.Dwyer, M.Williams

OUTS: A.Toovey, A. Fasolo

Chris Yarran runs off half back against West Coast. Picture: Michael Klein Source: News Corp Australia


Saturday 3 May at MCG, 1.45pm (EST)


B: B.Lake, J.Gibson, T.Duryea

HB: L.Hodge, B.Stratton, G.Birchall

C: I.Smith, S.Mitchell, B.Hill

HF: L.Breust, R.Schoenmakers, J.Gunston

F: D.Hale, J.Roughead, S.Burgoyne

Foll: B.McEvoy, J.Lewis, C.Rioli

I/C: M.Hallahan, P.Puopolo, M.Suckling, B.Hartung

Emer: J.Ceglar, A.Woodward, A.Litherland

INS: R. Schoenmakers, W. Hartung

OUTS: J. Simpkin, W. Langford.


B: T.Simpkin, J.Gwilt, J.Geary

HB: S.Dempster, L.Delaney, J.Webster

C: B.Acres, J.Steven, F.Ray

HF: L.Montagna, N.Riewoldt, M.Weller

F: J.Billings, R.Stanley, C.Jones

Foll: B.Longer, J.Newnes, T.Curren

I/C: S.Savage, J.Saunders, A.Schneider, L.Hayes

Emer: T.Dennis-Lane, J.Bruce, S.Ross

INS: A.Schneider, T.Simpkin, M.Weller, B.Longer, B.Acres

OUTS: J.Bruce, S.Ross, T.Hickey, L.Dunstan, E.Templeton


Saturday 3 May at StarTrack Oval, 2.10pm (EST)


B: H.Shaw, S.Frost, M.Buntine

HB: A.Kennedy, N.Haynes, C.Hampton

C: W.Hoskin-Elliott, T.Greene, A.Tomlinson

HF: D.Smith, J.Patton, J.Kelly

F: R.Palmer, J.Cameron, A.Treloar

Foll: J.Giles, S.Coniglio, C.Ward

I/C: T.Scully, J.O'Rourke, J.Lamb, D.Shiel

Emer: M.Whiley, T.Boyd, K.Jaksch

INS: R.Palmer, D.Shiel, M.Buntine, T.Greene, J.Kelly

OUTS: J.Hunt, T.Bugg, L.Plowman, Z.Williams, T.Boyd


B: J.Hombsch, A.Carlile, J.Impey

HB: T.Jonas, J.Trengove, J.Pittard

C: J.Polec, T.Boak, K.Cornes

HF: D.Cassisi, J.Westhoff, H.Hartlett

F: R.Gray, J.Schulz, C.Wingard

Foll: M.Lobbe, O.Wines, B.Ebert

I/C: A.Monfries, M.Broadbent, A.Young, M.White

Emer: S.Gray, P.Stewart, B.Newton

INS: A.Monfries

OUTS: S.Gray

Brendon Goddard returns from injury for Essendon. Picture: Wayne Ludbey Source: News Corp Australia


Saturday 3 May at Adelaide Oval, 4.40pm (EST)


B: S.Shaw, D.Talia, M.Jaensch

HB: B.Smith, K.Hartigan, L.Brown

C: S.Kerridge, P.Dangerfield, D.Mackay

HF: E.Betts, J.Podsiadly, J.Petrenko

F: T.Lynch, J.Jenkins, M.Wright

Foll: S.Jacobs, S.Thompson, R.Sloane

I/C: M.Grigg, R.Laird, M.Crouch, B.Reilly

Emer: B.Martin, B.Rutten, A.Otten



B: T.McDonald, L.Dunn, A.Georgiou

HB: J.Grimes, J.Frawley, D.Terlich

C: D.Tyson, B.Vince, J.Watts

HF: R.Bail, C.Pedersen, M.Jones

F: J.Viney, C.Dawes, J.Howe

Foll: M.Jamar, D.Cross, N.Jones

I/C: C.Salem, N.Jetta, J.Kennedy-Harris, S.Byrnes

Emer: M.Clisby, A.Riley, M.Gawn



Saturday 3 May at Gabba, 7.40pm (EST)


B: D.Gardiner, J.Patfull, J.Clarke

HB: S.Mayes, J.Adcock, T.Cutler

C: A.Raines, R.Lester, J.Aish

HF: D.Zorko, J.Green, M.Paparone

F: D.Merrett, J.Brown, L.McGuane

Foll: T.West, J.Redden, T.Rockliff

R.Bewick, L.Taylor, J.Polkinghorne, N.Robertson

Emer: M.Golby, R.Harwood, J.Lisle

INS: R.Bewick

OUTS: P.Hanley


B: N.Smith, T.Richards, D.Rampe

HB: N.Malceski, H.Grundy, R.Shaw

C: D.Hannebery, C.Bird, K.Jack

HF: L.Jetta, S.Reid, B.McGlynn

F: H.Cunningham, A.Goodes, L.Parker

Foll: M.Pyke, JP.Kennedy, J.McVeigh

I/C: T.Derickx, J.Laidler, J.Lloyd, B.Jack

Emer: L.Roberts-Thomson, T.Mitchell, D.Towers

INS: S.Reid, B.Jack

OUTS: L.Roberts-Thomson, L.Franklin

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Saturday 3 May at Etihad Stadium, 7.40pm (EST)


B: D.Fletcher, C.Hooker, M.Hibberd

HB: M.Baguley, M.Hurley, D.Heppell

C: B.Stanton, J.Watson, C.Dempsey

HF: B.Goddard, J.Carlisle, J.Merrett

F: J.Winderlich, J.Daniher, P.Chapman

Foll: P.Ryder, J.Melksham, H.Hocking

I/C: Z.Merrett, D.Zaharakis, J.Ashby, B.Howlett

Emer: P.Ambrose, T.Bellchambers, K.Hardingham

INS: B.Goddard, H.Hocking

OUTS: K.Hardingham, M.Gleeson


B: L.Picken, M.Talia, E.Wood

HB: S.Higgins, D.Morris, R.Murphy

C: M.Bontempelli, R.Griffen, J.Macrae

HF: A.Cooney, S.Crameri, T.Dickson

F: L.Dahlhaus, L.Jones, T.Williams

Foll: W.Minson, M.Boyd, T.Liberatore

I/C: J.Stringer, L.Hunter, K.Stevens, J.Johannisen

Emer: L.Jong, F.Roberts, J.Tutt

INS: T.Williams, D.Morris, J.Johannisen, M.Bontempelli

OUTS: D.Giansiracusa, T.Campbell, T.Young, L.Jong


Sunday 4 May at Etihad Stadium, 1.10pm (EST)


B: M.Firrito, N.Grima, A.Mullett

HB: S.Gibson, J.Tippett, S.Atley

C: N.Dal Santo, L.Adams, R.Nahas

HF: L.Thomas, A.Black, B.Cunnington

F: M.Daw, D.Petrie, L.Hansen

Foll: T.Goldstein, J.Ziebell, B.Harvey

I/C (from): L.Greenwood, B.McKenzie, L.McDonald, R.Bastinac, S.Thompson, S.Wright, B.Jacobs

INS: S.Wright, S.Thompson, B.Jacobs



B: K.Kolodjashnij, S.May, G.Broughton

HB: S.Lemmens, R.Thompson, T.McKenzie

C: M.Shaw, G.Ablett, J.Harbrow

HF: A.Hall, TJ.Lynch, D.Stanley

F: C.Dixon, S.Day, B.Matera

Foll: T.Nicholls, J.O'Meara, D.Swallow

I/C (from): L.Russell, T.Sumner, D.Prestia, H.Bennell, J.Taylor, T.Murphy, M.Rischitelli

INS: T.Murphy, C.Dixon, T.Nicholls, H.Bennell, J.Taylor

OUTS: M.Warnock, J.Hutchins

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Sunday 4 May at MCG, 3.20pm (EST)


B: J.Rivers, T.Lonergan, C.Guthrie

HB: C.Enright, H.Taylor, J.Kelly

C: G.Horlin-Smith, J.Selwood, S.Johnson

HF: T.Varcoe, H.McIntosh, J.Murdoch

F: M.Duncan, T.Hawkins, G.Burbury

Foll: D.Simpson, J.Bartel, M.Stokes

I/C (from): S.Motlop, J.Bews, M.Blicavs, T.Hunt, J.Sheringham, J.Walker, J.Thurlow

INS: D.Simpson, S.Motlop, J.Bews



B: C.Newman, D.Astbury, A.Rance

HB: B.Houli, T.Chaplin, S.Morris

C: S.Grigg, D.Jackson, R.Conca

HF: D.Martin, R.Petterd, B.Deledio

F: S.Edwards, J.Riewoldt, A.Edwards

Foll: S.Hampson, B.Ellis, T.Cotchin

I/C: (from) M.McDonough, S.Lloyd, N.Vlastuin, M.Thomas, T.Vickery, N.Gordon, O.Stephenson

INS: A Edwards, B.Deledio, M.Thomas, O.Stephenson, A.Rance, T.Vickery

OUTS: B.Griffiths, D.Grimes, M.Arnot


Sunday 4 May at Subiaco Oval, 4.40pm (EST)


B: J.Bennell, D.Glass, E.Mackenzie

HB: W.Schofield, M.Brown, E.Yeo

C: J.Cripps, M.Priddis, M.Rosa

HF: M.Hutchings, JJ.Kennedy, B.Sheppard

F: L.Shuey, N.Naitanui, J.Darling

Foll: D.Cox, S.Selwood, C.Masten

I/C (from): S.Hurn, S.Butler, S.Lycett, A.Gaff, J.McGovern, S.Wellingham, S.Tunbridge

INS: D.Glass, S.Butler, S.Hurn, S.Tunbridge

OUTS: D.Sheed


B: Z.Dawson, L.McPharlin, L.Spurr

HB: D.Pearce, M.Johnson, C.Pearce

C: P.Duffield, R.Crowley, D.Mundy

HF: N.Fyfe, M.Pavlich, H.Ballantyne

F: C.Mayne, Z.Clarke, L.Neale

Foll: A.Sandilands, T.Mzungu, S.Hill

I/C (from): C.Sutcliffe, T.Sheridan, N.Suban, H.Crozier, A.Silvagni, J.Hannath, M.Barlow

INS: H.Ballantyne, A.Silvagni, J.Hannath, M.Barlow

OUTS: M.de Boer

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Heavy losses haven’t dinted Tigers

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HEAVY losses to Hawthorn and Collingwood hasn't dented Richmond coach Damien Hardwick's faith that his side can match it with the best teams in the AFL.

And despite having won just once in 17 attempts against Geelong since 2001, Hardwick is as confident as ever that the Tigers can defeat the Cats at the MCG on Sunday.

Richmond will be boosted by the much-anticipated returns of Brett Deledio and Alex Rance from injury.


Deledio has been missing since Round 3 because of an Achilles injury, Rance played Round 1 before falling off his bike and fracturing his foot.

Both trained strongly at Punt Rd yesterday and Hardwick said the pair would help the team's run and carry out of defence.

Brett Deledio (left) and Chris Knights in high spirits at Richmond training. Source: Getty Images

"You want to compete to the best of your ability against every side — sometimes you're going to win, sometimes you're going to lose," Hardwick said.

"But as long as you put your best game forward you can probably tolerate losses. Unfortunately for us I think our best this year has probably been three quarters, or two and a half, against Carlton. We just haven't put those four-quarter performances together.

"And the reality is that you're not going to win games of footy playing two and a half quarters. So we have to make sure we consistently do things well all of the time."

The Tigers haven't beaten the Cats since 2006 and are winless against this weekend's opponents at the MCG this millennium — 1999 was the last time they beat them there.

But Hardwick said he is as confident now as he would have been at the start of the season that his team can defeat Geelong on Sunday.

"I back our players in every day of the week," he said.

Alex Rance returns for the Tigers. Picture: Colleen Petch. Source: News Corp Australia

It's an often-used cliche in professional sport that teams focus on what they can do rather than on what the opposition will dish up, but Hardwick said that was genuinely the case this week.

After the disappointing 66-point loss to Hawthorn in which the side conceded five goals from centre bounce clearances and four from kick ins Hardwick said the players had taken it upon themselves to lead the team review process this week.

"We probably have scaled a little bit down with the opposition stuff and gone back to what we know," he said.

"We showed them vision of last year and the year previous where we were moving the ball a little bit better. The thing is, we know what to do, we just have to transfer that knowledge from the classroom out on to the ground."

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Trip west won’t affect us: Scott

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NORTH Melbourne coach Brad Scott insists there will be no excuses for the Kangaroos coming off last week's trip west, saying his side is ready to play.

While Perth-lag has proved an issue for some teams this season, Scott backed his conditioning staff to manage his players for Sunday's clash against Gold Coast at Etihad Stadium.

The fifth-placed Kangaroos have a nine-day turnaround to recover from their 13-point win over Fremantle on Anzac Day.

"When you win you come back a lot better, let me tell you, and we haven't experienced that too often,'' Scott said yesterday.



"But we have got a nine-day break now, so the trip back from Perth we have managed the guys really well.

"We back our conditioning, we back our staff. We have had short breaks the last two weeks and they have never been an excuse.

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"We came back from Sydney on a short break, we had a short break going over to Perth and didn't use them as excuses then and we certainly won't be after a nine-day break now.

"We're ready to play. We'd play (today) if the game was on.''

Scott said his players were determined to back up last week's win over the Dockers with another strong result this weekend.

"The playing group and leaders are really determined to get the job done this week,'' he said.

"They said themselves that we feel if we don't get the job done this week, last week will count for nothing.''

The Kangaroos suffered a 15-point loss in their only match against Gold Coast last season at Metricon Stadium, but Scott said he was more concerned about the Suns' recent form.

"Last year's game is really irrelevant,'' he said.

"(It was) played in really wet conditions, we were very, very poor, they were very, very good.

"It's so long ago that we will focus more on their last four weeks rather than something that happened 12 months ago.''

Daniel Wells will not face Gold Coast this weekend due to a foot injury. Picture: Colleen Petch. Source: News Corp Australia

Scott said the Kangaroos would err on the side of caution with captain Andrew Swallow and give him more game time in the VFL before he makes his AFL return.

Swallow made his comeback from a serious Achilles injury in the VFL last weekend, collecting 23 disposals and laying five tackles in three quarters for North Ballarat.

"The prudent thing to do would be to give him another game in the VFL and get him back somewhere close to his best,'' Scott said.

It's a similar story for midfield star Daniel Wells (foot), who Scott said would not be risked if there were any doubts over his fitness.

"We will give him right up until the last minute to prove his availability,'' Scott said.

While Scott said he was confident Swallow could perform if he was selected to play against the Gold Coast on Sunday, he said the club didn't want to take any risks with its skipper.

North Melbourne has the bye after this round.

"He is a chance and it's really tempting. He will train today,'' Scott said today.

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Warner, Hussey, Finch in IPL action

Written By Unknown on Rabu, 30 April 2014 | 16.42

Dave Warner will be looking to add to his recent half-century for the Sunrisers Hyderabad this season. Source: Mark Evans / News Limited

Mike Hussey's Mumbai Indians will be out to put their first points on the board against fellow strugglers Sunrisers Hyderabad in the final match of the United Arab Emirates phase of IPL 2014.

Watch the game LIVE here from 10:30pm AEST: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZ4DhjwMRXI


Mike Hussey was the IPL's leading run scorer in 2013 but with just 30 runs from his first four innings this year at a paltry strike rate of 56.6, Mumbai may look to explore other options at the top of the order. One potential replacement is Ben Dunk, whose 348 runs at 49.71 in the 2013/14 Big Bash League earned him a bargain $35,700 contract with Mumbai.

Sunrisers Hyderabad will be hoping for more consistency from hot and cold Australian duo Aaron Finch and David Warner, despite both scoring recent half-centuries against the Delhi Daredevils. The Sunrisers have also struggled to contain their opposition with the ball, creating a potential opening for all-rounder Moises Henriques to come in to the side.


Winless after four matches, something has to give in order for Mumbai to turn its season around. Boom Kiwi all-rounder Corey Anderson's head appears to be on the chopping block after scoring just 72 runs and conceding more than 10 per over with the ball in his four appearances. Captain Rohit Sharma led Mumbai to their maiden title in 2013, but his side won't come close if he doesn't increase his contribution, after a mediocre output of 83 runs at 20.75 so far.

The Sunrisers haven't fared much better, with little bowling support for star new-ball pair Dale Steyn and Bhuvneshwar Kumar landing them a solitary win in 2014. Former India leg-spinner Amit Mishra has disappeared to all parts of the UAE desert, with an economy rate of 9.48 unlikely to endear him to coach Tom Moody for much longer. An improved showing from power hitter Darren Sammy could give Hyderabad the extra spark they need to return to India on a high.


"Momentum is absolutely key in T20 cricket. If you can get a couple of wins like Kings XI Punjab — they have run away with that positive momentum on the back of a couple of stunning knocks by Maxwell upfront. Though Maxwell has gone quiet now, the others have stood up, so tomorrow's match is a critical one for us as we can take that positive momentum into the Indian leg." – Tom Moody, Sunrisers Hyderabad coach

"We need a spark. We need that one performance, that one win to kickstart the tournament and then, hopefully, get some momentum in our favour. Plenty of teams have got that momentum in these six years and carried through with it. " – Zaheer Khan, Mumbai Indians fast bowler

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Bomber could keep Carlisle forward

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THE most contentious experiment in footy will continue if Essendon's match simulation at Tullamarine on Wednesday is any guide.

Jake Carlisle, the struggling forward who established himself as a star defender last year, trained in attack as a fit Brendon Goddard and Tom Bellchambers prepared for Saturday night's crunch clash against the Western Bulldogs.



Coach Mark Thompson hinted he might abort the defender's switch in the aftermath to the Anzac Day loss, but would not elaborate before yesterday's hour-long session as Carlisle desperately fights to avoid the selection axe.

Carlisle had a tough game on Collingwood's Lachlan Keeffe on Anzac Day. Picture: Wayne Ludbey Source: News Corp Australia

Rookie Patrick Ambrose and Bellchambers are circling, with the ruckman moving freely on the track and spending time at full-forward on Dustin Fletcher.

But Thompson insisted the Dons' cautious approach would continue despite Bellchambers playing the past two VFL matches.

"Whether he can jump, how fit he is, how match-fit he is, what his timing's like ... he'll probably train his way into the team or out of the team," Thompson said.


Thompson guaranteed Goddard would return and said Carlisle's workrate — which he attacked last week — improved against Collingwood.

"It would have been hard to play in that forward line for any person the last three weeks the way the ball has been delivered, it's very hard to beat two blokes."

The Dogs will be boosted by the return of Dale Morris but Thompson could aim to stretch their backline, which has conceded 16 goals to tall forwards in the past fortnight.

The Bombers are confident Brendon Goddard will play this weekend. Picture: Wayne Ludbey Source: News Corp Australia

Carlisle copped a bake from Dane Swan as he sprayed a last-quarter shot out on the full to go scoreless — and the Bombers winless — for a third-straight week.

The 22-year-old was in line for All-Australian selection as a defender 12 months ago but has lost his confidence, kicking 3.4 in six games and tallying just 13 kicks in the past three weeks.

Thompson said the eight-day break was "perfect timing" after consecutive six-day breaks and put the onus on his side to improve its ball movement and stop conceding chunks of goals.

"We've trained but we haven't really been able to get stuck into the real nuts and bolts of how we play and just rehearsal. So that'll be nice and I'm sure we'll play better than we have the last three weeks."

Tom Bellchambers is a chance to return to Essendon's side after two VFL matches. Picture: Wayne Ludbey Source: News Corp Australia

The loser will slump to 2-5, with St Kilda (2011) and Hawthorn (2010) the only teams to reach the finals with less than three wins after Round 7 in the past decade.

Thompson said Goddard's leadership and game sense would be a valued addition and tagger Heath Hocking was in the frame to return.

Knee victim Alex Browne yesterday penned a one-year contract extension, giving him the chance to return next season.

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Swan’s resume mirrors AFL greats

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THINK Dane Swan and the minds wanders.

To technicolor tattoos. Or Spider Man costumes on Brownlow night. Or hipster beards.

Or former feuds with his coach. Or his disdain for all things conventional.

Yet while we wax lyrical about his captain Scott Pendlebury's football abilities, how often does Swan enter the argument as a modern-day great?


As if we needed a reminder of that breathtaking gift, Swan torched Collingwood on Anzac Day with yet another masterpiece more Jackson Pollock than Frederick McCubbin.

It was a performance of such raw power and impact it made you flick back to his resume to see what he had achieved.

Swan was outstanding against Essendon on Anzac Day, booting four match-winning goals. Picture: Michael Klein Source: News Corp Australia

That resume makes for stunning viewing, and is rivalled by only the greats.

All-Australian nominations from 2009-2013, a Brownlow Medal, three Copeland Trophies including one in the 2010 premiership year.

Two Anzac Day Medals, a Coaches Association Champion Player of the Year (2010) and a Leigh Matthews MVP Award (2010).


How many players have five All-Australian trophies, a Brownlow, an MVP and a best-and-fairest in a premiership year?

There are 23 players with five-All Australians since the current format began in 1991, with Gary Ablett, Nathan Buckley, Ben Cousins, Robert Harvey, Chris Judd, Mark Ricciuto, Michael Voss and Gavin Wanganeen all Brownlow Medallists as well.

That is rare air, but tattoos and poor training standards too often take the focus.

Swan celebrating one of his four goals against the Bombers. Picture: Wayne Ludbey Source: News Corp Australia

He is not as neat as Gary Ablett or as polished as Pendles or inspirational like Jobe Watson, but he stacks up on performances.

Buckley, who won six of his seven All-Australians in successive years, yesterday paid tribute to Swan's ability to reinvent parts of his game.

"He's been a very consistent performer. The word I use consistently with him is pride in his performance,'' Buckley said.

"He really is proud of what he has been able to achieve and the consistency that he has had in the game.

"He has gone about it his own way and I think we have continued to see him develop in different ways to maximise his opportunities in the game and on-field."

Swan left many Bombers in his wale on Anzac Day. Picture: Wayne Ludbey Source: News Corp Australia

"That's probably not something that he has got any credit for, because without that you can't be relevant in the game for six, seven, eight years on end as he has."

Swan once exuded the bad-boy vibe that footy didn't mean too much, flagging retirement at the end of this year.

Now having signed a deal through to 2016 and in white-hot form after three quiet games to open the year, the 30-year-old is entering Hall of Fame territory.

"He sees the game differently, the position that football sees in his life is different to the position it might hold for Pendles, different to the position that Goldy might see it in, Ben Reid, Nathan Brown, but that adds to the mix," Buckley said.

"He brings all of himself, mind, heart, soul, body into that Collingwood footy club and gives us everything he has got and we are better for it."

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Barometer: who’s hot, who’s not?

Written By Unknown on Selasa, 29 April 2014 | 16.42

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Patrick Dangerfield (ribs) assess

Sam Shaw (lower leg) assess

Brad Crouch (leg) 2 weeks

Richard Douglas (suspended) 1 week

Ricky Henderson (leg) 3-4 months

Jack Osborn (back) 2 weeks

Ben Rutten (knee) test

Nathan van Berlo (Achilles) 3-5 months

Taylor Walker (knee) available

ON THE BLOCK: Patrick Dangerfield should play despite copping a heavy knock to the chest from Bulldog Daniel Giansircusa. The explosive midfielder was rocked by the front on bump late in the match at Etihad Stadium, but played on. He will be looked at this week. Sam Shaw is another under a cloud following a knock to his leg. Mitch Grigg is no certainty after starting as the substitute and having little impact against the Dogs. Sam Kerride and Jared Petrenko played bit-part roles.


ON THE CUSP: Yes, it's only the SANFL. Yes, it was Taylor Walker's first game in 12 months. But boy, did Tex put his hand up for selection. He kicked three — easily could have had a couple more — from 12 disposals and six marks. Fitness will be the key, but Tex can't be far away. Cam Ellis-Yolmen was the pick of the Adelaide-listed players on SANFL duties — he collected 26 disposals including 11 clearances. Brodie Martin was rock solid and a chance to push for senior selection.

GILBERT GARDINER'S FORECAST: A golden opportunity beckons for the Crows to go into their bye 4-3 and ahead of the ledger. But Melbourne is not going to be a pushover, not even at Adelaide Oval. Losing Dangerfield, albeit unlikely, would be a blow but expect the Crows sputtering forward line to have too much fire power for the Demons.


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Claye Beams (foot) 1 week

Matthew Leuenberger (knee) 11 weeks

Ash McGrath (calf) 2 weeks

Sam Michael (hamstring) available

Daniel Rich (knee) season

Brent Staker (calf) indefinite

Patrick Weardon (ankle) 10 weeks

ON THE BLOCK: Luke McGuane is hardly making the best impression up north racking up nine disposals in his two games. The former Tiger was subbed out of the win over St Kilda. He is yet to impact the scoreboard and in all sorts trying to make the cut. Key posts Marco Paparone and Darcy Gardiner can be excused due to the slick conditions in Wellington, but James Polkinghorne might not be so lucky. The middle-of-the-road Lion managed just nine disposals at 56 per cent efficiency.


ON THE CUSP: Jordan Lisle put his hand up for an instant recall with a best on ground performance in the Lions' one-point NEAFL loss to Sydney reserves. Rookie Zac O'Brien remains a live chance to be upgraded after another standout performance in the reserves. The mature-aged midfielder loves a contest and boasts the skills to get out of trouble. Jackson Paine kicked two goals while Ryan Harwood, Nick Hayes and Rohan Bewick must show plenty at training.

GILBERT GARDINER'S FORECAST: It has taken six weeks, but Brisbane and Justin Leppitsch finally have something to smile about! The Lions wound back the clock holding off a fast-finishing St Kilda on Anzac Day. But it doesn't get easier with Sydney on the horizon. Top pick James Aish oozed class, while skipper Jed Adcock must be one of the most underrated defenders in the business — he was sublime with 12 rebound 50s.

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Chris Judd (Hamstring) 4 weeks

Tom Bell (finger) 2 weeks

Ed Curnow (fibula) 5 weeks

Matthew Kreuzer (foot) 9-11 weeks

Andrew Carrazzo (back spasms) test

Chris Yarran (hamstring)

David Ellard (calf) test

ON THE BLOCK: All of a sudden the Blues don't look so bad! Chris Yarran is in some doubt for Friday night being subbed out with hamstring tightness. Key forward Levi Casboult is another at risk following a sub-par performance. Zach Tuohy was blasted by Mick Malthouse on the ground, but he's too important to miss.


ON THE CUSP: David Ellard is expected to play after pulling out with a sore calf. Andrew Carrazzo will be monitored during the week after he succumbed to injury before Saturday night's game. Hard-nosed midfielder Jaryd Cachia and Dennis Armfield were the only shining lights in a dirty day for the Northern Blues.

GILBERT GARDINER'S FORECAST: Back-to-back wins is a start, but the true test comes in the shape of Collingwood on Friday night at the MCG. The win over West Coast could be the launching pad for something special, but question marks remain on how the Blues will combat a bona fide contender like the Magpies. Marc Murphy leadership and work ethic can't be questioned; Jarrad Waite looks — on Saturday at least — to have found his mojo. Need them and more to fire to be any chance of upsetting Collingwood. Can't wait to see what an improving Dale Thomas brings to the table.

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Tim Broomhead (shin splints) available

Nathan Brown (shoulder) available

Nathan Freeman (hamstring) 2 weeks

Adam Oxley (ankle) test

Ben Reid (calf) 1 week

Matthew Scharenberg (feet) indefinite

Paul Seedsman (hip) available

Ben Sinclair (hamstring) 1 week

Marley Williams (ankle) assess

Alex Fasolo (foot/toe) 2-3 weeks

Clinton Young (corkie) assess

ON THE BLOCK: Alex Fasolo was subbed out and in a moon boot shortly after a toe problem flared up against the Bombers. Clinton Young copped a corkie when he barrelled Paul Chapman with a huge bump and could miss. If not injury, the match review panel might also have a say on his selection prospects.


ON THE CUSP: Kyle Martin starred in the Magpies' VFL win over Essendon with six goals. He must come into consideration. Taylor Adams showed plenty in the midfield, but given the way the Magpies are going it might be hard for him to break into the rotation. Marley Williams made a stylish return through the VFL before copping a knock to the ankle. The attacking defender, who only last week escaped an immediate jail term with a suspended sentence, will be assessed during the week. Nathan Brown is certain to return from a shoulder problem following a couple of VFL games under his belt. No risks to be taken on Ben Reid and Ben Sinclair.

GILBERT GARDINER'S FORECAST: It's an old cliche but the Magpies are well and truly flying. They've demolished North Melbourne and Essendon in consecutive weeks, no reason why it can't continue against archrivals Carlton. How will the Blues counter the "Big Three" Scott Pendlebury, Dane Swan and Dayne Beams. They simply can't. Travis Cloke remains an unknown quantity, while Jesse White is making a strong case for 'recruit of the year'. Magpies by plenty.

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Patrick Ambrose (quad) available

Tom Bellchambers (ankle) available

Alex Browne (knee) season

Corey Dell'Olio (suspension) 1 week

Brendon Goddard (groin) available

Will Hams (hip) 1 week

Nick Kommer (knee) 1 week

Heath Hocking (hand) available

ON THE BLOCK: Jake Carlisle is most definitely on the nose and in all sorts trying to keep his spot in the team. Let's be honest, he'll benefit from a week out of the spotlight in the VFL. Kyle Hardingham looks destined to miss with Brendon Goddard fit and ready to play. Courtenay Dempsey struggled in his first game back, but he will be better for the run.


ON THE CUSP: Goddard will play against the Western Bulldogs on Saturday missing a couple of games with groin soreness. Bombers coach Mark Thompson could flirt with recalling Tom Bellchambers — thereby dropping Carlisle — but the ruckman, on the comeback trail from ankle surgery, had his colours lowered in the VFL by Magpie Ben Hudson. Ariel Steinberg and Travis Colyer would be next in line for selection.

GILBERT GARDINER'S FORECAST: The engine room can't be blamed for the Anzac Day capitulation as they won hitouts, clearances and inside-50s. The problem was Essendon was unable to keep the ball close to go for long enough to score. The willingness was there, but poise and polish fell away as Collingwood turned up the heat. Goddard's return can't come soon enough, while Bellchambers — as long as he's match fit — provides a strong target close to goal. They must win, simply no excuses.

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Michael Walters (ankle) season

Hayden Ballantyne (suspended) available

Michael Barlow (knee) 2 weeks

Kepler Bradley (knee) available

Colin Sylvia (suspended) 2 weeks

Max Duffy (shoulder) 4 weeks

Scott Gumbleton (hamstring) 6 weeks

Sam Menegola (knee) 3 week

Alex Pearce (shin) 1 week

Tanner Smith (hamstring) 4 weeks

Michael Wood (shoulder) available

ON THE BLOCK: Nick Suban is no certainty to keep his spot with another below par performance. Matt de Boer was subbed out, while Tommy Sheridan needs a full game under his belt be it at AFL or state level. Chris Mayne won't be dropped, but boy does he need to pull his finger out. Michael Johnson could come under scrutiny for trying to bump injured Kangaroo Aaron Black.


ON THE CUSP: Hayden Ballantyne will slot straight back into the team after serving his one-match ban. Not a lot left in reserve with Sylvia currently serving his WAFL suspension, while comeback kid Anthony Morabito faces a nervous wait after having his number taken for rough conduct. Morabito, reported for a high bump, oozed class racking up 27 disposals in Peel Thunder's loss to Claremont. Jack Hannath was reported for striking in the same game.

GILBERT GARDINER'S FORECAST: Fremantle boasts the class edge over West Coast, but the $1.47 the bookies are currently offering is way under the odds. The Dockers have very little coming through the ranks be it through injury or suspension. Ballantyne adds grunt to the forward line, fingers crossed it rubs off on Mayne. Dockers, but only just.

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Zac Bates (hamstring) 4-6 weeks

Josh Caddy (foot) 8-10 weeks

Allen Christensen (back) 6-8 weeks

Shane Kersten (knee) 6-8 weeks

Andrew Mackie (hamstring) test

Lincoln McCarthy (back) test

Daniel Menzel (knee) indefinite

Steven Motlop (knee) test

Dawson Simpson (ankle) test

Billie Smedts (leg fracture) 1-2 weeks

Nathan Vardy (knee) season

ON THE BLOCK: A few Cats had dog days against the Power — some big names included. George Burbury's intent can't be faulted but his skill level lets him down. Jackson Thurlow was given a big task against Port while Taylor Hunt is always on the fringe in this side. Josh Walker will also be discussed at selection.


ON THE CUSP: Steven Motlop played VFL footy for the second straight week and while he didn't have a big impact, he's right in the frame should he pull up OK. Andrew Mackie's hamstring will be monitored while the Cats will hope Dawson Simpson has overcome his ankle. They won't be in contention for some time yet, but Geelong's first-round pick last year, Darcy Lang, was best on in the VFL at the weekend while Jarrad Jansen — their second-rounder — was also prominent.

BEN BROAD'S FORECAST: Not the end of the world for the Cats, going down to a very good team on their home patch. The margin against Port was a little uncharacteristic but it was a night when not much went right, and there's plenty of talent on that injury list to welcome back. For now, however, Chris Scott and his men will look to bounce back against Richmond — and bouncing back is something the men in blue and white hoops have been at in recent seasons. The Tigers have been well down in recent weeks, and one would expect the Cats to keep them down this week.

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Clay Cameron (shoulder) 2-3 weeks

Tom Nicholls (calf) test

Charlie Dixon (groin) 1-2 weeks

Jack Martin (shoulder) indefinite

Zac Smith (knee) indefinite

Andrew Boston (ankle) indefinite

ON THE BLOCK: The Gold Coast list is pretty healthy at the moment and with a number of key players performing well, there is pressure mounting on spots in the side. Matthew Warnock received a reprieve due to the late withdrawal of Tom Nicholls and put in a decent shift, however with Nathan Bock waiting in the wings his spot is under pressure. While Jack Hutchins, Tim Sumner and Sean Lemmens will have questions asked of them as first-choice players become available.

ON THE CUSP: Harley Bennell kicked three goals in a best on ground performance in the reserves' heavy loss to GWS and he is almost certain to come back into the side. The game against North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on Sunday might see the return of Nathan Bock to senior action after playing the past three games at NEAFL level this month. Bock was rested last weekend, but was among the best players on Saturday. Charlie Dixon also made his return from injury and kicked two goals.

ADAM BALDWIN'S FORECAST: The Gold Coast is flying at the moment at 4-2 after the first six rounds. North Melbourne on Sunday presents a considerable test for the young side, but it certainly has the form to take it right up to the experienced Roos midfield on the road. It will be a big test to determine how good the young Suns are. Their midfield is operating at an elite level at the moment and whichever engine room can have the greater influence, will go a long way to winning the game. Gold Coast's two losses this season have come against last year's grand finalists, so North Melbourne should provide a realistic challenge. Campbell Brown said he expects Gold Coast to win 12 games and they need to pinch a couple against more fancied sides to make the final eight and this might be one of those.

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Phil Davis (kidney) indefinite

Josh Kelly (hamstring) test

Shane Mumford (knee) test

Tim Mohr (knee) 3 weeks

Rhys Palmer (hamstring) 1 week

Sam Schulz (shoulder) 2 weeks

Lachie Whitfield (foot) 1 week

ON THE BLOCK: Tom Boyd has really struggled in his first couple of hit-outs at AFL level. He could face the chop this week. Tom Bugg, Zac Williams and Lachie Plowman could also be under pressure after the loss to the Suns.

ON THE CUSP: Can Mummy beat the clock and return to face the in-form Matthew Lobbe? All at GWS are hoping the big man has overcome his knee in time to face the ladder leaders. Toby Greene has served his one-week suspension and could return. Josh Kelly missed last week with hamstring tightness and will be front of the queue to return, while fellow mid Dylan Shiel returned in the NEAFL from his quad injury and booted two goals. However the standouts in the reserves' 10-goal win over Gold Coast were Mark Whiley (three goals), Nathan Wilson and big man Andrew Phillips. Dylan Addison was also a solid contributor.

BEN BROAD'S FORECAST: Leon Cameron's young team wasn't bad against the Suns at Metricon, never seriously threatening but keeping the scoreboard in a respectable state. Jonathon Patton down back looked good, too, and could be a sign of things to come. But where will the next GWS win come from? Port this week is a tough ask, and the Giants must summon all their energy to stay with the hard-running Power. The clash will be a useful learning tool for Cameron and his men.

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Jed Anderson (shoulder) indefinite
Liam Shiels (shoulder) 2 weeks

Brad Sewell (hamstring) 2 weeks

Matt Spangher (ankle) 2 weeks

Brendan Whitecross (knee) indefinite

ON THE BLOCK: Hard to see the Hawks making any necessary cuts to the side after a 66-point demolition of Richmond. Sub Jonathon Simpkin was the only player to collect less than 10 disposals, yet he still finished with eight touches from just over a quarter.


ON THE CUSP: Big man Luke Lowden was outstanding for Box Hill against Coburg in the VFL on Saturday, dominating in the ruck then drifting forward to boot two goals and win the Gibbs-Lines Anzac medal. Sam Grimley added another two goals to his VFL season tally, while Alex Woodward, who has been hampered by serious knee and shoulder injuries over recent years, attacked the footy tremendously in a sign he is not far from making his AFL debut. Kyle Cheney, who had been playing as a key position defender for Hawthorn, looked comfortable rebounding out of defensive 50.

BEN WATERWORTH'S FORECAST: That's better! The silky skilled Hawks only needed one week to remind the footy community of their lethal best, clinically dismantling Richmond on Sunday. The Hawks are back at the MCG this Saturday to take on St Kilda. All due respect to Alan Richardson's men, but the Hawks will be looking to boost their already strong percentage. They are the best attacking team in the competition and should enhance that reputation against the Saints.

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Jesse Hogan (back) indefinite

Viv Michie (jaw) 2 weeks

Dean Kent (calf) 1 week

Jack Trengove (foot) season

Garland (leg) test

ON THE BLOCK: The lead-up to Saturday's game with Adelaide will be all about the form of Jack Watts. After a bright start to the season, Watts again struggled on the weekend collecting 15 disposals in an uninspiring performance. His good is outstanding, but his bad is similarly horrible. Watts appears to have no confidence in his marking at the moment and Paul Roos faces a tough decision about whether to back his star pupil or send him to Casey to find form and confidence. Roos' strong backing of Watts in Monday morning's media call suggests Watts will hold his place. Jeremy Howe is in the same boat and struggled to impact the game playing in the forward line after spending time as a defender in the past few weeks.


ON THE CUSP: Aiden Riley played his third VFL senior game on the weekend after recovering from a broken ankle sustained playing for the Crows last year. He was recruited to fill a defensive midfield or lockdown small defender role and Paul Roos will be keen to get him into the side when possible. Jordie McKenzie is vying for a similar position and responded to his axing with 27 disposals for Casey. Colin Garland started his third game at VFL level strongly, but played no further part in the game after halftime. If Garland is fit, he will play in the VFL again before being eligible for senior selection. Max Gawn is finally stringing some games together and will be a welcome forward option.

ADAM BALDWIN'S FORECAST: The Dees might have won just one game and they might not be kicking many goals, but they are remaining in games for longer and look a more competitive team in the past month. Paul Roos' defence-first mantra is starting to stick in the minds of his players and holding Sydney goalless in the second quarter on Saturday night was a big win. If the Demons can continue to stick with sides for the duration of the game, they will pinch a few more wins in the remainder of the season. Once they nail defence, the attacking side of the game with click fast. This will be the approach against Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday — win the stoppages, win the contested footy and limit the opposition's ability to score. It might not be pretty, but it's where the development of the group is at presently.

North Melbourne training, Andrew Swallow, 9 Source: News Corp Australia



Ben Brown (knee) 1 week

Tom Curran (foot) indefinite

Cam Delaney (foot) test

Taylor Garner (hamstring) test

Jamie McMillan (broken leg) 3 weeks

Andrew Swallow (Achilles) available

Robbie Tarrant (lower leg) test

Scott Thompson (suspended) available

Daniel Wells (foot) test

ON THE BLOCK: You'd think North will make at least two changes with Scott Thompson and Daniel Wells — soreness permitting — set to return for Sunday's match against Gold Coast. The big inclusions heap pressure on Robin Nahas, Joel Tippett and Majak Daw to perform on the track this week. Nahas tried his guts out against Fremantle only to run out of legs in the second half. Tippett would be stiff to miss after good carrying his good pre-season form into his first game for North Melbourne. Daw provided a target up forward as well as ruck relief. It looks like being a tough week at the selection table.


ON THE CUSP: North could boast three frontline inclusions for Sunday with Scott Thompson, Daniel Wells and Andrew Swallow all in the mix. Thompson is certain to play after serving his one-match ban for striking Travis Cloke. Wells could return as long as soreness in his foot subsides, while Swallow showed no signs of discomfort in his first game back from Achilles surgery. The skipper collected 23 disposals in three quarters for Werribee and would be "able to handle it" at AFL level this week, development manager Ben Dyer told the club's website. Mason Wood (four goals), Liam Anthony and Ben Jacobs were best of the rest. Looking further afield, forward Kieran Harper is finding touch in the VFL while tagger Taylor Hine could earn himself a recall to combat one of the Suns' star midfielders.

GILBERT GARDINER'S FORECAST: Liked what Ross Lyon said after North Melbourne ran over Fremantle on Friday night. "Talk is cheap". Of course it was directed to his Dockers, but the words ring true at Arden St too. North might as well forget recent wins over Sydney and Freo if it's going to falter against the Suns — at Etihad no less. No ifs, buts or maybes — must win. Worthy of note will be Luke McDonald's output against an outfit brimming with young talent.

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Angus Monfries (hamstring) test

Jarrad Redden (knee) 4-5 weeks

Sam Russell (hamstring) 2-3 weeks

Lewis Stevenson (toe) 5-6 weeks

Mason Shaw (wrist) 2-3 weeks

Sam Colquhoun (knee) TBC

ON THE BLOCK: Hard to knock too many Power players after they walloped the Cats by 40 points. Jarman Impey only got his chance late after coming on as the sub. Perhaps he could do with a full game in the SANFL, while Sam Gray is on the fringes of the best 22.

ON THE CUSP: Angus Monfries is now over his hamstring injury. Will Ken Hinkley bring in his clever goalkicker or give him another week? The top-of-the-table Power 'only' play GWS, so the coach could be tempted to give 'Gus' another week to rest. Ben Newton could be given a chance as he continues to carve up the SANFL. On Saturday he collected 31 touches, including three goals, seven clearances and six inside 50s.

BEN BROAD'S FORECAST: Port is the real deal, surely? They must now be considered a legitimate premiership hope after dismantling the Cats at Adelaide Oval (AO) on Sunday. The Power plays exciting, attacking footy and will now set about locking in a top-four berth in 2014. A top-two berth isn't beyond the realms, and anyone venturing to AO this year should be very afraid. For this week, however, the Power travels to Canberra. They will play in front of slightly fewer than the 47,000 screaming fans they had on Sunday when they face the Giants. Port should be 6-1 at the end of Round 7.

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Jake King (toe) 3 weeks

Matt Dea (hand) 1 week

Brett Deledio (Achilles) test

Aaron Edwards (knee) test

Chris Knights (knee soreness) 1 week

Ivan Maric (ankle) 2 weeks

Alex Rance (foot) test

Matt Thomas (knee) test

Cadeyn Williams (shoulder) 1 week

ON THE BLOCK: Sam Lloyd's stint in the seniors might be about to come to an end after he was handed the sub vest against Hawthorn — bad news for about 85,000 SuperCoaches. After his brilliant three-goal debut, he has scored just one behind in the past two matches. The man who replaced him, Matt McDonough, did a couple of nice things but could be in the firing line along with a host of underperformers against the Hawks. Mat Arnot (eight disposals) is probably in the most danger, but Steve Morris had a nightmare against Cyril Rioli and Shaun Hampson was beaten badly in the ruck for the first time this year.


ON THE CUSP: Brett Deledio and Alex Rance can't come back quick enough, and Damien Hardwick says they are both likely to play against the Cats. They could be joined by No. 9 draft pick Ben Lennon, who put in another strong performance in the VFL. Ty Vickery was better this week and could return given Richmond's inability to kick a score.

AL PATON'S FORECAST: Things are getting dire and Geelong on the rebound is not ideal for a team devoid of confidence and run. One saving grace is the Hawks have belted some handy teams this year — Fremantle by 10 goals and Gold Coast by 15 — but Richmond is a shadow of the team that just missed the top four last year. The evenness of the competition means top eight hopes are not totally shot but there will have to be some serious changes from here to keep the Tiger army at bay.

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David Armitage (leg) 3-4 weeks

Sam Gilbert (foot) 10 weeks

Lewis Pierce (back) 3 weeks

Nathan Wright (broken leg) 10-12 weeks

Eli Templeton (broken arm) indefinite

ON THE BLOCK: There will be one forced change with Eli Templeton possibly out for the year after falling awkwardly in a tackle in Wellington. Seb Ross got a bit of the ball but his disposal let him down again and Josh Saunders might be due for a rest. Could Shane Savage pay the price for his brain fade in throwing the ball away to give away a 50m penalty with less than a minute to play against Brisbane?


ON THE CUSP: The only one of St Kilda's three top-20 draft picks from last year yet to make an appearance at AFL level could make his debut next weekend. Blake Acres impressed with 21 disposals and seven marks in Sandringham's win against Casey. Adam Schneider will return after his one-week suspension and Sam Fisher, who just missed out last week, is also a chance. Daniel Markworth (16 disposals and a goal) is also getting close to senior selection and Sam Dunell is knocking on the door for his first game for the year.

AL PATON'S FORECAST: The Saints blew their chances to go 4-2 with a sloppy first half and some horrible late misses. They probably won't get those chances against the red-hot Hawks on Saturday. But there were still some positives out of the game, including another shutdown job by Tom Curren (on Tom Rockliff) and the vastly improved form of Rhys Stanley. Slugged with the "potential" tag for five years, he may have finally found his place as a forward-ruckman.

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Sam Naismith (knee) 3-5 weeks

Alex Johnson (knee) season

Tommy Walsh (hamstring) test

Kurt Tippett (rib) 1-2 weeks

Lewis Jetta (groin) test

Lance Franklin (knee) test

ON THE BLOCK: It was a comfortable victory over the Demons in the end, but it was a bruising encounter no less. The players attracting significant scrutiny in the first month of the season are back to their best and it seems there is now selection heat on players for the right reasons. Lewis Roberts-Thompson has been a valuable servant over the years, but he struggled to have an impact on Saturday night and might face pressure for his spot in the coming weeks.


ON THE CUSP: Tom Mitchell was dropped after the loss to North Melbourne with an ankle injury, but he returned to the field in the NEAFL on the weekend and was named best on ground. Ryan O'Keefe, Gary Rohan and Dean Towers continue to push for selection, while Brandon Jack and Sam Reid were the travelling emergencies on the weekend.

ADAM BALDWIN'S FORECAST: The state of Buddy Franklin's knee will drive the news ahead of Sydney's game with Brisbane on Sunday. John Longmire said after the win over Melbourne, Franklin is carrying soreness in his knee sustained in the win over the Crows in Round 3 and had been on a modified training program since. Despite recording its first win, Brisbane should prove an easy kill for Sydney, making to three on the trot and 4-3 after a disastrous start to the year.

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Xavier Ellis (calf) test

Shannon Hurn (knee) 1 week

Mark LeCras (broken arm) 1-2 weeks

Beau Waters (shoulder) season

ON THE BLOCK: The Eagles fell in a heap at the finish against Carlton, but the question will be how much can Adam Simpson swing the axe from what wasn't a terribly bad display. Jamie Cripps didn't do a heap, Scott Lycett was patchy, draftee Dom Sheed kicked a nice goal from limited game time while rookie Jeremy McGovern was subbed out.

ON THE CUSP: Darren Glass has served his suspension and will be a welcome inclusion for this week's Derby. Xavier Ellis could return from an ankle injury and would provide some much-needed poise from the back, while the coach will be hoping Shannon Hurn can make a speedier-than-expected recovery from his knee complaint. Callum Sinclair keeps impressing for East Perth and could be some chance to come in.

BEN BROAD'S FORECAST: It promises to be one of the bigger Derbies in recent memory with the Eagles and Freo facing off for a place in the eight. West Coast has lost its past three after starting in a blaze of glory and seemingly announcing itself as a genuine top-eight contender. But the wheels look to be falling off. Mark LeCras can't come back quick enough while fitness concerns continue to linger over Nic Naitanui. The footy world is again doubts the Eagles' 2014 credentials, and only a win over the Dockers — which would be their third in a row — will silence those sceptical of their finals aspirations.

Dale Morris has served his suspension, but must overcome an ankle injury to be fit. Source: News Corp Australia



Jarrad Grant (foot) 3 weeks

Dale Morris (ankle) test

Daniel Pearce (knee) 7 weeks

Josh Prudden (knee) 2 weeks

Jordan Roughead (shoulder) 6 weeks

Marcus Bontempelli (soreness)

ON THE BLOCK: Despite a disappointing result on the weekend, it was a pretty even contribution from the Bulldogs. The players who need to lift are at the pointy end of their talent pool. The form of Ryan Griffen and Tom Liberatore in 2013, means their benchmark is extremely high and the statistics prove they are a long way off their best footy at the moment.

ON THE CUSP: Footscray enjoyed a 166-point win over Bendigo in the VFL and it's no surprise a number of fringe players enjoyed a day out. Mitch Wallis is too good a player to find himself out of the side, while Jason Tutt and Ayce Cordy were also among the better players. Clay Smith was named best and on ground and is a chance to make his return to the senior side after tearing his ACL at the end of last season. Dale Morris faces a test on his ankle injury. Mitch Honeychurch was an emergency for Sunday's game and didn't feature in the VFL match.

ADAM BALDWIN'S FORECAST: Saturday's game with Essendon is a huge in the context of the Bulldog's season. Both sides have just two wins and the loser faces an uphill battle to make the finals. The Bulldogs always give an honest effort, but they are a more talented side than 2-5 and the loser of this game will be under serious pressure. To win this game the Bulldog on-ball brigade needs to have a big day and Griffen and Liberatore need to give some support to Jack Macrae and Matthew Boyd. The Essendon defence is faulting at the moment, so it might be the day Stew Crameri steps up and wins a game off his own boot.

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Rajasthan’s Watson in IPL action

Shane Watson has rediscovered some form of late with bat and ball for the Rajasthan Royals. Source: Getty Images

SHANE Watson's Rajasthan Royals will seek to keep pace with tournament pacesetters Punjab and Chennai when they clash with Trevor Bayliss' Kolkata Knight Riders tonight.

Watch the game LIVE here from 12:30am: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vM0L0z1QmQ


Watson looks to be hitting form as he closes in on his 2000th IPL run. He struck an even-time 24 and claimed 1-5 with the ball in his best individual outing to date against Bangalore Royal Challengers over the weekend. The Rajasthan skipper will lead a strong Australian contingent that is likely to include Kane Richardson and Steve Smith. James Faulkner and Brad Hodge have been surprise omissions in recent games — Faulkner in particularly given his reported $1.7 million pay cheque — while Ben Cutting has struggled to get a game.

They will face-off with the Trevor Bayliss-coached Knight Riders, who hold an identical 2-2 win-loss record in the tournament. The Knight Riders made international headlines last week when Chris Lynn pulled off one of the better outfield catches ever taken. He will presumably get another chance to impress against Rajasthan.

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The United Arab Emirates phase of the IPL is almost over, and both Rajasthan and Kolkata will be desperate to return to India with a winning record. Kolkata will be hoping for much more out of Gautam Gambhir and Yusuf Pathan, both of whom have struggled for form this campaign, and will hope West Indian mystery spinner Sunil Narine continues his sorcery (he has taken a tournament-leading nine wickets at 8.77 and an economy rate of 4.93). Rajasthan will again rely heavily on their bowling outfit, which levelled the star-studded Bangalore batting line-up for 70 last weekend.


"The communication barrier drops down (having an Australian as captain). Having said that, Shane is new to the job as well, but he has adapted quickly. I am new in the Royals camp, but he has taken me on board and given me confidence" — Kane Richardson

"Gambhir is a world class batsman and we all know what he is capable of. It's a matter of one innings and he can come back into form. We are fully backing him and I have confidence in his ability to strike" — Trevor Bayliss

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Robbo: Bunton unlucky to miss out

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THE glory of Haydn Bunton Sr could be judged yesterday by the response to the Herald Sun's rebooting of the AFL Team of the Century.

Carlton great John Nicholls and Richmond legend Jack Dyer were omitted from the original team, yet there was more angst over the culling of Bunton, the magical little rover from Fitzroy who brought joy to thousands of footy fans through the Depression years.

Bunton, just 179cm and 73kg, won three Brownlow Medals and three Sandover Medals, awarded to the best player in the Western Australian Football League. He only played 11 seasons of senior football.



To some, he was the Bradman of football, a brilliant runner and ballgetter who frequently hovered around the 40-possession mark.

Clearly, he was a player with some appeal.

Originally from Albury, Bunton was chased by all 12 VFL clubs.

He signed with Fitzroy for £222, which was illegal under VFL rules and was banned for the 1930 VFL season.

It is said his initial, legal match payments were £2 a week.

Undated. Fitzroy Champion and triple Brownlow Medalist, Haydn Bunton. Source: News Limited

Bunton made his debut in 1931 at age 19 and won the Brownlow that year, and again the following season. He was second to Bombers great Dick Reynolds by a vote in 1934 but a third medal followed in 1935.

Reynolds, also a triple Brownlow medallist, once told fellow Team of the Century Rebooted selector Jon Anderson this story:

"He worked in a department store during the day, and practised baulking by weaving his way through crowds of shoppers.

''I spied on him during this activity in order to learn how to defeat his technique.''

The Encylopedia of AFL Footballers describes a football marvel also blessed with matinee idol good looks.

The AFL's recognition of Bunton came when he was named an inaugural legend of the AFL Hall of Fame in 1996.

Emails to the Herald Sun yesterday, and comments left on the Herald Sun website, overwhelmingly were angered by Bunton's omission more than that of either Nicholls or Dyer.

Not everyone, though, was enamoured with Bunton's football prowess.


The great Collingwood full-forward Gordon Coventry was one of Bunton's critics, citing Bunton's poor disposal as the single reason why Bunton was not the best player in the competition.

Writing in the Sporting Globe in 1938, a year after his retirement, Coventry named the six best players he had seen.

"I couldn't give a ranking to a player who didn't know the first thing about drop-kicking or disposal of the ball," Coventry wrote of Bunton.

"He often disorganised his team through his individualism and he attempted to do too much.

"But coached in passing and taught the meaning of teamwork, Bunton could have been the greatest player the code has known."

For the record, Coventry named Ivor Warne-Smith (Melbourne), Colin Watson (St Kilda), brother Syd Coventry (Collingwood), Allan Hopkins (Footscray), Dick Reynolds (Essendon) and Laurie Nash (South Melbourne) as his best six.

He may have been wrong, Coventry, and so too the Herald Sun, but there's no denying Bunton's standing in the game.

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ADP’s Sydney playing days over

Written By Unknown on Senin, 28 April 2014 | 16.41

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ALESSANDRO Del Piero's sudden departure from Sydney FC came after the club declined to re-sign him on the $4 million annual terms he earned since signing for the club in a blaze of publicity 18 months ago.

Del Piero announced his exit on Monday night, declaring: "Australia, the moment has arrived to say arrivederci" in a statement on his personal website.

Sydney said that the club would seek to "continue Del Piero's relationship" with the Sky Blues, thought it's understood that does not refer to any imminent plans for the 39-year-old to begin his coaching career here.


Instead he is likely to be offered some ambassadorial role, or involvement with the club's putative academy it intends to begin building later in the year.

It brings to a close an audacious signing that made Sydney FC genuinely global news, after Del Piero chose a move to the A-League ahead of offers from clubs including Liverpool when he left Juventus after almost two decades.

Though it's believed Del Piero had been lobbying for a third year in Sydney's colours, the club had indicated from the turn of the year that it was looking for a new marquee.

Potential targets have been discussed, though at a much reduced salary, after Del Piero's increasingly fitful contributions to his second season in the A-League.

What comes next for Del Piero remained unclear from his statement last night, in which he noted that "now I just need some time to think over all the prospective opportunities for my future".

However he and his family will leave Australia, though he will play here at least one more time as the captain of the A-League All-Stars against Juventus in August.

Del Piero generated huge interest in the A-League when he arrived. Source: News Corp Australia

On Monday night it was made clear that he has yet to decide on whether to continue playing beyond that, with an offer believed to have come from a club in Malaysia.

Sydney paid tribute to a player whose cache helped them achieve record crowds and memberships, with the merchandise shop at Allianz Stadium setting a one-day record for sales when his home debut came against Newcastle in Round Two last season.

Del Piero's signing was a huge success for Aussie football. Source: AP

"Two years ago Sydney FC signed one of the greatest players to have ever worn a football shirt, Alessandro Del Piero," Sydney chairman Barlow said.

"At the time, if you had said Del Piero would be playing in Australia, few people would have believed it possible. His signing was the biggest in Australian football history and it lifted Sydney FC and the A-League onto the world stage.

"Together we have achieved a lot and Sydney FC has grown in every way, with record crowds and memberships and huge interest in our club both domestically and internationally."

Del Piero added that his "greatest satisfaction is the rapid growth of the Australian football movement, with interest increasing incredibly for the public, television and sponsors, in this country."

Del Piero poses with the Golden Boot Award during the Sydney FC Sky Blue Ball. Source: Getty Images

"My adventure with Sydney FC is about to be concluded, and, even if it makes me rather sad, because I have had wonderful time here, I have communicated my decision to the club," Del Piero said.

"I'm really grateful for the last two years and for the club's request for me to remain and with whom, I am happy to explore new opportunities to continue our relationship.

"It hasn't been an easy choice, also because my life on and off the pitch has been fantastic, my family and I have really enjoyed these two wonderful years: Australia will remain in our hearts forever.

He would, he said, "remain a bit "Australian", and will continue to be close to the football movement in this country."

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‘ADP risked tarnishing his legacy’

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IN the end it was something of a relief. Fabulous though Alessandro Del Piero has been for the A-League, he is now so far past his physical prime that a third season in the colours of Sydney FC would have risked tarnishing the legacy he wants to leave here.

So, if the timing of his announcement left something to be desired - inevitably overshadowing the A-League Awards on Monday night - the manner of his departure won't detract from everything good since his arrival.


Seismic changes have been made to a variety of metrics around the league since he first set foot on Australian soil. Sydney have record crowds around an average of 20,000 - the days when they pulled in 7000 are uncomfortably recent history.

TV ratings for big games involving him have been consistently powerful, and Sydney FC have overtaken Melbourne Victory as the most-watched team by TV viewers, grabbing some 42% of the market last season.

Alessandro Del Piero paved the way for Shinji Ono and Emile Heskey's signings. Source: News Limited

The club's memberships reached 10,000 this year for the first time, a welcome response to counter the attention-grabbing success of the Wanderers across town.

In other ways too his impact was felt across the league, and not just in the way teams sold out when he came to town. No ADP, no Heskey or Ono - he blazed the trail for the marquees who gave the competition an incredible jump-start 20 months ago.

And in response, certainly in the first season, ADP delivered. Remember the freekick he curled home early in his home debut against Newcastle last season? Remember the four goals against Wellington, the screamer away to Perth?

Adelaide fans pay homage to Alessandro Del Piero. Source: News Limited

The outrageously casual brilliance of his goals against Brisbane in the final round of his first season as he single-handedly tried to get Sydney into the finals?

The wonder is that as his contribution has waned this season, the metrics have ticked on. Asked how they intend to shore-up the interest and money Del Piero brought to the club, Sydney officials note that those figures are higher still in his second, obviously less-impactful season.

Whether that's the case remains to be seen, but for now he has one more contribution to make to Australian football as captain of the All-Stars against Juventus in August. And that's only right and proper, for we may not see his like again, not a star of quite such brilliance. He deserves the thanks.

Check out all the reaction to ADP's departure here.

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