Practice match analysis, scratch matches, new faces, recruits, draftees, every club’s new players, injuries, latest news

From the dream debuts, to the worrying starts, to the surprising kids.

Last week’s scratch matches saw dozens of fresh faces making their first appearance in club colours.

Here’s how your club’s new boys went and who to look for in this coming weekend’s pre-season games.

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Is that REALLY a 50?! | 00:34


A number of youngsters made an impact in the club’s SANFL clash on Saturday, pushing their case for early selection in 2021. The club’s prized first selection, Riley Thilthorpe, slotted 4.2 in the hitout and was one of the best on the field. He took some outstanding contested marks and set up a number of other chances. Assistant coach Scott Burns said he’d be in the mix for the club’s AAMI Community Series match against the Power, praising Luke Pedlar and Sam Berry’s work. Mature-age recruit James Rowe played in the senior match but received limited supply up forward. Former Giant Jackson Hately spent an extended period of time in at the centre bounces with the Crows missing gun Matt Crouch through soreness.


All eyes were on key forward Joe Daniher, with the tall not failing to deliver on the big stage in the first official practice match of the year. The former Bomber slotted four goals for the game, including two in the first quarter, dominating against an understrength Suns backline. It seems like a simple equation; the former All-Australian will be a fantastic addition if fit. But ‘if fit’ has been bold, italicised and up in lights next to Daniher’s name for a couple of years now.


The Blues are certainly going to play some exciting footy throughout 2021 given the extra burst of speed coming out of the defensive half of the ground. Adam Saad’s addition adds another element to the backline of the Blues, with the left footer breaking the lines and zippy away from his opponents to get the ball moving forward. Zac Williams made an impact from the very first bounce against Essendon, winning the first clearance and booting it long inside 50. The Blues used him up forward and down back, with his addition into the midfield helping David Teague leave Patrick Cripps deep forward. Former Cat Lachie Fogarty had his moments but was largely quiet in the practice match.

Saad shines as Blues beat Bombers | 03:10


The major standout for Collingwood against Geelong was young gun Ollie Henry, with the forward starring while his brother watched on in opposition colours. The first-year player flew high to take a number of impressive marks, using his athleticism inside 50. The club’s pick 17 from 2020 has pushed his Round 1 case, following a tough off-season for the Pies.


The Bombers unveiled a number of new faces against the Blues on Thursday. While there was no standout four quarter performance, it was a number of moments that caught the eye for those donning the sash for the first time. Youngster Jye Caldwell got into the thick of things in the midfield mix, with captain Dyson Heppell shifted to half back. On the wing, 200cm runner Nik Cox had a few flashes with his burst forward and caught the eye with his leap. Fellow top-10 draftee Archie Perkins played across half forward and remains in the mix for Round 1 selection. Former Saint Nick Hind’s speed across half back helped fill the void left by Adam Saad. While he is yet to win a deal, Alec Waterman slotted four majors to push his case to be signed by the Bombers.

Hurley’s return date still a blur | 01:17


The list of impressive young Dockers is set to grow after fine performances from rookie Josh Treacy and the club’s first round pick Heath Chapman. Treacy, a key forward, slotted two goals and claimed some impressive contested marks against the Eagles. At the other end, Chapman played the entire second-half and had strong moments. Dockers coach Justin Longmuir suggested there wasn’t a lot of expectation from their first-year players, but didn’t rule out Round 1 opportunity.


Cats fans got their first glimpse at seeing what life will be like with Jeremy Cameron and Tom Hawkins in the same forward line for 2021. The ex-Giant played up the ground using his strong aerobic ability, slotting a goal early in the contest. He was rested for the second-half but the signs are very good for Chris Scott’s side. Young tall Shannon Neale booted a goal late in the match, while Nick Stevens played in the defensive half after the main break.

Cameron makes fast start for the Cats | 01:28


The Suns have added some speed off half back with Oleg Markov slotting straight into the vacancy left by Pearce Hanley. Against the Lions, the former Tiger rebounded the ball at speed and was clean with his ball skills.


Tanner Bruhn added plenty to GWS’ attacking half where he used his sublime skills to effectiveness. He played most of the game across half forward, slotting a goal on the run to cap off an impressive showing.

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With a number of off-field changes, Hawthorn has a big vacancy on the wing. And it could be academy pick Connor Downie to fill the void as early as Round 1. The Eastern Ranges prospect had some standout moments throughout the game against the Bulldogs, with his long left-foot kicking and his strong making a real highlight in the second term. He also spent time running alongside Lachie Hunter in the clash. Tom Phillips also spent ample time in the midfield, including a number of centre bounces, filling a role with Tom Mitchell on the sidelines.


Big trade recruit Ben Brown didn’t feature in the scratch match win over Richmond following knee surgery in early February, with the Demons bringing him back conservatively given his knee issues in 2020. In the ‘B’ game top draft pick Jake Bowey impressed, spending time in defence and showing plenty of speed and class by foot. His only issue is his size – he’s listed at 175cm and 67kg, and he’d be fighting to get to the latter soaking wet.


There weren’t many shining lights in the thumping loss to St Kilda. Jaidyn Stephenson spent most of his time up forward, rather than the midfield where it had been mooted he’d play, kicking two goals and showing flashes. Aidan Corr was understandably busy in defence and didn’t produce a performance of note. Will Phillips didn’t play, with the Kangaroos saying he wasn’t selected because other youngsters had shown more promise – which seems less than ideal for a No.3 draft pick. But fellow first-round selection Tom Powell looked comfortable while Charlie Lazzaro (pick No.36) was solid and spent some time in the midfield.

Tasmania calls for their own AFL team | 01:39


There wasn’t too much for defender Aliir Aliir to do in the clash with Adelaide given the one-sided result, with one-way traffic after the main break. Up forward, ex-Bomber Orazio Fantasia slotted two second quarter goals, showing his liveliness around the action inside 50. Academy selection Lachie Jones continued to press his case for Round 1 action, showing his composure across half back. However, he faces stiff competition if he is to find a role in Ken Hinkley’s 22.


It’ll be a struggle for any new faces to squeeze into the back-to-back premiers’ 22. Rhyan Mansell, signed as a mature-aged rookie after training with the Tigers this pre-season, played in the “B’ game suggesting he’s a little ways off AFL selection.


The level of competition wasn’t the best, but there was plenty to love about the Saints’ new faces on Thursday. Plenty of the goals that contributed to the 91-point margin came from recruits – including Jack Higgins (two), who combined with ex-Roo Mason Wood (four) in attack. We know Higgins’ talent as a small forward, but the question is whether he can push into the midfield; with Wood, it’s about staying on the park and converting flashes into consistent form. Helpfully with Max King nearby, he won’t need to be the main target. James Frawley is a much-needed steadying force in defence while Brad Crouch will be a quality addition to the midfield when he debuts after his early-season suspension. This is the benefit of targeting mature-aged recruits – you generally know what you’re gonna get. Recent list addition Paul Hunter looked like handy ruck depth as Rowan Marshall recovers from his foot injury, while ex-SANFL star Tom Highmore adds to the defensive stocks.

Recruits impress as Saints crush Roos | 01:29


Errol Gulden’s Round 1 spot is firming after yet another standout effort in the club’s draw with the Giants. The Academy graduate was composed, crafty and crucial throughout the match, particularly in the third term with some brilliant passages of play, one of which directly resulted in a Tom Papley goal. His teammates gave him exceptional praise post-game. Tall Logan McDonald was quiet in wet conditions, while top-five academy pick Braeden Campbell didn’t look far off an AFL debut in his first season.


Alex Witherden pulled on his new colours for the first time and played mostly across half back. It wasn’t his best outing with a number of turnovers, but he is certain to improve the club’s rebounding efforts. Former Giant Zac Langdon suffered a minor ankle tweak in the contest.

Bulldogs unveil Jamarra in the reserves | 02:54


The production line of Footscray VFL to Bulldogs AFL continued when 25-year-old Anthony Scott earned a spot on the senior list. It came following a strong performance as a forward-mid in the Dogs’ scratch match clash with Hawthorn. He’s a realistic chance of a Round 1 debut given Mitch Hannan’s groin injury, as is Lachlan McNeil, who played a high half-forward role in the win. Dogs assistant Rohan Smith told reporters post-game McNeil was “fantastic … he didn’t look out of place at all”. Stefan Martin looked like the steady veteran ruck presence most expected him to be when he was brought across.

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Rule change under fire after 50-metre penalty for standing on the mark in practice match

Former Adelaide and Carlton player Sam Kerridge commented that it was “horrible, hard to watch”.

Dual Sydney premiership player and AFL life member Bolton, added to the All-Australian panel this year, said that while he understood the rationale behind the new rule it appeared bound to cause chaos.


“From my perspective, it’s such a small sample size at the moment, it’s hard to make a real judgment on how it’s going to impact the season moving forward. However of that sample size, it’s been really poor from my perspective. I feel like we’re just making it one of the hardest games to adjudicate, which puts undue pressure on the umpires, which creates unnecessary angst in the crowd,” Bolton said on Sunday.

The rule was implemented during the off-season under the imprimatur of AFL football operations chief Steve Hocking, who is aiming to open up the game amid declining scoring rates. Scoring fell to a 52-year low in 2019. It plummeted considerably last year but matches were played with shorter quarters.

Bolton accepted the jury was out on the new rule but didn’t seem optimistic.

“I’m happy to see how it changes the flow of the game,” Bolton said.

“Speaking to some of the players, they know that it’s opened up that 45-degree kick … it’s going to be high-scoring. Obviously, that’s the way the AFL want the game. But those little frustrating tiggy-touchwood free kicks that create angst.

“It’ll rear its head like the deliberate out of bounds and things like that. It only needs one a game that cause headlines on a Monday morning. I feel for the umpires because they might get the game right for the whole time and have one incident that fans are just going to lose their minds over. It’s a little bit of ‘suck it and see’ for the moment, but from what I’ve seen thus far in just the trial games, it’s frustrating.

“It’s going to be pretty frustrating for defenders when it’s coming in so fast.”


Under the terms of the new rule announced by the AFL in November: “The defending player will only be permitted minimal lateral movement on the mark. If the defending player moves off the mark in any direction prior to “play on” being called, a 50-metre penalty will apply. The defensive team is unable to substitute the player on the mark.”

“The evolution of the game has seen an increase in defensive structures and these changes combined are designed to provide a better balance between attack and defence while encouraging more open ball movement,” Hocking said at the time.

One senior club official – speaking on the condition of anonymity – said on Sunday that the rule had been brought in to speed up play around the ground but should not apply for set shots inside 50.

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North Melbourne, Adam Saad, Tony Jones and more

On SEN’s the Captain’s Run, Kane Cornes was posed five over or under scenarios about the upcoming sporting landscape.

Cornes was asked to declare his thoughts on the scenarios and whether they would meet the over/under mark.

See his thoughts below:

OVER/UNDER: North Melbourne will return to the finals in 3.5 years

Kane says: OVER

“It’s tough to be a North Melbourne supporter. They’re going to quickly find out what happens when you give away all of your players.

“It’s similar to what Adelaide did and maybe it’s the right strategy, time will tell, but it’s going to be a brutal year for them.

“I heard David King say he’s tipping Hawthorn to win the wooden spoon. I don’t think the Hawks are going to have a great year, but you would think North Melbourne is the obvious choice for the wooden spoon.

“Ben Buckley said his expectation for new coach David Noble is to be winning finals in two to three year’s time, which is a completely unrealistic timeframe.

“So 3.5 years, I’m going to go the over on that one.”

OVER/UNDER: Adam Saad to have 95 bounces this year

Kane says: OVER

“This is a pretty simple one for me. With the new rule, you’d have to think that is way over 95.

“A handball receive to Adam Saad from any free kick in the back half, bounce, bounce launch it to 10 metres out and that’ll put the opposition under pressure.

“He had 95 in 2018, he’s going to go over that this year.”

OVER/UNDER: Shane Mumford plays 10 games this year

Kane says: OVER

“He played 10 games from 17 last year, so they were forced to wheel him out there for 10 games even though they recruited Sam Jacobs.

“Finally, the Giants go and get a decent ruckman and Braydon Preuss is flying until he gets a pretty nasty shoulder injury that will keep him out most of the year.

“I don’t know who their next rucks are. Phil Davis mentioned some names to me, but nothing there excites me, I reckon they’re going to be forced to play over 10 games of Shane Mumford.

“What’s he doing on the list? He said this week he doesn’t want to play, well mate you’re on a list so clearly the Giants are trying to exploit the soft cap and pay him through the salary cap and use him as a coach rather than a player, but they may be forced to bandage him up and get him out there for 10 games this year.”

OVER/UNDER: Dustin Martin to play 400 games

Kane says: Under

“He’s going to go close, but I don’t think he’ll get to 400, Dusty. There’s four 400 game players in the history of the game.

“He’s 29, he’s got 244 games. If he plays for eight more years until he’s 38 (as his manager Ralph Carr suggested he could), that’s 20 games a year, we’ll give him a couple off for injury, it’s borderline.

“I don’t think Dusty will get there, but perhaps 375 games will be a good number for what is going to be an unbelievable career.”

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OVER/UNDER: Tony Jones’ infamous Bec Judd kiss to be shown on the Sunday Footy Show 15 times this year

Kane says: OVER

“That’s easy. That’s over. The group text has started for the Sunday Footy Show boys, we’ll be back the Sunday of Round 1.

“It is topical because MAFS is back, I haven’t been watching a lot of it but my wife Lucy does, there was a kiss fail between one of the couples, and I think the Daily Mail wrote an article comparing it to Tony Jones’ failed kiss with Bec Judd.

“He hates it. Last year he stormed off set. He gave the producers the word that we are not to play this again, but I can almost guarantee you it’ll be played at least 15 times this year.”

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Sydney Swans unsure if new rule will force Lance Franklin to change goalkicking routine

But it also has implications for Franklin and players like him, who tend to run in an arc favouring their kicking foot to generate extra power.


Umpires are now being instructed to call “play on” as soon as a player deviates from a direct line with the goals they are aiming towards, giving the man on the mark at least some opportunity to affect play.

The Swans have had umpires relocate from Melbourne and oversee training for the past week to help them come to grips with the new rule, but assistant coach Dean Cox said it was still unclear what it means for Franklin.

“We’ve just got to talk through with the umpires about that arc – can he still use it, and come to the line, not start on the line of the kick and then get off it,” Cox said.

“We’ll work our way through that. As soon as you step off the line, it’s on now. You’ve still got that five-metre protected [zone] that you can look at but if you step off that line they’re coming at you really quick. Players have just got to be aware of it, train a bit differently.”

While the early evidence across pre-season scratch matches has shown players have adapted to the change well, Cox expects there will be at least one 50-metre penalty given per quarter on Saturday.

“We’ve had a few here and the boys are like, ‘I barely moved’. You’ve just got to keep replaying and showing it to them – ‘Look, that’s what they’re calling’,” he said.

GWS Giants coach Leon Cameron is still unconvinced about the new man-on-the-mark rule.Credit:Getty Images

“The pattern of behaviour that players have shown for a long time will get people early … when fatigue sets in, old habits will come and that’s why there’ll be 50s – hopefully not too many.”

Giants coach Leon Cameron said it was too early to say if the change will actually be good for the game, and anticipates fans will be highly frustrated through the opening rounds of the new season when players inevitably give away 50-metre penalties.


“It is really harsh, and it’s hard to change overnight – as in one pre-season,” he said.

“I guess that’s why they’re saying, don’t do it or you’ll cop it. A shot after the siren, someone who stands the mark can’t move, all for the sake of getting either more goals or goalkicking – I understand, but there’s going to be some interesting commentary on it early in the piece.

“Even little things … if you walk around frustrated because you’ve let your man mark the ball and he’s having a shot, well, that’s 50 as well.

“So many rules have been adjusted, some work and some haven’t. Time is going to tell. You just need, probably, a good six-week sample set of it. What I’ve seen in our practice is they’ve adapted really well [but] that will take some time, no doubt, in the heat of battle.”

Franklin, Sam Naismith (knee) and Dane Rampe (managed) will miss Saturday’s clash for Sydney – the first of two the Swans and Giants will play against one another over the next two weekends, and their only practice matches before the AFL season starts.

For the Giants, long-term casualties Brayden Preuss (shoulder), Lachie Whitfield (liver), Brent Daniels (hamstring) and Adam Kennedy (shoulder) won’t play, while Bobby Hill, Phil Davis, Sam Reid and Ryan Angwin will be held back until next week.

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Brisbane ends Fremantle’s 11-match AFLW winning run, Western Bulldogs too strong for Giants

Fremantle’s record 11-match AFLW winning streak is over following an upset loss to the Brisbane Lions.

The Dockers’ first goal of Saturday’s match did not come until deep in the final quarter, when Roxy Roux’s 45-metre set shot reduced the Lions’ lead to five points with 90 seconds remaining.

But the Lions powered the ball forward from the next centre bounce and Ally Anderson kicked the sealer to silence the 3,423-strong crowd at Fremantle Oval in the Indigenous-Round match.

The 3.7 (25) to 1.8 (14) defeat was the Dockers’ first loss since the 2019 preliminary final when they went down to Carlton.

The result saw Brisbane leapfrog Fremantle into top spot on the ladder.


Emily Bates starred for Brisbane with 26 possessions and three clearances, while Anderson was also important with 15 disposals and a goal.

Standout Fremantle midfielder Kiara Bowers overcame a quiet start to tally 24 disposals, five clearances and seven tackles, but the Dockers’ star-studded forward line failed to fire.

Just one goal was booted in the first half. Brisbane’s Courtney Hodder unleashed a spectacular banana kick from the pocket to send her teammates wild.

The Dockers dominated play during the second quarter, but their wayward kicking let the Lions off the hook time and again.

The home side went to half-time with 0.7 (7) to their name and a one-point deficit despite dominating the inside 50s count 17-10.

The tide turned in the third quarter as the Lions threatened to run away with the contest.

Orla O’Dwyer’s early goal got the ball rolling and the Lions thought they had another midway through the term, only for it to be deemed touched off the boot.

The Lions won the inside 50s count 14-4 for the term, and they entered the final change with a handy 12-point lead.

Roux’s late goal added a curve ball, but the Lions immediately replied to seal the win.

Bulldogs shape as premiership threat

Isabel Huntington kicked three goals for the Bulldogs in their win over the Giants.(AAP: Daniel Pockett, File Photo)

The Western Bulldogs recorded their fourth-straight victory after downing Greater Western Sydney by 25 points in a commanding display.

Led superbly by forwards Bonnie Toogood and Isabel Huntington, the Bulldogs were too classy for the Giants and ran out winners 7.5 (47) to 3.4 (22) at Whitten Oval.

It is the first time the Bulldogs have won four consecutive matches during an AFLW season.

Huntington, who was an All-Australian defender last season, booted three goals to take her to top of the league goal kicking list.

Toogood was just as impressive in snaring three majors, including a stunning goal-of-the-year contender during a match-winning second quarter.


The Bulldogs entered this season with a disappointing 3-10 win-loss record since their 2018 premiership win but have become one of the league’s in-form teams under coach Nathan Burke.

The day ended on a flat note for the home side, however, with Deanna Berry going down with a suspected anterior cruciate injury in the final quarter.

The Giants were best served by Rebecca Beeson and Alyce Parker, while recruit Katherine Smith played her first match since suffering a serious injury in December 2019 when at training for former club Melbourne.

Kangaroos score crucial win over Blues

North Melbourne injected some life into its finals chances with a 22-point win over Carlton in Launceston.

Staring down the barrel of three straight losses, the Kangaroos started and finished strongly and were good enough to overcome a mid-game fightback from the Blues.

The 9.5 (59) to 6.1 (37) result keeps North Melbourne in touch with the top six, while Carlton faces an uphill battle to make the finals.

Jasmine Garner was heavily involved for the Kangaroos and topped the disposal count with 32, while captain Emma Kearney picked up 28 touches.


In a typically slow start, the Blues conceded two goals in two minutes and were scoreless in the first quarter but clawed their way back to lead 18-14 at half-time on the back of a pair of goals from Darcy Vescio.

But North Melbourne lifted its game in the all-important third quarter, holding Carlton scoreless and putting on 15 points.

The Kangaroos ran away with the match in the final term, with forward Sophie Abbatangelo nabbing two majors and Daisy Bateman picking up her second of the match.

In her first appearance in two years, former All-Australian Jessica Duffin came through unscathed and registered 11 disposals and five marks on a positive evening for the Kangaroos.


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Call racism out to stamp it out, says Melbourne University Professor of Sociology Karen Farquharson

“If someone is experiencing racism and want to stop it and make a complaint. It does not go well for them usually,” Farquharson said.

People’s claims are often denied or they were made to feel bad for raising the issue which caused them to either stop complaining or quit.

“The onus should not be on the players who are the victims of these things to make the complaint … everyone else should be making the complaint on their behalf and say what are you doing, we don’t do this around here,” Farquharson said.

Heritier Lumumba. Credit:Fairfax Media

“It actually needs to be the whole club making a decision that we have zero tolerance for this and we are just not going to tolerate it and it is not up to the person being victimised to actually make a complaint about it. If you see it call it out and there is good evidence that bystanders are more effective at stopping racism than people who ae victims of it.

“The [AFL and clubs] should at least trialling a zero tolerance approach where all the players are expected to call it out.”

She also said when people heard a racist nickname or comment, leaders needed to take responsibility to stop them and stamp such behaviour out of an organisation.

Farquharson, who is also the head of the School of Social and Political Sciences at Melbourne University, said there was a reason why leagues, clubs and individuals did not put in place zero tolerance policies and thought complaints policies were sufficient.

“The reason is because it’s hard to do and it also involves giving up a bit of power, so it requires some bravery to actually come out and say ‘we are going to make this change and we are not going to tolerate that’,” Farquharson said.


She said under such a policy, action could have been taken when Swans champion Adam Goodes was being booed by fans, an action that the AFL eventually conceded was motivated by racism.

“The players on both teams could have said as long as he is getting booed we are not playing. We don’t tolerate that kind of abuse and as long as that is happening we are not playing,” Farquharson said.

Farquharson’s research into managing diversity in junior sport found that taking such action was hard but effective in tackling situations where a player was vilified in junior sport.

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Super Rugby news 2021, Queensland Reds vs Melbourne Rebels, result, score,

The Queensland Reds used their get out of jail free card to take down the Melbourne Rebels but it was a try that wasn’t scored by new recruit Suliasi Vunivalu that almost proved the highlight of their Super Rugby AU win over the Melbourne Rebels.

The Reds only hit the lead in the 77th minute and had to sweat on a late penalty kick from Rebels captain Matt To’omua, who pushed his penalty attempt after fulltime to the left of the uprights to watch his side go down 23-21.

All the Rebels points came from penalties in a match dominated by the whistle of referee Jordan Way, who blew 32 infringements in a dour match.

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The Rebels didn’t look like scoring a try all night, instead racking up their tally through seven penalty conversions, while the Reds scored two tries through hooker Alex Mafi.

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Eagles, Dockers want bigger home crowds but quarantine looms for Freo players

Three non-Victorian clubs are fixtured to play at Optus Stadium in the first three rounds of the regular season but it was Fremantle’s round one fixture against Melbourne at Marvel Stadium that could force Dockers players into two-week isolation upon their return to Perth and, subsequently, affect the opening stanza of the 2021 season.

“If it tracks the way it’s going, then we’re heading in the right direction,” Mr Dawson said.

The challenge will be Fremantle coming to Victoria to play Melbourne.

AFL fixtures boss Travis Auld

“It would be a week or two before the season starts proper, that we might know [how to address quarantine regulations].

Travis Auld, the AFL’s executive general manager of clubs, admitted the fixture could be in a state of flux after round one.

He said with Fremantle travelling to play Melbourne at the MCG on Saturday March 20 and West Coast due in Victoria the following week for its round two clash with the Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium, changes could be needed should current WA government restrictions remain in place.

“The challenge will be Fremantle coming to Victoria to play Melbourne for example,” he said.

“We’ll explore every opportunity; it is what we did last year. Start the season and where we encounter speed bumps find a way around those.”

Currently, people entering WA from Victoria must self-quarantine for two weeks, as Victoria is categorised as a “low risk” state, having fewer than five community cases per day on a 14-day rolling average.

All other states and territories are categorised by WA as “very low risk” – no community cases in at least 28 days – and travellers are not required to quarantine.

WA Chief Health Officer Andy Robertson said he was not too concerned about recent cases linked to the Holiday Inn cluster in Victoria as the cases occurred in hotel quarantine.

“Hopefully teams will be able to travel in and out,” he said on Friday.

WA is yet to announce whether its 28 days no community spread rule will be relaxed to allow travel into WA from states with minor, controlled outbreaks.

The AFL has released venue details for the first six rounds only of the 2021 season as it plays a cautionary game, with the possibility of further COVID-19 outbreaks and restrictions in mind.

The league said today crowds would be capped at 50 per cent at the MCG and Marvel Stadium for round one.

West Coast chief executive Trevor Nisbett said the 2018 premiers were hopeful Optus Stadium’s current capped capacity of 35,500 would be increased before their opening-season clash with Gold Coast on Sunday March 21, while Fremantle football operations boss Peter Bell was confident most Dockers members would get a seat to their first home game of the season against GWS a week later if it went ahead as anticipated.

An Optus Stadium spokesperson told WAtoday on Friday crowd capacity at the 60,000-seat venue would be capped at 35,500.

“That figure is in line with guidelines set by the government,” a spokesperson said.

Mr Nisbett remained optimistic crowd numbers would be increased before round one.

“Hopefully the state government will see their way clear to open up all venues, so that we can have 100 per cent,” he told Radio 6PR.

“If it’s less than that, hopefully it won’t be much less than that. There are certainly discussions with the Chief Health Officer about whether that can be increased, whether that’s from the start of the year or whether it’s from certain periods of the year depending on what’s happening in all states with all teams that are travelling to Perth.”


Three clubs from Victoria and one each from South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales will travel to Western Australia to play during the first six rounds, with current quarantine requirements to remain in place unless there are further outbreaks or cases of community transition in the respective states.

The AFL has been contacted in regards to the testing and protocols of players and staff in Perth.

Mr Nisbett said at this stage seat allocation for West Coast members would operate as per last year. Members who want a ticket would get priority for a seat on a “first in, best dressed” basis until capacity is filled.

“People will have to be ticketed and if they can’t do it online they’ll have to ring in,” Mr Nisbett said.

Fremantle was hopeful seated members would be able to attend all 11 home games at Optus Stadium should the pandemic stay controlled across Australia.

Mr Bell said the club was confident it would be able to cater for all seated members, who would likely be spread across the 60,000-seat venue to ensure fixtures met social distancing guidelines.

“If there is a little bit of shuffling you’ll be put into a seat or an area as close to what you’re accustomed to,” he told Radio 6PR.

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Collingwood vs Melbourne Tips, Odds and Teams – AFLW 2021

Victoria Park will play host to Sunday”s
Round 5 AFLW game between Collingwood and
Melbourne. The game kicks off at 3:10 pm with Collingwood heading into the game as favourites with the bookmakers. Continue reading for our in-depth preview of the Collingwood vs.
game and give you our free tips and bets.

When: Sunday February 28, 2021 at 3:10 pm

Where: Victoria Park

Bet 💰: Bet On This Match

Collingwood vs Melbourne Odds

Collingwood vs Melbourne Preview

Sunday’s clash between the Pies and Dees at Vic Park is set to be an absolute beauty.

Collingwood has really come alive this AFLW season.

Currently sitting 4-0 and second on the ladder, the Magpies had arguably their best win when they stunned North, beating them by 20 points.

Chloe Molloy’s work up forward and Stacey Livingstone in defence has proven to be an excellent combination for the Magpies who just keep on keeping on.

Melbourne will be filthy about their performance in their 13 point loss to the Western Bulldogs list.

If you only read the stats sheet, all of the numbers pointed to a Dees win except where it mattered most, on the scoreboard.

Melbourne had double the scoring shots, inside 50s, clearances but just couldn’t kick a goal to save themselves – their final score 2-12 (24)

Collingwood will go into this game the favourite, and rightfully so but Melbourne is excellent value as the $2.55 (at time of publish) underdog.

Expect the Dees to bounce back and deliver Collingwood their first loss for the season.

Content provided by Ladbrokes

Collingwood vs Melbourne Tip

We’re tipping Melbourne to win at $2.17 odds.

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High-flying AFL players took a major hit in 2020

Over a five-year contract Cameron was on an average of around $1 million a year but took massive pay cuts to help the Giants, leading to a balloon payment last year of more than $1.4 million before the COVID pay cuts. He received payments from a fund set up by the AFL and AFL Players Association to compensate for the huge amount of money he lost because of a backloaded deal.

Richmond’s Dustin Martin and Carlton’s Jack Martin, who was on a front-ended deal after being snared from the Gold Coast, were also reportedly two of the players on more than $900,000 last year. There had been 16 players who were paid $900,000 or more in 2019.

Richmond’s Dustin Martin.Credit:Getty Images

Only 10 players earned more than $700,000 last year. Of this, there was one in the $1 million to $1.1 million range and one who still pocketed between $1.1 million and $1.2 million.

Across the board, players took more than a $100,000 hit, with the average wage plummeting from $363,000 in 2019 to $260,000, excluding rookie-listed players.

The pay range with the most listed players was $100,000 to $200,000 (189) with $200,000 to $300,000 (142) the next best. There were 131 players in the $300,000 to $400,000 range and a surprising 113 in the $60,000 to $100,000 range.

“The summary shows that in 2020 AFL clubs paid a total of $170.3 million in player payments, before deductions allowed for injury allowances, veterans’ list payments, finals incentives and other reasons, decreasing 29.8 per cent from the 2019 figure of $242.3 million,” the AFL said in a statement.

Playing groups have tackled the thorny issue of cuts in different ways, with St Kilda agreeing to an across-the-board seven per cent cut to ensure the list is not impacted in years ahead.

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