Collingwood forward offered fresh contract


Collingwood forward Brody Mihocek has been offered a new long-term contract, according to AFL Media.

The 27-year-old, who kicked 20 goals this year from 16 games, has received a new three-year deal which would tie him to the club until at least the end of 2023.

The report states that Mihocek has “all intentions” of staying at Collingwood, who picked him up as a mature-aged player in the 2017 Rookie Draft.

The forward is just one a several players at the club who are currently out of contract, with Jordan De Goey and defender Darcy Moore headlining the list of names hoping to clarify their future in the coming weeks.

The Pies are also reportedly tracking Hawthorn’s Jack Gunston as they look to boost their forward stocks.






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QAFL Grand Final Preview – AFL Queensland


Some Eerie Coincidences Surface for Grand Final Showdown

By TERRY WILSON

2020 QAFL GRAND FINAL

BROADBEACH v MORNINGSIDE
At Leyshon Park, Yeronga, 2.30pm Saturday
Ins:
Broadbeach – Jed Turner. Morningside – Brad Dale.
Outs: Broadbeach – Nick Burton (broken leg). Morningside – Henry Joyce (broken leg).
The last time they met: Broadbeach 13.16 (94) d Morningside 6.8 (44), Round 8 at Subaru Oval.

GRAND Final rivals Broadbeach and Morningside have been forced to make one change each for the QAFL premiership decider in Brisbane on Saturday.
Ironically both sides have lost an on-baller and replaced him with a ruckman– and strangely enough because the on-ballers both sustained broken legs last weekend.
The Cats have had to replace Nick Burton with ruck Jed Turner, a player well versed in premiership wins, while the Panthers have lost their on-ball star Henry Joyce and brought in ruck/forward Brad Dale.
This should be a ripping clash of the competition heavyweights with Broadbeach going in unbeaten and the Panthers going in with the one loss, that to Broadbeach.
It is a match between the best from the Gold Coast and Brisbane and a contest that gives Morningside the chance to end a five-season premiership drought for capital city clubs.
But for Broadbeach it is the chance to end a premiership drought that stretches back to 1996 in the old GCAFL.
Back then the Cats won all three grades and on Saturday they are represented in colts, reserves and seniors.
It is worth noting that Morningside is the last Brisbane club to win the QAFL flag, that being back in 2014 when the QAFL competition reformed in the wake of the NEAFL revamp.
Since then Labrador (twice), Palm Beach Currumbin (twice) and Surfers Paradise have landed the cup on the tourist strip.
In another coincidence rival coaches Craig O’Brien (Broadbeach) and Clint Watts (Morningside) have both been part of unbeaten premierships here in Queensland.
Of course O’Brien is the only one of the pair who can do it again after an unbeaten flag with Palm Beach Currumbin in 2007. That was in the AFLQ Division 2 competition.
Watts was a rising star with Southport when the Sharks became the last club to win a QAFL flag unbeaten. That was in 1999.
But all of that stuff remains in the record books and it all boils down to which team adapts better on the day.
Watts agreed that losing Joyce, after also previously losing Jack Rolls (hamstring) could be a worry.
“Yes, they are (losses) but whichever way the result goes I’ll not complain because we’ll back up the guys we’re bringing in,” he said.
Asked what are his biggest concerns about Broadbeach, remembering the Cats hammered the Panthers by 50 points in their final-round fixture, Watts said:
“I haven’t thought too much about that but they like to generate a lot of run off half-back – they’re a genuine running side.”
So what about that hiding they copped at Subaru Oval. Can the Panthers reverse the result?
“There were some other underlying reasons for that performance down there. The players were coming off two weeks of really hard training and we had some absentees on the day.
“What we saw was a fair bit of Broadbeach and we think we have a handle on how they go about it.”
His rival O’Brien, said the Cats are better balanced with big Jed Turner back in the side, a move that will allow last weekend’s ruck Stephen Mills to drop back to defence and play on Panther star and competition leading goalkicker Matt Hammelmann.
O’Brien still rates the Panther midfield as the best in the competition, even without Joyce and Rolls, and he feels if his side can get on top in that area it will go a long way towards winning.
He said defence is the key to his side. That is where attack starts from and provide good service to an attacking formation that will be hard for Morningside to keep quiet.
“Defence is the start of your attack,” he said. “If you can’t defend you can’t attack and you have to have Plan B if Plan A doesn’t work.
“The forwards are a key area for us because we have a lot of options up there.”
Broadbeach spent their last training night on a ground marked out to dimensions of Leyshon Park, which is significantly smaller than the Cats’ home base at Subaru Oval.
They hope it will work out better than the last time they did the same, in 2018 when the Cats lost to Palm Beach Currumbin in the grand final at Yeronga.

 





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SA Health to investigate coronavirus travel exemption granted to AFL players’ parents


South Australia’s public health chief says an external review will investigate how and why 11 Victorian-based parents of Port Adelaide AFL players were granted exemptions to coronavirus travel restrictions while other families are being denied.

Chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier yesterday revealed 11 relatives of Power players had been approved by SA Health to enter the state, ahead of the club’s qualifying final against Geelong at Adelaide Oval next week.

After finding out about the “absolute mistake”, Dr Spurrier revoked the exemption for six of them, while the other five — who have already arrived — will be able to continue their 14-day hotel quarantine.

The South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) this morning shed more light on the situation, saying the head of Events SA had played an initial role in the process but was not responsible for the decision.

Premier Steven Marshall apologised for the “error of judgement” by an SA Health employee.

“I’m very sorry this has occurred,” he said.

“It was an inappropriate approval — I acknowledge that, the chief public health officer acknowledges that.”

The bungle coincides with the lifting of travel restrictions from New South Wales into SA, with people in NSW now allowed to cross the border into SA without having to do 14 days’ quarantine.

It has also prompted a backlash from others still stranded in Victoria — where restrictions still apply — who have accused authorities of double standards.

Angela Mead, who resides in the Victorian town of Echuca, said she has not been able to hug her 10-year-old daughter, who lives in Adelaide with her father, since May.

“There’s a lot of people like me people in worse situations,” she said.

Angela Mead (right) visiting her daughter Alannah across the South Australian-Victorian border at the start of the month.(Supplied)

She said it was unfair she could not enter South Australia but Power relatives, along with cross-border sports players, could enter the state.

Ms Mead has put in another application to visit Adelaide, where her father is terminally ill, but it is yet to go before the SA Health panel that decides on exemptions.

Dr Spurrier said someone from outside SA Health would review departmental processes around border exemptions to prevent the Port Adelaide situation being repeated.

“We’re very keen to review this,” she told ABC Radio Adelaide this morning.

Events SA boss spoke to families

The SATC this morning released a statement confirming Events SA executive director Hitaf Rasheed, who previously worked at the Port Adelaide Football Club, helped the players’ families contact SA Health.

“She helped to initially connect a representative of the families to SA Health and then left the decision-making process to the relevant health officials to work through,” a spokesperson said.

Ms Rasheed declined to be interviewed but SATC chief executive Rodney Harrex said she had done nothing wrong.

“Hitaf was approached by some family members and she provided the advice for the appropriate contact at SA Health,” Mr Harrex said.

“I think it’s very important to note here that the SATC has no involvement in any decisions that are made around this — they are decisions made by SA Health.”

Dr Spurrier said it was her understanding that the person from SA Health who gave the exemption “had no connection whatsoever” with the Port Adelaide Football Club, including as a member or a fan.

South Australia's Chief Health Officer speaks at a press conference.
Nicola Spurrier said finding out about the exemption upset her.(ABC News: Michael Clements)

“This was a mistake — it was a poor judgement,” she said.

She said disciplinary action was a matter for the department’s chief executive, Chris McGowan, not her.

She will meet with him today, and will rejoin the committee that decides on exemptions.

The Premier said the findings of the investigation would be released publicly.

“There is no suggestion whatsoever there has been any interference or personal gain from this,” Mr Marshall said.

Premier has questions to answer: Labor

Earlier this morning, Labor health spokesman Chris Picton said Mr Marshall needed to answer questions about any involvement from the Government in the matter.

“There are so many people that haven’t been able to see dying loved ones, who haven’t been able to go to funerals — how was it that people within the Marshall Government viewed football games and watching a football game as more important than those situations?” he said.

Port Adelaide general manager of football Chris Davies said neither the club nor Ms Rasheed had done anything wrong.

“Let’s be really clear: SA Health were the ones who received the exemption request and SA Health were the ones who made the decision on the exemption,” Mr Davies said.

“So, at the end of the day, I think it’s a decision and a discussion that will continue to be had but it needs to be had with the right authority.”

Two new cases of COVID-19 were reported in South Australia yesterday.

A woman and a man tested positive after arriving in Adelaide from overseas on Sunday — but a child who was travelling with them has so far not tested positive.

They bring the state’s total number of COVID-19 cases since the virus was first detected in SA to 468.



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St Kilda Saints vs Western Bulldogs Tips, Teams and Odds – AFL 2020 Elimination Final


St Kilda Saints host
Western Bulldogs
at The Gabba on Saturday October 3, 2020. Western Bulldogs are favourites for the game which is scheduled to start at 4:40 pm. We preview the game and give you our tips and information on how you can watch the St Kilda Saints vs.
Western Bulldogs
game live.

When: Saturday October 3, 2020 at 4:40 pm

Where: The Gabba

Bet: Bet On This Match HERE

St Kilda Saints vs Western Bulldogs Odds

St Kilda Saints vs Western Bulldogs Preview

I’m not sure the AFL could have asked for a better lineup of games for week 1 of the AFL Finals.

This game between St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs is just another one of the incredible tough to tip games in the first week.

The Western Bulldogs have hit some good form recently and snuck into the finals, they’ll have plenty of confidence given they went all the way to win it in 2016 after finishing outside the top 4.

St Kilda played their best footy earlier in the year but have still been playing good footy recently so this game should be a real tight contest.

Kind of surprised the Bulldogs are favourites heading into this game given their lack of consistency this season. Backing the Saints to progress and beat the Dogs.

First Goal Scorer

First Goal Scorer:

Dan Butler at $.





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AFL 2020: Grand Final entertainment, furore, halftime show, dancers, volunteers, call out, criticism, latest news


The AFL has responded to criticism after it asked for volunteers to be apart of the Grand Final entertainment.

The league came under fire from many in the entertainment industry after a casting call was revealed, asking for “volunteer performers” for “a large scale event in Brisbane on the 24th of October 2020”.

That was in reference to the Grand Final, which will be held at the Gabba for the first time.

Watch the 2020 Toyota AFL Finals Series on Kayo with every game before the Grand Final Live & On-Demand. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >

Finals Week 1

TRADES STATE OF PLAY: Every club, every player and every pick





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Richmond provide injury update on Prestia, Bolton, Lynch, Caddy and more


Richmond has confirmed Dion Prestia will make his long-awaited return from an ankle injury in Friday night’s qualifying final against Brisbane.

The 27-year-old hasn’t played since Round 7, with his return being a timely boost for the Tigers who will also regain midfielder Shai Bolton for the clash.

“(Dion Prestia has) been training for a couple of weeks now, but last Friday we did a bit of an internal practice match and he participated in the whole game and has pulled up really well,” Richmond’s Physical Performance Manager Peter Burge said on Richmond’s website.

“So he’ll be available for selection this week.

“Shai (Bolton) trained fully last Friday in the practice match that we had, and he’ll be available for selection as well this week.”

Richmond will be sweating on the fitness of forward Tom Lynch in the lead up to this week’s final, with the club waiting to see how he pulls up from training in the coming days before making a call on his availability.

“Tom (Lynch) has been running at high intensity for the past week, and on Saturday he completed a fairly strong session with high intensity running and some football,” Burge said.

“Tom’s going to join in to a little bit of skills on Monday, and we’ll make a decision later in the week as to his availability for this week’s game.”

The club said they were hopeful Josh Caddy would be available to take on Brisbane as well, but confirmed Jack Higgins would be sidelined due to a calf strain.

Jake Aarts has recovered from shoulder soreness and will also be right to play.






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2020 QAFL Grand Final Wrap


Panthers Overpower the Cats for Premiership Glory

By TERRY WILSON

MORNINGSIDE are the champions of the QAFL for the 10th time after they downed Broadbeach in a low-scoring grand final at Yeronga on Saturday.
Lessons learnt from a 50-point hiding they copped from the Cats in the final round of home-and-away fixtures provided the necessary motivation for the Panthers to turn that loss into a memorable 8.11 (59) to 7.8 (50) victory.
It was hard and tough and the Panthers revelled in the situation as they maintained extreme pressure on the Cats, who had been so free-flowing and free-scoring all season.
For example, Broadbeach kicked 805 points during  the regular season. Morningside kicked 689 points. And the Cats were unbeaten going into the weekend.
So it was clear that the Panthers had to do something special to restrict their grand final rivals’ scoring power.
That they did to perfection and coach Clint Watts said that final-round hiding they copped at Subaru Oval was an important part of pre-GF planning.
“When we played Broadbeach at Broadbeach we went in after the game and said ‘they just showed us everything’ and we believed that.
“We were up and about after that game because we felt they’d thrown the kitchen sink at us. So we planned, we planned and eventually we were just too good on the day.”
Despite the closeness of the final score, the Panthers never let go after, at one stage in the second quarter, they trailed by 16 points.
But by half-time they were back in front eight points up and they held on to that margin as they systematically choked down the usually free-flowing Gold Coast side.
“We thought if we stayed in it long enough, keep applying the pressure, it would come,” said Watts.
“In that second quarter when we were challenged but we got back on top by the back end of it.
“We went in (to the change rooms at half-time) and we were full of belief. We knew they were going to throw a punch early in the third and we had to withstand the pressure, just go along and stay in the game.
“We kicked the ball to the right spots and I think we got them at their own game a little bit – and that’s the pleasing thing for the boys.”
Whereas the Cats had very few stand-outs on the day – most of their bigger names had little or no impact on proceedings – the Panthers had contributors everywhere.
The best was Matt Payne, a superstar according to Watts, who was named Joe Grant Medal winner for best on ground.
The champion rover was wearing three medals at game’s end. One was for the J.A. Grogan Medal, his third such honour, a second was the premiership medallion and the third was the Joe Grant Medal (best onground). The defence of the Panthers was superb, an area where Hayden Bertoli-Simmonds and Ben Kethro stood out.
Then there was Reuben William, a former Brisbane Lions rookie, who kicked three goals; and there was excitement machine Blake Coleman (two goals); ruckman Peter Mollison; and forwards Luke Edwards and Matt Hammelmann.
Victory also gave coach Watts his first flag as a coach, although he had won seven 10 grand finals as a player.
In the Broadbeach camp coach Craig O’Brien was obviously disappointed and said the Panthers ‘just wanted it more’ on a tight ground.
“We had a lot of guys who didn’t want to put their heads over the ball – it was obvious,” he said.
“And a couple of 50-50 decisions went against us at crucial times.
“Still, we can’t complain. We’ve had a good year but we just got found out when it came to the pointy end of it.”
Veteran Josh Searl, playing his 150th seniors game for the club, was best for the Cats, along with Tyrone Armitage and teenager Aiden Fyfe.
The loss in the seniors completed, dare we say it, a Cat-astrophic day for Broadbeach, who were hoping to emulate the deeds of the club’s 1996 glory day when they won all three grades in the Gold Coast competition.
Early on Saturday at Yeronga the Cats’ colts led by six goals during the third quarter and by five goals at three-quarter time but were overrun by Palm Beach Currumbin, who won by 12.10 (82) to 9.8 (62) on the back of an eight-goal final term by the Lions.
Then came the Reserves and Broadbeach fell again, losing 9.10 (64) to 9.2 (56).





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How coronavirus killed the golden goose of sport and how each code is placed to pick up the pieces


The coronavirus pandemic has shaken Australian professional sport to the core.

In the space of a few months as lockdowns forced changes, hundreds of people lost their jobs and as much as a billion dollars was wiped from the Australian elite sporting landscape.

The big three codes — AFL, NRL and cricket — basked for decades in lucrative television rights that allowed expansion, high salaries, and other bells and whistles, but the pandemic has shown it was all built on shifting sands.

No sport proved immune.

So, as we approach the business end of the football season, we do a stocktake of the major Australian sports and how they’ve fared in season COVID.

The Australian Football League

The AFL is the behemoth of Australian sport.

Port Adelaide finished top of the AFL ladder after a much-changed season.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

In 2015, it signed a six-year TV rights deal worth $2.5 billion dollars — a package that continued a trend of increasing rights deals that began in the early ’70s.

But those days appear over.

The AFLW competition was the first casualty, with the competition abandoned just prior to the finals.

Soon afterwards, the AFL slashed costs, ordering all 18 clubs to stand down 80 per cent of their workforce.

Players were forced to take a 50 per cent pay cut, leaving some individuals hundreds of thousands out of pocket, while many assistant coaches left clubs never to return.

The AFL arranged a $600 million line of credit secured by the Docklands stadium, which allowed the season to continue while the 18 teams retreated first from Victoria, then New South Wales, to hubs in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.

The AFL has spent $60 million on relocating and accommodating the teams, coaches and their families in the Queensland.

The AFL expects its revenue this year to fall by up to $400 million — around a third of its projected revenue — while 20 per cent of its staff have been cut.

In June, the AFL announced a two-year extension of its six-year deal with broadcast partners Seven West Media, taking it until 2024, but with a cost reduction of $87 million.

Gillon McLachlan speaks at a press conferences
Gillon McLachlan said the AFL needed to change its business model.(ABC News)

The AFL also negotiated a new deal with Foxtel, but without the extension until 2024.

And finally, it lost hundreds of millions in gate takings thanks to socially reduced crowds and fewer games in this COVID season.

The financial pain is expected to continue next year.

“We need to significantly change our business model for not only the AFL but the wider football community,” said the AFL’s chief executive, Gillon McLachlan.

Meanwhile, the clubs are expecting they will have to reduce their spending on coaches and other support staff by about 36 per cent and reduce player list sizes.

The full extent of club losses will become clear when they release their annual financial statements later this year.

The AFLW is set to go ahead next year with its 14-team competition, although the full details of the competition are yet to be released.

But clubs have already sacked coaches and are cutting hard around support staff.

Of all the Australian sports, the AFL is best placed to ride out the storm, thanks to its ownership of Docklands stadium, the TV deal, albeit on reduced terms, and the enormous supporter based and passion for the game — the clubs merely lost a combined 67,000 members this year despite none of the Melbourne-based supporters being able to attend a single game.

But with so much uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, there is no indication what next year’s season will look like and a myriad of questions yet to be answered

The AFL intends to pay off the debts of 2020 as quickly as possible, but will have to spend millions to prop up many clubs that have suffered huge losses this season.

The National Rugby League

NRL Chairman Peter V’Landys stunned the Australian sporting world with his bullish attitude to restarting the competition in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

He had good reason.

The Australian Rugby League chairman speaks at an NRL media conference.
Peter V’landys was forceful in ensuring the NRL season got back underway.(AAP: Joel Carrett)

The lack of TV money flowing into the NRL coffers meant the game was in real danger of going under as it haemorrhaged money at a rate of almost half a million dollars a day to run the competition.

A spiteful row with free-to-air broadcaster Channel Nine, which accused the NRL of mismanagement, didn’t help.

The NRL did eventually agree to a new deal with Nine that cost the league upwards of $80 million over the course of this season and the remaining two years of the contract.

The NRL’s other broadcast partner, Fox Sports, also cut a new deal without releasing figures, but it’s safe to assume the savings were considerable given it has a greater portion of rugby league’s broadcast rights.

Todd Greenberg paid the price, replaced as NRL chief executive by Andrew Abdo.

The loss of TV money as well as sponsorships, gate takings and emergency payments to clubs add up to as much as $150 million, with players agreeing to a 20 per cent pay cut to play out the season.

Meanwhile, the four-team NRLW season will go ahead in October.

Looking ahead, the NRL recently announced it was reducing staff numbers by 25 per cent and aiming to cut spending by $50 million per year.

“Our business, like so many others, has been hit by a hurricane called COVID, which caused substantial damage,” said Abdo.

To counter that, the NRL is reportedly toying with bringing in silent investment partners.

But as ABC columnist Richard Hinds wrote this week, the devil of what those private partners might require for their money will be in the detail.

Cricket

Of all the sporting organisations that stood to lose from COVID, Cricket Australia should have been best placed.

Steve Smith stands with his arms outstretched with David Warner and Tim Paine as Joe Root lies on his back
Cricket should have been in a good place pre-COVID, but has been hit hard by the pandemic.(AP: Rui Vieira)

The Australian women’s cricket team ended the home season with a glorious win in front of a packed MCG in March just as the first COVID-19 cases began to appear in Australia.

But with months until the next games were due, CA blinked.

In April, CA announced it was standing down 200 staff (around 80 per cent of the workforce), cut funding to states amounting to around 150 job losses, and brought on a bitter pay dispute with players.

In June, CA said it expected revenue to be cut by half, resulting in losses of $320 over the next two seasons.

Chief executive Kevin Roberts, who announced the cuts and the board’s rational, was subsequently forced from his job.

Since then, interim CEO Nick Hockley has announced that 40 jobs had to go, and the organisation had cut $40 million from its annual budget.

In the meantime, CA’s free-to-air broadcast partner Seven West Media launched a blistering attack on the organisation, labelling it incompetent as it sought to either cut or exit its existing contract, worth $450 million.

Seven has accused CA of breaching its contract over the lack of certainty around this summer’s schedule and the lack of big names for the Big Bash tournament.

CA and the broadcaster, along with Pay-TV partner Foxtel, have been renegotiating a new contract for weeks without a breakthrough and some interim instalments have been held back.

In the meantime, doubts remain over the summer schedule, featuring the Big Bash and all-important four-test series against India — it will take place, but where and when is yet to be nailed down.

Late on Friday, Cricket Australia announced that a one-off Test against Afghanistan and a series of one-day internationals against New Zealand have been postponed until next season.

But a series of women’s T20 and one-day matches between Australia and New Zealand is starting today, and CA announced the WBBL will go ahead with all teams staying and playing games at Sydney’s Olympic Park precinct.

Cricket Australia’s reputation has taken a hammering this year and while the elite level of the game will survive, the damage to the grass-roots game has been enormous.

Rugby Union

Rugby Australia has suffered two years of terrible publicity, and it only got worse when the pandemic hit.

Embattled CEO Raelene Castle resigned in April after being told she no longer had the support of the board and was eventually replaced by interim CEO Rob Clarke.

That was after Castle rejected a new five-year TV rights offer from long-term partner Fox Sports, understood to be far less than the existing $57 million annual deal.

Instead, the sport went out to tender and is still yet to pick up a broadcast partner for beyond this season.

A Wallabies player holds in his head in his hands as he reflects on the loss to England at the Rugby World Cup.
Rugby Australia has endured two difficult years, only for COVID to make things even worse.(AP: Christophe Ena)

The pandemic effectively dismantled the struggling Super Rugby competition, which eventually resumed as separate competitions in Australia and New Zealand, while South Africa abandoned competition altogether.

With the future of Super Rugby still a matter of conjecture, broadcasters are wondering what they are bidding for.

While the Rugby Championship will go ahead later this year, Foxtel boss Patrick Delany indicated earlier this month’s that the broadcaster wouldn’t be losing sleep if it missed out on Rugby Union.

He nailed the problem with the ruthless Australian sporting market when he said: “to be frank, there are too many sports in Australia with too big an expectation and too small a population.”

To make matters worse for rugby, this week it lost its most loyal sponsor, Qantas, and with it $5 million annually.

Earlier in the year, the players agreed to an average 60 per cent pay cut, while RA slashed 47 of its 142 full time and also cut another 30 contractors and casuals.

Football

A footballer with her back to camera celebrates a goal with teammates in Olympic football qualifier.
Football did have one win this year, being awarded the women’s World Cup hosting rights.(AAP: Darren Pateman)

The W-League managed to squeak in the grand final just before the COVID shutdown, but not so the A-League.

The season was put on hold between March and July and like all other sports, cuts followed.

Football Federation Australia stood down 70 per cent of its staff, although half have since resumed work.

With TV ratings already plummeting, Foxtel negotiated a fresh TV deal, worth just over half what it had previously been paying and only for one more season.

Meanwhile, the male and female players have been embroiled in a bitter pay fight with the clubs over a new collective bargain agreement.

Melbourne City’s Rostyn Griffiths this week said the A-League would face “mass desertions” if the club owners didn’t agree to the new CBA.

There was some good news for soccer with Australia and New Zealand winning a joint bid to host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.



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Ruck tandem key to Brisbane AFL flag quest


Oscar McInerney has welcomed Stefan Martin’s return from injury, believing the two-pronged ruck approach gives Brisbane their best chance at winning the AFL premiership.

Martin missed nine matches with a stress fracture in his back this year, giving McInerney the chance to take the lead ruck role for a large portion of the season.

The 26-year-old understudy excelled, helping the Lions secure a top-two spot and two home finals.

But he is happy to split the duties with veteran Martin again as they prepare to take on Richmond dual premiership ruckman Toby Nankervis in Friday night’s qualifying final at the Gabba.

“I’m so lucky to play almost all my games with Stef, who’s been such a great mentor for me, and now to get him back for the business end of the season is such an exciting thing,” McInerney told AAP.

“Personally I love having Stef’s experience out there and the impact he has on the game is phenomenal.

“He’s one of the best ruckmen in the competition and if the coaches keep picking us we’ll keep competing well and trying to own the competition.”

Martin returned in Brisbane’s win over Carlton in round 18 and will be better for the run leading into the finals.

McInerney, now in his third season after his 2017 rookie draft selection, believes the pair complement each other well and can play key roles in the Lions’ flag push.

“We’re quite different in our ruck craft,” McInerney said.

“I’m sort of tall and lanky whereas he’s got the great craft and great strength, the ability to combat really well with all his experience.

“Also, we both love to contribute forward, whether that’s taking marks or bringing the ball to ground for Charlie Cameron, Cam Rayner and Linc McCarthy.

“So as long as we’re contributing in multiple areas of the game I think it can really work for us well.”

Brisbane have not beaten Richmond since 2009 and wasted the two most recent chances to end the drought with poor accuracy in front of goal in round 10 this season and last year’s qualifying final.

“They’re one of the great sides of the competition at the moment and they’re travelling really well,” McInerney said.

“We’ve taken plenty of learnings from the last couple of times we played them and it will be a big test for our group to see if we can apply those and get the result we’re after.”





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AFL 2020: Justin Longmuir, Coach of the Year, Fremantle success, win over Melbourne, game style, consistency, form


Fremantle’s rookie boss Justin Longmuir should be considered a leading contender for the AFL coach of the year, according to Hall of Fame member Jonathan Brown.

The former Collingwood assistant coach, who was credited with helping mastermind their 2018 turnaround from also-rans to Grand Finalists, led his side to a sixth win in 2020 on Monday night when they mastered the wet against Melbourne.

The Dockers went 9-13 last season in Ross Lyon’s final year in charge, but that was helped by a 7-5 record in games played in Perth.

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Round 16

In contrast Fremantle went 3-4 in its seven games in WA this season, but has also gone 3-5 outside of their home state – meaning they’ve already won more interstate matches this year than last, despite playing less of them.





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