Natural Selection Tour Winners Mikkel Bang And Robin Van Gyn Talk Winning Runs, Snowboarding’s Future


The inaugural Natural Selection Tour, the snowboarding competition brainchild of snowboarders Travis Rice and Liam Griffin, officially wrapped this week with the third of the tour’s three stops in the books. And with that, snowboarding’s male and female champions have been crowned.

Norway’s Mikkel Bang and Canada’s Robin Van Gyn emerged victorious in the men’s and women’s competitions, respectively, both of which went down at Alaska’s Tordrillo Mountain Lodge a couple weeks ago, with the finale airing Friday at 3 p.m. EDT. It can be replayed in its entirety on Red Bull TV, along with the first stop at Jackson Hole in February and the second stop at Baldface Valhalla in British Columbia in March.

On the men’s side, the United States’ Ben Ferguson and Canada’s Mark McMorris came in second and third, respectively, and on the women’s side New Zealand’s Zoi Sadowski-Synnott was the runner-up to Gyn.

After getting his start in the contest scene in slopestyle, winning the 2010 Burton U.S. Open, Bang, 31, shifted his focus to filming and riding powder. The Natural Selection Tour marked his first competition in eight years.

“Just being invited to this contest was an honor, and ending up in first place is just unreal,” Bang said. In Jackson Hole, Bang also stomped what has become one of the most-watched highlights from the entire Tour: a stylish frontside 360 rock tap.

“Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined myself here,” said Van Gyn, 38, a prolific filmer and backcountry veteran who doesn’t have much competition experience under her belt.

“I was really excited to try to compete in a backcountry arena, knowing I had experience there, but not really in competition. Like every athlete, we keep challenging ourselves and this was part of that personal evolution for me: learning to film, learning to do tricks in the backcountry, learning to ride in Alaska. I had been building on that for a long time.”

The third and final Tordrillo Mountain Lodge stop was a two-day event featuring four men and three women competing in a head-to-head format. Each rider took three total runs, and the highest-scored run won the heat. In real time, judges evaluated the difficulty of a rider’s chosen line, the size of the features they hit and the variety and execution of tricks in the line.

Van Gyn, who is from the Vancouver area and works as a backcountry tail guide outside Baldface Nelson, won the second event on her home turf at Baldface Valhalla, impressing the judges with her straight airs off cliffs and a frontside 360 in her second run.

In Alaska, Van Gyn upped the ante yet again in the final against Sadowski-Synnott. Using her first run to find the good snow and feel out where the best hits were going to be, she looked to ride her line with confidence and flow in her second run.

“I ended up doing more of a safety run at the top,” Van Gyn said of her second (and winning) run, which she opened with a half-Cab cornice drop in.

“I pulled the backflip I was doing in my run out and just started fresh. I hit I think four airs, and at the very end I did a bigger cliff I was hoping to do in my final, which I did in my safety run, which makes it not that safe at all,” she said, laughing. “That’s the run I ended up winning with.”

Bang beat out Mark McMorris in the semifinals and went up against Ben Ferguson in the final.

The judges were impressed by both the technical and the stylish nature of Bang’s riding, as well as his fearlessness in taking risks. He anchored his boned out frontside 360 and backside 540 off a blind takeoff with precise landings and smooth transitions.

“My dream growing up watching snowboarding was to film video parts and ride big mountain and powder, so I competed in the first part of my career to be able to do so,” Bang said.

“And then it came to a point where I transitioned to and dedicated all my time for filming, and I think both having competed and having spent so much time in the backcountry really helped me for this event.”

The Natural Selection Tour is not Rice’s first foray into backcountry competition, but it is arguably already his most successful, with a new sensibility.

The idea is that the Tour is a perfect combination of big-mountain riding and park riding, forcing riders to be skilled not only at executing those spins and flips off natural and man-made features, but also in reading the snow, selecting their lines and managing their landings in heavy powder.

When he announced the Natural Selection Tour, Rice said the event would crown the world’s best all-around snowboarders, given the myriad skills required to succeed.

“The beauty of this event is riders will inevitably face a multitude of riding conditions where a lifetime of skill sets and experience is the basis for one’s decision on when to go for it and when to play it safe,” Rice said.

While the competitors came from every type of snowboarding background—halfpipe and slopestyle, filming, and urban and backcountry riding—Bang’s and Van Gyn’s skill and experience in the backcountry ultimately helped them claim the throne.

“It takes years to learn how to read the mountain and pick lines and be creative. It has taken all my life to figure it out,” Bang said.

“Robin and Mikkel both proved today that there is indisputable reason they both were crowned champions of the Natural Selection Tour,” Rice said. “Battling it out against the world’s best with over 14 head-to-head competition runs throughout the season and they came out victorious on the runs that mattered the most.”

So do Bang and Van Gyn accept the titles of world’s best all-around snowboarders, then? 

“It is pretty cool how this event brings together so many different riders; you have people with halfpipe backgrounds, slopestyle, freestyle world tour background, filming background, and we all get matched into this event,” Bang said. “I mean, I’ll take it for now,” he added with a laugh.

Back home in Norway now, Bang is quarantining after his travels and beginning to think about planning his annual Bang Slalom event, which was canceled in both 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19. He founded the event, which is open to everyone, “ just to give something back to the snowboard community.” He hopes to have the chance to defend his title at next year’s Natural Selection Tour.

So does Van Gyn—and she knows the competition will be fierce.

“In action sports and snowboarding we tend to be incredibly humble to the point it takes away from our achievements, and I want to sit somewhere in the middle where I still get to own my value and accomplishments but still realize there are so many good snowboarders out there,” Van Gyn said. “I may have had my day this year, but that doesn’t mean I’m the best snowboarder on the planet, and next year I’m gonna have to work extra hard.”

Both Bang and Van Gyn applauded Rice’s vision for the event and expressed excitement about what it means for the future of snowboarding.

The prize purse is equal for men and women, which, coupled with the exposure, can help progress the sport overall but especially for women. And it’s a venue for snowboarders who don’t want to go the traditional contest route (slopestyle, halfpipe, big air) to show off their skills, earn some new sponsors and make some money to boot.

The Tour attracted big-name sponsors and partners, including Quiksilver, BOA, Union Binding Company, Mervin Manufacturing, Oakley, VANS, Salomon, K2, The North Face, Jones Snowboards, Picture Organic Clothing, Salomon and Spot Insurance. Van Gyn’s own sister, Jill, founded a healthy peanut butter brand called Fatso Peanut Butter, which fueled Robin’s performance during the Tour.

YETI entitled the Jackson Hole event and leads the Tour’s sustainability strategy alongside Conservation International. Ford Bronco entitled the Baldface Valhalla stop, and HempFusion entitled the final at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge.

“I know Travis shares a really deep desire to have equity and equality for women and men in snowboarding. Women aren’t snowboarding for men to watch and judge us; we’re snowboarding for other women to be inspired and go their own route,” Van Gyn said. “Having wins in this event—if you weren’t already known, people are gonna know, which is amazing, and it can increase your ability to have partnerships.”

“I got to give Travis a shoutout for having the vision. I know he’s been wanting to do this for years, and he pulled it off—during Covid, which is amazing,” Bang said. “It’s so nice to show this side of snowboarding versus what people are used to seeing, and then also women being equal, same prize money…it’s a really good look for the sport.”

Ultimately, Rice’s dream was to gather the world’s top snowboarders to showcase the most advanced and creative riding on the planet. The overwhelming consensus is that in its first year, the Tour did that.

“The application of freestyle and creativity on the canvas of natural terrain provides some of the most dynamic snowboarding we will see,” Rice said. “This is why the Natural Selection Tour, with mother nature as the main character, has no ceiling. This is only the beginning.”

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Sheffield Shield final: Queensland vs NSW, Michael Neser Ashes selection, watch, video


Queensland quick Michael Neser is knocking down the selection door ahead of the Ashes while Usman Khawaja can remind selectors of his worth again, according to Andrew Symonds.

Neser, 31, has been on the fringes of the Australian side for years and on day one of the Sheffield Shield final showed why.

The medium-fast quick took the outstanding figures of 5-27 to help bowl NSW out for 143 on Thursday, including one stunning inswinger to remove Matthew Gilkes.

“It’s like the extra Test match in the Australian summer the Shield final and it’s held in very high regard by everyone – players, coaches and selectors – and he’s again thrown his hand up saying ‘pick me, pick me’,” Symonds told foxsports.com.au.

“He bowled superbly.”

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Team Whispers, team news, ins and outs, changes, Round 4, injuries, selection, latest news


There’ll be three debutants for a Friday night blockbuster clash.

Plus Nathan Buckley is set to hand a debut to a Collingwood young gun … and this time he’ll actually play.

Get all of the Round 4 selection news in AFL Team Whispers!

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Fox Footy analyst David King believes COLLINGWOOD coach Nathan Buckley will “swing the axe” on a couple of players for their lacklustre defensive efforts in the dying stages of last week’s loss to Brisbane.

Last week on Fox Footy’s First Crack, King highlighted how the Pies effectively “threw away four points” with haphazard defence that allowed Zac Bailey to kick the matchwinner after the siren.

Speaking on SEN this week, King said Will Hoskin-Elliott and Josh Thomas were two who could come under the microscope to set an example for the rest of the group.

“I would make change off the back of that final play, I really would,”he said.

“People say, ‘You’re too harsh, you’re too severe’ but when Hoskin-Elliott and Thomas decide to stay forward of the ball when all you’re trying to do is save the game in that last 40 seconds, nope, not for me.

“Where’s your head? Where’s your head at? If you’re thinking about getting reward for yourself when the team just needs you to fight and fight, guard the corridor and allow Daniel Rich to stroll through the middle of Marvel (Stadium).

“I think Nathan (Buckley) will swing the axe. I think he’ll drop a couple of those guys.”

The Pies appear set to include Beau McCreery in the starting lineup on Staurday, after the Pick No.44 technically debuted last week despite not being activated as the medical sub.

A tweet via the club’s account said the medium-sized forward was “locked in to play on Saturday night” against GWS.

Elsewhere, the club is unlikely to make too many changes, with only one being forced through injury to Nathan Murphy (concussion).

Magpies coach Nathan Buckley said the club was “pretty confident with the team we went in with last week”, with a call on selection to be made on Wednesday afternoon.

However Buckley said forward-ruck Darcy Cameron “keeps putting his hand up” for selection.

Right call or did Hickey hold the ball? | 01:58

The GWS GIANTS will blood its third debutant of the season so far, with injuries to Stephen Coniglio, Phil Davis and Matt de Boer opening the door for Connor Stone to come into the side.

Stone, taken with Pick 15 in last year’s draft, will don the number 18 jumper, which Jeremy Cameron wore across his superb 171-game stint at the club before moving to Geelong during last year’s trade period.

Speaking earlier this week, ex-skipper Davis lauded the youngster’s appetite for the contest and attitude.

“He’s definitely someone who has an obscene amount of power, that’s probably the strength of his game,” he said of the versatile player.

“He’s very fast, he can take the game on and he’s a really nice kick.”

After being omitted for Sunday’s loss to the Demons, Tanner Bruhn and Zach Sproule are likely to be considered, while recruit Jesse Hogan is available for his first game in orange and charcoal after recovering from a quad injury. However Giants football boss Jason McCartney suggested to SEN Breakfast that Hogan would likely face the Swans in a VFL scratch match on Friday.

Nick Shipley played most of the game against Melbourne after coming on for Davis as the medical sub and will also be in the mix. McCartney also mentioned the likes of Ryan Angwin and Kieren Briggs had great opportunities to put their hands up for debuts over the coming weeks.

In much-needed good news for ST KILDA, their ruck woes will be solved in time to face the Eagles and superstar Nic Naitanui on Saturday.

Rowan Marshall is a confirmed starter after getting through three quarters in a VFL match last weekend and training this week. Marshall has been battling a hotspot in his foot.

His ruck partner Paddy Ryder returned to training on Tuesday, following a month of personal leave, but is a week or two away from full fitness.

Saints captain Jack Steele waved off suggestions of a massive statement at selection, though Jade Gresham will need to be replaced after suffering a season-ending Achilles injury against Essendon.

Jack Bytel, Tom Highmore and Ben Long, who were all dropped for Round 3, could be in the mix. Zak Jones should be available despite a slight ankle strain suffered on Saturday.

Dan Hannebery (calf) and Jarryn Geary (leg) have both suffered setbacks which will keep them on the sidelines.

‘Get your hands dirty, or get out…’ | 00:48

WEST COAST will have to find a replacement for skipper Luke Shuey, who’s facing a month on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.

Forward Brendon Ah Chee, who was a late withdrawal against the Power with hamstring awareness, will be in the mix for a return this week, while either Xavier O’Neill and Brayden Ainsworth could replace Shuey after strong WAFL outings.

There’ll be three debutants for Friday night’s Port Adelaide-Richmond blockbuster.

PORT ADELAIDE coach Ken Hinkley on Thursday morning confirmed Next Generation Academy produce Lachie Jones would make his AFL debut.

A strong defender with a ready-made frame and a beautiful kick, Jones was the Power’s first pick in last year’s draft.

Hinkley pre-season described Jones as “a bit of a beast” that was “going to have some opportunities this year to show everyone what he is capable of”.

Jones, at this stage, will be the only inclusion for the Power, with Hinkley confirming ruckman Peter Ladhams would likely miss.

However Hinkley said Ladhams would remain on standby as key forward Todd Marshall is in doubt for the game.

Lachlan Jones of Port Adelaide will debut. Picture: Mark BrakeSource: Getty Images

Marshall didn’t train on Thursday after rolling his ankle in recent days. Hinkley said Marshall would be tested prior to the game.

“We think he’ll be good to go. If he doesn’t come up, Ladhams comes in,” Hinkley said.

If Marshall plays, he and Charlie Dixon will take Ladhams’ back-up ruck minutes

Hinkley said Sam Mayes and Miles Bergman would be in contention to be the medical sub but wouldn’t make that call until right before the game.

RICHMOND has confirmed Bachar Houli will play his first game since the Grand Final after getting through Wednesday’s training session unscathed. Assistant coach Adam Kingsley told SEN SA that Houli is “back and he’s really important for us”.

Houli has endured a summer plagued by the calf injury he sustained in last finale.

Defender Rhyan Mansell and midfielder Will Martyn will also make their AFL debuts on Friday night against Port Adelaide

Mansell has come from the clouds to make his debut, with the 20-year-old the last addition to Richmond’s list (during the Supplementary Selection Period), coming via the SANFL.

A Woodville West Torrens premiership player, Mansell had been training with the club since January 7 before he was eventually signed on.

Martyn captained Brisbane’s academy side in 2019 and has been pushing for a senior berth for some time, having been taken with Pick 44 in the 2019 draft.

With premiership players Dion Prestia (hamstring) and Kamdyn McIntosh (concussion) both forced outs, Richmond coach Damien Hardwick flagged to reporters on Wednesday there’d be at least one debutant for the preliminary final rematch.

Martyn, along with Riley Collier-Dawkins, have been on the Tigers’ list since being drafted in 2018 and 2019 respectively but haven’t cracked the senior side amid tough internal competition for spots.

Both midfielders had excellent pre-seasons. Collier-Dawkins was a shining light in a Richmond intra-club clash before copping a headknock, while Martyn impressed in a scratch match against Melbourne at Casey Fields.

Riley Collier-Dawkins took on Jordan De Goey’s Magpies in the AAMI Community Series. Picture: Michael KleinSource: News Corp Australia

“We’ve got some personnel that will miss games, but it’s a great opportunity for some players to grow into some roles – and that’s really exciting for us,” Hardwick said.

“It certainly reinvigorates the coaching group and I’ve got no doubt it’ll reinvigorate our playing group as well to give some young guys some opportunities.

“There’s a couple of guys (in the mix), we’re working through that at the moment. There’ll be at least one debutant, possibly two, which will be exciting for our fans to see.”

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In the midst of an early injury crisis, the GOLD COAST SUNS will turn to an unlikely ruck trio for their clash against Carlton.

With Zac Smith (PCL) still two to three weeks away and co-captain Jarrod Witts (ACL) out for the season, the Suns have been left without a recognised ruckman.

Suns football boss Jon Haines told 3AW’s Sportsday on Tuesday night three players could fill the void, including 10-game defender Caleb Graham, who’s set to come in for his first senior game of 2021.

Hugh Greenwood could spend more time in the ruck. Picture: Sarah ReedSource: Getty Images

Haines said the 195cm Graham, who had ruck experience as a junior, could “potentially play a role” in the ruck, while 191cm duo Chris Burgess and Hugh Greenwood could pinch-hit.

Witts’ setback comes after Sam Day (meniscus) and Connor Budarick (ACL) both recently underwent surgery.

CARLTON is still hoping Adam Saad can play on Saturday night despite being restricted at training due to knee soreness.

The backman is a test heading into a clash with one of his former clubs Gold Coast.

The Blues could be tempted to unleash key forward Mitch McGovern and some other players that impressed at VFL level on the weekend.

Key forward McGovern booted 3.2 from six marks in just over a half of footy against Williamstown.

Others who impressed Blues VFL coach Daniel O’Keefe were Tom Williamson, who provided great dash from half-back yet defended well too, as well as Matt Kennedy and Liam Stocker.

The Blues should welcome back Will Setterfield after he was a late withdrawal for the Dockers game due to gastro.

How the ‘Sydney Swarm’ stifled Richmond | 06:09

Should NORTH MELBOURNE wish to make a selection statement after its disastrous Good Friday loss, Atu Bosenavulagi looms as senior team call-up.

Bosenavulagi played a terrific VFL game as a defender against Footscray, blanketing AFL-listed Bulldog Mitch Wallis for much of the match.

“Atu is knocking on the door for a senior call-up, that’s for sure,” Roos VFL coach Leigh Adams told the club’s website.

“He struggled a bit early between finding that balance of getting the footy and defending, but he’s figuring that out really quickly.

Are pure inside midfielders redundant? | 02:03

“Last week he played on a couple of really nippy forwards and did a great job, then this week he did a great job locking down a very good player in Wallis.”

After being dropped, midfielder Dom Tyson bounced back at VFL level, kicking three goals in a confidence-boosting performance.

There’s also several players returning from injury that’ll be touch and go for selection, including, Aiden Bonar (adductor), Luke McDonald (quad), Curtis Taylor (concussion) and Trent Dumont (calf).

It also remains unclear whether Jed Anderson (ankle) will be fit to play after his Good Friday injury setback, but Jared Polec (hamstring) is unlikely to be fit.

ADELAIDE could welcome back veteran wingman David Mackay, who missed the win over Gold Coast due to hamstring tightness.

The Crows said Mackay would undergo a fitness test to determine whether he can take on North Melbourne this Sunday.

Veteran Crow set for sideline stint | 00:34

Adelaide’s SANFL team was back in action on the weekend, with Jackson Hately (25 disposals, 10 marks, 6 inside 50s), Josh Worrell (20 disposals, 5 marks) and Fischer McAsey (14 disposals, 6 marks) the players who best pushed their case for a spot in the senior side.

FREMANTLE is optimistic Nat Fyfe will progress through the concussion protocols and be ready in time for Sunday’s game against the Hawks.

The dual Brownlow medallist missed Round 3’s loss to the Blues after being the victim of a brutal bump that saw GWS utility Sam Reid suspended for two weeks.

“Nat’s continuing to progress really well,” Fremantle GM of football Peter Bell said.

“We’re hopeful that he’ll continue to tick every box in concussion protocols and we’ll make a decision on his availability later in the week.”

Fyfe could come in for top-10 draftee Hayden Young, who’s set for a lengthy stint on the sidelines with a high grade hamstring injury.

There’s also bad news for Sam Switkowski, with the young forward having surgery on a badly broken finger in his right hand.

“Unfortunately Sam sustained a really badly broken finger during the game against Carlton,” Bell said.

“That injury has necessitated surgery. Sam’s had a plate and also some wire put into that finger.

“He’ll be in a splint for at least six weeks, so clearly he will be looking at missing a considerable period of time.”

Switkowski has been Fremantle’s best player this season, according to the Official AFL Player Ratings, ranking 15th in the entire AFL.

Meanwhile the Dockers are expecting Sam Sturt, Griffin Logue (hamstring), Bailey Banfield (ankle), Mitch Crowden (calf) and Luke Valente (soreness) to be available, the latter four as long as they get through main training.

HAWTHORN emerged from its Easter Monday clash without four points — but also without any fresh injuries. Considering the brave nature of the performance, it’s unlikely the Hawks will make any big changes.

Giants’ serious injury list | 00:32

Luke Beveridge will likely be choosing between Zaine Cordy and Lewis Young to fill the void left by Ryan Gardner’s shoulder injury at the WESTERN BULLDOGS.

The problem with Bailey Smith | 01:35

Young played just one game last season while Cordy featured 14 times, falling out of favour after playing all 23 games in the 2019 season. The uncapped Buku Khamis, the club’s first Next Generation Academy recruit as a refugee from South Sudan, could also be an option.

The BRISBANE LIONS could welcome back a trio of key players for their clash against the Bulldogs, with ruckman Oscar McInerney (ankle), defender Darcy Gardiner and midfielder Jarrod Berry all vying for a return.

Having not used its medical sub in its 3-0 start, MELBOURNE is hopeful of continuing a healthy start to the season, as Ben Brown (knee) and Sam Weideman (femur) prepare to play in the VFL on Saturday. Jake Melksham looms as the most likely inclusion after he saw no game time as the medical sub last week.

It’s early days for GEELONG so soon after its Easter Monday win, but Sam Menegola is a strong chance to face the Demons on Sunday. However the extent of the setbacks for Shaun Higgins (hamstring) and Francis Evans (ankle) are yet to be determined.

Thank you for stopping by to visit My Local Pages and checking out this news article on the AFL named “Team Whispers, team news, ins and outs, changes, Round 4, injuries, selection, latest news”. This article was posted by My Local Pages Australia as part of our national news services.

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Who’s bolting into the Round 1 selection mix at your club?


We are now less than a week away from Round 1 and there are few things sweeter than the first team reveals of the year … even if they’re no longer all coming through on Thursday nights.

The AAMI Community Series gave players a chance to prove they’re worthy of being in the mix for an early game, while injuries in those games may have opened the door for others.

Here are the players around the league who might just be bolting into Round 1 calculations.

Read our thoughts below:

James Rowe

There is a strong chance that James Rowe is set to debut for the Crows against Geelong.

Selected with pick 38 in the last year’s draft, the small forward was busy in last weekend’s AAMI Community Series loss to Port Adelaide with 15 disposals. He also kicked three behinds so was very close to making his presence felt at senior level.

The 21-year-old son of former Crow Stephen has bolted onto the Adelaide list after two years with reigning SANFL premiers Woodville-West Torrens and is now firmly in the mix to play at the Adelaide Oval against the Cats next Saturday.

Andrew Slevison

Brisbane club banner

Tom Fullarton

Daniel McStay is expected to miss at least the first two rounds of the AFL season with a PCL strain, giving Fullarton a chance to appear early in the year.

The former basketballer put his hand up with an impressive two-goal performance in the Lions’ AAMI Community Series match against Gold Coast and looks set to add to his one AFL game from 2019.

Possesses elite agility for his height and could present a match-up problem with Joe Daniher and Eric Hipwood already attracting attention inside 50.

He is still a reasonably raw prospect, but his selection would allow Chris Fagan to stick with a third mobile marking option up forward.

Lachlan Geleit

Carlton club banner

Lachie Fogarty

Lachie Fogarty has flown under the radar as Carlton’s third trade period acquisition, but he could be in line for a Round 1 berth given what’s happened around him.

The Blues have some headaches inside 50 and across half forward, with Harry McKay, Mitch McGovern, Levi Casboult and Eddie Betts working to be fit for Round 1, while Zac Williams is suspended and Jack Newnes has an ankle issue.

Fogarty’s versatility as a pressure forward and a midfielder allows him to fill both roles and he will likely find himself ahead of Betts in the pecking order because of it.

The 21-year-old has played 23 career games and was used primarily forward against the Saints in the AAMI Community Series, but was rotated on-ball and through the midfield at stages. He finished with 14 disposals, six score involvements and laid seven tackles (five inside 50).

Collingwood club banner

Oliver Henry

Henry would be right in calculations to make a Round 1 debut after appearing in both the Magpies scratch-match against Geelong and AAMI Community Series fixture against Richmond.

The first-round pick reportedly impressed the Collingwood coaching staff over the summer, offering another marking option up forward for Nathan Buckley.

The teenager possesses strong hands and elite aerial ability, assets which could prove dangerous inside 50 as a third or fourth tall option.

While not setting the world alight in either appearance this pre-season, the 18-year-old showed enough to catch the eye and put his hand up for selection.

Lachlan Geleit

Essendon club banner

Harrison Jones

There is a reason why Essendon traded up in the 2019 draft to secure Harry Jones, who is almost certain to make his AFL debut in Round 1 against the Hawks.

The talented tall forward will form an integral part of the Bombers’ new-look forward line in 2021, with Peter Wright expected to start deeper inside 50 while Jones fills a role across half forward.

Turning 20 late last month, Jones is still incredibly raw as a tall key forward, but he’ll be given plenty of room to grow in a youthful Dons outfit until new coach Ben Rutten.

Laurence Rosen

Fremantle club banner

Lloyd Meek

Lloyd Meek has carried the ruck load for Fremantle over the pre-season with Sean Darcy dealing with a knee issue. Darcy is a fair chance to be available for Round 1, but now Rory Lobb has gone down with a more significant knee injury and the door is now open for Meek.

Fremantle has a key forward problem and may need to play two ruckmen in order to put a second big body inside 50 next to Matt Taberner. Darcy has had an interrupted pre-season and may be best off starting as a key forward and building his match fitness, while Meek starts in the ruck.

Finishing with 18 hit-outs, 12 disposals and five clearances versus West Coast and Nic Naitanui in the AAMI Community Series, the 22-year-old appears ready to compete at AFL level.

Geelong club banner

Jordan Clark

The subject of much trade talk during the off-season, Jordan Clark ultimately stayed at the Cats and is now well within the selection mix to play against Adelaide in Round 1.

The 20-year-old burst onto the scene in his first season two years ago, playing 18 matches and generally impressing, but fell out of favour last year and played just three games.

But on the back of a hugely promising AAMI Community Series display against the Bombers last weekend, he couldn’t be better placed to finally cement a spot in Geelong’s best side in 2021.

Laurence Rosen

Gold Coast club banner

Will Brodie

Will Brodie was starved of senior opportunities in 2020 with his only AFL appearance coming in Gold Coast’s Round 1 loss to Port Adelaide.

But after a big pre-season the penny might have dropped for the Suns midfielder.

Brodie, who has played just 20 games in four seasons, is a likely starter for Gold Coast’s season-opening encounter against West Coast.

The 22-year-old collected 25 disposals, laid four tackles and kicked a goal in the Suns’ AAMI Community Series match against Brisbane.

A former first-round draft pick, will Brodie cement a spot in 2021?

Alex Zaia

GWS Giants club banner

Kieren Briggs or Matthew Flynn

After two years on the GWS list, Kieren Briggs could find himself stepping out for the fist time as a senior AFL player.

With recruit Braydon Preuss out for a lengthy spell after shoulder surgery, and his back-up Matthew Flynn suffering an ankle injury, the door is ajar for Briggs.

He stepped in last weekend against Sydney in the AAMI Community Series and if Flynn fails to get up, could make his debut at home against St Kilda next Sunday.

If Flynn is fit, he will likely take the ruck mantle against the Saints and make his AFL debut.

Last year’s pick 12 Tanner Bruhn, while not considered a bolter as such, may also debut after impressing with four goals last time out.

Andrew Slevison

Hawthorn club banner

Jacob Koschitzke

Jacob Koschitzke’s first two years with the Hawks were a disappointment.

He was injured for much of the first season, while his second season was spent playing a few practice matches as the club settled into hub life around the country.

As a key defender he was unlikely to get a look in in a part of the ground where Hawthorn is reasonably well stocked. But the decision was made over the summer to trial him as a key forward and the transformation has been stunning.

At 196cm and 96kg he is an athletic beast and he has been in superb touch all summer and kicked six goals in the AAMI Challenge win over North Melbourne last week. He got them every which way and it made it virtually impossible for Alastair Clarkson to leave him out of the team to play Essendon next week.

Ash Browne

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James Jordon

After landing at the Dees with pick 33 back in 2018, Jordon spent his first season at the club at VFL level before featuring in unofficial scratch matches throughout a COVID-hit 2020.

With versatility across the midfield and defence one of his greatest strengths, Jordon pressed his claim for a breakthrough Round 1 berth with a strong showing against Western Bulldogs on Monday afternoon.

Could Jordon finally be on the cusp of making his debut in his third season on the Melbourne list? He has shot into selection contention on the back of a strong pre-season and is in the mix.

Laurence Rosen

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Dom Tyson

North Melbourne has not had its full starting midfield available across this pre-season and Ben Cunnington will likely miss Round 1 as he struggles with concussion symptoms.

These absences have opened the door for Dom Tyson, who took his opportunity in the AAMI Community Series clash with Hawthorn. Tyson picked up 23 disposals, eight marks, seven score involvements, four clearances, four inside 50s and kicked three goals in the impressive performance.

Tyson has only played three games for the Roos since crossing over from Melbourne at the end of 2018, dealing with injury and form issues. The club would be hoping 2021 is the year it all comes together for the third selection in the 2011 National Draft.

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Miles Bergman

Selection at Port Adelaide this season will be intriguing given their impressive depth.

The emergence of uncapped youngster Miles Bergman gives the Power another good selection headache at Match Committee.

Bergman, who was selected with pick No.14 in the 2019 National Draft, is firmly in the mix to make his AFL debut in Round 1.

Power champion Kane Cornes thinks the 19-year-old will get the nod to face North Melbourne after his 2020 was interrupted by an ankle injury.

Bergman did his Round 1 chances no harm with 17 disposals and eight marks playing across half-back in the AAMI Community Series against Adelaide.

Fellow Power youngster Lachie Jones also looks ready if called upon by coach Ken Hinkley.

Alex Zaia

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No firm candidate

It’s highly unlikely that Richmond will blood any inexperienced players in Round 1.

Veteran half-back Bachar Houli is set to miss with a calf injury but he appears the only casualty from the Grand Final side that beat Geelong.

Jake Aarts has pushed his case to break back into the side after some strong pre-season form, but can’t be considered a bolter after playing 14 games including the Qualifying Final last year.

Likewise the experienced Josh Caddy who could force Marlion Pickett out.

Of the untried youngsters, Will Martyn looks most likely to break through but perhaps not until later in the year, while Riley Collier-Dawkins is in the mix.

Noah will definitely play!

Andrew Slevison

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Paul Hunter

St Kilda’s depleted ruck stocks has opened the door for pre-season arrival Paul Hunter to get his chance at AFL level.

Hunter joined the Saints via the pre-season Supplemental Selection Period – his second AFL club after four uncapped years at Adelaide.

With Rowan Marshall (foot) and Paddy Ryder (personal leave) ruled out for the start of the season, the 28-year-old is now set to shoulder St Kilda’s ruck responsibilities.

Standing at 200cm, Hunter told SEN SA Breakfast that he believed the ruck position at the Saints was “gettable” after training with the club since the start of February.

Will he take his opportunity with both hands?

Alex Zaia

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Chad Warner

Warner looks set to add to his two AFL games from last year after an impressive outing against GWS.

Warner held his own against the Giants more experienced midfielders in the AAMI Community Series match, collecting 19 disposals and kicking a goal.

The 19-year-old’s aggressive play style ensures he won’t be bullied at the contest and he should find himself in the centre bounce rotation. He looms as a dangerous player that hits the scoreboard as well as winning his own ball.

The Swans may also blood three debutants against the Lions, with Logan McDonald, Errol Goulden and Braeden Campbell all showing promising signs over their first pre-seasons.

Lachlan Geleit

West Coast club banner

Xavier O’Neill

Of a small complement of Eagles who pressed their claims for a place in the midfield rotation, O’Neill was the most impressive against Fremantle on Sunday.

The 20-year-old debuted in Round 13, 2020 and played five consecutive games amid the crunch of a condensed fixture, before experienced colleagues returned ahead of the finals and he was squeezed out. His most impressive performance came in his second game, when he had 16 disposals and four inside 50s in a loss to eventual premiers Richmond.

O’Neill illustrated his improvement on the weekend, registering 19 touches, seven marks, four inside 50s and three tackles against the Dockers. Drifting around the ground, he demonstrated composure as a conduit between the ball winner and the outside runner or forward, and was willing to get his hands dirty.

Adam Simpson could also roll the dice on rookie Zane Trew, who notched nine disposals and three tackles in his first official outing in blue and gold.

Nathan John

Western Bulldogs banner

Buku Khamis

With aerialist Hayden Crozier expected to miss six to eight weeks recuperating from a shoulder injury sustained against Melbourne on Monday, an undersized Dogs defence needs patching-up.

20-year-old defender Buku Khamis ran out as a key back for the second half of that game, just hours after featuring for Footscray over three quarters of a reserves scratch match.

The Bulldogs’ first Next Generation Academy graduate was pre-selected as a rookie at the end of 2018 following an All-Australian campaign for Vic Metro, but has had to bide his time behind an impressive assembly of medium defenders at Whitten Oval.

On Monday afternoon, Khamis had six disposals and four marks. Importantly, he trusted his boot with five kicks among his tally, and his closing speed impressed as he motored to aerial contests.

His pace could appear almost leisurely at other times, but it was simply an understanding of where he needed to be. Luke Beveridge may instead opt to rotate a midfielder through half back, but it is an opportune time for Khamis to cut his teeth on top flight footy.

Supplemental selection Anthony Scott also collected 14 disposals, six intercepts and two goals, comfortable to march to the electric tempo the Dogs dictate.

Nathan John





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Marlion Pickett on selection edge for Richmond Tigers’ round one clash v Carlton Blues


Having memorably made his AFL debut in the 2019 grand final, Pickett was dropped early last season but bounced back to play 19 senior games for the season and claim a second AFL premiership medallion.

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While Richmond are fighting fit, the Blues will need Jack Newnes (ankle), Levi Casboult (knee) and Harry McKay (ankle) to prove their readiness for the clash. Eddie Betts (calf) is available after missing last year’s season-opener. Zac Williams (suspension), Tom De Koning (back), Brodie Kemp (foot), Caleb Marchbank (calf), Nic Newman (knee) and Charlie Curnow (knee) are all set to miss Thursday night’s game at a half-full ’G. Mitch McGovern (back) is all but certain to miss too.

Meanwhile, Tigers captain Trent Cotchin says it is too early to judge how much of an impact the new man on the mark rule will have in 2021.

“We probably haven’t played with it enough to know how it’s going to impact,” Cotchin said.

As for the rotation limit being reduced to 75, Cotchin was optimistic the Tigers would benefit.

“It’s different for every club. I think we’ve got a pretty good endurance team, notwithstanding that I’m not one of those.”

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Cotchin added that three-time Coleman medallist Jack Riewoldt remained a force to be reckoned with despite entering the twilight of his career, having turned 32 a week after the grand final.

“What I’ve loved about Jack’s game is moreso the little things that he’s doing and the way he’s getting the best out of our younger players as well. It probably isn’t spoken about from a holistic point of view, but the tap-ons, the contests, they’re all things that we value in a side. He’s doing a great job for us,” Cotchin said.

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Clark boosts selection bid


The 20-year-old was a ball magnet in his three quarters on the ground during the seven-point win, recording a match high of 710 metres gained.

But he managed just three games in 2020 after suffering a dislocated shoulder in July and struggling to break back into the side.

Clark provided plenty of dash off half-back in Saturday night’s game and took several kick-ins.

But he faces tough competition for selection.

“[Clark] has given himself a chance to be up for selection for round one but that’s yet to be decided,” Knights said.

“He was still there with 26 [players] tonight so it’s a bit of a false economy. It gets down to 22 pretty quickly, and we might have some players coming into that line up also.”

Star midfielder Mitch Duncan is an outside chance to return from a calf strain for the season opener against Adelaide on March 20.

Josh Jenkins is also a chance for the game against his old side, after a solid performance in the ruck against Essendon alongside Sam De Konig.

Knights indicated the Cats could play a second ruckman, who would also serve as a third tall next to Tom Hawkins and Jeremy Cameron in the forward line.

The Cats’ primary ruck Rhys Stanley missed the Community Series game due to concussion but should return against the Crows in a fortnight.

The Bombers dominated inside 50s against the Cats but cost themselves the game with inaccurate goal-kicking.

The Cats’ AFLW side travels to Perth in search of its first victory of the season against the West Coast Eagles on Sunday.

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The 10 Port Adelaide players who could miss Round 1 selection


Port Adelaide comes into the 2021 with a lot of depth and big name players are going to miss out on a sport for Round 1.

The 2020 minor premiers added to their squad over summer, with the likes of Aliir Aliir, Orazio Fantasia and draftee Lachie Jones expected to be in the selection mix.

Kane Cornes has named the 10 Port players who will likely miss out on Round 1, not including Connor Rozee and Sam Powell-Pepper, who have injury issues.

“This is just my opinion, I’m guessing on the way selection will go,” Cornes told SEN SA Breakfast.

“I’ve got Hamish Hartlett missing, Lachie Jones, I think Mitch Georgiades will miss because I think they’ll go with two rucks and Charlie Dixon and Peter Ladhams in the forward line and surround them with smalls.

“Todd Marshall also will miss, I’ve got Tom Rockliff out, Trent McKenzie out, Boyd Woodcock, Jarrod Lienert, Jackson Mead and Sam Hayes.

“I think Miles Bergman will get the nod and Kane Farrell will get the nod.

“Now you might throw in Connor Rozee and Sam Powell-Pepper to that mix as well (with injuries). You could probably chuck in Sam Mayes as well.”

On the flip side, Cornes believes the 10 players listed above would all be in Adelaide’s best 22 this year.

“Those 10 that I mentioned, minus Rozee and Powell-Pepper, would walk into the Crows’ best 18 and they’re not even going to be included in Port’s 22. They’re going to play SANFL,” he said.

“I reckon Woodcock plays ahead of James Rowe. I reckon Mead is the equal or in front of Rowe or Chayce Jones.

“If Mead is in Port Adelaide’s best 24 right now and is looking capable like he did on the weekend, he absolutely plays for Adelaide.”

Port Adelaide takes on North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium in Round 1.





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Jury selection for trial in George Floyd case delayed at least a day


Minneapolis: The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd has been delayed for at least a day as the judge contends with a last-minute order by a higher court to reconsider adding an additional murder charge.

The trial had been scheduled to begin on Monday local time (Tuesday AEDT), with the screening of jurors to weigh murder and manslaughter charges in a case seen as a referendum on police violence against black Americans. Chauvin appeared in court dressed in a navy blue suit and tie, a white shirt and a black face mask, jotting notes in a yellow legal pad on the table before him.

Members of the National Guard stand outside the courtroom where Derek Chauvin is set to be tried over the death of George Floyd.Credit:Bloomberg

Judge Peter Cahill of the Hennepin County district court set aside three weeks for jury selection alone, mindful of the difficulties finding impartial Minneapolitans in a case that has convulsed a nation and in which an image of the victim – a selfie of Floyd faintly smiling – has become an international icon of racial justice.

But that was delayed by the Minnesota Court of Appeals, which ordered Cahill to reconsider prosecutors’ request to also reinstate a third charge, third-degree murder, over the defendant’s objections.

Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin.

Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin.Credit:AP

Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s lead lawyer, told the court on Monday morning that Chauvin would soon ask the Minnesota Supreme Court to overturn Friday’s order, a process that could take weeks. Prosecutors from the Minnesota attorney-general’s office urged the court to delay jury selection until that issue was resolved.

“We’re not doing this to interfere, to slow this down, but it is a very important matter,” Matthew Frank, an assistant attorney-general, told the court. Prosecutors feared picking a jury when the number of charges was still unresolved could make it easier for Chauvin to appeal a verdict later, Frank said.

Cahill declined. Prosecutors then said they would ask the Appeals Court to intervene to delay the trial. Cahill suspended jury selection until at least Tuesday.

Chauvin, 44, is charged with second-degree murder, which carries a sentence of up to 40 years in prison, and manslaughter.

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Two AFL champions added to All-Australian selection panel


Two fresh faces have been added to the 2021 All-Australian selection panel.

Jude Bolton and Nick Riewoldt have accepted invitations to join the panel, while Luke Darcy has resigned to focus on his director role at the Western Bulldogs.

Bolton is a 325-game champion at the Sydney Swans, winning two premierships in 2005 and 2012.

Riewoldt, a five-time All-Australian, is St Kilda’s longest serving captain, booting 718 goals in 336 games.

Dual Adelaide premiership player Courtney Cramey and former Geelong captain Melissa Hickey were also added to the AFLW All-Australian selection committee.

AFL GM of Football Operations Steve Hocking said: “We look forward to Courtney, Jude, Melissa and Nick’s unique insights and perspectives on the game as members of the AFL and AFLW All Australian selection panels, respectively.

“Each player has enjoyed a decorated career in their own right and their success as players has them well-placed as selectors of men’s and women’s All Australian teams for years to come.

“On behalf of the AFL, I would also like to acknowledge and thank Luke for his contribution as a selector over a period of 10 years.”

AFLW All Australian Selection Panel

Nicole Livingstone (chair), Sarah Black, Courtney Cramey, Tim Harrington, Melissa Hickey, Steve Hocking, Sharelle McMahon, Kelli Underwood, Josh Vanderloo, Shelley Ware.

AFL All Australian Selection Panel

Gillon McLachlan (chair), Kevin Bartlett, Jude Bolton, Steve Hocking, Glen Jakovich, Chris Johnson, Cameron Ling, Matthew Richardson, Nick Riewoldt, Warren Tredrea.





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BBL 2020-21 scores: Alex Carey 100, century records, Test selection, Tim Paine captaincy


The BBL10 century drought has been broken in the classiest and most impressive of circumstances. And the timing couldn’t have been better for Alex Carey.

The Adelaide Strikers vice-captain and Australia’s No. 1 short-form wicket-keeper on Thursday night produced a clinical and near flawless knock against the Brisbane Heat to notch the first BBL hundred of the summer.

Carey picked the Heat’s bowling attack apart and played the quintessential T20 innings at the Adelaide Oval on his way to his second ever BBL ton. He became just the sixth player to ever score multiple BBL centuries.

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The left-handed opener barely made a mistake on his way to 101 off just 62 balls – an innings that included 10 fours and three sixes. And when he was eventually caught behind by Jimmy Peirson off Mark Steketee, replays suggested he shouldn’t have been given out as the ball appeared to graze his shoulder.

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