West Coast Eagles thump Adelaide Crows by 40 points, Melbourne beats Carlton to go to 9-0, Essendon edges Fremantle


The Eagles finish strong to beat the Crows by 40 points in Perth, after Melbourne beats Carlton for its ninth straight win to start the season, and Essendon edges Fremantle by seven points.

Look back at Sunday’s AFL action in our ScoreCentre.

West Coast storms home to hammer Crows

West Coast forward Jack Darling produced a rare nutmeg during a five-goal second-quarter blitz to lead his side to a 30-point win over Adelaide at Perth Stadium.

The Crows put up plenty of resistance early and led by seven points midway through the second quarter, before Darling turned Sunday’s AFL match on its head.

The premiership forward booted five goals in the space of 10 minutes of actual match time to set up the 16.10 (106) to 11.10 (76) win in front of 43,427 fans.

Darling’s first three goals came from strong contested marks, but from there he produced the freakish.

After taking another strong mark 20 metres out and with little angle to speak about, Darling inexplicably decided to play on and attempt a dribble kick on goal.

Defender Brodie Smith was in front of him and stuck out a leg in an attempt to block the ball, but it dribbled through his legs and in for a goal.

The 28-year-old’s fifth goal was another perfect example of the enigma that is Jack Darling.

Darling dropped an easy uncontested mark, quickly regathered the ball and kicked truly from 40 metres out while being bumped to the ground.

The five-goal blitz gave West Coast a 29-point lead at half-time, and the home side held Adelaide at arm’s length for the rest of the match.

Darling finished with 5.2 and five contested marks from 15 disposals, while Josh Kennedy and Oscar Allen chipped in with three goals apiece.

West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui (13 disposals, 31 hit-outs, four clearances) won the crucial ruck battle against Reilly O’Brien (10 disposals, 15 hit-outs, four clearances).

Rory Laird battled hard for Adelaide with 35 disposals, 10 clearances and a goal, while forward Shane McAdam showed plenty of spark on the way to three goals.

West Coast’s third straight win means they are now equal on points with third-placed Geelong (6-3).

The 15th-placed Crows are now 3-6 following five straight losses.

Demons remain perfect with win over Carlton

Melbourne Demons player Ed Langdon raises a finger in celebration after an AFL goal against Carlton.
Ed Langdon kicked off the second-half scoring for the Demons.(

AAP: James Ross

)

The Demons made it nine straight wins to open 2021 with a comfortable 26-point victory over Carlton at the MCG.

The previous five times (1941, 1955, 1956, 1960, 1964) Melbourne have won at least nine straight games during a season they have gone on to claim the flag, but they have not won a title in 57 years.

This is the first time Melbourne have started a season 9-0 since 1956.

The Demons lit up a wet and gloomy Victorian day with some red-hot football, downing the disappointing Blues 13.16 (94) to 10.8 (68) in front of 38,581 fans.

It was actually their 11th straight triumph, counting the two victories they had to round out the 2020 season, equalling the second-best streak in club history.

Rejuvenated Demons forward Tom McDonald continued his dominant start to the season with three first-half goals, while Bailey Fritsch also finished with a trio of majors.

Exciting small forward Kysaiah Pickett produced another goal-of-the-year contender when he expertly dribbled the ball through from a tricky angle in the third quarter.

In the final term, Pickett looked to have snapped another extraordinary goal but he immediately indicated to the goal umpire that Carlton defender Adam Saad touched the ball off his boot.

The Blues dominated clearances 48-33 but Melbourne had answers across the ground to quell any disadvantage at the stoppages.

Carlton’s injury list grew with David Cunningham suffering a suspected season-ending knee injury in the first quarter.

The 24-year-old clutched his knee and was subbed out of the game for Michael Gibbons, with fears he has ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament.

Star forward Harry McKay put another scare through the Blues camp only minutes later when he hurt his right shoulder, but was cleared to return to the field and played out the game with pain killers.

The Coleman Medal leader finished with three goals, including two in as many minutes during the third quarter, to again be one of Carlton’s best performers.

Melbourne head to Adelaide next Saturday for a clash with the struggling Crows, while Carlton are back at the MCG for a must-win game against Hawthorn, who are coming off a shattering loss to North Melbourne.

Essendon edges Fremantle by seven points

Brayden Ham flexes his muscles and yells as Essendon teammate Darcy Parish tries to high-10 him during an AFL game.
Brayden Ham kicked the decisive late goal for Essendon.(

AAP: Scott Barbour

)

Brayden Ham stepped up as the unlikely hero as Essendon clinched a nail-biting seven-point AFL victory over Fremantle.

Ham seized his moment with six minutes left at Marvel Stadium on Sunday, snapping what proved to be the final goal of the game under pressure from 45 metres.

The error-riddled contest went right down to the wire, with both sides wasting further chances to take control.

The 10.8 (68) to 8.13 (61) result came after the Bombers lost three games by margins of less than a goal earlier in the season.

Darcy Parish continued his fine form with 39 disposals and 10 clearances for Essendon, with Andrew McGrath also busy in the midfield.

A largely scrappy affair got spiteful at times with Caleb Serong the chief agitator as he shadowed Zach Merrett.

Adam Cerra and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti both caught opponents with late bumps that sparked reactions from their respective targets’ teammates, but the play itself never reached any great heights.

It was a costly defeat for Fremantle in their finals pursuit and they only had themselves to blame as inaccuracy in front of goal cruelled their chances.

Matt Taberner kicked 4.3 as the most dangerous key forward on the ground but could have put the Dockers in control before Essendon kicked three goals to one in the final term to run over the top.

Andrew Brayshaw, Nat Fyfe and Cerra worked tirelessly for the visitors.

Despite a 26-16 advantage in inside-50s — including 16-7 in the second term — the Dockers trailed by two points at half-time.

Goals to Michael Walters and Taberner after the restart gave the Dockers the lead but the margin never got beyond 11 points in a third-quarter arm wrestle, with both sides guilty of simple skill errors.

Parish converted a free kick right in front of goal to put the Bombers back within a straight kick at the final change.

Scores were level with six minutes left to play when Ham seized his moment.

Fremantle hosts Sydney at Perth Stadium on Saturday night, while Essendon take on Docklands Stadium co-tenants North Melbourne on Sunday.

Ladder

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Tim Kelly, Nic Naitanui fire as West Coast Eagles romp over Adelaide Crows


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His work should have been the catalyst for a second-half thrashing but the Eagles come out in cruise control to start the second half. The Crows battled back, at least until Kelly returned from the bench and started winning clearances again. His return and two late goals to Jake Waterman saw the Eagles again run clear. They continued to control the match in the last term although McAdam kept them honest when the ball found its way into the Crows’ forward line.

After the lost revenue of a COVID-19 lockdown a few weeks ago, the Eagles will also be buoyed by a crowd of 43, 427 fans attending Sunday’s match.

When the Eagles are flying and huge crowds are roaring, they are a force to be reckoned with.

The clanger, the response

The Eagles could be accused of being in cruise mode in the third term as the Crows tried to fight back but they awoke when defender Jeremy Rotham tried to kick backwards to full-back, only for McAdam to intercept the ball and kick an open goal.

McAdam rightly celebrated but at the centre-bounce Naitanui and Kelly forced a turnover and Kelly passed to Waterman, who kicked a goal.

It was seconds between embarrassment and glory for the Eagles.

BEST
Eagles: Kelly, Gaff, Naitanui, Darling, Kennedy, Witherden.
Crows: Laird, Keays, McAdam, Smith, McAdam, Schoenberg.

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West Coast Eagles v Adelaide Crows; Melbourne Demons v Carlton Blues; Essendon Bombers v Fremantle Dockers; round nine fixtures, results, tipping, tickets, draw, odds, tickets


Melbourne extended their undefeated start to nine games with a solid win over a wounded Carlton at the MCG on Sunday.

Every other season that the Demons have gone 9-0 has seen them win the premiership although all those seasons came between 1941 and 1964 so it means little in the modern AFL.

Alex Neal-Bullen, James Harmes and Kysaiah Pickett celebrate a goal.Credit:Getty Images

But what this win showed what they can fight out a game in tough conditions and against a side like the Blues who were wounded, clearly second best but still fighting for every possession.

Tom McDonald and Bayley Fritsch kicked three goals a piece while Clayton Oliver and Christian Salem had 29 disposals each.

The Blues lost David Cuningham to a knee injury which could be serious while who knows whether Harry McKay’s injured shoulder will end up seeing him miss matches or whether he will just play on through the pain.

He kicked three goals while clearly hurting.

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Death toll rises as violence rocks Gaza, Israel and West Bank



Israeli planes renewed air strikes in Gaza early on Saturday and Hamas militants responded by firing rockets into Israel as their battle entered a fifth night and US and Arab diplomats sought an end to the violence.

Palestinian medics said at least 12 people were killed overnight in air strikes throughout Gaza. Health officials said a a family of 10 were among the dead after their house was hit in a refugee camp. 

Eight children and two women, all belonging to the Abu Hatab family, were killed in the three-storey building in Shati refugee camp that collapsed following an Israeli strike, medical sources said.

The Israeli military said it carried out strikes on a Hamas military intelligence facility and a number of rocket launching sites in northern Gaza.

The Palestinian religious affairs ministry said Israeli planes destroyed a mosque. A military spokesman said the army was checking the report.

Sirens sounded in two major southern Israeli cities warning of incoming fire from Gaza. Hamas claimed responsibility for launching rockets.

With no sign of an end to the fighting, casualties spread further afield, with Palestinians reporting 11 killed in the occupied West Bank amid clashes between protesters and Israeli security forces.

At least 132 people have been killed in Gaza since Monday, including 32 children and 21 women, and 950 others wounded, Palestinian medical officials said.



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Neighbours dig deep to buy Geelong West renovation project


Seven bidders contested 22 Potter Street, Geelong West at Saturday’s auction.


Geelong West buyers who know the value of their own backyard have paid a big premium to get their hands on an untouched renovation project next door.

Seven bidders contested the original three-bedroom bungalow at 22 Potter Street, pushing the sale price $200,000 above expectation.

The immediate neighbours secured the 483sq m north-facing property for $831,000 at Saturday’s auction.

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Stockdale & Leggo, Belmont agent Rod van der Chys calls the auction.


A big crowd braved the wintry weather to attend on Saturday.


Dual street frontages onto Potter and Lupton streets opens to the door to a rear extension or possible townhouse development at the property.

Stockdale & Leggo, Belmont agent Rod van der Chys said the flexibility to add value underpinned the depth of competition from renovators, developers and builders.

Bidding opened at $640,000 — more than what the vendors were hoping for — but the eventual buyers only entered the race at $823,000.

The kitchen is due for an update.


The wide entrance hall is surprisingly spacious.


Mr van der Chys said the high opening bid immediately knocked several interested parties out of the competition.

“I thought (the buyers’) strategy of coming in at the very last minute was very clever,” he said.

“We were just about to knock it down and the others had said they were out so it’s quite disheartening for the other bidder.

“But you have got to have the money to take it off them — deep pockets is the only strategy that works in a market like this.”

The dual street access appealed to potential buyers.


He said the neighbours did not revealed their plans for the almost 100-year-old house but clearly couldn’t pass up an opportunity in a part of Geelong West they know and love.

The house comes with a loungeroom, kitchen/meals area, a central bathroom and rear sunroom, plus a garage with rear access.

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Ten Palestinians shot dead in West Bank as clashes with Israeli army intensify



In the north, Rafat Tanani, his pregnant wife and four children were killed after an Israeli warplane reduced the building to rubble, residents said. 

Sadallah Tanani, a relative, said the family was “wiped out from the population register” without warning. “It was a massacre. My feelings are indescribable,” he said.

Palestinian officials said a woman and her three children were among the 13 victims of the night-time Israeli bombardment on Gaza, and that their bodies were retrieved from the rubble of their home.

Among three families killed in the town of Beit Lahia were Lamya Al-Attar and her three children Islam, 8, Amira, 6, and Mohammed, 10 months, according to Ali Hawas, media director for Gaza civil defence.

A video showed Lamya’s father arriving at a morgue to identify the bodies, which were stacked two abreast on metal trolleys in a refrigerator.



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West Coast Eagles coach Adam Simpson keeps door ajar for Willie Rioli to return to AFL


“We’re a pretty empathetic industry. People make mistakes but we’ve got to keep working on trust.”

Rioli’s isolation on the Tiwi Islands had made the club’s welfare management of its young star difficult.

“There’s not much we can do as football club when he’s suspended for two years and no contact is allowed,” Simpson said.

“But let’s be clear, it’s self-inflicted. The inability to stay connected has been quite challenging, and the remoteness of where he lives too.”

Simpson said the players were indifferent to Rioli’s latest plight but was confident the club would create an appropriate environment should it decide to keep him on.

“We need to make a decision first as a football club where we stand,” he said.

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“Every player will be feeling different. They are pretty good at the moment. We haven’t been with Willie for some time, there’s a bit going on at the moment but we need to have a conversation with the players.”

Simpson scoffed at suggestions a decision on Rioli’s future would draw parallels with the club’s previous history of widespread drug abuse in seasons either side of its 2006 premiership.

“I see them as two completely different situations, I don’t think Willie is connected to the past,” he said.

“I think our culture has shifted, pivoted a little bit since. We’re talking about one individual who has an issue.”

On selection for Sunday’s round nine clash with Adelaide at Optus Stadium in Perth, Simpson said the club expected key personnel to return but Liam Ryan would not play and Shannon Hurn would have to wait at least another week to break the club’s games record.

Tom Barrass and Jeremy McGovern “may be OK”, Josh Kennedy ran some laps and drills, but Simpson said the club would put out its list on Thursday afternoon in line with the AFL’s updated policy.

Rioli was charged with possessing a schedule 2 drug in a quantity less than trafficable (under 50 grams) in a public place after police caught him with cannabis at Darwin Airport on April 23 on his way home to the Tiwi Islands.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan on Thursday said the league would be in contact with West Coast, but left it up to the club to decide Rioli’s future.

“This is someone who’s been out of the industry, I think he’s got to earn the trust back of his playing group, the club, probably the whole industry,” McLachlan said.

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“But we are also an industry that believes in rehabilitation and second chances.”

Rioli has played 38 games with West Coast after they selected him with pick 52 in the 2016 draft after standout performances with Glenelg in the SANFL.

His last game with the Eagles was the elimination final win over Essendon in September 2019.

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Major $11 million Geelong West Oval upgrade officially opened


The major $11 million upgrade of Geelong West Ovalpavilion and precinct will be officially opened this weekend.

Home to the Geelong West Giants, Geelong West Cricket
Club and Geelong Cycling Club, the upgrade was jointly funded with the
Victorian Government ($7.4 million) and the City of Greater Geelong ($3.6
million).

The new two-storey multi-purpose pavilion meets AFL
Regional Facility Guidelines, with
home and away female friendly and umpire change rooms, as well as
all-accessible shower and toilet facilities.

The pavilion also houses
a commercial kitchen, kiosk and social rooms, a club gym, timekeepers and
coaches’ boxes.Upgrades throughout the precinct include a new
scoreboard, minor modifications to the heritage listed Flower Family Stand,
enhanced spectator seating, landscaping and additional car parking.

City of Greater Geelong Mayor Stephanie Asher attended
the opening event on Saturday 8 May alongside The Hon. John Eren, Member for
Lara and Christine Couzens MP, Member for Geelong.

West
Oval has incredible history and it’s a very important place for the local
community.

With
this redevelopment, its future as a premier local sporting venue is now secure,
and it’s also better set up for general community access and enjoyment.

The
Council was proud to partner with the Victorian Government to fund the $11
million project.

The new
pavilion is outstanding. It gives the tenant clubs an amazing home facility
that will help them grow participation, and also positions the venue as a
regional facility capable of hosting local football finals. Congratulations to
everyone involved.

Sport portfolio chair Councillor Ron Nelson said the upgrade
played an important role in increasing sporting opportunities and participation
in the region, particularly for women.

Not only are these facilities more accessible and appealing
for everyone to enjoy, they are also of a high calibre, suitable for elite
level sporting competition.

These upgrades are an integral part of plans to transform
Geelong West Oval into a regional-level facility – capable of hosting AFLW and
VFL games.

The transformation of Geelong West Oval aligns with the G21
Geelong Regional Alliance AFL Barwon Regional Strategy which identified Geelong
West Oval as a preferred location for hosting regional football finals, AFLW,
TAC Cup and VFL matches.

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West Coast Eagles AFL star Willie Rioli pleads guilty to drug possession in Darwin court


West Coast Eagles star Willie Rioli has been given a 12-month good behaviour bond after pleading guilty to possessing cannabis in the Darwin Local Court on Wednesday.

Rioli, 25, was charged with one count of possession of a schedule two drug, after a sniffer dog at the Fly Tiwi terminal at Darwin Airport detected 25 grams of cannabis in his pants in April.

Rioli has been based in the Northern Territory since he was suspended from the AFL for tampering with a urine sample in 2019.

A visibly emotional Rioli was supported in court by family members, but the West Coast Eagles said they did not send a support person from Perth to be with him.

The club is yet to determine when, or if, Rioli will return to the game when his suspension is lifted in August.

Willie Rioli walking past reporters and into the Darwin Local Court.
Willie Rioli appeared at the Darwin Local Court on Wednesday.(

ABC News: Michael Franchi

)

Defence lawyer Mark Thomas said Rioli wanted to issue a “heartfelt apology to the West Coast Eagles for this offence”. 

“He knows he has let them down,” Mr Thomas said. 

“Shame, loss, humiliation, grief … that’s how Mr Rioli feels in consequence of this matter, to which he’s pleaded guilty.”

Mr Thomas told the court there was “no suggestion” the forward had an addiction to cannabis.

Arguing for Rioli to avoid a conviction, Mr Thomas told the court the “arsenal of media” sitting in the courtroom had led to “national humiliation” for the player.

Judge Michael Carey did not record a conviction for Rioli.

“If ever there was a lesson in this … it’s surrounding you there, because you know what will happen if it happens again,” said Judge Carey.

“You are a role model in the community, that’s unfortunate because this is not a good example you’ve passed on.”

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Harry McKay Carlton contract, Elliot Yeo, West Coast, trade, Patrick Cripps, Sam Walsh


Injured West Coast star Elliot Yeo says he was “annoyed and frustrated” by a report linking him to a trade involving Carlton and Patrick Cripps.

On Monday night, Seven’s Tom Browne tweeted the Eagles were “circling” Cripps but have problems with salary cap space, and would “look at trading Yeo”. However Seven Perth’s Ryan Daniels then tweeted a denial of both reports.

Yeo, who hasn’t played since Round 11 last year with persistent groin problems and is out indefinitely, said he was surprised when he was told of the potential mega-deal.

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“I know nothing. I got a message from my cousin in Melbourne when it was reported and he said, look, I hear you’re going to Carlton! I said first I’ve heard about it,” he told 96FM’s The Bunch with Clairsy and Lisa.

“I guess I’ve got to thank Rhino (Ryan Daniels) as well for jumping on the front foot and shutting it down pretty quickly. The funny thing is they’re from the same network.

“In the end, it’s just, what do you do about it other than put your hands up and go, what a silly sort of statement to make?”

Gaz slams Blues for “unforgivable” error | 03:05

Asked about his reaction, Yeo said: “I was annoyed and frustrated, yeah. A bit more disrespectful as well.

“We’re both contracted. Well, I’m contracted, he is as well and going through the stages at Carlton. Just a silly statement.”

Eagles footy boss Craig Vozzo said on Tuesday Yeo was a required player.

“I reckon he’s (Cripps) an outstanding footballer, it was more the point around Elliot Yeo. He’s a critical member of our playing group,” Vozzo told reporters.

“We contracted him long-term some time ago, he’s a two-time best and fairest, he’s an extremely good person and a critical member of our playing group.”

Asked if they’d have interest if Cripps wanted to come back to WA, Vozzo said: “Look, we’re interested in all good players, but I’m not going to comment on our list management.”

Meanwhile AFL 360 co-host Mark Robinson believes Coleman Medal leader Harry McKay should be the Carlton list management team’s “No. 1 priority” for 2021.

But Robinson believes the trade and contract debate around Cripps shouldn’t solely revolve around “dollars and performance”.

Are Carlton mismanaging Patrick Cripps? | 01:55

Carlton faces a delicate balancing act this year with both Cripps and McKay, who would command significant attention from rival clubs, out of contract at season’s end.

Adding to the dilemma is the two players’ stark contrast in form across the first two months of the season, with McKay leading the Coleman Medal race with 30 goals from eight games and Cripps polling just six AFL Coaches’ Association MVP votes so far. Cripps finished second in that award in 2018 and equal-fifth in 2019.

And the Blues will also be wary of in-form midfielder Sam Walsh’s contract situation, with the star on-baller among the league’s top disposal-winners and unsigned beyond 2022.

Blues chief executive Cain Liddle last month indicated on SEN his club wasn’t concerned about McKay’s future, saying it’d been in touch with McKay’s management “for a while now”.

But speaking on Fox Footy’s AFL 360, Robinson reported rival clubs were already circling 23-year-old McKay, adding the goalkicker should be the Blues’ most important signature.

“The No. 1 priority in my opinion is Harry McKay, absolutely,” Robinson told Fox Footy.

“They‘re coming for him. A few clubs inquired last year, I’ve spoken to one of those clubs and they’re going to go again, they’re already going again.

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“They believe he‘s going to stay, but they’re in there talking to the manager just trying to find out is there any possibility here.

“Sam Walsh is contracted so that makes Patrick Cripps priority No. 2.”

While the Blues remain confident Cripps will re-sign with the club, there hasn’t been any indication from the midfielder’s camp yet that a contract announcement is imminent.

The 26-year-old is averaging just 5.6 clearances – his lowest number since his debut season in 2014 – and 24.4 disposals – his lowest since his second season – in a season where the 3-5 Blues have struggled to get going.

But Robinson said Cripps’ value went beyond the stats sheet and his on-field performances.

Betts: Nothing good happens after 12am | 02:52

“Suddenly the Patrick Cripps debate has become all about dollars and his performance as a player. Patrick Cripps is more than that – he‘s the captain of the Carlton Football Club,” he said.

“If you‘ve ever had an opportunity to speak to Cripps about what the Carlton Football Club means to him and what it’s done for his own life, in his personal development, I would be staggered if Patrick Cripps is not at the Blues next year.”

Carlton’s contract situation comes less than 12 months after it signed free agent Zac Williams on a six-year deal worth around $800,000 across six years – with incentives that can bring it up to $900,000 a season – and gave up Pick 8 to trade in Adam Saad from the Bombers.

AFL 360 co-host Gerard Whateley suggested the Blues better be well placed to meet the demands of Cripps and McKay.

“I would hope that they have a lot of money for both of these players and that was always their planning,” Whateley said.

Patrick Cripps and Harry McKay of the Blues. Picture: Quinn RooneySource: Getty Images

“Their problem is because they paid so much to the players that they‘ve brought in, they have actually set a standard where Cripps, it doesn’t matter whether you think Cripps is out of form or finished or whatever he has to be paid above Zac Williams. That’s not even a debate.

“He‘s 26 years old and he’s only played 126 games – this the notion that somehow his best football is behind him, I’m not having that for one second.”



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