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Sport Melbourne primed to end AFL finals drought

14:21  14 march  2018
14:21  14 march  2018 Source:   msn.com

Kieran Foran primed to wind back NRL clock

  Kieran Foran primed to wind back NRL clock Canterbury will be hoping Kieran Foran can rediscover his best form when the star playmaker makes his Bulldogs NRL against Melbourne in Perth. New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney hopes to see Kieran Foran return to his best this NRL season - even though he won't reap the benefits himself.Foran spent an ill-fated season last year at the Warriors, with injuries and personal issues hurting his form.The 27-year-old has switched to the Bulldogs, with the move to Sydney allowing him to be closer to his two children.Foran has been plagued by shoulder and hamstring issues over the past few years.

No more pain for Tigers fans, as their beloved Richmond crushes the Crows by 48 points to win their first flag since 1980.

Nothing less than a finals berth will satisfy success-starved Melbourne this season. As always, Jeff Garlett and Neville Jetta can be relied upon at either end of the ground. The WA pair were named with rebounding defender Michael Hibberd in last year’s All- Australian squad.

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The talent is there. The expectations are enormous. There's no escaping it: now is the time for Melbourne to deliver.

Snowboarder ends Australia's Winter Paralympics gold medal drought

  Snowboarder ends Australia's Winter Paralympics gold medal drought Snowboarder Simon Patmore has broken through and won Australia’s first Winter Paralympics gold medal in 16 years. The Queenslander has also entered a rare club of Australian Paralympians, becoming the first man and the second person to win a medal at both summer and winter Paralympics.Patmore collapsed to the ground in jubilation after crossing the finish line well ahead of Italian opponent Manuel Pozzerle in their snowboard cross final.© Australian Paralympic Committe Simon Patmore salutes the fans. “Oh man, my goggles fogged up as soon as I got over the line.

But South Melbourne fans finally had something to cheer about again when Leo Barry leaped high above a pack of West Coast forwards to win the 2005 decider by four points, and end the longest drought in AFL history.

MELBOURNE could be virtually a footy-free zone for the first week of the AFL finals , with as little as one match to be played in the home of Aussie rules. High-flying Fremantle and West Coast are set to host two finals in Perth

As Simon Goodwin enters his second season in charge, the Demons have never had a better opportunity to snap their long AFL finals drought.

The recruitment of young star Jake Lever, prised away from Adelaide in exchange for two first-round draft picks, will help.

A natural leader, the 22-year-old intercept marking specialist will instantly improve the Dees' backline.

But it's two other factors - the return to fitness of Max Gawn and continued development of rising stars Clayton Oliver and Christian Petracca - that should propel the Dees into September action for the first time since 2006.

Aged 20, Oliver can count himself among the league's elite onballers after a breakout year.

Ranked in the league's top 10 for disposals and contested possessions, the Demons' best and fairest winner had the third-most clearances behind Brownlow Medallists Dustin Martin and Patrick Dangerfield.

Issac Luke survives 'rock bottom' to shine

  Issac Luke survives 'rock bottom' to shine Issac Luke is slowly working his way back to top form after Kiwis Test rejection and two years of underachievement, Warriors coach Stephen Kearney says.But the hooker has slowly begun clawing his way back to the top.

Goodwin said the players entered the game sensing the chance to break the drought and move beyond the tale of woe that had been Melbourne 's story for the past decade. You get them in finals , you get them in grand finals and you get them in home and away games that are really important."

Is Melbourne any closer to breaking its finals drought ? A finals series worthy of an amazing, unpredictable season I'd like to see that. Prepare for all the action of the Toyota AFL Finals Series here.

Petracca is yet to achieve such consistency but could be anything - an explosive talent with the flair and versatility to star in the midfield or up forward.

And the Dees will be better served by a fully-fit Gawn, who is eyeing a return to his 2016 All-Australian form after missing half of last season with a hamstring injury.

Gawn's recent contract extension takes him through to the end of 2021 and will effectively ensure he finishes his career with the Demons.

Retaining their younger stars looms as a challenge for the Dees in the not-too-distant future.

Oliver and West Australian-born spearhead Jesse Hogan are both due out of contract at the end of next season.

Petracca, who recently signed a two-year extension, and co-captain Jack Viney are set to follow in 2020.

All have indicated they see their future at Melbourne, and it's hard to see Viney - whose name is synonymous with the Demons - playing elsewhere.

Ballantyne teases, then takes up pilates

  Ballantyne teases, then takes up pilates Fremantle goalsneak Hayden Ballantyne hopes pilates will help him avoid the soft-tissue injuries that have plagued his 151-game career. Hayden Ballantyne used to love teasing Chris Mayne about his love for pilates, but the Fremantle goalsneak has now joined the stretching bandwagon in a bid to avoid injury.Ballantyne has been struck down by numerous soft tissue injuries throughout his 151-game career, with a hamstring tear last year ruling him out for the first 13 rounds of the season.Sick of being sidelined and with his AFL future hanging in the balance, Ballantyne decided to take up pilates last year.

The Richmond Tigers shrugged off decades of frustration to win their 11th Australian Football League championship and first in 37 years with a 48-point trouncing of the Adelaide Crows in the Grand Final in Melbourne on Saturday.

Relive the Bulldogs' stunning win over the Swans to end a 62-year drought . North Melbourne . Port Adelaide. Access Premium Content Free Live Pass Trial. Manage my AFL Live Pass.

But a 12th straight year without finals action could test loyalties as players continue to press for greater freedom of movement.

The no-nonsense Goodwin believes his players have the attitude to match their talent.

"We've worked incredibly hard on the training track and that's really setting us up for our season ahead," Goodwin said.

"The boys have come with a really strong work ethic. They've created some great habits.

"We're in a position as a club to have great belief heading into the season but we still understand it's a marathon, it's a long way and we haven't even got to the start line yet."

Whether the Dees can avoid injuries to key players may dictate whether they are spared a repeat of last year's heartbreaking ninth-placed finish.

Viney will miss the opening-round clash with Geelong as he continues to recover from a foot injury that required surgery last year.

Fellow co-captain Nathan Jones also missed games last year and has grappled with back spasms during the off-season.

With mercurial forward Jack Watts having been traded to Port Adelaide, the Dees will continue to lean heavily on experienced hands Jones, Michael Hibberd, Jordan Lewis and Jake Melksham.

The alarming statistic that puts Cronulla's finals hopes in jeopardy

  The alarming statistic that puts Cronulla's finals hopes in jeopardy It's a statistic that should have everyone in fear, especially Sharks fans.The Sharks sit in dead last after two straight losses to open their 2018 campaign, swept off their feet by the occasion of Johnathan Thurston's 300th game in Townsvile last week before crash-landing in the second half against arch rivals Dragons.

The Bulldogs’ 62-year. premiership drought . came to an end in. Our Toyota AFL Finals Series had teams from four states competing and we played three finals in Sydney, one in Perth, one in Adelaide and four in Melbourne .

The AFL Grand Final is an annual Australian rules football match, traditionally held on the final Saturday in September or the first Saturday in October at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne , Australia, to determine the Australian Football League ( AFL ) premiers for that year.

Exciting draftee Bayley Fritsch is certain to be in contention for a round one debut after an impressive pre-season campaign.

MELBOURNE

Coach: Simon Goodwin

Captains: Nathan Jones and Jack Viney

Last five years: 17-17-13-11-9

Premierships: 12 (1900, 1926, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1948, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1960, 1964).

Key five: Clayton Oliver, Jack Viney, Max Gawn, Jesse Hogan, Christian Petracca.

One to watch: Bayley Fritsch. The mature-aged draftee slotted three goals during Melbourne's trial match victory over North Melbourne and another against St Kilda. The 21-year-old's ability in the air and at ground level should add versatility to the Dees' forward line.

Ins: Jake Lever (Adelaide), Harley Balic (Fremantle), Charlie Spargo (Murray Bushrangers U18), Bayley Fritsch (Casey Demons VFL), Harrison Petty (Norwood U18), Oskar Baker (Aspley NEAFL).

Outs: Jack Watts (Port Adelaide), Jack Trengove (Port Adelaide), Heritier Lumumba (retired), Colin Garland (retired), Jake Spencer (delisted), Mitch White (delisted), Liam Hulett (delisted), Ben Kennedy (delisted).

Best line-up:

B: Neville Jetta, Oscar McDonald, Michael Hibberd

HB: Jayden Hunt, Jake Lever, Jordan Lewis

C: Christian Salem, Clayton Oliver, Nathan Jones

HF: Christian Petracca, Jesse Hogan, Jake Melksham

F: Bayley Fritsch, Tom McDonald, Jeff Garlett

R: Max Gawn, Jack Viney, Dom Tyson

Int: Angus Brayshaw, Alex Neal-Bullen, James Harmes, Sam Frost

Predicted finish: 7th

Betting (William Hill)

To win the flag: $11

To make the top eight: $1.55

Wanderers dour in City's A-League rout .
<p>Melbourne City forward Bruno Fornaroli scored his first goal in open play this season in the A-League side's 3-0 defeat of Western Sydney.</p>The Uruguayan looked back to his old self in City's dominant display over the Wanderers, in front of just 6,354 fans at AAMI Park on Saturday night.

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