AFLW appoints new boss Emma Moore to grow women’s competition

  • General manager to focus on crowds, fan engagement and TV
  • Moore to join in July with 2024 season starting end of August

Marketing and strategy specialist Emma Moore has been appointed the AFLW’s new general manager with a brief to grow the women’s competition after a period of stagnation.

Moore has had an extensive senior-level career at National Australia Bank – a major AFL sponsor – and will start her AFLW role in July.

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Nathan Murphy gives reminder that courage in AFL comes in many forms | Jonathan Horn

The concussion-prone Collingwood defender accepted the medical advice to retire at 25 with grace and he emerges with great credit

Just before Covid hit, and just when Australian sport was beginning to properly come to terms with the effects of concussion, the former Hawthorn footballer Tim Boyle wrote a piece for The Sunday Age titled “The new form of courage may be not to play at all”. I thought of that piece when Daniel Venables retired, when Angus Brayshaw retired and when Collingwood’s Nathan Murphy called time on his career on Tuesday morning.

These days, when a footballer retires, they stand in an auditorium before their teammates. There are sniffles and trembles and tortuous pauses. Many now read from the Notes section of their iPhone. But for those who are retiring as a result of concussion, there’s a giant exhale. There’s a life to lead. There’s a world outside football.

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Collingwood’s Nathan Murphy forced to retire from AFL due to concussion

  • Pies 2023 premiership player calls time on career at age 24
  • ‘My priority is on … ensuring I live a full and healthy life,’ he says

Collingwood player Nathan Murphy has been forced into early retirement on medical advice, due to a string of concussions sustained by the 24-year-old throughout his AFL career.

The 2023 premiership player suffered the 10th concussion of his career in last year’s grand final and was ruled out of match simulation training on the eve of the season in February. He has not taken to the field since.

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Adelaide Crows conquer Melbourne hoodoo to salvage their campaign and kickstart the future | Jonathan Horn

A late twist in one of the games of the year saw Adelaide save their season – and perhaps their coach’s career.

The task before the Adelaide Crows on the weekend was enormous – a road trip, an undefeated Carlton and a season to salvage. Lose, and it was pretty much curtains. Lose, and the heat on Matthew Nicks would have intensified. When Charlie Curnow roved his own contest and goaled to put the Blues 16 points up with minutes to go, that seemed like the game, and the season.

But as Nicks later said, “it’s amazing what one kick can do to a changeroom.” He could have added – to a campaign, to a club, and to a coach’s career. One of the best games of the year had a late twist, and the Crows found a way. They were everything they haven’t been so far this year – quick, bold, clean, and most importantly, accurate.

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Jeremy Finlayson’s AFL ban could herald new era for footy after years of inaction | Jonathan Horn

It’s long been unclear where the line was on homophobia. Things are changing but the sport was miles behind to begin with

In the early 2000s, a young AFL player was doing one of his regular radio slots and he and his co-hosts decided to play a game of word association. Lion – roar. London – doubledecker. And so on. “Gay,” one of the hosts offered. There was a long pause. “Die,” the player said.

If a footballer or broadcaster said that now, you’d like to think they’d be run out of town. But back then, it barely raised an eyebrow. It was certainly no impediment to career progression. Such ripping repertoire was in the news this week, after Jeremy Finlayson was eventually suspended for a homophobic slur. It took five days to decide on his penalty. The sticking point was the precedent set by Alastair Clarkson’s slap on the wrist earlier in the year. In effect, the AFL conceded that they’d been too lenient with the North Melbourne coach, and that this was their stake in the ground.

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Carlton’s Gather Round heist draws howls of derision among AFL conspiracy theorists | Jonathan Horn

A controversial Carlton-Fremantle clash lit up an Adelaide festival of football that showcased some sublime talent and a few potty mouths

“The trait that marks out most champion teams,” The Guardian’s Jonathan Liew wrote of the Alex Ferguson era at Manchester United, “is the ability to take, and take brazenly, the thing that you do not deserve.” Carlton is nowhere near a champion team. But they pinched one on the weekend and they knew it. They ran like Jerry Seinfeld with a marble rye, leaving howls of derision and allegations of a Vic-centric conspiracy in their wake.

“The VFL has done it again, and sided with their own,” wept one scribe in The West Australian. After several hours, lots of whataboutism and hundreds of different camera angles, it was fairly clear the ball had brushed James Aish’s forearm. But touched balls off the boot are almost impossible to adjudicate properly in real time. The ARC is next to useless in such circumstances. It was an error but it was no conspiracy. Fremantle’s coach was keen to move on. The fanbase and the Perth press, which can be indistinguishable at times, were slower to acquiesce.

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Carlton’s Gather Round heist draws howls of derision among AFL conspiracy theorists | Jonathan Horn

A controversial Carlton-Fremantle clash lit up an Adelaide festival of football that showcased some sublime talent and a few potty mouths

“The trait that marks out most champion teams,” The Guardian’s Jonathan Liew wrote of the Alex Ferguson era at Manchester United, “is the ability to take, and take brazenly, the thing that you do not deserve.” Carlton is nowhere near a champion team. But they pinched one on the weekend and they knew it. They ran like Jerry Seinfeld with a marble rye, leaving howls of derision and allegations of a Vic-centric conspiracy in their wake.

“The VFL has done it again, and sided with their own,” wept one scribe in The West Australian. After several hours, lots of whataboutism and hundreds of different camera angles, it was fairly clear the ball had brushed James Aish’s forearm. But touched balls off the boot are almost impossible to adjudicate properly in real time. The ARC is next to useless in such circumstances. It was an error but it was no conspiracy. Fremantle’s coach was keen to move on. The fanbase and the Perth press, which can be indistinguishable at times, were slower to acquiesce.

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AFL investigates as Port Power forward Jeremy Finlayson admits to homophobic slur

  • Finlayson has apologised for offensive slur in win over Essendon
  • AFL investigating incident picked up on umpire’s microphone

Port Adelaide forward Jeremy Finlayson has admitted making a homophobic slur during his side’s win over Essendon and is under AFL investigation.

Finlayson has apologised for the incident, which happened in the third term of Port’s 69-point win over the Bombers on Friday night at Adelaide Oval. It is understood an umpire’s microphone picked up the insult and at least one Essendon player also called it out.

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Gather Round folks, the Crows are too plain, too sloppy and too predictable

Adelaide fluff their lines on the city’s big opening night but the Demons show their strength in depth

The pressure that was on Adelaide heading into Thursday night’s Gather Round opener will only intensify now. That’s the reality of being winless in a two-team, one-newspaper, footy-mad town. After last week’s loss, the back page of the local rag had them trudging off under the headline “Easter Bunnies”. They were better on Thursday, and far from disgraced against a well-organised and defensively sound Melbourne. But the problems that have plagued them all season were still evident – the dinky nine irons, the sideways kicks, the plain midfield, the stodgy ball movement, the determination to make life as easy as possible for the opposition interceptors.

Their deficiencies are well-documented. But their biggest problem was their opponent. Oh, for an easy kill. Instead, they drew a very accomplished, in-form Melbourne, a team fresh off a win over Port Adelaide, and whose strengths were always going to trouble them. The Crows have been unable to circumnavigate the better intercept defenders so far this year. They served up a feast to Tom Stewart against Geelong, while Freo’s Alex Pearce and Luke Ryan picked them off repeatedly on Good Friday. You can’t bomb and hope against Melbourne. Their entire system is designed to gobble up sloppy forward forays. You have to be smart, keep your head, work your angles, and pick your holes. At various stages, the Crows did that. But too often they blasted, and Steven May and Jake Lever, with a dozen intercept marks between them, did the rest. With his broken ribs, May was as resolute as ever. He’s the goalkeeper, the organiser, the thumper, the thwarter, and the toughest of opponents.

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Haze lifts on Richmond Tigers’ AFL season as Sydney Swans win delivers more than just a victory | Jonathan Horn

Richmond got many reminders that they’re on the right track at the MCG and that it should not be all doom and gloom at the club

You can stick your honourable losses, most Richmond fans would have been thinking as they trudged to the MCG on Sunday. No more talk of brave, plucky performances. That was the old Richmond narrative, a narrative that disappeared, article by article, as they became a force again, a narrative that has crept back in recent times. Their Tigers were winless, their opponents undefeated, their timeslot curious, their city blanketed in a smoky haze, and their champion pensioned off by Kane Cornes. They needed something to hang their hats on, a reason to keep fronting up, some sort of indication that they’re not destined for bottom four dross.

They got the win against a very good Sydney side, but they got more than that. They got so many little reminders that they’re on the right track, that it’s not all doom and gloom, that there’s genuine talent and endeavour in the next generation of Tigers coming through. Ten of them had played less than 50 games but all played significant roles. It was Maurice Rioli’s repeat efforts, Seth Campbell’s clean hands, Rhyan Mansell’s vice-like tackles and the substitute Sam Banks, in just his seventh game, halving a crucial contest with 50 seconds to go.

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