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Umps okay with Cloke treatment

Written By malwan milad on Rabu, 09 April 2014 | 14.57

Collingwood's Travis Cloke is hoping for better officiating in his 200th AFL match, with the Pie being on the wrong end of several decisions so far in 2014

Collingwood star Travis Cloke in a Cat sandwich. Picture: George Salpigtidis Source: News Corp Australia

THE AFL umpiring department said today it had no problems with the lack of free kicks paid to Collingwood full-forward Travis Cloke on the weekend.

Geelong defender Tom Lonergan appeared to hold Cloke in several marking contests on Saturday night, but went unpenalised throughout the match.

"While reviewing the Saturday's Collingwood-Geelong match the umpiring department looked at a few incidents involving Travis Cloke, but gave them the all clear,'' AFL umpire's coach Hayden Kennedy said on Tuesday.

HAVE YOUR SAY: IS CLOKE HARD DONE BY? LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW

Vision from the match shows that Cloke appeared to be clearly infringed on at least three occasions. Midway through the first quarter Lonergan grabbed Cloke by the jumper while spoiling; early in the third term he collected Cloke high in a marking contest; and early in the last quarter he chopped Cloke's arms, tackled him without the ball and then fell into his back.

Cloke is brought down by Geelong defender Tom Lonergan. Picture: George Salpigtidis Source: News Corp Australia

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire joked on Monday that instead of having dancers as entertainment in Friday night's match against Richmond, the Magpies would "have a massive moment if Travis Cloke actually gets a free kick for the first time in ten years''.

"There seems to be a whole rule there for Travis Cloke: you can do whatever you like to him, you can run into his back,'' McGuire said during his Triple M breakfast show.

"I'm just interested in how Travis Cloke is singled out. Last year if he touched anyone, 'oh, free kick'. This year 'away you go, just jump on top of him. Have your own rules'.''

In the pre- season Cloke spoke of how he hoped a new interpretation on the use of body strength in marking contests might work in his favour.

"If you're allowed to push a bit more and use a bit more of your body I'm all for it," Cloke said in December.

Cloke has his arm locked in a marking contest. Picture: Getty Source: Getty Images

"I got pinged last year pretty heavily for using what I thought was appropriate bodywork, but it's changed up a bit. I guess in the second half of (2013) the rules get pushed out a bit more and it's a little bit easier to use your body and umpires let the game flow a bit more.''

Cloke, who will play his 200th match against the Tigers, has received one free kick from his three matches this season and conceded four.

His career statistics are 178 for and 173 against.

Collingwood yesterday declined to comment on the issue, saying it was more concerned about kicking a winning score on Friday night.

AFL great Wayne Carey suggested that the more significant issue for Cloke and the Magpies was that the team was being too predictable in kicking to Cloke in one-on-one situations.

"He is a bit of a victim of his own strength," Carey said on Talking Footy.

"He's been down, hasn't been all his fault, they haven't used him well and they've gone to him at times when they shouldn't have gone to him."

Does Cloke deserve a better run from the umpires?


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Wingard to miss Lions clash

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AFL is ready for openly gay player

AFL 360 chat to gay footballer Jason Ball of Yarra Glen FC's senior squad in light of AFL's IDAHO day.

Richmond's Daniel Jackson (left) and Carlton's Brock McLean (right) join openly gay Yarra Glen footballer Jason Ball in a gay pride march. Picture: Andrew Tauber Source: News Limited

THE AFL will only be a truly inclusive game when a player comes out as openly gay and no one really cares.

Call it a media hunt, or extreme fascination with breaking new ground, but there is still intense interest in the first AFL player to publicly out themselves.

In the NBA Jason Collins recently came out as basketball's first active gay player to widespread support and a distinct lack of controversy.

So much so that his jumper number (98) commemorating a gay man killed and tortured in 1998 was the best-selling jersey for the club in recent weeks.

In Wednesday in Sydney the AFL will take another step when Andrew Demetriou and Sydney player Mike Pyke attend a meeting of all major sporting codes.

The aim at the meeting will be to work on measures to tackle homophobia and institute policies to tackle discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The league has come a long way since being criticised for its lack of action over Stephen Milne's homophobic taunts to Heritier Lumumba in 2011.

Pike, an ambassador for this year's gay rugby world cup The Bingham Cup, says he has no doubt an AFL player would be accepted if he came out as gay.

Like Carlton's anti-homophobia campaigner Brock McLean, Pyke has gay relatives and close gay friends.

As a Canadian, where gay marriage has been legal since 2005, Pyke is stunned we do not have the same privileges.

"It's just about creating an environment where people feel comfortable,'' he says.

"The football codes seem pretty macho and it's a matter of making sure your teammates feel as comfortable with themselves and with you.

Sydney ruckman Mike Pyke has backed marriage equality laws in Australia to match those in Canada. Picture. Phil Hillyard Source: News Limited

"You need to create an environment where people are happy to come out to not only friends, but people within the footy community.

"Certainly the statistics in our society point to the fact that there would be homosexual people in our sport, and if there are people in our clubs who do prefer the same sex and don't feel comfortable coming out, it's a real shame. It's something that gets discussed in our club occasionally and it's important that people do feel comfortable."

The AFL has telecast pro-inclusion and anti-homophobia ads on its stadium screens in recent years, with the most recent version featuring Hawthorn's Sam Mitchell and Melbourne's Nathan Jones.

"To me it doesn't make sense that we don't have same-sex marriage in Australia,'' says Pyke of the broader discussion about individual rights.

"It's pretty amazing, to be honest. Back home I am from Victoria (in British Columbia) and my mother had a bed and breakfast and some people came up from America to get married on-site. It's one of those things where I just don't understand why two people who love each other don't get the same benefits as the opposite sex."

He says more education is needed within the home and in schools to change perceptions, but it is hard to legislate to change people's minds.

Instead, people like Melbourne suburban footballer Jason Ball are as effective as any tool.

In 2012 he came out and in telling his story became the primary ambassador for this issue in our code.

Now AFL players are educated on the impact of homophobia using his experiences, with Ball leading last year's Pride March alongside McLean and Richmond's Daniel Jackson.

The reality that there are gay AFL players still hiding their sexuality means we have further to travel.

But football has come a long way since Jason Akermanis' inflammatory remarks, and is ready to accept its first openly gay player.

RALPHY DISCUSSED THIS AND OTHER TOPICS IN A LIVE CHAT EARLIER

The Brisbane Lions are without a win this season and soon they could be without defender Daniel Merrett who may have placed himself in hot water after a shocking late hit on David Swallow.

INTERVENTION HAS MERRETT

IT IS hard to think that Mark Evans will ever step in to intervene about a match review panel case if he won't refer the Daniel Merrett elbow to the tribunal.

It was a thuggish, brutal act from a player with regular tribunal appearances.

And with Merrett serving just two weeks — even with 46.56 carry-over points — it was exactly the type of incident that deserved escalation to the tribunal.

But clearly Evans is reluctant to step in, which means the AFL needs to find ways to penalise players who choose to elbow.

The direct comparison between the Nat Fyfe high contact and the Merrett elbow is confusing, because without carry-over points Fyfe would have only served one week to Merrett's two.

Merrett is also saddled with 78 carry-over points, which given his recent form are sure to bite him in the bum in the near future.

Still, the AFL community needs to feel when a player is cited the consequences for the hit are somewhere near fair.

That means the AFL needs to go back the drawing board and give elbowing a category of its own away from striking.

A strike can be an accidental hit in play, but players very rarely elbow someone if they don't mean it.

Daniel Merrett collects David Swallow. Source: Getty Images

So why not put elbowing incidents of the like of Shaun McKernan and Merrett's efforts up there on a par with kicking?

Under the AFL's match review panel directives, level 1 kicking is 125 points, level 2 is 250 points, level 3 kicking is 400 points and level 4 is 550 points.

Level 1 striking is 80 points, level 2 is 125 points, level 3 is 225 points, and level 4 is 325 points.

So if Merrett was charged with a level 4 offence as he was on Monday, he would face a 550 point penalty rather than the 325 he was allocated for striking.

With a good record and guilty plea he could still serve three weeks for the elbow with 80 or so carry over-points, which is just about par for the course.

If he had the carry-over points he had on Monday, he would serve four weeks, acceptable for a player with prior form.

David Swallow stays down after being hit high by Daniel Merrett. Picture: Adam Head Source: News Corp Australia

As it was on Monday, the match review panel couldn't do anything else, charging with him the highest intent — intentional — and the appropriate contact given Swallow suffered no injury: medium.

Their hands were tied, and the AFL chose not to act.

Right now it is better to elbow someone in the head than accidentally clash heads in a bump because rough conduct draws a heavier penalty than striking.

The match review panel's guidelines always throw up loopholes.

Of course making accidental head clashes reportable was always going to see some borderline incidents like the Fyfe hit anger fans early in the year.

The league wanted to crack down on players like Lindsay Thompson running past the ball to hip-and-shoulder and instead a pure ball player got done for bumping in the act of play.

But the league had a chance to act over McKernan's loophole and instead chose to give Evans more powers.

Given he isn't using them, it's time to rewrite the rules again.


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Dangerfield doubts eased

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Power to give youth a chance

Written By malwan milad on Rabu, 29 Januari 2014 | 14.57

Port Adelaide's top draft pick in last year's draft has been tipped by teammates to make his debut in Round 1. Jarman Impey's speed and skills are turning heads at the Power.

Brad Ebert tries to break the tackle from Travis Boak. Picture: Sarah Reed. Source: News Limited

PORT Adelaide is expected to approach the NAB Challenge in a similar manner to the AFL's more seasoned outfits this year.

Last year the Power rode the momentum of a sparkling preseason campaign into a 5-0 start to the minor round.

A serious approach to the summer games - which included wins against St Kilda, Melbourne, West Coast and Sydney - gave new coach Ken Hinkley as much time as possible to instil a game plan with his senior players and gave hope to an ailing supporter base.

But after climbing to eighth on the ladder last season Port's priorities are different this time around.

There are a host of players who need - and deserve - game time after another big summer on the track, including developing duo Ben Newton and Mason Shaw, recruits Jared Polec and Matt White and a group of new draftees headed by Jarman Impey.

Port's first hit out is an internal trial against the Magpies on Saturday, February 8, followed by NAB Challenge fixtures against Adelaide (February 16) and Essendon (February 25).

Midfielder Brad Ebert indicated a host of inexperienced players would be given opportunities in the early games.

"For the younger guys it gives them a chance to showcase what they've got and gives them a taste of AFL football," Ebert said.

"The first couple (of games) guys might be coming off and on the bench but by the last couple you're really putting your strongest side out there and (aiming to) play the way we want to play all season."

Ebert talked up a number of youngsters who have impressed this preseason and said their development had increased the competitiveness at training.

"A lot of the young boys are pushing this time of year and working really hard," he said.

"You see guys like Benny Newton and Mason Shaw - guys that have been playing for a couple of years that are really starting to step up.

"Ollie Wines and Chad Wingard are hopefully taking their game to another level ... it's exciting times.

"Jarman's come in and stepped up right away.

"Even in Dubai there were a couple of training sessions where he dodged a couple of blokes and took off and you thought 'this guy has got some skills'.

"I'm sure he'll get a run in the NAB Cup and then you never know."


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SuperCoach best buys: Part 3

Guaranteed ways you're destroying your kids

Guaranteed ways you're destroying ...

YOU want the best for your children, so you'd better avoid these eight actions 'that will guarantee your child will suffer from depression, anxiety, anger, low self-esteem, a sense of entitlement and chronic emotional problems throughout his or her life.'


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Eddie and Pods like two new coaches

ACTING Adelaide co-captains Patrick Dangerfield and Rory Sloane have described the recruitment of free agents Eddie Betts and James Podsiadly as having two additional coaches as the club sets up a tilt at the 2014 finals.

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Hartigan trucking way to full-back

Kyle Hartigan is an obvious replacement for Ben Rutten at full-back when the veteran defender retires. Picture: Sarah Reed Source: News Limited

UPGRADED rookie Kyle Hartigan has credited Ben "Truck'' Rutten for much of the sharp rise in form that earned him a spot on the senior list and will continue to seek his counsel.

Hartigan has been earmarked as the ideal replacement for Rutten when the veteran full-back retires but today dismissed suggestions he was ready to fight him for the spot.

Instead, Hartigan said he would seek to learn as much as possible from Rutten.

"Truck's still going really well; he's had a really good pre-season,'' Hartigan said.

"It's going to be healthy that we've got a good bunch of back guys fighting for spots and pushing each other along.

"I just need to focus on learning as much as I can from Truck.

"Not that I need to wrestle it (the spot) away from him or anything like that. I just need to play good footy and what will happen, will happen.

"Truck's been around for a long time and he's got a wealth of experience.

"If I can learn as much as he knows while he's still here, then that will be really good for me.''


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Dangerfield, Sloane to lead Crows

Written By malwan milad on Senin, 27 Januari 2014 | 14.58

Bupa Challenge riders pack King William Road, hopes rain will ease the bushfire threat near Port Pirie and police prepare for an Australia Day blitz

PATRICK Dangerfield and Rory Sloane will share the on-field captaincy duties at Adelaide while Nathan van Berlo is sidelined with an achilles injury.

But the Crows announced on Friday van Berlo will remain captain of the club for a fourth season because he is still the "standout leader" in the playing group.

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Crows training at Max Basheer Reserve. Patrick Dangerfield under the watchful eye of Brenton Sanderson. Picture: Sarah Reed. Source: News Limited

"After comprehensive discussions in which we assessed all the options, we were unanimous in our decision that 'VB' is the best leader of our footy club," coach Brenton Sanderson told afc.com.au.

"We'd reached that decision prior to VB getting injured and even after he was injured, we thought he could still do a fantastic job in leading the club off the field. In the best case scenario, hopefully we get him back mid-season anyway.

"Nathan is the standout leader at the moment and the best person to captain our club."

Adelaide announced a seven-man leadership group of van Berlo, Dangerfield, Sloane, Scott Thompson, Sam Jacobs and new faces Richard Douglas and Taylor Walker.

Jason Porplyzia was the only omission from last year's six man group.

Sloane during a training session at Max Basheer Reserve. Picture: Sam Wundke. Source: News Limited

The decision to appoint Dangerfield and Sloane as co-vice captains reflects the growing regard in which Sloane is held at West Lakes.

Dangerfield is the popular pick to replace van Berlo down the track and served as deputy vice captain last season.

But it now looks like a two horse race with best and fairest winner Sloane.

"Patrick and Rory are both developing into outstanding leaders," Sanderson said.

"They've exhibited an enormous amount of great leadership in the two years I've been at the club and they've gone to another level again this summer. We feel they'll do a fantastic job as acting captains, with the assistance of Nathan while he's on the sidelines.

"If there's any silver lining in Nathan's injury, it's that these two 23-year-olds get exposed to on-field captaincy roles, perhaps, a bit earlier than they otherwise would have."

Van Berlo earlier in the year winning the Crows' time trial. Picture: Sarah Reed. Source: News Limited


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Van Berlo injury tough to Swallow

ADELAIDE captain Nathan van Berlo has sought the counsel of North Melbourne captain Andrew Swallow as he comes to grips with his ruptured Achilles tendon and begins his fight to play again this season.

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