AF705 Erin McKinnon

AF705 Erin McKinnon

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Erin McKinnon is a young girl playing in one of the more demanding AFL positions, ruck, for the GWS Giants AFLW team. Last year Erin completed HSC, last week won a Rising Star nomination and this week played a key role in the GWS Giants AFLW team’s first ever win over the highly fancied Melbourne Demons team.  Erin is highly motivated and her story of starting on her AFL journey is worth listening to. Continue reading

AF704 Brent Trewin

AF704 Brent Trewin

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Brent Trewin is a trainer with the GWS Giants Women’s AFL team and he chatted to me for the short AFL segment we broadcast on Alive 90.5 (26/Feb/17) as part of their Sunday Sports Roundup show.

It was very interesting to get an albeit brief look at the role of trainers in the AFL and in particular getting an insight in to how much teams use the GPS technology in the player  management during the match as well as post-match.

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AF702 Amanda Farrugia

AF702 Amanda Farrugia

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Molly and I had the good fortune to attend a “Meet & Greet” function this week put on by the GWS Giants to meet the Women’s team. From this, we were lucky enough to secure this interview with the captain of the team, Amanda Farrugia, later in the week. An abbreviated version of this went to air on Alive 90.5FM on Sunday 12th February 2017.

We discussed:

  • How Amanda got started in AFL
  • Fitness
  • Improvement from first round
  • How Amanda got her nickname
  • What Amanda likes most about AFL
  • Her inspiration to young girls
  • The pre-game process
  • Her heritage

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SP14 Jack Dimery Phelan Medallist

SP14 Jack Dimery Phelan Medallist

Show notes:

The star of this episode is Jack Dimery, an AFL player with the East Coast Eagles and the winner of the Phelan Medal for 2016. The Phelan Medal is awarded annually to the best and fairest player in the Sydney Premiership division and is considered to be the equivalent of the famous AFL Brownlow Medal for the local competition.

Jack was also a contestant on the Fox TV program “The Recruit” earlier this year and was considered to be one of the favourites until a quirky “Captains Call” saw him eliminated in the penultimate episode.

Our regular guests, local legends Gus Seebeck and Ian Parker, also joined the show. Gus and Jack played together briefly at the East Coast Eagles and this pairing added some colour to the program.

We reviewed the two preliminary final games which led to the Sydney Swans and the Western Bulldogs going through to the AFL Grand Final next Saturday. The team also contributed their views on the possible outcome of this game.

An update on Sam Reid’s participation in the GWS Giants preliminary final for those who listened to the previous podcast. Sadly, Sam Reid was selected as one of the emergency players only and didn’t get to make it onto the ground for the final.

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SP13 NEAFL Premiers 2016

SP13 NEAFL Premiers 2016

Show notes:

It was a special treat and an honour to have THE Sam Reid join us for this episode of the podcast. Sam is the captain of the GWS Giants NEAFL side that won the NEAFL Premiership for the first time last Saturday. I have been fortunate to talk to Sam on two earlier occasions.

Firstly way back in 2012 in the first season of the Giants in the AFL competition. Sam at that time was offering to shave off his beard as a fundraiser for youth diabetes awareness. Listen to that interview here.

The second occasion was in June this year when Sam had finally got selected back in the seniors after something like a 1072 day break while he went through some serious injuries and operations. Listen to that interview here.

I also had the pleasure of our regular panellists, Gus Seebeck and Ian Parker, joining Sam and I as we discussed:

  • the NEAFL Grand Final win,
  • the East Coast Eagles great Grand Final win yesterday in the AFL Sydney Premiership division,
  • the two AFL semi-finals played on Friday and Saturday
  • previewed the AFL preliminary finals next weekend where we have both Sydney teams, Sydney Swans and GWS Giants, playing Geelong and Western Bulldogs respectively.
  • Can we dare mention yet the possibility of a historic first AFL Grand Final between the two Sydney teams?

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Guesses vs Facts

Guesses vs Facts

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Greg Talbot and Matthew Mack from AFL NSW joined Gus Seebeck, Ian Parker and the Stace to review the fearless predictions we made back in March 2016 on who we each thought would make the top eight and play in the finals of the AFL 2016 season.  So we matched the facts against the guesses made back then in one of our more entertaining podcasts.

We started however by reviewing the first of the finals played in the AFL Sydney Premiership division, much to the glee of Gus Seebeck and the chagrin of Ian Parker. For the record, Gus played for, and chairman for a period, the East Coast Eagles who play in the finals on Saturday, and Ian played for, and was vice president for many years of the Pennant Hills Demons who were eliminated from the finals last week by the North Shore Bombers.

A little revenge was exacted by Ian on Gus by querying where Gus’ team, Richmond, ended up on the ladder leading to a comment on how distressed some Richmond supporters can get. Continue reading

Exits

Exits

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It’s round 23 this weekend, the last home and away round of AFL season 2016. It will also be the last game played by many players as they exit their AFL playing careers.

Some will retire at a time of their choosing for any number of reasons.

Some, like Dane Swan, will have their exits forced upon them by ageing bodies failing to live up to the intense desire to continue. A classic case of “the spirit is willing but the body is weak”. Continue reading

Penno Juniors 50th

Penno Juniors 50th

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I am joined again by Ian “Chicken” Parker former player and vice-president of the Pennant Hills Demons in talking over the local and national AFL news and also celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Pennant Hills Juniors AFL club, a fine achievement for a Juniors club. The club is having an anniversary dinner at the Epping Club on Saturday 20th August 2016. See the club website for further details.

We start by reviewing the local Sydney Premiership competition with our two local teams the East Coast Eagles in first place and the Pennant Hills Demons struggling to hold onto fifth place. Continue reading

Records Round

Records Round

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Australian football, AFL, like most elite sports, is a game of numbers and statistics. Players and clubs performance is measured by an ever increasing array of statistics and every week we seem to be celebrating one or another milestone achieved by a club or one or more players. This week it happily came about that not only one of the hardest to achieve records would be broken, the most number of games by an AFL player in his career, but four other players would pass 350, 325, 300 and 200 games respectively. It is rare indeed that such a confluence of records would be created in the one weekend of footy so we felt obliged to call this podcast the “Records Round” in celebration of these feats. Continue reading

Welcome Bam Bam

Welcome Bam Bam

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My guests for this second episode of the Staces Place podcast are my regulars Gus Seebeck and Ian Parker before they both take some time away from the podcast; Ian for a week on a cruise and Gus for about a month on a family trip to Ireland. We seem to have crammed a lot into just 24 minutes including: Continue reading

THE Sam Reid is back!

THE Sam Reid is back!

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Show notesSamReid12Jun16old:

Yes he’s back, THE Sam Reid is back playing in the GWS Giants first grade side!!  He has finally made it back after 1,000+ days out with injuries that have plagued his whole career to date. I first interviewed Sam back in June 2012 in the GWS Giants first year in the national AFL competition, see my post about it here. Since then he has been sidelined by injury which took him to early retirement, an assistant development coaching role, back to playing in the NEAFL, and now, finally, selected to play in the second Battle of the Bridge game this year against the Sydney Swans on 12th June 2016. The GWS Giants won the game in an upset, 15.15-105 to 9.9-63, in front of a near capacity home crowd at Spotless Stadium. Sam made a good contribution to the game playing in the forward line and kicked one of the 15 goals which was classified as one of the top 10 AFL goals for the round. Continue reading

AFL radio show 15May16

AFL radio show 15May16

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In our Juniors section I chat with Adam Wilson from Baulkham Hills Hawks Junior AFC. Baulkham Hills AFC is one of the oldest AFL clubs in Sydney and are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year. The Juniors club is also going through some changes this year with a new committee without distinct positions such as President. Adam explains this new concept as the Juniors start this year in a completely new competition. AFL NSW has now split the greater Sydney area into basically East and West which is in closer alignment with the location of the two AFL clubs, Sydney Swans and GWS Giants. The Baulkham Hills Juniors were previously in the competition which now falls into the Eastern division and would involve increased travelling times for the players so they have for the first time moved in a competition located closer to home in the Western division. Continue reading

It’s the Battle of the Bridge!

It’s the Battle of the Bridge!

ItsthbattleofthebridgeI see that the Sydney Swans are calling their AFL game this weekend the “Sydney Derby IX”. What has happened to the more colourful, evocative description, “Battle of the Bridge”? Or perhaps “Battle of the Bridge IX” if we must number them? I think the GWS Giants coined the term for this game and which it has been for the past couple of years. The two Sydney-based teams usually meet twice every AFL season.

Now let me say at the outset that I have been a member of the Sydney Swans since 1986 and continue to be. I have seen them go through all the trials and tribulations over the past 30 years. The dark years in the early 90’s where they had a 26 game losing streak. I was at the match in 1993 when Ron Barassi in his seventh game as coach got the team a win against his old club Melbourne. I have also seen them from those dark days become the professional club they are today. I have seen them win two premierships in seven years. I have seen the rebirth of the Bloods spirit under Rodney Eade and Paul Roos leadership. But I also know that the Swans have had difficulty making any significant impact in the community. Outside of their Eastern suburbs base that is. I think this is something that the AFL recognised when they named their new incursion into Sydney. Why the Greater Western Sydney Giants, abbreviated to GWS Giants? Because the Swans were making no inroads into the western suburbs of Sydney.

I am also a member of the GWS Giants because I live in the western suburbs of Sydney. Their original training base was only about 15 minutes drive from my home. I run a weekly segment on AFL on our local community radio program, Sunday Sports Roundup. Through this I have heard of the influence of the Giants in increasing the number of kids playing footy.  Each junior club has a Giants player assigned as their representative. Giants players attend many junior footy training sessions. The Giants have engaged with the community in ways unheard of before. The Giants are now a known identity within Western Sydney and beyond. I think the success of the Giants is a little embarrassing for the Swans. I think the Swans resent any hint that they do not represent Sydney in its entirety. They were after all the only AFL representation in Sydney for thirty years. The Swans have never embraced the Battle of the Bridge concept for some reason.

Maybe the culprit here though is the AFL itself. Do they want to dumb down the game to a Derby like other states? Do the AFL corporate marketers find the term confrontational? Too aggressive? Well get over it apparatchiks! It is friendly rivalry between two local teams. Nobody is expecting blood spilled but we do love a good hard contest between neighbours. Which these games are starting to develop into as the Giants improve each year.  I think we risk losing something unique to Sydney with this dumb down move.

Let Adelaide and Perth have their Derbies, in Sydney it should be the Battle of the Bridge.

Turncoat?

Turncoat?

Screenshot 2014-03-16 13.49.51My dear old grandfather might have called me a turncoat in 1986 when I returned to Australia and started following the Sydney Swans. He had raised me in a small house in Maldon which had a nameplate “Hawthorn” and I never did find out which came first, his support of the Hawthorn football team or the naming of the house, but support Hawthorn we did. And I still do, it is just part of my history. But when I finally arrived back in Australia after 22 years in NZ and PNG I returned to a job in Sydney and joined my first AFL club as a member, the Sydney Swans.

Why the Swans? I had strong memories of growing up in Victoria during the 1950’s where there was a common sense of bewilderment that the northern states of New South Wales and Queensland didn’t really play Australian Rules football. Continue reading

The Greene Giant

The Greene Giant

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Toby Greene is just 18, going on 19. Just old enough to vote,  just old enough to die for his country in a war, and just old enough to play as an elite sportsman in one of the toughest sporting competitions in the world, the Australian Football League, generally known as the AFL. He is a young man in a team of young men in the youngest team in the AFL, the GWS Giants, playing their first season as the latest expansion team for the AFL. A team expanding in to the heartland of Sydney, previously the sole domain of the replanted South Melbourne side now known as the Sydney Swans.

Giants by name but not by age for at the start of this season the average age of the playing group was under 21. A few, just a few, established players from other clubs have been drafted to the cause but it is these very young men that have to carry the load, week in and week out, of punishing 100 point defeats at the hands of teams full of hard, seasoned men with years of match and fitness conditioning. They did however have an inspiring win against the Gold Coast Suns, another expansion team with just one more season to their name. Continue reading