Finals are an exciting time

TODAY, Coolangatta's under-16s tackle Southport in the first Gold Coast Junior AFL semi-final, with Southport enjoying home-ground advantage at Fankhauser Reserve.

The stakes are high. The excitement at training has been palpable.

What is it about finals and competition?

The words go together like pie and sauce. But while we know about finals, what is the origin of competition.

It is actually Latin for “strive together”. Is that what happens in finals - a sense of “striving together” to produce an exciting spectacle?

Not in my experience. The word competition now means opposing sides striving against each other using every trick in the book (and some yet to be recorded).

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  • WHILE on finals, Coolangatta's under-18s have cleared the first hurdle with a comprehensive victory against Labrador last Sunday in a qualifying final. Tomorrow the boys travel north to tackle Springwood, with a grand final berth as the prize.

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  • WHO has been teaching the Bulldogs how to kick for goal?

Traditionalists always taught goal-kicking by identifying an object behind the goals and between the big sticks. But not so at Whitten Oval where the emphasis has been on hitting the big sticks.

They have enjoyed great success, hitting the posts 38 times. Over in the west at Freo, goal post kicking practice is less valued and so they have only kicked 14 posters this year. And the statistics on the sticks as targets - they start at 100mm in diameter at the bottom, tapering to 76mm at the top and are placed 6.4 metres apart and are typically 11 metres high.

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  • WE may be about to see a return of the suburban/home grounds. The Magpies VFL side are heading home to Victoria Park for nine matches next year, almost a decade after the Magpies played their last true home match there.

There are also rumours of Carlton's revamped Visy Park (nee Princes Park) being available for smaller attendance matches in the near future.

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  • RECENT release of record club membership numbers confirm that something the AFL is doing must be working, despite the economic woes.

Hawthorn, after last year's premiership, tops the list at 52,000 members closely followed by Adelaide Crows with 46,500.

No wonder it is hard to get finals tickets or indeed even to get into MCG or AAMI or Etihad Stadiums during the year. The drawing power of Collingwood remains ... with a million spectators already attending Collingwood games this year.

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  • AFL on the Gold Coast kicks another goal with recent signing of PNG-born David Meli by Essendon.

While only 16, he has been playing with Southport Seniors. He also represented Queensland in the recent under-16 national championship. He is a further example of PNG's burgeoning interest in the AFL.

PNG regularly fields teams in Queensland State Championships. Locally, Coolangatta at under-18 and Senior levels, has benefited from the lightening quick skills of these universally happy chaps.

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  • The Good, Bad and Ugly:

Good - This weekend is AFL Green Round and (Chris) Judd met Kevin Rudd (the PM) in Canberra to launch the initiative. The message is recycle, recycle, recycle. Delisted players were apparently not discussed. Umpires will be green this weekend. That is a comment on their shirts ... not experience.

Bad - Reckless footballers. Buddy Franklin forgets his mouthguard and loses his front teeth. Greg Inglis allegedly loses his cool .. and almost his Storm contract.

Ugly - The rich get richer. The powerhouses in the East are trying to rob the poor in the West with attempts to lure Laurie Sandilands, Fremantle's champion ruckman, all 211cm and 125kg. Shame on you!



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