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Sydney's Franklin coup a terrible look for the AFL

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Rivals cry foul over Franklin deal

Buddy Franklin's move to the Swans draws ire over AFL salary cap concessions, with Mick Malthouse calling Sydney's $10 million bid a "bloody disgrace".

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Lance Franklin's decision to join the established Sydney team, rather than the fledgling club that needed his brand power, was well concealed for this reason: That no one could quite believe that the Swans could fit him under their salary cap.

Everyone knew that Buddy liked the idea of living in Sydney, where his rugby and NRL mates reside and where he probably fancied he would could escape the goldfish bowl of Melbourne - a vain hope, given his profile. But the assumption of everyone was that the Swans had consumed much of their salary cap by recruiting Kurt Tippett, in their corresponding coup 12 months ago.

No one had conceived of the notion of a nine-year contract - which is extraordinary in an era when clubs are reluctant to contract any player - even champions - long past their 30th birthday. Yet, the man behind the deal, Sydney chief executive Andrew Ireland, had put together a deal of this nature once before - when he lured Alastair Lynch to Brisbane (then the dismal Bears) on a 10-year contract, which, ultimately, had to be revised because Lynch was being underpaid.

Swans that may make way for Lance Franklin.

Swans that may make way for Lance Franklin.

Lynch, though, was in his early 20s when he received his very long contract. Franklin will be 27 by the time he runs out in red and white. So, he may be theoretically contracted until he is 36, which is about four or five years past conventional retirement age for a key forward. Andrew Ireland said on AFL 360 on Tuesday evening that Buddy could play until he was 35. That's right. But it's unlikely he can play well at that age.

Sydney did not swoop on Buddy at the last minute. The Swans don't operate that way. They carefully target a player, establish a strategy and then strike at season's end. This was the Tippett modus operandi and Fairfax Media believes that the Franklin coup was in the breeze for some time, perhaps 12 months ago. But it was inconceivable that the Swans could accommodate him, just as a nine-year, $10 million contract is unfathomable. Yet, that term and ball-park number is confirmed. We will be hearing plenty about the merits of Sydney's contentious cost-of-living allowance (COLA) - as we did following the Tippett deal last year. The Swans have taken enormous risks in getting Buddy on multiple fronts - it will intensify pressure on the COLA, it will erode some of their depth as players are sacrificed and, not least, they will be stuck with him at an age when 99 per cent of players are finished or useless.

The noise around the competition was that Shane Mumford wanted a four-year deal, but that the Swans had not made him an offer. In hindsight, one can see why Sydney held off on the Mummy, why Andrejs Everitt wasn't contracted (and is up for grabs) and why Jesse White's bags are packed, with a ticket to Collingwood. When one considers that Jude Bolton and Marty Mattner have retired, that Adam Goodes (estimated to be on $700,000-$800,000) and Ryan O'Keefe ($500,000-plus) might last only for one more season each, the notion of finding a million dollars in the salary cap for Buddy isn't so fanciful. When you do the maths, it's clear that the Swans can open up well over a million dollars in their salary cap for next year - and that's with Goodes and O'Keefe.

Rivals, now teammates? Alongside Swan opponent Ted Richards. Click for more photos

Being Buddy Franklin

From his days at draft camp in 2004 to his thirteen goal haul in Tasmania. We look back through the archives of superstar forward Lance 'Buddy' Franklin. Photo: Anthony Johnson

That said, the idea of Buddy Swanning himself at Bondi Beach and in the trendy Paddington pubs, rather than promoting the game in the western (football) wasteland, should be an embarrassment to the AFL. The game needed him at Greater Western Sydney, even if the Giants' football department didn't. GWS has struggled on all levels - for profile, seasoned players and, consequently, wins. It is utterly ridiculous that a team that won the 2012 premiership and finished top four this year can snare Buddy, and the bottom team in the same market cannot. In part, that's a tribute to the canny Swans, whose advantage as an established, successful club serves as a warning on the pitfalls of a free-agency system in which players exercise greater freedom of movement. Coveted players will only go to a bottom team for exorbitant sums - ask Melbourne. The Swans, actually, could pay Franklin considerably fewer dollars than the Giants, who would have paid Buddy something like $1.7 million for six years once the AFL's ambassadorial largesse was added.

In a way, the Buddy shock completes what's been a shocking year for headquarters.

60 comments

  • As Jake says numerous times it is fantastic & outside the box recruiting by the Swans & they should be congratulated.
    Historically the weakest team in the VFL. The first to be exiled from Melbourne. Now standing strong - like Freo's recruitment of Lyon - they should be lauded.

    Commenter
    mjr3107
    Date and time
    October 02, 2013, 9:01AM
    • sorry but Buddy contracted for 9 years? Whoever organised this 'coup' isn't the sharpest tool in the shed IMO, he is not much more than an average player now......and good luck when he retires in 3-4 years and Sydney go to the AFL cap in hand asking for salary cap concessions......

      Commenter
      shemp
      Location
      melb
      Date and time
      October 02, 2013, 9:31AM
    • @MJR..."Lauded"?....You must be joking....The AFL SWANS are now The Pariahs of the entire competition...The So-Called "Bloods Culture" is nothing more than an AFL rort and farce at the expense of the other 17 Teams in the Competition! THis "10 Year DEAL" reeks of Cynicism and Hubris at its worst...The AFL & DEMETRIOU have lost all Credibility if this deal goes through!..So much for protecting the integrity of the Competition Demetriou!

      Commenter
      procrastinator
      Date and time
      October 02, 2013, 9:42AM
    • Shemp
      The afl will bail out sydney for any and all bad mistakes because they are weak and need the swans. A case of moral hazard.

      Commenter
      MrTB
      Location
      Melb
      Date and time
      October 02, 2013, 10:26AM
    • Time to take this mob and their fickle Sydney fans off the welfare drip, they are a power now, and need no more COLA help. Fans from other teams will walk away from the game in droves if this goes thru. And why do the swans ALWAYS have to have a Marquee full forward, be it Lockett, Hall, tippet and now Buddy ??

      Commenter
      Piesnchess
      Location
      Mt Evelyn
      Date and time
      October 02, 2013, 10:27AM
    • And they have gaurenteed the contract for Buddy, but I am betting they are hoping for him to retire and therefore negate his contract, so the $10m over 9 years becomes $6.6m over 6 years and then they move one.

      Also if the COLA is an AFL paid thing then there is a good chance the Swans advertised the extra 10% to him, but will be under no obligation to pay it if the AFL pulls the deal. More than likely they will reduce it by 1% a year or something, or exclude it from any further new or amended contracts.

      The Swans seem to be hoping that they don't have another horror run of injuries, or they must know something about their 25-35 players that the rest of the comp doesn't.

      Commenter
      MattyHoofaT
      Location
      Perth
      Date and time
      October 02, 2013, 10:30AM
    • A rort? Are you sure you are reading the right paper mate? Your nonsense reads like a typical rant from a herald dumb reader.

      Commenter
      Davide
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      October 02, 2013, 10:43AM
    • procrastinator, rubbish, the Swans have operated entirely within the existing system, and its a system designed by the Vics..

      The trouble with the whinging Vics is that they aren't statisfied with having the sympathy of the umpires and the AFL anymore, they have to have EVERYTHING their own way just to give them a half decent shot at making it to a grand final these days.

      Get yourself a box of tissues and have a good sniffle.

      Commenter
      SteveH.
      Date and time
      October 02, 2013, 10:51AM
    • Has trashed his reputation at Hawthorn and probably taken down the Sydney FC with him.,............ Good riddance Buddy. Hope you have the time of your life.

      Commenter
      BBJ
      Date and time
      October 02, 2013, 2:39PM
    • @Davide...."Rort"- "An incident/s involving Suspect behaviour by officials." Macquarie Dictionary.....Given the length of this "Deal" The perfect description I would have thought ! A case of the Pot calling the Kettle Black Me Thinks....Perhaps you need to re-educate yourself before you speak again

      Commenter
      procrastinator
      Date and time
      October 03, 2013, 7:47AM

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Related Coverage

Rivals cry foul over Franklin deal  (Thumbnail) Rivals cry foul over Franklin deal

Buddy Franklin's move to the Swans draws ire over AFL salary cap concessions, with Mick Malthouse calling Sydney's $10 million bid a "bloody disgrace".

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 28:  Lance Franklin of the Hawks celebrates winning the 2013 AFL Grand Final match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Fremantle Dockers at Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 28, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images) Buddy Franklin heading for the Swans

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Lance Buddy Franklin celebrates one of his 7 goals , Saturday the 8th of September  2007 . Being Buddy Franklin

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We've done nothing wrong, say Swans

Sydney chairman Richard Colless urges AFL to investigate club "as soon as possible".

Buddy bonanza

Lance Franklin will be paid a relatively low amount in his first years at Sydney while Kurt Tippett's sizeable contract tapers down.

Bloods, sweat and jeers wait for Buddy in Swans signing

The club that enshrined the ''No Dickheads'' policy into Australian sporting legend is on the verge of signing one of the AFL's authentic loose cannons.

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Sydney's audacious $10 million bid to land Hawthorn superstar Lance Franklin has put the spotlight on the cost of living allowance. Is Sydney really that much more expensive?

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UPDATE Amazingly the Giants have been outbid ... and outflanked. Lance Franklin has chosen Bondi over Rooty Hill.

GWS withdraw offer to Buddy Franklin with Swans set to swoop

Lance Franklin is set to join Sydney after telling the Swans he will accept their lucrative offer, blowing Greater Western Sydney out of the water in one of the most stunning recruiting coups in the game's history.

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AFL 2015

Round 1
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
CAR 78vs RIC 105 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL 115vs GCF 89 Stats
SYD 72vs ESS 60 Stats
BRI 74vs COL 86 Stats
WBU 97vs WCE 87 Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs GWS 87 Stats
ADE 140vs NTH 63 Stats
FRE 75vs PTA 68 Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 123vs GEE 61 Stats
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Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE 131vs CAR 62 Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 66vs WBU 85 Report Stats
GWS 101vs MEL 56 Stats
COL 63vs ADE 90 Report Stats
GCF 76vs STK 104 Stats
PTA 44vs SYD 92 Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE 60vs FRE 104 Stats
ESS 78vs HAW 76 Stats
NTH 133vs BRI 51 Stats
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Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 140vs STK 66 Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 84vs ESS 105 Stats
ADE 80vs MEL 55 Stats
SYD 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
NTH 105vs PTA 113 Stats
BRI 58vs RIC 137 Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 127vs WBU 57 Stats
GEE 105vs GCF 96 Stats
WCE 81vs FRE 111 Stats
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Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 51vs MEL 83 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 81vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
ESS 49vs COL 69 Report Stats
GWS 119vs GCF 53 Stats
PTA 99vs HAW 91 Stats
FRE 74vs SYD 60 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 65vs WCE 118 Stats
GEE 67vs NTH 83 Stats
WBU 125vs ADE 68 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 45vs COL 120 Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC 76vs GEE 85 Stats
SYD 73vs WBU 77 Stats
GCF 118vs BRI 54 Stats
NTH 70vs HAW 130 Stats
WCE 120vs GWS 33 Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL 50vs FRE 118 Stats
STK 80vs ESS 82 Stats
ADE 91vs PTA 115 Stats
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Round 6
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL 59vs GEE 100 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH 109vs RIC 74 Stats
WBU 87vs STK 94 Stats
GWS 108vs HAW 98 Stats
GCF 78vs ADE 119 Stats
MEL 50vs SYD 88 Stats
FRE 80vs ESS 52 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 75vs BRI 84 Report Stats
PTA 68vs WCE 78 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 82vs NTH 93 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE 119vs STK 73 Stats
HAW 155vs MEL 50 Stats
CAR 57vs GWS 135 Stats
SYD 120vs GEE 77 Stats
WCE 135vs GCF 43 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
WBU 88vs FRE 101 Stats
RIC 105vs COL 100 Report Stats
BRI 102vs PTA 65 Report Stats
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Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE 140vs CAR 63 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs WCE 131 Report Stats
GWS 108vs ADE 84 Report Stats
GCF 63vs COL 132 Report Stats
HAW 69vs SYD 73 Report Stats
FRE 115vs NTH 42 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 136vs BRI 78 Report Stats
MEL 103vs WBU 64 Report Stats
PTA 43vs RIC 76 Report Stats
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Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 122vs CAR 62 Report Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW 93vs GCF 40 Report Stats
MEL 54vs PTA 115 Report Stats
WBU 113vs GWS 68 Report Stats
RIC 72vs ESS 59 Report Stats
ADE 57vs FRE 68 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 86vs STK 108 Report Stats
COL 112vs NTH 95 Report Stats
WCE 120vs GEE 64 Report Stats
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Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 70vs RIC 97 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 90vs ADE 99 Report Stats
GCF 41vs SYD 93 Report Stats
ESS 53vs GEE 122 Report Stats
PTA 100vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS 97vs BRI 67 Report Stats
NTH 85vs WCE 75 Report Stats
STK 69vs HAW 132 Report Stats
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL 85vs COL 110 Report Stats
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Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA 69vs GEE 92 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF 46vs FRE 53 Report Stats
WCE 96vs ESS 46 Report Stats
NTH 75vs SYD 91 Report Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
COL 119vs GWS 77 Report Stats
STK 85vs MEL 83 Report Stats
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Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE 85vs HAW 114 Report Stats
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC 70vs WCE 90 Report Stats
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 110vs PTA 106 Report Stats
GWS 61vs NTH 117 Report Stats
WBU 146vs BRI 74 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE 89vs MEL 113 Report Stats
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Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 80vs COL 73 Report Stats
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 77vs RIC 95 Report Stats
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW 114vs ESS 76 Report Stats
BRI 69vs ADE 82 Report Stats
STK 56vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 103vs GCF 69 Report Stats
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Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 94vs PTA 84 Report Stats
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
COL 91vs HAW 101 Report Stats
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 78vs GWS 69 Report Stats
GCF 125vs NTH 70 Report Stats
WBU 64vs CAR 53 Report Stats
MEL 60vs WCE 114 Report Stats
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 52vs STK 162 Stats
ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE 84vs BRI 48 Report Stats
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Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA 66vs COL 63 Report Stats
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 71vs CAR 41 Report Stats
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 69vs MEL 60 Report Stats
WBU 95vs GCF 73 Report Stats
NTH 120vs GEE 79 Report Stats
WCE 147vs ADE 91 Report Stats
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 84vs STK 49 Report Stats
HAW 115vs FRE 43 Report Stats
BRI 49vs SYD 70 Report Stats
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Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH 93vs ESS 68 Report Stats
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE 72vs WBU 64 Report Stats
GCF 79vs GWS 94 Report Stats
COL 56vs WCE 87 Report Stats
SYD 57vs HAW 146 Report Stats
FRE 95vs CAR 53 Report Stats
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL 60vs BRI 36 Report Stats
PTA 113vs ADE 116 Report Stats
STK 73vs RIC 89 Report Stats
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Round 17
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR 35vs HAW 173 Report Stats
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 42vs GEE 69 Stats
ADE 125vs GCF 80 Stats
RIC 78vs FRE 82 Stats
ESS 116vs PTA 129 Stats
BRI 38vs NTH 110 Report Stats
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
WBU 104vs COL 86 Report Stats
MEL 46vs STK 83 Report Stats
WCE 103vs SYD 51 Report Stats
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Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW 53vs RIC 71 Report Stats
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 113vs BRI 57 Stats
COL 54vs MEL 91 Report Stats
SYD 117vs ADE 65 Report Stats
CAR 54vs NTH 118 Report Stats
GCF 83vs WCE 83 Report Stats
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA 112vs STK 49 Report Stats
ESS 40vs WBU 127 Report Stats
FRE 84vs GWS 63 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE 88vs RIC 52 Report Stats
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 105vs CAR 87 Report Stats
WBU 128vs PTA 64 Report Stats
BRI 100vs GCF 114 Report Stats
GEE 95vs SYD 63 Report Stats
WCE 74vs HAW 88 Report Stats
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 92vs NTH 127 Report Stats
GWS 93vs ESS 61 Report Stats
STK 59vs FRE 96 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD 87vs COL 76 Report Stats
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS 59vs ADE 171 Report Stats
NTH 120vs STK 83 Report Stats
PTA 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
GEE 85vs HAW 121 Report Stats
BRI 131vs CAR 67 Report Stats
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC 138vs GCF 55 Report Stats
WBU 153vs MEL 55 Report Stats
FRE 80vs WCE 104 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW 86vs PTA 108 Report Stats
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 56vs RIC 147 Report Stats
GWS 44vs SYD 133 Report Stats
GCF 97vs ESS 95 Report Stats
STK 97vs GEE 97 Report Stats
ADE 131vs BRI 44 Report Stats
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH 94vs FRE 83 Report Stats
CAR 78vs MEL 55 Report Stats
WCE 162vs WBU 85 Report Stats
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Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 62vs COL 110 Report Stats
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS 132vs CAR 51 Report Stats
HAW 134vs BRI 62 Report Stats
NTH 73vs WBU 96 Report Stats
ESS 47vs RIC 74 Report Stats
GCF 51vs PTA 88 Report Stats
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE 126vs WCE 69 Report Stats
STK 38vs SYD 135 Report Stats
FRE 108vs MEL 54 Report Stats
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Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
RIC 108vs NTH 67 Report Stats
Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
GEE 119vs ADE 80 Report Stats
BRI 130vs WBU 122 Report Stats
PTA 122vs FRE 53 Report Stats
HAW 113vs CAR 56 Stats
SYD 127vs GCF 64 Stats
WCE 125vs STK 30 Stats
Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
MEL ($2.40)vs GWS ($1.57) 13:10ES
COL ($1.28)vs ESS ($3.70) 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Fremantle 22 17 5 0 118.73 68
West Coast Eagles 22 16 5 1 148.22 66
Hawthorn 22 16 6 0 158.40 64
Sydney Swans 22 16 6 0 127.12 64
Richmond 22 15 7 0 123.09 60
Western Bulldogs 22 14 8 0 115.12 56
Adelaide Crows 21 13 8 0 115.71 54
North Melbourne 22 13 9 0 106.45 52
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