Jake Niall

Jake Niall

Jake Niall is a senior sports writer at 'The Age' specialising mainly in coverage of the AFL. He writes a weekly column for 'The Sunday Age' and has been on staff with 'The Age' or 'Sunday Age' since 1995. Jake, who combines original news with commentary, match-based writing, features and analysis, has won a number of awards, including the Alf Brown award for the best performer in AFL media in 2012, the Melbourne Press Club's 2007 Quill award for best sports story in any medium and a Walkley award, shared with colleagues Richard Baker, Nick McKenzie, Caroline Wilson and John Silvester, for best coverage of a major issue (Essendon scandal) in 2013.

Push to block top six from signing free agents

AFL draft

Michael Gleeson and Jake Niall The top six teams each year should be precluded from signing a free agent unless they were to lose a free agent, according to veteran football manager Geoff Walsh.

Chris Scott's Geelong continue to prove a mystery within a riddle

Chris Scott's balancing act is a product of the club's circumstances.

Jake Niall Chris Scott knows what everyone wants to know about Geelong. He didn't need to be asked.

Former Bomber Mark McVeigh unlikely to coach in NAB Challenge opening rounds

Mark McVeigh in action for the Bombers in 2012.

Jake Niall Former Bomber Mark McVeigh is unlikely to be involved in an on-field coaching role with Greater Western Sydney during the opening weeks of the NAB Challenge.

Essendon's new recruits dream of a shot at glory

Jake Niall

Jake Niall In Essendon's version of The Recruit, there are no guarantees of a position on an AFL list. But this has not stopped the Dons from receiving a deluge of interest from players who see this unique...

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Where the AFL has failed to close the gap

Jake Niall

Jake Niall Anzac Day this year marks the 20th anniversary of that famed afternoon when Essendon and Collingwood drew and, more significantly, Michael Long drew attention to the formerly festering sore of racial...

Ryan Griffen talks about his switch from Western Bulldogs to Greater Western Sydney

All smiles: Ryan Griffen at Greater Western Sydney.

Jake Niall Ryan Griffen was unhappy in his final year with the Western Bulldogs. He had lost the enjoyment of ‘‘all parts’’ of playing football.

Essendon may field 'weak' NAB Challenge team

Essendon logo.

Jake Niall The AFL has indicated to Essendon that it wants the Dons to field a weakened team in the NAB Challenge games at this stage.

Essendon 34 won't play in NAB Challenge

Essendon will have a diminished pool  of players.

Jake Niall The remaining Essendon players who are facing doping charges at the tribunal will not seek to have their provisional suspensions lifted to play in the NAB Challenge.

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Chasing Dangerfield - costs and complications

Jake Niall

Jake Niall In 2012, the October surprise was Kurt Tippett joining Sydney. In 2013, Buddy Franklin's nine year deal with the Swans floored everyone, bar those who hatched the clandestine raid.

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Pre-season break for Stewart Crameri looms

Former Bomber Stewart Crameri.

Jake Niall The Western Bulldogs are seriously considering removing Stewart Crameri from the NAB Challenge to avoid losing the opportunity of an undisputed backdated penalty.

Top draftees shedding, not gaining, kilos

Christian Petracca and Angus Brayshaw.

Jake Niall While first year players typically need to add bulk to skinny frames, Melbourne's prized early draft picks, Christian Petracca and Angus Brayshaw have both shed kilograms in preparation for their...

The Super Bowl culture that the AFL should avoid

Jake Niall

Jake Niall Back in December, as AFL clubs were about to go on their Christmas break, an AFL coach explained the logic behind an audacious Port Adelaide tactic that had helped Port to power home late in the...

Why AFL clubs have stopped paying a million

Illustration: Mick Connolly

Jake Niall From what one has gathered, Gary Ablett and Tom Scully, the first signings of the AFL's expansion clubs, were the only AFL footballers who were paid more than a million dollars in 2014.

Suspended past and present Essendon players may need AFL approval to play NAB Cup

Generic ASADA graphic.

Jake Niall Provisionally suspended current and ex-Essendon players appear likely to require AFL Commission permission if they wish to play in the NAB Cup, with the ASADA hearing set to drag on into mid-February...

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Tex best leader, Danger was candidate: Walsh

Jake Niall The bold decision to appoint Taylor Walker as captain of Adelaide was made by coach Phil Walsh.

Why Hawthorn is on track for three-peat

Jake Niall Only one club has completed what has become known, in borrowed American lexicon, as "the three-peat" since the 1950s. Even Hawthorn's fabled 1980s teams couldn't manage a treble of flags.

Saints look to ex-Blues recruiting boss

St Kilda logo.

Jake Niall St Kilda has hired former Carlton recruiting boss Wayne Hughes in a new role overseeing the club's recruiting of seasoned players.

Gary Ablett remains a 'top-three' earner

Gary Ablett

Jake Niall Gary Ablett has been offered a new contract by Gold Coast that will ensure he stays one of the game’s very highest-paid players from 2016.

Hawks fighting fit, hardly any grounded

Bradley Hill cools off at Hawks training.

Jake Niall Despite a run of three consecutive grand finals and late September finishes, Hawthorn nears the Christmas break with virtually all of its senior list in training and an excellent bill of health.

AFL to allow Saad to train while suspended

Ahmed Saad was drafted back by the Saints in the rookie draft.

Jake Niall The AFL commission is set to confirm that St Kilda's Ahmed Saad will be allowed to resume training with club from January.