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.

AFL

Lance Franklin fires late as Swans notch up ninth straight win

Jake Niall AFL premiership favourites Sydney survived a scare from struggling Richmond to post an 11-point win at the MCG on Friday night for their ninth consecutive victory.

The Sydney dynasty beckons

Jake Niall dinkus Dinkus

Jake Niall Predicting an AFL dynasty, or a period of relative success in that competition, has a similar success rate to flipping in blackjack or changing Labor leaders.

Hawks' attack of the drones

Innovative: Alastair Clarkson.

Jake Niall and Daniel Cherny Hawthorn has broken new ground by becoming the first club to use remote control ''drones'' to fly over Waverley Park at training.

How Hawthorn goes over and above in search of 'the edge'

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Jake Niall Watching Hawthorn train, you won't necessarily notice it, because your eyes are invariably drawn to Cyril Rioli, Luke Hodge and Jarryd Roughead.

AFL players push for secret mid-season contracts with rival clubs

Lance Franklin was really pledged to Sydney long before the 2013 season ended.

Jake Niall There is a concerted push from AFL players to allow free agents to sign a contract with another club during a season to provide them with greater security.

Allowance to favour Swan youth

THUMB_SWANS

Jake Niall Every Sydney player who isn't paid more than $300,000 will receive a net payment of $10,000 next season and in 2016, under the AFL's new version of the cost of living allowance (COLA).

AFL

Dunstall or Jeans - Hawthorn's tough call

Legend material: Jason Dunstall.

Jake Niall Hawthorn has faced tough choices in the past: Glenferrie or Waverley, an untried Alastair Clarkson or a seasoned Gary Ayres, Tasmania or Melbourne only.

AFL

Hawks look at three debutants

Ben McEvoy is set to make his Hawthorn debut.

Jake Niall At least one first-gamer to join former Saint Ben McEvoy in Hawks' first-round team

AFL

Carlton better to lose Gibbs than overpay him

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Jake Niall Bryce Gibbs is quite entitled to run his ruler over Carlton's offer and drafting strategy before deciding whether to stay.

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AFL

Jarryd Roughead and Cyril Rioli face sidelines after Hawks' loss to Swans

Not much to cheer about: Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson during the game on Friday.

Jake Niall Hawthorn is counting the cost of its 19-point loss to Sydney, with star forwards Jarryd Roughead and Cyril Rioli likely to face periods on the sidelines.

AFL

Wasteful Buddy ends up a match-winner for Sydney

Lance Franklin of the Swans marks during the round eight match against his old club, Hawthorn.

Jake Niall Lance Franklin kicks two late goals to carry Sydney to a 19-point win over Hawthorn.

Grant Birchall concedes the Swans were harder, bigger, better

Grant Birchall and Sydney's Sam Reid both make a grab for the ball.

Jake Niall Hawthorn's gun defender Grant Birchall has attributed the flag favourite's Friday evening defeat to the Swans being harder, bigger bodied and cleaner than the Hawks.

AFL

The six days that shook the Hawks - and the premiership

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Jake Niall Players often say they ''don't read what's in the papers,'' that they take no notice of the sound and fury of talkback and the other media guff that carries on outside their fortified club bunker.

AFL

Why some fans are challenged by Goodes

Jake Niall

Jake Niall There might not be a single reason why a portion of Essendon fans booed Adam Goodes on Saturday evening.

AFL

How Gibson engineered an unlikely career

Sam Gibson

Jake Niall Before he played in the AFL, Sam Gibson worked full-time as a civil engineer, a career he was willing to forsake for a risky rookie-list spot at North Melbourne.

AFL

Tom Hawkins the big difference - again

Tom Hawkins gets foot to ball before Michael Firrito can get in the way.

Jake Niall No key forward in the game has exerted as much influence on results this season as Tom Hawkins.

AFL

Franklin officially a Swan: McVeigh backed Buddy deal

Lance Franklin

Michael Gleeson and Jake Niall Club says Swans captain approved the blockbuster signing in July.

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AFL

AFL 2014: A higher level

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Jake Niall Expect to see equalisation kick in during 2014, giving every club at least a glimmer of hope.

AFL

Magpies offer Ben Reid a four-year deal

Wanted man: Collingwood star Ben Reid.

Jake Niall Collingwood moves to secure Ben Reid from the free agency marketplace.

AFL

A bridge too far?

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Jake Niall The success of Franklin in Sydney will be measured in more than just wins and losses.