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.

Hawthorn in the hunt in bid to become best of era

Jake Niall

Jake Niall The Hawks have matched Geelong, their great adversary, by winning a third premiership since 2007.

Clarkson's Commandos do John Kennedy proud

Alastair Clarkson (left) and assistant Brendon Bolton.

Jake Niall It should not surprise anyone to belatedly discover that the Hawthorn Football Club entered this grand final with a degree of confidence that was not shared by misguided bookmakers, punters or...

Will this be the final stand for Hawthorn defender Brian Lake?

Brian Lake is the major question mark among the veteran Hawthorn players who are 30-plus.

Jake Niall This grand final could be the last game of Brian Lake’s career. Or it might not.

The Sydney dynasty beckons

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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.

AFL

Hawks edge Swans after a gripping contest

Close combatants: Josh Gibson and Lance Franklin.

Jake Niall In a season supposedly beset with underwhelming footy, Hawthorn and Sydney produced what was surely the season's highest calibre game, in a contest between teams that will surely meet again at the...

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

Hawks felled again with defender Josh Gibson out for 10 weeks

Hawk Josh Gibson

Jake Niall Hawthorn's mounting injury difficulties have worsened dramatically, with gun defender Josh Gibson having pectoral surgery that will see him miss the next 10 weeks.

AFL

Hawthorn win is one for the ages

Step ahead: Hawk Luke Breust gets his kick away under pressure.

Jake Niall Have the Hawks ever played a better half than the opening two quarters of this grand final ''replay''?

Hawks break records ... and the Saints

Jake Niall What's the difference between Hawthorn and St Kilda? We could say that one team stayed in Tasmania and the other left; that one has far better stadium arrangements, and that, consequently, one has...

AFL

Ruthless Hawks give St Kilda a football education

Saints v Hawks

Jake Niall Hawthorn destroyed St Kilda by a record 145 points, but lost stars Sam Mitchell and Brian Lake to injury at the MCG.

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AFL

Sydney's stealth tactics are no longer new

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Jake Niall The Swans' days of creeping up on the competition to snare flags and star players are over.

AFL

Ruthless Hawks tame lame Lions

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 13:  Dayle Garlett of the Hawks runs with the ball during the round one AFL NAB Cup match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Brisbane Lions at Etihad Stadium on February 13, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Jake Niall Some games are decided in the opening 15 or 20 minutes. Hawthorn's pre-season opener against the Lions was rendered a training drill when the teams were selected.

AFL

Top four is easy to predict except for one

Jake Niall dinkus

Jake Niall Sydney, Hawthorn and Fremantle are everyone's box trifecta but the fourth estate is having great difficulty in ranking the fourth team of 2014.

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AFL

Prey for the Hawks

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Jake Niall Hawks must beat Geelong and then win the flag to validate the Alastair Clarkson era.

AFL

Saving the season

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Jake Niall Two great finals have helped rescue Andrew Demetriou's annus horribilis.

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AFL

Hawthorn revival almost too late

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Jake Niall Hawthorn comes back from a seemingly hopeless position to beat the Cats for the first time since the 2008 AFL grand final and reach this year's decider.