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123 Nov 10
Despite Rising Romance and Pilote DEssai being well established, Lindsay Park still hopes to learn more about their two Ballarat Cup runners. Andre-Pierre Gignac France Jersey .The pair represent David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig in the $300,000 Listed race on Saturday.After a good start to her spring when second to Black Heart Bart in the Memsie Stakes, Rising Romance has gradually lost form.She finished last in the Myer Classic on the opening day of the Melbourne Cup carnival before running eighth in the Matriarch Stakes over 2000m a week later.Dabernig is hoping she can turn it around on Saturday.She found the ground probably too firm on both occasions at Flemington, Dabernig said.Hopefully that Ballarat track wont race too firm. Shes better on softer ground for sure but its hard at this time of year.The Ballarat Cup gives Rising Romance the chance to break through for her first win since joining Lindsay Park in the spring of 2015 and her first since taking out a 1500m race in New Zealand earlier that year.Dabernig described Pilote Dessai as frustrating after recording three seconds from five spring outings.Pilote Dessai created a big impression with his Australian debut win at Bendigo last autumn but has become tricky to catch this campaign.Hes drawn wide but hes racing like he wants to be stretched out to this trip, Dabernig said.Hes in with a light weight and he runs very good sectionals all the time and always gets home hard.If he can do that at the end of 2200 metres, hell be a chance for sure.Two-year-old American Genius runs in the Magic Millions Clockwise Classic on Saturday with a view to a tilt at the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic on the Gold Coast in January.American Genius competed in a jump-out the clockwise direction at Ballarat last week.The colt ran a debut third behind stablemate Madeenaty at Flemington last month and was immediately set for Saturdays race in which he wears blinkers for the first time.Hes had plenty of time following that Flemington run and has done a lot of work on his Sydney leg, Dabernig said.You never know how hell handle the race pressure, but Im pretty confident.If he won we could go straight to Queensland but if he was needing to get more money we would most likely give him a run in Sydney on the way. Anthony Martial France Jersey . - Chris Tierney snapped a tie with a power-play goal late in the third period as the London Knights rallied from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Erie Otters 5-3 in Ontario Hockey League action on Wednesday. Hugo Lloris Jersey . Spiller left Week 3s 27-20 loss to the New York Jets with a thigh injury, but fully practiced with the team all week and expects to be ready to go on Sunday. http:///...ignac-france-jersey/ . It might not have mattered. While the Dodgers are preparing for the playoffs, the Padres showed their future has promise behind two rookies. Is Tiger Riewoldt on the trade table?Now that the home-and-away season is finished, stand by for a flurry of player trade speculation. And much of it will involve Richmond, a club at its lowest ebb for many years - so much so that Tigers legend Kevin Bartlett this week tipped a bottom-four finish for them next season.Highly-rated Gold Coast midfielder Dion Prestia announced on Wednesday that he wanted to be traded and the Tigers were his preferred club, which was some good news for long-suffering Richmond fans. But there is one big hurdle to be cleared before Prestia dons the yellow and black.The Suns want a very good player in return for Prestia - not draft picks, of which they have a poultice. Suns officials first inquired about Tigers captain Trent Cotchin as a possible swap and, when they were told Cotchin was completely off limits, then asked about full-forward Jack Riewoldt.The answer they received was not quite as emphatic as the one they got about Cotchin.Which has given rise to growing speculation that the enigmatic spearhead, who was controversially left out of the players leadership group, might become Tiger trade bait in the coming month.Perhaps catching a whiff of this, an Essendon supporter - posting on a Bombers fan forum - claimed on Wednesday that he had seen Dons list manager Adrian Dodoro having a meeting with Riewoldt at a suburban café.As we say, stand by for a flurry of speculation, rumour and innuendo, some of which will have some basis in fact; others of which will be arrant nonsense.Lions gain could be Hawks lossIf Hawthorn footy operations boss Chris Fagan is appointed Brisbanes new coach - and hed be posted up there in a flash if the AFL had its way - the wailing from Hawks HQ will be heard all the way to the MCG.For Fagan, you see, is considered by many at Hawk-land to be the glue that holds the whole show together.Not just a great footy brain and a cool head in a crisis, the 55-year-old is also a calming influence for the Hawks combustible coach Alastair Clarkson - and someone who knows how to keep Clarksons sometimes rampant ego in check.Of course, no-one would ever decry any aspect of Clarksons performance as the clubs four-time premiership coach. The clubs position of pre-eminence in the AFL certainly wouldnt have happened without him.But Fagan is just about the best behind-the-scenes fixer, second-in-command, man manger and match-day deputy there is in the game.Which is why one Hawthorn insider said this week, when news emerged that Fagan had emerged as a frontrunner for the vacant Brisbane job: Clarko will be apoplectic, and (chief executive) Stuart Fox absolutely beside himself ....Fagan, a Tasmanian who has had stints in the footy departments at Melbourne, Tassie Mariners, North Hobart and Sandy Bay, is among a group of current AFL assistants (including Scott Burns, Robert Harvey and Adam Kingsley) in line for the Lions job vacated when Justin Leppitsch was sacked on Monday.The AFL will ensure the right people are put in place at Brisbane, just as it did with the hapless Melbourne three years ago, by overseeing the appointment of the coach and other key staffers. Two of the leagues top men, Mark Evans and Travis Auld, have been tasked with getting the Lions back on their feet and competitive again, on and off the field.Leppitsch sacking a disgraceThe fallout from Leppitschs axing continues to be felt, with former premiership defender Chris Johnson describing the boards recent conduct in sacking two of the clubs most decorated stars as coaches - first Michael Voss and now Leppitsch - as a disgrace.Johnson, who played in Brisbanes 2001, 2002 and 2003 flag-winning teams, said the club was squarely to blame for its current position languishing near the bottom of the ladder.Its a disgrace (sacking Leppitsch), Johnson told ESPN. It goes right back to how they treated Michael (Voss), a captain Id go to war with any day of the week. They got that wrong and now theyve done it again to Justin (Leppitsch).It is a cut-throat industry, I know that, but I wish they had both been given a little more time to work the list that will be at some stage a very good contender.Johnson said he feared the club was fraying in a similar way to Fitzroy in its final days 20 years ago. But he said the Lions playing stocks, which feature plenty of talented young draftees, meant they were in a much better position to turn around their fortunes.Whoever they appoint as coach will be very lucky, Johnson said. The club has a wealth of kids who look promising and can be the building blocks to something special.Roy boys still feel betrayed by Fitzroys demiseIt is 20 years - almost to the day - since Fitzroy played its final AFL match: a 86-point drubbing against Fremantle at Subiaco Oval on September 1, 1996.Chris Johnson recalled this week how he was overcome with emotion during one of his final training sessions ahead of that sad farewell game in Perth.The club did everything they could to give me the best opportunity to achieve the best outcomes as an athlete, but also as a person, Johnson told ESPN.Without the clubs guidance, I could have taken the path of crime and the sort of stuff that happens in Westmeadows and Broadmeadows where I grew up.It hit me like a sledgehammer at that training and I became quite emotional.Years of underperforming and mounting debt saw the 113-year-old Lions merge with the equally troubled Brisbane Bears to create a new entity, the Brisbane Lions.Johnson, one of eight Fitzroy players to relocate to Brisbane, says he feels sadness and betrayal when he reflects on his old clubs demise.Weve seen two franchise teams - Gold Coast and GWS - as well as Port Adelaide and Fremantle brought into the competition since then, Johnson said.?They (the AFL) bring in four other teams and kill one of the teams thats probably got the longest history in the game.It was probably an easy opption for the AFL in those days to just clear the debt of Fitzroy instead of relocating the whole football club somewhere else with the amalgamation with Brisbane. Laurent Koscielny France Jersey. .It will never be Fitzroy and it will never be the Brisbane Bears. Theres still a fair bit of history there but the AFL just ripped the heart out of them.Johnson sought a return to Melbourne from Brisbane when homesickness and a lack of senior opportunities took their toll in the 1998 season. But, after meeting with a number of Victorian-based teams, Johnson remained at the Lions after club official Scott Clayton removed the youngsters name from the trade table.The sliding doors moment allowed Johnson to be a member of the clubs historic three premierships from 2001.Its incredible how it turned out. It allowed me to be a part of one of the better teams the league has seen in a long, long time, he said.We had a couple of dark years finishing on the bottom. Winning those premierships did make it all that sweeter knowing how much the club, players and supporters endured.Hird a forgotten figure James Hird continues to work in London for sports consultancy group, Gemba, while making occasional forays back to Melbourne where his wife Tania and four children live.As Essendon set about welcoming back all their banned players for season 2017, and the drug saga which enveloped the club over the past three seasons fades slowly into the background, Hird remains footballs forgotten figure.The former coach, who received a 12-month ban for his part in the Bombers peptides scandal and later resigned his post, has sought to escape the media spotlight, as much for his familys sake as anything, by living and working overseas.His three boys have all turned their backs on Australian football - despite showing promising signs as juniors - and have taken up soccer, playing for South Melbourne.His eldest daughter is a highly accomplished tennis player.Yet Hird, an Essendon favourite son who was ranked as the clubs third-greatest player, remains in a strange state of limbo, shunned by the game that helped make his name - but, conversely, showing no signs of ever wanting anything to do with the code, as long as it is administered by the same people who forced his ignominious exit.Young gun doesnt regret swift exitFormer West Coast midfielder Tom Swift, who sacked football long before it had a chance to sack him, doesnt regret retiring prematurely to fully immerse himself in his tertiary studies.The 26-year-old sensationally quit the game four years ago, at the end of 2012, so he could study medicine.Four years after dropping that bombshell, Swift - who played 34 games in four years and was on the verge of establishing himself in the Eagles midfield - spoke about that momentous decision.I didnt want to be 30 years old being spat out the end of an AFL system without really having direction as to where I wanted to go, Swift, who is now living in Melbourne, told ESPN.I got to that fork in the road at the age of 22.His body hadnt failed him, nor had he lost his passion for the game.?He just felt the time was right to pursue his studies in the hope of becoming a doctor.From a personal development perspective I felt as though I sucked everything out of football, he said. Football gave me a platform to catapult the rest of my professional career.I was quite realistic that I was never going to be a 300-game Brownlow medallist, which sat fine with me.Swifts decision to turn his back on the fame and fortune of the AFL has led him to new ventures he never envisaged for himself. And they have nothing to do with medicine.The 26-year-old recently made the pilgrimage from Perth to Melbourne where he is an investment bank analyst with Citi Group, a position he has held since the start of the year.I had a few false starts in different areas. I never made too many steadfast plans. I was just floating along, taking opportunities as they came, he said.I was tracking along with a commerce/finance degree while I was playing football and that just progressed into this current opportunity.Its a challenging job and intellectually very stimulating, which was something I was looking for post-football.Swift, who went at pick No.20 in the 2008 draft, says the day he confronted then-Eagles coach John Worsfold about pursuing his academic dream was the most difficult conversation hes had.Telling people who had dedicated so much time and resources into my development was undoubtedly the hardest thing Ive had to do, he said.It was never a loss of passion or a loss of love for the game, it was more just pursuing other opportunities.As last years grand finalists embark on another finals campaign, the two-time Claremont premiership player doesnt regret his decision to leave footy prematurely.I definitely dont have any regrets. I miss it (football) every day. It was four or five of the best years of my life.Players socially aware of gong First-time members of the All-Australian squad learnt of their career-defining accolade via social media, rather than a formal announcement by their respective clubs or the AFL.ESPN has been told some debutants to the preliminary 40-man squad, which was unveiled on Monday, were made aware of their achievement via Twitter, which some felt downplayed the significance of the award.As many as 24 players could earn national honours for the first time, including ESPN columnist Josh Jenkins, Richmond ball magnet Dustin Martin and much-loved Melbourne ruckman, Max Gawn.Adelaide is crowing about its talent depth after it had a league-high six players nominated, further enhancing its depth after it had the most representatives in the AFLPAs under-22 squad with seven. Essendon and Brisbane were the only clubs to not have a player nominated. 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