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AFL News: Crows lock in coach, Daicos defended over pre-match F1 event attendance, star Dog set to re-sign

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21st March, 2024
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Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks has signed a two-year contract extension to remain at the helm of the AFL club until the end of 2026.

Nicks, entering his fifth season at the Crows but yet to reach the finals, had been due to fall off-contract at the end of this season.

“While we have made progress, I feel like we are just getting started,” Nicks said in a statement on Thursday.

“And with the right people in the right seats in every area of the organisation we are well placed.

“From a playing perspective, I am so excited about our playing group.

“We have some extremely talented individuals and across the board we have people with great character, which is crucial to what we are building.

“As a team we’ve done an incredible amount of work to this point and I really want to see this through and deliver the success that all Crows fans deserve.”


Nicks, a former assistant coach at Port Adelaide and GWS, was appointed as Adelaide’s coach for the 2020 season.

The Crows finished last in his debut season, the club’s first wooden spoon, with just three wins.

Nicks and the Crows won seven, eight and 11 games in the following seasons and he has 29 wins and 55 losses overall.

Despite that record, Adelaide chief executive Tim Silvers said Nicks was considered a long-term coach.

“The way in which Nicksy has led our club through some challenging times early in his tenure and our subsequent climb up the ladder, albeit acknowledging we have much more to do and achieve, should not be underestimated,” Silvers said in a statement.

“We have seen the on-field improvement and he has developed a game plan we firmly believe will stand up to the pressures of finals footy.

“He ticks all the boxes of fostering a positive, healthy environment for our players, coaches and staff and he has an engaging and authentic approach to communicating with all club stakeholders.


“History says successful clubs need stability and alignment.

“And while there will always be challenges from week-to-week, we want to be a club that consistently plays finals.”


‘Shots from across the country’: Longmuir hits back at contract extension critics

Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir has hit back at critics of his one-year contract extension, saying they are taking pot shots without knowing the full picture.

Eyebrows were raised when Fremantle handed Longmuir a one-year extension on the eve of the season, tying him to the AFL club until 2025.

Questions were raised about the timing of the deal given Fremantle were coming off a 14th-placed finish last year and the fact it was only a one-year extension.


Former Kangaroos star David King and ex-Hawthorn champion Jason Dunstall were among the high-profile critics.

But Longmuir, who manages himself, was happy with the new deal, which is believed to include contract triggers along with better protection for the fifth-year coach.

“It’s pretty easy to have shots from across the other side of the country,” Longmuir told reporters on Wednesday.

“I value the people who see me go to work every day and see how I act inside the club. 

“People want to take shots like that from across the country not really knowing the background. I don’t really get caught up in that, it doesn’t really affect me.

“What I value is the people that see me go to work, the players, the footy department, the club. 

“They see me go to work every day, they see my messages to the players, they see my relationships and the culture we’re building here. That’s the opinion I go on.”


Fremantle opened their season with an impressive 23-point victory over Brisbane last week.

But the win came at a major cost with defender Brennan Cox (hamstring) to miss around 12-15 weeks and fellow backman Oscar McDonald (knee) also set for a lengthy stint on the sidelines.

McDonald hyperextended his left knee in an awkward landing and the swelling is still so bad he hasn’t been able to have a full assessment.

Longmuir said it won’t be known until later this week or early next week whether McDonald has torn his ACL.

“We’re unsure. We can’t tell that until we get an assessment by the surgeon,” Longmuir said. 


“When there’s a lot of swelling and a fair bit of soreness it’s hard to get that accurate assessment.

“It’s a significant injury and he’s obviously done some damage, and damage to different areas of the knee. 

“We don’t know whether it’s going to be a medium termer or a long termer.”

Cox played as a forward against Brisbane, and his injury opens the door for either Matt Taberner or Pat Voss to come in for Saturday’s clash with North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium.

Ruckman Liam Reidy could be handed his AFL debut if Longmuir wants to station Luke Jackson in attack.

Key defender Hugh Davies and forward Josh Draper are others in line for their debuts. 

Karl Worner’s concussion could open the door for Brandon Walker to return to the side with the defender having recovered well from last year’s dislocated knee.



Dockers coach Justin Longmuir talks to his team

Justin Longmuir. (Photo by Jono Searle/AFL Photos/via Getty Images )

Star Dog poised to re-sign despite rival interest

Gun Western Bulldogs forward Jamarra Ugle-Hagan looks set to re-sign with the club, despite rumours of monster contract offers from several rivals to attempt to lure him away from the Whitten Oval.

As reported by the Herald Sun, the 21-year old, who booted 35 goals in a breakout 2023 season, is expected to sign either a two-year or a four-year contract with the Dogs, the latter of which would secure his services through to becoming a restricted free agent in 2029.

It comes despite heavy interest from a number of rival clubs, with Hawthorn reported to be keenly pursuing the 2020 No.1 draft pick, while rumours recently swirled of a cashed-up Sydney tabling a gargantuan offer to set Ugle-Hagan up as Lance Franklin’s heir apparent as the team’s marquee superstar.

Ugle-Hagan is one of a number of star signatures the Dogs are scrambling to re-sign, with injured midfielder Bailey Smith and reigning All-Australian ruckman Tim English also coming out of contract at season’s end.


The Dogs recently tabled a two-year offer to Smith, according to reports, which would take him through to free agency.

‘Proud’ Lyon’s touching Membrey tribute ahead of ‘Spud’s Game’

Ross Lyon’s pendulum is far more important than the momentum shifts that will undoubtedly define the AFL clash between St Kilda and Collingwood.

Thursday night’s MCG match will be the fourth Spud’s Game, where the Saints honour Danny “Spud” Frawley and raise awareness for mental health, five years after the club great’s sudden death.

His legacy is profound, with the Danny Frawley Centre built at St Kilda’s Moorabbin home ground.


Tim Membrey’s recent experiences also underscore the importance of the cause.

As Lyon notes, it’s an “ongoing fight”.

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After pulling out of St Kilda’s elimination final last September because of personal issues, Membrey returned to the AFL with three goals on Saturday night in the narrow loss to Geelong.

Membrey spoke of his struggles before the Geelong game, urging others to follow his example and ask for help if they need it.

“I walked over to him, just before he ran out (against Geelong), and said how proud I am of where you are and where you’ve gotten yourself to,” Lyon said.


“The beauty is, we’re all on a pendulum – there’s perfect and there’s zero, and we all move along it, depending on our ‘win-loss’.

“As a coach, you do get stressed. As players, it’s the same thing.

“He has obviously shifted on the pendulum. It’s not fixed for any of us – that’s important to acknowledge and then, that takes away for stigma for anyone.”

But Lyon is also a pragmatist. Once the game starts, there’s work to be done.

The Magpies’ premiership defence is wobbly after starting the season with losses to the Sydney teams, while Lyon has spoken repeatedly of the Saints’ need to “button down” their game after a poor first half against the Cats.

Somewhere, Frawley himself is yelling “get on with it”.


“Emotion’s not going to get it done for either team. Our job is to play good footy … honour the day with commensurate effort,” Lyon said.

St Kilda have welcomed back two-time best and fairest Jack Sinclair from a calf injury, and the All Australian will give them a major boost with his run and leadership at half-back.

Zak Jones has also been recalled for his first game since round 20 last year, with Brad Crouch dropped. 

Collingwood have recalled premiership duo Billy Frampton and Tom Mitchell, along with forward Reef McInnes.

Will Hoskin-Elliott (managed) will miss the game, while Charlie Dean and Ash Johnson have been omitted.

Magpies coach Craig McRae has no doubt his side face a stern test of their ability to pick apart the Saints’ defensive measures.

“We can only control what we can, can’t we?,” McRae said.


“We don’t know what St Kilda are gonna bring this week other than a fierce, competitive, defensive game.

“It could be a struggle, a lot of numbers back, you know – parking the bus –  and we have to fight through that.”

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Josh Daicos defended over pre-match F1 event

A pair of former AFL greats have staunchly defended Collingwood star Josh Daicos, after he attended the Melbourne Formula One Grand Prix’s Glamour on the Grid event on Wednesday night – just 24 hours before a crucial clash with St Kilda.


However, speaking on Footy Classified, Jimmy Bartel, Matthew Lloyd and former Magpies president Eddie McGuire have anticipated a fierce backlash to Daicos’ decision should the Pies slump to a third loss to start the season.

“I have got zero issue. His performance stacks up, we’ve seen that in the last few years,” Bartel said.

“Players have got to have lives, as long as they front up to training and train hard, play hard.”

McGuire was quick to differentiate Daicos’ event to former Pie Jack Ginnivan’s controversial choice to visit the races at Mooney Valley the night before last year’s grand final, saying he’d have ‘no issue’ with the star wingman attending the event were he still president.

“I would have no issue because it is a very controlled atmosphere – a black tie event… as long as he’s home in bed by 9.30pm, which I’m assuming that’s the case,” McGuire said.

“Ginnivan, don’t forget, had a cocaine charge last year – he’s going to the races at Moonee Valley.”

The Pies have recalled veteran midfielder Tom Mitchell to take on the Saints, as well as premiership tall Billy Frampton and young forward Reef McInnes; two-game defender Charlie Dean and out-of-form forward Ash Johnson have been dropped, while Will Hoskin-Elliott has been rested.