AFL News for the week ending May 21, 2023: Roos show pluck, Dons break Dreamtime win drought and it's a 'Yes' for the voice referendum from the AFL
Despite last minute blunder, North stands tall
It was a difficult week for North Melbourne as legendary AFL coach Alistair Clarkson declared he was taking time out from coaching to focus on his health and wellbeing while the Hawks racism probe played out.
But one man down and another steps in to fill the breach - in this case, Brett Rattan, one of those AFL people who nearly everyone in the game seems to hold admiration for.
And, even under these exceptionally difficult circumstances, Rattan almost got the Roos over the line with one of the most spirited showings of the season for them so far.
Dominating most of the game, the Roos looked like almost a sure thing, even as Sydney closed the gap - and then came an unfortunate interchange blunder in the dying moments of the game, gifting the Swans a free kick and 50m penalty, and putting them ahead of the Roos as the clock ticked down and siren went.
While admirable losses are still losses, hopefully North fans will take heart that their club still has heart and stood tall for their absent coach during really trying times.
Dons break Dreamtime hoodoo
Dreamtime at the 'G during Indigenous round is one of the highlights of the AFL season.
This year was no exception.
Not only was the pre-game entertainment the best we've seen, the game itself was epic.
In a match that never saw the game blow out in a way to give one side or the other the advantage, the Tigers seemed to be on track to continue finding their AFL Season 2023 mojo, notably led by some of their amazing Indigenous stars.
But the Bombers kept plugging away, and in an incredible final few minutes, managed to will themselves over the line to snatch a win.
In doing so, the broke a long losing streak in the Dreamtime game but also more generally against the Tigers.
AFL joins NRL in supporting a 'Yes' in voice referendum
Sporting codes across the country are beginning to make clear their stance on the upcoming referendum on the Indigenous voice to parliament, and the AFL chose the lead-in to the Indigenous round to make its stance known.
Some AFL clubs have already declared their positions on this, so it was only a matter of time before the AFL made its own position clear.
While there are those in the AFL community who think the AFL should steer clear of political or social issues, this is almost impossible in a world where so many players or fans are potentially affected by those same issues.
The AFL prides itself on diversity and inclusion - in making a statement on being in the 'Yes' camp, the AFL merely solidifies its ongong support for the legion of Indigenous players - past, present and future - who bring brilliant bright moments of sporting prowess to nearly every match they play in, and without which the game would be lesser.