AFL News for the week ending July 23, 2023: Racism mars Pies win, Reid chatter gets a bit cray and Lions star out for season
Pies quickly condemn Rioli racism after win in Adelaide
What a way to wind up one of the games of the season and what might be a Grand Final preview.
Even as Collingwood basked in the glory of a stunning two-point win over Port Adelaide at home, reports filtered through that Power player Willie Rioli had been racially vilified.
Sharing the ugly posts he received via Instagram, the trolling was roundly condemned by the Pies and the Power, and set in motion an AFL investigation that will see the offenders banned for life if they can be uncovered from behind their cowardly social media trolling caves.
Ultimately, the clubs and AFL and even the social media platforms can only do so much to stop this ugly racism seeing the light of day.
There is no place in our game or in our society for it - it is on all of us to stamp it out.
Top draft pick Harley Reid chatter in overdrive
It must have been an odd week for impending AFL natiional draft no 1. pick Harley Reid.
Given the kind of year the West Coast Eagles are having, it seems a given he will be heading west to start his much-anticipated debut in 2024.
However, this week Harley found himself having to deny allegations he was not prepared to go where the draft sent him.
To be fair, he is allowed an opinion on where he'd like to play, like anyone starting a new job, but he would also know the reality of how the draft works.
If anything, it was a bit of a sad indictment on the AFL rumour mill, and put undue pressure on a young man who, like others before him, is about to feel the full weight of expectation on his shouders in his debut season.
As any journo will tell you, rumours and whispers are where stories come from, and where there is smoke there can often be fire, but this was all a bit of a hot mess that felt like trying to fill gaps in a slow news week.
Can Brisbane cover the loss of young gun Ashcroft?
In the same week that the Age's Peter Ryan compared Brisbane's Will Ashcroft's debut year to that of Nick Daicos (and pretty much said he was eclipsing the Brownlow favourite at the same stage of his so-far stellar career), we sadly watched Ashcroft leave the field injured ... and learned he will not return for the season.
Ashcroft has suffered the dreaded ACL injury coach Chris Fagan must have been praying was not the case before the scans came through Sunday.
It's a devastating loss for the Lions and their fans, who look primed for a tilt at action in that last weekend of September, but it's also a loss for the wider competition and fans in general who, whatever their loyalties, must love watching the silky skills of this first-year star.
Here's hoping we wlil see him back in action some time in 2024.