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Front and Centre, Round 2: All over for colourful Magpie?

All over for colourful Pie?

A major casualty from the weekend's footy was Collingwood's hugely popular and colourful - literally - midfielder, Dane Swan.

The tattooed Brownlow medallist sustained a broken fibula, a broken foot and a ruptured Lisfranc ligament after landing awkwardly in a marking contest.

He has told friends that he won't play again this season.

The question now is whether the 32-year-old will play again at all. That decision might end up resting with the Collingwood coach, Nathan Buckley, and his football department.

Given the Pies have recruited a swag of midfielders in the past couple of years - Levi Geenwood, Adam Treloar, James Aish, Jack Crisp and Taylor Adams among them - perhaps the unthinkable is a possibility: that Collingwood field a side next year without their great cult figure.

New AFL Commission chairman on the cards

The new-look AFL Commission got down to business this month with the two recently-appointed commissioners, Andrew Newbold and Gabrielle Trainor, taking their position around the oak-pannelled table alongside long-serving chairman Mike Fitzpatrick.

The pair replaced outgoing commissioners Chris Langford and Sam Mostyn, who had been on the board for 16 years and 11 years respectively. The Commission farewelled the two retiring commissioners at its Annual General Meeting a fortnight ago.

It seems there are set seats around the table and Newbold found himself in the chair occupied by Langford since 1999 - which was fitting, as someone observed, given that both men are dyed-in-the-wool Hawks.

Trainor is a similarly ardent Kangaroo - her grandfather Frank, and father Tony were presidents of North Melbourne for a total of 22 years.

But all those club loyalties will have to remain parked to one side, as the Commission sets about embarking on its equalization (some have called them 'socialist') strategies aimed at evening up the competition.

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Regarded as a very safe pair of hands, who had a glittering playing career with Carlton, Fitzpatrick has been a solid if uninspiring chairman since his appointment in 2007.

Yet several mis-steps in the past year or so have served to tarnish his legacy.

The handling of the Adam Goodes' booing saga last year was a case in point, the league sitting on its hands as the episode - hugely hurtful to Goodes and damaging to the AFL brand - went unchecked. And when he did finally respond, Fitzpatrick issued a clunky, clumsily-worded statement in which he waffled on about his own directorships with the AFL and Rio Tinto, and boasted about his achievements with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders - before finally defending Goodes.

There has also been the consistent problem of the AFL trying to manage its way through tricky issues - among them the Kurt Tippett contract affair, Essendon's drawn-out peptides saga and the Melbourne's tanking investigation - without adopting consistent and transparent processes. That's also hurt their image among fans.

Of course, Fitzpatrick can point to numerous successes during his time at the helm as well.

Expect him to remain in the job this season but there to be a smooth handover to Newbold - whose club affiliation is considered a great asset on a commission top-heavy with business types - sometime before the start of next season.

Poetic justice for Hodge

Hawthorn captain Luke Hodge has lived by the sword for many years and, on Monday, he died by it as well.

The Hawks' hard man undoubtedly runs in a straight line at the ball - that's never been an issue - but, as he's slowed down, he's thrown his weight around more than ever.

The take-no-prisoners skipper has taken several scalps in recent seasons, fracturing Marc Murphy's cheekbone in a heavy collision, clocking North Melbourne skipper Andrew Swallow last year - which earnt him a three-match ban - and then jamming Chad Wingard's head into a point post, which produced another suspension, this time for two matches.

Then in the season-opener against Geelong on Monday, Hodge somehow managed in a goalline scrimmage to introduce his knee to Jimmy Bartel's ear, which resulted in the Geelong champ having to leave the field, dazed and with a bloody left ear.

Geelong fans might have felt that poetic justice was done in the dying moments of the game when Hodge - under a hospital pass but with eyes only for the ball - was cleaned up by Mitch Duncan (who, it should be said, was not watching the ball at all) and had his forearm fractured, meaning he'll be sidelined for up to six weeks.

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Danger debut the best ever?

Patrick Dangerfield's remarkable 43-disposal game for Geelong against Hawthorn on Easter Monday sparked a spirited debate about the best debuts by a player who had changed clubs in AFL history.

There were two which jumped up: Greg Williams had 37 disposals and two goals (and three Brownlow votes) for Sydney in the first round of 1986 at the MCG after he had walked on Geelong, and Alastair Lynch's eight-goal haul for Brisbane Bears against St Kilda in round four of 1994, after he left Fitzroy.

For the record, we're running with Dangerfield as the best ever.

Dangerfield, Franklin, Ablett all shine on the big stage again

Fyfe and Franklin leading the pack

Only two current-day footballers made a list of the top 50 Movers and Shapers of the AFL under an industry survey conducted by the AFL Record.

Nat Fyfe (No. 24) and Lance Franklin (No. 48) made the cut, along with the recently-retired Chris Judd and Adam Goodes.

News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch is among the luminaries in the list, along with Channel Seven's Kerry Stokes.

The top five are: Gillon McLachlan, Eddie McGuire, AFL chairman Mike Fitzpatrick, Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson and journalist/broadcaster Caroline Wilson.

Wilson and Gerard Whateley (No.8) were the highest media performers.

The list was created by AFL Media's Ashley Browne from an industry survey of about 60 people. "A lot of people read it,'' Browne told ESPN. "We've planted the seed and people like it, so we'll try to take it to the next level in 2017.''

The list caused a lot of mirth too, with the crew at MMM having fun with James Brayshaw's entry at No. 50, and ditto at Footy Classified with their long-serving panelist, Wilson.

Browne would not say whether he suffered any angst from footy folk who missed out, but did name two people he thought could have made the cut, but were omitted. "I thought (Sydney chief executive) Andrew Ireland and Luke Hodge could have been in there,'' he said.

Coaches on the attack over drugs claim

With the issue of illicit drugs dancing around in the background there was some great television on Monday night if you are fortunate enough to have cable.

Coaches Chris Scott (Geelong) and Nathan Buckley (Collingwood) had it out with the Herald Sun's Mark Robinson on FoxFooty's nightly AFL show over Robinson's front-page story last Thursday suggesting "up to 11'' Collingwood players had returned positive tests from the AFL's end-of-season hair-testing campaign.

The story has infuriated the AFL Players Association, which agreed to the off-season testing so that the AFL could see what it was dealing with, and Collingwood, which knows that there are two clubs who returned higher positive numbers.

Robinson admitted on the program that he did not know the exact number of Collingwood positives. He said the 11 number came from the following: he had heard there were 23 positives at Collingwood, and then was told by a source that it was "less than half that number".

The Herald Sun's story actually began: "A quarter of Collingwood's playing list recorded positive tests to illicit drugs over summer.''

Chris Scott was the attack dog, although his club was not involved. "You're speculating,"' he told Robinson. "You don't know the numbers.''

Buckley was similarly direct. "You can't tell us, categorically (the number).'' The Collingwood coach said the problem was the "slandering the whole club, the playing group, their mothers and fathers, and bringing their families and everyone into it when it doesn't need to happen''.

Robinson's co-host Gerard Whateley said he would not have run with the story without more information. "I would have wanted to know the exact number,'' said Whateley.