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Return Of Kade Simpson

Simpson Tackles Magpie Greenwood

Carlton legend Kade Simpson has decided he wants to return to AFL football. Simpson, who turns 37 in May, was not offered a new contract by the Blues and, according to the 2020 AFL Record Season Guide he "retired". He has been out of the game for a little over six months but said he wants to return after watching the opening rounds of the 2021 season. Simpson, who played 342 games across fifteen seasons, spoke on a podcast hosted by former teammate Dylan Buckley (Dyl and Friends), and said, "I still wish I was playing, like 100 percent. Even now, for some stupid reason, I still run and flog myself. In the back of my head, I’m like, just imagine if someone now with the mid-season draft and all that sort of stuff. I’m pretty fit still. If someone did "come knocking, I’m ready. I wouldn’t be like ‘oh f--k I haven’t done a thing for six months’. I’m still fit."

Under AFL rules, a player must be retired for a year to be eligible for the midseason draft, but he could be eligible since it seems he was

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Activist Wants Club Melody Changed

Carlton FC - Wikimedia

Carlton's team song has come under fire from an indigenous activist. Dr Stephen Hagan, who campaigned successfully to have the name of a cheese brand changed from "Coon", has criticized the song because of its original lyrics which he has labeled as racist. He has urged the club to change the melody. 

The melody is taken from the 19th-century song "Lily of Laguna" with the lyrics concerning a black man in love with a Native American. The song was often performed in blackface makeup. Hagan describes the tune as “one of the most racist songs of all time”. In an interview, Hagan said he was shocked to learn from the Carlton club that past and present indigenous players supported the song, saying that the lyrics written for the team had “effectively removed the original song’s racist connotations”. Of this attitude, he said, “I’m absolutely shocked they would defend the racist theme song music rather than fight against the clearly racist origins of the melody. It doesn’t make the song any less racist that a couple of Aboriginal players who are very loyal to the club defend it.

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12 Added Via SSP, Scully Retires

Scully Handballs Under Pressure

The AFL Supplementary Selection Period (SSP) ended on March 9 with eight clubs selecting 12 players. Several had been delisted by other clubs and were invited to train with other clubs in the hope of being selected. Below are the clubs and their selections.

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Bruce McAveney Steps Away From Footy

By Masoman01 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47352034
Bruce McAvaney

In early March, legendary commentator Bruce McAvaney, who has called everything from footy to the Olympics, announced he was giving up his role as footy commentator with Australia's Channel Seven. Other than a five-year absence between 2002 and 2006 (when Seven lost the TV rights), McAvaney has been there with the free-to-air coverage. He has notched over 1000 games, including 20 Grand Finals; and formed a great partnership with the equally legendary Dennis Cometti (who retired several years ago). Although he is bowing out of football, he will continue with Seven's horse racing carnival and the 2021 Tokyo Olympics - his specialty is track and field.

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2021 AFL Life Members, Jack Titus Award

Defender Taylor's Rare Shot For Goal

The AFL has announced their annual life members and the winners of the Jack Titus Award for service to the game. The life membership awards will officially be presented at the league AGM in March. Nine players and coaches qualified automatically by reaching the total of 300 games as either player or coach, including preseason games and international rules.

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2020 Preseason and Rookie Draft

Goldsack Tackles Kennedy

The preseason and rookie drafts were held about a week after the National Draft. The rookie list was primarily used to officially relist senior players as rookies. They included Grant Birchall (Brisbane), Sam Reid (GWS Giants), Marty Gleeson (Essendon), Dylan Clarke (Essendon), Roarke Smith (Western Bulldogs), Daniel Venables (West Coast) and Bailey Banfield (Fremantle).

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Club List Changes Under New AFL Rules

Beams Takes A Grab

In mid-November, the AFL announced that club lists will be the following: 36 to 38 senior players, 4-6 Category A rookies and two Category B rookies. Rookie listed players will be allowed to play senior football without having to be elevated to the senior list. So many clubs have had to make hard calls on players, with some clubs even demoting senior players to rookie lists. Although there have already been some trades and free agent signings, the free agency period ran November 25 through November 29 with the first list lodgment due November 25 ahead of the free agency period.

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Retirements, Signing And List Changes

Westhoff Kicks For Goal

Just days after Stratton, Puopolo and Simpson decided to bow out, so did Port forward Justin Westhoff. He will see out the season. Westhoff, 33 and the father of four, is in second spot for games played with the Power. After Round 18, his game tally is 281. He said of his retirement and career, “I’m not getting any younger ... and it just seems to be the right time ... Having a young family, I don’t want to miss much more of what my kids are doing, so it just felt like the right time.

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Hawks And Blue Call Time

Strattom Tackles Eddie Betts

At the end of Round 17, three more players announced their retirements- Hawks Ben Stratton and Paul Puopolo and Carlton defender Kade Simpson. Both Stratton and "Poppy" were selected as mature-age recruits in the 2009 and 2010 drafts respectively. Both quickly cemented their positions in the side and were part of the club/s incredible run of success, Stratton as a tough and clever defender, Puopolo as a reliable forward who could apply plenty of pressure on opposition defenders. Stratton, 31, assumed the captaincy in 2019 when Jarryd Roughead retired at the end of 2019.

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Beginning Of The Ends

GIbbs Vs Essendon

As the season winds down, it is that time of year when players decide to retire. Heading into the last weeks before finals, four announced they were hanging up the boots - Sun Pearce Hanley, Bomber Conor McKenna, Adelaide's Bryce Gibbs and Carlton's Matthew Kreuzer.

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