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).
North Melbourne Kangaroos
The Swans have moved Robbie Fox and Sam Gray to the rookie list under the new AFL Rules. Both will be listed as Category A rookies for the 2021 season. Under the new rules, the club does not need to wait until the rookie draft period and the pair will be available for senior selection without having to be elevated back to the senior list.
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.
North Melbourne and Coach Rhyce Shaw came to a mutual decision to part company. Shortly after their season ended, Shaw took a leave of absence from the club. North chairman, Ben Buckley, expressed his gratitude to Rhyce for his dedicated service, “Since taking on the role as caretaker coach in ... 2019 and then senior coach for 2020, Rhyce Shaw has given his all ... He has been an exceptional leader and is a man of the highest integrity. His work ethic is unparalleled and we are truly grateful for the time, effort and energy he’s put into the role."
In the wake of their dismal 2020 season, North Melbourne has taken a sledge hammer to their list with 11 players told they are being delisted. Jamie Macmillan, Majak Daw, Jasper Pittard, Ben Jacobs, Paul Ahern, Mason Wood, Sam Durdin, Marley Williams, Joel Crocker, Lachie Hosie and Tom Murphy are out of the club.
As Round Four was about to get underway, former Hawthorn coach and icon of the game John Kennedy, Sr passed away at the age of 91. Just a few weeks earlier, he was elevated to legend status in the AFL Hall of Fame (see story at https://www.afana.com/news/2020/06/05/afl-hall-fame-2020)
The Hawthorn club issued a statement saying he passed away peacefully in his sleep on the morning of June 25th. The club statement also said in part, "... John was a man of extraordinary humility and strong family values. He is not only woven into every thread of Hawthorn Football Club’s fabric, but he underpins the values that our family club is built upon."
St Kilda's Paddy McCartin has ruled himself out of the 2020 season due to ongoing concussion issues. McCartin, 23, was the number one selection in the 2014 draft but has played just 35 games since debuting in 2015. He has suffered eight concussions since 2014, the last coming in a 2019 preseason game. Former Saint Nick Dal Santo was a boundary commentator during that game. When the news broke that McCartin would not play in 2020. Dal Santo recalled the incident on SEN Radio, saying it appeared to be a "light brush" of the head, but with McCartin's history, it was enough to put him in a bad way. He has been unable to run or train since then.
Midfielder Corey Maynard will retire at the end of the season due to ongoing hip issues.He was drafted in 2017 as a rookie and debuted that year. He had an impressive preseason in 2018, was elevated to the senior list and played the opening round that year but a hip injury sidelined him for the rest of the year. Maynard, 27, said the hip issues just would not allow him to continue. He said although he was bitterly disappointed, he is comfortable with his decision.
Football Manager Josh Mahoney praised Maynard for his professionalism and leadership, "It's really unfortunate for Corey ..
Veteran defender Sam Wright, 29, announced his retirement ahead of Round 20. Wright was drafted in 2008 as a small forward (the same year as Jack Ziebell), but transformed himself into a dynamic and skilled defender who could stand up in big games. He played a total of 136 games but has not played since May due to ongoing ankle issues. He was sidelined for 701 days from 2016 to 2018 due to surgeries on both ankles as well as a stress problem in his foot. He has struggled this year also with ankle problems and told teammates the toll it had taken on him would not allow him to get back to AFL level. He played his final game in the VFL in Round 20
In making the announcement, Wright said, “I guess the decision’s been coming for a long time ... After the last surgery, I probably knew that I wasn’t going to go around next year, and the advice I’d be given was that I probably need to start focusing on life after footy and living a healthy life ... I wanted to get out and play one more game, but it’s just become pretty evident ... that my body just won’t allow me to do that. I can’t train and I can’t play at a high enough level ... Pulling on the jumper, whether it be at VFL or AFL level ... has always been something I’ve been really proud of.”