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Stories related to player retirements

Tiger Caddy Retires

Just ahead of round eight, inaugural Sun and two-time Tiger premiership midfielder/forward Josh Caddy, 29, announced his immediate retirement after 12 injury-riddled seasons in which he played 174 games and kicked 164 goals. He was originally drafted by the Suns in 2010 ahead of their entry into the AFL and played 24 games in two seasons. He requested a trade back to Victoria for family reasons and moved to Geelong at the end of 2012. He went on to play 71 games for the Cats before being traded to Richmond at the end of 2016.

He had an excellent first season as a Tiger, playing 22 games, including the premiership. He followed up in 2018 with 46 goals, was nominated for All-Australian, and was in the top 10 for the Coleman Medal (AFL goal kicking) and Richmond's best and fairest. The next season in 2019 saw him start as a forward but he was later moved to a wing position. He was a member of Richmond's 2019 premiership team.

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Ellis-Yolmen Anti-Vax, Retires

Brisbane midfielder Cam Ellis-Yolmen has followed in the footsteps of former Carlton defender Liam Jones and retired in late January rather than comply with the AFL's COVID vaccination mandate. He would not elaborate or comment on his reasoning, but teammate Mitch Robinson did speak about Ellis-Yolmen's decision. Brisbane veteran Mitch Robinson has given his insight into Cam Ellis-Yolmen’s decision to retire. Robinson praised the club for their handling of the situation and expressed how tough the weeks leading up to the announcement had been for his teammate, “I think most of the players understand who is and who isn’t getting vaccinated, and Cam wasn’t hiding that fact, we knew his situation throughout the whole process,” Robinson told his Rip Through It podcast.

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Sheppard and Townsend Retire

Sheppard Tackled

In early December West Coast running defender Brad Sheppard and Suns defender Jacob Townsend announced their retirements just a few days apart. Sheppard, 30, was forced to retire due to ongoing concussion issues. He suffered several head knocks late in the season, the last coming in round 22. The Eagles believed he could still play but gave him time to decide. He sought medical advice over concerns about his future health and opted to retire.

Sheppard was drafted in 2009 and played 216 games. He was named All-Australian in 2015 and won the best clubman award in 2020. He was also a key member of the 2018 premiership side. Coach Adam Simpson said, "His career speaks for itself, over 200 games, it's just really sad that it finishes this way. He still had plenty of good footy left. He retires as a man with universal respect at every level of the football club ... ".

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Blues Defender Refuses Shot, Retires

Liam Jones (#14) vs Collingwood

Just as the free agency period was ending, Carlton defender Liam Jones announced his shock retirement. It is apparently due to his anti-vaccination stance. The league mandated that all AFL and AFLW players get vaccinated or be placed on inactive lists until they comply. Jones, 30, retires after 161 games - 66 with the Bulldogs and 145 with the Blues - and said his decisions were for "personal reasons" but would not elaborate further. In a statement he said, “I want to take this opportunity to thank all who have supported me throughout my journey, both personally and professionally. I love the game and I’ll miss my teammates. I hope that people respect my decision and privacy - neither myself or [sic] my management team will be making any further comment on the matter. ”

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Shane Mumford Retires

Mumford Battles Magpie Adams for Sherrin

In late October, ruckman Shame Mumford announced his retirement, this time for good. Mumford, 35, retired at the end of 2017 due to a chronic foot issue and took up a role as ruck coach with GWS, where he had been playing. The foot problem was resolved and he came out of retirement in 2019. Mumford was drafted as a rookie by Geelong in 2007 and played 21 games for the Cats before being traded to Sydney at the end of 2009. He soon established himself as one of the most imposing ruckmen in the competition. He played 79 games with the Swans, including the 2012 premiership.

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Two More Bow Out

Wood with the 2016 Premiership Cup

Western Bulldogs captain Easton Wood announced his retirement in late October and Adelaide defender Daniel Talia also retired. Wood, 32, said his body could no longer cope with the demands of AFL and that he felt his physical capabilities were declining and he did not want to let down the club. He has struggled with several injuries in recent seasons, including hamstring and ankle issues which restricted him to 15 games in 2021. He played the last eight games of the year including the Grand Final loss to the Melbourne Demons.

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2021 Delistings and Retirements, Part Seven

Birchall Spoils Roughhead

Two days after Melbourne's Grand Final victory, it was back to business for the club with three players being delisted, one retiring and another deciding to look for better opportunities elsewhere. Jay Lockhart, Aaron Nietschke and Austin Bradtke were delisted, while Aaron vandenBerg will seek opportunities elsewhere and Neville Jetta announced his retirement. Lockhart played twenty-two games since joining the club as a preseason supplemental selection in 2019. Bradtke and Nietschke never played a senior game with the latter suffering three ACL injuries in his time at the club, vandenBerg played 51 games for the club.

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2021 Delistings and Retirements, Part Six

Nathan Jones Gets His Kick Away

Demon champion Nathan Jones announced his retirement less than two weeks before the Grand Final. He informed his teammates via Zoom after leaving the club's hub in Perth to return home to be by his wife's side as she gave birth to twins. He flew out Saturday and made it just hours before she gave birth. Jones, 33, has not played a senior game since Round 14. He was an unused sub for Round 15 but was not recalled since. With West Australia's tight border restrictions, it was unlikely he would be allowed back across the border for the Grand Final. His career finishes with 101 wins, 198 defeats, and three draws. He kicked 141 goals in his 302 games. He was a Rising Star nominee in 2006 and 2007 and won the club best and fairest 2012, 2013, and 2014. He was co-captain in 2014 and 2017-19 and captain in 2015 and 2016.

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Delistings and Retirements, 2021 Part Five

Brooksby Tackled

A few days after the Semi-finals, West Coast announced three departures. Mark Hutchings and Brendon Ah Chee were delisted and ruckman Nathan Vardy retired. Hutchings, 30, played 120 games in nine seasons. He was a member of the 2018 Grand Final and played a key role in the game, shutting down Magpie star Steele Sidebottom.

Ah Chee, 27, was originally drafted by Port Adelaide in 2011 and played 27 games with the Power before being traded to the Eagles at the end of 2017. He was delisted and re-rookie listed by the Eagles at the end of 2019. He played 28 games for the Eagles. Vardy, 30, was drafted by Geelong in 2011 and played 25 games for the Cats before being traded to the Eagles at the end of 2016 and played 52 games including the 2018 premiership.

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Delistings and Retirements, 2021 Part Four

Zaharakis Handbzlls

North Melbourne has delisted Taylor Garner, Dom Tyson, Will Walker, and Connor Menadue. Garner was drafted in 2012 and played 49 games. Tyson was originally drafted in 2011 by GWS and played 13 games before being traded to Melbourne at the end of 2013. He played 94 games for the Demons but was traded to North at the end of 2017. He managed just five games for the club. Walker was drafted in 2017 and played six games. Menadue was originally drafted by Richmond in 2014 and played 39 games. Unable to cement his place in the strong Tiger side, Menadue was delisted at the end of 2019. He signed with VFL club Werribee for the 2020 season but ended up sitting out the year when the VFL season was canceled due to COVID. He was picked up by North in the rookie draft and played seven games.

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