Just after the conclusion of Round 18, St Kilda's Koby Stevens announced his retirement due to ongoing concussion issues. Stevens, 27, suffered a concussion - the eighth of his career - in Round One this year. He was still suffering delayed symptoms but did not inform the medical staff and played in Round Two. It wasn't until the lead up to Round Three that he finally went to the medical staff. The way he put it, "I'd just come back into the side, so I obviously didn't want to speak up and we had a pretty big game ... against North Melbourne and
The West Coast Eagles controlled the Western Bulldogs for most of the day to put in a workman-like display of winter weather football, to run our comfortable winners. The Dogs fielded a young team with the majority of players in their second or third season, and it showed, against the more experienced Eagles. Playing conditions were tricky with a strong wind blowing and some showers of rain in the second half. The game was unspectacular and dour as players dropped marks (catches), missed easy goals and kicked the ball out bounds without being touched (resulting in a free kick to the opposition) in their attempts to master the vagaries of the wind swirling around the field.
Young Bulldog Clay Smith, 25, has been forced to retire due to recurrent knee injuries. He started training on Thursday ahead of Round 16, but came off the track and reportedly was in tears as he knew it was the end. In making the announcement, said, “It was a very difficult decision ... but the right one ... given my knee hasn’t been able to fully recover. I’ve given everything to try to make ... but unfortunately it hasn’t worked out ... ". Smith went on to thank the club and medical staff for all of their support and giving him the opportunity to play AFL football and said "... “While life without footy will leave a big hole in my life, it has shaped me as a person and helped me grow and I’m thankful for that.” Being a part of the Dogs' 2016 premiership, he said despite all the setbacks, he would not change anything about the seven years he spent at the club.
Chris Kowald reporting for AFANA from Optus Stadium, Perth
The Fremantle Dockers continued their unbeaten streak at their new home by comprehensively dismantling the inconsistent Western Bulldogs. The Dogs had defeated the Essendon Bombers and pushed the Sydney Swans in recent weeks, showing signs that they were regaining the form that won the a premiership in 2016.