Retirements

Two Veterans Call Time
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One Too Many Knocks For Dempster
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AFL Chairman Fitzpatrick Retires
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago 

After over 20 years of service with the AFL Commission, Mike Fitzpatrick has announced his retirement. He has been Commission chairman for over 10 years and a member of the Commission since 2003 after an illustrious career with Carlton. He said with the Western Bulldogs' premiership, the introduction of the AFLW and the early purchase of Etihad Stadium, it was the right time to step aside. He said the highlight and greatest achievement of his tenure was the six-year $2.5 billion broadcast deal signed last year, "The size of it and the scale of it and what it does for the code is a great achievement."

Gone But Not Forgotten, AFL Retirements
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 by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

The highly decorated, 15-year, 305-game career of Geelong champion Jimmy Bartel has come to an end with Bartel announcing his retirement during the October trade period. While Bartel said he felt he had more to give, he "understood the bigger picture" and respected the direction in which the club wanted to move.

Concussion Claims Another Career
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Young and promising Brisbane defender Justin Clarke has announced his retirement due to a concussion he suffered during a training drill in January. He has been sidelined since the injury. In a media statement, Clarke said he had consulted several specialists who told him he could no longer play contact sports. Any sort of head knock, no matter how minor, could cause symptoms to recur, lengthen recovery time, and possibly cause permanent damage. He has had memory issues and has not been able to exercise in any way since the injury. However, the specialists did tell him this all will pass and he will recover in time.

Dennis Cometti To Retire
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Veteran commentator Dennis Cometti has announced that 2016 will be his final year behind the microphone. Cometti, 66, has been at it for 43 years and said he was tired of traveling. He reckons he has spent six years of his life in hotels.

Cometti was a talented footballer who played 40 games for West Perth in the WAFL but injuries wrecked hopes of a then VFL career in 1971. He then turned to commentary, joining the ABC where he called cricket for 13 years. He crossed to the Seven Network in 1986 as chief caller. He was with the Nine Network during 2002-2006 when they acquired the rights to the football. 

Cometti is known for his witticisms such as "centimeter perfect" and "gun barrel straight".

Source: afl.com.au

Goodes Leads Latest AFL Departures
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Adam Goodes markes in the Sydney forward line during Round 17, 2015, Photo by David Woodley for AFANA.Within the football community, including his teammates and Coach John Longmire, there was speculation that Adam Goodes would retire at the end of the year. And so it came to be after Sydney's season ended at the hands of North Melbourne. There was no fanfare or chairing from the ground as Goodes did not announce his retirement until after the game in the rooms. Goodes was close to quitting mid-season after the widely reported over the top jeering from opposition fans but returned after a week away to see out the season. It is believed he will miss the Grand Final parade and traditional pre-game lap of honor for retiring players due to taking some holiday time. However he will have a chance to farewell the fans at the start of next season.

Although disappointed with the loss and missing out on one more chance at a premiership, Goodes leaves the game having achieved almost all there is to achieve over 372 games. He holds the record for the most games by an indigenous player and is inside the top ten in League history. His work in the community and for indigenous people has also been recognized and commended by many.

Player Moves Around AFL
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

After the Round 23 game, Gold Coast's Harley Bennell was involved in an undisclosed incident which saw him issued with a "public nuisance" notice.Harley Bennell looks upfield for a teammate during a Round 7, 2015 match. Photo by David Woodley for AFANA. It was the final straw for the Suns who have announced that he will be traded. Bennell has had a number of off-field issues, not the least of which was the publication of photographs of him apparently indulging in illicit drugs. The pictures were from a 2013 trip but were only published in the newspapers in June this year.

After this latest incident, a series of meetings were held between club officials, coaching staff, the leadership group and Bennell's management. CEO Travis Auld issued a statement confirming the decision to dump Bennell was unanimous.

Geelong Era Nears End
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Cats player Steve Johnson fires out a handpass under pressure during Round 17, 2008. Photo by Derrick den Hollander for AFANA.The Cats missed the Final Eight for the first time since 2006. With that and the departures of Steve Johnson, James Kelly and Mathew Stokes, one of the greatest eras in Geelong history is nearing an end. All three players are still considering careers elsewhere. Johnson said ahead of his last game that playing for the Cats and enjoying all the success alongside so many great teammates had been a dream come true. He went on to thank everyone at the club, teammates and staff alike as well as the supporters who stuck close even through the hard times. He believes the club is heading in the right direction and will have more success in the future.

Fletcher Leads Essendon Departures
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

After weeks of speculation, it is now official that Dustin Fletcher has retired. Fletcher was subbed out of his 400th game due to an abdominal injury and never played again.Dustin Fletcher is carried off by his captain Jobe Watson and Brent Stanton after playing his 400th game and becoming the third player in AFL history to do behind Michael Tuck and Kevin Bartlett. Photo by Kim Densham for AFANA. The club was hopeful he would be recovered for a send-off game, but it was not to be. Fletcher, 40, expressed disappointment that he could not get up for one more game. He pushed himself in the past few weeks to get back and interim coach Matthew Egan also lamented that one more game for the veteran defender had not proven possible. Egan said the Dons gave Fletcher every chance to play on Sunday but he ruled himself out.

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