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.
In early September, Collingwood announced the appointment of former Brisbane premiership player Craig McRae as the new senior coach. McRae, 47, beat out Richmond assistant Adam Kingsley after former Adelaide coach Don Pyke pulled out. McRae said of his appointment, "We're in the position of just getting as good as we can as quick as we can - we don't want to put a ceiling on that. I spoke to the playing group before and my appointment offers opportunity and possibility. I'm pretty pumped, let's face it, this is a significant part of my journey and it's been a long one." As a premiership player with Brisbane and an assistant at Hawthorn under Alastair Clarkson in 2021, he knows what it takes to win and said, "I have been fortunate to witness up close and share in some very successful programs and I know that teaching solid habits can build a winning habit of its own. "
Just days before the finals began and after weeks of speculation, Carlton dismissed senior coach David Teague. Also departing are assistants Brent Stanton, Dale Amos and John Barker. Teague had one more year to run on his contract, but an extensive review of the football department saw the club decide it needed change.
In an email sent to club members, new president Luke Sayers said: "It was identified that there had been confusion associated with the game plan ... the team has under-delivered in its ability to consistently defend, win the contest and apply pressure. This was highlighted, but not limited to, an overt, consistent focus on offense at a detriment to the defensive side of the game. While the easier option would have been to wait a further 12 months in the hope these deficiencies would change, the in-depth data gained ... left no doubt that such an option would not be in the best interests of the club ...".
Earlier this month, the Hawks - led by president Jeff Kennett - announced a succession plan which would see club legend Sam Mitchell take over as coach from Clarkson at the conclusion of next season. However, there were reports that neither Clarkson nor Mitchell were happy with the terms of the agreement. Meetings were held following Round 20 involving CEO Justin Reeves and football director Richie Vandenberg, as well as members of the senior leadership group, who communicated the situation wasn't working.
The Adelaide Crows have delisted Riley Knight, Patrick Wilson and Ayce Taylor. Knight, 25, was drafted in 2013 and played 55 games. Wilson, 25, was drafted in 2018 and played just two senior games but none this year. Taylor was added to the list during the preseason supplemental selection period but never played a senior game. Wilson, while playing in the SANFL, won two best and fairest awards.
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.
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."
Former Hawk and current Melbourne Demon Jordan Lewis, 33, has retired. His last game was the Round 23 match. In an unusual move, Hawthorn Coach Alastair Clarkson and Melbourne Coach Simon Goodwin both attended the press conference at which Lewis made his announcement. The idea to have both coaches present was Melbourne's and both coaches were full of praise for the impact Lewis had on their teams.
Goodwin said, "We had the opportunity to bring Jordan to the ... club, you heard what a great person he was,
Our top three on the AFANA AFL Power Poll all came through with wins this week, with Brisbane crushing the Suns, the Eagles defeating the Crows and Richmond too strong in the wet for the improving Carlton.
The Giants took a big hit on Friday night footy, registering a rare loss in Canberra while playing in even rarer conditions – snow! Yes, for the first time in a home and away AFL contest, snow fell at Manuka Oval in Canberra as Hawthorn gave the Giants a football lesson. Geelong took care of the Kangaroos in similar fashion, with Rhyce Shaw’s men managing just a single goal for the entire match.
Hawthorn champion Jarryd Roughead, who has spent most of the season playing with the Box Hill Hawks in the VFL and mentoring younger players, has been recalled for just his eighth game for the year. It will be his farewell game as he has announced his retirement..
Roughhead, 32, debuted in 2005 after being the second selection in the 2004 draft and went on to captain the side, earn All-Australian selection and be a member of several premiership sides. In making the announcement, Roughead said, "I’ve had an amazing 15-year journey ...