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.
Shortly after the trade period concluded, Brisbane, Melbourne and North Melbourne delisted some players.
The Lions cut Tom Joyce, Brock Smith, rookie Connor Ballenden, and Cam Ellis-Yolmen. The club plans to re-select Ellis-Yolmen (who joined the club at the end of 2019 as a free agent) as a rookie. Ellis-Yolmen managed just nine games in 2020 and none in 2021. Ballenden, a Lions academy product, played three AFL matches, while Joyce and Smith never managed a senior game. The Lions are considering offering them VFL playing contracts if they fail to find another AFL home.
The AFL trade period commenced at the beginning of October and ended on October 13. Just ahead of its start, George Hewett left the Swans and signed with Carlton as a free agent. Originally from South Australia, Hewett was drafted by Sydney in 2013 and played 120 games. The tough midfielder can win the ball and putting plenty of tackling pressure on the opposition. As compensation, Sydney received an end-of-second-round draft selection.
Collingwood has signed Nick Daicos on a four-year deal as a father-son selection. The Magpies had already indicated they would match any bid from rival clubs to secure Daicos. Gold Coast was interested in him but struck a deal with the Pies. Collingwood traded their 2022 second, third and fourth-round selections to the Suns in exchange for picks 22, 46, 58 and 79 in this year’s Draft as well as a future fourth-round pick for next year. This gives Collingwood the draft points needed to secure Daicos.
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.
Congratulations to the Melbourne Demons!
Winners of the 2021 AFL Grand Final
Melbourne Demons: 4.5 5.9 12.11 21.14 (140) Western Bulldogs: 1.2 6.3 8.3 10.6 (66)
Norm Smith Medalist: Christian Petracca
Attendance: 61,118 at Optus Stadium in Perth
A full match report will be available soon.
The day after the Blues announced Michael Voss as their new coach, they announced the passing of long-time president John Elliott, just 10 days shy of his 80th birthday. His son Tom, a talk show host on radio station 3AW, confirmed the news, "It is with great sadness that we announce the death of John Dorman Elliott. He died Thursday evening at the Epworth Hospital in Richmond after a short illness. Dad will be greatly missed by his four children Tom, Caroline, Edward, and Alexandra. Their partners Elise, Craig, and Georgia plus grandchildren Henry, Sebastian, India, Ava, Lottie, and Mathilda will remember forever their 'Grandpa Jack'. Others to mourn his passing are his brother Ross, sister-in-law Jenny, former partner Joanne, and second wife Amanda. There are also numerous nieces, nephews, grandchildren." Elliott, who also served as federal president of the Liberal Party, suffered a fall at his home in early September.
Finals matches between the Demons and Bulldogs have been sparse over the years. Of course, the Demons are well ahead of the Bulldogs with 12 premierships to two. The first finals match was a semi-final in 1946 which Melbourne won 17.18 (120) to 15.12 (102). They played a Preliminary Final in 1961. The Bulldogs won it 13.7 (85) to 8.10 (58). In between those two matches was the 1954 Grand Final - the only Grand Final between the Demons and Bulldogs until now. The Bulldogs prevailed 15.12 (102) to 7.9 (51) for their first premiership since entering the competition in 1925. The Demons went on to appear in four more Grand Finals since 1954, winning two against Collingwood in 1960 and 1964 and losing two against Hawthorn in 1988 and Essendon in 2000.
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.
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.
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.