The AFL clubs continue to clear roster space ahead of the draft and another US basketball player will give it a go. Here's the latest:
Carlton delisted Sam Rowe, Jed Lamb, Sam Kerridge and Nick Graham. Rowe, 30, was a defender who played 99 games. He hopes to find another AFL home. Kerridge (42 games), Lamb (66 games) and Graham (48 games) will also look to seek opportunities elsewhere. Kerridge played 27 games with Adelaide 2012-2015 before being traded to the Blues.
Lamb played 12 games with Sydney in 2013 and 10 with GWS 2014-2015. Graham won the Morrish Medal (Under 18 TAC Cup equivalent of the Brownlow). Lamb has been offered the opportunity to train with Carlton over the preseason in a bid to be re-drafted by the club later this year.
Irishman Ciaran Byrne, 23, retired in early October. Byrne was recruited in 2014 as a Category B rookie but injuries including a ruptured ACL in 2016 restricted the defender to just 22 games. He returned to Ireland to play Gaelic football but again injury struck as, just days after leaving Australia, he broke his ankle in a Gaelic game. Fellow Irish recruit Cillian McDaid, selected as an international rookie in 2018, has also decided to return home.
Carlton has signed Australian basketballer Matthew Owies as a Category B Rookie on a two year contract. After residing in Hawaii and Seattle on athletic scholarships for the past two years, Owies will travel back to Australia. As an all-round athlete growing up, Owies was touted as an elite junior footballer and basketballer, playing junior footy and representing the Melbourne Tigers in the Victorian basketball competition. He won five national championships with the Tigers from under-13s to under-18s and earned MVP honors on three occasions. Also representing his state in basketball, Owies led the under-20 Victorian team to a gold medal at the 2015 Australian National Junior Championships, and at an international level, he won a silver medal at the 2014 FIBA under-17s World Championship in Dubai. List manager Stephen Silvagni said Owies is a long-term prospect but sees him as a small forward who could push into the midfield. Owies said he believes his agility and endurance will be assets.
Collingwood has signed two Irish players. Mark Keane Anton Tohill, both just 18, attended an international AFL Academy in the USA last January and tested exceptionally well at a similar combine in Europe. At the recent AFL Draft Combine in Melbourne, Keane finished second in the goalkicking test won by Collingwood Next Generation Academy prospect, Isaac Quaynor. Tohill, at the same event, finished 12th in the overall kick testing. Both recorded excellent speed and agility results. Both have also spent the past year training under the tutelage of former Magpie Marty Clarke. Clarke, Collingwood’s first international recruit, played 73 games for Collingwood in two stints with the club, from 2007-09 and 2012-14. Anton is the son of former Gaelic and International Rules star Anthony Tohill who spent time with the Melbourne Demons in the 1990s. Collingwood national recruiting manager Derek Hine said both players could be athletic key position players. He believes Tohill could be a utility who could play in defense or forward with an occasional stint in the ruck with Keane, who is strong in the air and has natural game sense, could be a key forward or defender.
St Kilda has signed US college basketballer Sam Alabakis as a Category B rookie. At 6'9", Alabakis, 21, is now the equal tallest player in the competition alongside fellow countryman Mason Cox and Fremantle giant Aaron Sandilands. He will partake in the club’s preseason and will be given every opportunity to forge a career at AFL level.
St Kilda has delisted Maverick Weller. Weller, 28, played 89 games for the Saints after 32 games with Gold Coast. Injuries restricted him to 13 games in 2018. His younger brother Lachie plays for Gold Coast.
Eagle premiership player Mark LeCras has decided to retire. LeCras, 32, said that after meeting with club officials and Coach Adam Simpson and discussions with his family, he felt the time was right - especially with the Grand Final victory being his final game. LeCras, who narrowly missed selection when the Eagles beat Sydney in the 2006 Grand Final, could have been excused for thinking that getting to a Grand Final was normal with the club getting there in his first two seasons on the list. But he had to wait another decade before that next chance came but that was ruined by a the loss to Hawthorn in 2015. LeCras said, “I couldn’t be happier after playing in a winning Grand Final with so many blokes who will be mates for the rest of my life. The last few weeks have been something really special and I’ll never forget the feeling when the final siren sounded. I was starting to wonder whether I’d ever get the chance to experience the elation that I have heard so many other players talk about. It’s everything they said and a little more.”
LeCras, who became the 20th Eagle to reach the 200-game milestone in round four this season, stands among the finest players to represent the club across its 32 years. CEO Trevor Nisbett best summed up his contribution, “Mark has been a wonderful player ... over the last 14 seasons ... He has experienced everything, from the lows of Grand Final defeats and a knee reconstruction to the ultimate achievement of playing in a premiership team ... Every West Coast fan probably felt something a little special for him when he was finally presented with his premiership medallion. No one was more deserving. Aside from what he has done on the field, he has been an outstanding servant for our football club for many years and has been an important personality within our squad ... ".
Aside from his 219 games, LeCras retires as the third highest goalkicker in club history behind teammate and close mate Josh Kennedy (551 goals) and Peter Sumich (514) who was the spearhead in the Eagles’ first era of sustained success through the 1990s. Perhaps his signature performance came in a game against Essendon in Round 16, 2010 when he kicked 12 goals and 2 behinds, just a few weeks after Tiger Jack Riewoldt kicked 10 against Gold Coast.
West Coast Eagles life member 2015
Club Champion (John Worsfold Medal) 2010
Leading goal-kicker 2009 (58 goals), 2010 (63 goals)
All Australian 2010
Premiership player 2018
Sources: Danielle Balaes, Carlton Media Release, Anna Carew-Reid, Collingwood Media Release, Claire White, St Kilda Media Release, Ben Roberts, West Coast Media Release, AFL Record Season Guide
Article last changed on Wednesday, November 07, 2018 - 2:05 PM EST