Just days after Stratton, Puopolo and Simpson decided to bow out, so did Port forward Justin Westhoff. He will see out the season. Westhoff, 33 and the father of four, is in second spot for games played with the Power. After Round 18, his game tally is 281. He said of his retirement and career, “I’m not getting any younger ... and it just seems to be the right time ... Having a young family, I don’t want to miss much more of what my kids are doing, so it just felt like the right time. Obviously, I’m still looking forward to the rest of this season and hopefully some success at the end of it, but I’m happy with what I’ve done ... To still be around and to have experienced the things I have over the 14 years, it’s obviously going to be pretty tough to go, but it’s something I’ll look back on ... and ... be pretty proud of, and to share that with my family and friends is really important to me. It goes quickly but there’s no way I would have believed you if back when I was drafted you would have told me I would still be around now and had the friendships I have made, so I feel pretty privileged.”
Coach Ken Hinkley described Westhoff as an exceptional character who will leave a legacy among his younger teammates, "Justin is a quiet and unassuming person who doesn’t say a lot, but every word he utters is important. He has added value to our side with his ability to play a number of roles ... Westy is everything you wish all players could be - selfless, humble and reliable. He’s a true team player. He is so well respected and valued by his teammates and everyone associated with the club and it’s a mark of his selfless character that he has elected to make a call now on his future so as to avoid any distraction for the team during finals.”
Westhoff was drafted in the 2006. He won the Gavin Wanganeen Medal as the best player under 21 in his first season. He also won the John Cahill Medal (club best and fairest) in 2018.
Just as Westhoff was announcing his retirement, the club informed midfielder Joe Atley, defender Riley Grundy and forwards Tobin Cox and Wylie Buzza that they were going to be delisted. Atley, 22, was drafted in 2016 and debuted in 2017. He played a further two games that year but managed only one more match in 2019. Brother Shaun plays for North Melbourne. Grundy, 20, was drafted in 2018 but never made his senior debut. He has played 14 games in the SANFL. He was delisted at the end of 2019 but then redrafted as a rookie. He is the younger brother of Collingwood's Brodie. Cox, 21, was also drafted in 2018. His only game was in the 2020 preseason but he played 15 games in the SANFL and kicked 30 goals. Buzza, 23, was originally drafted by Geelong in 2005 and debuted in 2007. He played only nine games with the Cats and crossed to Port as a delisted free agent at the end of 2019. He was unable to break into the strong Port senior side.
The playing futures of midfielder Jake Patmore and defender Martin Frederick are up in the air as the pair have been told by the club they will not be considered for senior selection for the rest of the year. Patmore was drafted in 2017 and Frederick in 2019. Neither has played a senior game. The club must wait on an AFL decision regarding club list sizes and Category B rookies before retaining or delisting the pair.
Richmond has signed basketballer Mate Colina from the University of Hawaii as a Category B Rookie. Colina, 21, grew up in Melbourne but has been in Hawaii for the past two years. Standing 213cm (appx 6'"9"), he is 2cm taller than Collingwood's Mason Cox. He is cousin to Tiger defender Noah Balta and has a close relationship with ruckman Ivan Soldo and ruck coach Ivan Maric through family bonds which span several generations. He reportedly has incredible aerobic capacity and believes he could play a variety of positions. He recently was in Melbourne and trained with Shane Edwards with Richmond General Manager of Football Talent Blair Hartley, and Senior Club Advisor Neil Balme watching on.
Colina remarked on his signing, “It’s pretty surreal. I couldn’t be prouder to be with such a prestigious club that has such a rich history and culture. I think it is a club that ... would help me become a better person as well and a leader ... I think I will have the ability to both follow the ball in the ruck or be forward, and really provide a presence that can mark (catch) the ball.”
Hartley said he was thrilled to sign Colina, “We see a lot of transferable skills in Mate ... we’re excited by what he might be able to achieve. Mate is already a highly professional and diligent athlete, so we feel he is well placed to take on the challenge of becoming an AFL player ...".
Colina will see out the basketball season in Hawaii before returning to Richmond in March.
GWS defender Aidan Corr has decided to exercise his right as a restricted free agent to return to Melbourne. Corr, 26, was drafted by GWS in 2012 and his game tally at the end of Round 18 is 99. North Melbourne is believed to be interested in his services. He and his partner want to return home to be close to family. While the club expressed disappointment, they understand his reasons. As a restricted free agent, under the rules, GWS would have the right to match or better any offer Corr receives, but indicated they would not stand in his way.
GWS free agent Zac Williams has also told the club he wanted to explore his options. North, Carlton and Essendon have all shown interest. However, Williams, 26, has nominated the Blues as his preferred destination. It is also believed that the defender will sign a lucrative long-term deal with Carlton. Williams has played 113 games over eight seasons with the Giants. Carlton is also eyeing Essendon's running defender Adam Saad and Tiger Jack Graham
The club expressed disappointment but noted that free agency is "... part of the current football landscape ... ".
No sooner had their season concluded than the Blues started their own list cull. Four players have been delisted: Ben Silvagni, Hugh Goddard, Finbar O'Dwyer and Darcy Lang. Silvagni is the son of club legend Stephen Silvagni, grandson of premiership player Sergio and brother of Jack, who remains at the club. He was drafted in 2018 bur never played a senior game. Goddard, the cousin of former Saint Brendon, was drafted by St Kilda in2014 and played just 10 games before being traded to Carlton. He played just two senior games with the Blues. Lang was drafted by Geelong in 2013 and played 44 games with the Cats before he was traded to Carlton at the end of 2017. He managed just 20 games in three seasons as he battled ankle injuries. He plyed just one game in 2020. Goddard played none. O'Dwyer was drafted in 2018 and spent his time in the VFL without making his senior debut.
Just ahead of the final round, field umpire Shaun Ryan announced that he would retire at the end of the season. Ryan, a barrister by trade, debuted in 2003 and had previously retired at the of 2011 but came back in 2015. Of his umpiring career, he said, "To be involved in so many amazing games and, most of all, to do it with the most amazing group humans ... has been a huge privilege. Like a lot of ... kids growing up, the dream was to play AFL football. I worked out pretty quickly that wasn’t going to happen. Umpiring gave me the opportunity to be involved with the greatest sport at the highest level ... my overall feeling is gratitude."
AFL Head of Umpiring Grant Williams thanked Ryan for his outstanding contribution and dedication to the game and also wished him luck for the upcoming finals series and the future, "Shaun’s contribution to the game and to the AFL Umpiring community over almost two decades has been outstanding ... To have umpired in eight AFL Grand Finals across his career is a great achievement and a testament to his commitment ... and consistency across the years. Shaun has worked extremely hard and dedicated a great deal of his time to the umpiring community and that is something we are very grateful for. A strong leader and ambassador for umpiring across all levels of the game, Shaun will be greatly missed ...".
Games: 346 AFL
All Australian: 2010, 2019
Grand Finals: 2008, 2009, 2010 (2), 2011, 2017, 2018, 2019
AFL Life Member
Sources: Loukas Founten - PA Media Release, Jaimee Damon - Richmond Media Release, afl.com.au, theage.com.au, AFL Record Season Guides
Article last changed on Friday, January 15, 2021 - 12:07 AM EST