Just ahead of round 21, Tiger champion Trent Cotchin and Geelong champion Issac Smith announced their retirements. In speaking to his teammates, Cotchin reflected on the “authentic human connection” and “love” he had experienced during his career. Cotchin then said, “I am going to miss with all my heart the relationships, memories and experiences ... I accept reality ... My body is somewhat slowing down and is older than it once was. I found my life purpose at Richmond. I look to the future ... because of what I found here at Richmond and what Richmond people taught me ... creating an environment to help other realize and fulfill their potential not only inspired me but helped me to overcome my own fears ... I have always given my best and left no stone unturned ... ".
Cotchin, a three-time premiership captain, Brownlow Medalist, and three-time Jack Dyer Medal (club best and fairest) winner, will finish on has played 309 games (barring finals), including a club-record 188 as captain. He is the only Tiger in the club’s history to captain three premiership teams.
He was drafted in 2007 and was impressive in the 15 games he played in his first season. In just his 29th game and third season, he captained the club for the first time, highlighting his leadership qualities. A tough and uncompromising midfielder, blessed with exquisite skills, poise and balance, Cotchin has excelled right throughout his lengthy AFL career. In 2012, he was appointed permanent captain.
Richmond CEO Brendon Gale described Cotchin as a towering figure in the club's history, "Obviously Trent has achieved so much as a player, however, it is the power and impact of his leadership that has impressed me the most. After being appointed Captain in 2012 at 22 years, Trent in his own way and through his own experience redefined leadership at our club. His renewed focus on self-understanding, self-acceptance, care, and connection was instrumental in unlocking the full potential of our players and team.” Gale added that Cotchin's leadership was so often on display in the big moments of big games, where a big tackle or fierce contested ball win would lift the team, "Amongst all the madness and mayhem, in the heat of battle, with the stakes at their highest, Trent so often recognized the moments that mattered and remained completely connected with his performance. Through the power of his leadership, he so often tipped the scales our way, and we will thank him for that forever."
AFL premiership captain 2017, 2019, 2020
Club best and fairest 2011. 2012 and 2014
Brownlow Medal: 2012
AFLCA Champion Player of the Year 2012
State of Origin - Victoria captain 2020
AFLPA best captain 2018
AFL Rising Star nominee 2008
Yiooken Award: 2011 (best on ground in the Dreamtime Game)
Richmond captain: 2013–2021
Geelong defender Isaac Smith has also decided to retire at the end of the season. Smith's tally at the end of it all, barring finals, will be 281 games between Hawthorn and Geelong. Smith said, “I am so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to play AFL football, it is every kids dream growing up and to have that play out for me across the last 13 seasons at two great clubs is something really special. From the time I walked into Hawthorn, and now being at Geelong, I have always felt right at home ... and to this day have made some very special friendships and bonds with a lot of people."
Smith was drafted by Hawthorn in 2010 and was a key player in Hawthorn's hat- trick of premierships 2013-2015. He played 210 games for the Hawks, service as co-vice-captain alongside Liam Shiels 2017 to 2019 and remained a member of the team's leadership group in 2020. At the end of 2020, he crossed to Geelong where he has played 70 games through Round 20, including the 2022 premiership. He became the oldest player to win the Norm Smith Medal.
Geelong General Manager Simon Lloyd said Smith’s team first approach and football knowledge will be missed, " ... Isaac has been an important member ... both on and off the field, highlighted by his strong mindset, competitive nature and balanced perspective on life and the game. Over his three seasons at the Cats, we have been blessed ... he is a unique individual and his ability to bring energy around the club is something that is going to be missed ... ".
Source: Tate Spiteri, Richmond Media Release. Tara Kalaja, Geelong Media Release
Article last changed on Sunday, August 27, 2023 - 12:41 PM EDT