As the season nears to a close, more clubs not in contention have made cuts to their lists and a few more players have announced their retirements.
The Collingwood Magpies defeated the West Coast Eagles in an epic battle by one point, to knock the Eagles out of the final series. The Eagles had been unbeatable in their seven home ground games this year but were knocked off their perch when it mattered most. The Pies were thrashed by the Eagles at Optus Stadium earlier in the year and few pundits expected them to come out of a COVID-19 lockdown and trouble the home team. With their respective seasons on the line, both teams began the match nervously with players dropping marks (catches) and fumbling the ball in the opening minutes.
The AFL recently listed the 40 nominees for the 2020 All-Australian team. Out of those, 22 were selected. The 40 nominees were:
BRISBANE: Harris Andrews (2019 AA), Hugh McCluggage, Lachie Neale (2019 AA)
CARTON: Jacob Weitering
COLLINGWOOD: Taylor Adams, Brayden Maynard, Darcy Moore, Scott Pendlebury (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2019 AA, nominated 2009, 2015, 2016, 2018)
ESSENDON: Jordan Ridley
FREMANTLE: Nat Fyfe (2014, 2015, 2019 (captain) All Australian, nominated 2011, 2013), Luke Ryan, Matt Taberner
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.
Former Demon Shaun Smith, who last year revealed his mental health struggles due to multiple concussions, has received an unpresented insurance payout of $1.02 million. The insurance company from which he took the policy accepted that Smith was "totally and permanently disabled" due to the head knocks he suffered as a player.
Round 18 was Essendon Coach John Worsfold's 105th and final game with the Bombers. He has urged all the "Essendon people" to get behind his successor, assistant coach Ben Rutten. He and the club have been under heavy scrutiny, especially after the resounding defeat at the hands of Port Adelaide in Round 17.
In the wake of their dismal 2020 season, North Melbourne has taken a sledge hammer to their list with 11 players told they are being delisted. Jamie Macmillan, Majak Daw, Jasper Pittard, Ben Jacobs, Paul Ahern, Mason Wood, Sam Durdin, Marley Williams, Joel Crocker, Lachie Hosie and Tom Murphy are out of the club.
The Western Bulldogs survived early pressure from the Fremantle Dockers to overcome their young opponents and jump back into the top eight, at the expense of the Melbourne Demons. The Dogs had to beat the Dockers to make the finals and were the more desperate team as the game progressed. The Dockers' cause was not helped with the late withdrawal of their leading scorers, Matthew Taberner and Michael Walters due to injury. The Dockers were already missing four of their first-choice defenders, so a win against the desperate dogs was always against the odds.
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.