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Sheppard and Townsend Retire

Sheppard Tackled

In early December West Coast running defender Brad Sheppard and Suns defender Jacob Townsend announced their retirements just a few days apart. Sheppard, 30, was forced to retire due to ongoing concussion issues. He suffered several head knocks late in the season, the last coming in round 22. The Eagles believed he could still play but gave him time to decide. He sought medical advice over concerns about his future health and opted to retire.

Sheppard was drafted in 2009 and played 216 games. He was named All-Australian in 2015 and won the best clubman award in 2020. He was also a key member of the 2018 premiership side. Coach Adam Simpson said, "His career speaks for itself, over 200 games, it's just really sad that it finishes this way. He still had plenty of good footy left. He retires as a man with universal respect at every level of the football club ... ".

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2020 Preseason and Rookie Draft

Goldsack Tackles Kennedy

The preseason and rookie drafts were held about a week after the National Draft. The rookie list was primarily used to officially relist senior players as rookies. They included Grant Birchall (Brisbane), Sam Reid (GWS Giants), Marty Gleeson (Essendon), Dylan Clarke (Essendon), Roarke Smith (Western Bulldogs), Daniel Venables (West Coast) and Bailey Banfield (Fremantle).

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List Changes: Bombers, Eagles, Saints, Cats, North

Jetta Gets His Kick Away

In mid-November, the AFL announced that club lists will be the following: 36 to 38 senior players, 4-6 Category A rookies and two Category B rookies. Rookie listed players will be allowed to play senior football without having to be elevated to the senior list. So many clubs have had to make hard calls on players, with some clubs even demoting senior players to rookie lists. Although there have already been some trades and free agent signings, the free agency period ran November 25 through November 29 with the first list lodgment due November 25 ahead of the free agency period.

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Supplemental Signings

Mitch Brown's Strong Grab

The Supplemental Signing Period (SSP) ran from December 1 through March 13, allowing clubs to sign rookie players provided they had room on their lists and salary caps. A number of clubs took advantage of the period to round out their playing lists.

ESSENDON

Concerned with the poor depth in the ruck and up forward with Tom Bellchambers injured and the return of Joe Daniher (groin) still indefinite, the Bombers have signed former swimming champion Henry Crauford under the SSP rules. Crauford, 22 years old and 6'3", competed in swimming at state and national levels before returning to football in 2016. He played for Norwood in the SANFL in 2019 and played 19 games for Norwood's reserves side. Several clubs showed some interest in Crauford but he was overlooked in last year's draft. Athletic and with good endurance for his size, he can play both ruck and as a tall forward.

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AFL Delistings And Retirements: Summary

Selwood Handballs

Before and after the trade period, October 7 through October 14, there were numerous delistings (released) as the clubs make room for the coming draftees and there were a few more retirements not previously reported:   (front page readers click on "Read more" to see all clubs)

BRISBANE

DELISTED: Ben Keays, Josh Walker, Ryan Bastinac and Nick Robertson
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2018 AFL Draft and Rookie Draft

The AFL draft was held over our Thanksgiving weekend. During the trade period, many clubs swapped draft picks to improve their positioning in the draft selection order. They were again allowed to do so at the draft ahead of making their player selections.

On to the selections, both for the main draft and rookie draft. It is club by club in alphabetical order. The number in front is the draft pick, followed by the player name, (club of origin), age, height, weight and position, followed by a brief profile. There was no preseason draft as all clubs advised the AFL they would not participate.

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Final List Changes Before Draft

Townsend Surrounded By Cats

Just before the AFL deadline of October 31 for club list submissions, nine clubs delisted players. Several clubs also signed delisted free agents.

Hawthorn delisted Will Langford, Brendan Whitecross and Kieran Lovell. Langford played 72 games for the Hawks including the 2014 premiership but managed only six games in 2018. Whitecross, a life member of the Hawks, played 111 games since 2007 in an injury-plagued career. He did play in VFL team Box Hill's 2018 premiership team.

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Tigers Break Premiership Drought

Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA from the MCG

The Richmond Tigers have pulled off a stunning Grand Final victory over the Adelaide Crows at the MCG, smashing the premiership favorites by a whopping 48 points in front of a raucous crowd of 100,021. The Tigers put any controversy about wearing their yellow “clash” strip away with a stellar performance, wiping away 37 years of pain for their massive band of loyal supporters.
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