Just as Round Seven was concluded, the footy community was mourning the death of game and Geelong icon Frank Costa. Costa, 83. succumbed to cancer. Costa, a successful businessman in the fruit and vegetable industry, assumed the presidency of Geelong in 1998 when the club was virtually on its knees - badly in debt and without any finals success in decades. Under his leadership, the debt was all but erased, the club became a dominant powerhouse and again tasted premiership success in 2007 and 2009. When he stepped down and handed the reins over to Colin Carter in 2010, the club was in a very strong position both on and off the field, going on to win the 2011 premiership. He is also responsible for bringing in current CEO Brian Cook and former coach Mark Thompson. At one point the trio made a pact that they would remain until the Cats won a premiership. Under his guidance, the club's home ground - GMBHA Stadium - was revitalized, upgraded, and expanded.
Just a week before the Christmas holiday, ace Tiger defender Alex Rance - some say the best defender of the past decade - announced his immediate retirement. It came as a shock after he missed the entire 2019 season due to a ruptured ACL in the season opener. Rance was hopeful of returning late in the 2019 season to play in the Grand Final and was event training for two weeks prior, but eventually decided he was not ready.
He said in a statement that he felt the time was right so he could "... put the same time and energy into other areas of my life that need it, and to prioritize the more important things to me, such as my spiritual growth (a devout Jehovah's Witness), my family and friends.”
There are many adjectives one could use to describe Kevin Sheedy - pioneer, ambassador, quirky, madcap, innovator, eccentric, master coach, a legend in his own time. Now the latter is official as Sheedy, already in the Hall of Fame, was elevated to Legend Status. He becomes the 28th Legend.
The 2018 AFL Hall of Fame ceremonies were held on the Tuesday evening after Round 10. Along with Sheedy's elevation, six players were inducted - Terry Wallace, David Neitz, Wayne Johnston, Matthew Scarlett, Mel Whinnen (WA) and Bernie Naylor (WA).