Earlier this month, the Hawks - led by president Jeff Kennett - announced a succession plan which would see club legend Sam Mitchell take over as coach from Clarkson at the conclusion of next season. However, there were reports that neither Clarkson nor Mitchell were happy with the terms of the agreement. Meetings were held following Round 20 involving CEO Justin Reeves and football director Richie Vandenberg, as well as members of the senior leadership group, who communicated the situation wasn't working.
In mid-April, Collingwood signed a basketball player from Senegal. Bassirou Faye, 18, has committed to the Pies on an International Rookie Scholarship. Currently still in his homeland, he will relocate to Australia in late May. Faye, who stands 202 cm (6'5") has never played Australian Rules but had been training with the Oakleigh Chargers in the NAB league and looked impressive with his athleticism. He was forced to return to Senegal due to visa issues.
Faye originally arrived in Australia hoping for a career in basketball but switched to footy through former Tiger and Hawk Tyrone Vickery. Oakleigh's general manager put Faye through a two-month training program at the beginning of this year before Faye joined the Chargers for several sessions.
Just as Round Five was getting underway, Jonathon Patton announced his immediate retirement from all levels of football. Patton, 27, was the number one draft selection in 2011, being snapped up by the Giants. He has struggled with injuries across his eight-year career. He played 89 games for GWS before being traded to Hawthorn at the end of 2019 but has managed just six games for the Hawks. The injury issues are only one part of the story. In January, he was stood down from Hawthorn after at least four women complained that he sent them lewd and explicit photos, videos, and messages on social media. He was later hospitalized for mental health issues and released in March. Since his release, the AFL Integrity Unit is free to interview him and ramp up their investigations.
In making the announcement, Patton said, “I have made the difficult decision to retire ... to focus on my health, wellbeing, and future outside of the game.
With a rare tropical cyclone approaching Perth’s inland areas, the Fremantle Dockers withstood a stormy challenge from the Hawthorn Hawks to win a second home game. The Hawks were again slow to start, allowing Fremantle to dominate in the first term. If the Dockers had kicked accurately for a goal in the blustery conditions, the game would have been over at quarter time.
Returning from a forced layoff due to concussion, Nat Fyfe began in the center of the ground for the Dockers and the home team dominated clearances in the first quarter. When Fyfe was not winning clearances, it was veteran David Mundy or Caleb Serong. Sean Darcy and Matt Taberner were active in the forward line and Taberner finished with two goals for the quarter. The Hawks had scored only two behinds (worth a point each).
The AFL Supplementary Selection Period (SSP) ended on March 9 with eight clubs selecting 12 players. Several had been delisted by other clubs and were invited to train with other clubs in the hope of being selected. Below are the clubs and their selections.
The Australian Sports Brain Bank has revealed the late Shane Tuck had a severe case of CTE, making him the third AFL player - after Graham "Polly Farmer and Danny Frawey - to have suffered from the crippling neurological disorder. The former Richmond star died in July last year at the age of 38 after a lengthy battle with mental health issues. Tuck’s family agreed to donate his brain to the Brain Bank and it was revealed he had stage three CTE. Neuropathologist Michael Buckland said, “It’s the worst case I’ve seen so far.
Hawthorn released a statement to announce the passing of club legend Graham Arthur on January 11 at the age of 84. He was a star forward, playing 232 games and kicking 201 goals 1955-1968. He captained the Hawks to their first premiership in 1961.
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).
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.
Former Hawthorn star John Platten recently spoke to zerohanger.com about the issues he is having due to multiple concussions he suffered during his playing days and believes the huge insurance payout to Shaun Smith has set a milestone. He himself has joined in a class action suit against the AFL.