In early October, the AFL announced four new members for AFL life membership. The new members are Neil Craig, Peggy O'Neal, Kevin Sheehan, and Greg Swann for their respective roles within the game. The formal induction will take place next year during the 2024 season launch. Six players who reached 300 games also qualify by rule. They are: Luke Breust, Dustin Martin, Luke Parker, Isaac Smith, Callan Ward, and Jack Ziebell.
Daniel Howe, 27, has retired while Carlton has delisted Josh Honey, Sam Philp and Lochie O’Brien. Brisbane small forward Nakia Cockatoo retired. Gold Coast has delisted Brodie McLaughlin and Jed Anderson while Charlie Constable has decided to retire to pursue other opportunities away from football. Plus, we have some trade notes in this report.
Howe was originally drafted by Hawthorn as a midfielder and defender. He played 96 games for the Hawks before being delisted at the end of 2021. He was drafted as a rookie by North Melbourne inn 2022 and played 10 games for the Kangaroos. North Melbourne general manager Todd Viney said, “Dan has only been at the club for one season, but he’s had a significant impact on the group in his time here. He brought a professional attitude to his training and preparation, and gave his all in every game he played, whether at AFL or VFL level."
Adelaide delisted McPherson, Jackson Hately, Tariek Newchurch, and Tyler Brown while Port Adelaide delisted Riley Bonner, Trent Dumont, Brynn Teakle, and Nathan Barkla. Luke Dunstan retired from Melbourne and Gold Coast saw Connor Blakely hang up the boots.
McPherson played 28 AFL games since being drafted in 2017. He had to overcome a series of soft tissue injuries and played nine games. He won both the Mark Bickley Emerging Talent Award and Brian Sando OAM Award for professionalism on Club Champion night. The hard-working defender was a regular in Adelaide’s senior side in 2021 when he played 18 games, however injuries have restricted him to just one AFL game since then. Hately has also played 28 AFL games including 15 with the Crows after he joined Adelaide from GWS at the end of the 2020. He played 11 games in 2021 and one this year while performing strongly in the SANFL. Newchurch joined Adelaide as a Category B rookie from its Next Generation Academy in 2020 and has been a valuable contributor to the Crows’ SANFL side for the past three seasons, as has Tyler Brown who joined the club as a rookie in January and played one AFL game for the Crows to go with 27 at his former club Collingwood.
Three clubs made roster changes as the AFL season winds down. Geelong delisted three and Adelaide is facing a trade situation with Shane McAdam. For Brisbane stalwart Daniel Rich, this season will be the last.
Daniel Rich, 33, was drafted in 2008 and soon established himself as an excellent defender. Rich has spent the latter part of the season in the VFL after battling injuries. Ahead of the finals, he has played 375 games but is under no illusion he will be selected. In making the announcement he said, “It’s been a pretty crazy journey with plenty of ups and downs, I have met so many amazing people and close friends ... and I love this Club.
A quirk of the English language is that the collective noun for crows is "a murder". The Adelaide Crows didn't murder the West Coast Eagles, but they did their best to put a damper on the Eagles' farewell celebrations for retiring former captain Shannon Hurn and current captain Luke Shuey, as well as injured star ruckman Nic Naitanui. A quirk in the AFL regulations cost the Crows a position in this year's final series, when a video review of a goal umpire error at the end of last week's one point loss against Sydney, was not applied. (The umpire incorrectly judged a Crow's shot on goal as a behind [worth one point], instead of a goal [worth six points]). The Crows could be excused for feeling deflated and disinterested in the game against the Eagles. They had nothing to gain, apart from perhaps proving a point that they deserved to be finalists. Alternatively, the Eagles had every reason to farewell their three retiring stalwarts with a win. A win for the Eagles was not an impossible dream. The previous week they had defeated the Western Bulldogs, in Melbourne, which ultimately led to the Bulldogs missing the finals. The stage was set for an intriguing contest.
Adelaide wingman Paul Seedsman has announced his retirement after 132 AFL games spread across 13 seasons. Seedsman, 31, has been on the inactive list for the past two seasons due to ongoing concussion symptoms. He suffered a bad head knock during the 2022 preseason training. He played 83 games for the Crows after 49 games at Collingwood. His decision to retire follows a recommendation from an independent AFL medical concussion panel that he no longer participate in contact sport.
Seedsman said while he was disappointed his AFL career had come to an end, it was in the best interest of his health and wellbeing.
In mid-March, Melbourne law firm Margalit Injury Lawyers filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of over 60 former players, seeking compensation for the concussions they suffered during their careers and the resultant post-concussion issues they have suffered since. The players include former premiership player Max Rooke (Geelong), Shaun Smith (Melbourne), Liam Picken (Western Bulldogs) and Darren Jarman (Adelaide and Hawthorn). The widow of the late Shane Tuck has also signed on in the suit. Smith previously won a million dollar plus insurance payout due the concussions he suffered.
Outside the court, the firm's leading lawyer Michel Margalit said the firm was seeking about AUD$ 2 million (US$1.35 million) plus medical expenses per player. Margalit said it could cost the AFL close to 1 billion $AUD (US$666 million).She said it was not about "bringing down the AFL", but getting the compensation for the players, Rooke played 135 games for the Cats 2001-2010 and is the lead plaintiff. He, like many of the others sustained permanent and life-altering injuries as a result of concussion-related injuries and because of the AFL’s negligence. Margalit said, “Their careers are finished and years later they find these concussion-related injuries creeping in and affecting their ability to work, their ability to have a happy family life."
The Supplemental Signing Period (SSP) started several months ago and ended February 15. It allows clubs with available spots to sign players as rookies. Below are the clubs and the players they signed.
The Adelaide Crows had two spots open on their list with Fischer McAsey and Paul Seedsman both being placed on the inactive list for the 2023 season. They signed former Collingwood midfielder Tyler Brown as a rookie for this season. Brown has signed a one year deal. Brown is the son of former Magpie premiership player Gavin and played 27 games for Collingwood before being delisted at the end of 2022. He had battled illness and injury in stint with the Pies.
Roster changes in the leadup to the AFL draft later this month continued at Gold Coast, Essendon, and Adelaide. In early November, inaugural Sun Rory Thompson announced his retirement citing ongoing knee issues as the reason. Thompson, 31, played 106 games for the Suns and leaves as the longest serving player in the club's short history. He was a local zone selection for the club and was one of only four players from the Gold Coast region selected for their inaugural 2011 season.
Two knee reconstructions disrupted his career, and he made a comeback early this season after almost four years on the sidelines. In making the announcement, Thompson said, “It’s been such a long journey with so many ups and downs and wonderful people ... I’m super grateful to the Suns for giving me that opportunity so many years ago as a young kid and having stuck with me all this time, it’s pretty hard to put into words what that means to me ... Towards the end of last year it was getting hard to back up games and keep my body moving and it just felt like the right time ... I ... didn’t think I would get drafted, so to go to where I am now after 14 years, I’m very proud of myself and the work I’ve put in and very grateful to the people that have helped me get this far.”
In mid-October, the Kangaroos and Adelaide traded draft selections, allowing the Roos to move up a notch or two in the draft order. North received selection 23 in this year's draft in exchange for pick 59 and a future second-round selection. Gold Coast, Sydney, and West Coast delisted players while Essendon looks to get twin "favorite sons".
The Kangaroos also delisted midfielder Jared Polec. Polec was originally drafted by Brisbane but was later traded to Port Adelaide. He joined North at the end of the 2018 season and played every game in 2019. However, he was restricted to 18 games over the next two seasons due to injury. He was delisted at the end of 2021 and added to the rookie list. Polec, 30, was hampered by a foot injury early in the season and required surgery.