Demon champion Nathan Jones announced his retirement less than two weeks before the Grand Final. He informed his teammates via Zoom after leaving the club's hub in Perth to return home to be by his wife's side as she gave birth to twins. He flew out Saturday and made it just hours before she gave birth. Jones, 33, has not played a senior game since Round 14. He was an unused sub for Round 15 but was not recalled since. With West Australia's tight border restrictions, it was unlikely he would be allowed back across the border for the Grand Final. His career finishes with 101 wins, 198 defeats, and three draws. He kicked 141 goals in his 302 games. He was a Rising Star nominee in 2006 and 2007 and won the club best and fairest 2012, 2013, and 2014. He was co-captain in 2014 and 2017-19 and captain in 2015 and 2016.
A few days after the Semi-finals, West Coast announced three departures. Mark Hutchings and Brendon Ah Chee were delisted and ruckman Nathan Vardy retired. Hutchings, 30, played 120 games in nine seasons. He was a member of the 2018 Grand Final and played a key role in the game, shutting down Magpie star Steele Sidebottom.
Ah Chee, 27, was originally drafted by Port Adelaide in 2011 and played 27 games with the Power before being traded to the Eagles at the end of 2017. He was delisted and re-rookie listed by the Eagles at the end of 2019. He played 28 games for the Eagles. Vardy, 30, was drafted by Geelong in 2011 and played 25 games for the Cats before being traded to the Eagles at the end of 2016 and played 52 games including the 2018 premiership.
North Melbourne has delisted Taylor Garner, Dom Tyson, Will Walker, and Connor Menadue. Garner was drafted in 2012 and played 49 games. Tyson was originally drafted in 2011 by GWS and played 13 games before being traded to Melbourne at the end of 2013. He played 94 games for the Demons but was traded to North at the end of 2017. He managed just five games for the club. Walker was drafted in 2017 and played six games. Menadue was originally drafted by Richmond in 2014 and played 39 games. Unable to cement his place in the strong Tiger side, Menadue was delisted at the end of 2019. He signed with VFL club Werribee for the 2020 season but ended up sitting out the year when the VFL season was canceled due to COVID. He was picked up by North in the rookie draft and played seven games.
Young forward Tyson Stengle, 23, has officially been delisted. He was originally drafted by Richmond in the 2017 rookie draft and played two games before being traded to Adelaide at the end of 2018. However, he has had several off-field indiscretions. He was originally stood down last December but was officially stood down from the club this past March and has been playing with Woodville-West Torrens since. The Adelaide Crows released a statement confirming that the player and club had come to an agreement to end Stengle's employment. Stengle kicked 15 goals in 16 games for the Crows.
Adelaide defender Daniel Talia was told he will not receive a new contract. An off-season knee injury that required surgery and a foot injury shortly after - also requiring surgery kept him sidelined for the entire season. He also suffered some setbacks during his rehabilitation.
Talia, 29, was drafted in 2009 and played 200 games. He won All-Australian selection twice and has been a stalwart in the Adelaide defense. Other honors are the Rising Star award in 2012, the club's best and fairest in 2014, and was a member of the leadership group.
Port Adelaide midfielder and former Brisbane captain Tom Rockliff also announced his retirement. Rockliff, 31, has had a horror run of injuries this year. Early in May, he landed awkwardly during a SANFL match, damaging both knees. He was confined to a wheelchair in early May after surgery. Just a week later, he was hospitalized after complaining of acute calf pain. He was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis and the doctors found blood clots on his lungs. He has been on blood-thinning medication since, and he was barred from taking part in any contact drills when he returned to training duties several weeks ago.
It was a warm sunny day at the MCG, with the late 3.20 PMM start meaning that most of the game would be played in the shadows of the stands. Coming into this match Essendon were 14th and Carlton were 15th on the AFL ladder. A solid crowd of 57,447 witnessed the match. Anthony McDonald Tipungwuti kicked the opening goal of the match as Essendon looked slick early.
Mitch McGovern and Sam Walsh kicked the next two goals to show the Blues fans they were up for the fight and much of the quarter it was an even competition. But Essendon got their running game happening and Cale Hooker evened things up on the scoreboard. With Essendon on the rampage, it took a big mark by Eddie Betts in the goal square to keep the Blues in it. He landed heavily with the ball and limped back to kick the goal.
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.
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.
In late October, Essendon announced that club doctor Bruce Reid passed away at the age of 75. He was the AFL's longest-serving physician. He began as a player in the VFL, with three games with Hawthorn in 1966 and 1967 before receiving his medical degree in 1968. At that time, he was playing for Preston in the VFA.