The roof was open for today’s Saturday afternoon match at Marvel Stadium. The conditions overcast but comfortable and a good crowd rolled in through the first quarter. For those that didn’t make it until quarter time they missed eleven goals and eight lead changes. Quarters two and three were uneventful as the Swans slowly edged away before a final quarter that saw the Blues open up a window of opportunity but were unable to climb through it.
With Melbourne still under daylight savings the season opened during twilight at 7:25 PM at the MCG. A minute’s silence for the Christchurch massacre silenced the crowd before the 85,016 fans in the house roared at the first bounce. The Tigers would pour on the pressure through the likes of Graham, Cotchin and Martin from the start and the Blues would show little apparent improvement from their wooden spoon effort of 2018 in the first quarter.
First SSP Signings
The Blues have become the first club to sign replacement players under the recently introduced SSP (pre-season supplemental selection period) rule. With another season ending knee injury to defender Sam Docherty and the unexpected retirement of Tom Bugg, the Blues had two places open on their list. VFL star Michael Gibbons and Dandenong winger Matthew Cottrell, who have been training with the club, have been signed as rookies.
Carlton recruit Tom Bugg has put his burgeoning business ahead of his footy career, announcing his retirement. Bugg, 25, began his career with the Melbourne Demons in 2012 but was later traded to GWS. He played a total of 96 games for the two clubs. Cut by GWS, he was given a lifeline with Carlton in last November's rookie draft.
Bugg posted on Carlton's website, “My life ... has changed in a very short period of time which has been the reason behind this tough decision ... The players and staff ... have been so welcoming and supportive ... Everyone is working incredibly hard to take the club back to where it needs to be, you see that every day when you walk through the door.”
Bugg has a social media and "influencer" agency to which he wants to devote more time.
The AFL clubs continue to clear roster space ahead of the draft and another US basketball player will give it a go. Here's the latest:
Carlton delisted Sam Rowe, Jed Lamb, Sam Kerridge and Nick Graham. Rowe, 30, was a defender who played 99 games. He hopes to find another AFL home. Kerridge (42 games), Lamb (66 games) and Graham (48 games) will also look to seek opportunities elsewhere. Kerridge played 27 games with Adelaide 2012-2015 before being traded to the Blues.
Defender Liam Dawson has been delisted by Brisbane. Dawson, 22, played 18 games for the Lions in four years. He played only one game in the past two seasons but failed to add to that tally in 2018. Rohan Bewick, Claye Beams, Jake Barrett, Marco Paparone and Tom Bell have also been delisted while Cian Hanley has retired.
Bewick, the nephew of former Essendon 1993 and 2000 premiership player Darren, played 103 games for the Lions in eight seasons. Bewick, 28, celebrated his 100th AFL game milestone in 2017 and kicked 71 goals for the Lions throughout his career. In 2018,, he played three senior games.
Clubs which didn't make the post season have begun the process of releasing players they don't feel they need next season and opening spots on the roster for draftees. This is known as delisting. This is the second article in a series.
Essendon informed Brendon Goddard he would not be offered a new contract. Goddard, 33, was shocked at the decision while Coach John Worsfold admitted that it was a very tough call to make. An emotional Goddard, who has played every game this season, informed teammates ahead of the final game of the year.
It took until the third quarter for the Fremantle Dockers to break the shackles after a pedestrian start to take down bottom of the ladder dwellers the Carlton Blues. Carlton were struck a blow when their premier ruckman Matthew Kreuzer was omitted, possibly for the rest of the season, with an elevated heart rate when training the day before the match in Perth. After having lost five of the last six matches in the West, Carlton were going to need all the help they could get.
On a midwinters night in what was effectively a dead rubber, the best that could be hoped for was a close match with some big highlights. Neither brief was filled. Having the roof closed was a small mercy at Etihad Stadium for the 33,780 fans. On form this match would almost certainly be a bankable win to the Saints. In the end it was so, and no mercy was shown to the Blues on field. St Kilda won the toss and kicked to the Lockett end in what seems like a formality in the windless conditions. Carlton tonight were wearing their dirty grey clash strip with the curious fake pockets on their shorts.
Richmond ruckman Shaun Hampson has announced his retirement from AFL football, effective immediately. Hampson, 30, has not played a senior game in two seasons due to a chronic back condition. Although both he and the club's medical staff have worked hard to alleviate the condition, but it has not been successful, and Hampson decided to call it quits as he considered his long-term hearth and his family more important than getting out and playing footy again.