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Tiger Caddy Retires

Just ahead of round eight, inaugural Sun and two-time Tiger premiership midfielder/forward Josh Caddy, 29, announced his immediate retirement after 12 injury-riddled seasons in which he played 174 games and kicked 164 goals. He was originally drafted by the Suns in 2010 ahead of their entry into the AFL and played 24 games in two seasons. He requested a trade back to Victoria for family reasons and moved to Geelong at the end of 2012. He went on to play 71 games for the Cats before being traded to Richmond at the end of 2016.

He had an excellent first season as a Tiger, playing 22 games, including the premiership. He followed up in 2018 with 46 goals, was nominated for All-Australian, and was in the top 10 for the Coleman Medal (AFL goal kicking) and Richmond's best and fairest. The next season in 2019 saw him start as a forward but he was later moved to a wing position. He was a member of Richmond's 2019 premiership team.

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AFL Life Memberships and Jack Titus Award Announced

Grant Birchall vs Jordan Roughead

In early February, the AFL announced the next inductees for life membership and the Jack Titus Award, which is given annually for service to the game. The awards and the memberships will be officially presented at the league's AGM in March.

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Free Agency and Other Signings

Campbell Clips Kersten

The AFL free agency period opened in early November and ran through November 9. Several delisted players found new homes. Players who have been delisted can join any club that offers them a contract and would therefore avoid having to enter the AFL draft later this month. All clubs then filed a list lodgment (current playing lists) on November 10 and another round begins on November 10 and runs through November 15.

Sacked Crow Tyson Stengle joined Geelong as a delisted free agent. Stengle, 22, played two games for Richmond and 16 games for the Crows over a four-year period but a string of off-field indiscretions saw the Crows decide to cancel his contract. In the SANFL this year, Stengle kicked 44 goals in 19 games, including nine goals in three finals. He is set to reunite with former teammate Eddie Betts, who has taken up an off-field role at the Cats.

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Shane Mumford Retires

Mumford Battles Magpie Adams for Sherrin

In late October, ruckman Shame Mumford announced his retirement, this time for good. Mumford, 35, retired at the end of 2017 due to a chronic foot issue and took up a role as ruck coach with GWS, where he had been playing. The foot problem was resolved and he came out of retirement in 2019. Mumford was drafted as a rookie by Geelong in 2007 and played 21 games for the Cats before being traded to Sydney at the end of 2009. He soon established himself as one of the most imposing ruckmen in the competition. He played 79 games with the Swans, including the 2012 premiership.

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2021 Delistings and Retirements, Part Six

Nathan Jones Gets His Kick Away

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.

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Delistings and Retirements, 2021 Part Five

Brooksby Tackled

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.

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Footy World Mourns Costa

Gary Ablett, Jr and Frank Costa

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. 

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2021 AFL Life Members, Jack Titus Award

Defender Taylor's Rare Shot For Goal

The AFL has announced their annual life members and the winners of the Jack Titus Award for service to the game. The life membership awards will officially be presented at the league AGM in March. Nine players and coaches qualified automatically by reaching the total of 300 games as either player or coach, including preseason games and international rules.

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CTE Found In Shane Tuck

Tuck Flies

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.

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Clubs Juggle Lists, Trade Draft Picks

Fox and Marcus Adams Vie for Bal

The Swans have moved Robbie Fox and Sam Gray to the rookie list under the new AFL Rules. Both will be listed as Category A rookies for the 2021 season. Under the new rules, the club does not need to wait until the rookie draft period and the pair will be available for senior selection without having to be elevated back to the senior list. 

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