Just days after the conclusion of Round Eight, Tiger Shaun Grigg announced his immediate retirement. Grigg, a member of the 2017 premiership side, has been struggling with knee and hip injuries this year and had yet to play a senior game. Grigg said he had a "horrible preseason" and knew he would be unable to get himself right to play. After discussions with Coach Hardwiick and medical staff, it was up to him to make the decision whether or not he could continue, “... As much as I would love to get back out there … I just couldn’t do it.”
Stories related to player retirements
Shortly after Carlton signed two players under the SSP rule, Richmond followed suit by signing midfield speedster Sydney Stack from WA club Perth to a rookie contract. Stack, 18, was overlooked in the AFL Draft but has been training with the Tigers since December. He performed well during the Under-18 tournament earning All-Australian honors. The club list is now complete with the Tigers also having signed former Saint Maverick Weller.
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.
In mid-January, the AFL presented their annual life memberships to eight recipients. Five players and umpires were automatic recipients for having reached 300 games during the 2018 season: Ray Chamberlain, Lance Franklin, David Mundy, Scott Pendlebury and Heath Shaw. The other three were North Melbourne Team of the Century member and former North Melbourne CEO John Dugdale for Special Service to the Game, Richmond Team of the Century member and long-time Essendon Recruiting Manager Merv Keane, and SANFL Hall of Fame Inductee and Life Member Wally Miller.
Bill Hector was awarded the Jack Titus Service Award for outstanding service to football, for his 50 years’ service to the Western Bulldogs in various roles starting as a Timekeeper in 1969 to most recently being the Club’s Senior Doorman.
Just before the AFL deadline of October 31 for club list submissions, nine clubs delisted players. Several clubs also signed delisted free agents.
Hawthorn delisted Will Langford, Brendan Whitecross and Kieran Lovell. Langford played 72 games for the Hawks including the 2014 premiership but managed only six games in 2018. Whitecross, a life member of the Hawks, played 111 games since 2007 in an injury-plagued career. He did play in VFL team Box Hill's 2018 premiership team.
The AFL player shuffle continued with these changes occurring in late October:
Sydney has delisted utility Dean Towers, Jordan Foote, Angus Styles, Jake Brown, Daniel Robinson and Harry Marsh, Towers, 28, was a first-round draft pick as a mature-aged player out of the VFL in 2012 and played 57 games in six seasons. Foote played just six games in four years
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.