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Stories related to player retirements

Majak Daw Calls Time

Daw Kicks a Goal (file photo)

At the end of June, Melbourne's Majak Daw announced his retirement after 12 seasons. He was the first player of Sudanese decent to be drafted by an AFL club. He was drafted as a rookie by North Melbourne in 2010 and debuted in 2013. He was elevated to the seniors in 2015, delisted and "re-rookied" at the end of 2016. He played 54 games and kicked 43 goals for North before being delisted at the end of 2020. He was set to play in the Northern Football League in 2021 but the Demons selected him in the 2021 Supplemental Selection Period. He failed to play any senior games for Melbourne, but was a consistent player in the VFL.

Daw said he was extremely proud of the of what he achieved during his career, “I am extremely grateful for the opportunities that North Melbourne and Melbourne ... have provided me ... I walk away from the game with immense pride in what I’ve been able to achieve and the challenges I’ve been able to overcome. With my current injury troubles, I’ve taken the opportunity to reflect on where I’m at and where I’m heading and in speaking with my management and the club, we’ve all agreed that the timing is right for me to retire ... I can focus on the next stage of my life and spend much more time on my most important and favorite job, being a loving and caring father to my son Hendrix. I would like to thank my family, friends, teammates, coaches and the wider football community for their support and care ... I walk away ... with life-long memories and friendships and real pride in what I’ve achieved.”

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Another Midseason Retirement

Roughead (R) (file photo)

Collingwood ruck/defender Jordan Roughead retired just a week after Bomber Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti did the same. Roughead, 31, has not played since Round Five, his only game this year. He underwent shoulder surgery in February, then suffered a finger injury in Round Five. He said he knew 2022 would most likely be his last as he has had issues with his shoulder for several years, saying in part, "The last month or so I have spent some time thinking about when I would make the call. This is not a decision I am making because I want to but a decision I am making for my long-term health and my family as well.” Noted for his toughness and bravery, he said the game had taken its toll on him physically and he had been consulting with doctors. He also revealed that he and his wife are expecting their first child.

Roughead, the cousin of Hawthorn champion Jarryd, played 201 games over 14 seasons. He was traded to the Bulldogs at the end of 2018 where he played 63 games. He started with the Bulldogs and was a member of the 2016 premiership side, despite suffering an eye injury the previous week. In that Grand Final, he carried the ruck load for much of the match. In 2019 and 2020, he finished in the Top 10 in Collingwood's best and fairest count.

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Bomber Favorite Retires

McDonald-Tipungwuti (AFANA file)

Just as Round 10 was set to commence, Bomber's player Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti (or Tippa for short), announced his immediate retirement. Tippa, 29, played 20 games in 2021 but took a leave of absence from the club in February for personal reasons. He played 126 games and kicked 153 goals. He recently played several games in the VFL, but decided to retire. Hailing from the Tiwi Islands, Tippa first moved to the Northern Territory, then relocated to Victoria to play in the Under-18 competition. He was originally a defender and his dash out of defense and long-kicking were eye-catching. However, he was overlooked in the drafts.

In 2015, Essendon was in the midst of the supplements controversy. This opened the door for Tippa who was brought into the club's VFL program. With many senior Bombers suspended for the 2016 season, Tippa was added to the rookie list. He began as a running defender but a four-goal haul late in the season saw him switched to the forward line. HIs style and ability to chase down opponents to apply gripping tackles made him an instant hit with teammates and fans alike.

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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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Ellis-Yolmen Anti-Vax, Retires

Brisbane midfielder Cam Ellis-Yolmen has followed in the footsteps of former Carlton defender Liam Jones and retired in late January rather than comply with the AFL's COVID vaccination mandate. He would not elaborate or comment on his reasoning, but teammate Mitch Robinson did speak about Ellis-Yolmen's decision. Brisbane veteran Mitch Robinson has given his insight into Cam Ellis-Yolmen’s decision to retire. Robinson praised the club for their handling of the situation and expressed how tough the weeks leading up to the announcement had been for his teammate, “I think most of the players understand who is and who isn’t getting vaccinated, and Cam wasn’t hiding that fact, we knew his situation throughout the whole process,” Robinson told his Rip Through It podcast.

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Sheppard and Townsend Retire

Sheppard Tackled

In early December West Coast running defender Brad Sheppard and Suns defender Jacob Townsend announced their retirements just a few days apart. Sheppard, 30, was forced to retire due to ongoing concussion issues. He suffered several head knocks late in the season, the last coming in round 22. The Eagles believed he could still play but gave him time to decide. He sought medical advice over concerns about his future health and opted to retire.

Sheppard was drafted in 2009 and played 216 games. He was named All-Australian in 2015 and won the best clubman award in 2020. He was also a key member of the 2018 premiership side. Coach Adam Simpson said, "His career speaks for itself, over 200 games, it's just really sad that it finishes this way. He still had plenty of good footy left. He retires as a man with universal respect at every level of the football club ... ".

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Blues Defender Refuses Shot, Retires

Liam Jones (#14) vs Collingwood

Just as the free agency period was ending, Carlton defender Liam Jones announced his shock retirement. It is apparently due to his anti-vaccination stance. The league mandated that all AFL and AFLW players get vaccinated or be placed on inactive lists until they comply. Jones, 30, retires after 161 games - 66 with the Bulldogs and 145 with the Blues - and said his decisions were for "personal reasons" but would not elaborate further. In a statement he said, “I want to take this opportunity to thank all who have supported me throughout my journey, both personally and professionally. I love the game and I’ll miss my teammates. I hope that people respect my decision and privacy - neither myself or [sic] my management team will be making any further comment on the matter. ”

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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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Two More Bow Out

Wood with the 2016 Premiership Cup

Western Bulldogs captain Easton Wood announced his retirement in late October and Adelaide defender Daniel Talia also retired. Wood, 32, said his body could no longer cope with the demands of AFL and that he felt his physical capabilities were declining and he did not want to let down the club. He has struggled with several injuries in recent seasons, including hamstring and ankle issues which restricted him to 15 games in 2021. He played the last eight games of the year including the Grand Final loss to the Melbourne Demons.

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2021 Delistings and Retirements, Part Seven

Birchall Spoils Roughhead

Two days after Melbourne's Grand Final victory, it was back to business for the club with three players being delisted, one retiring and another deciding to look for better opportunities elsewhere. Jay Lockhart, Aaron Nietschke and Austin Bradtke were delisted, while Aaron vandenBerg will seek opportunities elsewhere and Neville Jetta announced his retirement. Lockhart played twenty-two games since joining the club as a preseason supplemental selection in 2019. Bradtke and Nietschke never played a senior game with the latter suffering three ACL injuries in his time at the club, vandenBerg played 51 games for the club.

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