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Stories related to player retirements

Another Concussion Lawsuit and Retirement

Brad Sheppard (file photo/AFANA)

(Ed. note: this article is part of an on-going series which covers concussion related matters in the AFL. To see more of our multi-year reporting on concussions, go to AFANA Concussion Series)

Former West Coast defender Brad Sheppard has filed a lawsuit against the club, the AFL, and two club doctors, citing medical negligence which forced him to retire in 2021 due to concussion related issues. Sheppard, now 33 years old, played 216 games for the Eagles and suffered a number of concussions during his career. A head knock in Round 21 of 2021, was the one that ended his career. Earlier that year he suffered a severe concussion in a heavy collision with Carlton's Adam Saad. One of the doctors named in the legal action left the club in 2023 after 12 years of service.

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Adelaide Star Sloane Retires

Rory Sloane (file photo/AFANA)

In late April, Adelaide star Rory Sloane announced his immediate retirement from football due to ongoing issues with an eye injury. Sloane, 34, made the decision after consulting eye specialists. He required surgery for a detached retina in 2021 and required a second surgery this past January after suffering the same injury during preseason training. He also suffered a torn retina in 2013 and a fractured eye socket in 2017.

He said he did everything he could to return to playing, including exploring goggles options, but felt the risk to his health was just too great. In making the announcement he said, ... I really wanted to make sure I'd left nothing in the tank. And I tried absolutely everything to get back. And yeah, I was close ... "I love my job. I've loved being a part of this for 16 years. And it's probably the realization that you've got to let that go ... for the betterment of my future health was just pretty tough for me ... ". He also said he was "spooked" by stories of detached retinas. He said in the end, goggles would not have worked as detached retinas are caused by head knocks rather than pokes in the eye.

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Concussion Claims 2023 Premiership Player

Murphy Spoils (file photo/AFANA)

2023 Collingwood premiership player Nathan Murphy succumbed to the after-effects of concussions (including his 10th in the 2023 Grand Final) and announced his retirement. He is only 24 years old. Earlier in the year, he stepped away from the club in an attempt to recover and return to play. However, on advice from the medical concussion panel, he has decided to retire. In making the announcement, he said, “I feel it is the right time and the right decision for me to hang up my footy boots. I love my football, but my priority is on my future and ensuring I live a full and healthy life. I’d like to thank the Club, coaches, teammates, staff, and the Magpie Army for all their support throughout my playing career and for allowing me the opportunity to live out my childhood dream of playing AFL. To my family and friends, I couldn’t have gone through this journey without your continued love and support which I am so grateful for. It is not lost on me how fortunate I am to have been able to experience premiership success ... I hope I did the jumper proud and thank the many people and supporters who helped me along the way. I will forever cherish the memories and friends I’ve made ...”.

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Signings, Retirements, and Sackings

Players have been added or dropped from five AFL clubs in recent weeks for a wide range of reasons. 

North Melbourne has terminated Tarryn Thomas. Thomas, aged 23, was recently banned from playing for 18 weeks after another incident of inappropriate behavior. He has faced charges of domestic violence and other offenses against several women. The club, after numerous interventions and support structures to help him, have run out of patience.

A statement released by the club said in part, "The club has provided Tarryn with significant time, resources and support but we've now arrived at a point where the individual's needs don't match those of the club. We know Tarryn needs help - for himself and for the women in his life - but it's clear the path we've taken over the past 12 months hasn't had the desired impact ... we have made the decision to end Tarryn's time at North Melbourne. This decision doesn't come lightly or easily ... we acknowledge that he has faced complex and challenging circumstances over his life. We hope Tarryn will find the support that is right for him and that he does the work required to be the best version of himself."

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Power and Bulldogs Delist Players Plus Lycett Retires

Scott Lycett Contests Mark (file photo/AFANA)

The past week provided yet more delistings and retirements. The Western Bulldogs delisted Hayden Crozier and Roarke Smith. Port Adelaide delisted Orazio Fantasia, Sam Hayes, and Jake Pasini while Scott Lycett has retired. Sam Naismith has found his way back into the AFL at Richmond.

Lycett, a former Port Adelaide SANFL player, was drafted by West Coast in 2010 and played 75 games for the Eagles, including the 2018 premiership. At the end of 2018, he moved to Port as a free agent and played a further 71 games. Port Coach Ken Hinkley said, "Scott has been an outstanding contributor for two clubs ... He was an incredible workhorse for our club during the last five seasons and was totally focused on putting his teammates first. As a former Port Adelaide junior, Scott was Port Adelaide through and through.

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More Retirements and Delistings Plus Trade Notes

Nakia Cockatoo (file photo)

Daniel Howe, 27, has retired while Carlton has delisted Josh Honey, Sam Philp and Lochie O’Brien. Brisbane small forward Nakia Cockatoo retired. Gold Coast has delisted Brodie McLaughlin and Jed Anderson while Charlie Constable has decided to retire to pursue other opportunities away from football. Plus, we have some trade notes in this report. 

Howe was originally drafted by Hawthorn as a midfielder and defender. He played 96 games for the Hawks before being delisted at the end of 2021. He was drafted as a rookie by North Melbourne inn 2022 and played 10 games for the Kangaroos. North Melbourne general manager Todd Viney said, “Dan has only been at the club for one season, but he’s had a significant impact on the group in his time here. He brought a professional attitude to his training and preparation, and gave his all in every game he played, whether at AFL or VFL level."

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Plowman Retires from Blues; Hawks and Kangaroos Delist Seven

Carlton defender Lachie Plowman has retired. Hawthorn delisted Josh Morris, Emerson Jeka, and released Fionn O'Hara. North Melbourne said goodbye to Lachie Young, Flynn Perez, Phoenix Spicer, and Jacob Edwards.

Plowman, 29, was originally drafted by GWS in 2012 and played 20 games for the Giants before being traded to Carton at the end of 2015. He played 125 games for the Blues. In 2019, Plowman enjoyed a breakthrough season, playing every game and finishing third in the best and fairest count. A beloved member of the playing group, Plowman established himself as a player with a team-first attitude, who was often required to take the most dangerous small forwards from opposing teams.

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Adelaide and Port Adelade Delist Players and Two More Retire

Luke Dunstan (file photo/AFANA)

Adelaide delisted McPherson, Jackson Hately, Tariek Newchurch, and Tyler Brown while Port Adelaide delisted Riley Bonner, Trent Dumont, Brynn Teakle, and Nathan Barkla. Luke Dunstan retired from Melbourne and Gold Coast saw Connor Blakely hang up the boots.

McPherson played 28 AFL games since being drafted in 2017. He had to overcome a series of soft tissue injuries and played nine games. He won both the Mark Bickley Emerging Talent Award and Brian Sando OAM Award for professionalism on Club Champion night. The hard-working defender was a regular in Adelaide’s senior side in 2021 when he played 18 games, however injuries have restricted him to just one AFL game since then. Hately has also played 28 AFL games including 15 with the Crows after he joined Adelaide from GWS at the end of the 2020. He played 11 games in 2021 and one this year while performing strongly in the SANFL. Newchurch joined Adelaide as a Category B rookie from its Next Generation Academy in 2020 and has been a valuable contributor to the Crows’ SANFL side for the past three seasons, as has Tyler Brown who joined the club as a rookie in January and played one AFL game for the Crows to go with 27 at his former club Collingwood.

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Hibberd Retires from Melbourne and Eagles Cull Six

Hibberd Handballs (File photo/AFANA)

Demon defender Michael Hibberd, 33, announced his retirement after 12 seasons and 197 for Essendon and Melbourne. The West Coast Eagles have delisted defender Luke Foley, Xavier O’Neill, Greg Clark, Connor West, forward Isiah Winder, and utility player Sam Petrevski-Seton.

In making the retirement announcement, Hibberd said, “I have really loved my time at the club. I love the boys and I feel like I could play until I am 40, but I know that’s not the reality. The body gets a bit slower as you get older, and although I like to think that I have a little bit left in me, I feel like going out with a little left in the tank is the right way to go about it ... ".

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Retirements, Delistings, and Trades: Brisbane, Adelaide, Geelong

Rich Tackles (File photo/AFANA)

Three clubs made roster changes as the AFL season winds down. Geelong delisted three and Adelaide is facing a trade situation with Shane McAdam. For Brisbane stalwart Daniel Rich, this season will be the last. 

Daniel Rich, 33, was drafted in 2008 and soon established himself as an excellent defender. Rich has spent the latter part of the season in the VFL after battling injuries. Ahead of the finals, he has played 375 games but is under no illusion he will be selected. In making the announcement he said, “It’s been a pretty crazy journey with plenty of ups and downs, I have met so many amazing people and close friends  ... and I love this Club.

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