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Stories related to player retirements

The Departures Begin

Shannon Hurn (file photo)

Just days before Round 21, three players announced their retirements - Eagle defender Shannon Hurn, North Melbourne defender Aaron Hall, and young Hawthorn ruckman Jack Fitzpatrick. Hurn will see out the season by playing the last two home games for the Eagles, resting during the away games. Hall and Fitzpatrick will not see out the season due to injuries.

SHANNON HURN

Hurn, 36, is one of the most highly decorated players in Eagles history and the games record holder will finish with 334 games. Hurn said, “I love playing the game and I know I’m really going to miss it. But I also know the time is right ... you can’t go on forever and it’s time for me to step away. It has been a great honor to play for this football club over the last 18 years and I have loved it since the day I arrived. There are life-long friendships and memories that have been created here and I will always be grateful for that. There are too many individuals to acknowledge ...Obviously all of my teammates, my two senior coaches John Worsfold and Adam Simpson ... I feel very lucky to have played for as long as I have, always wanting to contribute to the team, but ultimately the game does catch up with you ... ".

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Buddy Succumbs to Calf Injury

Lance "Buddy" Franklin (file photo)

After being subbed out of the Saturday game against Essendon in Round 20 with a calf injury, Lance "Buddy" Franklin decided to retire. He will not see out the season. It ends several weeks of speculation as to whether or not he would play on in 2024. Scans the next day revealed a six to eight week injury so it was doubtful that he would play again this year even if the Swans do get to the finals. Franklin, 36, leaves with a record of 354 games and 1066 goals to his name. He is only the sixth player in league history to kick over 1000 goals. He sits fourth in the standing for goals.

Drafted by Hawthorn in 2004, he played 182 games and kicked 580 goals for the Hawks and was a member of the 2008 and 2013 premiership teams. At the end of 2013, he said he wanted to move to Sydney, and it was expected that the newest club - GWS - would get him. When GWS dropped their interest, the Swans swooped and gave him a ten year contract worth $10 million. He played 172 games and kicked 486 goals for the Swans.

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Jack Ziebell Announces Retirement

Jack Ziebell (file photo)

North Melbourne great and former club captain Jack Ziebell announced he will retire at the end of the season. He said he could leave the game knowing he gave his all, " ... it’s always a hard decision to give up the thing you love the most, but ... I think my body will thank me for it. From the time I walked into the place I’ve felt right at home, and I’ve made some amazing lifelong friendships and connections. This is a special place and I’ll always cherish being part of the club. I’ve given everything I can ... but I think the time is right for me to pass the baton to others to take us forward. I truly believe we have the building blocks to eventually go far as a club. I think back to those finals wins in 2014 and '15 and how amazing the feeling around the club was and I know those times aren’t too far away. To our fans - you have been amazingly supportive ... I can’t thank you enough and I look forward to seeing the joy on your faces when we do turn things around ... ".

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Premiership Tiger Calls Time

Castagna Catches Against Geelong

At the end of February, three-time premiership Tiger forward Jason Castagna, 26, announced his retirement. In making the announcement, he said he had lost his love for the game, “I love everything about this club and everyone in it, which has been the thing that has made this decision the hardest. This game is such a demanding one physically and mentally, and something I have given my all to since I first walked in the doors here and for the years before that. Now that I cannot give that same energy, it has made me realize that I would be letting the boys and the club down if I just coasted through and did not give it my all until the end, which has led me to this call.

He also said he was grateful for the connections he had made and for the opportunity to share his milestones and achievements with family and friends, “One of my favourite things about playing ... has been that I got to go out on the MCG each week, warm-up with the Castagna name on my back, and represent my family. I will always be proud of that. The connection I feel to this group and the past players that I spent time with here ... is something I will have forever and I am so grateful for that.”

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McLachlan Retirement Paused

McLachlan (2nd left) (file photo)

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan may have resigned back in April, but the date of his actual departure is still up in the air. After almost 20 years in the AFL, he said he wanted to spend more time with his family. His line has changed now and he said recently there are several pending issues which he still has to oversee, not the least of which is the Hawthorn racism investigation. It's not clear why the next CEO can't handle them. He told The Melbourne Age, “The timeline is, I’m leaving, but I ... there are a few things going on that I feel it’s my responsibility to be settled down enough and on an even footing when I leave ... The priority is for the leadership to feel comfortable, that you feel stable so that when you handover it’s in a good spot. What that date is I can’t tell you, but it’s not going to be into late next year, but over the coming months ...".

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Retirement, Unretirements, and Temporary Delistings

McDonald-Tipungwuti Back? (file photo)

Roster changes in the leadup to the AFL draft later this month continued at Gold Coast, Essendon, and Adelaide. In early November, inaugural Sun Rory Thompson announced his retirement citing ongoing knee issues as the reason. Thompson, 31, played 106 games for the Suns and leaves as the longest serving player in the club's short history. He was a local zone selection for the club and was one of only four players from the Gold Coast region selected for their inaugural 2011 season.

Two knee reconstructions disrupted his career, and he made a comeback early this season after almost four years on the sidelines. In making the announcement, Thompson said, “It’s been such a long journey with so many ups and downs and wonderful people ... I’m super grateful to the Suns for giving me that opportunity so many years ago as a young kid and having stuck with me all this time, it’s pretty hard to put into words what that means to me ... Towards the end of last year it was getting hard to back up games and keep my body moving and it just felt like the right time ... I ... didn’t think I would get drafted, so to go to where I am now after 14 years, I’m very proud of myself and the work I’ve put in and very grateful to the people that have helped me get this far.”

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Mid-October List Changes

Mitch Wallis Tackled (file photo)

In mid-October, Port Adelaide, Adelaide, Essendon, Collingwood, and North Melbourne all made more list changes and two Western Bulldogs players announced their retirements. 

Port Adelaide delisted forwards Martin Frederick and Dylan Williams but has committed to reselecting Williams in the rookie draft. Frederick, a product of the club’s Next Generation Academy, played 14 games after debuting against St Kilda in 2021. He played six games this season. against the Gold Coast in Round 15. Williams, 21, was drafted in 2019 but played just one game in 2021. He played every game for Port Adelaide in the SANFL this season, kicking 20 goals. 

Adelaide delisted James Rowe, Ben Davis, and Brett Turner. Rowe was drafted in 2020 and kicked 27 goals in his 36 games as a small forward while Davis was drafted in 2016 and played 11 AFL games as both a forward and rebounding defender. Turner was picked up in the midseason draft this season but did not manage any senior games. The club is considering redrafting him as a rookie. 

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More 2022 Delistings and Retirements

Jack Redden (file photo)

Following the end of the AFL season, roster changes affected West Coast, Geelong, Sydney, North Melbourne, Carlton, Port Adelaide, Essendon, and Gold Coast. 

Eagle midfielder and Jack Redden has retired. He was originally drafted by Brisbane where he played 129 games in seven seasons before crossing the Eagles in 2016. He played 134 games for the Eagles including the 2018 premiership. He was a key to that winning side and was voted Player of the Finals that year as well as finishing second in the best and fairest. West Coast delisted Jackson Nelson, Hugh Dixon, Patrick Naish, and Tom Joyce. Nelson, 28, was drafted in 2014 and played 102 games mostly in defense but could take a turn in the midfield. Dixon and Joyce were supplemental selections during the club's injury crisis. Dixon was originally with the Dockers and played 10 games for the Eagles while Joyce was sidelined for the year with an ankle injury. 

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Selwood Bows Out

Selwood Leads the Cats (file photo)

Just days after Geelong's Grand Final victory, Joel Selwood announced his retirement. In making the announcement at a press conference, he said he had decided six weeks prior and said "win, lose or draw" that would be it for him after 16 seasons. He kept the decision from almost everyone so the team could focus on the finals. He did speak with football manager Stephen Hocking, but did not inform Coach Chris Scott until the day of the Round 23 game against West Coast. He said telling Scott was one of the hardest things he had to do but said he did not "... want to be at 85 per cent (next year). I know that’s not good enough. I actually told him (Scott) that I was OK. I had to turn around and have another hug before I walked out.”

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More Departures from AFL Rosters

Luke Brown Gets the Ball

Just days after the Preliminary Finals concluded, there were a number of retirements and delistings. Players from several clubs including Adelaide, Brisbane, Collingwood, Fremantle, and Geelong were released or had veterans choose to retire. The exodus including three players surnamed Brown but only two of them were related.

Adelaide defender Luke Brown, 29, has retired after 189 games in 11 seasons. Brown was prelisted by GWS from his SANFL club Norwood ahead of the 2011 draft before being traded to Adelaide. He established himself as a very reliable defender, often lining up against the opposition's most dangerous forwards.

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