Just ahead of Round 23, Sydney midfielder Kieren Jack, 32, announced his retirement. Hailing from rugby background, he was invited to play Australian football for his school at the age of 11. He was drafted by the Swans as a rookie in 2005 and soon emerged as one of the elite midfielders in the AFL. He was appointed co-captain alongside fellow retiree Jarrad McVeigh in 2013. In Round 5 this year, Jack became just the ninth Swan to play 250 games.
Stories related to player retirements
Carlton's Dale Thomas and Fremantle's Hayden Ballantyne were both informed by their respective clubs that they would not be offered contracts for 2020. Thomas, 32, announced his retirement at the time. However, after Carlton's win over the Saints, he said he would consider offers from other clubs. He played game 100 as a Blue in Round 22 after crossing from Collingwood where he played 156 games including the 2010 premiership. He was named All-Australian in 2011.
Thomas said he was content with his decision, “While this is something I didn’t want to hear, I was realistic that it was a chance ... I also understand the direction the club is going ... I have experienced so much in my career since walking in as a blond-haired kid ... in 2005. The opportunity to live out my boyhood dream ... I am proud of everything I’ve been able to achieve."
Richmond and GWS veteran Brett Deledio has announced his retirement at the end of the year. Shortly after, GWS ruckman Dawson Simpson did likewise. Deledio, 32, reflected on his 15 year career, "I’m really proud of what I’ve been able to achieve in my career. I’d like to thank the players and staff both past and present at ... Richmond ... "I’m so proud to have played 243 games in the yellow and black ... I played my best footy as a Tiger but I’m so grateful for the opportunity the Giants presented me ... It’s no secret I needed a fresh start and to be able to do that at a new club like the Giants has been unbelievable for me. The past few years have been really tough, both on and off the field. But it showed me that football isn’t everything and I’m really looking forward to the next chapter of my life with my family.”
Caretaker Coach David Teague has been appointed senior coach at Carlton. Teague, 38, took over for Brendon Bolton and has won five of the past seven games through Round 21. Teague also had the support of several senior players, including co-captain Patrick Cripps. The club approached several candidates, including Hawthorn's Alistair Clarkson and Port assistant Michael Voss but opted for Teague.
Teague played 83 games for North Melbourne and Carlton between 2004 and 2007. After retiring as a player, he embarked on a successful career in coaching, serving as senior coach of the VFL side Northern Bullants from 2008 to 2010, then as an assistant at West Coast, St Kilda, and Adelaide, before returning to Carlton as the forward coach ahead of the 2018 season.
Just ahead or Round 22, giant Docker ruckman Aaron Sandilands, 36, announced that 2019 would be his final season. His farewell game to fans will be Round 22 against Essendon. He was drafted in 2002 and holds the record for hitouts with 8,466 in 270 games, averaging 28 per game. Sandilands has battled calf injuries this year and has played just five games ahead of Round 22. He will place third on the Dockers' games list behind Matthew Pavlich (353), and David Mundy (314 through Round 21).
A member of the club's leadership group for the past 10 years, he has also been a key driver behind the club's Starlight Foundation, which raises money for seriously ill children and their families. He has been an ambassador for Starlight Purple Haze Game since 2007. In that time, he has helped raise over $1.5 million for the foundation.
Midfielder Corey Maynard will retire at the end of the season due to ongoing hip issues.He was drafted in 2017 as a rookie and debuted that year. He had an impressive preseason in 2018, was elevated to the senior list and played the opening round that year but a hip injury sidelined him for the rest of the year. Maynard, 27, said the hip issues just would not allow him to continue. He said although he was bitterly disappointed, he is comfortable with his decision.
Football Manager Josh Mahoney praised Maynard for his professionalism and leadership, "It's really unfortunate for Corey ..
Hawthorn champion Jarryd Roughead, who has spent most of the season playing with the Box Hill Hawks in the VFL and mentoring younger players, has been recalled for just his eighth game for the year. It will be his farewell game as he has announced his retirement..
Roughhead, 32, debuted in 2005 after being the second selection in the 2004 draft and went on to captain the side, earn All-Australian selection and be a member of several premiership sides. In making the announcement, Roughead said, "I’ve had an amazing 15-year journey ...
Sydney stalwart Jarrad McVeigh has announced he would retire at the end of the season. McVeigh, 34, has played just five games this season due to quad, hamstring, and calf injuries. His last AFL game was Round 12. He was on the comeback trail through the NEAFL but strained a calf. He is still hopeful of a final farewell game in Round 23. McVeigh also thought of playing on in 2020, but the latest setback told him otherwise.
McVeigh was drafted in 2002 and has been a key to the team's recent success of 15 finals series and five Grand Finals. His 324 games is just one shy of former teammate Jude Bolton (323) and he is just one of four Swans to play 300 games, the others being Adam Goodes (372) and Michael O'Loughlin (303). And he will go down as one of the most decorated and influential players in the club's history.
Veteran defender Sam Wright, 29, announced his retirement ahead of Round 20. Wright was drafted in 2008 as a small forward (the same year as Jack Ziebell), but transformed himself into a dynamic and skilled defender who could stand up in big games. He played a total of 136 games but has not played since May due to ongoing ankle issues. He was sidelined for 701 days from 2016 to 2018 due to surgeries on both ankles as well as a stress problem in his foot. He has struggled this year also with ankle problems and told teammates the toll it had taken on him would not allow him to get back to AFL level. He played his final game in the VFL in Round 20
In making the announcement, Wright said, “I guess the decision’s been coming for a long time ... After the last surgery, I probably knew that I wasn’t going to go around next year, and the advice I’d be given was that I probably need to start focusing on life after footy and living a healthy life ... I wanted to get out and play one more game, but it’s just become pretty evident ... that my body just won’t allow me to do that. I can’t train and I can’t play at a high enough level ... Pulling on the jumper, whether it be at VFL or AFL level ... has always been something I’ve been really proud of.”
Under vastly contrasting circumstances, Swan defender Heath Grundy and North Melbourne coach Brad Scott have departed.
Sydney defender Heath Grundy has been forced to retire due to a debilitating back injury. Grundy initially suffered the injury during a preseason game and was hoping to play this season. However , the injury failed to respond to treatment and it began to affect his life away from the game. Whether or not he will require surgery will be determined in the next few weeks. As Grundy explained, "I couldn't do what I wanted to do at home ... I was struggling to get in and out of the car and I couldn't get my son in and out of the cot ... it starts dragging you down every day and that's where it got too."