The West Coast Eagles were eaten alive by a hungry Richmond Tiger outfit that is determined to regain lost prestige. The proud Tigers finished twelfth in 2021 and were determined to show the football world that they still had what it takes to rip a team apart on a Friday night stage. Their first goal came after Eagles’ captain Luke Shuey dropped a mark (catch) and Kane Lambert launched an attack, where Jayden Short kicked to Jason Castagna who marked and kicked truly.
The AFL's Supplemental Period (SSP) ran from January 10 through March 9 and several clubs took advantage and picked up players to round out their lists.
The Sydney Swans have picked Paddy McCartin, 25, during the SSP (Supplemental Selection Period) which has just concluded. McCartin was originally drafted by St Kilda in 2014 and played 35 games but had to step away from the game due to lingering concussion issues. He did spend last season with Sydney's VFL team and joins the club as a delisted free agent. McCartin joins brother Tom at the Swans and said, “It’s extremely exciting – it’s been a unique journey for me to get back to this point. It’s a path that not many people have taken, but my goal was to always try and get back to the elite level and to be able to do it with the Swans. To do it with Tom, in particular, is something that means a lot and is exciting. I’ve loved training with the team and playing last year, so it’s good to get on the list. There’s a lot that we want to achieve as a group so I’m looking forward to getting stuck in with the guys this year.”
In early February, the AFL announced the next inductees for life membership and the Jack Titus Award, which is given annually for service to the game. The awards and the memberships will be officially presented at the league's AGM in March.
A few days after the Semi-finals, West Coast announced three departures. Mark Hutchings and Brendon Ah Chee were delisted and ruckman Nathan Vardy retired. Hutchings, 30, played 120 games in nine seasons. He was a member of the 2018 Grand Final and played a key role in the game, shutting down Magpie star Steele Sidebottom.
Ah Chee, 27, was originally drafted by Port Adelaide in 2011 and played 27 games with the Power before being traded to the Eagles at the end of 2017. He was delisted and re-rookie listed by the Eagles at the end of 2019. He played 28 games for the Eagles. Vardy, 30, was drafted by Geelong in 2011 and played 25 games for the Cats before being traded to the Eagles at the end of 2016 and played 52 games including the 2018 premiership.
North Melbourne has delisted Taylor Garner, Dom Tyson, Will Walker, and Connor Menadue. Garner was drafted in 2012 and played 49 games. Tyson was originally drafted in 2011 by GWS and played 13 games before being traded to Melbourne at the end of 2013. He played 94 games for the Demons but was traded to North at the end of 2017. He managed just five games for the club. Walker was drafted in 2017 and played six games. Menadue was originally drafted by Richmond in 2014 and played 39 games. Unable to cement his place in the strong Tiger side, Menadue was delisted at the end of 2019. He signed with VFL club Werribee for the 2020 season but ended up sitting out the year when the VFL season was canceled due to COVID. He was picked up by North in the rookie draft and played seven games.
In early September, Collingwood announced the appointment of former Brisbane premiership player Craig McRae as the new senior coach. McRae, 47, beat out Richmond assistant Adam Kingsley after former Adelaide coach Don Pyke pulled out. McRae said of his appointment, "We're in the position of just getting as good as we can as quick as we can - we don't want to put a ceiling on that. I spoke to the playing group before and my appointment offers opportunity and possibility. I'm pretty pumped, let's face it, this is a significant part of my journey and it's been a long one." As a premiership player with Brisbane and an assistant at Hawthorn under Alastair Clarkson in 2021, he knows what it takes to win and said, "I have been fortunate to witness up close and share in some very successful programs and I know that teaching solid habits can build a winning habit of its own. "
Just a few days after Round 23, the AFL held their annual Hall of Fame ceremonies. Two current members were elevated to Legend status and there were four new inductees. West Australian Merv McIntosh and legendary SANFL coach Jack Oatey were elevated. The inductees were Nathan Burke, Chris Judd, Rob Wiley, and footy female pioneer Debbie Lee. Lee is the first woman to be inducted. Former Sydney star Adam Goodes declined to be inducted, due to his feeling that the AFL failed to support him properly when he was subjected to radial vilification in the last two years of his career. Garry McIntosh, a dual SANFL premiership player in 1982 and 1984 and games’ record-holder for the Norwood, also declined entry, saying he had not played the game for personal honors.
Young forward Tyson Stengle, 23, has officially been delisted. He was originally drafted by Richmond in the 2017 rookie draft and played two games before being traded to Adelaide at the end of 2018. However, he has had several off-field indiscretions. He was originally stood down last December but was officially stood down from the club this past March and has been playing with Woodville-West Torrens since. The Adelaide Crows released a statement confirming that the player and club had come to an agreement to end Stengle's employment. Stengle kicked 15 goals in 16 games for the Crows.
Hawthorn champion Shaun Burgoyne has retired. The game against Richmond in Round 23 was his 407th. He advised his teammates earlier in the week leading up to that game. In early July, he became just the fifth player in league history to notch 400 games. His match tally is the most of any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander player in AFL history. Burgoyne was originally drafted by Port Adelaide in 2000 and debuted in 2002. He played 157 games with Port before crossing to Hawthorn at the end of 2009.
Head of Football Rob McCartney praised Burgoyne for his work both on and off the field, “I know I speak on behalf of anyone and everyone that has crossed paths with Shaun over his football journey in saying that it has been an honor to work alongside a man of his character and skill. He is the epitome of what we value at Hawthorn, with his immense commitment to family values whilst also possessing a relentlessness to constantly strive to get the best out of himself as well as those around him ...".
In mid-April, Collingwood signed a basketball player from Senegal. Bassirou Faye, 18, has committed to the Pies on an International Rookie Scholarship. Currently still in his homeland, he will relocate to Australia in late May. Faye, who stands 202 cm (6'5") has never played Australian Rules but had been training with the Oakleigh Chargers in the NAB league and looked impressive with his athleticism. He was forced to return to Senegal due to visa issues.
Faye originally arrived in Australia hoping for a career in basketball but switched to footy through former Tiger and Hawk Tyrone Vickery. Oakleigh's general manager put Faye through a two-month training program at the beginning of this year before Faye joined the Chargers for several sessions.