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Saints Sack Ratten

Ratten Being Interviewed (file photo)

Just a few months after he signed a contract extension, Brett Ratten was dismissed as St Kilda senior coach. In a statement, the club said they "got it wrong". The Saints recently completed a thorough a review of their football operations, with the findings indicating a change of leadership and voice in the senior coach position was needed. Saints president Andrew Bassett and chief executive Simon Lethlean held a press conference in mid-October to explain their decision.

Bassat labelled it a “brutal process”, saying Ratten was “blindsided” by the club’s decision and had “no inkling” his position was under threat, “This has been a very tough few weeks and the decision ... has been a very painful one for the club and of course incredibly disappointing for Brett and his family ... our duty to members in the pursuit of success requires us to make the best decision for the club and for the members and not the individual ...".

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Saints Hold Off Hawks To Go Back Into Top Eight

Sam Mitchell (file photo)

The Saints mauled Hawthorn earlier in the season at the MCG as their midfield and forwards dominated the Hawks. Now late in the season the two teams are not so distant on the ladder at Round 20 and both were outside the top eight prior to this match. Early in the third quarter today the Saints looked poised to repeat the dose, but a late fightback by the Hawks saw them trail by just two goals at the final siren, but still enough to carry the Saints into the top eight.

Played under the closed roof at Marvel, the two teams took a good period to feel each other out.  After seven and a half minutes the Saints put the first serious score on the board when Mason Wood outmarked Jiath in the forward pocket and converted the free kick into a goal.  But they failed to capitalize on good work of the midfield as King, Membrey and Lienart all missed set shots. 

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Tiger, Saint Hear the Siren

Geary vs Gold Coast

Just ahead of Round 18, veteran St Kilda defender Jarryn Geary announced his immediate retirement. Kane Lambert joined him in retirement a week later. Geary was one of the last selections in the 2006 rookie draft and went on to play 207 games over 16 years and was appointed captain in 2017. His work ethic and determination saw him become one of the most selfless and respected players of the modern era. Geary, 34, has battled injury issues over the past two seasons, with an ongoing shoulder injury this season requiring a reconstruction soon. In 2019, he suffered a serious leg injury which required emergency surgery for compartment syndrome. He finishes his career as a life member and was named best clubman in 2016 and 2019.
 
Coach Brett Ratten said, “We would not be in the position we are today without Gears’ leadership, honesty and courage ... It’s always sad when one of your great warriors calls time, but you can’t help but feel immense pride for everything Jarryn has achieved  ...  He's never backed down or thrown in the towel, he's always fought hard and put his body on the line for his teammates, and his bravery is rivalled by very few. Above all, Jarryn is fiercely loyal, both to his football club and those around him. He’s led the club through some challenging times and pushed those around him to improve and bring a high standard consistently. As a leader, Jarryn has influenced so many people around him over his time. From the players, to the football department and the wider staff, we owe him a debt of gratitude for everything he has poured into this club, Jarryn has ... the entire club’s respect for the way he has conducted himself throughout his career.”

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2022 AFL Hall of Fame

Matthew Pavlich

In mid-June, the AFL held their annual Hall of Fame function with eight new inductees and one previous inductee elevated to Legend status. The Legend elevation was the late Port Adelaide Magpie (SANFL) centerman Russell Ebert, who was also recently named as Port Adelaide's greatest ever player. Ebert is the 32nd player to be named a Legend. He passed away in 2021, and the award was accepted by his widow Dian.

The eight new inductees represented not only the AFL, but the state leagues and Tasmania. They are Terry Cashion, Bill Dempsey, Mike Fitzpatrick, Brent Harvey, Matthew Pavlich, Michael Taylor, Ted Tyson and Nicky Winmar.

The Inductees:

RUSSELL EBERT - elevated to Legend status

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Saints Outplay Dockers

Hill kicks for Saints

The Saint Kilda Saints celebrated their first win in Perth since 2012, by outplaying and then outgunning the Fremantle Dockers. The Dockers were expected to win, but St Kilda surprised the locals with their attack on the ball and then took over in the third quarter, as Max King came to life and booted four second-half goals.

The Dockers started well by kicking accurately in the opening quarter with goals to Rory Lobb, Travis Colyer and Michael Walters. The windy conditions didn’t initially suit St Kilda who, despite matching the Dockers in the mid-field, were sloppy in attack and registered just four behinds (worth a point each). Lobb provided a high-flying target for the Dockers who consistently used the boundary to launch attacks. Saint Kilda pushed attacks straight for goal, from wherever they could win the ball, but their kicking was consistently astray.

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Supplemental Signings

Paddy McCartin Handballs

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.”

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Free Agency and Other Signings

Campbell Clips Kersten

The AFL free agency period opened in early November and ran through November 9. Several delisted players found new homes. Players who have been delisted can join any club that offers them a contract and would therefore avoid having to enter the AFL draft later this month. All clubs then filed a list lodgment (current playing lists) on November 10 and another round begins on November 10 and runs through November 15.

Sacked Crow Tyson Stengle joined Geelong as a delisted free agent. Stengle, 22, played two games for Richmond and 16 games for the Crows over a four-year period but a string of off-field indiscretions saw the Crows decide to cancel his contract. In the SANFL this year, Stengle kicked 44 goals in 19 games, including nine goals in three finals. He is set to reunite with former teammate Eddie Betts, who has taken up an off-field role at the Cats.

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2021 Delistings and Retirements, Part Six

Nathan Jones Gets His Kick Away

Demon champion Nathan Jones announced his retirement less than two weeks before the Grand Final. He informed his teammates via Zoom after leaving the club's hub in Perth to return home to be by his wife's side as she gave birth to twins. He flew out Saturday and made it just hours before she gave birth. Jones, 33, has not played a senior game since Round 14. He was an unused sub for Round 15 but was not recalled since. With West Australia's tight border restrictions, it was unlikely he would be allowed back across the border for the Grand Final. His career finishes with 101 wins, 198 defeats, and three draws. He kicked 141 goals in his 302 games. He was a Rising Star nominee in 2006 and 2007 and won the club best and fairest 2012, 2013, and 2014. He was co-captain in 2014 and 2017-19 and captain in 2015 and 2016.

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Delistings and Retirements, 2021 Part Five

Brooksby Tackled

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.

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2021 AFL Hall Of Fame

Judd vs Bombers

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.

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