The preseason and rookie drafts were held about a week after the National Draft. The rookie list was primarily used to officially relist senior players as rookies. They included Grant Birchall (Brisbane), Sam Reid (GWS Giants), Marty Gleeson (Essendon), Dylan Clarke (Essendon), Roarke Smith (Western Bulldogs), Daniel Venables (West Coast) and Bailey Banfield (Fremantle).
The Swans have moved Robbie Fox and Sam Gray to the rookie list under the new AFL Rules. Both will be listed as Category A rookies for the 2021 season. Under the new rules, the club does not need to wait until the rookie draft period and the pair will be available for senior selection without having to be elevated back to the senior list.
In mid-November, the AFL announced that club lists will be the following: 36 to 38 senior players, 4-6 Category A rookies and two Category B rookies. Rookie listed players will be allowed to play senior football without having to be elevated to the senior list. So many clubs have had to make hard calls on players, with some clubs even demoting senior players to rookie lists. Although there have already been some trades and free agent signings, the free agency period ran November 25 through November 29 with the first list lodgment due November 25 ahead of the free agency period.
The Adelaide Crows have delisted Riley Knight, Patrick Wilson and Ayce Taylor. Knight, 25, was drafted in 2013 and played 55 games. Wilson, 25, was drafted in 2018 and played just two senior games but none this year. Taylor was added to the list during the preseason supplemental selection period but never played a senior game. Wilson, while playing in the SANFL, won two best and fairest awards.
The Western Bulldogs survived early pressure from the Fremantle Dockers to overcome their young opponents and jump back into the top eight, at the expense of the Melbourne Demons. The Dogs had to beat the Dockers to make the finals and were the more desperate team as the game progressed. The Dockers' cause was not helped with the late withdrawal of their leading scorers, Matthew Taberner and Michael Walters due to injury. The Dockers were already missing four of their first-choice defenders, so a win against the desperate dogs was always against the odds.
The strangest season in AFL history is about to get real for the following 10 teams, but only eight of them will play finals football and in turn give themselves a chance to take home the Premiership Cup. AFANA runs the slide rule over where your club can finish after what should be another crazy round of footy. If your team isn’t mentioned below, it’s time to start thinking about next year…
Former SANFL and VFL (now AFL) player Neil Sachse passed away on August 26 at the age of 69 after a short undisclosed illness. He played 89 games and kicked 114 goals for North Adelaide in five seasons from 1970 to 1974, was a member of their 1971 premiership team and represented South Australia on five occasions. He missed the 1972 premiership but played in the side that defeated Carlton to be crowned Champions of Australia that year.
After the Farmer story broke, former Hawk premiership player and 1987 Brownlow Medalist John Platten spoke on SEN's breakfast show. He said the revelation about Farmer was "pretty scary". Platten said he suffered at least 40 concussions during his 18-year career which began in the SANFL. One of those concussions was suffered during the brutal 1989 Grand Final against Geelong. He was so badly concussed in that game, he remembers very little about it and, to this day, cannot remember receiving his premiership medal.
Two long time veterans in Dale Morris and Tyson Goldsack have announced that 2019 is the end of the line. Morris announced his retirement after 15 seasons and 253 games for the Western Bulldogs. He leaves the game as one of the most respected footballers of the modern era; a shining example of perseverance, willpower, skill, determination and sacrifice. His comebacks from multiple injuries - including two knee reconstructions is testament that. In making the announcement in front of teammates and the press, he said, "Everyone who knows me
Just days after the conclusion of Round Eight, Tiger Shaun Grigg announced his immediate retirement. Grigg, a member of the 2017 premiership side, has been struggling with knee and hip injuries this year and had yet to play a senior game. Grigg said he had a "horrible preseason" and knew he would be unable to get himself right to play. After discussions with Coach Hardwiick and medical staff, it was up to him to make the decision whether or not he could continue, “... As much as I would love to get back out there … I just couldn’t do it.”