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Signings, Retirements, and Sackings

Players have been added or dropped from five AFL clubs in recent weeks for a wide range of reasons. 

North Melbourne has terminated Tarryn Thomas. Thomas, aged 23, was recently banned from playing for 18 weeks after another incident of inappropriate behavior. He has faced charges of domestic violence and other offenses against several women. The club, after numerous interventions and support structures to help him, have run out of patience.

A statement released by the club said in part, "The club has provided Tarryn with significant time, resources and support but we've now arrived at a point where the individual's needs don't match those of the club. We know Tarryn needs help - for himself and for the women in his life - but it's clear the path we've taken over the past 12 months hasn't had the desired impact ... we have made the decision to end Tarryn's time at North Melbourne. This decision doesn't come lightly or easily ... we acknowledge that he has faced complex and challenging circumstances over his life. We hope Tarryn will find the support that is right for him and that he does the work required to be the best version of himself."

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Pies Sign Three and Lose One

In mid-February, Collingwood signed three players via the preseason Supplementary Selection Period (SSP): Lachie Sullivan, Jack Bytel, and Josh Eyre. Sullivan, 26 years old, has been a star midfielder for the Western Bulldogs in the VFL where he won two best and fairest awards. He was named to the VFL team of the year in 2022 and 2023. Bytel, 23 years old, was drafted by St Kilda in 2018 and played 22 games before being delisted at the end of 2024. Bytel is also a midfielder. Eyre, aged 21, was a member of Essendon's Next Generation Academy and was elevated to Essendon's VFL list in 2022. He joined Collingwood's VFL program last season. He recently underwent surgery for a tendon tear and won't return to training until late April. 

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2024 Rule Changes

Maynard Gets His kick Away

The AFL has announced the annual rule changes for the 2024 season, primarily focusing on player protection. The new rule interpretations cover smothering kicks and run-down tackles, both of which can risk player injury. Two incidents in 2023 led to these changes. Collingwood defender Brayden Maynard leaped into the air to attempt a smother against Demon Angus Brayshaw. Maynard collided with Brayshaw who suffered a concussion as a result of the collision. Maynard faced the tribunal but avoided suspension. Maynard’s exoneration was applauded by some sections of the football community who argued he had done nothing wrong, but the AFL flagged a review. The new rule states in part, "If a player leaves the ground in an attempt to smother, it will be deemed careless conduct at a minimum, “unless the player has taken all reasonable steps to avoid that high contact and/or minimize the force of that high contact (for example, by adopting a body position that minimizes the force of the high contact. The incident can be viewed on YouTube

While the AFL doesn’t want to end the run-down tackle,

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2023 AFLW Premiers - The Brisbane Lions!

 Congratulations to the Brisbane Lions!

Winners of the 2023 AFLW Grand Final

North Melbourne: 1.0  2.2  4.3  4.3 (27)
Brisbane:        0.0  2.1  3.2  7.2 (44)

Goals
North Melbourne: Garner 2, Shierlaw, O'loughlin
Brisbane:        Davidson 2, Hampson 2, Mullins, O'dwyer, Koenen

Best
North Melbourne: Garner, M. King, Riddell, Rennie, Kearney
Brisbane:        Koenen, Dawes, Anderson, Grider, Hodder

Injuries
North Melbourne: Bruton (achilles)
Brisbane:        Conway (head Knock)

Best On Ground Medal: Breanna Koenen
Attendance:  12,616 at Icon Park in Melbourne
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AFL 2023 Draft

Sam Reid (L) (AFANA/file photo)

The 2023 draft was held just days before our November holiday. Ahead of the draft itself, clubs were allowed to trade draft selections. Most of the clubs took advantage of the opportunity to strengthen their drafting possibilities or to select a player they were keen to have. As always, it is club by club in alphabetical order so readers can scroll to the clubs of their interest. The preseason and rookie drafts were held just after the main draft and are included here.

THE DRAFT

DRAFT DAY TRADES

Trades completed during the 2023 AFL Draft:

  1. St Kilda gets pick 42. Melbourne gets a future third round selection.
  2. Brisbane - pick 24, Gold Coast - picks 30, 51, 54, and 65
  3. St Kilda - pick 27, Gold Coast - picks 40 and 42
  4. Fremantle -pick 38, Gold Coast picks 46, 60 and 63
  5. Adelaide - picks 8 and 17, GWS - picks 11, 15 and a future second
  6. Essendon - pick 10, Geelong - picks 11 and 31
  7. GWS - pick 17, St Kilda - pick 18 and a future second
  8. Brisbane - pick 51, Gold Coast - a future fourth
  9. Fremantle - pick 35 , Richmond - pick 38 and a future third
  10. West Coast gets pick 38. Richmond pick 40 and a future third
  11. Port Adelaide - pick 48, North Melbourne - a future fourth
  12. St Kilda - pick 50, GWS - a future third
  13. Port Adelaide - pick 52, Hawthorn - a future fourth
  14. Sydney - pick 53, Hawthorn - pick 59 and a future fourth
  15. Essendon - pick 54. Richmond - a future fourth

The first number is the draft selection followed the player name, (junior club), age (years old), height (in centimeters and then in feet and inches, weight (when available) in kilograms and then pounds, position, and player profile.

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Special Opening Round and More Thursday Games in 2024 AFL Schedule

Collingwood 2023 (AFANA/Kim Densham)

The AFL released its 2024 schedule on Thursday, 16th November, although some details were revealed in the days prior. A new feature is a four-game Opening Round in early March to promote Aussie Rules in NSW and Queensland. Sydney Swans will host the season opener against Melbourne at Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday night, 7th March. It will only be the second time in AFL history that the first game of the season is played in the Harbour City (the first time was 2012). The following night (Friday 8th March) sees Brisbane facing Carlton at The Gabba in a rematch of this year's preliminary final. On Saturday, 9th March, Gold Coast will host Richmond in late afternoon, pitting new coach Damien Hardwick against his former club for the first time. The game will also mark the senior coaching debut of new Tigers coach Adem Yze. It will be followed by a Saturday night game between GWS and Collingwood in another preliminary final rematch. The eight teams involved in Opening Round will have a bye at some point between Round 2 and Round 6, meaning all 18 clubs will have played the same number of games by the start of Round 7. All clubs will have a bye across the four weeks between Rounds 12 and 15.

A full Round 1, featuring all 18 clubs, will kick off on Thursday, 14th March with the traditional Carlton v Richmond game at the MCG.

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Hawks Delist Duo

Wingard running (AFANA file photo)

Hawthorn has delisted Chad Wingard and Copper Stephens but will redraft them as rookies in the upcoming draft. Wingard has played 218 games across his 12-year career and is currently working through rehab for a serious achilleas injury sustained earlier this year. Stephens joined the Hawks through the 2022 trade period after spending three seasons with Geelong where he played seven games in his final year. The changes will allow the club to utilize all selections acquired prior and during the recent trade period. 

Source: Jake Keating, Hawthorn Media Release

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Power and Bulldogs Delist Players Plus Lycett Retires

Scott Lycett Contests Mark (file photo/AFANA)

The past week provided yet more delistings and retirements. The Western Bulldogs delisted Hayden Crozier and Roarke Smith. Port Adelaide delisted Orazio Fantasia, Sam Hayes, and Jake Pasini while Scott Lycett has retired. Sam Naismith has found his way back into the AFL at Richmond.

Lycett, a former Port Adelaide SANFL player, was drafted by West Coast in 2010 and played 75 games for the Eagles, including the 2018 premiership. At the end of 2018, he moved to Port as a free agent and played a further 71 games. Port Coach Ken Hinkley said, "Scott has been an outstanding contributor for two clubs ... He was an incredible workhorse for our club during the last five seasons and was totally focused on putting his teammates first. As a former Port Adelaide junior, Scott was Port Adelaide through and through.

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Four Clubs Drop Players and Prepare for Draft

Kayne Turner (file photo/AFANA)

Just after the trade period, several clubs delisted more players due the acquisitions during the trade period and to make more room on their lists for the upcoming draft. Hawthorn, North Melbourne, Brisbane, and Sydney cleared roster spots for new talent. 

Hawthorn delisted Lachlan Bramble, Fergus Greene, and Ned Long. Bramble, 25 years old, was selected in the 2021 preseason SSP and played 30 games. Long, 20 years old, was picked up in the 2021 rookie draft and played five games. Greene was drafted by the Bulldogs in 2016 and played five games before joining Hawthorn as a delisted free agent in 2022. He played 11 games.

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2023 Trade Summary

Todd Goldstein

The free agency and trade period began in early October and ran for two weeks. A number of players have moved to other clubs. The biggest move was Kangaroo ruckman Todd Goldstein joining Essendon as a free agent. Goldstein, 35 years old, has signed a one-year deal with the Bombers, reuniting with former coach Brad Scott after 315 games with North Melbourne. The veteran holds the record for the most hitouts in VFL/AFL history and was an All-Australian in 2015. He will be handy addition with the retirement of Andrew Phillips and Brodie Grundy's exit to Sydney. Essendon's first-choice ruckman Sam Draper needed surgery in September on his groin and is not expected to return until January. Emerging ruckman Nick Bryan, 21 years old, signed a new two year deal in September.

Goldstein said, "I'm grateful for the opportunity Essendon has presented to me to continue my career ... I'm really excited to support and challenge Sam Draper and Nick Bryan as they continue to drive to be the best rucks they can be. I have admired their progression and look forward to working with them ... I want to thank the North Melbourne footy club for the opportunity to play football for more than 17 years and to their supporters for their unwavering support throughout my career."

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