by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
Veteran Gold Coast (formerly Collingwood) ruckman Josh Fraser has retired. Fraser was originally drafted by Colllingwood in 1999 and was the number one draft pick that year. He debuted in 2000 and played 200 games with the Magpies until 2010. He won a Rising Star nomination in his debut season. He was traded to Gold Coast but has played just 18 games for the Suns in two seasons. A back injury restricted him last year and he managed just two games in 2012. He thanked the Suns for the second chance and the support the club has given him. Fraser said his only regret was not winning a Premiership at Collingwood, but tempered that by mentioning the numerous Finals campaigns in which he did play. In announcing his retirement he said, “I got my opportunity at Collingwood so I am always grateful for that ... that’s obviously something I will always remember and ... the opportunity to come up here ... to finish ... and hopefully pass on a heap of knowledge and experience to these young guys, I think in turn they have made me better and given me a greater understanding of what it is that makes a footy club tick." He also said he wished he was five or six years younger so he could be a part of the success he is sure the Suns will enjoy in the future, adding "... I think we are on the right track and if we continue to work hard as a group and certain individuals continue to raise the bar ... success is certainly in the future.”
Source: Stephen Wilson, Club Media Release
After chronic knee and hip injuries restricted Bomber Mark McVeigh to just three games for the season, he decided his time was up. He spent most of 2012 on Essendon's long-term injury list which allowed the club to elevate rookie Brendan Lee to the senior list. Coach James Hird, also a close friend, was at McVeigh's side when he made his announcement. The pair became even closer after an accidental collision with McVeigh's knee left Hird with horrific facial injuries in 2002. McVeigh said he had felt terrible about it, but was reassured when Hird phoned him from the hospital when he could and told McVeigh not to worry, that it was just a horrible accident. When McVeigh arrived at Essendon as a 17 year old in 1998, Hird was already a superstar and club captain. Hird said he would have supported McVeigh had he decided to play on in 2013, but McVeigh said he was "comfortable" with his decision to retire. He said he was happy to have been a one club player. McVeigh, a midfielder at the start of his career and later a small defender, debuted in 1999 but missed out on selection for Essendon's 2000 Grand Final victory. McVeigh himself admitted he was "too flighty" for a very strong Essendon side. He said the pain of missing out ''made me a better player in the end''. He played every game in 2001, including the Grand Final which Essendon lost to the rampant Brisbane Lions (their first of three straight Grand Final victories). McVeigh, despite not having a Premiership to his name, said he was very proud of his career and described staying with the Bombers as a "real pleasure". McVeigh, originally from Sydney, intends to return home with his family.
Honors: equal 3rd Best and Fairest 2007; International Rules Series 2004; AFL Rising Star nominee 2001
Source: theage.com.au, essendonfc.com.au
Veteran Fremantle defender Antoni Grover has announced 2012 will be his last season. He made the announcement just ahead of the Round 23 game against Melbourne. After playing his 200th game in Round 22 last year, Grover has been restricted to just one game this season as he has struggled with injuries and fitness. Grover, 32, played in Fremantle's maiden Final against Essendon in 2003. He is keen to stick around and help out the team even though he might not play again this year. He said, "The boys are pushing into the Finals so ... I will support them as much as I can. You never know what can happen ... in the next few weeks. I'm still here ... and ... there's business to be done."
General manager Chris Bond, who captained the Dockers when Grover debuted, said Grover was respected by everyone there. "He hasn't changed that much from 1999 to now ...The amount of respect that he has from players and staff is enormous. He approached every game like it was his last. His professionalism always came through, the way he prepared himself before and after games, and his competitiveness on the training track and on game day."
Grover's immediate plans after the Dockers' season finishes will be to spend more time with his young family. He has hinted at a coaching career after working with the development squad at WAFL team Subiaco.
Source: Luke Morfesse, Club Media Release
Collingwood, despite their push for a Premiership, has already cut one player. American rookie Shae McNamara has been delisted. McNamara has spent two seasons playing with Collingwood's VFL side Williamstown as a ruckman come forward. He played two senior games in the 2011 pre-season NAB Cup.
Source: sen.com.au, AFL Record 2012 Season Guide
Article last changed on Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 4:45 AM EDT