by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
Adelaide veteran Graham Johncock announced his retirement just ahead of Round 15, saying his body could no longer handle the rigors of AFL football. Johncock has played just two games this season, the last the Round 3 Showdown against Port Adelaide. Johncock, 30, has struggled with knee, back and ankle problems since last year. He played only 11 games in 2012. General Manager Phil Harper praised Johncock for his consistency and durability, pointing out his top five finishes in the club's Best and Fairest on six occasions. Johncock, with 227 games to his name, ranks ninth on the club's games list and 11th on the games list of indigenous players. He was awarded life membership to the Crows in 2011.
Johncock declined a farewell game, saying he did not want a "gift" game, believing that games had to be earned. Nor did he believe he could perform at his best. Not only was he struggling to overcome injuries, he said the speed of the game and his battle with skinfold fitness was also getting harder. He acknowledged the supporters in saying, "Walking down the street people keep asking, `What's happening? ... That means to me that people genuinely care ... and I really appreciated that." He also said he was happy with the career he had, never dreaming he would play over 200 games. He did admit that not making it to a Grand Final was disappointing. He played in losing Preliminary Finals in 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2012.
Johncock debuted in Round One, 2002 against the Western Bulldogs and played 25 games that year. He began as a small forward, topping the club's goalkicking with 30 in 2003. His best haul was six against the Saints in Round 17 that year. However, he made the transition to defense and became a clever and rebounding defender. In the latter stages of his career, he returned to attack and finishes with 120 goals to his name. Other honors include the 2003 and 2012 preseason premierships, representing Australia in the 2006 International Rules, being a member of the "Dream Team" which played against Victoria in 2008, playing for the Indigenous All-Stars and winning the Showdown Medal as best on ground against Port Adelaide in 2005.
Johncock will receive a lap of honor ahead of the Round 22 match against Melbourne. He will continue playing for SANFL side Port Melbourne for the remainder of the year.
Source: heraldsun.com.au, James O'Connell, Adelaide Media Release
Chad Cornes, champion of Port Adelaide and GWS, announced his retirement just days before Round 15. Cornes, 33, was traded from Port to GWS at the end of 2011 after initially retiring. He played 16 games for the Giants last year. A knee injury has prevented him from playing this year and he has been unable to overcome it, forcing the retirement. He also had a part-time coaching role with the Giants when he was playing.
Coach Kevin Sheedy said Cornes had been a critical part of the Giants' entry into the AFL and that he would make an excellent coach should he decide to go that route. Cornes will spend the remainder of the season mentoring some of the younger GWS players but has yet to decide his future. Cornes said 2012 was one of the most memorable of his time and thanked the Giants for giving him a second chance and provide value to a new team just starting out.
GWS General Manager of Football Graeme Allan congratulated Cornes on a highly decorated 14-year career, which includes Port's 2004 Premiership and the GWS Giants' first AFL win over Gold Coast. Allan said Cornes had been a "fantastic asset ... on and off the field ... and with his leadership showed our young players what it takes to succeed at AFL level." Allan said Cornes' experience had been badly missed in the young backline but his coaching while sidelined was a valuable contribution to the club's development.
Drafted with selection 9 in 1997
239 games and 175 goals for Port Adelaide between 1999 and 2011
16 games and four goals for Greater Western Sydney Giants in 2012
Member of Port Adelaide 2004 Premiership side
Third in 2004 Brownlow Medal
All-Australian 2004 and 2007
Chad and his brother Kane currently sit equal eighth on the AFL list of combined games by a pair of brothers. Their tally is a combined 513 games.
Source: Leigh Meyrick, GWS Media Release, afl.com.au
Article last changed on Monday, July 08, 2013 - 11:16 PM EDT