by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
The Magpies have made list changes ahead of the draft. Defender Ben Sinclair, 26, has retired after just 63 games for health reasons. He suffered several concussions in 2016 and a serious hamstring injury in a 2017 preseason game ended his year before it began. Fellow defenders Adam Oxley and Jackson Ramsay have been delisted, but the club is committed to redrafting Oxley to their rookie list. Oxley has played 31 games for the Pies since 2012 while Ramsey, 22, has managed just 17 games in in five years due to injuries. Shin issues ended his 2015 season early while a knee reconstruction cut 2016 short.
Geelong has delisted defender Tom Ruggles after just two seasons and 22 games. Utility Matthew Hayball has also been delisted. Drafted in 2015, he played 32 games in the VFL but no senior games. If he is not picked up by another club, the Cats will add him to the rookie list. Rookies Jamaine Jones, Zach Guthrie, Sam Simpson and Jack Henry will be retained on the rookie list for 2018. Guthrie debuted in 2017 and played nine senior games, Simpson debuted in 2017 and played five games but none of the others played any senor games.
Port Adelaide has delisted Matthew White, Jesse Palmer and Brett Eddy. White played 105 games for Richmond 2006-13 before joining Port as an unrestricted free agent. He played just 7 games in 2017 for a total of 48 for the Power with a serious pectoral injury curtailing his 2016 season. Palmer debuted in 2016 and played 2 games in 2016 but did not manage any senor games in 2017. Eddie,, drafted as a rookie in 2017, manged just three games but he was the leading goalkicker in the SANFL for a second consecutive season. Port Adelaide has added delisted free agent Trent McKenzie. McKenzie, 25, played 106 games since his debut in 2011, but managed just seven in 2017 due to injury and poor form. He was one of the original Suns' players when the side entered the AFL and is noted for his booming kicks. Port Adelaide has also added former Demon Jackson Trengrove who has signed a one year deal. Trengrove, originally from South Australia, played 86 games with the Demons since his debut in 2010.
Carlton has delisted Simon White, Billie Smedts and Blaine Boekhorst. White was rookie-listed in 2010 and elevated to the senior list the same year and played six senior games. Another six came his way in 2011 and five more in 2012 before a knee injury ended his season. He played nine games in 2013 but suffered a season ending vetebrae fracture late in the year. He came back in 2014 for 19 games. Another knee injury restricted him to 14 games in 2015 but he won Carlton's Best Clubman award that year. He played 17 games in 2016 and a further 11 in 2017.
Smedts, 25, started with Geelong where he played 38 games 2012-16 before being traded to the Blues. He added just 9 games to his tally in 2017. Boekhorst, 24, was a first round selection in 2014 and played 25 games but managed just seven in 2017. The Blues also signed delisted free agent Aaron Mullet after North Melbourne delisted the rebounding defender. Mullett, 25, played 85 games for the Kangaroos 2011-2017.
Carlton changes to date are: Bryce Gibbs departing for Adelaide and Dennis Armfield, Daniel Gorringe and Matthew Korcheck announcing their retirements. Smedts, White, Boekhorst as well as Rhys Palmer, Dylan Buckley, Kristian Jaksch, Ciaran Sheehan, Liam Sumner and Andrew Gallucci have also been delisted.
Essendon has resigned Next Generation Academy player Ben McNiece. He joined the club from Essendon's VFL side in 2017. McNiece debuted on ANZAC Day and played two senior games for the season before a neck injury kept him sidelined for the remainder of the year. The club has also inked new deals with Jackson Merrett, Jake Long and Shaun McKernan. Merrett, recruited in 2012, has played 54 games for the Bombers over his six year career, but failed to play any senior games in 2017. Long has been elevated to the senior list, while McKernan remains on the rookie list. Jake Long, the son of former Bomber champion Michael, was drafted as a rookie in 2015, debuted in 2016 and played three senior games that year. Although he played no senior games in 2017, the club has elevated him to the senior list. McKernan played 34 games with Adelaide before being delisted and added to Essendon's rookie list, He wll remain on the rookie list next year. He played three games in 2017 for a toal of 18 for the Bombers. Merrett is a midfielder, Long a defender who can push into the midfield and McKernan can play in the ruck and forward. He is the younger brother of former Kangaroo Corey. Alex Morgan, drafted in 2015, was restricted to just nine VFL games in 2016 due to hamstring injuries. Morgan, 21, could not break into the senior side in 2017 and refused a one year contract extension to seek better opportunities elsewhere. The speedy midfielder has been singed by North Melbourne as a free agent.
The Swans have delisted Alex Johnson but have indicated redrafting him as a rookie but it will be dependent on a medical and conditioning assessment. Johnson, a rebounding defender. He debuted in 2011 and played 45 games including the 2012 premiership but has since suffered serious knee injuries, He and the club have persevered with each other as Johnson has undergone five knee reconstructions and almost five years on the sidelines. He finally returned to the NEAFL in 2017 but could not regain a spot in the seniors. He will continue to train with the club. First-year rookie Sam Fisher has also been advised he’s no guarantee of retaining his place on the rookie list next season, however he will also continue to train with the team until the upcoming drafts. He joined the Swans as a Category B rookie in 2017.
North Melbourne agreed to delist small forward Lindsay Thomas so he could seek opportunities elsewhere. Thomas, 29, played 205 games and kicked 325 goals for the Kangaroos since his debut in 2007.
Delisted Magpie Lachie Keeffe, 27, has found a new home at GWS after 40 games with Collingwood. He came from a soccer background and was added to Collingwood's rookle list in 2009. He played as a ruckman, forward and defender. Keefe can play ruck, forward and defense. He played 40 games with the Pies but was delsted at the end of 2016 due to a suspension for a banned substance. The club added him back to their rookie list at the start of 2017 and he played a further 18 games. His sister, Jessie, was recdently drafted by the Brisbane Lions' women's team.
Sources: Club Media Releases: Alexandra Stewart (Carlton), Stacey Oates (Geelong), Leigh Meyrick (GWS). Daniel Norton (PA), AFL Record Season Guides, AFL Grand Final Record, sen.com.au
Article last changed on Saturday, February 03, 2018 - 2:16 PM EST