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Townsend Surrounded By Cats

Just before the AFL deadline of October 31 for club list submissions, nine clubs delisted players. Several clubs also signed delisted free agents.

Hawthorn delisted Will Langford, Brendan Whitecross and Kieran Lovell. Langford played 72 games for the Hawks including the 2014 premiership but managed only six games in 2018. Whitecross, a life member of the Hawks, played 111 games since 2007 in an injury-plagued career. He did play in VFL team Box Hill's 2018 premiership team.

Lovell played only two games. Langford wanted to be a one-club player so chose to retire rather than seek another club. Hawthorn has signed small forward Darren Minchington. Minchington, 24, played just 28 games for St Kilda in an injury-ravaged seven years. He never made an appearance in 2018. Whitecross has joined North Melbourne as a development coach. He will also play for Hawthorn's VFL side Box Hill. 

Collingwood delisted forward Jarryd Blair, as well as Adam Oxley, Josh Smith and Sam McLarty. Kayle Kirby has been forced to retire due to a heart condition which was diagnosed in March after he collapsed during a VFL game. Blair, 28, played 157 games in nine seasons with the Magpies. He won the Harry Collier Award as best first year player in 2010. He also won the Gavin Brown Desire Award in 2013. Oxley, a rookie selection like Blair, played three games in 2018 for a career total of 34 matches across six seasons. Smith, played 32 matches over three seasons, while McLarty was unable to make a senior appearance in two years with the club.

Geelong has signed Gaelic footballer Stefan Okunbor as a Category B Rookie for the next two seasons. He has been on the AFL's radar for several years and was invited to the AFL Academy Camp in Florida and the AFL National Combine in Melbourne. Okunbur, 20, then returned to Ireland to work on his game and continue playing Gaelic football. He had a dominant season in 2018 and won the Under-20 Munster player of the year award and and helped Kerry win the Munster title with a man-of-the match display against Cork. A well-rounded athlete, Okunbor has strong defensive qualities, and takes the game on with ball in hand. Geelong has been impressed with some of his performances in the Gaelic game. List Manager Stephen Wells believes Okunbur's physicality, competitiveness, speed, power and endurance makes him suitable for the AFL. He joins fellow Irishmen Mark O'Connor (also from Kerry) and Zach Touhy.

Geelong have also elevated rookies Jack Henry and Mark O’Connor to the club’s senior list. A rookie draft selection in 2017, Henry enjoyed a breakout 2018, playing 22 consecutive games. He was named the club’s Best Young Player after playing a key position role in both attack and defense. He also was a Rising Star nominee in Round Seven. A former Gaelic footballer, O’Connor joined the Cats in 2016 has played seven games.

Port Adelaide delisted rookie Cameron Hewett, but are committed to selecting him again in the rookie draft. Hewett, 21, has yet to make his debut since being drafted in 2016. He has played 43 SANFL games including 12 in 2018. Under AFL rules, a player can only be on a rookie list for a maximum of three years before they must be either delisted or upgraded to the senior list.

Richmond has delisted 2017 premiership hero and Liston Medalist (VFL Brownlow equivalent) Jacob Townsend, but have committed to redrafting him via the rookie draft. The club is keen to retain him, but as a delisted free agent he could consider offers from other clubs. Richmond has said they would not stand in his way if a better offer came along. Townsend was originally a zone selection for GWS in 2011 and played 28 games for the Giants before being traded to the Tigers at the end of 2015. He played 19 games and kicked 28 goals in his three seasons with the Tigers. Richmond has also delisted Nathan Drummond and Mabior Chol. Drummond, 23, played five games over four injury-riddled seasons. Chol, 21, is another Sudanese and was drafted by the club in 2015 but played only one senior game.

Adelaide has delisted defender Kyle Cheney and ruckman Paul Hunter. The club is considering redrafting both players. Cheney was originally drafted by Melbourne in 2007 and played 14 games before being traded to Hawthorn at the end of 2010. He played 27 games for the Hawks over the next four seasons before being traded to the Crows. He played a further 44 games while Hunter spent three seasons on the rookie list without playing a senior game.

Fremantle has delisted Ethan Hughes, injury-ravaged forward Michael Apeness and defender Ryan Nyhuis. The club is committed to redrafting all three as rookies. Hughes debuted in 2015 and has played 29 games. He managed only five in 2018. Apeness showed promise in five games and was given a one year contract extension. He has played just a total of 12 games in five seasons with the Dockers. Nyhuis, 22, has been on the rookie list for three seasons so the club had to either elevate him to the senior list or cut him. Fremantle has also committed to promoting tagger Bailey Banfield and emerging half back Taylin Duopman from the rookie list.

The final tie to Essendon's five year supplements ordeal has been cut with the delisting of defender Matt Dea. Dea played 31 games for the Tigers from 2010 to 2015. After failing to play a senior game in 2015, the Tigers delisted him. He was set to play in the VFL in 2016, but joined the Bombers as one of 10 top-up players to replace those who were suspended over the supplements issue. His form that season in 21 games saw him sign a two-year contract extension, joining former Geelong Cat James Kelly as the only top-ups to continue after the Bombers' suspended players returned. However, Dea's opportunities dried up after that, playing only six games last year and finishing his career at Essendon with 39 senior appearances after 31 at Richmond.

Gold Coast midfielder Jarryd Lyons was told by the club that his time would be limited due to the players the club had acquired during the trade period. By mutual agreement he was delisted to seek other opportunities. Lyons, 26, still had one year on his contract and played 37 games with the Suns after 55 games with Adelaide. The Suns also delisted defender Jack Leslie and midfielder Jesse Lonergan. Leslie, 23, debuted in 2014 and played 28 games. He managed just nine in 2018. The club is committed to redrafting Leslie as a rookie. Lonergan, 24, played 60 games but managed just five in 2018 due to a knee problem. The Suns have also signed delisted Cat Jordan Murdoch. Murdoch played 108 games for Geelong.

Brisbane wasted no time in signing Lyons as a delisted free agent. His younger brother Corey is also at the Lions but has yet to make his senior debut. Brisbane has lost defender Jack Frost to concussion. Frost, 26, played 56 games for Collingwood from 2013 to 2016 before being traded to Brisbane. However, he has suffered 14 concussions in his career and played only two games for the Lions due to concussions and related issues. Frost still had a year to run on his contract and is the fourth Lion in the past five years to retire following repeated head knocks. Jonathan Brown, Matt Maguire, and Justin Clarke were all forced to finish their careers prematurely.

Brisbane also delisted midfielder Ryan Bastinac and versatile tall Jacob Allison. However, they have decided to redraft them as rookies. Bastinac played 40 games in three seasons for the Lions, but only managed two in 2018. Bastinac played 121 games for North Melbourne from 2010 to 2015 before being traded to Brisbane. Allison played eight games for the club across two seasons. They join Jake Barrett, Claye Beams, Tom Bell, Rohan Bewick, Liam Dawson and Marco Paparone as players delisted by the club.

GWS has signed delisted free agent Tom Sheridan. Midfielder Sheridan 25, played 81 games and kicked 31 goals across seven seasons with the Dockers.

The Sydney Swans have officially delisted Kurt Tippett. Tippett retired before the 2018 season due to a serious ankle injury. In keeping with AFL rules and regulations, it is the club’s intention to redraft Tippett in the upcoming rookie draft so they can fulfill the terms of an agreed settlement.

Sources: afl.com.au, sen.com.au, foxsports.com.au, Stacey Oates, Geelong Media Release, Karla Zanaedo, North Melbourne Media Release, Jordan Laing, Sydney Media Release, Daniel Norton, Port Adelaide Media Release, Stephen Rielly, Collingwood Media Release, Leigh Meyrick, GWS Media Release, Patrick Keane, AFL Media Release, AFL Record Season Guides

Article last changed on Saturday, November 10, 2018 - 5:59 PM EST


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