In mid-November, the AFL announced that club lists will be the following: 36 to 38 senior players, 4-6 Category A rookies and two Category B rookies. Rookie listed players will be allowed to play senior football without having to be elevated to the senior list. So many clubs have had to make hard calls on players, with some clubs even demoting senior players to rookie lists. Although there have already been some trades and free agent signings, the free agency period ran November 25 through November 29 with the first list lodgment due November 25 ahead of the free agency period. Clubs can also nominate their father/son requests and Academy players. List lodgment is the process whereby all AFL clubs must submit their current playing lists to the AFL. The second list lodgment is submitted on November 30. At the same time, out of contract players can nominate for the draft and clubs can still delist senior players. There is then another free agency period December 2-3 for delisted free agents and delisted rookies. The father/son bids are also submitted to the league. A number of clubs made a flurry of changes ahead of the free agency period and the list deadline approaching as well as the draft.
Brisbane defender Mitch Hinge, 22. was delisted after refusing a contract extension so he can return to his home state and the Adelaide Crows as a free agent. Since being drafted in 2017, he has played just three games for the Lions. The Lions also delisted forward Cedric Cox. Cox, 23, requested a trade back to West Australia but a suitable deal did not eventuate. Since being drafted in 2016, he played 13 games for the Lions, but none in 2020. As soon as the free agency period commenced, Adelaide made an offer to Hinge and lodged the necessary paperwork with the AFL.
The Lions have also confirmed the signing of Irishman Deividas Uosis as a Category B rookie after he impressed at an AFL European Combine last December. Since clubs are now limited to two B rookies, Brisbane upgraded basketballer Tom Fullarton has been upgraded from the Category B rookie list to the senior list. Connor Ballenden and Rhys Mathieson have been put on the Category A rookie list.
Fremantle delisted Bailey Banfield, but intend to redraft him, Under the new rules regarding lists, senior players Brett Bewley and Lachie Schultz have been put on the Category A rookie list. All three played senior football in 2020: 12 games for Bewley, five for Banfield and a full season of 17 games for Schultz. Next Generation Academy product Leno Thomas had earned another season as a Category B rookie.
GWS delisted Sam Reid and Zach Sproule. Sproule, 22, has been with the Giants for four seasons but managed just one game in 2019. The club is committed to redrafting both players. Reid is no stranger to the process. Reid, 31, was originally drafted by the Western Bulldogs in 2007 but played just 10 games due to a bout of osteitis pubis which required surgery. He crossed to GWS at the end of 2011 as an uncontracted player. He played 24 games for the Giants before being delisted at the end of 2013 but remained with the Giants as a development coach. He came out of retirement to be redrafted by GWS in the 2016 rookie draft but played just six games in 2017 and was again delisted and redrafted again as a rookie. He played a further 40 games over the past three seasons bring his tally to 93. He manage only three games in 2020 due to a lingering calf injury. Daniel Lloyd and Shane Mumford will join Matt Buntine on the rookie list for the 2021 season.
The Western Bulldogs delisted Roarke Smith, Ben Cavarra and Will Hayes but intend to redraft Smith. They are also considering adding Cavarra and Hayes to the rookie list. Smith, 24, has played 23 games since being drafted in 2017. Cavarra and Hayes were both drafted in 2018 and have played three and 11 games respectively.
Collingwood and Dayne Beams have reached a settlement on the final two years of his contract as he decided to retire. Beams, 30, hasn't played for the Magpies since midseason 2019 after taking a leave of absence to deal with mental health issues. He missed all of the 2020 season and announced his retirement in October. Beams was originally drafted by Colliingwood in 2008 and played 110 games. At the end of the 2014 season, Beams asked to be traded to the Brisbane Lions so he could be closer to his ill father and play with younger brother Claye. He was traded back to the Magpies at the end of 2018 where he played a further 9 games. The limited games was due to his struggle coping with his father's passing that year.
Beams said of his career and retirement, "... it became apparent to me that the demands of the game, which for many years I thrived on, were not helping my recovery. Once I understood this it was easier to put my wellbeing and that of my family first ... Challenges remain. That's life. But with experience, understanding and the help of many people I am in a stronger position to deal with them." Of Collingwood and Brisbane he said, "I have many teammates and staff at Collingwood to thank for helping me through a particularly tough time. The club's understanding, patience and care were always there and the fact we were able to come to a mutual agreement is important to me. Many at Brisbane also shared and supported me through my journey. I thank the Lions."
Collingwood also delisted Rupert Wills and Flynn Appleby. Wills, 27, was drafted in 2015 and played 23 games. Appleby was drafted as a rookie in 2018 and played nine games in his first season, but managed just one game in 2019 and one game in 2020.
Hawthorn delisted midfielder Harrison Jones and forward Mathew Walker. Forward Dylan Moore has been sent to the rookie list. Jones, 21, was drafted as a rookie in 2018 but played his only senior game in 2020. Walker, 20, was drafted in 2018 but failed to play a senior game. Moore, 21, played seven games in 2019 before a groin injury ended his year. He managed just three in 2020.
Carlton has moved both Matthew Kennedy and Eddie Betts to their rookie list for 2021. This ensures the club does not need to make any more changes to the current list. Carlton Head of Football Brad Lloyd praised the selflessness of Betts for agreeing to the move, “We approached Eddie about the possibility ... as soon as Eddie knew how this opportunity would help ... he agreed straight away. Eddie’s selfless act is another example of how committed he is to our football club, his teammates and his willingness to do whatever he can to help ... ". Of Kennedy he said, “ ... we have been able to re-contract Matthew now, without having to endure the wait until the rookie draft. Matthew was keen to stay ... and we wanted to keep him ... ".
Ahead of the first list lodgment deadline, Gold Coast moved Jarrod Harbrow, Jack Hombsch, Jordan Murdoch and Zac Smith to the rookie list.
Richmond delisted has also informed defender Derek Eggmolesse-Smith. Eggmolesse-Smith, a member of the Tigers Academy, was drafted as a rookie in in 2018 and played eight games. Defender/forward Ben Miller has been put on the rookie list. Miller, 21, was drafted in 2017 but has yet to debut.
St Kilda moved defenders Darragh Joyce and Oscar Clavarino to their rookie list. Joyce, recruited from Ireland, was drafted as a Category B rookie in 2017 and elevated to the seniors in 2018, He has played five senior games. Clavarino was also drafted in 2017 but has yet to debut.
Defender James Frawley, nephew of the late Danny Frawley, was lured out of his recently announced retirement to sign with the Saints as a delisted free agent. Originally drafted by Melbourne in 2006, he played 139 games for the Demons before crossing to the Hawks at the end of 2014 for a further 100 games, including the 2015 premiership. Head of List Management James Gallagher said Frawley’s experience would be a significant addition, “It’s exciting for us to have a player of James’ experience ... He is a reliable, hard-working and big-bodied defender who has a proven ability to play on the competition’s best forwards, so his addition will undoubtedly add depth to our backline ... His experience and success ... will greatly benefit our young defense.” The significance of playing for the Saints was not lost on Frawley or his family, “It’s obviously a huge honor to play for the same club as Danny, and I feel he would have been immensely proud ... While I was content with retirement, after speaking to James (Gallagher), Brett (Ratten) and Simon (Lethlean, general manager) about their plans for this group and what they’re building, I couldn’t resist ...". St Kilda lodged the paperwork with the AFL for Frawley.
Sources: Media Releases - Megan Croucher (Hawthorn), Will Botsoulas (Carlton), Josh Cheadle Gold Coast), Nicki Malady (Richmond), Alison Zell (GWS), Nadine Rabah (AFL), Clair White (St Kilda), afl.com.au, AFL Record Season Guides
Article last changed on Wednesday, January 06, 2021 - 5:59 PM EST