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Rockliff Gets Away from Merrett

Port Adelaide midfielder and former Brisbane captain Tom Rockliff also announced his retirement. Rockliff, 31, has had a horror run of injuries this year. Early in May, he landed awkwardly during a SANFL match, damaging both knees. He was confined to a wheelchair in early May after surgery. Just a week later, he was hospitalized after complaining of acute calf pain. He was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis and the doctors found blood clots on his lungs. He has been on blood-thinning medication since, and he was barred from taking part in any contact drills when he returned to training duties several weeks ago.

In making the announcement, Rockliff said, “I spoke with the specialist and the clot is still there. They can’t guarantee it’ll go away and if you get hit where that clot is, it can transport up to your lungs, so the risk factor was too high ... It is the best thing in the end for me to call time on my career. The people I have spoken to have celebrated with me but there have been a few tears shed. It’s been emotional but also the right thing to do."

Rockliff managed just two AFL games at the start of the season and finishes on 208 games - 54 with Port and 154 with Brisbane. He will continue this season in a coaching capacity. 

Drafted by Brisbane in the 2009 preseason draft, Rockliff quickly established himself as one of the best midfielders in the competition. In 2011, after just 40 games, he won the Lions' best and fairest in his third season. He was appointed Brisbane captain in 2015 and held the role in 2016. He moved to Port Adelaide as a restricted free agent at the end of 2017 and was a key player when the club finished first in 2020. 

The former Lions skipper has been on blood-thinning medication since, and he was barred from taking part in any contact drills when he returned to training duties several weeks ago.

Port coach Ken Hinkley was saddened by Rockliff's retirement, “Tom is an outstanding person to have around the group, as much as sometimes he annoys the hell out of us. He would have to be one of the smartest players I have come across in my time ... it is a shame he has been unable to get back on the park following a very unusual and frankly pretty unfortunate set of injuries. It is telling of his character that he didn't sit there and get down about his bad luck and instead continued to bring energy to the group and help guide our younger players.”

Sources: espn.com.au, afl.com.au

Essendon defender Patrick Ambrose has announced his retirement after just 88 games. Ambrose, 29, has battled a foot injury for the past several months. It is the latest of a string of injuries he has suffered over the past two seasons. The injuries restricted him to just one game since last year. 

His journey to the AFL was unusual. He first played for Coburg in the VFL before joining amateur VAFA club Old Xaverians in Kew, a suburb of Melbourne. In 2013, he and his brother Murphy were recruited to Essendon’s VFL team. He was so impressive in his seven games that season, Essendon offered him a spot on their rookie list at the age of 22. He quickly established himself as a reliable defender in 2014 in 16 games and was elevated to the senior list. 

When fit, the courageous defender and ruthless competitor was often tasked with the opponents’ leading forward. His fearless approach was a standout, seeing him earn the Adam Ramanauskas Most Courageous Player award in 2017 and 2019.  

Ambrose said he was immensely grateful for the support he received throughout his AFL career, “I’m really proud to have worn the famous red and black guernsey for the past eight seasons. “Footy has thrown me a lot of challenges and my fair share of injuries, but it was the feeling of running out with my teammates every week that kept me going. In the end I had to be realistic with my ability to perform and train at the level required, which has become challenging after a long journey with this foot injury.  I walk away from the game knowing I gave it my all, and now the time is right to hang up the boots ... I wish the boys all the very best ...  I’ll miss being around the boys and at the club each day, but we all know it’s going to be pretty exciting to watch this young side in the years to come. Finally, to our loyal members and supporters, I want to say thank you for your support ... ". 

Coach Ben Rutten paid tribute to Ambrose’s contribution to the club, “We’ll miss Patty at the club, and we thank him for his commitment ... At his best, Patty was a crucial member of our backline, and his elite training standards and diligence with his preparation is something our young players have looked up to. Unfortunately, as we know, he’s had a luckless run with his injuries, particularly in the past two years, but the way he has attacked his rehabilitation and recovery throughout has been in his typical professional fashion ...".

Sources: Alexandra Stewart, Essendon Media Release

Field umpire Dean Margetts who last night informed the AFL Umpiring group that he will be retiring following this Sunday’s Round 22 match between Fremantle and the West Coast Eagles to be played at Optus Stadium in Perth.
 
An AFL Life Member, Margetts announced his retirement. his last game will be the Round 22 Western Derby bringing his match tally to 377 games since his debut in 2002. That puts him ninth on the all-time list for games umpired. 
   
AFL Head of Umpiring Dan Richardson said, “Dean’s contribution to the game and to the AFL Umpiring community over almost two decades has been outstanding ... To have umpired 376 games, including twelve finals matches, is a great achievement and a testament to his commitment to the game and consistency over the years. Dean has worked extremely hard and dedicated a great deal of his time to the umpiring community and that is something we are very grateful for. An ambassador for umpiring across all levels of the game in Western Australia, Dean will be greatly missed among the AFL umpiring group ...". 
 
AFL Umpires Head Coach Michael Jennings echoed Richardson’s praise, “For Dean to have officiated 376 games is an outstanding achievement and a testament to his professionalism and commitment to the game ... Dean has long been a leader of the umpiring team and sets the standard on and off the football field. He has always been a determined umpire and a great teammate, and we thank Dean for his remarkable contribution to umpiring.”
 
AFL Umpires Association President and current AFL Field Umpire Brett Rosebury reflected on Dean’s career in umpiring, “To reflect on Dean’s career in umpiring is to reflect on a 26-year personal and professional friendship. We started umpiring junior footy together ... in Perth and we both went on to umpire in the WAFL and then eventually umpire alongside each other at the AFL level. Dean’s influence on our umpiring group, on Perth-based umpires, and on the next wave of AFL and AFLW umpires coming through is to be acknowledged. Dean is someone who has been able to build strong and trusted relationships over the years with players, coaches, and umpire peers. His decision to remain in Western Australia throughout the course of his career has seen him travel 1,190,000 km and that longevity is a testament to his dedication to umpiring at the elite level.”
 
Margetts, who will continue in his role with the Western Australian Football Commission as the WAFL and Talent Pathway Manager, said, "It had been a privilege to umpire AFL football, Umpiring has given me the opportunity to be involved with the greatest sport at the highest level. I never take for granted the fact that I have been fortunate to enjoy such a long career in the AFL and will always reflect on all my experiences in the game. I am forever grateful to have been given the opportunity to umpire AFL football, to be involved in so many amazing games, and most of all, to do it with the most amazing group of people - it has been a huge privilege. I look forward to the next phase of my life with my family and will continue my work in umpiring with the WAFC to support the development of the next generation of men and women who will hopefully umpire AFL and AFLW football.”

Dean Margetts Achievements:

Debut: 2002 (Round 5, West Coast Eagles vs. Brisbane Lions) 376 games 12 Finals 2013 - 2015 Preliminary Final AFL Life Member 9th place for all-time VFL/AFL games umpired:

All Time leaders

Shane McInerney  502
Hayden Kennedy   495
Brett Rosebury   453
Matt Stevic      421
Rowan Sawers     410
Simon Meredith   408
Stephen McBurney 401
Mathew Nicholls  377
Dean Margetts    376
Darren Goldspink 371

Prior to AFL debut:
2 WAFL Grand Finals 2000 and 2008

Source: Nadine Rabah, AFL Media Release

The Adelaide Crows advised forward Tom Lynch that he would not be offered a new contract. Lynch, 30, will see out the season and then consider his options for the future. Lynch said, “Naturally I would have loved to have kept playing but I am rapt to have experienced the journey with the club and now with this young group, and I look forward to watching their development and their rise back up the ladder ... I will take some time to consider what comes next but for now I am determined to help the team finish the season as strongly as we can.” 

Lynch was initially drafted by St Kilda in 2008 but played just six games in three seasons before being traded to the Crows. In 2013, he topped Adelaide’s goalkicking and three years later kicked a career-high 42 goals in a season. It earned him an All-Australian nomination and top-three finish in the club’s best and fairest. 

Coach Matthew Nicks said Lynch, who has been a member of the club’s senior leadership group for the past five seasons, has been an important part of the forward line for an extended period, “Over his career, Tom has been described as ‘The Connector’ and it is a good description of the influence that he has had on and off the field, which has been significant. On-field he has been elite with his decision-making and ball use. Off-field, when it comes to prioritizing others, Tom is second to none and as a senior leader, he’s helped drive the cultural standards within the playing group. Like any professional athlete, he’s had his share of injuries but his resilience and attention to detail with his rehabilitation and overall week-to-week preparation is an example to which all of our emerging players should aspire.”

Source: Reece Homfray, Adelaide Media Release

Article last changed on Friday, September 10, 2021 - 9:50 PM EDT


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