Ahead of Round 24, four more players announced their retirements. Tom Jonas, Tom Hickey, Josh Bruce, and Jonathon Ceglar all indicated that their AFL careers were ending.
Port Adelaide captain Tom Jonas will retire at the end of the season. He has been in and out of the team this season. Jonas, 32, said in a club statement, “It’s been a fair roller coaster but for me there have been so many more ups than downs. You reflect on moments that maybe at the time were tough and challenging, exhausting or sad, but ultimately, they’re what makes you appreciate the good times and they’re what make you galvanize relationships and friendships with everyone that you spend time with along the way. The good thing about this for me is that the final chapter hasn’t been written ... For me it was about removing any distraction from the team with what we’ve got to look forward to in the month ahead (i.e., finals) ... ".
Coach Ken Hinkley, who has coached Jonas in 11 of his 13 seasons, said, “Tom has always given his all, whether that is on the field or off it ... He’s had to create his own path right from the start with enormous challenges along the way. While this season he has not always been first choice at selection, the way he has handled himself is the perfect example of his team-first attitude ... ".
Jonas has played 215 games through Round 23 and has played 12 games so far in 2023. Among his accolades are three All-Australian nominations (in 2017, 2018 and 2020), consecutive Fos Williams Medals as best team man (in 2017 and 2018) and three podium finishes in the John Cahill Medal (club best and fairest). He was appointed captain in 2019 and has led the team in 94 games through Round 23.
Sydney ruckman Tom Hickey will also retire at the end of the season. Hickey, 32, will reach game number 150 in Round 24. Hickey was a Queensland zone selection for Gold Coast in 2011 and played 11 games for the Suns before being traded to St Kilda at the end of 2012. He played 67 games with the Saints 2013-2018 before being traded to the Eagles where he played 23 games in two seasons. He was traded to the Swans at the end of 2020. At the end of the regular season, he will have played 48 games with the Swans. He has the unique distinction of being the first player in league history to play for four different clubs in four different states.
Hickey said, “I’m so grateful to have been on this incredible journey. When I first got drafted, I saw myself playing four years and trying to get one game. Here I am leaving 13 years later with almost 150 games, and hopefully a few more, under my belt. People talk about the great culture of the Swans, and every part of it rings true. This is a special club filled with great people across all the departments ... ".
Executive General Manager of Football, Charlie Gardiner, described “Hick” as the ultimate team player, “Tom has been a wonderful addition to the football club since arriving ... He has played some excellent football and has been a key contributor to the team’s on-field performance ... regularly matching it with the best ruckman in the game ... To be on the brink of 150 AFL games and playing some of his best football in the later stages of his career, is testament to his resilience and hard work. He’s a terrific person, a highly valued teammate and just a great club man ... ”. Hickey will take up a role with Sydney Swans partner, ARA Group, which provides essential services for buildings and infrastructure.
Bulldog defender Josh Bruce will retire at the end of the season after 13 seasons. He was an ACT zone selection and played in the GWS TAC team in 2010 before playing the NEAFL. He was drafted by GWS in 2011 and played 14 games for the Giants before being traded to St Kilda at the end of 2013, He played 99 games with the Saints over six seasons. he then was traded to the Bulldogs at the end of 2019. His 2023 season ended at the end of July due to a ruptured ACL. He had a breakout season in 2015 with the Saints, kicking 50 goals to be the club's leading goalkicker and finishing eighth for the Coleman Medal (league leading goalkicker). After being traded to the Bulldogs in 2020, Bruce again stamped his authority on the competition with 48 goals in 20 games in 2021.
Bruce finishes his career with 234 goals in 163 matches, across three different clubs. He said, “I moved out of home at 17 to Sydney as a skinny, hyperactive little kid and I’m finishing here as a not-so-skinny, still hyperactive grown man, with two beautiful kids. I can rest my head on the pillow knowing that every grueling pre-season session, every rehab session and every game at three clubs, I gave my absolute everything. I hope I finish with the respect of my peers and coaches for being a resilient, effort-based, hard-working teammate who never gave up for the team. The move to the Bulldogs has been one of the most defining moments of my life. I’ve got so many connections ... “It’s fitting to finish up here and I look forward to exploring some coaching opportunities into the future.”
Coach Luke Beveridge lauded the impact Bruce has made across the club, both on and off the field, "Josh is an outstanding team man and we’ve been fortunate to have him represent the Bulldogs for the past four seasons. Despite facing his fair share of adversity, Josh entered the building every day with the same sense of energy and enthusiasm which lifted the playing group and staff around him. Josh is a much-loved figure. He should be proud of his time with us, and of everything he achieved in his career ... ".
Jonathon Ceglar, 32, has retired. He will not see out the season. He was a ruckman who could also go forward at times. He was prelisted by Gold Coast in 2010 but was traded to Collingwood. He spent two years with the Pies without a game and was delisted at the end of 2012. Hawthorn selected him in the rookie draft that year. He played 101 games for the Hawks 2013-2021. He was then traded to Geelong where he has played nine games in two seasons to bring his game tally to 110. Although his game time was limited, he brought a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Cats’ young rucks and key forwards.
Ceglar said, “I have loved every minute of my career and feel fortunate to have represented three great clubs. I'm grateful to have played the game for as long as I have and while I would have loved to have played on, my body hasn’t allowed me to continue ... ". Geelong General Manager Simon Lloyd thanked Ceglar and wished him all the best, “We have really cherished our time with ‘Cegs’ over the last two seasons and we will all miss the daily chats on football and life. “Cegs’ character is the epitome of hard work, dedication, and perseverance ..."
Source: sen.com.au, Tom Chadwick, Sydney Media Release, Elliot Raiter, Western Bulldogs Media Release, Patrick Lucarelli, Geelong Media Release, AFL Record Season Guide
Article last changed on Friday, August 25, 2023 - 10:43 AM EDT