As the season nears to a close, more clubs not in contention have made cuts to their lists and a few more players have announced their retirements.
The Supplemental Signing Period (SSP) ran from December 1 through March 13, allowing clubs to sign rookie players provided they had room on their lists and salary caps. A number of clubs took advantage of the period to round out their playing lists.
Concerned with the poor depth in the ruck and up forward with Tom Bellchambers injured and the return of Joe Daniher (groin) still indefinite, the Bombers have signed former swimming champion Henry Crauford under the SSP rules. Crauford, 22 years old and 6'3", competed in swimming at state and national levels before returning to football in 2016. He played for Norwood in the SANFL in 2019 and played 19 games for Norwood's reserves side. Several clubs showed some interest in Crauford but he was overlooked in last year's draft. Athletic and with good endurance for his size, he can play both ruck and as a tall forward.
It is currently the free agency period for the AFL. This period runs until November 22 and allows clubs to pick up delisted free agent players. In late October, soon after they were delisted, Wylie Buzza (Geelong to Port Adelaide), Jack Newnes (St Kilda to Carlton), Kaiden Brand (Hawthorn to Sydney), Sam Gray (Port Adelaide to Sydney), Harley Bennell (Fremantle to Melbourne) signed with new clubs.
Sydney stalwart Jarrad McVeigh has announced he would retire at the end of the season. McVeigh, 34, has played just five games this season due to quad, hamstring, and calf injuries. His last AFL game was Round 12. He was on the comeback trail through the NEAFL but strained a calf. He is still hopeful of a final farewell game in Round 23. McVeigh also thought of playing on in 2020, but the latest setback told him otherwise.
McVeigh was drafted in 2002 and has been a key to the team's recent success of 15 finals series and five Grand Finals. His 324 games is just one shy of former teammate Jude Bolton (323) and he is just one of four Swans to play 300 games, the others being Adam Goodes (372) and Michael O'Loughlin (303). And he will go down as one of the most decorated and influential players in the club's history.
After their tenth loss for the season against Geelong in Round 17, St Kilda decided to part company with senior coach Alan Richardson. The official announcement was that Richardson himself opted to step down although speculation has it that the decision was mutual after extensive discussions between Richardson, CEO Matt Finnis, and the board of directors.
In making the announcement, Finnis thanked Richardson for his commitment and contribution to the club and praised him for the work he had done under difficult conditions, "Alan brought great integrity, knowledge and experience ... and under his leadership, the foundation for future success has been laid. He inherited his role at a difficult point in the club’s history, developed the young players now beginning to make their mark, took the club to the cusp of two finals appearances, and ... showed great resilience in the face of adversity. Alan’s selflessness and focus on what is right for the playing group and club has always been immense, but it’s perhaps been best demonstrated in the past two days through his decision to step aside ...".
Adelaide midfielder Curly Hampton has been forced to retire due to vertigo. Hampton, 25, also said all the setbacks he has had over the past eight years caused him to lose his passion for playing. When announcing his decision, he went on to say, "The past few weeks have been particularly hard ... At times, it has been difficult to train and play but it has also affected my life away from football ... I am confident of making a full recovery but I feel it is best to do that away from the pressures of the AFL industry. This is a good opportunity to focus on the other priorities in my life ... ". He suffered ankle and shoulder injuries in 2014 and a foot injury in 2016.
The West Coast Eagles have confirmed that Nic Naitanui has a torn the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on his right knee. His left knee was reconstructed in late 2016 and kept Naitanui out of the competition for all of 2017. American specialist Bill Knowles, who assisted Naitanui with his recovery in Philadelphia last July, has suggested that this second reconstruction could require a longer recovery period. It is expected that Naitanui will undergo reconstruction surgery as soon as the initial swelling subsides. He will miss the rest of this year and most of the 2019 season. The twenty-eight year old has played 160 games for West Coast; he will be nearly 30 when he returns to the game.