North Melbourne and Coach Rhyce Shaw came to a mutual decision to part company. Shortly after their season ended, Shaw took a leave of absence from the club. North chairman, Ben Buckley, expressed his gratitude to Rhyce for his dedicated service, “Since taking on the role as caretaker coach in ... 2019 and then senior coach for 2020, Rhyce Shaw has given his all ... He has been an exceptional leader and is a man of the highest integrity. His work ethic is unparalleled and we are truly grateful for the time, effort and energy he’s put into the role."
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.
In the wake of their dismal 2020 season, North Melbourne has taken a sledge hammer to their list with 11 players told they are being delisted. Jamie Macmillan, Majak Daw, Jasper Pittard, Ben Jacobs, Paul Ahern, Mason Wood, Sam Durdin, Marley Williams, Joel Crocker, Lachie Hosie and Tom Murphy are out of the club.
Midfielder Corey Maynard will retire at the end of the season due to ongoing hip issues.He was drafted in 2017 as a rookie and debuted that year. He had an impressive preseason in 2018, was elevated to the senior list and played the opening round that year but a hip injury sidelined him for the rest of the year. Maynard, 27, said the hip issues just would not allow him to continue. He said although he was bitterly disappointed, he is comfortable with his decision.
Football Manager Josh Mahoney praised Maynard for his professionalism and leadership, "It's really unfortunate for Corey ..
Veteran defender Sam Wright, 29, announced his retirement ahead of Round 20. Wright was drafted in 2008 as a small forward (the same year as Jack Ziebell), but transformed himself into a dynamic and skilled defender who could stand up in big games. He played a total of 136 games but has not played since May due to ongoing ankle issues. He was sidelined for 701 days from 2016 to 2018 due to surgeries on both ankles as well as a stress problem in his foot. He has struggled this year also with ankle problems and told teammates the toll it had taken on him would not allow him to get back to AFL level. He played his final game in the VFL in Round 20
In making the announcement, Wright said, “I guess the decision’s been coming for a long time ... After the last surgery, I probably knew that I wasn’t going to go around next year, and the advice I’d be given was that I probably need to start focusing on life after footy and living a healthy life ... I wanted to get out and play one more game, but it’s just become pretty evident ... that my body just won’t allow me to do that. I can’t train and I can’t play at a high enough level ... Pulling on the jumper, whether it be at VFL or AFL level ... has always been something I’ve been really proud of.”
Round fifteen has opened up the race for the top eight with some highly fancied teams dropping games they were expected to win. Geelong bounced back from defeat at the hands of Port Adelaide last week by taking care of the other Adelaide team (the Crows) at GMHBA Stadium, holding on to top spot on the AFANA AFL Power Poll in the process.
Collingwood drops down to third on the Power Poll courtesy of a shock loss at the hands of a resurgent North Melbourne which climbs all the way to eighth under the control of interim coach Rhyce Shaw. The Eagles once again used some last minute heroics to defeat an unlucky Hawthorn at the MCG, with Jamie Cripps providing the match winning goal on this occasion.
The bye rounds are over, and as we head into round fifteen the battle for the coveted top four spots and the race for the finals is well and truly on. Geelong moves to top spot on the AFANA AFL Power Poll despite dropping a game on the road to an impressive Port Adelaide, while Collingwood continues to win despite not being at its best in recent weeks.
The big movers are the Adelaide Crows, moving from 8th to 5th on the back of a three game winning streak while Fremantle and Port continue to look the most likely to take a spot in the final eight unless Richmond can end its free fall down the AFL ladder.
Round ten saw the top four teams on the AFANA AFL Power Poll all notch victories during the Sir Douglas Nicholls Indigenous round to tighten their grip atop the rankings. The top three didn’t have it all their own way however, as Collingwood, Geelong and the West Coast Eagles were all pushed to the wire their opponents in Sydney, Gold Coast and Adelaide respectively - the Eagles particularly impressive as they fought back from more than five goals down away from home against the Crows. For the Greater Western Sydney Giants, it was another story as they completely dominated Melbourne at the MCG, running out 26-point winners in a score line that flattered the Demons.