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Wright Retires and Shaw Confirmed

Sam Wright Marks

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.

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Round 20 Milestones

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Damien Hardwick (RICH) qualified for AFL Life Membership in Round 20 with his 300th league game as a player and coach. He debuted with Essendon in 1994 and played 153 games with the Bombers before crossing to Port Adelaide where he played 54 games. Hardwick has the distinction of being a Premiership player with both clubs, won the Best and Fairest at Essendon in 1998 and was named All-Australian in 2000. He played 13 pre-season games with Essendon and five with Port, four International Rules games, and has coached Richmond in 63 games.

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