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Signings, Retirements, and Sackings

Players have been added or dropped from five AFL clubs in recent weeks for a wide range of reasons. 

North Melbourne has terminated Tarryn Thomas. Thomas, aged 23, was recently banned from playing for 18 weeks after another incident of inappropriate behavior. He has faced charges of domestic violence and other offenses against several women. The club, after numerous interventions and support structures to help him, have run out of patience.

A statement released by the club said in part, "The club has provided Tarryn with significant time, resources and support but we've now arrived at a point where the individual's needs don't match those of the club. We know Tarryn needs help - for himself and for the women in his life - but it's clear the path we've taken over the past 12 months hasn't had the desired impact ... we have made the decision to end Tarryn's time at North Melbourne. This decision doesn't come lightly or easily ... we acknowledge that he has faced complex and challenging circumstances over his life. We hope Tarryn will find the support that is right for him and that he does the work required to be the best version of himself."

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Hawks Delist Duo

Wingard running (AFANA file photo)

Hawthorn has delisted Chad Wingard and Copper Stephens but will redraft them as rookies in the upcoming draft. Wingard has played 218 games across his 12-year career and is currently working through rehab for a serious achilleas injury sustained earlier this year. Stephens joined the Hawks through the 2022 trade period after spending three seasons with Geelong where he played seven games in his final year. The changes will allow the club to utilize all selections acquired prior and during the recent trade period. 

Source: Jake Keating, Hawthorn Media Release

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Four Clubs Drop Players and Prepare for Draft

Kayne Turner (file photo/AFANA)

Just after the trade period, several clubs delisted more players due the acquisitions during the trade period and to make more room on their lists for the upcoming draft. Hawthorn, North Melbourne, Brisbane, and Sydney cleared roster spots for new talent. 

Hawthorn delisted Lachlan Bramble, Fergus Greene, and Ned Long. Bramble, 25 years old, was selected in the 2021 preseason SSP and played 30 games. Long, 20 years old, was picked up in the 2021 rookie draft and played five games. Greene was drafted by the Bulldogs in 2016 and played five games before joining Hawthorn as a delisted free agent in 2022. He played 11 games.

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Plowman Retires from Blues; Hawks and Kangaroos Delist Seven

Carlton defender Lachie Plowman has retired. Hawthorn delisted Josh Morris, Emerson Jeka, and released Fionn O'Hara. North Melbourne said goodbye to Lachie Young, Flynn Perez, Phoenix Spicer, and Jacob Edwards.

Plowman, 29, was originally drafted by GWS in 2012 and played 20 games for the Giants before being traded to Carton at the end of 2015. He played 125 games for the Blues. In 2019, Plowman enjoyed a breakthrough season, playing every game and finishing third in the best and fairest count. A beloved member of the playing group, Plowman established himself as a player with a team-first attitude, who was often required to take the most dangerous small forwards from opposing teams.

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Late August Delistings and Retirements

Menengola clears (file photo)

At the end of August, the Western Bulldogs delisted Mitch Hannan. Essendon delisted Alistair Lord, Rhett Montgomerie, and Cian McBride. Geelong player Sam Menegola retired. Brisbane defender Marcus Adams also retired. Hawthorn forward Tyler Brockman wants to go back to Western Australia. 

Geelong midfielder Sam Menegola retired after Round 24. He was originally drafted by Hawthorn in 2011 as a rookie but was delisted at the end of the year. The Dockers selected him as a rookie 2012 but he never debuted for them either and was delisted after three seasons. He played in the WAFL in 2015 and was eventually drafted by the Cats t the end of 2015. He played 117 games and kicked 83 goals for the Cats. His 2023 season was marred by injuries. He said, “The time I have had at Geelong has had an immeasurable impact on our lives. I have enjoyed successes, faced challenges, learnt lessons, and developed relationships that will stay with me for a long time. I have had a chance to fulfil a lifelong dream ... ".

General Manager Simon Lloyd said,

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Farewells to Four More

Jonas Pressures Watts (file photo)

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 ... ".

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Trent Cotchin and Isaac Smith Call Time

Trent Cotchin (Kim Densham/AFANA)

Just ahead of round 21, Tiger champion Trent Cotchin and Geelong champion Issac Smith announced their retirements. In speaking to his teammates, Cotchin reflected on the “authentic human connection” and “love” he had experienced during his career. Cotchin then said, “I am going to miss with all my heart the relationships, memories and experiences ... I accept reality ... My body is somewhat slowing down and is older than it once was. I found my life purpose at Richmond. I look to the future ... because of what I found here at Richmond and what Richmond people taught me ... creating an environment to help other realize and fulfill their potential not only inspired me but helped me to overcome my own fears ... I have always given my best and left no stone unturned ... ".

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Retirements, Round Two

Shuey Kicks (Dave Woodley for AFANA)

Four more players have announced their retirements: North Melbourne midfielder Ben Cunnington, Eagle captain Luke Shuey, Essendon ruckman Andrew Phillips, and Hawthorn ruckman Max Lynch. 

LUKE SHUEY

West Coast captain Luke Shuey will also retire at the end of the season, joining teammate Shannon Hurn. A string of hamstring injuries have curtailed his season and led to his decision, “As much as my mind wants to go on, my body won’t allow it and I have made the decision to retire at the end of this season. We have tried everything to get my body right ... I am incredibly grateful to the football club for the opportunities they have given me, the support I have received ... Being a part of a premiership means I will have a lifelong connection with 21 other blokes, but it doesn’t end there. The friendships I have made with players, coaches and staff over the last 15 years will remain with me forever ... ".

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Hawks Suffer Mid-year Blues

Cripps Racks Kicks Again (file photo)

On the middle day of the calendar year it was very much a drizzly winter morning in Melbourne. Still a respectable crowd of just over 66,000 turned up.  The sun had come out for the opening bounce and the Hawthorn Hawks had the first clearance, then the Carlton Blues eventually winning the back and forth tennis match before getting a high snapped kick onto Curnow's chest. He goalled the set shot to get the scoring started.   

Jack Martin kicked the Blues second after getting on the end of a chain of handballs inside the Blues 50 and being in the clear, easily snapped the goal on his left foot. A rampant McKay ran inside 50 and centered to a leading Cuningham who goalled from 30 meters out for three unanswered goals.  The Hawks appeared to be asleep for much of the quarter and the return of just three behinds accurately reflected that at quarter time as the Blues took a 19 point lead into the first break.  Hawthorn's kicking efficiency was just 50% for the quarter and when they did go forward, the likes of Weitering thwarted their efforts.

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2023 AFL Hall of Fame

Sam Mitchell (file photo)

The AFL held their annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony in late June. This year's inductees were South Australian player Michael Aish. James Bartel, Corey Enright, South Australian Tom Leahy, broadcaster Bruce McAvaney, Sam Mitchell, and Mark Williams. Bartel and Enright were inducted together due to their roles as teammates at Geelong during the Cats' dominant period\d and premiership success (see details below). Former St Kilda champ Nick Riewoldt was also a candidate this year, but will be inducted next year when he and his family return from living in the USA (his wife is an American from Texas). Players are eligible after five years of retirement. Coaches, umpires, administrators, and media representatives are eligible after retirement.

THE INDUCTEES

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