AFL RETIREMENTS AND DELISTINGS
By Ben Jensen AFL CLUBS HAVE FINALISED their lists ahead of the AFL National Draft. Since the last list was released two weeks ago, clubs such as St Kilda and Sydney have swung the axe further, in all likelihood ending the careers of players such as Aaron Fiora, Nick Davis and Luke Brennan. Fremantle finally delisted a player officially, although it wasn't against his will - Josh Carr is almost certain to go to Port Adelaide with whom he won the 2004 Premiership. The Kangaroos finally broke the bad news to key defender / utility Leigh Brown. Twenty-six year old Brown was recruited from Fremantle in time for season 2003, after being drafted by the Dockers at number five in the 1999 draft. As always he was 'wished all the best' by his former club, but will be privately fuming.
At Geelong, the big news, although not a complete shock by any means, was the formal departure of 2007 Premiership forward Nathan Ablett, while the delisting of this season's club VFL best and fairest winner Jason Davenport was a surprise after fellow midfielder Brent Prismall was traded to Essendon. FULL LIST, CLUB BY CLUB
Eight Saints have been given the Khyber by St Kilda as they clear out their list. Among them is former Geelong VFL premiership forward Charlie Gardiner, who although featuring in the finals series is being let go after just one year. The aforementioned Fiora, who after being drafted at number three by Richmond in the 1999 draft. Also given the flick from the main list are Jayden Attard, Matthew Ferguson and Michael Rix, while rookie-listed Glenn Chivers and Luke van Reenan also received their marching orders.
St Kilda is set to draft Ben Cousins in the National Draft with a late pick, after being reportedly the only club interested in the wayward midfielder and 2006 Premiership player.
Other former players hoping but unlikely to find a new home include mercurial former Sydney and Collingwood forward Nick Davis. As one wag suggested, "He wouldn't cost much and if you could keep him off the KFC would be a good addition." Former teammate at Collingwood Brodie Holland is another hoping to get another chance. Holland, Copeland Trophy medallist in 2006, had a terrible year but with a switch in playing styles to that of Geelong and Hawthorn he will struggle.
Ruckman such as former Saint and Blue Cain Ackland, Magpie Chris Egan and former Melbourne and Docker Jeff White may have more chance of being picked up.
The Bombers finally had to cut talented but obscenely injury-prone key forward Courtney Johns loose while they also ended the Mal Michael experiment, which to be fair turned out better than Carlton's effort with Mick Martyn but at last Martyn scared off thieves from training.
Amazingly the Dockers had not a single main-listed player 'delisted' against his will, the nine departees leaving on their own accord in Josh Carr, retiring or being traded. Amoung the other departees are star Peter Bell, stalwart Shaun McManus and wayward but exciting forward Jeff Farmer. Another club to really clear our their list is Port Adelaide, with several Premiership players being delisted or retiring. The Lonie brothers, Nathan at Port and Ryan at Collingwood both retired, while Port also delisted an unlucky pair of Ryans in Williams and rookie-listed Willitts.
Perceived as having one of the oldest lists in the AFL, Sydney initially raised eyebrows with only two players leaving, one of them ruckman Peter Everitt retiring after 291 games at three clubs since beginning at St Kilda in 1993. The other was Ben Mathews, who played 198 games and memorably wouldn't give Tony 'Plugger' Lockett his number four jumper back during his brief un-retirement in 2002. But the Swans have now swung the axe to a degree, giving Nick Davis his marching orders along with fringe players Lukle Brennan, Peter Faulks and Kristin Thompson.