We had a few real legends and champions of the game hang up their boots at the end of the season after playing at least 200 games over their careers. Not counting the likes of Boomer Harvey, del Santo and co who are still hoping to find a new club, here are six guys we’re missing already.
If Swanny’s retirement announcement wasn’t the best of all-time, it was right up there. And we’d expect nothing less. A gun player and a hilarious character that surely has a fine career ahead of him in the media. Winner of the Brownlow Medal and the best Collingwood footballer of his generation, Swan was also a five-time all-Australian, three-time Copeland Trophy winner and premiership player. He announced recently he was writing a book – we can’t wait.
Fremantle’s favourite son leaves a gaping hole in their team but fond memories in the heart of his fans, who number far more than just Dockers supporters. Pav was a six-time All Australian and fittingly kicked his 700th career goal in his 353rd and last game at Domain Stadium back in August, leading to emotional scenes from playing colleagues and supporters alike. Well played, champion.
More emotional scenes, this time at the MCG as champion Carlton player Andrew Walker was chaired off in front of the Blues fans who have been behind him throughout his 13 year career with the club. The one-club man appeared 202 times for Carlton, kicking 139 goals, after being the number two pick in the 2003 National Draft. It takes some guy to take on the mantle of Steve Silvagni’s number one Guernsey, but Walker did it with honour.
In mid-August, Brownlow medallist Cooney announced this season will be his last. Having come from the SANFL to the Western Bulldogs, he made a fine career for himself over 11 years, kicking 186 goals in 219 appearances as a midfielder. He was the first number one draft pick to win the Brownlow and ended his career at Essendon, fittingly enough after playing against the Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium in round 22.
A popular and integral member of the Swans team for 11 years, since starting his AFL career at Essendon, Richards went out at the very top after this year's run to the Grand Final. John Longmire described Richards as “incredible – the epitome of a balanced footballer. He has always trained really hard but he also loves having a laugh and is a great family man”. A true Swans legend, he gave everything. #ThanksTeddy
After a career of exactly 200 games, the last 11 of which were with Essendon this year, Mathew Stokes hung up his boots. A premiership player in 2007 and 2011, an untimely injury cost him a place in the Geelong Grand Final after his teammates won the Preliminary Final comfortably in his absence. This was after suffering defeat in the 2008 GF when he admitted to playing despite not being 100%. A career of highs and lows, Stokes remains popular with Cats fans and rightly so. His final game was, like Adam Cooney, against the Bulldogs in round 22.
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