As the end of the regular season fixture rolls around and the post-season hangover looms, more and more AFL greats are saying farewell to their esteemed careers in 2021.
- Four-time goal of the year winner Eddie Betts retires
- Injury forces three-time premiership winner out
- Foundation Suns star calls time on his AFL journey
While some have gone out on their own terms, others will be looking for an opportunity elsewhere next season after not being offered a new contract at their current clubs.
From one-club heroes and footy journeymen calling it quits, to veterans and rookies alike looking for a new home in 2022, this is the full list of players who have retired or been delisted so far.
Tom Lynch – The experienced forward will be looking for a new opportunity in 2022 after the Crows said they would not offer him a new contract. He leaves Adelaide after 157 games and 198 goals for the club.
Tyson Stengle – Stood down from the club in March of 2021, Stengle has been playing for Woodville-West Torrens in the SANFL. He turns 23 in October and still has plenty to offer.
Daniel Talia – A dual All-Australian and 200-game veteran, Talia will look for another club in 2022 after the Crows decided not to offer him a contract. The key defender and Rising Star Award winner of 2012 has struggled with knee and foot injuries this season.
Eddie Betts – Arguably the most spectacular exponent of goalkicking in the history of the game, Betts will farewell the AFL in the final round of the season — the 350th game of his career. He retires with 638 goals under his belt, including four goal of the year victories.
Levi Casboult – The tall forward will not be offered another contract at the Blues in 2022 and will be looking for a new home. Casboult will go out with 154 games to his name and 154 goals before Carlton’s final clash of the season against GWS.
Marc Murphy – The former skipper goes out with 300 games to his name, joining John Nicholls, Craig Bradley, Stephen Silvagni and Kade Simpson as the only men to reach the milestone at the Blues. The No.1 draft pick of 2005 also kicked 197 goals and earned an All-Australian nod in 2011.
Levi Greenwood – The Magpies midfielder called time on his career in June, citing concerns over his long-term health following battles with concussion. Greenwood played 74 games for North Melbourne, before adding a further 86 at the Magpies.
Chris Mayne – The versatile Magpie announced 2021 would be his last season after 14 years in the AFL. He played 172 games with Fremantle before moving to Collingwood in 2017, adding a further 76 games to his tally.
Patrick Ambrose – Struck down by injury late in his career, Ambrose leaves the game after playing 88 matches since debuting in 2014.
Cale Hooker – The ultimate swingman for the Bombers, Hooker retires after 219 matches and 122 goals across 13 seasons in the red and black. He was an All-Australian in 2014, and won Essendon’s best and fairest in 2015.
Reece Conca – The Dockers defender will look for a new team in 2021 after the club said he would not be offered another contract for 2022. He played 46 games for Fremantle after moving to the club from Richmond in 2019, having played 104 games for the Tigers.
Stephen Hill – The dynamic midfielder announced his retirement after battling injuries in 2021. Hill played 218 games for the Dockers after debuting in 2009.
Leno Thomas – The category B rookie was granted an early release from his contract. Thomas did not feature for the Dockers at AFL level.
Jarrod Harbrow – A foundation player for the Suns, Harbrow announced his retirement after 261 games, 191 of which were for the Gold Coast. Starting his career at the Bulldogs in 2007, the rebounding defender joined the likes of Gary Ablett and Campbell Brown as players who moved from other clubs to help start the new club. He retires holding the games record for the club.
Jack Hombsch – The defender retires after playing 18 games for the Suns, 79 games for the Power, and nine games for the Giants, while kicking one career goal.
Jordan Murdoch – The dashing midfielder announced his retirement alongside Hombsch, after 14 games for the Suns and 108 games for the Cats.
Zac Smith – A fellow Gold Coast Suns original with Harbrow, ruckman Smith retires after 73 games for the club, disrupted by a four season stint at Geelong from 2016 to 2019, where he played 50 matches.
Jonathon Patton – The No.1 draft pick quit the AFL in April, as he apologised for “completely unacceptable” behaviour towards women. Patton played just six games for the Hawks after 89 matches for the Giants.
Tom Scully – Another former No.1 draft pick, Scully retired in February after losing the desire to continue his career. He played 35 games at Hawthorn having notched 121 matches at the Giants and 31 games at the Demons.
Tom Rockliff – The former Brisbane Lions skipper hung up his boots after 208 games, 54 of which were at Port Adelaide. Rockliff was hospitalised mid-season with deep vein thrombosis having endured surgery on both knees, saying “it is the best thing in the end for me to call time on my career”. He was named in the All-Australian team in 2014 and won the Lions best and fairest the same year.
David Astbury – The three-time Richmond premiership defender announced his retirement after notching 155 games across 12 seasons. While he suffered several injuries across the early part of his career, Astbury became a key cog in the all-powerful Tigers squad, winning flags in 2017, 2019 and 2020.
Bachar Houli – Another three-time premiership Tiger, Houli farewells the game after 26 games at Essendon and 206 games with the Tigers. Arguably the best player on the field in Richmond’s drough-breaking 2017 premiership, Houli said he was proud to have played at two great clubs while educating footy fans about the Islamic faith.
Shaun McKernan – The younger brother of North Melbourne star Corey has announced his retirement after one season at the Saints. McKernan played just four games at St Kilda, after spending five seasons with the Crows and six seasons at the Bombers. He played 91 games and kicked 74 goals.
Dylan Roberton – The Saints defender retired in April to put his ‘family and future first’, after suffering serious health concerns. Roberton played three seasons at Fremantle, playing 37 games, before notching another 82 at the Saints.
Daniel Venables – The 2018 premiership Eagle was advised to retire from the AFL after suffering a brain trauma injury in 2019. Venables played 21 games after debuting in 2018.
Lin Jong – The injury-prone Bulldog called time on his career at just 28-years-old following constant injury battles. Jong played 65 games between 2012 and 2021.