Port Adelaide captain Tom Jonas is harboring hopes he can end his AFL career with the Premiership trophy on high after announcing he will retire at the end of his club's 2023 season.
The 32-year-old defender said the “last chapter is yet to be written” for his team but has now called for all distractions to be removed as Port progresses to the finals.
Jonas has struggled for regulation time this season, appearing in just 12 games. He has played the last three games but knows there are no guarantees and wanted the team to make the right decision.
“One would like to play forever, but it inevitably comes to an end,” said Jonas of his decision to retire.
“The good thing for me is that the final chapter isn't written yet, and that's really exciting. For me it was about not distracting the team from what we can look forward to in the coming month.
“Obviously this weekend is our last home game before the finals so it's a great opportunity to play again in front of some friends and family and of course the fans who did me so good doing it.
“I didn't want to have the biggest highlight, so I've always appreciated the team's achievements and watched the team grow and achieve their goals, even though I know I played a small role. That's what I've found fulfillment in, not so much what I've done myself.”
Port manager Ken Hinkley, who ousted Jonas earlier in the season, said the skipper had always put the Etam thing first as a player and captain.
“Tom has always given his best whether on or off the pitch and it has been a pleasure to be a part of his journey,” said Hinkley, who had coached Jonas for 11 of 13 seasons at the club.
“He had to find his own path from the start, with enormous challenges along the way. While he hasn't always been the first pick this season, the way he's treated himself is the perfect example of his team-first attitude.
“He knows our club have a lot ahead of them over the next month and he doesn't want his own circumstances to get in the way at any point.”
For the second time, an AFL player has been forced into retirement on the recommendation of an independent panel of concussion experts, and Adelaide's Paul Seedsman is hanging up his football boots.
The announcement comes just two days after former No. 1 draft pick Paddy McCartin also followed a call from the AFL's concussion panel and ended his career. Hawthorn-Ruckman Max Lynch was also sidelined from the game last month due to ongoing concussion issues.
Seedsman hadn't played a game in almost two seasons, his last game coming in Round 23 of 2021 as he continued to struggle with headbutts and still has a hard time focusing on regular duties.
The independent AFL concussion panel recommended he stop playing contact sports, and the 31-year-old seedsman said while he still wants to play, he knows he must retire from the sport.
“It's always hard to let go of something you still want to do, and every part of me still wants to play,” he said.
“But I've had time to digest what I can't and I'm comfortable with that. I'm not wallowing in ‘what ifs', I'm trying to heal myself.
“I'm enjoying watching football again and that also makes it difficult because I see the club taking a strong direction. I'd love to help him get to the next level, but now I have to. I'll enjoy watching them for many years to come.”
Seedsman played 132 games for Collingwood and then the Crows, including the 2017 big finals loss to Richmond
The Tigers legend calls the time
Richmond champion Jack Riewoldt will bid farewell at the MCG on Saturday alongside Premiership captain Trent Cotchin after ending his successful career.
Riewoldt, who danced on stage with the Killers after their epic Premier League breakthrough in 2017, will leave as one of the Tigers' all-time greats after 346 games and a whopping 786 goals in black and yellow.
The three-time Coleman medalist and two-time best and fairest winner, who announced his decision to his teammates on Tuesday, said the Tigers were “ready to recover” and he decided it was the right time to “move on to the next chapter.” .
“I never thought my journey would come this far or that I would be a part of something like who I was. But I am very grateful to everyone who contributed to this,” said Riewoldt.
“It's so important to actualize your story and while my career has come a long way, it started the same way as anyone walks in the door with hope, curiosity and excitement and I've just been fortunate to have so many people around.” were invested in me.
“I'm really going to miss everything, but most of all it's going to be me missing the fight and everything that comes with playing for this club.”
Only Kevin Bartlett has played more games for Richmond than Riewoldt's 346, while the 34-year-old surpassed Bartlett's 778 career goals this season and is behind only Jack Titus and Matthew Richardson.
Riewoldt was Richmond's leading goaltender 11 times and will almost certainly add a twelfth accolade to his cabinet after leading the Tigers' forward streak with 31 goals in the absence of Tom Lynch.
A large crowd is expected at the MCG for Richmond's game against North Melbourne on Saturday afternoon after Riewoldt and Cotchin both opted to play their final games at home rather than face Port Adelaide away in Round 24.
The game will also be the last for Kangaroos star Jack Ziebell, a week after longtime teammate Ben Cunnington was eliminated with a rousing two-goal performance against the Bombers.
Riewoldt's retirement comes after a concussion forced Sydney defenseman and former No. 1 draft pick Paddy McCartin to retire for a second time, ending one of the AFL's great comeback stories.
Ongoing injury battles have also led to West Coast star and former No. 2 draft pick Nic Naitanui retiring at the age of 33 after 213 games with the Eagles.
McCartin, 27, suffered the tenth concussion of his career in the fourth round against Port Adelaide and has not played since. The setback came after he reignited his Sydney career after playing just 35 games in five seasons with St Kilda due to repeated headbutts.
After McCartin had already decided to sit out the remainder of 2023 based on ongoing discussions with doctors, an independent AFL concussion medical panel recommended McCartin stop participating in contact sports, and he subsequently made his decision.
“I'm obviously disappointed that I can't continue to do what I love, but I need to be guided by the specialists and I know this is the right decision for me,” said McCartin.
“I want to thank the Sydney Swans for the trust they have placed in me and the opportunity to pursue my dream of playing AFL football. It was a privilege to play for this great club and I will remember that time fondly.
“I would like to especially thank Lucy, my family, my teammates, coaches and medical staff for their wonderful support during this challenging time – I am very grateful.”
McCartin's retirement ended a 63-game AFL career that got off to a promising start when he was selected as the first pick in the 2014 draft.
He was delisted by St Kilda at the end of the 2019 season due to concussion issues and after a year without a game, McCartin moved to Sydney in 2021 where his younger brother Tom was playing for the Swans to play at the VFL side.
Selected as a key forward for the Saints, McCartin switched to defense in the second phase of his career and signed a rookie contract with the Swans for 2022.
As a dynamic duo, the McCartin brothers played an integral part in the Swans' march to last year's Grand Finals as key pillars of defence.
But after just 28 games in the red and white and just four this season, McCartin will be hanging up his boots.
Naitanui, a two-time West Coast best and fairest player who was drafted second in the 2008 draft, joins retired Eagles veterans Luke Shuey and Shannon Hurn after not playing a game in 2023.
Naitanui, a three-time All-Australian, struggled with an Achilles tendon injury that ultimately required surgery a few weeks ago and said his body told him it was time to go away.
“I feel like I've exhausted all options to get through my injury, but my body is sending a strong signal that it's time,” said Naitanui.
“You never want that day to come, but it always comes and I'm content to know that I've given my all.
“Being a lifter who has relied on my ability to jump my entire career, this injury would likely rob me of that ability.
“Also, I am facing a lengthy rehabilitation after my recent surgery and there is no guarantee I will make it back to AFL level even if everything goes according to plan. I've thought about it a lot over the past few weeks and this is the best decision for the club, me and my family.
“I would also like to thank the club for the opportunity, for the tremendous support I have received along the way and for the lifelong friendships that have been formed.”