We could see a changing of the guard at the conclusion of 2019, with several club favourites and future Hall of Famers a chance to hang up the boots.
This season saw 32 players retire. This list isn’t suggesting these guys need to call a quits, it’s simply saying they will likely have to answer the question at some stage.
Most of these players are out of contract in 2019 as well.
Hodge has already done it once and his contract with the Lions was always expected to be a two years. He had a good 2018, but whether he’ll physically be able to go on again in 2020 will be the question he faces.
Simpson is an evergreen and could have multiple years left in him. At 34, the question must be asked however. Regardless, the Blues will likely have him for as long as the defender wants to be there.
Wells has struggled to find consistency since joining Collingwood, only managing 14 games in two years. He signed a three-year deal with the Pies so if that trend continues in 2019, it’s likely he’ll be calling stumps.
Goldsack signed a one-year contract extension with the Pies, but it seemed the team wanted to wait until the last moment to see whether they wanted to bring him back for 2019. The fan-favourite Pie stood up in finals this year.
Ballantyne remains one of Ross Lyon’s favourites, but it’s hard to see him getting consistent opportunity in 2019. The Dockers have gone quite young with their team build and many were surprised to see the small forward brought back.
For Bennell, it’s as simple as whether his body can hold up. He’s barely played since joining the Dockers and it would appear 2019 is his final shot at proving he’s up to the rigours of the AFL.
Sandilands is another player who seems to keep chugging along regardless of age. He’s now 35 and with Sean Darcy the next in line at the Dockers, they could look to transition to the younger ruckman.
Mundy had an excellent 2018 and with Fremantle’s loss of Lachie Neale, he’ll be equally important next year. He’s likely in a situation where he’ll be welcomed in the Dockers’ midfield as long as he wants to be there.
Taylor struggled to find a place in Geelong’s best 22 when healthy in 2018 and with his contract expiring next year, it seems like a natural stopping point for the veteran defender, assuming things don’t change.
Ablett is another player who can likely go as long as he chooses to, but he will be 35 next year. It’s reasonable to assume the Cats will be able to find a role for Ablett for as long as he wants to be there.
Deledio has had a number of injury issues since joining the Giants and will likely struggle to maintain a spot in their best 22. It’s not hard to see him playing again in 2020, however.
The 33-year-old Shaw had a steady 2018, playing 20 games and averaging 22 disposals. He will likely hit 300 games too next year. He should still have a role with GWS in 2019 and will have a decision to make beyond that.
Mumford came out of retirement to give the Giants some ruck help in 2019. Given he’s already retired once, he may not wish to play beyond next year.
Already have the SEN app? Head to your iTunes App Store or Google Play Store to update.
Burgoyne is the oldest player in the AFL and the only one left from the 2000 draft class. Retirement would have to be on his mind, but he’s remained as reliable as ever so far.
Roughead handed over the Hawthorn captaincy to focus on his footy and with everything his body has been through, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the key forward hung up the boots after the 2019 season.
The Demons have incredible depth and Lewis may find himself out of their best 22 at stages this year if his form drops off. He played 24 games in 2018, but did appear to lose a step as the season went on.
The North Melbourne key defender may also find himself on the outer thanks to the rise of Majak Daw down back. If the Roos wish to go a little smaller in defence, Thompson’s spot in the side would be in jeopardy.
The Swans planned for McVeigh to retire at the end of 2018 according to coach John Longmire early in the season, but he played well enough to retain his spot on the list for 2019. McVeigh may even go on at another club if Sydney want to move on to younger players.
Jack played 19 games in 2018, but with the core of young midfielders they have, Sydney may want to move on from him come 2020.
Grundy was moved forward at stages of 2018 with Aliir Aliir and Lewis Melican seemingly the future for the Swans down back. Grundy calling it a quits at the end of 2019 seems likely.
Suckling is a little younger than others on this list, but could wish to move on to a career as a punter in American Football. He may end his career a year or two earlier to pursue that path.
Dickson struggled to stay healthy and in the side this season and with the Dogs acquiring Sam Lloyd, it appears there will be serious competition for that small forward spot in 2019.
Morris will likely keep playing until he’s 50 given people have been putting him on lists like this for three years now. Morris is an evergreen who will still be a vital player for the Dogs next year.
Picken missed all of 2018 with concussion issues and any return to footy would be a triumph for him and the club. His contract expires at the end of 2019.