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21 January 2022

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  • Unvaccinated Eagles star banned from training
    21 January 2022

    West Coast Eagles forward Jack Darling has been barred from training with the club, having failed to meet the AFL’s requirement that all players be vaccinated against COVID-19.

    The league’s cut-off to receive at least one vaccine dose passed on Friday, meaning Darling, one of the league’s few players yet to meet the mandate, is on the outer.

    The Eagles have released a statement confirming the 29-year old, who was their leading goalkicker in 2021, had ‘not adhered to the AFL’s COVID-19 training and playing mandates’.

    “While Jack will take some time to assess his future he will train independently of the remainder of the squad,” the statement reads.

    “The club will continue to support Jack as he contemplates his options and is optimistic that he will return to build on his outstanding career to date.

    “While the club does respect the right to personal choice it also supports the protocols put in place by the AFL and Governments – both Federal and State – as they navigate their way through this persistent and challenging pandemic.

    “Neither the club nor Jack will make any further comment on the matter.”

    (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

    The Eagles 2018 premiership star is the most high-profile player affected by the AFL’s requirements since Carlton’s Liam Jones announced his shock retirement late in 2021.

    Since making his debut in 2011, Darling has played 236 games for the Eagles, with his 450 goals the third-most in club history behind teammate Josh Kennedy (675) and Peter Sumich (514).

    The news comes as a major blow to the Eagles’ chances of returning to finals action in 2022, with Darling having kicked at least 40 goals in every season since 2015 bar the COVID-shortened 2020.

  • Lions midfielder moved to inactive list after not meeting vaccination requirements
    21 January 2022

    Brisbane midfielder Cam Ellis-Yolmen has been moved to the club’s inactive list after not meeting the AFL’s COVID vaccination requirements.

    In a statement released on Friday evening, the Lions confirmed that Ellis-Yolmen made an “unsuccessful submission for an AFL exemption” and won’t be allowed to train or play.

    All AFL and AFLW players and football department staff must be vaccinated to take part in the 2022 season, with doses one and two to be completed respectively by January 21 and February 18.

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    Brisbane released the following statement: “The Lions respect Cameron’s right to personal choice but are also committed to the protocols put in place by the AFL to safeguard the competition and protect the health and wellbeing of its players.

    “The move opens up a position on the rookie list and the Lions will now investigate the opportunity to acquire a replacement player.

    “Neither the Lions nor Cameron will make any further comment.”

    The 28-year-old has played nine games for Brisbane since arriving from Adelaide during the 2019 trade period.

    Ellis-Yolmen has played a total of 48 AFL games since debuting for the Crows in 2014.

  • “They can win the flag”: Bombers, Blues premiership hopes assessed
    21 January 2022

    SEN host Dwayne Russell is extremely optimistic about Essendon heading into the 2022 season.

    Russell has declared the Bombers, under senior coach Ben Rutten, can win the premiership this year “if the planets align”.

    In Rutten’s first season as sole head coach, Essendon jumped from 13th in 2020 to eighth in 2021, before bowing out in Week 1 of the finals to eventual Grand Finalists the Western Bulldogs.

    Prolific pair Zach Merrett and Darcy Parish were dominant through the midfield, earning selection in the 2021 All-Australian team, while Jake Stringer was electrifying in a dual midfield-forward role.

    Russell was asked via a text message on SEN’s Dwayne’s World how optimistic he was about the Bombers entering 2022.

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    “Essendon can win the flag,” he declared.

    “If you’re talking about optimism for winning the flag, I reckon Essendon has got the most to be optimistic about this season.

    “I think if the planets align, then they can win the flag.”

    Russell was also asked about Carlton’s hopes of making the finals and challenging for the premiership, as they embark on a new era under coach Michael Voss.

    An eight-win season in 2021 saw the Blues miss the finals once again which led to the sacking of former coach David Teague.

    Harry McKay and Sam Walsh enjoyed All-Australian seasons but a significant lift across the board is required.

    “I don’t think Carlton can win the flag, but I think they can make the eight,” Russell said.

    “If they get everything right, who knows, they might actually make the eight and do some damage in the finals.”

    The last time Carlton played finals was in 2013.

  • West Coast's Darling banned from training for failing to meet AFL COVID vaccine mandate
    21 January 2022
    West Coast's All Australian forward Jack Darling is banned from training or playing with the club after missing the deadline to meet the AFL's COVID vaccine mandate.
  • Eagles forward outed as unvaccinated
    21 January 2022

    West Coast forward Jack Darling has been outed as unvaccinated, per Channel Seven's Ryan Daniels.

    The Eagles have since confirmed the report, but added they are "optimistic" Darling will eventually meet the AFL's guidelines on vaccination.

    The AFL has mandated vaccination across the league for all players and support staff, with the Western Australian deadline to have had the first vaccination coming on Friday, January 21.

    It means Darling, who kicked 42 goals last season and remains one of the best key forwards in the competition, won’t be able to train with his teammates from Friday until he gets vaccinated.

    I’m told @WestCoastEagles star Jack Darling has failed to meet the @AFL vaccine mandate for first dose.

    From tomorrow, Darling won’t be able to train with teammates, or use club facilities unless his vaccination status changes.

    All other players have met mandate.@7NewsPerth

    — Ryan Daniels (@FootyRhino) January 21, 2022

    It's understood the 29-year-old is not at training on Friday.

    Darling is the third male AFL player to be revealed as unvaccinated at a time where careers are on the line. Carlton defender Liam Jones retired because of the mandate late last year, while Roo Jed Anderson has only received one dose and is also unable to train with his teammates.

    The two WA clubs, as well as teams in South Australia and Queensland are required to have had their first dose by January 21 and need to be double-jabbed by February 18.

    The AFL season begins on March 16.

    Read West Coast's full statement below

    Star West Coast Eagles forward Jack Darling has not adhered to the AFL’s Covid-19 training and playing mandates and therefore – under the AFL rules – he will be unable to attend the club’s facility at Mineral Resources Park and by extension any club training sessions.

    While Jack will take some time to assess his future he will train independently of the remainder of the squad.

    The club will continue to support Jack as he contemplates his options and is optimistic that he will return to build on his outstanding career to date.

    *While the club does respect the right to personal choice it also supports the protocols put in place by the AFL and Governments – both Federal and State – as they navigate their way through this persistent and challenging pandemic.

    Neither the club nor Jack will make any further comment on the matter.

  • De Goey is Collingwood's “most important player”, but how many other clubs would want him?
    21 January 2022

    Jordan De Goey may be the prototypical midfielder in the modern AFL, but his off-field indiscretions have him running out of chances.

    Kane Cornes believes the 25-year-old goes into 2022 in a strange spot as both Collingwood’s most important player and someone who may not attract interest from other clubs because of his baggage.

    Former Collingwood captain Tony Shaw believes the 17 other clubs would jump at the opportunity to sign De Goey, telling News Corp: “Some people are saying to move him on, well if you move him on, I tell you what, there’ll be 17 other clubs jumping to get him. Everyone’s saying clubs wouldn’t touch him, but that’s a load of crap.”

    Cornes however disagrees, believing the majority of teams would pass on his talents.

    “He is their most important player, Jordan De Goey, in terms of where they want to go to,” Cornes told SEN’s The Captain’s Run.

    “He is the commodity that every AFL club wants. You want that big-bodied powerful player that can win contested footy, but can also do damage in the forward half of the ground.

    “Clubs get sucked in by that. They get sucked in by the undeniable talent.

    “The frustration behind players who have so many opportunities and Nick Kyrgios and De Goey for different reasons and you can link them in this conversation, clubs get sucked in.

    “Tony Shaw said 17 other clubs will want De Goey, I’m not sure about that. It might be as little as two or three would give De Goey another opportunity.

    “Will he ever reach his talent? He’s 25, time’s running out I reckon, it’s a huge year for him.”

    De Goey will return to Collingwood training on Friday as he continues legal battles surrounding an alleged assault in a New York nightclub.

    He is out of contract at the end of the season.

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  • Collingwood premiership captain names the club’s next batch of leaders
    21 January 2022

    Scott Pendlebury will captain Collingwood for a ninth straight season in 2022 – but who are the club’s next batch of leaders?

    Taylor Adams – one of three vice-captains at the Magpies – has been touted as Pendlebury’s natural successor, while fellow deputy Steele Sidebottom is entering the twilight years of his career.

    Collingwood premiership captain Nick Maxwell has named the players who he believes to be the next leaders underneath Adams and Sidebottom within the Pies’ ranks.

    Maxwell says Darcy Moore – who was elevated to Collingwood’s leadership group last year – Brayden Maynard, Jack Crisp and Jamie Elliott are all blessed with leadership qualities.

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    “Scotty’s done it for nine years now, I was five before that and then we had Scotty Burns just for one. So it just sort of depends on where we get to by the end of the year and what it looks like from a team perspective,” the former Magpies defender told SEN Mornings.

    “Darcy (Moore) is out of contract and there’s some other guys who are out of contract who have leadership capabilities.

    “I guess that middle tier coming through who are younger than the (Taylor) Adams and (Steele) Sidebottom types is Darcy Moore, (Brayden) Maynard continues to step up, (Jack) Crisp is another one who has been very good.

    “Probably the one that is a bit quieter that people don’t understand how good of a leader he is but around the club he’s highly respected is Jamie Elliott.

    “It’s just whether or not you want someone to come in as a stopgap for a year or two or whether you really want to invest in someone coming through.”

    Pendlebury is Collingwood’s longest-serving captain having the led the club 183 times across his decorated 334-game career.

    The 34-year-old signed a two-year contract extension last October.

  • 'I don't fall into male or female': AFLW player Tori Groves-Little on coming out as non-binary
    20 January 2022
    Ahead of the AFLW's annual pride round, two players — Carlton's Darcy Vescio and Gold Coast Sun Tori Groves-Little — announce they identify as non-binary. 
  • Saints co-captain makes call to step down from the role
    20 January 2022

    Jarryn Geary has made the call to stand down as St Kilda captain.

    The veteran defender announced the decision in front of the playing group on Tuesday morning, the Saints website confimed.

    Geary shared captaincy duties with Jack Steele in 2021, but only played three games after fracturing his fibula in the pre-season and then dislocating his shoulder in June.

    The last few years have been tough on Geary, with significant injuries limiting him to 24 games in the last three seasons, 16 of which were in 2020.

    The 33-year-old has played 207 career games for the Saints since being selected with pick 58 in the 2006 Rookie Draft.

    Steele continued his growth in 2021, holding down the leadership responsibilities en route to All-Australian honours.

    The 26-year-old will now be the sole skipper at the club.

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  • De Goey rejoins Collingwood training after resolving legal issues
    20 January 2022

    Collingwood star Jordan De Goey will be welcomed back to the club on Friday following a three-month exile from the Magpies due to legal issues in the United States.

    De Goey, 25, was stood down from the club in October last year after he was charged following an alleged altercation at a New York bar.

    While the utility was originally facing multiple charges, he’s now been brought back to the club after accepting a plea deal which saw his charge downgraded to just harassment in the second degree.

    He won’t face jail time, but De Goey will complete a corrective program in Australia as well as abide by club imposed terms including acceptance of further support off-field in co-operation with health professionals and a commitment to permanent, part-time work with the Salvation Army.

    Collingwood president Jeff Browne said De Goey will be supported in his rehabilitation.

    “Jordan is a Collingwood player and like all of our players he will be supported with everything that we have. We want our people, including those who make mistakes, to know what Side by Side means,” Browne said via a statement.

    “We are pleased that the matter is resolved and Craig McRae and his team can get on with the pre-season.”

    The agreed settlement regarding De Goey’s legal issues is expected to be ratified at a hearing on January 28.

    De Goey has played 118 games in the black and white and comes off contract at the end of 2022.

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