Is 2017 the greatest retirement class of all?

Sam Macpherson Roar Rookie

By Sam Macpherson, Sam Macpherson is a Roar Rookie


22 Have your say

    Steve Johnson has joined the ever-growing class of 2017 retirees, which is sure to be one of the greatest classes of all time.

    Johnson joined Jobe Watson, Luke Hodge, Sam Mitchell, Nick Riewoldt, Scott Thompson, Matt Priddis and Matthew Boyd – to name a few.

    This group of players, who we will call the Class of 2017, have amassed just every award the game has to offer:

    • Three Brownlow Medals (there is an argument that this is only two, however I am including both Sam Mitchell and Jobe Watson)
    • 12 premierships
    • Five captains
    • 21 All Australian selections
    • Three Norm Smith Medals

    Who is to say that the awards outlined above cannot be added to yet. St Kilda’s Nick Riewoldt who fell agonisingly short of the premiership in 2009 and 2010 has a fighting chance to go out on top, Johnson’s Giants look like they are finding form at the right time of the season, and Boyd and Thompson’s sides could both push deep into September.

    There are also some great storylines in these retirements.

    It is fitting that Mitchell, Hodge and Johnson finish their careers in the same season.

    Mitchell of course was Hawthorn’s captain in their 2008 premiership year, before Hodge took over and led Hawthorn to their three-peat in 2013, 2014 and 2015. As for Johnson, he was part of the enthralling rivalry that existed between Hawthorn and Geelong for much of the 2000s.

    And all three were members of the 2001 ‘superdraft’.

    Johnson mentioned in his retirement that finishing up in the same year as many of his former rivals was something special that they would share at the end of the year.

    2016 saw its fair share of champions bow out, including Jimmy Bartel, Dane Swan, Matthew Pavlich, Brent Harvey, Corey Enright and Nick Dal Santo. It’s a class that again includes club champions, Brownlow medalists, premiership players and Norm Smith medalists.

    However, the class that is forever referred to as possibly the greatest of all time is the Class of 2007. Who could forget that year? It included James Hird, Nathan Buckley, Mark Ricciuto, Anothony Koutoufides, Chris Grant and Glenn Archer.

    That year was very much the end of a generation – when those players left, it was the likes of Hodge, Mitchell, Riewoldt and Johnson who took over the mantle as the game’s elite.

    Now is in many ways a mirror of 2007, with the Class of 2017 passing the mantle on to the likes of Dustin Martin, Patrick Dangerfield, Nat Fyfe and Josh Kelly.

    Who knows, in five to ten years’ time, when those guys start to call time on their careers, we might be having the same discussion.

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    The Crowd Says (22)

    • August 11th 2017 @ 8:52am
      13th Man said | August 11th 2017 @ 8:52am | ! Report

      I think there could be one more massive one which will ensure this year is the best retiring crop ever. Gary Ablett Jnr. I think he’s more likely to retire than head back to Geelong…. Watch this space.

      • August 11th 2017 @ 9:42am
        Trevor said | August 11th 2017 @ 9:42am | ! Report

        Add Josh Gibson to that list, as well and probably Robert Murphy, too.

      • August 11th 2017 @ 9:56am
        The Fatman said | August 11th 2017 @ 9:56am | ! Report

        A case could easily be mounted in favour of last year’s group, headlined by Dane Swan, Matthew Pavlich, Corey Enright and the game’s all-time record holder Brent Harvey.

        But nothing is likely to match the class of 2007 which boasted three Brownlow medallists in James Hird, Nathan Buckley and Mark Ricciuto, as well as Chris Grant, Glenn Archer, Anthony Koutoufides and many more.

        • August 11th 2017 @ 10:19am
          I ate pies said | August 11th 2017 @ 10:19am | ! Report

          Chris Grant should have been amongst that group of brownlow medalists.

        • August 11th 2017 @ 11:04am
          Birdman said | August 11th 2017 @ 11:04am | ! Report

          hmmm… 2016 was good but it wasn’t great

    • August 11th 2017 @ 9:44am
      The Fatman said | August 11th 2017 @ 9:44am | ! Report

      It is a pretty good class.


      * 2x Brownlow Medals – Sam Mitchell (2012), Matt Priddis (2014).

      * 3x Norm Smith Medals – Steve Johnson (2007), Luke Hodge (2008, 2014).

      * 5x club captains – Nick Riewoldt (St Kilda, 2005, 2007-16), Sam Mitchell (Hawthorn, 2008-10), Jobe Watson (Essendon, 2010-15), Luke Hodge (Hawthorn, 2011-16), Matthew Boyd (Western Bulldogs, 2011-13).

      * 12x AFL premierships – Luke Hodge (2008, 2013-15), Sam Mitchell (2008, 2013-15), Steve Johnson (2007, 2009, 2011), Matthew Boyd (2016).

      * 21x All-Australian selections – Nick Riewoldt (2004, 2006, 2008-09, 2014), Luke Hodge (2005, 2008, 2010), Steve Johnson (2007-08, 2010), Sam Mitchell (2011, 2013, 2015), Matthew Boyd (2009, 2011, 2016), Jobe Watson (2012-13), Scott Thompson (2012), Matt Priddis (2015).

      • Roar Guru

        August 11th 2017 @ 10:09am
        Cat said | August 11th 2017 @ 10:09am | ! Report

        Probably add Andrew Mackie (3 x AFL premierships, 1 AA, 274 games) and Tom Lonergan ( 1 x AFL Premiership, 204 games)

        • August 11th 2017 @ 11:50am
          Gecko said | August 11th 2017 @ 11:50am | ! Report

          Possibly Bob Murphy and Big Sandilands, depending on how the rest of the year pans out… and 300-gamer Drew Petrie.

          • August 11th 2017 @ 12:29pm
            Trevor said | August 11th 2017 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

            And don’t forget the great Jesse White – how quickly we forget.

            • August 11th 2017 @ 12:34pm
              Birdman said | August 11th 2017 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

              built like Tarzan, played like Jane

              • August 11th 2017 @ 2:01pm
                Peter the Scribe said | August 11th 2017 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

                I’m guessing he played about 127 games of AFL more than you have Trevor and Bird sitting at your keyboard.

              • August 12th 2017 @ 8:59am
                Gecko said | August 12th 2017 @ 8:59am | ! Report

                Ah those were the days. Cloke and Jesse White in the Collingwood forward line together, causing complete exasperation.

    • August 11th 2017 @ 10:56am
      johno said | August 11th 2017 @ 10:56am | ! Report

      Pretty sure Zac Dawson will be in that list too.

      • August 11th 2017 @ 11:06am
        Birdman said | August 11th 2017 @ 11:06am | ! Report

        bit of a potato who made the most of his relationship with his coach and had a longer career than most.

        • August 11th 2017 @ 4:51pm
          GJ said | August 11th 2017 @ 4:51pm | ! Report

          I always wondered if he had pictures of Ross and a goat from an end of season trip somewhere when he was a young fella.

    • August 11th 2017 @ 11:18am
      Rene Silva said | August 11th 2017 @ 11:18am | ! Report

      2007 list of retirees:

      Chris Johnson, Darren Gaspar, Brent Montgomery

      James Clement, Daryl Wakelin, Glenn Archer

      Scott Camporeale, Mark Ruccito, Andrew Thompson

      Anthony Koutafidis, Chris Grant, Aaron Hamill

      Byron Pickett, Lance Whitnall, Matthew Lappin

      Luke Darcy, Nathan Buckley, James Hird

      Matthew Clarke, Joel Smith, Paul Licuria, Chris Scott

      That’s just a starting 22 list for 2007 retirees (there’s more)

      13 x Premierships
      3 x Brownlows
      2 x Norm Smiths

      I could be bothered calculating the number of games played, the All Australian Jumpers and Club B&F’s

      Equal to if not greater than the 2017 retiring class

      • August 11th 2017 @ 5:39pm
        The Original Buzz said | August 11th 2017 @ 5:39pm | ! Report

        That is an impressive list.

    • August 11th 2017 @ 11:25am
      spruce moose said | August 11th 2017 @ 11:25am | ! Report

      Add Aaron Sandilands.

      • August 11th 2017 @ 2:15pm
        dontknowmuchaboutfootball said | August 11th 2017 @ 2:15pm | ! Report

        Sandilands has already re-signed for next year. It’s possible he’ll do a Priddis and change his mind, but no sign of it yet.

    • August 11th 2017 @ 12:05pm
      Gecko said | August 11th 2017 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

      Retiring class of 2018 could be equally impressive if it includes Mackie, Lonergan, Ablett, Sandilands, Bob Murphy, Kelly, Gibson, Montagna, Heath Grundy, McVeigh, Daisy Thomas and one or two of those small Hawthorn forwards who seem to have burned out early. Plenty of grand finals played between them.