The AFL and its predecessor, the VFL, have always been a rich source of exasperating characters. It would rival politics or a Fox News station.
Every club has its veterans and old boys, so who are your club’s over 30s, where are their contracts at and will they survive post-2021?
Third time lucky in a Victorian club for the journeyman, but from the Dogs to North, he got his body right and became an A-grader.
Now, he wants a flag. With two years on his deal, Geelong are on borrowed time.
The legendary skipper is 33 in May and although it’s not unfair to say he’s past his best, he’s nowhere near a liability either.
Out of contract at the end of the year, he’ll probably get one-year deals until his elite career comes to a close.
The reigning Coleman Medallist signed a two-year deal last year and is in some of the best shape of his career. One of the safest bets in the league with the 32-year-old (33 in July).
The former Hawk has turned 32 already and also has a two-year deal. Won’t go anywhere but has a couple of years to win the fourth flag.
The former Crow is 32, with a year left, but if you can’t get a game without Jeremy Cameron, you’re not getting one with him. Could be the end.
Thanks to the new rules, it was possible for 31-year-old Henderson to be put on the rookie list and with young Sam De Koning itching for a go, needs a good year.
Turned 31 recently and the former Blue has almost become a ‘Mr Fix It’, playing all over the ground. Has a deal until 2022 and is in Geelong’s best 22.
Turns 31 in March and his story from a ‘runner’ to a brilliant tall back is an outstanding one. Contracted until 2023 and is a pillar of Geelong’s defence.
Two reasons why Danger not only isn’t going anywhere, but could have one of his best years yet: redemption for his grand final performance and the fact he’s 31 in April. The ‘it can be better next year’ mentality is gone.
Turned 30 in December and the former Saint is under pressure for his spot. Darcy Fort and Esava Ratugolea aren’t on the list to mess around and they just drafted Shannon Neale.
Out of contract, so a make-or-break year here.
One of the more underrated stars in the competition, Duncan has had an injury-hit pre-season, but is signed until 2024. Turning 30 in June, Duncan is going nowhere.
The best (fighting with Jaidyn Stephenson) first-quarter player who tends to fade out of games, Rohan has a make-or-break contract year ahead.
The inaugural Sun turns 33 in July and is out of contract. He might be done, given the Suns have young defensive depth.
Deserves to be remembered as a key piece of the Suns’ inclusion into the competition.
From the Suns to the Cats and now back home, Smith’s contract ends in 2021 and only injuries get him a game. Will probably be the end.
‘Sausages’ is 35 in July and is hanging around like a bad smell. With Preuss’s injury and doubt over Matt Flynn given he hasn’t played yet, Mumford will play, but this should be it for the premiership player.
One of the better stories in the league, Reid is 31 and won’t be a part of GWS’s first premiership team, but from reports, could coach in the future.
Matt De Boer
Turns 31 in March and the former Docker and current tagger has been a weapon for Leon Cameron. Might be in trouble if the Giants flop and he’s out of contract.
The former Pie is 31 in April and with Phil Davis (more below) and young Sam Taylor being the main pillars down back, might have a big part of 2021. Beyond that, out of contract and it’s a coin flip.
The inaugural co-captain and longest-serving leader for the Giants only turns 31 in August but needs to get his body right. Out of contract at the end of the year, but if fit, will stay on.
‘Silk’ turns 39 in October and it is his last hurrah.
2021 may not be great for the Hawks, but the celebration of his career will linger forever.
The new skipper is 32 in July, but just signed on, so not only is he going nowhere, he’s the first captain who wasn’t recruited by Hawthorn in over 60 years.
The second of three ruckmen who are not only ageing (31 in April) but weren’t recruited by Hawthorn. Can’t see him going on past this year.
Already 30, the last ruckman was featured in trade rumours a year ago, but he signed at the Hawks until 2022 and will see it out.
One of the hottest free agents over the summer for the end of 2021, the 30-year-old signed at the Hawks for life, so fans can breathe a sigh of relief.
‘Pup’ is 30 in April but it’s a bad time in the league to get 20 touches and that’s it.
He does have a deal until 2022, but it might be curtains when it runs out.
The former Crow joined the Hawks in free agency and the 30-year-old is at the Hawks for three years to help the defence.
The most loyal man in footy today has already turned 33 and probably finishes up at the end of the year as he’s out of contract. One of the best blokes in footy too.
The 31-year-old former Bomber is out of contract and it’s a coin flip on where he goes from here. If Melbourne crash, more youth could be the answer and he could be a casualty.
Already 31 and was floated in a move to Collingwood – the once-feared stopper of small forwards is just about done, it seems. Out of contract after this season.
The man who is either one of the best or worst three on the ground turns 31 in August and although it might be hard to see him playing in 2022, he is a piece that can play everywhere.
The former Bomber is 30 in August and has a deal until 2022. Reportedly tearing it up on the track.
The elite ruck turns 33 in July and has a deal for 2022, but without North really developing a ruckman beneath, could even go further than that.
Thirty-two in April and out of contract at the end of the year. Other clubs should absolutely chase him for a couple of years to train up some young defenders.
The former Sun is 31 in November and hasn’t delivered on the promise. He could’ve been anything for North but hasn’t come to the party due to injury and form. Out of contract and it’s probably the end of the road.
The skipper is 30 in a few days and a new move to halfback could make or break the new phase of his career.
Turns 30 in June and has been banged up in recent times. Although he’s had a concussion scare, he should be okay and has a deal until 2022.
The ‘backup’ ruck is 30 in November and has only played three games in his first two seasons. Out of contract at the end of the year and it’s hard to see him continuing.