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The Mummy returns? Giant shockingly re-unretires to nominate for AFL draft

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18th November, 2021
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One of the most bizarre careers of recent times could yet have another twist in store, with former GWS Giants ruckman Shane Mumford surprisingly nominating for the upcoming AFL draft.

The 35-year old ruckman, who has played 216 games for the Giants, Geelong and Sydney, decided to call time at the highest level just a month ago. It followed his original ‘retirement’ all the way back in 2017, when a foot injury caused Mumford to officially pull up stumps before returning to the Giants a year later.

However, this latest backflip has a little more to it: Mumford is unlikely to be picked up, by the Giants or any other rival clubs. The ruckman, though, needs to nominate for the draft in order to be eligible for the 2022 mid-season rookie draft, where the Giants would be able to snaffle him should their ruck stocks take a hit.

The Giants have three ruckmen on their list at present: Braydon Preuss, whose 2021 was wiped out by injury after crossing to Melbourne; Matt Flynn, who was frequently dropped for Mumford last season before settling into a role as a ruck-forward; and Kieren Briggs, who also featured sporadically towards the back end of the season after Flynn suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.

The mid-season draft, which returned in 2021 following a COVID-enforced hiatus in 2020, allows teams to use vacant list spots caused by either long-term injuries or mid-season retirements to pick up a replacement.

It was most famously used by Richmond in their 2019 premiership season, in which the retirement of Shaun Grigg enabled the Tigers to recruit Marlion Pickett. He would go on to make a memorable debut in the club’s grand final triumph that same year, against Mumford and the Giants themselves.

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However, current AFL rules prevent teams from signing players in the mid-season draft that they have removed from their list the season prior, without them being first placed on the open market in the draft.

Tributes for Mumford following his October retirement announcement included this comical take from long-time teammate Heath Shaw, who made mention of the big man’s famous love of sausages.

The veteran is currently employed by the Giants in a number of off-field roles, mainly as a mentor to their ruck department, which he has done for a number of years.

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The Giants aren’t expected to select Mumford unless catastrophe strikes… but the ruck crisis that engulfed fellow recent expansion club the Gold Coast Suns in 2021 makes it a sensible decision to have a ‘break glass in case of emergency’ option.

Should the worst occur, a remarkable AFL life may just have a few more miles left to tread.

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