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The Roar


AFL News: Triple-flag captain, reigning Norm Smith Medallist call time, Matildas fever hits the AFL

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9th August, 2023
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Richmond champion Trent Cotchin has announced he will retire at the end of the AFL season.

The 33-year old became one of the Tigers’ most legendary figures by captaining the club to three premierships in 2017, 2019 and 2020, the first breaking a 37-year flag drought and ending an extended period of turmoil for the now-powerhouse.

Cotchin brought up his 300th match against St Kilda earlier this year, but despite winding back the clock with 29 disposals and two goals to lead the Tigers to victory, said in a statement on Thursday that he needed to ‘accept reality’ that his time is up.

“I accept reality and that my chapter has come to an end. My body is somewhat slowing down and is older than it once was,” Cotchin said.

The veteran had nothing but praise for his time at Punt Road, where he started as the second pick in the 2007 national draft.

“I found my life purpose at Richmond,” he said.

“I look to the future with nothing but excitement, adventure, and opportunity, because of what I found here at Richmond and what Richmond people taught me.

“Finding out that creating an environment to help other realise and fulfill their potential not only inspired me but helped me to overcome my own fears.


“I found the move from ‘I’ to ‘we’ and that to be interested not interesting was so much more fun. I learned the power to dream big at Richmond, to say why not me. Why not us? And why not now.

“I have always given my best and left no stone unturned, in my dad’s words- I have strived to make every post a winner.”

Among Cotchin’s career accolades are the 2012 Brownlow Medal, jointly won with Hawthorn’s Sam Mitchell after previous winner Jobe Watson returned the medal amid Essendon’s supplements saga, as well as three Jack Dyer Medals for the club’s best and fairest.

Appointed captain at the end of 2012, Cotchin broke precedent by choosing to retain his number 9 rather than follow previous skippers by changing to the fabled number 17 of Tigers icon Jack Dyer: in leading the team to three flags, he became a figure as revered as even ‘Captain Blood’ himself.

“Obviously Trent has achieved so much as a player, however, it is the power and impact of his leadership that has impressed me the most,” Tigers CEO Brendon Gale said in a statement.

“After being appointed Captain in 2012 at 22 years, Trent in his own way and through his own experience redefined leadership at our club. His renewed focus on self-understanding, self-acceptance, care, and connection was instrumental in unlocking the full potential of our players and team.”


 “Amongst all the madness and mayhem, in the heat of battle, with the stakes at their highest, Trent so often recognised the moments that mattered and remained completely connected with his performance.

“Through the power of his leadership he so often tipped the scales our way, and we will thank him for that forever.”

Trent Cotchin

Trent Cotchin (Photo by Ryan Pierse/AFL Media/via Getty Images )

Cotchin’s was one of two significant retirement announcements on Thursday, with Geelong wingman Isaac Smith also to call time on a storied career at the conclusion of the Cats’ season.

Smith claimed three flags at Hawthorn and won the Norm Smith Medal as best-afield in Geelong’s premiership last year.

The 34-year-old has told his Geelong teammates of his decision to retire at the end of the Cats’ current campaign.


“I am so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to play AFL football … to have that play out for me across the last 13 seasons at two great clubs is something really special,” Smith said in a statement on Thursday.

“From the time I walked into Hawthorn, and now being at Geelong, I have always felt right at home at both organisations.”

The dashing winger played 210 games for the Hawks before switching to Geelong at the end of the 2020 season.

Smith has played 67 of a possible 70 games with the Cats and last season became the oldest winner of the North Smith Medal.

Geelong’s football manager Simon Lloyd praised Smith’s team-first approach with the Cats.

“Isaac has been an important member of the club both on and off the field, highlighted by his strong mindset, competitive nature and balanced perspective on life and the game,” Lloyd said in a statement.


“He is a unique individual and his ability to bring energy around the club is something that is going to be missed.”

Geelong are in ninth spot, two premiership points shy of eighth place, with three rounds remaining before the finals.


(Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Matildas fever hits the AFL

The Matildas fever gripping the nation amid the team’s run through the Women’s World Cup knockouts has reached the AFL, with the league to broadcast their quarter final against France live before matches around the country.

With the Matildas kicking off at Suncorp Stadium at 5pm (AEST), the game will, pending FIFA approval, be streamed live on the big screen at the MCG, Optus Stadium and the SCG, with the latter broadcast to follow Sydney’s Saturday afternoon clash with Gold Coast and the former two preceding Saturday night matches between Melbourne and Carlton as well as West Coast and Fremantle.


The AFL has also pushed back the start time of the Demons-Blues match at the MCG five minutes to 7:30pm (AEST) to attempt to ensure no overlap with the Matildas match, with the team expected to dominate viewing figures for the weekend.

The Matildas-Denmark match on Monday night reportedly outrated the 2022, 2019 and 2018 AFL grand finals.

However, the MCG screening of the Matildas match will be switched off if it goes to extra time and overlaps with the start of the Demons-Blues match.

The unprecedented move comes after years of tense relations between the two codes, with the AFL roundly criticised at the end of 2022 for releasing its 2023 fixture on the same morning as the Socceroos’ Round of 16 clash with Argentina at the Men’s World Cup.

Pies strike MCG compromise deal over away seats outrage

Premium Collingwood members will no longer have access to reserved seating at the MCG for both home and away games, after the Magpies renegotiated a controversial deal with the Melbourne Cricket Club.

The previous arrangement had seen Pies members given exclusive rights to reserved seats in the venue’s Ponsford Stand for both home and away matches, even for games involving fellow MCG tenant clubs Melbourne, Richmond and Hawthorn.


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The deal was the subject of controversy earlier in the season, with Tigers president Brendon Gale describing it as ‘no longer acceptable’ in February.

In renegotiating the deal, the Magpies ensured the same number of seats will be available to reserved seat members across the Ponsford Stand; however, for away games around 2000 of them will need to sit in either level one or level four of the stand, with the club losing its access to premium level two and three seats.

“We want to be transparent with all Members – the reality of going through this process was that there would be change and we want to assure you we left no stone unturned to limit the changes for our Club and our valued Members,” Magpies president Jeff Browne wrote in a letter to members on Wednesday.
“While every effort has been made to ensure our agreement with the MCC remains the best in the AFL competition, we understand there will be some Members who feel disappointed with the deal we have reached.”

The club is also reportedly working to ensure fans impacted by the change will be reallocated reserved seating next to other supporters they previously sat alongside in levels one or four.

The news wasn’t taken to kindly by Magpies fans on social media, with several taking the club to task both for the change and for claiming it as a victory.


Dixon sidelined until finals with foot fracture

Port Adelaide spearhead Charlie Dixon will miss the remainder of the home-and-away season because of a fractured foot.


Dixon is expected to be sidelined for four weeks after being diagnosed with a crack in his left foot, the Power say.

The 32-year-old joins key defender Trent McKenzie and ruckman Scott Lycett in facing fitness battles before the start of the finals in five weeks.

McKenzie (knee) hopes to be available for the first week of the finals while Lycett’s return after having an operation to clean out damaged tissue in his left knee remains uncertain.

Fourth-placed Port, after a club-record 13-game winning streak, have lost four consecutive matches ahead of Sunday’s home game against GWS.