This year sees, as usual, quite a few AFL player transfers amongst the teams with pre-season well and truly underway.
Darren Jolly so far has been the only transfer to Collingwood; coming from the Swans, the ruckman from the 2005 grand final asked to be transferred closer to his family in Victoria (he almost didn’t make it to the final – his wife luckily gave birth the day before). Collingwood took him up, and it was against his soon-to-be-new-team he obtained the record for the highest amount of hitouts by a serving AFL player in a game. First playing in 2000, Jolly has a status to keep – that of one of the game’s leading ruckmen.
Troubled full forward Barry Hall has moved from the Sydney Swans to the Western Bulldogs, and many hope his concerns will be overshadowed by his superior ball-handling skills. In October last year, after his transfer to the Bulldogs, Hall kicked six goals in round 10 to make 600 career goals. Better known of late for his off-field antics, an acknowledgment that his behaviour needs to change heralded, hopefully, a new beginning for Hall who is entering his 15th season. Despite being newsworthy for more than just his football, Hall is highly decorated (best and fairest awards, international teams, leading goalkicker, co-captain) and should enjoy his time with the Hawks more than the Swans.
It seems North Melbourne’s loss is Hawthorn’s gain, with left-footer Josh Gibson heading there this year. A defender, Gibson’s heritage lies in Barbados and he roamed the halls of Trinity Grammar School in Kew – well known for creating star footballers such as Wayne Schwass. Beginning his professional career in 2005 and finishing fifth best and fairest in North Melbourne last year, Gibson has a promising future ahead at the Hawks.
The Hawks lost two players to the Swans in Josh Kennedy and Ben McGlynn. Kennedy, a midfielder, has a family of footballing greats with his dad, granddad and two cousins all having played (or playing) the game. It seems Kew has another school creating star AFL players; Kennedy left Xavier College and was drafted in 2006. Perhaps the fact he only played 10 games (scoring just one goal) with Hawthorn last year prompted his leaving? In any case, it was a surprise they let him go, what with the family history the club has and the fact that he was recruited under the father-son rule. Gibson is not going to Sydney alone, with McGlynn heading north alongside his teammate. A versatile, small and speedy player, and a midfielder like Kennedy, McGlynn has been troubled by injuries and played 16 games last year; three the year before. Debuting in 2006 and receiving four Brownlow medal votes, McGlynn should do well in the Swans because of his versatility and courage.
2010 promises to be yet another great year for AFL, with the long list of pre-season AFL player transfers only serving to heighten tension between players that used to be teammates.