AFL

The 2017 Chopping Block – Who’s leaving your team?

The delisted free agency period for 2016 is here and that means the door is slowly shutting on a lot of careers. However, this is also the time of year where a few players breathe a sigh of relief, knowing they’re sticking around for at least 12 more months. These are the players at your club that avoided the axe this season, but will need a big 2017 to avoid relying on delisted free agency next year.

All of the players on this last are out of contract for 2017 as far as public data will show.

Adelaide

Andy Otten

Yes, it’s okay if you forgot that Andy Otten was still around. The Crows defender last played in Round 20, 2014 before an ACL injury disrupted his career. The likes of Paul Seedsman coming into the club and Rory Laird breaking out have left him in a difficult position and even though he’s been over his knee injury for a while, Otten spent the entire year in the SANFL.

Others in trouble: Cameron Ellis-Yolman and Harrison Wigg.

Brisbane

Claye Beams

The younger of the Beams brothers has always shown glimpses of being a decent player, but has never really had a clean run at it. He spent the majority of 2013-2015 on the shelf with various injuries and could only manage nine games this season. You’d think Beams would be able to get a consistent game in a team as poor as Brisbane, but with a new coach at the helm, he might find himself on the chopping block if he can’t get his body right and lock down a spot in the Lions’ best 22.

Others in trouble: Nick Robertson and Ryan Harwood.

Carlton

Levi Casboult

It’s weird to see a key forward on this list when it’s exactly what Carlton is lacking. However, at 27 years old come Round 1 next year, it’s unlikely Casboult will get any better than he is now and if he can’t become a reliable full forward, the Blues might as well move on and give the game time to others.

Others in trouble: Liam Jones, Dylan Buckley and Matthew Korcheck.

Collingwood

Tyson Goldsack

Goldsack is a long-serving soldier of the Collingwood Football Club, but after 11 seasons with the Pies, may find himself struggling for a spot next year. He spent most of 2016 in the VFL as it is and (trading to the contrary) the Pies appear to be going down a more youthful approach with their side. Unless he can reinvent himself and return to the side consistently, the unrestricted free agent will probably move on next year.

Others in trouble: Ben Sinclair and Jackson Ramsay.

Essendon

Brent Stanton

Coming back into the side next year, Stanton might find himself out of Essendon’s best 22 if he doesn’t perform. The likes of Darcy Parish and Zach Merrett are going to demand starting positions in this side and Stanton, at 31, will certainly not be an automatic selection. That’s not to say he won’t be an important player for the Bombers in 2017, but what happens beyond that will depend on his performance next season.

Others in trouble: Mitch Brown, Ben Howlett and Patrick Ambrose.

Fremantle

Hayden Ballantyne

When you openly demand a trade to another club, fail to get to your destination and remain at your previous club where you’re soon to be out of contract, you better deliver. It’s as simple as that for the small forward. On top of that, his 2016 was poor.

Others in trouble: Garrick Ibbotson, Zac Dawson and Nick Suban.

Geelong

Andrew Mackie

Mackie is one of the last of Geelong’s older guard and with Zach Tuohy coming into the club, might find himself on the outskirts of the Cats’ best 22. Geelong has been like a machine in their turnover of older players and Mackie, despite a solid 2016, could be next.

Others in trouble: Jed Bews and Josh Cowan.

Gold Coast

Trent McKenzie

McKenzie never really got going in 2016. Various injuries kept him out of the side and the games he did play were steady but not spectacular. He may have made enough of a name for himself to retain his spot on the list beyond 2017, but on recent form there’s no guaranteeing it.

Others in trouble: Jesse Lonergan.

GWS

Adam Kennedy

The Giants always find themselves in a position where they have to move on depth players like Kennedy, such is the strength of their list. The defender was in-and-out of the side and spent the finals series in the NEAFL. He’ll probably struggle to get a game next season in such a strong GWS team.

Others in trouble: Matthew Flynn.

Hawthorn

Ryan Schoenmakers

Schoenmakers always seems to find himself in these sorts of positions, but manages to hold onto that list spot (is he Mitch Marsh in disguise?). Hawthorn found themselves in desperate need of key position players this season, but unfortunately he spent most of the season out with a groin injury. He’s never really looked like the kind of player who a premiership contender would want to be relying on and will find it harder to get into the team as a forward with Tyrone Vickery there.

Others in trouble: Brendon Whitecross

Melbourne

Jay Kennedy-Harris

Kennedy-Harris was another player who spent most of the year out with a hamstring injury and is hard to gauge going into 2017. After a strong debut season two years ago, he hasn’t really found a place in the Demons’ side and with Melbourne probably on the march towards the top eight next year, he might struggle to for consistent selection. He could certainly find himself delisted if he doesn’t perform.

Others in trouble: Jack Trengove, Billy Stretch and Jake Spencer

North Melbourne

Jarrad Waite

North turned over most of their list this season meaning there aren’t many options to discuss for this time next year, but Jarrad Waite might find himself there for a number of reasons. His age and lack of durability are the biggest questions as to whether he can go on beyond 2017. He will be vital to North Melbourne next year and a good season could see him kept around beyond 2017, but his body could very easily give up on him.

Others in trouble: Aaron Mullett and Will Fordham.

Port Adelaide

Matthew White

After a fantastic debut year with the club in 2014, White has never gotten back to that form. He’s almost dropped off in sync with Port themselves and he followed up an average 2015 with a pectoral injury that saw him on the sidelines for most of this year. He only managed two games for the season and he’ll need a good 2017 to warrant staying on the list at age 30.

Others in trouble: Angus Monfries, Dougal Howard and Sam Gray.

Richmond

Steve Morris

Morris has never been the most talented footballer, but usually gets the job done as a small defender. This was not his year however as he only played a handful of games before missing with a knee injury for the remainder of the season. His spirited defensive work might not be enough for him to crack back into the side consistently next year.

Others in trouble: Ben Lennon, Anthony Miles, Taylor Hunt and Todd Elton.

St Kilda

Jason Holmes

It was strange to see Holmes retained by St Kilda this year considering their depth of ruckmen. With Hickey, Longer and Pierce already on their list, Holmes was given a one-year contract and will probably need to develop as a key forward to continue on beyond 2017.

Others in trouble: Sam Gilbert and Daniel McKenzie.

Sydney

Sam Reid

Reid has spent the last five years on a very lucrative contract, but after failing to live up to the hype promised, he’ll have to fight to even be on the Swans’ list beyond 2017. He was almost a forgotten player in 2016, missing the entire season with various injuries. He doesn’t really have a position in the side either and the trade table might be where he finds himself next year.

Others in trouble: Brandon Jack.

West Coast

Tom Lamb

Lamb has only managed the one sub-affected game in his two years at the Eagles and will need a much better year to warrant a new contract beyond his draft deal. He struggles to impact games for long enough and will be on the chopping block unless he improves.

Others in trouble: Simon Tunbridge.

Western Bulldogs

Mitch Honeychurch

Honeychurch struggled to get into the Dogs’ best team with so many similar players around him. Nathan Hrovat moving on to North Melbourne will help with his chances of getting a game, but it doesn’t change the fact he’ll need a big 2017 to remain at the Dogs beyond next year. He had a strong year in the VFL, but was only called up for senior selection twice.

Others in trouble: Declan Hamilton and Lukas Webb.

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