North Melbourne’s list regeneration has begun after the Arden St outfit announced 11 delistings just one day removed from their final game of the season.
Jamie Macmillan, Majak Daw, Jasper Pittard, Ben Jacobs, Paul Ahern, Mason Wood, Sam Durdin, Marley Williams, Joel Crocker, Lachie Hosie and Tom Murphy will all be looking for new clubs in 2021.
The Roos won just three games all year and could still be in line for the wooden spoon if Adelaide can get past Richmond in the last fixture.
A fairly savage list cull was expected, but Friday’s announcement, including experienced players like Macmillan, Daw, Pittard, Jacobs and Williams, caught many by surprise.
Jamie Macmillan, Majak Daw, Jasper Pittard, Ben Jacobs, Paul Ahern, Mason Wood, Sam Durdin, Marley Williams, Joel Crocker, Lachie Hosie and Tom Murphy have been advised they will not be offered new contracts.
Macmillan and Pittard were both members of the club’s 2020 leadership group, highlighting the dramatic decisions being made at the Kangaroos.
Speaking after Thursday’s round 18 loss to West Coast, Shaw said the club had a strong crop of youngster but needed to make some big calls.
“We’ve got some amazing young kids, and we’ve got an amazing group of players that I think can really do something and really build something from here on in,” he said.
“Just looking at the guys who really stepped up over the last couple of weeks and even tonight – Benny McKay, Flynn Perez, (Luke Davies-Uniacke) again, Bailey (Scott), Cam (Zurhaar), Jy (Simpkin), (Nick Larkey) … some really young guys that through a shocking year, have made some real gains.
“We’re going to look at every avenue and every part of our club and every part of our list and see what we need to build a list and a team that can play finals footy. »
The news of the departures will still be a tough blow to take for the North faithful, particularly some of the club’s most loyal servants.
“I want to thank the club for giving a skinny 18-year-old kid a shot at making it,” Macmillan said.
“It’s been an unbelievable ride over 11 years and this club holds a special place in my heart.
“While I’m disappointed it has come to an end at North, I understand the decisions are in the best interests of the club, and wish everyone involved nothing but success.”
Similarly, Daw was the subject of one of football’s most inspiring stories, coming back from devastating injuries to return to the AFL.
“It’s obviously pretty disappointing that I’m not going to be around going forward,” Daw told teammates after the news.
“It’s [my career] had its highs and lows along the way. I played one final, and I think I played 54 games in 11 years, so it’s quite a humble career, but I’d just like to thank this footy club for giving me an opportunity to be the first African to play in the AFL. It’s something I will always hold close to my heart.
“I’ve made some really good mates at this place. I’ll miss the locker room banter … it just didn’t work out the way I wanted it to this year, there’s been challenges I’ve gone through.
“The last few years obviously haven’t been easy for me, and I can’t thank this footy club enough for what they’ve done for me.”
Shaw lauded Daw’s effort to get back and play at AFL level after all he’d been through.
“How Majak was able to physically recover and mentally get himself back to playing elite level football will be the stuff of legend in the years to come. It’s one of the more remarkable things I’ve seen in my time. »
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