AFL retirements: Is 2022 the best batch of retirees we’ve seen?


As sad as it is to wave goodbye to some of our favourite players, it is also a time to reflect and appreciate their careers.

The recent crop of 2022 AFL stars to enter retirement, led by David Mundy, Josh Kennedy (x2) and Shane Edwards pose as the greatest group to enter the after life (after footy that is).

Taking into consideration total games, premierships, All-Australians, Brownlow, Coleman and Norm Smith Medals, as well as club best-and-fairests, we’re going to take a look at the years gone by and identify which year was the best, since the turn of the century.

Thanks to DraftGuru, the Sporting News will look from 2000 onwards to rank the top 10…

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1. 2007

(44 retirees)

Led by Anthony Koutafides, Nathan Buckley, James Hird and Mark Riccuito, this group is arguably the best retirees class since the turn of the century.

Resulting in 18 premierships, 45 All-Australian selections and 29 best-and-fairests, as well as three Brownlows, four Norm Smiths and two Colemans.

At an average of 192 games per retiree, the 2007 class speaks volumes to their standings in the game with a mix of team and individual awards.

2. 2008

(36 retirees)

Shane Crawford, Robert Harvey, Nigel Lappin and David Neitz were the big names in 2008 who hung the boots up.

Combining for 29 All-Australians, 19 best-and-fairests and 17 premierships, it’s hard to ignore this crop.

Not to mention, three Brownlows, three Colemans and a Norm Smith Medal, whilst averaging 189 games each.

3. 2017

(46 retirees)

A host of stars including Nick Riewoldt, Sam Mitchell, Matt Priddis and Steve Johnson hung up the boots after leaving their impression on the AFL.

Arguably one of the better years, the 2017 class accumulated 30 All-Australian selections, 29 best-and-fairests and 23 premierships, while also adding two Brownlows and Norm Smith Medal.

#Riewoldt Montagna

4. 2010

(35 retirees)

Plenty of non-Victorian stars gave the game up, including Simon Goodwin, Andrew McLeod, Ben Cousins, Brett Kirk and Paul Haselby whilst smiling assassin Brad Johnson ended his career as well.

32 All-Australian selections, 23 best-and-fairests and 16 premierships from 172 matches per retiree.

Adding a Brownlow and two Norm Smith Medals, 2010 poses as one of the better years for retirees.

5. 2016

(37 retirees)

Dane Swan, Jimmy Bartel, Brent Harvey, Matthew Pavlich and Corey Enright left the field for the last time throughout 2016.

Along with them, the collective united for 30 All-Australians, 19 best-and-fairests and 14 premierships, as well as three Brownlow Medals and a Norm Smith Medal.

6. 2015

(44 retirees)

Chris Judd led an impressive group which included Adam Goodes, Dustin Fletcher, Kane Cornes and Paul Chapman.

Tallying the most Brownlow Medals (four) of any year, the 2015 batch also combined for 22 premierships, 20 All-Australians and 17 best-and-fairests, as well as three Norm Smith Medals.

#chris judd

7. 2014

(36 retirees)

Led by Jonathon Brown, Dean Cox, Lenny Hayes, Darren Glass and Ryan O’Keefe, this lot was very impressive on the field.

With 21 premierships, 20 All-Australian selections and 16 best-and-fairest, two Norm Smith Medals and a Coleman Medal.

Averaging 154 games each, the 2014 class left nothing out on the field.

8. 2019 

(37 retirees)

Luke Hodge, Jordan Lewis and Jarryd Roughead entered retirement, with Daniel Wells, Alex Rance and Jarrad McVeigh among those joining them.

The 2019 group combined for 24 premierships, 23 All-Australians and 15 best-and-fairests as well as two Norm Smith Medals and a Coleman Medal.

9. 2020 

(35 retirees)

The great Gary Ablett Jnr graced the field for the final time, with Dayne Beams and Kade Simpson also hanging up the boots.

23 premierships, 18 All-Australians and 16 best-and-fairests, while Ablett added two Brownlow Medals to the group.

Gary Ablett

10. 2022 

(32 retirees)

Most recently, Joel Selwood, David Mundy, Robbie Gray, Josh Kennedy (x2) and Shane Edwards gave their final goodbyes to the AFL world.

24 All-Australian selections, 21 premierships and 15 best-and-fairests, the 2022 class is among the best years.

Two Colemans by West Coast’s Kennedy also added to the count.

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