Who's hanging up the boots? Your club's retiring players

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TWO-time Adelaide premiership defender Marijana Rajcic has announced her retirement after 50 games. 

Drafted to the Crows with pick No.32 ahead of the 2018 season, she made the jump to footy after playing elite soccer for Adelaide United. 

Rajcic quickly became known for her strength and intelligence down back and was a key part of Adelaide's 2019 and 2022 Grand Final victories. 

"AFLW and the Adelaide Crows changed my life for the better seven years ago. It’s been an unbelievable journey with so many unforgettable memories and special friendships," Rajcic said. 

"I am incredibly grateful to the club for taking a chance on a girl who played the round ball game, and to all of those who have played a part in my journey." 

Marijana Rajcic (left) and Chelsea Randall celebrate winning the 2022 NAB AFLW Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

DAISY PEARCE

MELBOURNE captain Daisy Pearce has announced her retirement from the AFLW after 55 games at the highest level and countless more in the state league.

"I'm closing the chapter on my playing career with a very full heart, not just because we ticked the premiership box in the season just gone, but because of a career that I've loved and cherished," she said.

Read more

'I just feel content': Why Daisy chose to retire now

01:15 Jan 18. 2023. 5:04 PM

Daisy Pearce reflects on her decision to retire after 55 AFLW games

KATE MCCARTHY

HAWTHORN speedster Kate McCarthy has announced her retirement after 42 games across three clubs.

Taken with pick No.82 in the inaugural AFLW draft, McCarthy began her career with Brisbane, where she played in two Grand Finals and earned All-Australian selection.

McCarthy joined St Kilda in 2020 as the competition expanded, and shifted to Hawthorn for season seven, ultimately being part of three inaugural AFLW programs and kicking 18 goals in the process.

"As an inaugural AFLW player who has been playing at the highest level for seven seasons, I feel the time is right to pursue other interests," McCarthy said. 

"I’m so grateful for the opportunities and friendships that footy has provided me. I want to thank my family, my partner, my amazing teammates and all the coaches and staff members at Hawthorn, St Kilda and Brisbane." 

Kate McCarthy (left) and Hannah Priest celebrate a win during round eight, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

BRID STACK

BRID Stack has become the second Greater Western Sydney defender to hang up her boots after season seven, joining Tanya Hetherington in retirement.

Announcing the news via her column in the Irish Examiner, Stack said the decision "was very easy to make in the end".

Stack joined the Giants as a cross-code rookie from Cork, Ireland ahead of the 2021 season, but her debut was delayed after a nasty neck injury suffered in a pre-season practice match against Adelaide.

Brid Stack with her son Cárthach Óg at Giants HQ on August 11, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Having decided to stick with AFLW, Stack made her debut in round one of season six and played all but one game across this year's two seasons as an important rebounding defender.

Stack finishes her AFLW career with 19 games and one goal to her name, to go with her 11 All-Irelands and 2016 Ladies Footballer of the Year award from her impressive Gaelic career at home.

KRYSTAL SCOTT

GOLD Coast defender Krystal Scott has announced her retirement from AFLW. 

Scott was signed to the Suns as a priority selection ahead of season seven and made her AFLW debut in the final round of the home and away fixture. Prior to joining Gold Coast, she spent two seasons with Brisbane in 2018 and 2019. 

Before footy, Scott was an elite tennis player, spending two years in the USA playing on a college scholarship at Norfolk State University. 

"I can't thank the Suns enough for the opportunity they have given to me to play in the AFLW and will always cherish my time at the club," Scott said. 

"Thank you to all my teammates, staff and our loyal members and supporters for everything they have done to welcome me and my family to the Suns. While it was only a short journey, I'm confident in where the club is heading and look forward to cheering on from the stands in the future." 

Scott joins Ashlee Atkins as retiring Suns this season.

COURTNEY WAKEFIELD

RICHMOND spearhead Courtney Wakefield has hung up the boots.

The 35-year-old has carved out a remarkable AFLW career, kicking 31 goals from 30 games while maintaining a farm in Top Hut, north of Mildura, as well as being a mum to Tilly and Sid.

Wakefield told her teammates of her intentions earlier this week during training, and was chaired off after Richmond's semi-final loss to North Melbourne.

Courtney Wakefield and Jess Hosking embrace after Richmond's semi-final loss to North Melbourne at Swinburne Centre. Picture: AFL Photos

She came upon the Tigers' radar at a VFLW trial day in Bendigo, just seven months after the birth of her second child.

Wakefield was named in the All-Australian squad earlier this week.

"It is always hard to walk away from something that you love and (while) knowing that I am still very capable of performing at the top level, but I have made a lot of sacrifices over the years," Wakefield said.

"We are lucky enough to have been able to create a very beautiful life prior to starting in the AFLW, and I am really excited for what lies ahead of us.

Courtney Wakefield in action in Richmond's S7 semi-final against North Melbourne at Swinburne Centre. Picture: AFL Photos

"This (football) journey has been remarkable; it has been character-building and life-changing; I have lived out a childhood dream.

"From day one, I guess I have been a part of making history which is very special, and the foundations laid will live on long after I am gone.

"It has obviously been challenging; being a mum and a wife, spending so much time away from my children. But the club and my teammates' support has been unwavering.

"I just hope I fulfilled my end of the bargain over the last four seasons."

ASHLEE ATKINS

GOLD Coast forward Ashlee Atkins has retired following 41 AFLW games at three clubs.

The 29-year-old West Australian reignited her career at the Suns in season seven, playing an additional five matches after being delisted by West Coast.

Initially drafted by Fremantle with pick No.26 (the fourth West Australian selection) in the 2017 NAB AFLW Draft, the East Fremantle product played 13 games in two seasons in the purple.

Atkins also had the honour of being the first Fremantle player – male or female – to kick a goal at Optus Stadium, having then put her career as a FIFO health and safety officer on pause to pursue AFLW.

She crossed to West Coast for its inaugural season, suiting up for 23 matches over a further three seasons.

"I've been lucky enough to be involved in some pretty amazing footy clubs and teams, both on-field and off-field, and this last season would be one of the fondest memories of my career," Atkins said.

Ashlee Atkins during a practice match between West Coast and Fremantle on December 21, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

"It's been wonderful coming over here. Everyone has been so supportive and it's really wound back the clock for me being here.

"As much as I wish I could hang on for the success to come, it's time for me to hang up the boots.

"I made the most of my opportunity. I didn't know how long I was going to get.

"It was pretty exciting to be a pioneer for women's footy. It hasn't quite sunk in yet, but it's something I'll look back on and be very proud of.

"To see where the AFLW has gone from 2018 to now is just unbelievable. To see the young players come through now and know what's hopefully ahead for them, it’s exciting."

TANYA HETHERINGTON

GREATER Western Sydney stalwart Tanya Hetherington has retired after 46 AFLW matches, but her time at the Giants may not be done quite yet.

The 37-year-old has been a much-loved player at the Giants and in her pre-AFLW career at VWFL side Diamond Creek, where she captained the team and even coached while sidelined with a torn ACL.

Giants coach Cam Bernasconi indicated Hetherington may move into the coaching department at GWS now that her playing days are behind her.

"Tanya made the decision to retire during the week, and she's a fantastic person," Bernasconi said after the R10 win over Gold Coast.

"Not just a great servant as a player in the footy program, but what she's done for this young group off the field is probably even more important. Her genuine care for others around her – even in my first season as coach, she's helped me so much.

Tanya Hetherington is chaired off following her final AFLW match in 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

"Her footy IQ is so good. We said she deserves every bit of recognition she gets tonight and over the next couple of weeks.

"I don't think her journey within the Giants is finished. It might be as a player, but the value she can add in a coaching, leadership and mentoring sense going forward, she's going to still be an integral part, hopefully, of our footy program for the next number of years."

Hetherington made the move to Sydney ahead of the 2018 season, selected with pick No.37 in the 2017 NAB AFLW Draft, the Giants' second pick overall behind Jodie Hicks.

She's been a mainstay of the Giants' defence, providing leadership, direction and stability in a backline that was often under the pump.

RETIRING CLASS OF 2022 (PART TWO)
Kara Antonio (Fremantle)
Ashlee Atkins (Gold Coast)
Jess Duffin (Hawthorn)
Tanya Hetherington (GWS)
Krystal Scott (Gold Coast)
Brid Stack (GWS)
Courtney Wakefield (Richmond)