Hawks, Saints make tough AFL calls

Hawthorn premiership player Jonathan Simpkin and St Kilda veteran Farren Ray were among the casualties as AFL clubs trimmed their squads ahead of Friday’s list lodgement deadline.

Simpkin, 28, was the Hawks’ substitute in their 2013 grand final win against Fremantle but only managed one game this season despite excellent form in the VFL where he won Box Hill’s best and fairest award.

“Jonathan has achieved a great deal in his three years at the Hawks and departs as a 2013 AFL premiership player (and a) 2013 VFL premiership player,” list manager Graham Wright said via a club statement. “We thank him for his excellent contribution and wish him well in the future.”

Simpkin played four games for Geelong in 2012 before going on to play another 33 with Hawthorn, who won the flag in each of his three years at the club.

The Hawks also farewelled three other premiership players at the end of this season with David Hale and Brian Lake announcing their retirements and Matt Suckling signing with the Western Bulldogs as a free agent.

The Saints cut Ray and Josh Saunders from their senior list and dropped Ahmed Saad from their rookie list.

However, Ray’s 205-game AFL career may not be over, with the club open to selecting the 29-year-old in the rookie draft if he is available.

Ray was the fourth overall pick by the Western Bulldogs at the 2003 draft. He played 75 games with the Dogs before crossing to St Kilda where he was a regular contributor, playing in the club’s grand final sides in 2009 and 2010.

Saad managed four games this season after being re-drafted by the Saints following the completion of an 18-moth ban for testing positive to a banned substance.

AFL clubs were required to trim their squads by Friday’s deadline in order to have a minimum of three picks at November’s national draft.

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