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AFL class of 2017 begin lap of honour

Pack your tissues – it’s going to be that sort of an AFL weekend.

Fans at several matches will be saying goodbye to club legends and all-time greats during round 23.

Hawthorn fans will begin the farewell lap for retiring greats on Friday night when Luke Hodge is feted at the end of his decorated career.

Essendon, St Kilda, Western Bulldogs and West Coast supporters will also head along to their matches knowing that season-ending losses will also mean the end of the road for favourite sons.

And while the Bulldogs are mathematically still in the finals equation, hard-headed supporters know that Friday night’s trip to Etihad Stadium is all about Bob and Boydy.

When the AFL paired the Hawks and Bulldogs together for round 23, they couldn’t have imagined that it would be the last match for both clubs this season.

The winners of the last four grand finals meet in a likely dead rubber – the Hawks are out of contention and the Bulldogs are reliant on other results to defend their premiership.

So instead, Etihad Stadium will host a grand goodbye for Hodge, Bob Murphy and Matthew Boyd.

The well-loved trio bow will out of the game with premierships, All-Australian jackets and the adoration of their club faithful.

On Sunday, others will follow depending on results.

Essendon, currently sitting eighth, are likely to play on given they host lowly Fremantle – giving Jobe Watson and James Kelly the chance for at least one more match.

But given their position at the foot of the finals, it could be the last time Melbourne-based supporters see Watson don the sash.

St Kilda fans brought Nick Riewoldt to tears last weekend at their final home game of the season, but can head across town to the MCG for another glimpse of the modern-day marvel in action.

And in Perth, Sam Mitchell, Matt Priddis and Sam Butler – with their five premiership medals and two Brownlows – are likely to leave the AFL stage.


Hawthorn v Western Bulldogs (Friday night) – Luke Hodge, Bob Murphy, Matthew Boyd.

Essendon v Fremantle (Sunday afternoon) – Jobe Watson, James Kelly.

Richmond v St Kilda (Sunday afternoon) – Nick Riewoldt

West Coast v Adelaide (Sunday afternoon) – Sam Mitchell, Matt Priddis, Sam Butler.

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