THE CONTINENTAL Tyres AFL Trade Period is always full of hope for supporters.

Maybe your team just needs that one last piece of the puzzle to contend for the flag, or are on the hunt for some much-needed midfield depth, or a senior head to help guide the next generation.

WHO'S CALLED IT QUITS 2021's retirements and delistings

With some clubs now firmly in list management mode, a growing group of delisted players are on the hunt for a new home.

Who could be worth a punt?

Hamish Hartlett

The Power veteran was a staple of their side for so long, playing 193 games dating back to 2009. Now 31, Hartlett played 10 games this year before a few niggling injuries hit and he fell from favour. The long-kicking half-back has told Continental Tyres AFL Trade Radio he is open to a move interstate.

Hamish Hartlett fires off a handball for Port Adelaide against West Coast in R3, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Aaron vandenBerg

The former Demon has had a horror run with serious foot and ankle injuries, missing all of 2017, the first half of 2018 and all of 2019. A tough inside midfielder, the 29-year-old has played 51 senior games for the Dees since joining as a rookie in 2015. Melbourne and vandenBerg have come to an agreement to look elsewhere for further opportunities. 

Aaron vandenBerg has been told by Melbourne to explore his options. Picture: Getty Images

Daniel Talia

One of the most experienced delisted players on the market, the key defender was unable to add to his tally of 200 games at Adelaide this year due to knee and foot injuries. If his body is right, Talia could well be the icing on the cake for a side, able to lock down on some of the most powerful key forwards in the competition. At 29, the two-time Therabody AFL All-Australian should still have plenty to give.

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Tom Lynch

The landscape for Lynch has changed with AFL.com.au reporting he will join North Melbourne as a development coach, having previously been an assistant for Adelaide's AFLW side. There is a chance the forward will also be added to the playing list. He had the best audition possible for any potential suitors at the tail-end of the 2021 season, averaging an astonishing 22.3 disposals and kicking six goals in his final six matches.

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Levi Casboult

A much-loved figure at Carlton, Casboult wasn't offered a contract for 2022 but has yet to officially hang up the boots. A versatile tall, the 31-year-old can line up at either end or pinch-hit in the ruck if required. Could prove a handy foil for a developing forward line for a year or two.

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Matthew Ling

A first-round pick in 2017, Ling's first two seasons were decimated by injury. Blessed with pace and neat skills, the Geelong local has struggled to establish himself in the Swans line-up over the past few years – a difficult period for those on the fringe with limited seconds footy. The winger/half-back has played four games in the past two years, the fourth of which was as an unused medi-sub.

Matthew Ling leads the Swans off after their win over Hawthorn in round eight on July 25, 2020. Picture: AFL Photos

Reece Conca

A new home would be Conca's third AFL club, having played 150 games for Richmond and Fremantle. His strengths are his versatility and leadership, having joined the Dockers' leadership group in his first season at the club. Can play across all three lines as a mid-sized player, and while his endeavour can never be questioned, his disposal can be a bit iffy at times. 

Reece Conca reacts during the clash against Gold Coast in round 13, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Patrick Naish

The father-son selection played nine games over the past three years for Richmond, including six this year as injuries hit the squad hard. A pacy outside runner, he has teetered somewhat on the edge of "too good for VFL, not quite AFL level". Provides plenty of dash on the wing or off half-back. As revealed by AFL.com.au, Collingwood has previously shown interest in Naish and he now has another strong link there with former Richmond VFL coach Craig McRae the new Magpies boss.

Patrick Naish in action for Richmond against GWS in R9, 2021. Picture: Getty Images

James Cousins

Didn't look out of place across his 35 games at the top level with Hawthorn, but it was played over a five-year period. Ten of those matches came in 2021, where the midfielder found plenty of the ball to average 18.7 touches. Unlikely to revolutionise a team, but will provide some nice midfield depth.

James Cousins in action against West Coast in round eight, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Mark Hutchings

A premiership Eagle, Hutchings built a reputation as a fierce defensive midfielder, known for shutting down some of the stars of the game during the club's glory days. Now 30, injuries have hit hard over the past two years, but he returned for the last portion of this season. If his body is right, Hutchings provides a strong work ethic and plenty of experience gleaned from 120 games over nine seasons.

Eagle Mark Hutchings after the 2018 Toyota AFL Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

Sam Reid (GWS)

A very experienced player (in terms of years in the system) who has ridden the ups and downs of AFL list management over the past 14 years. Has 101 games under his belt as well as a few years as a development coach in between stints at the Giants, so could be well suited to a playing/coaching role for a young list. A tough, versatile player.

Greater Western Sydney's Toby Greene (left) and Sam Reid embrace after winning the elimination final against Sydney on August 28, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Brett Bewley

A star for VFL side Williamstown, Bewley got his chance at the top level as a mature-age recruit for Fremantle. Injuries have made the going tough in the past few years, but he's still a noted ball-winner with an excellent work ethic.

Brett Bewley celebrates a late goal in round 15, 2021. Picture: Getty Images

David Zaharakis

The 31-year-old was an Essendon favourite in his prime, and it’s difficult to imagine him in rival colours, especially with his Anzac Day heroics etched into football folklore. Despite that, he has plenty to offer with 226 games under his belt and was a strong leader during the top-up player period for the club. Capable of running through the midfield or providing that link across half-forward.

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