Magpies gamble pays off, Fyfe ‘zero chance’ until GF, Tigers stars, Mills sign new deals

John Noble knew exactly what advice to give fellow mid-season draftee Ash Johnson about his late shot at the AFL: take it and run with it.

After all, that’s exactly what the former shelf stacker did back in 2019.

Snapped up out of the SANFL, Noble played five games in his first season and has since added another 62, becoming a key part of the Magpies’ defense.

Johnson, No.3 pick in last year’s mid-season draft, has kicked 15 goals in seven games since debuting in round 18, showcasing his skill and goal kicking prowess.

Noble isn’t surprised to see his teammate thrive.

Bar Richmond’s premiership-sealing 2019 selection of Marlion Pickett, Collingwood have arguably made the best fist of mid-season selections.

Noble, 25, and Johnson, 24, are success stories while Aiden Begg (2021) and Josh Carmichael (2022) have also broken through for AFL debuts.

“It’s a credit to Dekka (Derek Hine) in our recruiting team and Wrighty (football boss Graham Wright) for being able to find talent that might be overlooked,” Noble told AAP ahead of Saturday’s semi-final against Fremantle.

“I know there’s plenty out there and obviously I’m a big advocate for that sort of thing.

“Even Beggy (Aiden Begg) has been going to another level this year with his footy, and Joshy Carmichael. We’ve had a little bit of success in that.

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“We’ve got a lot of support around our players and staff in this club.

“As soon as you come in, your foot’s in the door and you’re wrapped around with the support, and you just take it from there.”

Noble wouldn’t change his different pathway, either.

“You dive in the deep end, coming mid-season. I liked it, personally,” he said.

“The advice is always just take it with both hands.

“Sometimes being overlooked is hard to take but when the opportunity presents itself, you’ve just got to take it and run with it.”

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 03: John Noble of the Magpies and Cameron Guthrie of the Cats in action during the 2022 AFL First Qualifying Final match between the Geelong Cats and the Collingwood Magpies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 3, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia .  (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Noble understands the importance of relishing his opportunity.

His father, David Noble, saw the other side of footy when he was sacked as North Melbourne coach this year.

“That is the brutality of footy, that it’s not always gonna go your way,” he said.

“Dad’s certainly aware of that – he’s been in the system for a very long time and he’s got a lot of respect for what he’s done and what he’s contributed.

“So he’s going well with that, at this stage. They (my family) are just supporting me because I’m the only one making finals at the moment.”

Fyfe ‘zero chance’ until GF

Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir says Nat Fyfe is zero chance to play this Saturday, with the two-time Brownlow medallist likely needing the Dockers to reach the grand final to play again this season.

Fyfe has been sidelined since injuring his hamstring during the pre-finals bye week.

The 30-year-old has returned to the track to do some light running, but he’s already been ruled out of Saturday night’s semi-final against Collingwood at the MCG.

If the Dockers win, Fyfe would be a small chance to return against Sydney at the SCG the following Saturday.

But it seems Fyfe’s biggest chance of playing is if Fremantle make the grand final – an unlikely scenario but one that isn’t without hope.

Nat Fyfe of the Dockers

Nat Fyfe. (Photo by Will Russell/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

“Zero (chance this week). Next week’s a slight possibility and the week after he’d be a real chance,” Longmuir told Channel 7.

“He’s progressing well with his rehab. He’s been a great benefit around the group and remains really positive. Hopefully we see him back in a couple of weeks.”

Longmuir appears set to name the same 22 that came from 41 points down to beat the Western Bulldogs by 13 points last week.

It means two-game forward Jye Amiss, who booted two goals, will again be selected ahead of fit-again forward Matt Taberner.

“I think Jye will hold his spot,” Longmuir said.

“I was really pleased with the way he came in. He gave us exactly what we were after.

“He hit the scoreboard and his leading patterns were really strong and his contest was really strong.

“I was happy with his performance.”

Trent Cotchin reacts

Trent Cotchin. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Cotchin, Riewoldt going around again

Former Richmond captain Trent Cotchin has shelved retirement plans and will extend his decorated AFL career next season.

Key forward Jack Riewoldt also confirmed on Tuesday night he would keep playing next year.

Cotchin, the 2012 Brownlow medallist, initially thought this year would be his last in AFL ranks, but he has signed a one-year contract extension.

“The plan was probably not initially to go again,” Cotchin told his club’s website on Tuesday.

“But I think it changed for a number of reasons. One, my body, and also that you are a long time retired, I had that nagging away in the back of my head.

“Something that really came to fruition this year as well was the joy it brought my kids.

“Having that purpose of not just trying my best for me and for our team but also playing and really enjoying the journey of AFL footy and the Richmond Tigers (with them).”

The 32-year-old is a triple premiership skipper but stood down from the captaincy this season when he performed strongly, averaging 22.7 disposals a game.

“As you get closer to the end of your career, you don’t know when it’s going to come,” he said.

“But I feel as though I contributed from a football point of view relatively well for the majority of the season.”

If Cotchin plays at least 13 matches in 2023 he will become the sixth member of Richmond’s 300-game club.

The club has already lost three multiple premiership winners to retirement this year – Shane Edwards, Kane Lambert and Josh Caddy.

Riewoldt, also a triple premiership player, confirmed on Tuesday night that he would also keep playing.

“I’m not playing for any sort of financial gain, really, I’m playing to hopefully win another premiership,” he told AFL360.

“I’m just an old codger who’s got to the end of his career and I’m just going to roll around again.”

“One thing I’m really proud of is there was no sort of quick decision, it was actually made together.”

Riewoldt has played 326 games for the Tigers and is a three-time All Australian, as well as a three-time Coleman Medallist.

Sydney Swans co-captain Callum Mills has celebrated his career-best season with a six-year contract extension that ties him to the club until the end of 2029.

Mills earned All-Australian honors this year for a campaign in which he averaged 24.8 possessions, 6.5 tackles, and 3.9 clearances per game.

The 25-year-old looms as a key cog in his team’s premiership bid, with the Swans to host a preliminary final against either Fremantle or Collingwood next week.

Mills said he was thrilled to commit to the Swans for the long term. “With the group that we’ve got – everyone from the players to the coaches and staff – we are building something special and I’m proud to be able to help drive that,” Mills said in a statement.

“When it comes to leadership, it’s about handing over the lipstick and handing on the knowledge that you’ve learned over the journey. Kieren (Jack) and Macca (Jarred McVeigh) were the captains when I started, and then Josh (Kennedy), who are all wonderful leaders. So I hope that I can hand on everything I have learned from them to the next generation.”

The future of star forward Lance Franklin remains up in the air, with the eight-time All-Australian still weighing up his options.

Franklin has been linked with a move to Brisbane, but retirement could also be on the cards for the 35-year-old veteran of 229 games.

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