AFL fans have wasted little time speculating where Todd Goldstein will end up next year after the veteran ruckman informed North Melbourne he's leaving the club. The 35-year-old would have seen his opportunities severely limited at the Kangaroos in 2024, with Tristan Xerri set to be the team's first-choice ruckman next year.
Goldstein was dropped in round one this season but earned a reprieve when 24-year-old Xerri was injured. Xerri played the final eight games of the season after returning.
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Goldstein has played 315 games and scored 157 goals for North Melbourne since his debut in 2008. He won the club's best and fairest award in his All-Australian season in 2015.
The 35-year-old hasn't named a destination club of choice. As an unrestricted free agent, he does not need to be traded to reach his preferred club.
"It's been a really tough decision," he said in a statement on Thursday. "I've been talking to my manager and my family about what's going to be best for us going forward … and I think that's to look for other opportunities elsewhere. It's probably time for the club to have a clean break and give Tristan the opportunity to shine in the number one ruck role."
North Melbourne football boss Todd Viney said: "Goldy has been a loyal and decorated servant of the club so it's naturally sad to see him go. It's a credit to him that he has been able to play over 300 games at the one club and it'll be strange to see him in different colours."
Where will Todd Goldstein end up playing in 2024?
AFL fans took little time suggesting where they think Goldstein might end up. A popular theory is a team-up with Max Gawn at Melbourne, with out-of-favour ruckman Brodie Grundy set to be traded away from the Demons.
Melbourne's decision to get Grundy from Collingwood last off-season and partner him with Gawn failed to pay dividends, with Grundy dumped to VFL and the Demons suffering another straight-sets exit from the finals. Grundy played 17 games this season but just one after round 17 and wasn't used in the finals.
A dual All-Australian player during his time at Collingwood, Grundy is expected to head to Sydney after the Swans' lead ruckman Tom Hickey retired. "He's a pretty good ruckman and he's playing probably behind one of the best of all time. He's been playing in the twos the last couple of weeks," Demons teammate Jake Lever said.
"So I'm sure that he'll do everything possible to make the most of his career and if that is to move or if that is to stay, we'll accept whatever it is. But I'm proud of Brodie for what he has been doing at training. You can see him in the rooms before the game and after the game talking to the guys.
"He's a committed Melbourne player but now the season's over I'm sure there'll be a lot of movement as there normally is this time of year. He'll be sorely missed if he does leave, but if he stays, we've got a pretty good number two ruckman, that's for sure."
Speaking last week, Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said he was planning to talk with Grundy about his future. "I'll sit down and have those conversations with Brodie," Goodwin said.
"It's not a space that we've been in the last three or four weeks. So now as the dust settles in the next 24 hours, I'll sit down this week and have a really good conversation with Brodie about what that looks like."
Grundy's departure and Goldstein's announcement sparked calls (some more joking than others) that the Demons should target the North champion. Essendon was also a popular suggestion as to where Goldstein might end up.
Why would this be funny? It would make total sense for Melbourne
— Newts (@graham_newts) September 21, 2023
How good would an All-Australian ruck look alongside Max Gawn at Melbourne 🤤 https://t.co/PqZFnV4ert
— bear 🧸 (@beartorius) September 21, 2023
Melbourne's list manager eyeing off another All Australian ruckman after seeing Todd Goldstein wants to play elsewhere in 2023 pic.twitter.com/nYGaGIxH2B
— Todd Davey (@ToddJDavey) September 21, 2023
— The Fishman’s Hawk Hustle collective (@theHawkHustle) September 21, 2023
Melbourne are looking for a new ruckman!!
— David Jaggard (@DavoJags) September 21, 2023
Didn’t expect this. Wonder if he goes to Essendon
— LoonMuse (@KevonLooneyMuse) September 21, 2023
Welcome to the bombers Todd
— Luke (@LukeVogels) September 21, 2023
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