Steven played his final match in the home-and-away games against Sydney and has spent the past few weeks contemplating his future and whether he wanted to begin another pre-season or start life after football.
The Saints drafted him with pick No.42 in the 2007 national draft but he had to wait to make his debut in round 19, 2009. He was twice nominated in the All-Australian squad.
Meanwhile, promising Geelong midfielder Quinton Narkle is set to remain with the Cats in 2021 as the club makes list decisions after a lucrative trade period in which it landed free agents Jeremy Cameron and Isaac Smith, and traded in veteran Shaun Higgins and two extra future second-round picks.
The trade for Cameron also saw them give up three first-round draft picks to the Giants – selections 13, 15 and 20 – while they also traded out Nakia Cockatoo and Lachie Fogarty.
The club heads to this year’s draft with picks 51 and 96, increasing the chances of the Cats retaining Narkle.
The 22-year-old Narkle was one of several players across the competition who had been left in limbo during the trade period as clubs kept their options open on trades and waited for the AFL to make a decision on list sizes.
An outstanding stoppage player, Narkle has managed 17 games since making his debut in 2018 after being pick 60 in the 2016 national draft but he battled to win a permanent spot in the Cats’ star-studded midfield after hurting his hamstring at the SCG against the Brisbane Lions in round six.
While he will keep his spot, Essendon delisted Richmond premiership player Jacob Townsend and last-minute rookie pick-up Henry Crauford. The Bombers will retain Dylan Clarke and Martin Gleeson as rookies.
West Coast made the hard call to delist premiership player Lewis Jetta. Jetta played in the Eagles’ 2018 premiership as a defender and Sydney’s 2012 premiership as a forward. He kicked 45 goals for the Swans in 2012 and his graceful running style and sublime ball use was a feature in his 202 games.
The Cats also have decisions to make on several players including Darcy Fort, Zach Guthrie, Jake Tarca and Ben Jarvis ahead of the list lodgment date which was pushed back into next week because negotiations over the CBA review were nearing completion.
Geelong will enter 2021 as one of the premiership favourites with Cameron, Higgins and Smith joining the team that lost the 2020 grand final to Richmond.
They have locked in Coleman medallist Tom Hawkins, and recently announced that they had re-signed Jack Henry, Zach Tuohy, Brandan Parfitt and Rhys Stanley, with Tom Stewart extending his contract until the end of 2024. Lachie Henderson is also expected to continue in 2021 after rebooting his career in the back half of the season.
Harry Taylor and Gary Ablett retired with Ablett requiring a shoulder operation this week after being injured in the grand final loss.
Elsewhere, Taylor Duryea has re-signed with the Western Bulldogs for another season after an injury-interrupted 2020.
Fremantle veteran David Mundy also re-signed with the Dockers after they cleared salary cap space when they traded Jesse Hogan to the Giants.
Peter Ryan is a sports reporter with The Age covering AFL, horse racing and other sports.