Bernie Vince yesterday announced his AFL retirement at the conclusion of the 2018 season. The 32 year-old is currently recovering from an AC joint injury and is listed as 3-4 weeks away from returning.
Despite doing everything he can to get back from injury, it is possible he has already played his last game at AFL level.
Football Manager Josh Mahoney paid tribute to Vince. And he’s keen for the former Crow to potentially remain at the club.
“He has been a significant contributor to Melbourne Football Club in the five years he’s been at the club.We have started initial discussions with Bernie about some potential roles next year at the footy club, as we don’t want him to leave or be forgotten. At the right times, those discussions will progress.”
From Adelaide to Melbourne
Drafted with pick 32 in the 2015 draft by Adelaide, Bernie Vince enjoyed a successful spell in Adelaide. He was certainly a fan favourite and popular figure within the club.
He played 129 games at Adelaide in total which included a Malcolm Blight medal as best & fairest in a brilliant 2009 season.
With draft sanctions in place for the Adelaide Crows in the wake of the Kurt Tippett saga, they had no choice but to look at trading a player to bring in draft picks. Bernie Vince was the sacrificial lamb and departed at the end of the 2013 season.
A classy user of the ball with good decision making, the South Australian was just the type of player Melbourne needed. The Demons signed him on a three year-deal.
Impact at the Demons
Bernie Vince has spent five years at Melbourne and the statistics prove how valuable he has been.
His leadership and experience has been vital in the 100 games he has played since crossing over. Arguably his best year was 2015 when he was crowned Melbourne best & fairest.
It puts him in illustrious company. Only six players in VFL/AFL history have won best & fairest awards and played 100 games at two separate clubs.
Plenty of Melbourne players have paid tribute to their teammate. Sam Frost was one who probably summed up the feelings of most.
“He’s a hard guy not to love and on the field he probably came to the club at a difficult time and played a big part in turning the club around. Off-field like I said, he’s just a best mate of everyone there, everyone loves him, he loves everyone — so it’ll be sad to see him go but he’s had a great hit out.”
It would be a fairy tale finish to see Bernie Vince get to play a final at Melbourne. Where his influence has helped shaped the emerging Demons.
If not, he can look back proudly on an AFL career spanning over 13 years and more than 200 AFL games. Something that only very good footballers achieve.