The 2021 AFL North West season won't be forgotten any time soon but for Gunnedah, it won't be remembered just for its premature end due to COVID-19.
Along with minor premierships for the under 14s and women, 2021 marked the end of an era in the men's team.
Club legends Andrew George and Mark Ewington called time on their illustrious careers at the end of Gunnedah's season and president Mark Barrow has saluted the premiership-winning duo.
"I think Ewo kicked his 350th goal for the club in his last game and was the [men's] league leading goalkicker [for 2021]," Barrow said.
"And Georgey, I think he's a two time Gillies Medal winner, five times best and fairest [for Gunnedah] and best on ground in a grand final.
"To lose two players like that, probably not the way we would have wanted to end the year, but they've been such great players for the club.
"I just want to thank them for their service to the club and wish them all the best and hopefully they're still around in some form or another."
The announcement comes after a rebuilding year for the Gunnedah men's team.
Along with the latest two retirements, a number of players have retired - including Barrow himself - or left the club in the past two years.
After a slow start to the season, the Bulldogs entered and stayed in the finals race up until the last round of the season.
In one of the closest AFL North West seasons in history, the Dogs finished fifth - two wins outside the top four and three wins off the minor premiers.
Barrow said there was some good signs for the side moving into 2022.
"Andy Mack's grown into the role as coach and done a really good job," Barrow said.
"They've recruited a few young players as well which is good going forward to next year."
While the men missed out on making the finals, that wasn't a problem for the 14s and women's teams.
The 14s locked up the minor premiership before claiming a spot in the grand final before the season was cancelled.
John Hoppe also took out the league goalkicking and best and fairest awards.
The women went through undefeated in 2021 and were a strong chance to claim their second premiership in as many years.
Barrow said the Sam Proudfoot-coached side were "disappointed they couldn't finish up the year" but now had their eyes set on 2022.
"They've done unbelievably," Barrow said of the Gunnedah women's side.
"Alice Mitchell won the league goalkicking and her and Rani [Grant] were right up there in the B&F as well.
"We've had some really standout girls. Khobi Devine, I thought was good through the middle there and they'll be looking forward to next year already, I reckon."
Barrow also said Proudfoot had done an exceptional job as coach.
"He's so passionate about it. He's the first one at training and the last one there. He gives so much time and effort to that team and it's a real credit to him," Barrow said.
Barrow thanked all the club coaches, volunteers, sponsors and supporters for their help during the 2021 season.
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