Two Fox Footy pundits have urged North Melbourne to make a “Luke Hodge-style play” for outgoing Docker David Mundy to boost the bottom-placed club’s leadership prospects.
Mundy, Fremantle’s games record-holder, on Monday called time on his celebrated AFL career, three days after making his 371st appearance.
It places Mundy in the 10th spot on the all-time VFL/AFL games played table, with Scott Pendlebury (352), Joel Selwood (350) and Lance Franklin (335) the closest to him among active players.
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Speaking on Fox Footy’s On The Couch on Monday night, Mundy, 37, said he was pretty happy and content” with his decision after a pre-season ankle injury kickstarted retirement thoughts, but said there was “nothing set in concrete” for post-footy life.
Asked if he would’ve played on at Freo had his body allowed him to, Mundy told On The Couch: “No I don’t think so. I’m really proud to still be able to strongly contribute on gameday in the 22nd.
“I’ve been thinking for a long time that I’d feel really guilty if I hung on and battled my way through a year and ended as a broken, crippled old man. To go out on top I feel a great deal of pleasure in.”
But Herald Sun Journalist Jon Ralph reported Mundy “just wasn’t offered a new deal and he would’ve played on”.
“I asked his management … Two weeks ago, he said ‘I’ll keep playing at this club until they kick me out’ … He was hopeful with contract negotiations as recently as two weeks ago and it didn’t happen,” Ralph told On The Couch.
“That’s not a pot on Fremantle, they just decided to go another way and that’s fine.”
St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt said it was a “surprising” call by Mundy, who was awarded AFL Coaches’ Association MVP votes for his 35-disposal, 15-contested possession and 10-clearance display against Melbourne last Friday night.
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It’s why Riewoldt encouraged the 18th-placed Kangaroos to target Mundy this off-season
“I understand his reasons because you want to go out maintaining that really strong level of performance, but he wasn’t showing any signs of slowing down,” Riewoldt told On The Couch.
“He sounded definitive then, but if you’re North Melbourne, would you say to him: ‘Dave, come play for two years, stick around and be an assistant because we need some leadership’ – would you make the phone call?”
Fellow Fox Footy panelist Garry Lyon added: “It’s not the silliest idea you’ve ever had.”
Herald Sun chief football writer Mark Robinson echoed Riewoldt’s thoughts minutes later, saying the Kangaroos should look at what Brisbane did in late 2017 when it traded in four-time premiership Hawk Luke Hodge as its young group moved into finals contention.
“I think North Melbourne should go after him and offer him a one-year deal to come over to Victoria and help the young kids at North Melbourne,” Robinson told Fox Footy’s AFL 360. “Like (Luke) Hodge, like the first-year Giants in James McDonald and a few others (in 2012).
“I think if he wants to continue playing, North Melbourne should look at a Luke Hodge-style play for David Mundy.
“He’s playing good enough. He’s not ‘at the end’, so if he’s a really good footy club person, give him a deal that (includes a) coaching role as well.”