As the Australian Football League 2016 pre-season approaches, there is a lot of talk in the media about “list management” by clubs. This generally involves retiring or trading “older” players – usually over the age of 28.
It is often assumed – rightly or wrongly – that football players lose their athletic edge around this age. But is it fair – or legal – to use age as a blunt proxy for performance? There are players (like Dustin Fletcher of Essendon fame) that perform brilliantly into their late 30s and beyond.