Each summer takes its toll on the playing list and this past off-season saw some notable champions hang up the boots.
They arrived as young men and leave the playing ranks as veterans, all senior premiership players who delivered when it counted.
For much of 2016, the wings were occupied by Caydn Beetham and Esmond Prowse, but they will grace the edge of the square no more. Both are Best and Fairest winners, placing them in elite company at our club.
The young Beetham arrived at Toorak Park in 2003 after a stint at St Kilda and delighted the fandom from Day One. He figured prominently in the 2003 and 2005 flags and saved his best for last with a Jock Nelson Medal winning performance. His first goal in the third term was a peach, but it was his last quarter sealer that brought down the house, a long bomb that kept on going and going. His kick brought back memories of the first semi final in 2005, when he roved the centre tap and slammed a 90 metre torp through the northern goal at Box Hill, utterly shattering Old Scotch hearts.
Esmond Prowse was a much loved player for many years, and a premiership player in 2010, 2011 and 2013. A hard runner who often found the goals when they were needed most, Prowse was as courageous and unselfish as they come. He could be seen many nights after training with his bag packed, suit on, heading back to work.
Josh Agius was a natural from the first day he set foot on Toorak Park. He overcame early disappointment of missing selection in some strong premiership teams by bouncing back to become one of the competition's finest players. His hard work in and around the packs torched many opposition teams and he was a multiple premiership player.
Marcus Allan, who had attended Burke Hall as a boy before heading to Queensland and later becoming a Brisbane Lion, returned to Melbourne and played in the 2010 and 2013 premierships. Hard-running and possessing great breakaway speed, Allan provided spark in the midfield and up forward.
Michael Darvell retired toward the end of last season, his body having given out again after a promising comeback from injury. Darvs had everything in the way of skills, but did not have the same luck enjoyed by others. Still, he was captain of the club, and a premiership player in 2009, 2010 and 2013.
Jake Williams hands over his #1 jumper after injury and work commitments made it impossible to continue. a live-wire forward who created havoc among opposition defenders, he was an integral part of the 2013 premiership team with his crumbing and accuracy in front of the sticks.
Long time coach and assistant Pete Callinan, who mentored premiership teams - Reserves (2007) and U19s (2015) - has departed to take a senior coaching opportunity at Premier C outfit Kew. Cal, previously inaugural coach of the U19 Reserves in 1997, and U19 coach in 2002, has also filled assistant coaching roles in his time at our club. He has worked tirelessly over the past three seasons to produce future senior players for our club, gaining the respect of all in his time at the helm. In his spare time, he teaches at Kostka Hall, where future red and black legends will continue to come under his tutelage. Good luck with the Brown and Gold, Pete, but you know where your home is!
We will miss them all, but we will not forget their performances with the Red 'n' Black. We hope to see them often on the terraces at Toorak Park.