Infotainment Factory: Coach breaks down over shock retirement

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Thursday, 16 May 2019

Coach breaks down over shock retirement


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Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has been overcome with emotion as he addressed the media about star forward Tom Boyd's shock retirement.

At one stage Beveridge felt the need to excuse himself as he choked back tears while attempting to explain the impact the 23-year-old had made on the club before cutting short his time in the AFL for mental health reasons.

Boyd stunned the AFL world on Thursday when it was announced he'd be walking away from the game with 18 months still remaining on a seven-year $7 million contract.

It's a decision that leaves $1.5 million on the table with the 2016 premiership star putting his health ahead of a sport that he looked set to dominate for a decade.

“When you reflect on Tom’s career, there are lots of emotions,” Beveridge said.

“At the end of 2016 we thought the footy world was Tom’s oyster. We didn’t see the black dog creep up on him and at that time we weren’t really aware that he had struggles historically and so it is sad because of what could have been in his footy career. But since then he has had some enormous struggles.”

It was at this point that Beveridge had to pause to compose himself.

“I’m an emotional beast, unfortunately I cry watching cartoons, but this is a much more significant thing," Beveridge said when asked why the Boyd retirement had hit him so hard.

"Obviously we’re dealing with it in the public domain. Tom is an example of a person of note whose legacy in this space will live on for generations.

“I’m really connected to our group. I stood up and spoke about Clay [Smith] and Picko [Liam Picken] in a babbling mess and I’ll probably do it again next week when Tom comes in.”

Boyd announced his decision to retire via a Bulldogs media release on Thursday, hinting at the struggles that had disrupted his career and eventually ended it.

“My decision to retire now is a reflection of issues I’ve had over the past five years, both with physical injury and with mental health,” Boyd said.

“They have now accumulated to a point where I just don’t have the desire to play or the enjoyment of the game I used to have.

“I am satisfied that this is the right decision for my future.

“I approached the club about my desire to retire and be released from my contract this week and we have worked out a mutually agreeable position.”

Boyd announces AFL retirement

Boyd was signed by the Giants as the No. 1 draft pick in 2013, and he played one season with the expansion side before heading back to his hometown in a blockbuster trade with the Bulldogs.

The power forward landed at Whitten Oval in exchange for current Bulldogs captain Ryan Griffen and the No. 6 draft pick going to the Giants.

He was one of the best afield in the grand final win over Sydney, kicking three goals and taking six contested marks - but he never reached those heights again.

In 2017, he took a prolonged leave as he dealt with clinical depression. A back injury curtailed his 2018 season and he did not take the field in 2019.

Bulldogs football boss Chris Grant explained that Boyd had reached a point where he couldn’t “get to the next level again to become an AFL player again”.

“Everyone at the Bulldogs is saddened to hear of Tom’s decision to retire, given he is a much-loved and respected person around the club,” he said.

“Over the last few years we have worked very closely with Tom and his family to support him through a difficult period, and we will continue to offer that support as he enters the next phase of his life.

“We will not forget the role he played on the field, especially in the 2016 finals series when he showed the football world what he was capable of on the biggest stage possible.”

Grant said Boyd never prioritised being financially compensated once he opted for retirement.

The mid-season retirement comes two months after fellow 2016 flag-winner Liam Picken decided to step away due to ongoing concussion issues. It also allows the Bulldogs another pick in this month’s mid-season rookie draft.

- Additional reporting by AAP

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has been overcome with emotion as he addressed the media about star forward Tom Boyd's shock retirement.

At one stage Beveridge felt the need to excuse himself as he choked back tears while attempting to explain the impact the 23-year-old had made on the club before cutting short his time in the AFL for mental health reasons.

Boyd stunned the AFL world on Thursday when it was announced he'd be walking away from the game with 18 months still remaining on a seven-year $7 million contract.

It's a decision that leaves $1.5 million on the table with the 2016 premiership star putting his health ahead of a sport that he looked set to dominate for a decade.

“When you reflect on Tom’s career, there are lots of emotions,” Beveridge said.

“At the end of 2016 we thought the footy world was Tom’s oyster. We didn’t see the black dog creep up on him and at that time we weren’t really aware that he had struggles historically and so it is sad because of what could have been in his footy career. But since then he has had some enormous struggles.”

It was at this point that Beveridge had to pause to compose himself.

“I’m an emotional beast, unfortunately I cry watching cartoons, but this is a much more significant thing," Beveridge said when asked why the Boyd retirement had hit him so hard.

"Obviously we’re dealing with it in the public domain. Tom is an example of a person of note whose legacy in this space will live on for generations.

“I’m really connected to our group. I stood up and spoke about Clay [Smith] and Picko [Liam Picken] in a babbling mess and I’ll probably do it again next week when Tom comes in.”

Boyd announced his decision to retire via a Bulldogs media release on Thursday, hinting at the struggles that had disrupted his career and eventually ended it.

“My decision to retire now is a reflection of issues I’ve had over the past five years, both with physical injury and with mental health,” Boyd said.

“They have now accumulated to a point where I just don’t have the desire to play or the enjoyment of the game I used to have.

“I am satisfied that this is the right decision for my future.

“I approached the club about my desire to retire and be released from my contract this week and we have worked out a mutually agreeable position.”

Boyd announces AFL retirement

Boyd was signed by the Giants as the No. 1 draft pick in 2013, and he played one season with the expansion side before heading back to his hometown in a blockbuster trade with the Bulldogs.

The power forward landed at Whitten Oval in exchange for current Bulldogs captain Ryan Griffen and the No. 6 draft pick going to the Giants.

He was one of the best afield in the grand final win over Sydney, kicking three goals and taking six contested marks - but he never reached those heights again.

In 2017, he took a prolonged leave as he dealt with clinical depression. A back injury curtailed his 2018 season and he did not take the field in 2019.

Bulldogs football boss Chris Grant explained that Boyd had reached a point where he couldn’t “get to the next level again to become an AFL player again”.

“Everyone at the Bulldogs is saddened to hear of Tom’s decision to retire, given he is a much-loved and respected person around the club,” he said.

“Over the last few years we have worked very closely with Tom and his family to support him through a difficult period, and we will continue to offer that support as he enters the next phase of his life.

“We will not forget the role he played on the field, especially in the 2016 finals series when he showed the football world what he was capable of on the biggest stage possible.”

Grant said Boyd never prioritised being financially compensated once he opted for retirement.

The mid-season retirement comes two months after fellow 2016 flag-winner Liam Picken decided to step away due to ongoing concussion issues. It also allows the Bulldogs another pick in this month’s mid-season rookie draft.

- Additional reporting by AAP

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