Tuesday, July 7, 2009

AFL: Big Bad Barry quits

Sydney forward Barry Hall has announced he is quitting the Swans AFL club, effective immediately.
Hall says he is uncertain what his next step will be and will take some time out to consider his options.
He says the decision to leave the Swans, who he captained to a premiership in 2005, was hard, but the best move for all involved.
"The decision I have made is not just about me. It is about this football club, my team-mates, my family, my partner and my close friends." Hall said.
"Ultimately they have suffered grief over some of my wrongdoings and I have to take them into consideration.
"I think the easiest thing to do is to tell myself I am playing good football and don't want to desert my teammates, but the issue is a lot bigger than that.
"So over the last few days I have stepped back and tried to look at it as an outsider and control what I can control, which has led me to this decision.
"I am forever indebted to this footy club. I have no doubt I wouldn't even be playing the game if it wasn't for the club and despite what has happened, I still think I am walking away from the club a better person than when I walked in."
"... The next step for me is unclear, but in time, I will work through it."
Hall has previously speculated about either trying to continue his AFL career with another club or possibly take up professional boxing.
Hall's decision came after a series of on-field misdemeanours prompted senior club figures, including coach Paul Roos and co-captain Brett Kirk, to question his desire to continue playing.
The latest was a punch to the face of Adelaide defender Ben Rutten, in Hall's last game in round 13, for which he was handed a two-game suspension.
Last year Hall served a seven-match ban for striking West Coast utility Brent Staker and also underwent anger management counselling during a club-imposed ban.
The week he returned from that suspension Hall received a one-game suspension for attempting to strike Collingwood opponent Shane Wakelin.
The Swans also handed him a one-week club suspension for the Wakelin incident.
Hall co-captained the Swans to their historic 2005 premiership but he had to win a tribunal case to play in the grand final.
The Rutten incident was the 15th charge of Hall's career, which has so far featured 24 games lost through suspension.
Last year was the seventh-straight season he topped Sydney's goalkicking.
The Adelaide game, which will now be his final in Swans colours, was celebrating his 250th senior game as an AFL player.
That includes 88 matches with St Kilda from 1995 to 2001 before he joined the Swans in 2002.
Roos said the occasion should be used to celebrate the contribution Hall made to the club.
"It is definitely a sad day for the Sydney Swans Football Club; one of our greatest ever players has decided to retire, but I also think it must be a time of celebration, to reflect on what has been an outstanding career," Roos said.
"As his coach for the last six years I will remember Hally as one of the genuine superstars of the game. His ability to be a match winner enabled him to take us to the level of the 2005 premiership.
"His consistent performance over those six years has allowed him to be not only a premiership captain, but a club best and fairest, an All-Australian, a life member and a multiple leading goalkicker at this footy club."
Roos said the Swans also knew Hall as a "likeable and easygoing character" off the field, which most people did not get to see.

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