Tributes Flow For Adam Goodes As He Announces His Retirement From AFL

A champion bows out.

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After 464 goals across 372 games and 17 seasons, long-serving AFL champion Adam Goodes has announced his retirement. Avoiding speaking directly to the media, he told his team mates and other club staff after the Sydney Swans’ semi-final loss to North Melbourne last night.

The 35-year-old two-time Brownlow medalist, former Sydney co-captain and Australian of the Year had been consumed by controversy this year over remorseless idiots booing him at games ever since he dared to display pride in his Indigenous heritage, eventually forcing him to take extended leave in July. But, despite fans rallying behind him in a collective supportive campaign, and his return to the game early last month, Goodes has said it’s time to bow out.

The Sydney Swans Twitter account quoted club coach John Longmire as saying: “He has kept it to himself because it has never been about Adam, it was about our season and being competitive,” and: “I was emotional but he (Goodes) was fine.”

Swans defender Rhyce Shaw, who will be retiring at the end of the season, said: “It’s a bit of a shock, he’s a champion of this footy club.”

“He’s a champion of the AFL and one of the greatest people I’ve ever met,” he said.

Goodes, who has played more matches than any other Indigenous player, isn’t just a sports hero to some, but also a community leader active in promoting a more inclusive and tolerant industry and society. Along with his cousin and former teammate Michael O’Loughlin, Adam founded the Go Foundation, which aims to empower young Indigenous people, focusing on education, employment and healthy lifestyles.

It’s unsure what his plans will be next, but the outpouring of support for Goodes so far has been a positive end to a tumultuous year.

Feature image via Creative Commons/Hpeterswald.