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Barry Hall fighting for AFL future

8th June, 2009
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Sydney forward Barry Hall admits he has half an AFL season to convince the Swans he can be trusted not to lose his temper again following his latest on-field outburst.

Hall, 32, is again fighting to prolong his career after costing his team badly by conceding three successive 50-metre penalties in the final quarter, which contributed to the Swans’ 11-point defeat to Hawthorn at the MCG on Sunday.

His latest brain snap again raised doubts over whether he can handle the pressure of playing in the AFL, particularly after the Swans imposed a club ban on him last year, following his suspensions for striking West Coast’s Brent Staker and attempting to strike Collingwood’s Shane Wakelin.

Sydney were angry with Hall for conceding the penalties, which gifted the Hawks a goal at a crucial time and changed the momentum of the game.

The Swans’ loss left them with a 5-6 win-loss record and outside the eight.

Hall agreed with coach Paul Roos that his actions in remonstrating with the umpire and clashing with Hawks Jarryd Roughead and Sam Mitchell, which brought on the penalties, changed the game and cast new doubt over his future.

“In the scheme of things, we had the momentum … it turned the game totally and if another player from my side did that I’d be filthy with him,” he told Network Ten’s One HD station.

“So I’ve got to wear that.

“We (he and his teammates) spoke about it after the game and they were disappointed.

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“It was really disappointing and I knew that. I’ve got to wear that, I’ve got to cop that on the chin.

“I guess the thing for me going forward now is that I’ve got 11 weeks to show the football club that I can put stuff like this behind me.

“This could change things dramatically, I could go downhill from here.

“But, the next 11 weeks are pretty big for me, and I don’t think that will be the case.”

Hall is out of contract at the end of the season and initially did not commit to wanting to play on.

But he said he was “70 per cent” confident of continuing into 2010, and wanted to so he could change the ways fans view him, given his anger issues in recent years.

“At this stage mentally I’m really willing,” he said.

“The old body’s saying different stories to me.

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“I’d say 70 per cent I’d like to play on.

“With the perception, I’d like to change that and if it takes another year of footy to do that and I’m still passionate and still want to play, all things equal, it should happen.”

Hall said he had apologised to his teammates for his latest indiscretion, and confirmed the club’s leadership group did not want to impose a suspension, which clears him to play Collingwood in the second weekend of the split round 12.

“No doubt they were disappointed, but they’re ready to move on,” he said.

Hall said he often found himself frustrated in AFL games, mainly through the lack of free kicks he received from umpires.

But he conceded he also gave umpires a “hard time”.

Hall said his anger over recent years had stemmed from his inability to handle the criticism directed at him for his poor performance in the 2006 grand final, when Sydney were beaten by West Coast by one point.

“I didn’t cope with that very well at all, and I probably did hang on to that for way too long,” he said.

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Hall has often been linked with pursuing a boxing coach once he finishes with football, and said that would be dependent on his talks with Sydney after the season.

“That’s something I’ve got to weigh up at the end of the year,” he said.

“Timing’s probably not on my side, I’m going to be 33 next year so I’m no spring chicken.”

Hall on Monday was cleared of any wrongdoing by the match review panel, for his shove on Mitchell and for accidentally kneeing Xavier Ellis in the head earlier in the game.

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