Western Bulldogs key forward and 2013 No.1 draft pick Tom Boyd has announced a shock retirement from the AFL, with two years still to run on the infamous seven-year deal he signed in 2015.
Boyd cited both physical injuries and his publicised mental health battles as the reason for his sudden retirement, admitting he “just [didn’t] have the desire to play or the enjoyment of the game [he] used to have.”
“I’m grateful to both to the Giants and the Bulldogs for allowing me the opportunity to experience playing football at the highest level,” he said in a statement.
“I have received unbelievable support from the players, coaches and staff at the Western Bulldogs, particularly over the last couple of years, which I will always appreciate.
“Leaving the game as a premiership player is something I will always be proud of, along with all the enduring relationships I have forged and the memories I have created along the way.”
Bulldogs director of football Chris Grant lauded Boyd as a “great contributor” in a statement.
“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.
“We will miss Tom’s influence at the Bulldogs, and he and his family will always be welcome at the Club,” he concluded.
Tom Boyd first joined the AFL as the coveted No.1 pick in the 2013 draft, selected by the GWS Giants following the expansion club’s second straight wooden spoon. He played nine games for the Giants in his debut season in 2014, kicking eight goals, but made headlines that offseason after demanding a trade to the Bulldogs.
GWS chief executive David Matthews famously claimed at the time that Boyd “will not be traded under any circumstances,” only to ship Boyd to the Dogs in exchange for Ryan Griffen and the No.6 pick in the 2014 draft (used on Caleb Marchbank) just two days later.
That wasn’t the only shock involving Boyd that offseason, however, with the then-19-year-old signing a monster seven-year deal worth $7 million.
His tenure at the Bulldogs was chequered, with the key forward usually only playing for just over half the season and averaging a goal per game just once in his career. He had his nadir in mid-2016, when he was suspended by the club for a violent altercation with teammate Zaine Cordy – who was allegedly taunting him about not living up to his contract – but found a new lease on life soon after.
Coach Luke Beveridge transitioned Boyd into a backup ruckman, where he shone for the rest of 2016 – including a monumental performance in the grand final victory that year. Boyd proved to handy at the stoppages for the rest of his career, but injuries and a battle with clinical depression. prevented him from reaching his potential.
He finishes his career having played 61 games of AFL football, kicking 50 goals.