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'Making sure I'm ready': Pies defender on modified training to handle concussion return 'from a mental wellbeing place'

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14th February, 2024
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Collingwood defender Nathan Murphy is not contemplating retirement despite remaining on a modified training program indefinitely due to ongoing issues surrounding concussion.

The 24-year-old insisted he has not suffered a fresh setback but said he was not in the “right frame of mind” to take part in match simulation sessions.

“It was a pretty whirlwind off-season for me,” Murphy said of suffering a serious concussion in last year’s grand final win.

“I’m still really healthy; still participating in a lot of stuff.

“I’m not really contemplating retirement. That’s not really on my agenda.

“I’m just trying to focus on getting back out there to play football.”

Nathan Murphy.

Nathan Murphy sustained a concussion during the 2023 grand final. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

The premiership player was examined by the league’s concussion panel and was ultimately given the green light last December to resume playing.

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Collingwood had asked the AFL to assess the 57-gamer’s condition, noting he had suffered multiple concussions prior, and after, starting his AFL career.

“I had a really good assessment with the panel and they’re professionals in this area so I trust their opinion,” Murphy said.

“I know I’m in a really good spot, it’s just probably more of a frame of mind sort of decision at the moment.

“It’s just making sure I’m ready to approach the season and ready to play competitive football.”

Murphy sent a scare through the Collingwood camp when he was assessed at training following a strong tackle from Magpies superstar Nick Daicos.

He was immediately cleared by medical staff and there were no further issues from the incident.

“It was good to see Nick laying a tackle for once, that doesn’t happen too often,” Murphy joked.

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“But I actually responded really positively to that.

“I think in the footage I actually get back out there and train so that incident had nothing to do with any of this.”

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 30: Nathan Murphy of the Magpies clashes with Darcy Fogarty of the Crows during the 2023 AFL Round 07 match between the Adelaide Crows and the Collingwood Magpies at Adelaide Oval on April 30, 2023 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Collingwood’s Nathan Murphy takes a hit against Adelaide. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Collingwood football boss Graham Wright, who is about to embark on a six-month sabbatical, completely supported Murphy’s decision.

“We’ve been in discussions over the last couple of weeks,” Wright said.

“Nathan’s healthy, feels really good.

“But from a mental wellbeing place, he’s made a decision to withdraw himself from the match-sim part of training and games until further notice.”

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Meanwhile, Magpies draftee Harry DeMattia will miss up to three months after suffering a finger injury at training on Monday.

The 18-year-old could undergo surgery on his right ring finger after consulting with a specialist on Thursday.

DeMattia was still able to take part in running drills on Wednesday with premiership star Josh Daicos and Fremantle recruit Lachie Schultz.

The trio missed Collingwood’s match simulation at the AIA Centre on Wednesday.

Young midfielder Fin Macrae, who has played 12 AFL games since being drafted in 2020, shone in the hit-out to press his case to take Taylor Adams’ spot.

Adams, who was Collingwood’s vice-captain last year but missed the grand final through injury, moved to Sydney during the off-season.

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Premiership defender Isaac Quaynor was on Wednesday confirmed as Quaynor’s replacement in the Magpies’ leadership group.

Darcy Moore will remain as skipper after leading Collingwood to their first flag in 13 years, while Jeremy Howe, Brayden Maynard and Quaynor are co-vice captains.

© AAP

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