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The Roar


AFL News: Dees deny 'resentment' at Pies over Brayshaw retirement, Roos president reveals 'anger' in open letter

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23rd February, 2024
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North Melbourne president Sonja Hood has opened up on her ‘frustration’, ‘anger’, ‘disappointment’ and ‘sadness’ in former Roo Tarryn Thomas, after the troubled 23-year old was sacked by the club followed an AFL-imposed 18-match suspension.

Thomas was found guilty by an AFL investigation of inappropriate behaviour towards a woman, the latest in a long line of incidents over the past two years.

Within minutes of the ban being announced by the AFL, the Roos confirmed Thomas would be cut from the club, with Hood further explaining the decision in an open letter to members.

“As you know, Tarryn’s behaviour has been a concern for some time. Our duty of care to Tarryn and to the wider community meant we chose to work with him to address his behaviours, particularly in regard to his treatment of women,” Hood wrote.

“It’s why we accepted our responsibility to seek help for him. It was a complex and difficult situation but we were all united in our determination to get the best outcomes for Tarryn and those around him. 

“Tarryn came back to the club midway through last year pledging to be better. 

“We are all bitterly disappointed that he has relapsed. And he is now out of chances.”

Hood said the club would continue to support Thomas and help him turn his life around via the AFL and Players Association, but said the ‘privilege’ of being able to undertake a mandatory behavioural change program before being permitted to return to football at any level while still at the club would no longer be afforded.


The president also praised Thomas’ victim.

“Out of respect for her privacy I won’t say anything about the woman who brought these allegations to the AFL other than to commend her bravery and the dignity with which she has handled herself throughout this process,” Hood wrote.

“She deserved better.”

Tarryn Thomas of the Kangaroos handpasses

Tarryn Thomas. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Roos football general manager Todd Viney claimed there were ‘two sides to Tarryn’ in an interview with SEN, saying the potential star’s status as an Academy player before being drafted by the club led them to have greater ‘responsibility’ in helping him ‘mature and develop’.

““A lot of the conversations we had last year when we were going through the same stuff, we made it pretty clear in most conversations that the ice was getting pretty thin,” Vine said.

“Eventually, the decision becomes easier – it becomes an AFL decision and a club decision. I think he knew when we spoke to him today that the writing was on the wall on the back of those conversations.


“But the hard part that Sonja was referring to was that he came over [from Tasmania] as a 17-year old boy. You do take on responsibility of taking young guys into your club, you do have a responsibility to help them mature and develop and do all those things.

“You build relationships with them and you’re disappointed it ends like this.

“There’s definitely two sides to Tarryn… there’s one that’s a very likable young lad – we understand his background has come with some challenges.

“But then there’s this other side that when he’s in these relationships he hasn’t got the skills to be able to exit them or behave in the right manner when he’s in them.”

You can read Hood’s full open letter here.

Brayshaw urges AFL to improve concussion ‘safeguards’


Melbourne premiership player Angus Brayshaw has urged the AFL to be “proactive rather than reactive” in dealing with head trauma after he was forced into premature retirement because of concussion.

The 28-year-old informed the club on Thursday he would be bowing out of football, effective immediately, after extensive neurological testing revealed a deterioration of his brain.

Brayshaw, who had previously had serious head knocks and wore a helmet, was concussed after Collingwood defender Brayden Maynard attempted to smother the Demons midfielder’s kick in the first quarter of last year’s qualifying final.

Maynard escaped suspension for the controversial bump, which divided the football world and prompted the AFL to tinker with rules on smothers.

“We have made great strides in this space, but there is more that needs to be done to safeguard the brains of players not only in the AFL ranks, but from grassroots all the way up,” Brayshaw wrote in an open letter published on Melbourne’s website.

“I believe the future of our game will be strongly impacted by how we deal with this element of player safety as more information comes to light. 

“I hope the AFL will be proactive in the future when it comes to the safety of its players as opposed to reactive, so we can continue to enjoy this amazing game and protect the brains of the players. 


“They must be sacrosanct.”

Brayshaw was ruled out of the Demons’ finals campaign, eventually returning to a modified training program.

But recent scan results meant Brayshaw had no other option than to retire from all contact sports.

“Scans taken two weeks after the qualifying final against Collingwood compared to scans taken last week revealed further deterioration of my brain as a direct result of the incident I was involved in,” he wrote.

Brayshaw bows out after having played 167 games, including the Demons’ 2021 grand-final win, since debuting in 2015.

He suffered significant concussion issues early in his career, leading to him taking an extended break in 2017.

“I am absolutely shattered and did not see this reality coming to pass,” Brayshaw wrote.


“Whilst this medical retirement is devastating, I appreciate the severity of the situation as well as anyone. 

“I respect the verdict of the medical professionals and agree with their desire to put the health of my brain before the future of my AFL career.”

Angus Brayshaw of the Demons kicks on goal

(Photo by Will Russell/AFL Photos/Getty Images)

Brayshaw said he would miss playing for Melbourne but was optimistic about the next stage of his life.

“I know the coming days will be sad and upsetting for me (I am crying as I am writing this) and many others,” he wrote.

“I know that it’s important to acknowledge that this is tough, but I also think that perspective is important. 

“This decision that has been made for me is to protect my long-term health. That is a good thing. I hope to live a long and full life.”


Brayshaw’s retirement comes after Collingwood defender Nathan Murphy was last week put on a modified training program indefinitely after suffering a concussion in last year’s grand final win against the Brisbane Lions.

Former St Kilda and Sydney tall Paddy McCartin retired last August due to ongoing issues relating to concussion.

AFL football boss Laura Kane said she supported Brayshaw’s decision to retire. 

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“Angus’ health and wellbeing is of the upmost importance and his decision, made in consultation with his medical team, is one more courageous act that Angus consistently demonstrated throughout his decorated career,” Kane said in a statement.

“Angus’ contribution to footy on the field is well documented and we look forward to his continued contribution to our game off the field in the coming years.”


Demons footy boss Alan Richardson, meanwhile, has denied any lingering resentment at the Magpies and Maynard for last year’s incident, despite Brayshaw’s retirement.

“It [Brayshaw’s retirement announcement] was more a bit of a shock… that’s the overriding emotion,” Richardson said on Wide World of Sports Radio.

“I wouldn’t say there is any resentment or anger at all.

“I think what you’re alluding to is the to-and-fro that is pretty common at a tribunal, and clearly there is someone trying to defend their player and there’s another club that isn’t going to have a bloke play in the finals series, and they’re disappointed with that.

“But that hasn’t continued on, that’s not my take on where it sits right now.”

(with AAP)