When is it time to hang the boots up and retire?

It was during the third quarter of Saturday nights game between Brisbane and GWS that my heart sank. It was not because the GWS were getting on top of my team the Lions and looking at making history by winning their first game ever away from home. Instead it was seeing the Brisbane Lions champion and fearless player Jonathan Brown lying on the Gabba turf with medico’s and trainers around him after another accidental head clash. It is Browny’s third major head clash in the last couple of years and one that could decide whether he retires or not.

Even though this head clash did not cause any major facial injuries there is no doubt that it could be the one that breaks the camels back when it comes to Browny deciding on whether to retire immediately or not. Even the next morning Browny was non committal when asked whether Saturday night’s game would be his last, suggesting that he needed to speak to the doctors, Leppa and of course his wife Kylie before making any decisions.

So the question needs to be asked – Is it time for the great man Jonathan Brown to retire or not? Is it more important to put his family and him first (considering his wife Kylie is about to have their third child) or continue on for probably a maximum of 6-8 games to finish off the year. What does a sportsman need to take into consideration when making that big decision to retire.

Darren Glass the great defender from the Eagles retired immediately last week when he realised that it was just about impossible to run around anymore after problems with his ankles and hips. Marty Mattner decided to retire just prior to the start of the 2013 footy season after realising that if he continued to play there would be a fair chance that he would not be able to run around and play with his kids due to constant problems with his body.

For me it was an easy decision to hang up the boots. Even though I was captain of the Adelaide Lutheran A grade team and close to the milestone of 200 games and possibly that elusive premiership when doctor had diagnosed that the bones in my shoulder had been smashed into small pieces after being tackled to the ground, I knew instantly that my time was up. If I needed anymore convincing having my arm in a sling for 10-12 weeks, and my life inhibited due to not being able to drive anywhere just helped with my decision. I was close to 30 and my body was telling me it was time to hang up the boots.

As for Jonathan Brown who knows what his decision may be. There is part of me that wants him to play out the rest of the season so I can see this great player for a few more times. There is another part of me who wants him to play one more game at the Gabba bagging 6-8 goals and having the send off he deserves. But deep down I realised that Saturday night may well be Jonathan Brown’s last game. It may not be the best way to end an illustrious career like Browny has had, but probably fitting that one of the most courageous players in the AFL has had to end his career due to constant concussions and facial injuries.

About Andrew Weiss

Andrew is one of the few Brisbane Lions supporters that lives in the Adelaide Hills. He still has bragging rights over any Crows or Port supporter by mentioning the back to back to back premierships the Lions achieved in 2001-2003. After playing for over a decade for the mighty Adelaide Lutheran Football Club better known as 'The Doggies' he now spends his Saturdays running around footy ovals as an umpire, getting abuse no matter what decision is made. Coaching is probably next on the agenda as his two sons have started to play the great game of AFL. Andrew is a sports fanatic who when not watching or reading about sport is teaching secondary students about Biology, Nutrition and Psychology.


  1. Mick Jeffrey says

    I vowed in 2011 that if i kept on playing i would retire on my terms, and this year is the year for me.

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