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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

A severe toe injury has forced Tiger Jake King to retire immediately. On SEN he explained that there was no cartilage left in the joint connecting his big toe to his foot and also there was a crack in the bone. Both made it painful for him to walk and he could no longer kick the ball. He said a number of treatments have been tried but all had failed. The only option left is surgery to fuse the joint. The injury restricted him to just two senior games this year.

King, 30, was interviewed on SEN's Morning Glory. Weekly co-host Dermott Brereton commented that his former coach Allan Jeans once told his players that at the time of retirement they should ask themselves if they had gotten everything they could from playing and if the answer was yes they could walk away happy. When he asked King the same question, King replied yes. He also admitted that he was not that great a player and just to get drafted from the VFL at the age of 23 was a massive achievement. “Working six days a week before being drafted and already being behind the eight ball playing in the VFL you had to get your fitness and strength up to the AFL standard without having the facilities ... I’ve made a career out of playing a game I’m not really that good at,” King said.

At the official club announcement the week before Round 19 he joked "I'm not here by choice. 'Dimma’ has sacked me" while grinning at coach Damien Hardwick. He was more serious when telling his teammates and said not being able to play with them again would "hurt a bit". Hardwick said the Tigers would miss King, adding his bad boy reputation outside the club was a myth. "We realize how important a person he is. He's a great player ... he's an outstanding individual. Players play taller knowing that he's around. When we were playing our best ... Jake was certainly a part of that. We're going to miss the little fella."

King's "bad boy" image came as the result of his friendship with a former biker boss. King has always defended that friendship as their families have known each since they were children. "Those who know me know what I'm about and I have their respect ... that's all you could want in life I reckon ... The headlines are the headlines … I've got friends, I've got family. I live life and that's all there is to it ... I don't turn my back on mates. I support my friends and family and I'll go on to do that."

King played 107 games for the Tigers and was a member of the international rules team in 2011.

Source: sen.com.au (print and audio), afl.com.au, AFL Record Season Guide

Gold Coast defender Nathan Bock has announced his immediate retirement. A badly broken leg suffered against the Dockers early in 2012 required extensive surgery. A lengthy rehabilitation kept him out of the side for most of the 2013 season and he played just two games late in year before having the rod removed. Those two games proved to be his last at AFL level. He has been struggling in the NEAFL in his efforts to come back but said he knew his time was up when he couldn't even climb the stairs to the club's gym.

Bock admitted it was a difficult and disappointing end to his AFL career, without having the chance to recover fully from a severely fractured leg. “It has been a long road back ... and despite my best endeavors and those of the medical and high performance staff ... the time has come to end my football career ... I have loved playing ... over the last eleven years with both the Adelaide and Gold Coast Football Clubs ... while the decision to leave Adelaide was a tough one, I am extremely pleased that I have played a role in establishing the Gold Coast Suns, a club I strongly believe will go on to bigger and better things in the years to come.”

Coach Guy McKenna paid tribute to Bock’s contribution, saying he had "played an enormous role" in the club's formative years. Bock began his career with the Adelaide Crows who selected him as a rookie in 2002 and he was elevated to the senior list the same year. He played 113 games with the Crows before joining the Suns at the end of 2010 as an uncontracted player selection. 2008 was his best year with Adelaide, winning the club's best and fairest award, being named All-Australian and playing in the international rules series.

Injuries dogged him in his last two seasons with Adelaide but he bounced back strongly in 2011, his first season with the Suns. He was runner-up to Gary Ablett in that year's best and fairest count. Bock played a total of 27 games with Gold Coast.

Source: heraldsun.com.au, Sean Tobin, Gold Coast Media Release

A season ending foot injury affecting the navicular bone has ended the career of Shannon Byrnes. After he had an issue with it early in the season it was carefully managed. Byrnes was making his way back through the VFL in late June after missing four weeks with an ankle injury when it flared again and ended his year. Although disappointed he will be unable to see out the season, Byrnes was philosophical about his time in the game. “You can’t pick and choose when your injuries come ... I’ve had a pretty good run, so it’s a little bit bittersweet, but I’ll look back on my career with a lot more fond memories than disappointments.”

Melbourne football operations manager Josh Mahoney said Byrnes "certainly had an impact" in his time at the club. "Besides his on field contribution, Shannon's experience and training standards have helped develop some of our younger players ... His upbeat personality has been important during some tough times ... and it’s no surprise that Shannon is looking at coaching opportunities.”

Byrnes, 30, played 108 games with Geelong 2004-2012, joining the Demons as an unrestricted free agent at the end of that year. Byrnes played in the Cats' 2007 and 2009 Premierships. He managed only six games this year to bring his tally to 23 for the Demons. Byrnes won a rising star nomination in 2005.

Source: afl.com.au, Ryan Larkin, Melbourne Media Release

Article last changed on Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - 8:59 AM EDT


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