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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Defender Brent Reilly has been forced to retire immediately on the advice of his doctors. He has been advised never to play contact sports again. A collision with a teammate at training in February left him with a fractured skull and severe concussion. He was rushed to the hospital where he underwent surgery to have a metal plate inserted and spent several days in intensive care. Reilly spent several weeks in the hospital and was unable to do any sort of activity for weeks after his release. He did manage to turn up for a team meeting in March, where he received a standing ovation from his teammates.  Reilly, 31, had been unsure if would ever be able to play again, but said having that confirmed was still difficult. He tempered his disappointment by saying he was thankful to be alive, has made good progress in his recovery and hopes to live a normal life.

Reilly thanked everyone for their support throughout - his family, the football club and his wife Jamie. The pair plans to start a family in the near future. Adelaide Coach Phil Walsh remembers that while at West Coast and Port, he scouted the Crows and identified Reilly as a danger across half back with his kicking skills setting up attacking moves for the Crows. Walsh also remarked on Reilly's courage and ability to track back to intercept the ball as it came in for opposition forwards. Reilly has been invited to take up a coaching role for the remainder of the year, including taking on a match-day role in the coach's box. The club's head of football David Noble has watched Reilly from the beginning when he started as a homesick teenager through to becoming an All-Australian. He said Reilly had helped instill a culture of integrity at the club.

BRENT REILLY
Drafted 2001
203 AFL games, ranked 13th at Adelaide
Reached 200 game milestone against North Melbourne in round 13, 2014
Adelaide Football Club Life Member (2012)
All Australian nominee 2012
Rising Star nominee 2004
Preseason Premiership 2003 and 2012

Source: Ryan Smith, Adelaide Media Release, sen.com.au


Across town, Port champion Kane Cornes will walk away from football on his own terms after playing his 300th game in Round Eight to join the South Australian fire department. The intake process for new recruits takes place in June so Cornes had to make the choice after being offered a position just ahead of Round Seven. Coach Ken Hinkley said he fully supported Cornes and insisted he at least play the milestone game. “Kane is a champion ... who has given so much over his 15 year career ... He is a premiership player, four-time best and fairest and the club’s AFL games record holder, his record really does speak for itself. I’ve insisted that he play ... that outstanding milestone.”

Port Adelaide CEO Keith Thomas praised Cornes for his outstanding contribution, saying “Kane has been a tremendous servant of the club and we wish him the very best in his next journey with SAMFS ... His longevity in the game and record of achievement really speak for themselves. All our staff, members and supporters agree he is one of our club’s greatest AFL players and deserving of the praise that will no doubt come in the lead-up to his final game."

Cornes said he loved his time with the club but that it was time for a new challenge. “This is a great football club and I’ve had some incredible times ... and can’t thank the club enough for everything it has given me. Thank you to my family for their support and thank you to Ken Hinkley for his help over the past two and half years and, in particular, in helping me work through the process of joining the SAMFS. I couldn’t have made this decision without his blessing and playing under Ken has been one of the most enjoyable times of my career. I’d also like to thank all my past coaches, teammates and mentors, in particular Mark Williams, Phil Walsh and Keith Thomas for all they’ve taught me ... This is the right time ... to give someone else an opportunity, we’ve got some terrific young players who will now step up and make their mark on the game.”

KANE CORNES
Drafted 2000
Debut: Round 10, 2001 v Hawthorn
Brownlow votes: 62
Games (through Round Seven): 299
Goals: 92
AFL Premiership 2004
AFL Preseason Premiership 2001-2002
All-Australian 2005, 2007
Hall of Fame Tribute Match 2008
John Cahill Medal (club best and fairest 2007,2008, 2010, 2012
Most Improved Player 2004
AFL Life Member 2014

Source: James Wakelin, Port Adelaide Media Release, portadelaidefc.com.au

Article last changed on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 4:17 AM EDT


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