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Harbrow Handballs Under Pressure

Gold Coast quartet Jack Hombsch, Jordan Murdoch, Jarrod Harbrow and Zac Smith have all announced their retirements. Hombsch and Murdoch played for the Suns for three seasons. Hombsch played just 18 games for the Suns after stints with GWS and Port Adelaide. Hombsch said, “It’s something that’s been in the works a little bit this season, but I feel pretty comfortable with the decision. Playing for three clubs I’m pretty grateful for because you just meet so many good people along the way ... I’ll certainly miss the footy club and I’ll miss playing AFL because it’s one of the best jobs going around.”

Murdoch started with Geelong before joining Gold Coast and played 110 games across 10 seasons. Murdoch said, “I feel I’m ready to begin the next step in my life. My wife Emma has followed me for 10 years and I think it’s time I take a back seat and let her follow her dreams. She’s been right there and incredible support for me throughout my career ... My highlights have been to see the development of the young guys at the club and chip in with bits and pieces that I’ve learned along the way and just try to help them.”

Gold Coast General Manager of Football Jon Haines said both Hombsch and Murdoch had made a significant impact in their time at the club, “We’d like to congratulate both Jack and Jordan on their achievements ... Both players have brought valuable experience and leadership to the club, and we are extremely grateful for their contributions over the last three seasons ...".

Inaugural Sun Zac Smith also announced his retirement. Smith, 31, played 124 games. He said he was looking forward to spending more time with his family and also said, “I’m extremely proud of what I’ve been able to achieve throughout my 13 years ... There’s a lot of really good moments, adventures, and memories that I’ll hang onto for a very, very long time ... To the Suns and the Geelong footy clubs, I can’t be more grateful for the opportunity the two clubs have given me ... The people are what make up footy clubs and there’s some really good people around at the Gold Coast Suns at the moment so I can see a really bright future.”

Smith was a Queensland zone selection for the Suns in 2008 when the club was first established. He played for the Suns' junior team in 2009 and their VFL side in 2010 before the club entered the AFL in 2011. A piece of historical trivia: in his debut game in 2011, he was the first player to score for the Suns in the AFL.

After 65 games in five seasons, Smith moved to Geelong where he added a further 50 games in four seasons with the Cats. He then decided to return to Gold Coast at the end of 2020. He has been an important player since co-captain and fellow ruckman Jarrod Witts injured his ACL after just seven games.

General Manager Jon Haines thanked Smith for his contributions to the club over many years, “Zac has compiled an amazing career over the last decade ... and he should be incredibly proud of what he has accomplished in that time ... ".

Harbrow, 33, and a Yirrganydji/Kuku-Yalanji Aboriginal Australian from far north Queensland was originally drafted as a rookie by the Bulldogs and played 70 games in four seasons before deciding he wanted to return home. He joined the Suns as an inaugural player and played a further 192 games for Gold Coast. He is also the first Sun awarded life membership. After informing teammates and staff, Harbow said in a statement, "I've been really lucky that the game of AFL football has given me this opportunity to live out a dream and helped me set up my family with a great start to life. The main thing I wanted to do was run out in the Sun's colors and represent my family, the football club, and the supporters on the Gold Coast with pride. I’m appreciative of everyone that has played a big part in my career. I’d like to thank my family, mum, and dad, my brothers, and all my family up in Cairns and down in Mooroopna in country Victoria. All my junior coaches, representative coaches, the Western Bulldogs club and players, and the Gold Coast SUNS club and players, and anyone that has been a part of my journey. I’ll be forever thankful to the Gold Coast SUNS for allowing me to play football up here and I certainly will be a supporter for the club for a very long time and will have their back forever.”

At his best Harbrow was one of the most consistent small defenders in the league and has been a mainstay for the Suns, resulting in his selection in the Gold Coast Suns Team of the First Decade earlier this year. Off the field, he has been a role model and has mentored many of the young indigenous Suns' players. He has worked with the club's indigenous and cultural programs and will remain with the club to continue that work. He has already launched his own mentoring program with brother Marc, aiming to further support and educate Indigenous youth throughout Queensland in sport, school, and general day-to-day life. He has twice been nominated as a finalist for the AFL's Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award. He is an AFL Players’ Association Indigenous Advisory Board member.

General Manager Jon Haines said Harbrow’s legacy would leave a generational impact on the club, “Jarrod is quite simply an inspiration to the Gold Coast Suns and furthermore the Gold Coast community. He has had a tremendous influence on the playing group throughout the last eleven years. He is an amazing role model within our club and our community, and we will be forever grateful for the legacy he has created ...".

His best year was 2018. It was at the club champion awards night that he was awarded life membership. He also received the Sun's Players’ Player and Community Awards as well as being named the club best and fairest.

Only three other players from the inaugural 2011 Gold Coast list remain - David Swallow, Sam Day, and Rory Thompson.

Source: Josh Cheadle Gold Coast Media Release, espn.com.au

Article last changed on Tuesday, August 24, 2021 - 11:24 AM EDT


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