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Rory Sloane (file photo/AFANA)

In late April, Adelaide star Rory Sloane announced his immediate retirement from football due to ongoing issues with an eye injury. Sloane, 34, made the decision after consulting eye specialists. He required surgery for a detached retina in 2021 and required a second surgery this past January after suffering the same injury during preseason training. He also suffered a torn retina in 2013 and a fractured eye socket in 2017.

He said he did everything he could to return to playing, including exploring goggles options, but felt the risk to his health was just too great. In making the announcement he said, ... I really wanted to make sure I'd left nothing in the tank. And I tried absolutely everything to get back. And yeah, I was close ... "I love my job. I've loved being a part of this for 16 years. And it's probably the realization that you've got to let that go ... for the betterment of my future health was just pretty tough for me ... ". He also said he was "spooked" by stories of detached retinas. He said in the end, goggles would not have worked as detached retinas are caused by head knocks rather than pokes in the eye.

Sloane played 255 games in 16 seasons with the Crows. He was named best and fairest in 2013 and 2016 and was named All-Australian in 2016. The following year, he was named the AFLPA's Most Courageous Player. In 2019, Sloane was named co-captain alongside good friend Taylor Walker in 2019 and became sole captain in 2020. He relinquished the captaincy to Jordan Dawson in 2023. 

Senior Coach Matthew Nicks said he was fortunate to have seen Sloane's career as an opposition coach and then up closely in recent years, "It's hard to actually come up with the appropriate words to describe Sloaney's impact ... other than to say he will go down as one of the most influential people to have ever come through the doors. I challenge anyone to find a more positive person and his courage and strength of leadership - in good and tough times - is right up there with the very best. His on-field achievements speak for themselves but it's also his genuine care for others which stands out ... ".

This season was most likely going to be his last in any case. He went on to say, "Everyone's got an ultimate way of how they want to retire ... I said to the boys I was gonna play until I slowed down, I was running around and couldn't get a kick in the twos (reserves) and then they'd have to throw me out of the club ... ".

Shortly after his announcement, he was interviewed by Kane Cornes on SEN Radio. Here are a few of the questions and answers:

Cornes: "Who was the best player you played with? Because there's been some champions."
Sloane: "'Danger' (Patrick Dangerfield)."

Cornes: "Toughest opponent?"
Sloane: "Josh Kennedy from Sydney."

Cornes: "What was your career highlight? Was it that 2017 run?"
Sloane: "Yes, my first game and that 2017 run. But it's probably people really, to be honest, people and moments. Those ones behind closed doors that no one sees but the enjoyment you get from winning games."

Cornes: "The most underrated staff at a footy club?"
Sloane: "Oh wow, it's our staff upstairs definitely. Administration, marketing, everyone that helped us get out there and play."

Cornes: "The game, the way it's changed with the sling tackles, the bumps and the crackdown on that because you love the competitive stuff ... have those changes been good, or do you prefer the way it was perhaps 10 years ago?"
Sloane: "It's good for the head injuries, but I certainly loved my footy in those early days."

Cornes: "You have a couple of young ones at home, would you advise them to take up AFL footy for a living when they're older?"
Sloane: "Absolutely. I've had the most incredible life to this point and a huge part of it has been my football career. 16 years at Adelaide. I can't imagine living in or being part of a funner environment and a better industry. I'm indebted to the club, but also to the whole AFL industry. I've had an absolute ball so I'll try to repay everyone whenever I can."


Article last changed on Tuesday, April 30, 2024 - 4:00 PM EDT


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