AFL 2024: Adelaide champion Rory Sloane retires after eye injury

AFL 2024: Adelaide champion Rory Sloane retires after eye injury
  • PublishedApril 29, 2024

Former Adelaide captain Rory Sloane has called time on his decorated AFL career after deciding the risk of another eye injury was too great to continue playing.

The dual Crows best and fairest and 2016 All-Australian told teammates and club staff on Monday morning he would be stepping away from the game.

It followed a training incident in which Sloane suffered a detached retina earlier this season, which required two surgeries and extensive consultation with medical experts on a potential return to action.

Sloane, 34, had trialled different protective eyewear while on a modified training program but decided to stop pursuing a comeback after 255 games over 16 seasons.

Rory Sloane has announced his retirement after a decorated Adelaide career including two best and fairests and an All-Australian blazer in 2016. Picture: Tom Huntley

Rory Sloane has announced his retirement after a decorated Adelaide career including two best and fairests and an All-Australian blazer in 2016. Picture: Tom Huntley

“I have given it my all to get back to playing and generally speaking my body is in great shape and I’m mentally fresh but ultimately, the risk of another eye injury is too great,” Sloane said.

“More so the impact it could have on my life and the potential for loss of vision. I’ve come to realise this is definitely not like the more common injuries you can get from playing the game.

“Our footy club is a special place and I have absolutely loved every minute of my career, and along the way I have grown and experienced so much as a person and footballer.

“So many of my important life moments, including getting married and having children, have been intertwined with my Crows journey, as well as the opportunity to make lifelong friends and ride the ups and downs of their lives too.”

Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks said Sloane would be remembered as one of “the most influential people to have ever come through the doors”.

Sloane was drafted from Melbourne with pick 44 in the 2008 draft and made his senior debut late in his first season.

He was one of the AFL’s premier midfielders by 2012 and was a dominant force over 2016-17 as he racked up 44 Brownlow Medal votes including a fourth-placed finish in 2016.

Sloane was due to come out of contract at the end of 2018 and had several Victorian suitors, but he spurned their interest and signed a five-year extension to remain a Crow.

“It’s hard to actually come up with the appropriate words to describe Sloaney’s impact on our club … 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,” Nicks said.

The 34-year-old had spent the past few months trialling different protective eyewear to return to play but ultimately decided not to risk another injury. Picture: Mark Brake / Getty Images

The 34-year-old had spent the past few months trialling different protective eyewear to return to play but ultimately decided not to risk another injury. Picture: Mark Brake / Getty Images

“His on-field achievements speak for themselves but it’s also his genuine care for others which stands out, and it’s one of the fundamental values at our club.

“Come the end of the season, we’ll miss not having Sloaney and Belinda, and their children Sonny, Bodhi and Summer, around the place as often and we wish them the very best.”

Sloane, who served as the Crows’ co-captain in 2019 with Taylor Walker before taking over as sole skipper from 2020-22, said he would stay involved at the club for the remainder of the season.

“I am not going anywhere in a hurry and will continue to be around the club, helping out when and where I can, for the remainder of the season,” Sloane said.

“Footy and the Crows have been such a big part of my life and while I’m disappointed to not be playing anymore, there’s also a feeling of pride as well as excitement for what lies ahead for not just me and my family but the club as well.”

SOURCE: NEWS.COM

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