Sydney veteran Adam Goodes decided to play on in 2015 before 2014 finals

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Adam Goodes made his decision to play on for a 17th season well before last year’s finals series even started, and was even guaranteed a contract mid-last year.

The two-time Brownlow medallist and Sydney games record holder — who played his first reserves game since 1998 on Saturday — was also told in the middle of last year that the major decision was entirely his.

The champion was assured by his coach, John Longmire, that if he thought he was up to playing on then another deal was guaranteed.

The 2014 Australian of the Year’s playing future, and whether last year’s grand final would be his swansong, was a widely debated talking point in the lead-up to the most important match of the year – a game in which Sydney was pummeled by Hawthorn.

In the aftermath of the grand final, Goodes refused to declare his intention. But the champion, who turned 35 in January, has detailed how he knew at that low time that the disappointing match would not be his last.

In an interview aired on Channel Seven’s Saturday Night Footy, Goodes said: “After playing 10, 12, games in a row I had that discussion with the coach and the footy club. And they pretty much said ‘it’s up to you. If you physically and mentally want to continue, there’s a contract for you the next year’.

“To find that out, pretty much halfway through the year, was quite pleasing for me. I could just go out there and focus on my footy.

“I always had a decision in my head, and that was to play on. Whether we played finals, did not play finals, whether we won a grand final, or whether we lost a grand final like we did.”

The interview — which was filmed eight weeks ago while Goodes was on an AFL Players’ Association indigenous camp in Perth — provides further context to the star’s unfamiliar current predicament.

After being troubled by a knee injury for about 10 months, Goodes returned in round six last year and then played the next 20 games consecutively.

“For me, getting up week-to-week, that was easy, the mental side was easy,” he said, reflecting on his decision to play on in the pre-season interview.

“So that’s why it really was an easy decision to play on this year, and an easy decision to get through my 18th pre-season and get myself into, hopefully, some good condition to crack on for, hopefully, another 20-plus game season.”

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