Collingwood star Nathan Murphy announces retirement aged 24

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Collingwood 2023 premiership player Nathan Murphy has called time on his football career at the young age of 24.

The club announced that after careful consideration and on advice of the medical concussion panel, the decision was made for the defender to medically retire from the sport.

Murphy, who has been with Collingwood for seven years, informed teammates and football department staff of his decision in a team meeting on Tuesday.

“I feel it is the right time and the right decision for me to hang up my footy boots,” Murphy, who had suffered 10 concussions throughout his career, said.

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“I love my football, but my priority is on my future and ensuring I live a full and healthy life.

“I’d like to thank the Club, coaches, teammates, staff and the Magpie Army for all their support throughout my playing career and for allowing me the opportunity to live out my childhood dream of playing AFL.

“To my family and friends, I couldn’t have gone through this journey without your continued love and support which I am so grateful for.

“It is not lost on me how fortunate I am to have been able to experience premiership success with this group and Club. I hope I did the jumper proud and thank the many people and supporters who helped me along the way.

“I will forever cherish the memories and friends I’ve made at our great Club.”

A particularly nasty blow in last year’s grand final forced him to watch the remainder of the match from the sidelines, as rumours swirled over the long-term ramifications it could have on his career.

However, he was eventually cleared to resume his playing career by the AFL’s concussion panel in December 2023.

Murphy made moves in the sporting world at a young age, representing Australia at Under 16 level against Pakistan in 2015 before moving to the footy field full time.

After making his debut against Port Adelaide in Round 22 of the 2018 season, the 24-year-old went on to play a total of 57 games in the black-and-white jumper.

He fought against injuries throughout the 2019 season but returned with a fire in his belly in 2020 to win the Club’s VFL Best and Fairest Award.

The 2021 and 2022 seasons saw him play 31 games to cement his role in the senior side in 2023, a campaign which saw him play 24 matches.

General Manager of Football Brendon Bolton thanked Murphy for his contribution to Collingwood and lamented the unfortunate situation that has seen his career cut short.

“On behalf of everyone at Collingwood, we thank Nathan for his contribution to our Club and commend him on the maturity he has shown throughout this period,” Bolton said.

“Nathan will be remembered as a player who showed sheer courage on the field. His one-on-one efforts and ability to intercept and spoil were second to none. In the backline, Murph had an outstanding ability to read the game, lead, and direct teammates on field.

“A fun and lighthearted character, Nathan also showed great generosity which is what made him a much-loved member of our Club. Away from the field, he made significant contributions within the community space from community coaching to the working in his cafe.

“Having battled several injuries throughout his career, a credit goes to Nathan’s resilience and perseverance to come back and perform to a high standard on many occasions.

“While we will miss ‘Murph’, he’ll forever be a part of Collingwood’s history as a 2023 Premiership player. On behalf of the entire Club, we wish him all the best for this next chapter.”

Former Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said it was a “shame” to see Murphy’s career end like this.

“He was courageous to a fault,” Buckley said on SEN radio.

“It took a while for us to work out where to play him, he had a slight build coming in.

“He went down back and kept going back into the hole and knocking himself out.

“He really struggled through his first 24 months in the AFL system and he blossomed when he got his opportunity as a tall back and was a part of the premiership last year.

“It’s a real shame for him from a professional standpoint, but he’s a great young man, he’s made a decision that along with the medicos that he has had to make and he has a bright future ahead of him with whatever he wants to chase because of the character that he is.”

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