AFL star’s $2 million retirement gift
ONn a night where the Western Bulldogs honoured Tom Boyd with life membership, the club revealed the 2016 premiership hero handed back $2 million when he walked away from the game earlier this year.
Western Bulldogs president Peter Gordon and football director Simon Garlick confirmed the enormous amount of money Boyd handed back when he retired in May despite having two more years to run on the mega deal he signed when he crossed from Greater Western Sydney.
The 24-year-old shocked those outside the Whitten Oval when he called time on a career that has been scrutinised as much as anyone from the moment he was taken at Pick 1 in the 2013 National Draft.
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But those inside the Western Bulldogs weren't shocked, with the emotional and physical toll of the game leading Boyd to that point.
Months on from that bold decision, the man who played a pivotal role in snapping the Dogs' 62-year premiership drought told a room of more than 1300 people at the Charles Sutton Medal that he has never been in a better place.
"Through my football journey I've lived some of the most enjoyable experiences and some of the most challenging and I wouldn't change a bit because it has obviously led me to where I am today being as happy and comfortable as I have ever been in my life," Boyd said at Crown Palladium on Wednesday night.
"I'm as well-rounded a person as I ever have been and I've never known more about myself as I do as I stand before you today."
The Western Bulldogs dedicated a large portion of the night to pay tribute to two retiring greats in Dale Morris and Liam Picken, along with long time club doctor Jake Landsberger, who has spent the past 33 years working inside the kennel.
Boyd has been one of the most maligned players in the game since he moved from the Giants on a seven-year deal worth $7 million at the end of his first season.
The Eastern Ranges product recalled sitting with his manager Liam Pickering inside Gordon's Hawthorn home where they orchestrated the audacious trade, after Bulldogs skipper Ryan Griffen requested a move to the Giants following a tumultuous 2014.
"I remember some strange chats in Peter's lounge room trying to sort out this trade and I'm so glad obviously it went through and I was able to become a Western Bulldogs player," he said.
"To all my supporters over the years, never understatement the power of a positive message that you give someone, whether it be a player or another member of the community.
"Every time one of you has walked past and given me some encouragement or adulation it has been well received and deeply enjoyed by myself and the people around me."
Western Bulldogs vice-captain Marcus Bontempelli won his third best and fairest in the past four years - and his third in the first six years of his career - ahead of Josh Dunkley, who achieved the rare feat of winning the Tony Liberatore Most Improved Player award for the second straight year.
All-Australian midfielder Jack Macrae finished just behind Dunkley in third spot to finish on the podium for the third consecutive season.