Swans' Leo Barry retires from AFL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Swans' Leo Barry retires from AFL

18/08/2009 07:25:29 PM Comments (0)

Veteran Sydney defender Leo Barry is well aware he will forever be remembered for `that mark' in the dying seconds of the Swans' breakthrough 2005 AFL premiership win over West Coast.

But upon confirmation of his retirement on Tuesday, his coach and former teammate Paul Roos was keen for 'Leaping Leo' to be viewed another way - as one of the great defenders in the club's history.

Barry, 32, who played his first game of the season in last Saturday's narrow loss to Geelong after knee and calf injuries, will play out the final two games of the year before hanging up the boots.

He joins Michael O'Loughlin and Barry Hall as illustrious Swans to call it a day in 2009.

Barry's mark has been replayed ad nauseam over the past four years and will be wheeled out once again following Tuesday's announcement, while the man himself has always been quick to bring it up when given the chance.

But Roos said during Barry and the club's prime in the middle of this decade, the 235-game veteran was comfortably among the top two or three defenders in the game.

"I was rapt when he took it," Roos said of the mark at a packed press conference in Sydney attended by Barry's teammates.

"But the thing with Leo is the mark is great, but I'll remember Leo for more than the mark.

"That put a stamp on his career and not many people could've taken that mark. I think (teammate Amon Buchanan) was in there trying to take the mark with the back of his head.

"(But) I'll remember him for a lot more than that, (I'll remember him for) his ability to play."

Standing just 184cm and weighing 90kg, Barry regularly gave up significant size and strength to some of the league's top spearheads, including Fraser Gehrig, Alastair Lynch and David Neitz.

But he was rarely beaten in a career that includes two All-Australian nods, co-captaincy of the Swans and the 2003 International Rules series.

Asked about the mark, Barry was ready and immediately quipped "which one's that?" as the room erupted in laughter.

But he conceded it was a relief to end his career after two injury-plagued seasons.

"It's been a really frustrating year personally obviously not playing and the team itself has been a bit up and down, a bit like my season," he said.

"But I played my first game on the weekend and I just want to finish off the season well and hopefully with the group we can win a few more games before the end of the year."

West Coast coach John Worsfold, whose side went down thanks to Barry's mark before the Eagles took revenge in the 2006 decider, paid tribute to the defender on Tuesday.

"Outstanding footballer I think," he said.

"One of the shortest fullbacks going around and we used to tear our hair out that he could do such a good job playing on all the big forwards.

"Great player."

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