PM wishes Barry Hall the best - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

PM wishes Barry Hall the best

By Mike Hedge 19/07/2011 03:57:07 PM Comments (0)

The 13-paragraph media release issued by the prime minister of Australia on Tuesday expressing her regret at the news of Barry Hall's retirement from the AFL possibly overplayed the significance of the event.

It was, however, a notable occasion for a player who did much more for his three clubs than land significant punches.

Hall, 34, has announced he will quit the game at the end of the season, concluding a career which began in 1996 and will eventually total almost 300 games.

For the man who admits he didn't do a lot to discourage the "Big, Bad" prefix, there has been a lot more to Hall's career than the punch that felled West Coast's Brent Staker in 2008, or the whack to the guts of St Kilda's Matt Maguire that almost cost Hall his place in a premiership team, or the right hook that dropped Shane Wakelin.

For most of his career Hall has been one of the most formidable forwards in the AFL.

He has kicked 715 goals, including five last weekend and is the only player ever to have kicked 100 goals for three different clubs.

Hall said his image as an AFL strong-man was earned early.

"I didn't do much to get rid of it," Hall said.

"But it doesn't really suit me."

In an effort to alter the popular image, a biography - Barry Hall: Pulling No Punches - is to be released in November.

"People will be able to see what I'm really like," he said.

"The way I'm perceived isn't the way I am."

Rodney Eade, who has coached Hall at both Sydney and currently at the Western Bulldogs, backed that view.

"Barry is a very humble person," Eade said.

"He didn't walk in here thinking people were just going to respect him."

Hall joined the Bulldogs after his lack of on-field discipline made his tenure at Sydney impossible.

Eade and Bulldogs CEO Simon Garlick admitted the club had doubts about recruiting an ageing liability when they took Hall on in 2010.

But Eade said Hall more than paid his way.

"We got more out of it than we expected," he said.

Probably the major expectation Hall exceeded was the league-topping 80 goals he kicked for the Bulldogs last season.

According to Eade the club also got great leadership and decency from a player no-one else was game to take a chance on.

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