McDonald out of AFL retirement for GWS - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

McDonald out of AFL retirement for GWS

14/09/2011 05:11:21 PM Comments (0)

Former Melbourne captain James McDonald is confident his body will hold up to the rigours of another AFL season when he returns in 2012 for Greater Western Sydney.

McDonald will act as both a player and assistant coach for GWS in their maiden season.

McDonald, who turns 35 next month, was keen to play on this year but didn't after being told he wasn't required at the Demons.

GWS general manager of football Graeme Allan has since convinced the 251-game veteran, who has been playing amateur football in Melbourne, to return to the highest level.

"I don't really know (how hard it will be)," admitted McDonald.

"Fortunately, my body's pretty good. I didn't need any operations when I finished up at Melbourne and I don't carry much weight, so I think that will help.

"It's going to be a challenge but I think having a year off has probably freshened me up a bit mentally and, hopefully, it's given the body a bit of time ... it was getting a bit tired towards the end.

"But it feels really good at the moment and I'm pretty confident that with a good pre-season, I can get up to the level that I need to get up to.

"People might question if I will be able to cope with coming back into the game but I am confident in my own body."

McDonald, who skippered the Demons from 2008 until his first retirement, had been mentoring the Giants' Melbourne-based players in a part-time capacity.

He'll move to western Sydney in November to start pre-season training with GWS, including former team-mate Tom Scully.

The Giants are set to sign Luke Power, who retired from Brisbane in the penultimate round of this season, on a similar deal to McDonald's.

McDonald was pleased to see the Giants revive the concept of a playing coach.

"I'm quite flattered that GWS think I have something to offer," he told Melbourne radio station SEN.

"It's an interesting concept that we don't actually see very much these days, but having a coach taking an on-field role really is an innovative step for the club with such a developing group.

"(The role) is more about being able to give direction and guidance to the players during training, and also while playing as well.

"The message can be conveyed to these young players instantly. I can give the feedback.

"Hopefully, that takes the pressure off these young kids so they can go out and just play football.

"I think the biggest challenge for me will be getting the balance (between coaching and playing) right."

Port Adelaide veterans Chad Cornes and Dean Brogan are also tipped to join GWS for 2012.

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