Watson retires broken- hearted Dope saga mars love for footy
JOBE Watson walks away from the game he once loved admitting his heart was broken by the Essendon drugs saga.
Watson, 32, yesterday announced he was retiring at the end of the season after a stellar AFL career stained by four years of scandal.
“It’s a little bit like you’re in a relationship and a partner cheats on you ... you might get back together but you probably don’t love her the same way. That’s a little bit like how I feel about it,” Watson said.
“I love the game but it doesn’t feel the same to me as what it once did.
“There’s probably just hurt associated with it and when you get inflicted like that, with that sort of pain, then invariably the way you feel about something changes.”
Fighting back tears, Watson said the low point was not the loss of his 2012 Brownlow Medal but the day in January last year when he and 33 teammates were wiped out for doping by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
“The most difficult time was certainly after the WADA finding, having to be there with my teammates and go through that,” he said.
Watson said he decided to retire after Saturday’s narrow eight- point win over Carlton at the MCG, broke the news to coach John Worsfold in his office on Monday and told his teammates early yesterday.
Watson won the club’s best and fairest three times and was twice an All- Austra- lian but the years immediately following his Brownlow Medal win were plagued by the doping scandal.
He was Essendon captain from 2010 until the end of 2015. “It was a dream for me to play for the Essendon Football Club,” Watson said.
Former Bombers coach Mark Thompson said Watson had emerged from the shadow of his legendary father – triple Essendon premiership star Tim Watson – to leave his own legacy. “He’s had a marvellous career and one he had to carve out for himself,” Thompson said.
“Being the son of Tim, he had to prove to the world that he could play – and he did.
“But the last five years have just taken his football and work life away. We haven’t seen the best of him.”
Watson said yesterday he knew it was time to retire because the game had speeded up and he had slowed down.
“I know that the time is up and I think the worst thing you can do is lie to yourself and try to convince yourself that it’s not, but deep down you know,” he said.