HOCKEY GREAT RE­TIRES

But­turini re­tires af­ter 89 caps

Tweed Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - — Alexan­dra Bernard

TWEED Coast’s Matthew But­turini never quite made it back to the big leagues af­ter a se­ri­ous knee in­jury ham­pered him for years.

Now the 31-year-old has an­nounced he’ll put his hockey stick away for good af­ter 89 caps and 18 goals for the Kook­abur­ras.

But­turini de­buted for Aus­tralia in Jan­uary 2009 against the Nether­lands in WA, be­fore go­ing on to nu­mer­ous hon­ours, in­clud­ing an Olympic bronze at the 2012 Lon­don Games.

He was also part of the side that won the 2010 World Cup, 2009 and 2011 Cham­pi­ons Tro­phies and the 2009, 2011 and 2013 Ocea­nia Cup.

How­ever, his glory all ended af­ter the 2013 Ocea­nia Cup when a knee in­jury left But­turini out of the top side.

A come­back was on the cards this year af­ter be­ing se­lected in the 2018 Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Squad and pressed his case for a re­call af­ter play­ing for Aus­tralia A in the Au­gust se­ries against Malaysia.

“I’ve thor­oughly en­joyed be­ing back around the Kook­abur­ras group over the past year,” But­turini said.

“It was an en­vi­ron­ment that I didn’t think I would have the priv­i­lege of be­ing in again af­ter my knee in­jury.”

While But­turini said he was dis­ap­pointed by not be­ing se­lected for the top side, he wanted to end his ca­reer on his own terms.

“One of the most dif­fi­cult things about hav­ing a long-term in­jury and be­ing dropped out of the pro­gram is not be­ing able to end your ca­reer on your own terms and while I didn’t get back to play­ing for Aus­tralia, be­ing able to re­tire and fin­ish up off my own de­ci­sion is one that I am thank­fully able to do this time around,” But­turini said.

“It wasn’t an easy de­ci­sion to make but I feel as though now is the right time to fin­ish up, with my ca­reer out­side of hockey pro­gress­ing and my wife Cas­san­dra and I ex­pect­ing our first child in May, other as­pects of your life take pri­or­ity and that’s what has brought about my de­ci­sion.”

But­turini will re­tire from the game ef­fec­tively im­me­di­ately.

PHOTO: DANIEL CAR­SON

HOCKEY: Matthew But­turini is re­tir­ing af­ter a suc­cess­ful hockey ca­reer play­ing for Aus­tralia.

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