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“We all think we can play forever”: Former Dogs skipper lauds Wood's retirement call


Former Western Bulldogs captain Matthew Boyd has paid tribute to premiership teammate Easton Wood, following the defender’s retirement.

Boyd, who was the Dogs’ captain from 2011 to 2013 and lined up with Wood in the back six for his final three seasons, says it was a long journey to the top for the man from Camperdown.

“I think the thing he’ll be most proud of when he looks back on his career is the growth he’s had not only as a player, but as a person,” Boyd told SEN Afternoons.

“To get to the level where he’s been fit to lead the team in a really important time in the club’s history is something he should be incredibly proud of.

“He’ll be the first to admit he might have made some mistakes and not got it all completely right at the start of his career.

“He grew so much as a person and became a really, really strong leader for the footy club, and a really strong influence among a group of young men trying to achieve success.”

The now Fremantle assistant praised Wood’s call to listen to his body and forego the final year of his contract.

“It’s a hugely courageous decision, and it’s a tough one, because we all think we can play forever and think we’re a little bit invincible as footy players,” Boyd explained.

“He might have thought he wasn’t athletically where he wanted to be.

“(Given he) relies so much on speed and power and athleticism, he probably had a lot of self-reflection and made that call for himself.”

Boyd believes the 32-year-old’s decision will also have been informed by a desire to spend more time with his young family, after spending most of the last two seasons on the road.

“It’s probably something that has been in the back of his mind,” he continued.

“He’s established himself off the field, he doesn’t wrap his identity up in being a football player which I think is a really important element in making these decisions.

“He’s got two beautiful kids, and an awesome wife who has got her own aspirations in business, so he might have felt it’s time to give back to his family, and he wants to be able to do that.”

Wood retires as one of only three Bulldogs premiership captains, along with the late Charlie Sutton and current women’s skipper Ellie Blackburn.

“It’s a huge honour. He’s been on a real journey of growth as a person, and I think that’s what made him a really good leader,” Boyd pondered.

“The fact that he was vulnerable, people could relate to him, and he was really open to learning from his errors.

“That’s the thing that made him such a strong, influential leader. He could relate to everyone, he led by example and influenced in the right sort of way.”

Western Bulldogs

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