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GWS ruckman retires to focus on mental health

AFL 2017 Portraits - GWS Giants
Giants ruckman Tom Downie has retired from the game

GREATER Western Sydney ruckman Tom Downie has retired to concentrate on treating his ongoing mental health issues. 

Downie, who was placed on the long-term injury list in March and stepped away from footy to seek treatment for anxiety, is currently contracted to GWS until the end of 2018, but the club will release him at the end of this year.

The 24-year-old, who played nine games for the Giants after being selected with pick 56 in the 2011 NAB AFL Draft, said his decision was all about his own well being. 

"I’ve been dealing with anxiety for a long period of time and retiring from football gives me the best opportunity to focus on my mental health," Downie said. 

"I’d lost my passion to train and play which made it impossible to give everything that is required as a professional athlete.

"I hope that in making this decision, I can help others dealing with similar issues and make them more comfortable in speaking out.

"The club has been fantastic in how they’ve supported me and I’ve made many lifelong friends at the Giants." 

Giants general manager of football Wayne Campbell said Downie leaves the game with the support of the entire club. 

"Tom joined the Giants as a foundation player and has had a significant impact on the club both on and off field over the past six years," he said.

"Everyone at the Giants completely support Tom’s decision knowing it is in the best interests of his wellbeing. What Tom is dealing with isn’t unique, but it does mean football is very much secondary in his life at the moment. 

"Tom’s a terrific young man and a very popular member of the playing group who’ll always be welcome at the Giants."