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Boyd didn't consider walking away: Beveridge

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 27: Tom Boyd of the Bulldogs looks on during the 2017 AFL round 10 match between the Western Bulldogs and the St Kilda Saints at Etihad Stadium on May 27, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Tom Boyd is being treated for clinical depression
He's a young man through circumstances who's become a high-profile player well before his time
Luke Beveridge on Tom Boyd

TOM BOYD has not considered walking away from the game despite an on-going struggle with depression that has forced him to take a leave of absence from the Western Bulldogs, coach Luke Beveridge says.

The Bulldogs announced on Wednesday morning Boyd was taking a leave of absence to receive treatment for clinical depression.

Beveridge told reporters later that day he was unsure when Boyd would return to the club and, after that, the playing field, but said the 200cm 21-year-old was confident he would be back. 

"He's optimistic that he's going to be OK and he's got a future in the game, which is great from a footballing perspective," Beveridge said. 

"But I think he's settled from a mental health perspective, he's in a better place, so as soon as we get on top of all that with him and work our way through it then he'll come back into the program and venture on.

"But he's OK."

Boyd enjoyed a breakthrough final series last year but has struggled to reproduce that form in 2017.

The 21-year-old has kicked just seven goals from 11 games, while Beveridge has said recently he views 2013's No.1 draft pick as a ruckman more than a key forward at this stage of his career.

Boyd, who has averaged 20 hit-outs a game this season, has endured a poor run of injury in recent weeks, missing round 12 with a back injury and the past two rounds with a calf injury.

The 200cm former Giant had been due to return this weekend if he passed a fitness test.

In better news for the Bulldogs, Beveridge expected Travis Cloke, who took a break from playing games to deal with mental health issues late last month, would "almost definitely" return in the VFL on Sunday, while he was also hopeful Tom Liberatore (corked thigh) would be available for Friday night's clash against Adelaide after the midfielder got through training on Wednesday. 

Beveridge said Boyd had been subjected to significant pressure after being 2013's No.1 draft pick and subsequently joining the Bulldogs on a multi-million dollar seven-year deal after spending just one year at Greater Western Sydney.

The Bulldogs coach felt this pressure had been a contributing factor in Boyd's depression, but said the ruckman/forward had told the club he was "nowhere near" giving football up.

"It's been a real challenge for him, and he and I have had ongoing conversations around how to manage the external noise and deal with the pressures of the game," Beveridge said.

"He's a young man through circumstances who's become a high-profile player well before his time, obviously due to the contract (and) being a No.1 draft pick as well. 

"Over a long period of time he's dealt with that. We weren’t aware initially that he had any struggles there and even when I asked him the question last year, 'How are you coping with some of that external noise and some of that innuendo, some of the opinion around performance, how do you deal with it?', he said to me at the time that he doesn't look at it, if he sees it he blocks it out and it's not a big issue.

"But I think in hindsight he was probably putting on a brave face and ultimately it's a pretty incredible feat for him to finish last year the way he did under all that pressure. 

"I suppose at that point in time he probably felt that it was onwards and upwards from there, (but) he hasn't been able to get on top of it this year and it's affected him to the point he needs some time out." 

Beveridge said Bulldogs welfare officer Brent Prismall and high-performance manager Mat Inness would run a personalised training session for Boyd away from the club on Thursday afternoon.

Anyone seeking counselling or help with mental health issues can contact www.beyondblue.org.au or call 1300 224 636.