Main content

Reilly retires

Thank You Radar A video tribute to the career of Brent Reilly
Brent Reilly of the Crows is chaired off after his 200th game by Ben Rutten and Scott Thompson in the 2014 AFL Round 13 match between the Adelaide Crows and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at Adelaide Oval, Adelaide on June 14, 2014. (Photo: AFL Media)
Brent Reilly has announced his retirement from football effective immediately
It is time to look forward and begin to plan the next phase of my life.
Brent Reilly

Crows defender Brent Reilly is retiring from football effective immediately and will delve into coaching for the remainder of 2015.

Reilly, who required surgery to repair a fractured skull following a training accident in March, played 203 AFL games – ranked 13th all-time at the Adelaide Football Club.

The 31-year-old reached the 200-game milestone in the Club’s win over North Melbourne in Round 13 last season. His most recent game was against St Kilda in Round 23, 2014.

“My medical team, have told me that given the impact of the accident and subsequent surgery that they are unanimous in their recommendation that I never again play a contact sport,” Reilly said.

“My sole focus at this time is recovery and resuming living a normal life.  While this is still some months away, clearly I will not be in a position to play football again.

“Therefore, it is time to look forward and begin to plan the next phase of my life.”

Reilly will remain at the Club mentoring younger players, particularly the defenders.

In addition to remaining in football in some way, Reilly will explore business opportunities and be involved with the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute in its Mind and Brain and Nutrition themes.

“I am very grateful to ‘Walshy’ (coach Phil Walsh) for all of his support and for giving me the opportunity to play a coaching role to the extent I am physically able,” he said.

Recruited from the Calder Cannons with pick No.12 in the 2001 National Draft, Reilly made his AFL debut against the Saints in Round 15, 2002, at the age of 18.

The neat-kicking Crow overcome injuries and homesickness in the early part of his career to establish himself in the team in the mid-2000s.

He played a variety of positions during 13 years at West Lakes, starting out as a wingman and earning an All-Australian nomination at half-back in 2012. Reilly played in 10 finals and won pre-season premierships with the Crows in 2003 and 2012.

Reilly finished top-10 in the Crows Club Champion award in three consecutive years (2010-2012), including a fourth-place finish in 2010. He received Life Membership of the Club in 2012.

“To play 203 games with one team and be made a Life Member of a club that I respect and hold in the highest regard is indeed a great honour,” Reilly said.

“The Adelaide Football Club has nurtured my growth from an 18-year-old boy who moved here from Victoria to a man in his thirties who now calls Adelaide ‘home’.

“From playing finals footy to just experiencing the day to day camaraderie for 14 years, by any measure I have had a great ride.

“No doubt being an AFL footballer is like a rollercoaster and I have had my fair share of ups and downs and this has helped me develop as a person.

“I have learned that no matter what you do in life you will have highs and lows and it’s the work you do and the persistence you have in the lows that determines how high you can go.

“This is a message that I want to pass on to the current playing group.”

Crows Head of Football David Noble paid tribute to Reilly’s loyalty, resilience and work ethic.

“Brent has been able to evolve with the changing face of the game and the fact he leaves it as a one club player is an achievement in itself,” Noble said.

“He has made an outstanding contribution to our Club both on and off the field and there is no doubt he has made the most of his talent.

“His ability to teach and nurture our next generation of players should not be underestimated.”

Brent Reilly Bio
Recruited with pick No.12 in the 2001 AFL National Draft
203 AFL games – ranked 13th all-time at the Adelaide Football Club
Adelaide Football Club Life Member (2012)
All-Australian nominee (2012)
Rising Star nominee (2004)
Pre-season Premiership (2003 and 2012)
52 career goals

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs