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Flag and I'm done: Cotchin

Richmond captain Trent Cotchin.

Richmond captain Trent Cotchin. Photo: Pat Scala

A Richmond premiership in the next few years would prompt Trent Cotchin to consider retirement, even if only in his mid-20s.

While determined to help shape the Tigers into a successful side and close to signing a new contract, Cotchin has spoken candidly of the enormous physical effort it takes to play in the AFL, and his doubts that his body will be up to a long career.

But I'm looking forward to it being over as well. I reckon if we won a premiership in the next three years I'd pretty much be done. 

The 23-year-old was challenged by injury during his first few years at Richmond, an experience that made him think more about the life he wanted to build outside football, and he has never really enjoyed the all-consuming nature of the football scene.

''I love footy and I love how it challenges you in some way, every single day. I love trying to help the team any way I can and I love how it helps you meet people and learn all sorts of things you wouldn't have been exposed to,'' Cotchin said. ''But I'm looking forward to it being over as well. I reckon if we won a premiership in the next three years I'd pretty much be done.''

Cotchin reflected on the first five years of his career in the updated edition of The Draft, a book that followed him, Cyril Rioli, Ben McEvoy, Brad Ebert and Patrick Veszpremi through their final season of junior football in 2007.

The Tigers' pick at No. 2, he was placed on the long-term injury list soon after arriving at the club. Despite making a 17-game debut in 2008, persistent problems with both Achilles made him question his resilience.

It took more than two years for him to play pain-free, and that experience is one of the reasons he is an advocate for shorter pre-seasons, believing the physical and mental demands of today's players do not encourage long careers.

''It was horrible … when I got there it was football, football, football and pretty much from day one I was doubting myself and whether I'd be able to play the game or perform like I wanted to,'' Cotchin said. ''I wasn't able to train like I needed to train, let alone play, so I didn't know if I was going to be physically up to it and the game changed for me then. It made me think, maybe it's not healthy to only be about footy.''

Rioli was drafted by Hawthorn at No. 12 in 2007, and in the book reveals his frustration at playing poorly in last year's grand final. The youngest member of Hawthorn's 2008 premiership side, Rioli was well held by Nick Smith against the Swans.

''I was trying to drive myself but I think I sort of turned my toes up. I didn't leave any regrets out there but I let my head drop, because it just wasn't happening. Nothing worked,'' he said.

''It hurts a lot and the only thing that gets you through is that there are a lot worse things that happen in life. But it's driven me, ever since. It's pretty much what's pushing me along, wanting to get back there again soon.''

98 comments so far

  • How about setting your sights a little lower Trent, eg "if we make the finals I'll retire", otherwise you'll still be playing in your 50s.

    Cathy Little
    Date and time
    May 22, 2013, 8:49PM
    • The Richmond Football club need to immediately strip Trent of the captaincy and say mate, your a great player and we love having you play for us but it seems your not that fussed about playing or the RFC. Jack Dyer wont stop spinning in his grave so just give it your best shot as a player till you've set something up for life after footy eh.

      Central Coast
      Date and time
      May 22, 2013, 8:54PM
      • Not a great thing to say. Least you know he wants to win one.

        Date and time
        May 22, 2013, 10:10PM
      • Oh, please, he said nothing wrong. All he said was that, should he win a flag in the next few years, he might consider consider retirement. I don't see what's so bad about that.

        Date and time
        May 23, 2013, 1:41AM
      • The young man plays football the way Tiger greats did. With passion, commitment, pride and guts. He deserves no criticism whatsoever. Some of the greatest players did not play a lot of games due to physical limitations ... John Coleman - remember him? Crotchin is wise enough to recognise that he might have a relatively short career. Smart fellow

        Tiger man
        Date and time
        May 23, 2013, 8:49AM
      • Bruiser, I'm sure the RFC are willing to take the advice from someone who doesn't know the difference between your and you're. Well done champ, thanks for sharing your ignorance

        Date and time
        May 23, 2013, 8:57AM
    • Retire only after the Tigers win a Flag ? Not sure he'll still get a game when he's 80.

      rural nsw
      Date and time
      May 22, 2013, 9:08PM
      • Cotchin should not be captain of that club. Wow.

        Date and time
        May 22, 2013, 9:18PM
        • Why? What is wrong with what he said?

          Date and time
          May 23, 2013, 1:39AM
      • Why can't we comment on the other article, the one where Demetriou wants to win back our trust. Fall on your sword big fella and there'll be dancing in the streets.

        Date and time
        May 22, 2013, 9:55PM

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