Melbourne's Liam Jurrah. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
Liam Jurrah's season appears to be over after reports emerged today that he has left Victoria and is living with relatives in Adelaide.
Jurrah's manager, Ned Guy, said the winner of the 2010 AFL Mark of the Year "certainly hadn't walked out on the club – he's just sorting out some personal issues".
Melbourne CEO Cameron Schwab said, "Liam has made it clear to us that he wants to play next year. He just feels that he's had the worst year possible and he's struggling with a whole range of things."
Jurrah's season has been blighted by injury and criminal charges arising from a violent fracas with a rival group from his home community of Yuendumu in an Alice Springs town camp earlier this year. Last month, a magistrate in Alice Springs committed him for trial on assault and weapons charges. Jurrah is also under a court order prohibiting from returning to Yuendumu.
Schwab said, "This is about a unique person dealing with very complex issues. The fact he can't go back home, for example, is massive for him."
It is understood Jurrah only advised the club of his decision after he had gone.
Schwab said he was "hopeful" that Jurrah would play with the Demons in 2013 and said the player was being encouraged by relatives to continue his career. Since coming to Melbourne, Jurrah has lived for long periods with academic Bruce Hearn Mackinnon.
Asked if he thought Jurrah would play with Melbourne next year, Hearn Mackinnon replied, "I hope he does but right now I'm more concerned for his welfare and happiness".
Melbourne released a statement this afternoon insisting that Jurrah had not walked out on the club.
"Over the past three weeks, Liam has returned to full training and played his first game back with the Casey Scorpions last weekend, the statement reads.
"His attitude has been very positive and he was able to confirm his commitment to continuing to play AFL football with the Melbourne Football Club."
The footballer and his two co-accused, Josiah Fry and Christopher Walker, will next appear before the Alice Springs Supreme Court on September 3.
- with AAP