CONTROVERSIAL Melbourne forward Liam Jurrah has stunningly quit the Demons to move to South Australia.
Liam Jurrah quits Melbourne Demons
Troubled Melbourne forward Liam Jurrah quits the Melbourne football club to move to South Australia.
Jurrah's manager says he wants to continue playing football. If he is to do so at AFL level, he will need a move to one of the Adelaide clubs through either a trade or the pre-season draft.
Jurrah, who is due to face a criminal trial in Alice Springs in March next year, informed the club that he would not play there next year.
Jurrah's complex and difficult family situation arising from the tribal disputes that have riven the communities of remote Yuendumu, where he is from, has left the talented forward believing it is no longer tenable for him to try to remain in Melbourne.
That decision may yet be taken out of his hands given the criminal trial for charges arising out of an alleged machete attack will be heard on March 12 - just days before the start of the new AFL season.
Jurrah's manager Ned Guy said Jurrah understood there was a risk he may not be traded to or selected by the Crows or Port Adelaide if he were to seek to continue at AFL career in South Australia.
"Liam has decided he needs to be close to his family," Guy said.
"At this point in time family is number one for Liam and they are based in Adelaide. We know things can change over time.
"Does he want to continue playing football? Yes he does. He is still very passionate about footy because he loves the game and he understands it can make a difference to his people and culture.
"But at the moment his happiness and well-being are the more important thing and for that he needs to be in Adelaide."
Melbourne will be disappointed with the decision not only because of Jurrah's immense talent but also due to the significant support they have offered him throughout the police investigation and criminal charges arising out of the incidents that occurred in March.
Guy said Jurrah's decision was not an indictment of Melbourne. "This is not about the Melbourne Football Club, Melbourne has been terrific for Liam throughout," he said. "This decision is about Liam's well being and happiness and that is best served by him being in Adelaide with his family."
Jurrah had his bail conditions varied today in the Northern Territory Supreme Court to allow him to spend time with his family in South Australia over summer.
Jurrah appeared by video link at today's brief arraignment hearing. His defence lawyer, Jon Tippett, QC, has already indicated Jurrah will fight the charges.
Today's arraignment hearing was adjourned until March 11, the day before the trial of Jurrah and his two co-accused - Josiah Fry, 21, and Christopher Walker, 23, - is due to begin.
Jurrah is charged with three counts of aggravated assault and intent to cause serious harm to his cousin Basil Jurrah during a fight at Little Sisters Town Camp in Alice Springs.
Adelaide says it has little interest in drafting Jurrah, while Port says it will be in touch with his manager to discuss the situation. "At this point we have had only limited contact with Liam’s management, but we think he is a very talented player," said football manager Peter Rhode.
"He is working through some complicated issues which we are keen to better understand before making any decision regarding our interest in bringing him to Port Adelaide."