BRENT Moloney is not ruling out a return to his home club South Warrnambool after yesterday announcing his AFL retirement.
The 30-year-old will come home to see family and friends in Warrnambool today where he considers the next phase in his life.
Top of the discussion list will be whether he is interested in South Warrnambool’s soon-to-be vacant coaching job.
“I’ve had a chat to them,” Moloney said.
“I will have to work out a few things, whether it’s the right thing for me now.
“I will never say never to anything, I’ll wait and see what happens and weigh it up.”
What should dominate Moloney’s chats with family and friends is his decorated career at the highest level that stretched 166 games with three clubs over 12 seasons.
The uncompromising midfielder will be remembered for his bullocking work at stoppages and bullet-like kicking that helped him finish with 46 goals.
Moloney’s influence on matches was sometimes underrated because his tireless work in close at clearances went largely unnoticed, not that it bothered him.
“I don’t look at what people say about you and what they write. You are who you are. I wasn’t one to try and be in the media, I just wanted to focus on what I had to do.”
Like his South Warrnambool teammate Jonathan Brown, who also retired from the Lions this season, Moloney has always been keen to promote his home town and support the club where his career started.
“You have to remember where you have come from,” Moloney said.
“I hope I’ve done the South Warrnambool club proud. I have had great support from people in Warrnambool my whole career.”
Moloney had almost given up hope of an AFL career after shoulder injuries cruelled his 2002 season with TAC Cup side Geelong Falcons. But he got a surprise invitation to a state draft camp and then with pick four in the 2003 pre-season draft, Geelong gave him the opportunity he had craved as a schoolboy.
He played 23 matches with the Cats, including the only three finals games of his career, before being famously traded by Geelong to Melbourne in a deal that enabled Richmond big man Brad Otten’s move to Kardinia Park.
The deal was a win/win. Moloney joined the club he barracked for as a boy in 2005 and the Cats got the ruckman/forward they felt they needed to win a premiership.
Moloney played 122 games with the Demons, won the club’s 2011 best and fairest award, was runner-up in 2009 and was elevated to vice-captain.
But he became the AFL’s first free agent in 2012 and joined Brisbane last year, where he brought up his 150th senior AFL game. He was part of the Lions’ 2013 pre-season cup victory.
Moloney said he had fond memories of all three clubs.
“You play to win. The big games and the finals, they are the memories.
“The things I will miss most are running up the race with 21 of your best mates and that feeling of the unknown, that’s a feeling you can’t describe to people.
“And after the game, singing the song together.
“If you ask how I want to be remembered, I would say as an honest bloke and good teammate. I always put my teammates before myself and played my heart out.”
Moloney had no intentions of 2014 being his final year in the AFL. He had contemplated seeking a return to Melbourne at season’s end, but an Achilles injury changed his plans.
“In the end the body made the decision for me,” he said.
The injury restricted him in the pre-season. After 16 matches with the Lions in 2013, he managed just five this season.
“My form dropped off because of it and I found myself retiring prematurely but you can’t do anything about it. That’s footy.”
Moloney said he had reached the decision a week ago.
“It’s not a rash decision, it is something I have been thinking about for a while. Last Monday I was on the bike doing a bike session and about 20 minutes in I just had to jump off and go and tell the club I was retiring. It just sort of hit me.
“They said ‘have a think about it’. They said they were keen for me to get fit and have a farewell game but I tried to run last Thursday and I couldn’t. The body needs a big rest and in-season you don’t get time to rest. The Achilles was my Achilles heel.”
Moloney is keen to pursue a coaching career.
“I love seeing kids develop and turn into men and see them day-in, day-out and improve. I love working with people, I run a mentor program up here and I love coaching.”