Retiring Sydney Swans legend Adam Goodes is unlikely to bid farewell to his fans at the traditional AFL Grand Final motorcade, and it’s with good reason according to former Essendon star Tim Watson.
The three-time premiership winner fears Goodes will receive a chorus of jeers if he joined the rest of the sport’s retiring players at the MCG on October 3.
“I think people would still boo him. I really do,” Watson told Melbourne radio station SEN on Monday.
“Because after all this, all that took place, after he stood down from the game for a week because of the mental anguish associated with booing, he came back and there was still booing.
“He went to Fremantle last week and there was a lot of booing. There was booing again at ANZ Stadium (on Saturday) even though it was a small crowd of 31,000.
“I think that he doesn’t want to put himself in a position like that again.”
Goodes quietly exited the game on Saturday, announcing his retirement to his teammates in the sheds after Sydney’s 26-point loss to the Kangaroos which saw the Swans eliminated from the finals series.
The dual Brownlow Medallist, who won premierships with the Swans in 2005 and 2012, has privately indicated he would rather farewell Sydney’s own fans at the beginning of next season rather than head to Melbourne for the celebrations.
However Collingwood president Eddie McGuire says this wouldn’t do his 374-game career justice.
“I hope the AFL make a real attempt to go back to him – let him have a couple of days, let him have his Mad Monday, settle down and have a week – and later in the week go to him and say `come on, we really want you to be there’,” McGuire told Triple M on Monday.
“I think all fans would love to send him off. I know there’s been all this booing at times and at times it’s been gratuitous and other times it’s just been part of the play, but I wouldn’t think anyone would boo Adam Goodes on a farewell lap at the MCG. Surely not.
“I’d love him to get a big round of applause.”
Goodes is yet to make a public comment on the booing, his retirement or whether he would attend the Grand Final.