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Angus Brayshaw at centre of $3 million dilemma after sad retirement from AFL

The Melbourne star's sudden retirement leaves a dilemma for the club.

Angus Brayshaw (pictured) is owed around $3 million from his contract after his sudden retirement due to concussion ahead of the 2024 season. (Getty Images)
Angus Brayshaw (pictured) is owed around $3 million from his contract after his sudden retirement due to concussion ahead of the 2024 season. (Getty Images)

Angus Brayshaw's sudden retirement from the AFL has left fans devastated, and his departure ahead of the 2024 season leaves a $3 million dilemma for Melbourne. Brayshaw suffered a number of concussions early in his AFL career, but hadn't had any for six years until late in 2023.

The 28-year-old was knocked unconscious by Brayden Maynard in Melbourne's clash with Collingwood in the first week of the finals, after Maynard jumped to smother the ball and came down with his shoulder to Brayshaw's head. Maynard escaped a ban, despite huge criticism levelled at the Collingwood star.

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Unfortunately, after professional advice, Brayshaw stunned the AFL fans and announced his sudden retirement from the game. Brayshaw has pleaded with the AFL to take concussion protocols more seriously in the future.

And since his retirement was taken out of his hands, due to concussion injuries while playing for Melbourne, the remainder of the 28-year-old's contract will need to be paid out. Channel Nine reports the AFL, Brayshaw's manager and the club have entered into negotiations over who will pay out the $3 million sum remaining.

Melbourne will most likely apply to the AFL for a dispensation to allow the majority of the estimated total be paid outside of the salary cap. This would allow the club to replace Brayshaw with a signing down the line. Brayshaw's retirement comes just days after Melbourne had the opportunity to sign a new player or youngster for a position on the roster in 2024.

The club will now remain with one position open until the mid-season draft. While the AFL world was left devastated for Brayshaw, the Melbourne favourite unselfishly used his retirement announcement to call for big change in the AFL.

Angus Brayshaw concussed.
Angus Brayshaw (pictured) was left concussed against Collingwood in his final AFL match last year. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images) (Quinn Rooney via Getty Images)

Angus Brayshaw calls for change in AFL

Brayshaw has historically had issues with concussion, but hadn't had an incident until his collision with Brayden Maynard in last year's clash in finals footy. And using his announcement to shine light on the issue, Brayshaw called for the AFL to do more t prevent players ending up like him.

"We have made great strides in this space, but there is more that needs to be done to safeguard the brains of players not only in the AFL ranks, but from grassroots all the way up," he wrote in an open letter published on Melbourne's website on Wednesday.

"I believe the future of our game will be strongly impacted by how we deal with this element of player safety as more information comes to light. I hope the AFL will be proactive in the future when it comes to the safety of its players as opposed to reactive, so we can continue to enjoy this amazing game and protect the brains of the players. They must be sacrosanct."

The Demons revealed that a recent scan revealed "microscopic changes" had developed in Brayshaw's brain as a result of the latest concussion. "Today is a tough day for Angus and everyone involved given his love for the club and the game and how much he means to our people," Melbourne chief executive Gary Pert said. "He has been a respected, influential leader of the player group, while at the same time being a much-loved personality who brought laughter and fun to his teammates and the staff every day."

Brayshaw played 167 games in his career, including the Demons' drought-breaking premiership triumph in 2021. Since making his debut in 2015 he suffered a number of significant concussion issues, which led him to take an extended break from the game in 2017.

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