$1 million truth behind AFL player's retirement over jab refusal

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Seen here, Liam Jones takes part in Carlton's AFL training.
Liam Jones walked away from the AFL on Sunday over his refusal to comply with the league's vaccine mandate. Pic: AAP

Details have emerged about the staggering cost of Liam Jones' refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19 after the Carlton defender sensationally walked away from the AFL on Sunday.

Jones cited "personal reasons" for the decision to end his AFL career just days after it was revealed he had refused to get his jabs.

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The call by the 30-year-old, who was contracted for 2022, will reportedly cost him more than $450,000 for the upcoming season.

Longer term, however, that figure would almost certainly have been significantly higher.  

Jones experienced a late-career renaissance that earned him the nickname 'Jesus' because he had seemingly come back from the dead after being one of the AFL's most maligned defenders in previous years.

Playing alongside All-Australian Jacob Weitering at the Blues though, Jones transformed himself into a formidable intercept marker and a key pillar in the Carlton backline.

Jones gave every indication that he could play on well into his 30s, meaning he's essentially waved goodbye to more than $1 million because of his beliefs.

Carlton defender Liam Jones is pictured here carrying the footy in an AFL game.
Carlton defender Liam Jones' decision to quit the AFL could have cost him more than $1 million. Pic: AAP

The Blues defender joins Adelaide's AFLW star and registered nurse Deni Varnhagen as the first players to take a stand against the sport's vaccine mandate.

Jones made a plea for the public to respect his privacy in relation to his vaccine refusal, understood to be because of his cultural beliefs.

"I wish to announce my retirement from AFL football effective immediately," Jones said in a statement released by Carlton on Sunday.

"I want to take this opportunity to thank all who have supported me throughout my journey, both personally and professionally.

"I love the game and I'll miss my teammates."

Carlton respects decision made by Liam Jones

Under the AFL's vaccination schedule and Victorian government mandate, men's players must have had their second shots by November 26 to continue as part of their clubs' programs.

Jones, who played 161 games for Carlton and the Western Bulldogs over 12 seasons, was due to return to training with the Blues on December 6.

Carlton are confident the rest of their listed players will be vaccinated before the deadline.

Blues head of football Brad Lloyd indicated Jones had been weighing up his decision for some time.

"We have been in constant dialogue with Liam in recent months and allowing him the time he needed to make an informed decision regarding his playing career," Lloyd said.

"Liam confirmed with us today (Sunday) that he has made the decision to retire, and his wish for the specific reasons of that decision to be kept private.

"As a club, we will be respecting that."

After an inconsistent start to his career, Jones had enjoyed a strong run of form in the Blues' backline in recent years.

He shaped as an important player in their bid to break their finals drought next season under new coach Michael Voss.

Caleb Marchbank, Oscar McDonald and Brodie Kemp now loom as Jones' most likely replacements in the back-line alongside Weitering.

with AAP

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