Collingwood's incredible Nathan Murphy gesture after devastating retirement development

The Pies will pay out around $1million to premiership player Nathan Murphy after he was forced into retirement.

Nathan Murphy revealed on Tuesday that he has been forced to medically retire from the AFL. But prior to that announcement, Collingwood moved to ensure the premiership winner is looked after.

The Pies defender suffered his 10th concussion in last year's grand final and hadn't been able to return to the field this year. Murphy was examined by the league's concussion panel and was initially given the green light last December to resume his career.

However, he picked up another knock at training in January, which ultimately proved the final straw. “I feel it is the right time and the right decision for me to hang up my footy boots,” Murphy said on Tuesday.

Pictured Nathan Murphy
Collingwood extended Nathan Murphy's contract in the off-season as his future in the AFL was in doubt and upon his decision to retire this week have decided to pay out the remainder of his deal. Image: Getty

And News Corp's Jon Ralph revealed on Fox Footy's Midweek Tackle that in a remarkable financial gesture the Collingwood defender had his contract extended until 2025 in the off-season despite the real possibility he wouldn't play again. After his decision this week to medically retire the club has also decided to pay out the remainder of his deal, to an amount of around $1million.

"That retirement came with a remarkable financial gesture from the Pies, which I think will total a million dollars," Ralph said. "This year's contract and next. So, as he pondered his retirement across the summer, they handed him another year on his contract.

"Most people would say 'What were they thinking?' They did it because they didn't want him to feel forced into trying to play on to shore up his financial future. Basically, they didn't want him to say 'OK, I haven't got enough money, if I play on, maybe I'll be able to buy a house or a property or a business as well'. They did it aware that one concussion was likely to end his career."

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 14: Nathan Murphy of the Magpies looks on during a Collingwood Magpies training session at AIA Centre on February 14, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
After picking up yet another head knock at training in pre-season the defender was encouraged to call time on his career.

Collingwood insists club looks after their players

Murphy was examined by the league's concussion panel in the off-season and in December was given the all-clear. But after picking up yet another knock at training in pre-season, the defender was encouraged to call time on his career.

In February, Collingwood chief executive Craig Kelly came under fire for allowing Murphy to continue, a move he defended, insisting his welfare and that of every player at the club is of paramount importance. "For anyone to write an article that says we're not looking after our players and reports stuff (when) they haven't got all the information, they're not in the inner sanctum, is just wrong," Kelly said at the time.

"It doesn't do anyone any favours and sensationalises something that is really difficult we're working through. I'm glad we've had the opportunity to say we care deeply for our people (at Collingwood). Ruben Branson, our doctor, is one of the best doctors in Australia in regard to sport, if not the world. Every now and then people need to respect how difficult it is for players to read stuff that is not correctly reported."

After not improving from the head knock in pre-season, AFL doctors deemed it was not in his best interests to continue playing. And Ralph reveals while he was weighing up whether to retire or not Collingwood moved to ensure he was financially stable enough that he could choose to prioritise his health.


"My take — they basically did it trying to nudge him into retirement by saying 'take the money, even though we might have to pay it in our cap next year'," Ralph said. "As it turns out, he was medically retired by the AFL on Saturday, which he had not been (previously). The AFL had ticked him off medically (last) December, so there was a significant risk to that all. He was still battling with migraines and anxiety."