A shattered Brendon Goddard has told his Essendon teammates in a tearful address he’s disappointed but not angry at the AFL club.
After weeks of speculation about his future, the Bombers announced on Tuesday they wouldn’t offer the 33-year-old utility a new deal for next year.
Goddard’s last game for the club will be against Port Adelaide on Friday night, but he’s still weighing up whether to pursue options at other clubs.
“A lot of people probably thought I would be angry and bitter … but in all honesty I’m not – I’m sad and disappointed because I love the game and I love being here,” Goddard said in a video posted on the club’s website.
“I know the brutality of football and the reality of it.
“I respect the decision although I don’t agree with it.
“Great organisations and footy clubs are built of making tough decisions and that’s why I’m not bitter and angry as much as people think I might be.
“I walk away on Saturday a better person and that’s the most important thing.”
Goddard made light of the emotional situation when he took a box of tissues with him to face the playing group.
He’s played 333 games since he was the No.1 pick at the 2002 draft – 205 for St Kilda from 2003-12 and then 128 for Essendon.
He joined Essendon at the height of their supplements debacle and captained the Bombers in 2016, when they finished last as a large group of players served doping suspensions.
A fitting photo! Just like sitting next to you in every pre game meeting for the last 6 years. The impact you’ve had on not only me but the whole football club is larger than anyone can imagine. A fierce competitor, but more importantly a loving friend I’ll miss playing with! pic.twitter.com/jXAGRKCpjr
— Michael Hurley (@mickhurley18) August 21, 2018
“I don’t know what I’m going to do next year and where that leads me but as disappointed and sad as I am right now I’m actually excited about the future,” he said.
“So I’ll sit back and watch with great interest because as much as I don’t show it sometimes I do care about everyone of you and I’ll miss you all.”
It wasn’t an easy decision for coach John Worsfold, who admitted Goddard was jolted by the news, but he’s confident it will ultimately prove to be the right one.
“They’re always tough decisions, weighing up so many factors and trying to take into account so many different aspects,” Worsfold told reporters on Tuesday.
“With (Brendon) in particular, who has been such a great contributor to the game and to our club and is still playing strong footy … it made it very tough.
“But it’s a decision that the club had to make.”
While no one factor counted against Goddard, Worsfold conceded the form of rising star nominee Aaron Francis, Jordan Ridley and Mason Redman – younger players who can play similar roles – was a key aspect of their decision.
Goddard has been a fiery player, often in the spotlight for berating his own teammates, but he’s also a two-time All Australian and won Essendon’s best and fairest award in 2013.