Nathan Murphy's AFL future in doubt in sad development after Collingwood triumph

The 23-year-old suffered a head knock in the first quarter of the AFL grand final and was subbed out.

Nathan Murphy.
Nathan Murphy was concussed in Collingwood's AFL grand final triumph. Image: Getty

Nathan Murphy could be forced into an early retirement in a devastating blow for Collingwood after their AFL grand final triumph. The 23-year-old defender suffered a head knock in the first quarter of the grand final against Brisbane, and although he passed his Head Injury Assessment he opted to rule himself out of the rest of the game.

On Monday, News Corp reported that Murphy is now facing an uncertain future and might be forced to call it quits. The head knock in the grand final left Murphy with concussion symptoms, marking the 10th time that has happened in his footy career going back to his junior days.

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According to the report, Murphy's management has contacted the AFL to have the defender assessed by independent practitioners. The 23-year-old's teammates and family are waiting on a call, with the possibility he could be forced into retirement not out of the question.

Murphy reportedly abstained from drinking alcohol in the wake of Collingwood's premiership triumph, which broke a 13-year flag drought. The defender was collected in the head by Lincoln McCarthy during a tussle for the ball in the early stages of the grand final.

He was taken from the field for an HIA, and later returned to the bench looking devastated after he was subbed out of the game. It initially appeared that Murphy had failed the concussion tests, but he later revealed that he ruled himself out because he knew he wasn't right.

Nathan Murphy, pictured here in the AFL grand final.
Nathan Murphy suffered a head knock that saw him subbed out of the AFL grand final. Image: Getty

The defender, who has played 57 games for Collingwood since debuting in 2018, told The Age: “I passed the test, but I ruled myself out. I had a bit of blurry vision, and with my concussions, I kind of get them delayed.

"I know the concussion test off by heart now ... I’ve done that a couple of times now, where I’ve passed it, then we’ve ruled me out. I’m totally fine now, actually pretty good. I can’t remember too much of the game, but I’m remembering a lot of this [post-match celebration], so that’s all that matters.”

AFL fans were left saddened to hear that Murphy might be forced to hang up the boots, taking to social media to send their well-wishes.

Jeremy Howe played AFL grand final with broken ribs

Murphy's staggering decision to rule himself out was one of a number of courageous acts from Collingwood players that emerged after the game. Jeremy Howe revealed how he played out the grand final with three broken ribs after a bump from Charlie Cameron.

"Three broken ribs will do that I reckon," he said in the dressing rooms after appearing to be in discomfort. "They're clicking flat out. It's not ideal."

The 33-year-old admitted he contemplated retirement after breaking his arm in the opening game of the 2023 season against Geelong. Less than two weeks after undergoing surgery, his recovery was set back by an infection and left Howe uncertain about his future.

Jeremy Howe.
Jeremy Howe played out the AFL grand final with broken ribs. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

"Just probably thinking about hanging (the boots) up, to be honest. First six weeks were really bad with my arm," he said. "Contemplated everything really, it's amazing what thoughts go through your head – predominantly negative ones."

And Nick Daicos' father Peter revealed his son probably shouldn't even have been playing the grand final due to the knee fracture he suffered in round 23. Daicos missed seven weeks of action, but Peter revealed that it would normally be a three-month injury.

“It was a pretty extensive injury. I couldn’t be prouder of him," Peter told ABC radio. "It should’ve been three months, but such was his dedication and his will. People don’t see that. All he wanted to do was be part of it.”

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