BRAD CALLS IT A DAY plus Photo Gallery

By Peter Argent

As expected after the last bout of concussion when Adam Grocke ran though him in the round one SANFL clash at Oval Avenue against Woodville West Torrens, former Crow and Power footballer Brad Symes has announced his retirement from football, aged 29. 
In an emotive speech at 5.30 pm on Monday evening, May 5 at Playford Alive Oval before the entire squad, Symes explained that due to this health issue he was leaving the game.
“Firstly and foremost from a football perspective Brad has been a great servant of this football club and even more importantly he’s a great human being,” Central District senior coach Roy Laird said.
“It is frustrating as physically he is capable of playing football.
“Clearly the wear and tear on his body and the magnitude of the concussions weighed heavily in this choice.
“This is a life decision that Brad had to make and we as a club are fully supportive of that.” 
Laird explained the concussions issue was already around when he was coaching a teenage Symes at reserves level in 2001 and 2002. 
“In the early days he wore a helmet and was getting concussions from innocuous knocks,” Laird said.
“When you reflect on that, he has to be seen as one of the bravest player.
“He would continually put his head over the ball and body on the line for his club.
“After he was delisted by the Crows, Brad developed into a great leader and role model for our up and coming players.
“This work ethic and commitment is testament to the quality of person he is.”
There have been plenty of peaks and troughs during Symes tenure in the game.
Originally from the Gawler Central Tigers in the Barossa, Light and Gawler competition, where his father Peter was a 200-game servant and is a member of the CDFC board, Brad went thought the junior state ranks and won All Australian honours at under 18s level in 2003.  
CEO Kris Grant explained that Symes was always a popular member of the playing group and was confident that he would stay on board for the remainder of the season in a coaching capacity.
“Coming though our junior ranks, even when he was on AFL lists, Brad always came back and gave everything for the jumper,” Grant continued.
“After he retired from AFL duties, Brad was given a leadership role and was keen to help us continue to be a strong club in the SANFL.
“It was a sad and disappointing way for him to finish his playing days, as Brad was an absolute ball player.” 
He was then drafted to the Power, making his debut in 2004, but couldn’t find a regular spot, although he was ushered into the side for the 2007 Grand Final, after veteran Michael Wilson was injured the week before.
After 20 games Symes was traded to West Lakes, where he played a further 60 games with the Crows until 2012, although he was only selected in two games for Adelaide in that final year.
In his ’12 season at Central District, displaying all the traits you’d expect to see in a Magarey Medallist, Symes shared the competitions top honour with Joel Cross of South Adelaide.
Whilst of AFL lists, Symes was always prepared to go back and don the tri-colours at the Ponderosa, finishing his SANFL career with the Bulldogs on 98 games. He played in both the 2005 premiership against the Eagles and the 2007 triumph over North.

 Below are images taken by Peter Argent throughout season 2012 and 2013. Peter Argent/PLA Media
Images by Peter Argent throughout season 2013. Peter Argent/PLA Media

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