Marrar spearhead Brad Turner will retire without regrets on Saturday afternoon knowing he’s eked everything he can out of his 30-year-old body.
The Bombers forward was set to hang up the boots after a starring role in last year’s grand final before being convinced to come back for an eighth season at Langtry Oval amid the club’s centenary celebrations.
“It was going to be it, and to go out on a high was going to be a good thing,” Turner said. “But the chance to do it again, to play again with the boys… and to be able to be playing for a few blokes who have been around the club for a long time, like your Johnny Carrolls, Mick Walkers… those that do a lot that you don't see… it’s good to come back and do it for them.”
While it was rib and shoulder injuries that troubled him last year, Turner’s swansong season was almost brought undone by a back injury. He still hadn’t played by the end of June before finding a fix that has allowed him to play five games before the grand final.
“I went to a few chiropractors here and there and kept having trouble with it,” Turner said. “I ended up getting on to Garry Kelly who’s just a magician really – been seeing him pretty consistently, getting it put back in, even before games as well. But it has been a struggle.
“It’s been pretty sore this week and the last couple of weeks. Once you start running around it’s not too bad and the mind goes elsewhere. But I’ll just get through this week.”
The toll of injury means Turner isn’t battling doubt about his decision.
“I’ve contemplated it all through nearly finishing up last year and between then and starting again this year,” he said. “I decided to concentrate on family and the future. You know, be able to kick the footy with the young fella down the track and that sort of thing.”
Brought to the club by Dean Howard in 2011, on the promise of an opportunity to switch from backman to forward, Turner didn’t let anyone down. That first season ended in grand final disappointment, but kicked off the career of one of the most exciting forwards in the league who was this year crowned Bombers’ Team of the Century full-forward.
“That was as good as winning a grand final, to be standing up there with guys like Danny Malone,” he said.
“It was a massive privilege and something I never thought I’d have but another medal I’ll hang right next to my grand final one.”
He says the the memory of former teammate Graeme Reid remains a major inspiration for Marrar.
“The last couple of years have been tough years, losing Reidy,” he said. “That’s still in everyone’s mind leading into every game – what it would’ve meant to have him here for the two grand finals. That always plays on everyone’s mind, what’s happened in the last two years to where we are now.”
Turner said he’s pleased to see the club in good shape as he finishes up, with three grades of football in grand finals and the under 17s netballers.
But he knows the Bombers’ hopes of going back-to-back in first grade won’t be easy against a Saints side he rates very highly.
“Great side, great side. A good running side,” he said.
“We’ve been lucky to get over the line after giving them a good start a couple of times and had to claw it back. But hopefully we can put the pressure on them early this time and they’ll be chasing.
“To do it two years in a row would be good. To get the Marrar-Richmond double again would be good!”