AFL premiership winner Zach Tuohy believes he would have retired several years ago if he didn’t join Geelong in 2017.
Tuohy became just one of three Irishmen to win the AFL last month, as himself and Geelong team mate Mark O’Connor joined Tadhg Kennelly on the exclusive list.
Success didn’t come quickly for the Portlaoise man, as Tuohy has been playing in the AFL since 2011 and is turning 33 in a couple of months’ time.
Tuohy was speaking on Colm ‘Wooly’ Parkinson’s Smaller Fish GAA podcast and credited Geelong’s faith in older players for him even having a career in the AFL at his age.
Zach Tuohy on Geelong’s faith in older players.
“Had I stayed at Carlton or gone to any other club, I’m very confident I’d be well retired by now. I wouldn’t have played anywhere near as many finals, I certainly wouldn’t have won one,” Tuohy said.
“It takes balls to do what Geelong have done for the last 10 years. It takes balls to hold onto more senior players when you’re not winning [the AFL].
“Teams with other philosophies would say, ‘Right, we made a grand final in 2020 and lost it. We lost a preliminary final bad last year. We got destroyed in that preliminary final. Now it’s time to maybe move on a few guys.’
“That would have happened to me, honestly it might have happened three or four years ago at some other clubs.”
“It takes balls to hold onto the more senior players when you’re not winning it”
Geelong showed lots of teams – don’t discard the experienced players, keep them & just play to their strengths.
Full show https://t.co/tuqFK6zmmp pic.twitter.com/A4qqcTt0qb
— Smaller Fish GAA (@SmallerFishGAA) October 11, 2022
‘It’s chalk and cheese.’
If Tuohy is correct in believing that other clubs wouldn’t have offered him a new contract when approaching his 30s, he still would have gone down as one of the most successful Irish players in history of the AFL.
His career has hit new heights in the last couple of years however, something which Tuohy is acutely aware of.
“I would have obviously not had the three or four years I’ve had. I wouldn’t have played in any finals and I certainly wouldn’t have won one,” Tuohy argued.
“So retrospectively, your career in that scenario is maybe you played 200 games, no flag (premiership) and you’re out of the system.
“Whereas now, I’ve just got over 250 [games], I won a premiership, I had the experience of working at a brilliant organisation that develops great people. And I’m going to go again. So it’s chalk and cheese.”
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