Scarlett – the backman who wouldn’t stay put

Matthew Scarlett retires.   This was from mid-season, 2012:

He’s just made the decision and the tributes pour in, some from other clubs’ supporters and those are pure gold.   Predictably, the faithful have him emblazoned on the site but here are some others from the wider football world:

#  Underpromise and over deliver. Actions speak louder than words. Let your deeds do the talking. That’s how Matthew Scarlett approaches his football and life in general.

#  As a Collingwood supporter, its tough to say, but Yes, what a legend. A truly great player.

Perhaps his most famous play in a long, stellar career:

#  I think the entire country should be thankful for his left hook on Ballantyne in round one.  [Ballantyne is a young oik who gives lip and shows zero respect.]

#  I was waiting for Scarlo to deck Ballantyne again after the little twerp put that ridiculous ‘tackle’ on Stokes late in the game.  [Stokes is one of Geelong’s smallest players so to tackle him acting the hardman is not exactly an act of courage.]

He introduced the concept of the backman running out from defence:

#  Though I am not a Geelong fan, I have always admired Matty’s impenetrable defending skill. His loyalty to his club should inspire many upcoming players to stay long in their clubs. He is a pleasure to watch on the game and a gentleman off it.  [Isn’t it always the way with the “greats”?]

#  When I first saw him play I thought he what a dud, will never make it. Shows what a good judge I was. Arguably the best full back ever, sorry SOS. He always knew what to do and when to do it. He was the general over a period of greatness few can deny (based on total games won and premierships). He timed his aggression perfectly, even Ballantyne’s hit. It even made Ballantyne a better footballer after that!

There’s a theory that backmen are just frustrated forwards but looking at this ordinary shot, I’m pretty sure they should stick to back work:

#  What a simply amazing player. He is such a great judge of when to leave his opponent and fill the space which is why he seemed to be on his own so often. As a Pies fan I saw him hurt my boys on countless occasions and his brilliance and hunger for the win can never be questioned.

#  I’m an eagles supporter but I went to the game on Saturday and we stayed back to clap Scarlett off.

His own words:

“There is no doubt that being an AFL player is a great lifestyle. However there are other people that are impacted by the demands of the game. Number one among them are my family.

“My wife Milla, and children Tayla, Charlie, Oliver and Harry, have been amazingly supportive. I couldn’t have enjoyed the career that I have had without their unwavering support and understanding. Now is a time that I am looking forward to spending with them and enjoying many of the things that I had to pass up when I was a player.

“Finally, I would like to thank the Geelong members and supporters. It has been great playing for you and it’s fair to say that we have had plenty of great times to celebrate. Keep supporting the Cats and I think we will have more good times ahead.”

This is perhaps the nicest tribute going: