SYDNEY chairman Richard Colless has spoken publicly about his battle with depression, which threatened to have him step down from the club in 2010.
Nanjing Night Net

Colless, who severely cut back his Swans commitments during 2009 and 2010 while dealing with his condition, said a brain scan he undertook in 2010 suggested he had suffered as a result of several bouts of concussion during his years as a university footballer.

Predicting ”a sea change” in the game’s attitude to brain injury, Colless said he was now taking medication that had stabilised his condition, of which he said: ”I suppose depression is the simplest or widest definition of what it was.

”In the end I had a brain scan and was told I was suffering from hyperperfusion, which comes as a result of minor brain injuries. The best explanation I’ve had is that it might be down to getting concussed when I played football.

”The way we played our football was pretty tough,” said Colless, 65, the AFL’s longest-serving chairman, who took over the Swans in May 1993 and will today watch his club contest its 14th finals series. ”There is going to be a sea change in how brain injury is researched and in the quality and quantity of that research.

”More and more ex-players are being diagnosed with conditions ranging from depression to ADHD. It’s an issue for the game.”

Reflecting on one of the greatest controversies over his two decades, Colless said of potential Sydney coach Terry Wallace: ”People in the club may have offered him the job but I didn’t.”

Colless said he had no evidence that Wallace received a settlement from his club after Paul Roos was appointed as senior coach at the end of 2002, a year he described as his ”worst at the club but finished up being pivotal in our history”.

”I’m not being cute about this,” he said of the Wallace story, ”but if it happened, I’m not aware of it. I know an email came to us from Elite Sports Properties [Wallace’s management], but you’d have to ask Craig Kelly about that.”

Colless described the heavily promotional strategy being pushed by Greater Western Sydney as ”flawed”. He said even his own club, for all its success, was ”one bad season away from going to the AFL cap in hand for money.

”This is a rugby league town,” Colless said.

”Believe me, rugby league is not dying. You would think it should be terminal, given the self-inflicted injuries it has endured. You would think that women would stay away from the game in droves, but rugby league is a massive, massive game.

”What the GWS are attempting is so different to anything the AFL has ever attempted and we can’t let it fail because that would drag us all down with them and that would lead to desperate actions. You can’t discount ticket prices and you can’t give away tickets in a rugby league town.”

Colless said he was concerned some in the AFL confused familiarity ”or visibility” with substance when building a brand. ”’We’re not adverse to being highly visible and we would certainly love more column inches, but we know how ephemeral being on a bandwagon was here for us. In 2003, 75,000 came to watch us play a final against Brisbane at ANZ Stadium. You would have said that day the Swans have cracked the market. Two years later, we played North in front of 19,000.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Comments are closed.