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By ZAC MILBANK (SANFL) | Twitter @zacmilbank

Central District co-captain Brad Symes will remain at Elizabeth in an off-field role after making the tough decision to retire after a series of concussions.
Symes, who was concussed for up to seven minutes after a heavy knock from Eagle Adam Grocke in round one, will act as a player mentor for the Bulldogs this season.
And if the 29-year-old decides he can dedicate enough time, Central coach Roy Laird would like the former Crows and Power midfielder to consider an assistant coaching role.
‘’We’ve already missed him as he is very approachable,’’ Laird said.
‘’He’s a man’s man, very affable and this is why we will look to keep him involved in some way as he is very popular amongst the group and is a calming influence.
‘’He’s got a young family and his business. I know he doesn’t just want to walk away, he wants to be seen about the place as he is still recognised as a leader.
‘’He will play a role interacting with players for a while. We are going through a really tough time playing wise at the moment so I think he can be a really valuable assistance in keeping the confidence up with the players.’’
Finishing on 99 SANFL games, Symes’ final two outings for the Bulldogs resulted in him being concussed. Coupled with a history of concussion during his junior career, this ensured the Gawler Central product made an agonising call to hang up the boots.
‘’He needed to do what he was most comfortable with,’’ Laird said.
‘’There is still an awful lot of grey area in all of the repercussions from head knocks, there is nothing definitive about it.
‘’You have to go on gut feel and I think everyone’s gut feel was that Symesy had had far too many of these concussions.
‘’Brad’s last two games resulted in concussions and Brad used to suffer from concussion in his younger days after small, minor collisions.
‘’He overcame that and in a credit to his bravery, he never shirked an issue right until his last game.
‘’It’s a family and health priority for him. He has got to do what is in his best interests so we respect his decision.
‘’He is still really emotional about it, based on his body still being in good nick and having a good work ethic. Any possible side effects have got to come into consideration so we thank him for all of his involvement in our club, he has been an outstanding contributor.’’
Drafted by Port Adelaide in the 2003 AFL Pre-Season Draft, Symes played a total of 80 AFL matches for the Power and Crows across eight seasons.
Asked to recall Symes’ most memorable moment with the Bulldogs, Laird instead pointed to the Magarey Medallist’s love for the club.
‘’This lad was delisted twice and I think both clubs, Crows and Port, found it hard to part ways with him,’’ said Laird.
‘’That’s because anyone who knows him, knows what an outstanding human he is. So the fondest memory I have is his attitude in coming back to us.
‘’He came back, walked into the place with no lingering disappointment. He just embraced our football club and carried himself with the upmost pride in his own performance.
‘’He conducted himself in a very proud manner instead of wallowing in self-pity. It is just the outstanding quality of Brad as a person.’’
With Symes now sidelined, Laird confirmed Central’s other co-captain, Paul Thomas, will now assume the role in his own right.
Trent Goodrem and Kyle Jenner will remain as joint vice-captains. 

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