Former Western Bulldogs star Tom Boyd has returned to playing for local footy club Norwood after his shock AFL retirement.
Former Western Bulldogs star Tom Boyd has returned to where football started for him and the AFL grand final hero couldn't be happier.
Boyd kicked two goals for local club Norwood in their win over North Ringwood in the Eastern Football League on Saturday, in his first match since his shock AFL retirement in May.
The 23-year-old walked away from the final two years of his multi-million dollar deal with the Dogs citing physical and mental health issues.
The rain-affected match played at North Ringwood's Quambee Reserve was a very different proposition to the pristine conditions of the Dogs' home ground under the roof at Marvel Stadium.
But Boyd was delighted to be back playing with his mates.
"It was good to get out there and ultimately I got the real extreme taste of suburban footy and it was a really enjoyable experience to get the win," Boyd told the Knox Leader.
"It's somewhere I've spent a lot of time around the last six or seven years, obviously not being out there but being around the place with my old man and family.
"To many people at the club, I've always been here and it was good to pull the colours back on."
Boyd, picked first overall by GWS at the 2013 draft, played nine games for the Giants before he signed a seven-year, multi-million dollar deal with the Bulldogs.
He played a further 52 AFL games for the Dogs, playing a key role in the 2016 finals series and the drought-breaking grand final win over Sydney.
But mental health and back issues limited him to 23 games in the following two seasons and ultimately led to his decision to retire.
"I just felt like I'd given up the desire to want to play at the highest level," Boyd said.
"For a big part, the rigours of AFL, mainly through the week and the ability to just get out there playing footy, is not the same as it used to be for me.
"To get back to the purest form of footy at the Eastern level, the local level, is really important and I've always enjoyed it."
Boyd said he was heckled a few times from the crowd but added there was "nothing untoward" in the banter.