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Port veteran steps back from AFL to focus on mental health

Football

Port Adelaide defender Matthew Broadbent will step away from football indefinitely to deal with mental health issues, the AFL club has revealed.

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In a statement today, the Power said the 28-year-old 165-game veteran, who last played against St Kilda in China a fortnight ago, had been provided “a leave of absence from football to allow him to focus on his mental health”.

Chris Davies, Port’s general manager of football, said there was no timeframe on his return, with Broadbent’s “health and wellbeing the primary focus”.

“Matthew is a valued player, teammate and person at the Port Adelaide Football Club,” Davies said in a statement.

“At this point, the best option for his overall health is to step away from the game for a while.

“We can’t say at this point how long that will be but he will be given as long as he needs.”

Only last month, Broadbent made his long-awaited return to AFL football after a 647-day absence, with two seasons cruelled by a horror injury run.

“I obviously knew it had been a pretty long road but when Kenny [Hinkley] said it was 640-odd days it sounded a lot longer,” Broadbent told The Advertiser at the time.

“I got back to playing with the [SANFL] ‘Maggies’ last year by about July but a stress fracture in my foot — that was the end of the season there.”

His recall to the club’s senior ranks was marked by a video showing his teammates embracing him when told of his long-awaited return.

He has played every senior game since the Round Eight Showdown, including gathering a team-high 28 touches in the Power’s loss to Hawthorn a fortnight later.

“The club’s primary focus is on Matthew’s health and welfare and we will continue to provide him with the ongoing support he requires,” Davies said.

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