Brilliant Beau bows out after decorated career
An emotional Beau Maister admits his latest concussion was behind his shock mid-season retirement decision.
Claremont stormed home against Swan Districts on Saturday to farewell their champion forward in style at Claremont Oval, booting four goals to none in the final term to prevail by 20 points — 13.12 (90) to 10.10 (70).
It was the 32-year-old’s first game since suffering a serious head knock in a marking contest against Perth in round 7 — an injury he said “put everything in perspective”.
“It really rattled me, it really shook me up,” Maister revealed.
“It shouldn’t have taken something like that for me to really put everything in perspective, but it did.
“I had a couple of concussions early on in my career and bounced back pretty well, but the last couple of concussions have taken a good week or so to get over.
“I was a bit emotional after the game knowing that it was going to be the last one out there, but long-term, it’s the right decision for me and my family.”
The Great Southern product, who hails from Railways, had one last goal left in him for the club he joined as a 17-year-old, with premiership teammate Ian Richardson providing him with silver service from the boundary in the final term.
After a quiet start, Richardson sparked the Tigers’ late surge with two clutch second-half majors. “He’s an absolute champion,” Maister said.
“Some of the fondest memories I’ll have are playing alongside ‘Richo’. “He’s one of a kind — an absolute gentleman and an inspirational leader.”
While he enjoyed his 44-game AFL career with West Coast and St Kilda, Maister rated Claremont’s 2011 flag, when he won the Simpson Medal for his five-goal performance, as his favourite memory.
“Playing in the AFL, testing myself against the best in Australia, is something I’ll look back on as a good achievement,” he said.
“But the 2011 flag, the way we bounced back after losing the year before to Swan Districts by a point — our group was so galvanised and I’ll have life-long friends from that premiership side.”
Maister was pleased to see fellow Great Southern footballer Dylan Smallwood make his senior debut.
The 20-year-old defender (23 disposals, 11 marks) was among Claremont’s best players, reading the play well and taking several strong contested marks.
“He played like a 100-game player, didn’t he?” Maister said.
“We’ve already given him a new nickname, ‘Hollywood’.
“He was really good.”
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