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A Love-Hate Affair comes to an End

Greg Baum - The Age  January 5, 2013 3:20 PM

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To read more of Chris Tarrant's farewell, you can purchase the 2012 In Black and White Yearbook online, at the Westpac Centre Superstore or by phoning (03) 8412 0026.

In September, Chris Tarrant was in a twilight zone in which each match was quite possibly his last. It exercised his mind. ‘I feel quite sad, and in other ways I feel quite excited as well. It’s a strange feeling,’ he said at the time.

Naturally, he reflected on the mosaic that is his 15-year career.

Between full-back and full-forward, Tarrant knew the score better than any other modern player. Sorties forward in 2012 reminded him of how exhilarating it could be, but also how maddening. ‘Ball’s getting bombed in, defenders all over you, it’s not your day,’ he said. ‘I don't miss those days.'

Ditto defence. Some days, he felt on top of his job. Others, the necessary second-by-second vigilance drained him.

‘You wish you could go forward, have a run around, not follow someone all day,’ he said. ‘In an ideal world, you’d play half down forward, half down back.’

Simplistically, that could be Tarrant’s career. Even teammates talk wondrously of the brilliant but feckless forward who left for Fremantle in 2007 and returned four years later as an impassable defender and solid citizen.

Said Dane Swan: ‘He used to be a boy from the country with tracksuit pants and Rip Curl, but now he’s all Gucci and Dior and Louis Vuitton.’ And Harry O’Brien: ‘I’ve never seen anyone have such a shift in such a short space of time.’

Tarrant says that is too, well, black-and-white. He admits to “areas that needed addressing” in his first incarnation at Collingwood, but says his reputation was falsely built on “three or four” incidents and a reluctance to do media. He then adds context.

‘I moved out of home at 15 to chase my dream of playing AFL football. It’s incredibly young,’ he says. ‘I didn’t know where I was going in life. I don’t think any 15-year-old does.’

To read more of Tarrant’s interview, you can purchase the 2012 In Black and White Yearbook online, at the Westpac Centre Superstore or by phoning (03) 8412 0026.