“Leo Barry you star!” Those were the words that will go down in AFL history when Swans defender Leo Barry took a match saving mark in the dying stages of the 2005 Grand Final. Sadly all good things must come to and end, and that it did today when Barry announced his plans to retire from the game at the end of the 2009.
Unfortunately for Barry the Swans are likely to miss the finals series for the first time since 2002 meaning the 32-year-old will call it an end it round 22 when the Swans take on the Brisbane Lions under lights at the SCG.
Originally from Deniliquin, New South Wales, Barry has struggled with injury in recent years and has managed just one game this season.
“After much consideration and a frustrating year so far, I have decided to retire at the end of the 2009 season,” Barry said.
“I have obviously struggled with fitness and that has made it an easier decision to end my football career.”
“After spending 15 seasons at this club, I feel very fortunate to have played for one of the truly great and highly-respected footy clubs, and also to have achieved the ultimate success with a fantastic group of guys, coaching staff and support crew in 2005.”
Coach Paul Roos, who played alongside Barry early in his career, paid tribute to the veteran Swan.
“Leo and I arrived at the club together in 1995 and have enjoyed an incredibly close relationship over the past 15 years,” Roos said. “He is truly one of the great gentlemen and family men of the game.”
“As a player he simply should not have been able to do the things he did. Leo was a 185cm, 88kg full-back and played on some of the biggest, fastest and best full-forwards of all time, and constantly beat them.”
“This he did with his fantastic athleticism but most importantly, an incredible self belief and desire to be the best player he could possibly be. We will miss him at the club and wish him and his family all the best.”
In his time at the Swans Barry played 235 games and recieved All-Australian honours in 2004 and 2005. Barry will however be most famously remembered for ‘that mark’ in the 2005 Grand Final, as seen below.