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In The News

Depressed Lovett to bounce back
Tuesday 22nd August 2006

Kevin Sheedy remains confident Bomber forward Andrew Lovett has the worst of his battle with depression behind him and is optimistic his exciting charge will be 'happy by Christmas'.

Lovett's private struggle became public on Tuesday with a back page story in the Herald Sun revealing the 23-year-old had endured a difficult year in which he was confronted with a series of distressing personal incidents.

The article claimed Lovett was now 'back on track' after overcoming a reliance on alcohol and was living with club fitness coach John Quinn.

Sheedy said it was a credit to Lovett for being able to turn things around and that the role of club coaches in situations such as this has become more significant.
"I think that's where life is for a lot of sports people, and people in general to be quite honest. One of the difficulties obviously is you know your life is out there, it's challenging everybody, and it just seems to be society, isn't it?" Sheedy said.

"When it comes into a football environment, or another sporting environment, the coaches, all of us, have to sit back and make sure that we can help people through that.

"In Andrew Lovett's case, it's been a tough and difficult year for him. I didn't realise that was going to come out this morning in the paper, but fair enough because we've worked down that path and it's been a very good effort for him to get back on track."

Sheedy also said Lovett's case wasn't exclusive and it was up to the leaders at a club to ensure the player in question receives the treatment they require.

"I would say every club would have two or three players who are going to go through difficulties every year, and it's up to us as coaches and leaders in a sporting environment to make sure that we can help them through that period," he said.

"Most women will tell you men don't grow up until they're 27, 28, 29 anyway, so whether it's going through tough times in society … that's part of the coaching job these days."

The Essendon coach said Lovett would have off-season goals such as preparing his body – which is currently overcoming a hip operation and a hand complaint – for the International Rules tour of Ireland in October to help sustain his recovery.

"He'll be put up for All-Australian selection and the tour to Ireland, so he's got to get ready for that. He may not make it, but at least the other selectors are keen to look at him so he's got to get himself ready for that," he said.

"It gives a focus for a young person who came off a rookie list and came out of down the road here, went to the local school down here at Preston, and is probably one of the local heroes."

On another matter, Sheedy said embattled forward Dean Rioli was a certain starter to play his 100th career game in this Saturday night's clash with Richmond.

In response to reports Rioli is considering playing on next year, Sheedy said he didn't think it was the best outcome for the man he calls a 'freakish talent' who has battled injury throughout his career.

"He probably would like to (play on), but I don't think that would be wise because I know the difficulty he has had with his injuries," he said.

"He's got another year on his contract so he's got to sit down and work that out with the club, but I think that in the end, 100 games is a pretty good achievement to come off the Tiwi Islands.

"Not many 100-game players come off the Tiwi Islands in the AFL, and he may be the first one."

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