Peter Burgoyne: After the premiership and early retirement

Peter Burgoyne walks off the field following his final AFL game. Picture: portadelaidefc.com.au

Read Part 1 of our interview with Peter Burgoyne here

Peter Burgoyne had always played as a midfielder and was also known as a handy forward too.

For him it was always going about the same routine and a little bit of goal smarts as well.

“Growing up, my father was big on kicking with both feet, so that was installed to me from a very young age, for myself and for Shaun,” he said.

“As for kicking for goals, like I think some people think it’s more important than it actually is. Stick to your routine, and you’ll kick the goal.

“One of the things that I always used to do, that my father taught me, was to pick something out, behind the goals, be it in the crowd or whatever and pretend you’re kicking the ball to them in the backyard.”

After an injury interrupted 2006, Burgoyne moved to the half-back line. A move he says, that rejuvenated his career.

“Playing as an on-baller, like on-ballers when I started playing, they were very big and strong. And I never was a big man, I think the most I weighed during a season, was 80kg,” he said.

“So, I’m coming up against some players who were like 90-95kg. It got to a point in my career where my body, there was getting too much damage done, like my shoulders, my knees, my back, everything.

“I had a series of injuries where after every season, I’d go in, I’d get surgery and this was happening for about, 6-7 years.

“Choco wanted to change up the game plan and the game style and he wanted to put someone on the half back line so they could be something like a quarterback, and yeah it rejuvenated me a bit, freed me up, which I thought it would.

“But I was still getting tagged off the halfback line as well.”

The 2007 grand final was an awful spectacle for Port Adelaide fans and it should come as no surprise that Burgoyne hasn’t watched it since. But where did it go so wrong that day?

In Burgoyne’s mind, the young side was spooked.

“People bring it up, and I say, ‘well if you go and have a look at our side, we had like four or five players that were senior players that played in 2004 and the rest were all kids.’,” he said.

“Coming into that game, I was confident, because we had played Geelong down at Kardinia Park and we beat them.

“But then coming into finals and then the grand final, we had a very young side.

“I think a lot of our younger players were just not ready for it. A lot of them got spooked on the day.”

Burgoyne was his usual prolific self, with 36 touches, five marks, six tackles, and five clearances.

But, for obvious reasons, he doesn’t discuss what is still the highest losing margin in a grand final.

Instead he remains reflective and content with what occurred.

“At the end of the day, it is what it is,” he said.

“I’ve played in two grand finals, one winning and one losing, and that’s just the way it is.”

Like many before and after him, Burgoyne didn’t want to retire.

Based on his statistics, he warranted another year having had the second highest average disposals of the year behind Kane Cornes.

And he certainly wasn’t giving it much, or even any attention, during 2009.

“To be honest, no I wasn’t. I wasn’t giving it any attention at all,” he said.

Which is why, when it did come around at the end of 2009, he had mixed feelings over the event.

And, as it turns out, premature retirement, can lead to you losing passion for the game.

“I’ve probably been to about four or five games in the past 11 years, and that’s just because I lost passion for the game, like lost all desire for the game,” he said.

With fellow inaugural Port Adelaide team member Brendon Lade retiring in the same match in Round 22, 2009, it was truly an end of an era at Port.

“It was a bit sad, but at the same time, Brendon was 34, while I retired when I had just turned 31,” he said.

“I thought I had another two, three, four years in me.

“But it was the end, like the end of an era, being the last two from the inaugural side.

“It was a mixed bag of emotions, but you’ve just gotta move on with life.”

These days, he’s much more interested in discussing his boys who are following their dreams anyway,

His son Trent is on Port Adelaide’s rookie list and another son, Jase, is set to come through next year and through them he’s rediscovering the passion again.

In his words: “I’m sort of coming back around again, full circle.”

Younger brother Shaun, who departed Port in 2009, has gone on to not only play in Hawthorn’s three-peat, he also now holds the games record for Indigenous players and could potentially reach 400 games, a mantle achieved by only four players before him.

In Burgoyne’s eyes, it couldn’t have gone any better for him.

“At the end of the day, I reckon that Shaun made the best move that he could have possibly made – look what happened, he won another three premierships,” he said.

“If he stayed at Port, who knows what could have happened.”

Now in his early 40s, Peter works in Employment and Recruitment and has seven children.

But what is more interesting is his side business with his partner.

Called shop homelands, the business specialises in Indigenous medicines, foods, artifacts and paintings.

All of it adds up to “keeping me really busy.”

And supporting Trent and Jase in pursuing their football dreams like he has achieved.

“They always wanted to play footy, and I always supported them,” he said.

“To see them playing footy, it gives me the joy that I had when I was playing footy.”

And once again, he reiterates, “it’s come full circle.”

He’s even watching more footy again.

“I don’t watch all the games, I pretty much only watch Port Adelaide,” he said.

“It’s been 11 years since I retired so I don’t watch much footy. I don’t know many of the players – only the ones who were playing when I was playing, or like some of the big-name players.

“But yeah, now that my son is playing it’s bringing some of the passion back.”

It’s unknown when Trent will make his debut for Port Adelaide, or Jase if he lands at the club at the conclusion of next season.

But they already have their number one fan, whose story has come full circle.

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