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Swift walks away from AFL

By Kim Hagdorn
5 October 2012 05:57PM EST

EMERGING West Coast Eagles young star Tom Swift has amazingly walked away from his promising AFL career.

Swift, just 22, will take up the extremely difficult path into medicine when he heads into university in Western Australia next year after four seasons on the Eagles senior list.

The blossoming potential top midfielder advised Eagles coach John Worsfold on Friday of his shock decision to quit the AFL.

His startling move is unprecedented in AFL ranks for such a young and emerging player who is still wanted by his club.

Swift is out of contract at West Coast, but is understood to have been on the verge of receiving a one-year extension offer.

He was taken as West Coast's third choice behind budding superstar ruckman Nic Naitanui and brilliant on-baller Luke Shuey at a talent-rich draft four years ago.

He instead has elected to pursue a career in the medical profession.

Both Swift’s parents are doctors.

Swift was a dux level scholar when he finished high school Year 12 at the end of 2008.

He was one of his home state of Western Australia’s most elite scholastic performers and finished in the top one percent in his tertiary entrance examinations.

He could have walked straight into medicine at the University of Western Australia at the time, but elected to pursue his AFL dream when drafted by West Coast as one of the most exciting and budding young stars in the nation.

He played 34 senior games since his debut in 2009, but only made six senior appearances this season after only five engagements at the highest level last year.

Swift is often maligned by Eagles faithful with at times awkward disposal skills and is undecided whether to continue playing in the WAFL with WA power club and reigning premiers and Foxtel Cup champions Claremont.

Swift was a member of Claremont’s premiership team late last month as he weighed up his football future.

Swift informed his manager Colin Young of his plans to quit ahead of a meeting with the Eagles coach.

“Tom deliberated for a long period, but decided that the window of going down this professional path and into his studies in medicine was closing rapidly,” Young explained.

“He needed to make his decision and then make his move and I respect that call by Tom.”

Young denied that Swift’s decision was in any way connected with his lack of senior playing chances at West Coast or in any way a reaction to sometimes scornful comment the young star cops from Eagles home audiences on match day.

“No, Tom advised the club that he would not accept a contract extension and thanks the Eagles for giving him the opportunity to play at AFL level,” Young said.

“It’s a shame.

“I felt Tom would become the top talent we all saw during state matches over state matches as a brilliant youth player.

“Over the next two seasons I thought he would show supporters and the competition just why he was drafted to West Coast four years ago.”

Brisbane great and reigning Lions coach Michael Voss once described Swift as the best 16-year-old player in Australia.

Swift was a prime target when recruited to West Coast as a second round pick and 20 overall in the 2008 national draft.

He has averaged 16 possessions an outing in his brief AFL career.

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