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Our Comeback Hero: Matthew Lloyd pt 2

BTV: Comeback Hero; Matthew Lloyd - Pt 2 Our Comeback Hero for Round 12 is 3 time Coleman medal winner, Matthew Lloyd.

At each home game this season, Essendon will celebrate a Comeback Hero – a former champion who overcame adversity to deliver many happy moments for the Essendon faithful. In round 12 Our Comeback Hero is Matthew Lloyd.

To view part one click here.

Essendon was at the top of the football world after the premiership triumph in 2000.

But such is the fragility of the game; the view from the summit can often be fleeting.

And so it was for Matthew Lloyd and his Essendon teammates.

There was a lost Grand Final, a steady slide down the ladder and premiership teammates told to find a new home.

“It was probably the most frustrating period of my time because we lost Blumfield, Heffernan and Caracella all in one hit,” Lloyd said. 

“We lost a lot of our soul in a sense and also our depth within the team.

“Then a lot of guys probably got complacent after winning a premiership, lost their hunger and it was a real transition period for the Club. 

“We became a bit of a mediocre team, middle of the road, missed the finals and unfortunately in my time never really challenged for a premiership.”

Lloyd remained one of the best forwards in the game.

He kicked 105 goals in 2001 and fell just short on the century mark in 2003 and 2004.

On the eve of the 2006 season he was appointed Captain. An honour Lloyd says is the greatest individual achievement of his career. 

He kicked eight goals in his first game as Captain and four a week later. But in round three, Lloyd sustained a serious hamstring injury that ruled him out for the rest of the season.

“I pretty much spent that year questioning whether I could get back to playing good football again,” Lloyd said.

“It took me 18 months to get over it.

“The game had changed a fair bit in that time too where I was playing up the ground.

“I wouldn’t say I was the player I was but at the same time I still felt like I played a pretty strong role for the side.”

Kevin Sheedy, the man who insisted Lloyd hone his craft in the backline in those early days coached his last game at Essendon in 2007.

A new era began with Matthew Knights named Sheedy’s replacement.

Lloyd kicked 62 goals in his first year under Knights and despite differing philosophies, said he always gave his best for the Coach.

“It’s always tricky when you don’t see things the same as your Coach but I gave my heart and soul for Matthew Knights and the football club through those years,” Lloyd said.

“I came second in the best and fairest in his first year and then I had a few injuries in my last year.

“It was frustrating but I don’t really dwell on that. I only think about the good times really.”

Lloyd retired at the end of 2009.

He left the game as the Club’s greatest ever goal kicker, a premiership player, a three-time Coleman medal winner, five times All Australian, 12-time leading goal kicker and an Essendon Captain.

“Essendon Football Club gave me a great opportunity,” he said.

“I love the Club I played for and I’m really proud of who I played for. 

"I look at all of the great games Essendon is involved in and they’re the envy of the rest of the competition.

“It was a brilliant Club to play for around the area I grew up in, so I was very fortunate.”