Boyd a catalyst of Bulldogs AFL turnaround

Tom Boyd's effort in the 2016 AFL grand final justified his acquisition by the Western Bulldogs.
Tom Boyd's effort in the 2016 AFL grand final justified his acquisition by the Western Bulldogs.

Tom Boyd's mega-money move from GWS Giants to Western Bulldogs was the biggest trade of 2014.

The Bulldogs handed a 19-year-old a seven-year multi-million dollar contract on the evidence of nine AFL games.

Moreover, they traded away their captain Ryan Griffen and the highest draft pick, No.6, to get him.

The high-risk move was derided by many.

It exasperated the rest.

But after Boyd's heroics in the 2016 grand final, won by the Bulldogs to end a 62-year premiership drought, the Dogs say they'd do it all again.

"We think that the deal is paid off enormously," Bulldogs football boss Chris Grant said on Thursday, after the announcement of Boyd's retirement at age 23.

Club legend Grant, who toiled for 18 years at the struggling club to win just four finals, could see the upside then and now.

The Bulldogs were rocked by Griffen's desire to leave the club and coach Brendan McCartney resigned as he felt he'd lost the dressing room.

Grant said the Bulldogs were in a corner.

"In 2014 we were in a pretty difficult situation," he said.

"But at the same time, we actually believed that our young list coming through had a fair bit in it.

"We really needed some really talented high quality players coming in.

"When Ryan Griffen, our captain at the time, indicated that he wanted to move to GWS, there was an opportunity within that deal to really go after (who) we believed was the best young player in the competition at the time."

In came Boyd, first-time coach Luke Beveridge followed a month later.

Boyd faced the familiar difficulties of playing as a young key forward in his first season at Whitten Oval, and missed 12 rounds in 2016 after a serious shoulder injury.

He re-emerged into the finals-bound side late in the year, starring in the club's preliminary and grand final wins over GWS and Sydney.

His three-goal performance in the grand final was seen by many as worthy of the Norm Smith Medal; and certainly worthy of his pay packet given the long-awaited premiership.

"Regardless of whether a player is a rookie or on the highest-paying contract at a club, his influence in that final series was enormous," he said.

"In a lot of ways, he's paid for that pretty well."

Australian Associated Press