Night owl skips out on living the dream
Chillin': Dayle Garlett. Picture: Facebook

It was 3.38am on Wednesday when Dayle Garlett decided it was time to offer an explanation.

Only hours earlier, Hawthorn, the club that gave him a lifeline to the big time, had revealed one of the most naturally talented footballers produced in WA in years was quitting the AFL.

Garlett, as he had done against his club's wishes so many times before, took to Facebook.

"What was once a dream that got turned into reality only to lose passion for it," he wrote on his phone and posted for everyone to see.

"Dream, caught it, lived it, had it, left it. Live your life and make your own decisions and limit the bad."

The mid-week, early-hour message and his method of sharing it could not have been more appropriate.

After moving to Melbourne, Garlett struggled to leave his vices behind and adapt to the regime needed to succeed as a professional footballer.

At the heart of his troubles was his prolific use of social media - an issue that increasingly bothered Hawthorn officials since recruiting him with pick No.38 in last year's AFL draft.

"Selfies" adorn the footballer's multiple Facebook pages. Photos posted as recently as this week show a topless Garlett enjoying an outdoor music festival.

A source close to the 20-year-old said a key issue was also "night-owl behaviour".

"He's always been keen to go out," the source said.

"Even when he was given a break and said he couldn't adjust to the rigours of footy, I know they were p….. off he was still going to nightclubs at that stage.

"They wanted him off Facebook, they wanted him not partying and going to music festivals but to sacrifice something so it seemed he was serious about his football."

At WAFL level, Garlett was a star but was his own worst enemy leading into the 2012 AFL draft. Photos from Instagram on the back page of _The West Australian _on draft day showed him drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes.

Not surprisingly, AFL clubs shied away, prompting Swan Districts to invest more time and energy into his extraordinary talents.

On the field it worked and Hawthorn - a family-driven club with strong player welfare programs - decided he was worth the risk.

But while some at Swan Districts spoke of Garlett turning a corner last year, there were signs the hard work could come undone. He was more grounded and committed at training but still prone to big nights out.

Regularly with him was fallen West Coast rookie Murray Newman. The pair went to Governor Stirling Senior High School and feature together in photographs on Garlett's Facebook page.

They were considered regulars at Ginger Nightclub in Northbridge and a Swans insider described Newman as Garlett's "right-hand man".

This month, Newman was given a 12-month jail term for a one-punch assault at the Library nightclub in Northbridge.

"He'd have that age group of blokes from Swans that he would go out with," the insider said of Garlett. "There were still benders."

Yesterday, Swan Districts said Garlett was "not part of the club's 2014 plans".

Chief executive Tom Bottrell said Garlett had not told the club of his intentions and though concerned for him, it was happy with its squad.

Those who mentored Garlett say he is a well-liked kid of above average intelligence, popular with the opposite sex and possessing a brash arrogance to go with his natural sporting talent.

He grew up around Midland living with stepfather Eddie Humphries, who works for the Department for Child Protection, and his mother Matilda Prosser.

The move to Hawthorn was the first time Garlett lived away from his family.

_The Weekend West _understands he became a father last year but his girlfriend and child stayed in Perth - an added complication.

Andrew Davini, a sports teacher at Governor Stirling, said the school remained proud to call Garlett a former student.

"He came in and visited last week," Mr Davini said.

"That's the kind of kid he is. He came back to his roots.

"We don't see many of the boys any more but Dayle, the first opportunity he got, was back here at Governor Stirling.

"He's still young and hopefully he makes some good decisions to give himself another chance."


The West Australian

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