Tom Papley has revealed his father, David, suffers from bipolar disorder and says an argument between them sparked his trade request to Carlton last year.
Papley was coming off a career-best 37 goal season for the Sydney Swans when he shocked the club by asking to be dealt to the Blues in 2019, despite being contracted until 2023.
The move ended up falling through, in large part because of Sydney’s failure to secure Essendon forward Joe Daniher in the same trade period, and Papley has since committed to the Swans.
For the first time the 24-year-old has revealed the delicate family dynamic behind his homesickness.
“A few times that year (2019) I went home – early on I was feeling, as everyone does sometimes, a bit homesick,” the Victorian told a podcast hosted by former Blues player Dylan Buckley.
“Then during the year I had a few beers with the old man and had a bit of an argument. He’s actually got bipolar so that turned into a little bit of an episode.
“I’ve never really spoken about it, not many people actually know. Then he has a bit of an episode, I sort of felt that guilt, that it was my fault.”
Tom Papley (left) celebrates his birthday with family, including his father (right).Source:Instagram
“Everyone has a blue with the old man all the time but this time it’s a little bit more serious, because growing up he’s always been in mental homes,” Papley added.
“I didn’t really know until later in my teenage years what was going on but now, so I sort of felt that little bit of guilt. But at the end of the day I just wanted to be back home.
“That was just part of it, you want to help, you want to help mum and be there for your brother, and things like that, your brother and sister. I felt a bit of guilt like it was my fault a little bit.
“At the end of the day I just wanted to be home and that was it. I sort of kept it inside. I didn’t tell anyone, I told my manager obviously.
“That’s probably the biggest thing, just to speak about it. Later on in the year I asked for the trade and it didn’t happen but it obviously put more stress on my old man and more stress on me.”
Tom Papley and his girlfriend Annie.Source:Instagram
Tom Papley has led the Swans’ goalkicking two years in a row. (Photo by Will Russell/AFL Photos via Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
Papley said he was given permission by his father to talk about his disorder publicly.
“I’ve been able to speak about it with my old man – this is probably the first time I’ve told my mates,” he said.
“My old man’s flying, now he’s happy to talk about it – I’ve asked him if I could mention it and he said yeah. That’s what it’s all about, he’s never said I could do that.”
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