NORTH WALES CRUSADERS stand off Andy Moulsdale has called time on his playing career and has spoken candidly about his battle with depression and injury.
A popular figure at the Wrexham-based club, Moulsdale arrived at the Crusaders in 2012 as part of the inaugural squad and has remained there ever since.
Having played a vital part in the club’s success over the last six seasons, including captaining the side during their 2013 promotion-winning season, Moulsdale was appointed as general manager at the beginning of the 2017 season – a role which he ran alongside his on-field commitments.
He said: “I decided a few weeks ago that this would be my last season playing at the club.
“I have to be honest with myself, the fans and more importantly my team mates, I’m not the player I was two years ago and it frustrates me, I haven’t enjoyed playing this season and my performances are not up to the standard that I set myself.
“I’ve had a tough few years coming back from injury and it affected me away from rugby.
“I struggled coming back from the operation on my legs – I’d never been injured before and I couldn’t get my head around not being able to play.
“The truth is that I went into depression, I didn’t want to train, struggled getting motivated for anything and was then in denial of what I was going through, thinking that this wouldn’t and shouldn’t affect me.
“By the time I was right to play again I’d lost nearly two years of my career, I wanted to come back and play again and I have, but I just don’t have the same enthusiasm to go again next season.”
Moulsdale has thanked the individuals who helped him through his difficulties, including Crusaders staff, his family and the State of Mind mental health charity.
He added: “I’ve been lucky over this period to be supported by great people who have helped me more than they’ll know.
“The way that Muzza (Anthony Murray), Alan (Hadcroft), Adam (Daniels) and Ian Edwards were with me was unbelievable.
“I’d also like to thank Doctor Richard Lawrence and the team at State Of Mind, especially Phil Cooper – without them talking me through what was happening I’d probably be no better off today.
“I’m lucky to have the best family that I could ask for, but I’m also lucky to have played with some of my best mates who are probably the only ones who know the position which I was in.
“It would take me all day to name everyone but Lee Hudson, Jonny Walker, Jamie Dallimore, Jono Smith, Tommy Johnson, Stephen Wild, Kevin Penny and especially Stuart Reardon – who’s the most positive person you’ll ever meet – have all helped me massively.
“They’re all people who I have met through playing rugby.”
Reflecting on his six years at North Wales Crusaders, Moulsdale retains many positive memories of his time as a player and paid tribute to the Cru's ardent fanbase.
“I’ve had a great six years playing at the club, and have made great memories, met great people and played with a lot of fantastic players and good mates,” he added.
“I’d like to thank John Fieldhouse for bringing me to the club as without him none of what I’ve achieved or experienced would have been possible.
“I’d also like to thank Clive Griffiths for showing faith in me and appointing me as the club’s first captain at 24 years of age.
“Whilst my team mates might disagree, it made me grow up as a player and made me a better player.
“Finally my thanks goes to the fans, I know everyone says it but genuinely, thank you for all your support for me as a player and what you bring to our club.
“I hope you will continue to be just as supportive of me as I continue in my role as general manager at the club.
“I wish Mike (Grady) all the best for this season, I’m sure that we’ll keep the majority of the squad and kick on in 2018.”
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