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Geelong captain Joel Selwood retires from AFL after winning fourth flag | AFL

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Geelong champion Joel Selwood has stood by his decision to walk away from his teammates so they can focus on their pursuit of an AFL premiership, coach Chris Scott has revealed.

The Cats eventually came through, crushing Sydney in last Saturday’s grand final, giving Selwood the perfect send-off. The 34-year-old scored a fabulous goal in the final quarter to spark an emotional outburst that revealed his 355th game was likely to be his last.

Selwood confirmed his decision to end his illustrious career at a press conference on Wednesday.

“About six weeks ago I decided it was time to end my playing days with the Geelong FC – win, lose or draw – at the end of the year,” Selwood said.

“I played every game like it was my last and the game is really tough … you have to give it your all. When I decided it was going to be, I realized I just had to buckle down for six weeks and make sure I did the work.”

Selwood and his management spoke to Geelong veterans Patrick Dangerfield, Mitch Duncan, Tom Hawkins and Tom Stewart, as well as club CEO Steve Hocking, before making the decision.

“They all want me to keep playing. It won’t be like that,” he said. “I decided that I can get to 85 percent next year and everyone will take care of me, but I have to be all in. I just couldn’t do it.”

Selwood is the third consecutive Geelong captain to retire after a premiership, following Tom Harley in 2009 and Cameron Ling in 2011. He is the only player in Geelong history to win four flags (2007, 2009, 2011, 2022) and is the club’s record player in games with 355 appearances over 16 seasons. He also played in two losing grand finals (2008 and 2020).

Selwood made a record 40th final appearance this year – one more than Hawthorn legend Michael Tuck.

Jeremy Cameron and Joel Selwood after Saturday’s grand final. Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Photos/Getty Images

Geelong coach Chris Scott spent 12 years working closely with Selwood and said the tough midfielder would be “indispensable” on and off the field.

Selwood informed Scott of his decision in a private meeting before the Cats’ Round 23 win over West Coast, which put them in the finals series.

“I was constantly impressed with Joel’s ability to care for others and put others first,” Scott said. “All things considered, he’s the best player I’ve ever seen and the best representative of the Geelong Football Club you can imagine.

“Even when he had the opportunity to step into the spotlight, his priority was to make sure that his decision did not negatively affect anyone. He spoke very well … with the rest of the group playing around the need to hold [the decision] from everyone so that they can prioritize the team’s performance in the final series.”

Earlier this year, Selwood broke Carlton great Stephen Kernahan’s long-standing record of 226 games as AFL/VFL club captain and ends his career with 245 as skipper.

He played his entire career with Geelong after being drafted at No.7 in 2006, winning the Rising Star award and premiership in his first season.

Selwood is a six-time All-Australian, has captained the Cats since 2012 and won three Cargie Greaves medals as Geelong’s best and fairest. He has also been hailed for his character and was this year’s recipient of the Jim Steines Award for Community Leadership.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2022/sep/28/geelong-captain-joel-selwood-retires-from-afl-after-winning-fourth-flag

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