Geelong AFL captain Joel Selwood retires

Geelong players celebrate their grand final victory

Geelong champion Joel Selwood has retired, ending his decorated AFL career on the high of a fourth premiership.

The explosion of emotion from Geelong players when Selwood kicked a fairytale goal in the last quarter of Saturday’s grand final win over Sydney had indicated his 355th game was his final appearance.

The 34-year-old took time to weigh up his options before calling time in a media conference at GMHBA Stadium on Wednesday.

“About six weeks ago, I decided that this would be the time to finish my playing days at the Geelong footy club – win, lose, or draw – come the end of the year,” an at-times emotional Selwood said.

Selwood with young Levi Ablett at Saturday's grand final

Source: Twitter/Geelong Football Club

Selwood said he had spoken to the likes of Mitch Duncan, Tom Hawkins, Patrick Dangerfield and Tom Stewart about his decision.

“They all want me to play on. That’s not going to be the case,” he said.

“I decided I could go probably at 85 per cent next year and everyone would look after me but I had to be all in.”

Telling Hawkins was particularly emotional for Selwood.

“The visit to Hawk’s house wasn’t easy,” he said.

“It’s been unbelievable. I’ve had great support all the way along.

“I’ve loved going to work. You don’t come to the Geelong footy club to go to work for money – you come for the experience and I’ve loved every part of that.”

Selwood said he told coach Chris Scott of his decision on the eve of the round 23 match against West Coast.

“I didn’t want to be at 85 per cent [next year]. I know that’s not good enough,” he said.

“I actually told him (Scott) that I was OK.

“I had to turn around and have another hug before I walked out.”

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’s history to win four flags (2007, 2009, 2011, 2022) and is the club’s games record holder with 355 appearances across 16 seasons.

He also played in two losing grand final teams (2008 and 2020).

Selwood made a record-breaking 40th finals appearance in the grand final – one more than Hawthorn legend Michael Tuck.

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

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

Selwood is a six-time All-Australian, has captained the Cats since 2012, and has won three Carji Greeves medals as Geelong’s best and fairest.

He averaged 24.7 disposals, 11.2 contested possessions, 5.1 tackles, 5.2 clearances across his brilliant career.

He has also been hailed for his character and community work and was this year’s Jim Stynes community leadership award winner.

Selwood’s retirement kick-starts an off-season of change at Kardinia Park.

Quinton Narkle headlined a group of five players delisted on Wednesday as the Cats eye moves for GWS midfielder Tanner Bruhn and Collingwood forward Ollie Henry – both Geelong Falcons products.

Narkle, Francis Evans, Nick Stevens, Paul Tsapatolis and Zane Williams were all informed they will not be offered contracts for 2023.

– with AAP

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