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 press conference at GMHBA Stadium on Wednesday.
His wife Brit and mother Maree were visibly emotional as he delivered the news many Cats fans were hoping they wouldn’t hear for at least another year.
‘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,’ Selwood told reporters.
Selwood decided he’d retire about six weeks ago, regardless of how Geelong’s season finished – and now he is going out as the club’s only four-time premiership winner
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.’
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 (pictured announcing his retirement on Wednesday) said teammates including Patrick Dangerfield wanted him to play on, but his mind was made up
The Cats great made headlines around the world when he got club waterboy Sam Morfoot to join him on his victory lap at the MCG after last weekend’s grand final win
Selwood made a record-breaking 40th finals appearance in the grand final – one more than Hawthorn legend Michael Tuck.
Cats fans were quick to salute the club great when the news broke, with several calling for the Cats to commemorate his incredible career by naming a stand after him at their home ground – or even erecting a statue in his honour.
‘Hope the Cats name the new stand at GMHBA stadium, The Selwood Stand. Full respect to a club immortal,’ wrote one supporter.
‘Deserves a bronze statue like this of him at the ground,’ wrote another in a Twitter post accompanied by photo of Selwood playing with a cut above his eye.
Selwood’s wife Brit and mother Maree became emotional as he announced his retirement
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.
JOEL SELWOOD’S DECORATED CAREER
* Born: 26 May 1988
* Junior clubs: Sandhurst/Bendigo U18
* Drafted: To Geelong at No.7 at the 2006 national draft
* AFL debut: Round 1, 2007 v Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium
* AFL games: 355 (W259, L95, D1 – winning percentage 72.96 per cent)
* AFL goals: 175
* Captaincy: 2012-2022 (245 games)
* Career averages: 24.7 disposals, 11.2 contested possessions, 5.1 tackles, 5.2 clearances
* Brownlow votes: 214 (No.7 in all-time rankings)
* Top Brownlow Medal finish: Runner-up (2013)
* Honours: Premiership player (2007, 2009, 2001, 2022), premiership captain (2022), six-time All-Australian (2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017 – captain, 2013, 2014, 2016), three-time club best-and-fairest (2010, 2013, 2014), AFL Rising Star (2007)
* AFL grand finals: six (W4, L2)
– 2007 (W): 17 disposals, seven inside-50s, five clearances
– 2008 (L): 29 disposals, 11 contested possessions, six inside-50s
– 2009 (W): 24 disposals, five clearances, one goal
– 2011 (W): 28 disposals, two goals, 17 contested possessions, eight clearances, seven tackles
– 2020 (L): 21 disposals, six clearances, five tackles
– 2022 (W): 26 disposals, one goal, 21 uncontested possessions
* Records: most AFL finals games (40 – W22, L18), most games as captain (245)
* Retired: September 28, 2022
* Selwood on his retirement: “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.”