Ex-Dockers captain Peter Bell retires - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ex-Dockers captain Peter Bell retires

07/07/2008 07:43:47 PM Comments (0)

Former Fremantle skipper Peter Bell says it's time for the club to build for the future after announcing his immediate retirement from the AFL.

Just a week after Fremantle president Rick Hart and coach Mark Harvey urged the 32-year-old to play on in 2009, Bell called curtains on his decorated career, saying he didn't want to stand in the way of a young player's development.

The 286-game veteran revealed he went into Fremantle's round 14 loss to Essendon knowing it would be his last appearance for the Dockers.

"I think the club's at a time where we need to get some young guys in," Bell said.

"It frees up an opportunity for someone in a pretty important eight-week block in their career and it was the right thing for me to do in my circumstances.

"By playing on this extra year I wanted to be involved in finals ... it's clear that's not going to be the case so it's time for the deadwood to get out and move on and let the young blokes come through."

Bell, a three times best and fairest winner at Fremantle and dual All-Australian, said he would have been doing the club an injustice had he decided to play on next season.

"I don't think I've got much more left to give. I've given footy a lot and I think it would be fraudulent of me to come down here and go through the motions just for the sake of playing another season of footy," he said.

It has been an unusual journey for Bell, who was drafted by the Dockers in 1995 but moved off to North Melbourne after just two games at the port club.

After featuring in premierships at the Kangaroos in 1996 and 99, Bell was lured back to Fremantle in 2001, captaining the club from 2002-06.

Bell, who has been on of his team's best this season, considered retirement at the end of last year but the club convinced him to continue on in 2009, allowing him to commute from Geraldton, north of Perth.

The gutsy midfielder, who has played 13 games this season, brought an end to that arrangement in May.

Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich said Bell was "by far and away the best player" the club had ever seen.

"(He's a) champion person and a champion player ... almost irreplaceable," Pavlich said.

Harvey marvelled at how Bell, who stands at just 175cm, made such an impact in the game.

"He's probably the best player I've seen think through a game and finish up what I call undressing the opposition. He was sensational at that," Harvey said.

"He brought everything to the table. I don't see that in a lot of players."

Fremantle, with a 2-12 win-loss record, are languishing in 14th spot on the table but Bell said he was confident the Dockers had a strong nucleus of players capable of leading the club to success in the not too distant future.

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