Freo's Heath Black calls it quits - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Freo's Heath Black calls it quits

By Justin Chadwick 06/08/2008 07:05:44 PM Comments (0)

Fremantle AFL coach Mark Harvey has called for his group to pull together after defender Heath Black became the fourth Docker to retire this season.

Black ended weeks of speculation by announcing his immediate retirement from the game, joining Shaun McManus, Peter Bell and Matthew Carr as others to have pulled the pin in 2008.

The quartet have 868 AFL games between them and Harvey admitted their loss had left a massive void.

"It's enormous and it's happening to a lot of clubs," Harvey said.

"The fact we had a fairly old list, it was always going to happen at some stage. It's probably happened a bit earlier than we expected.

"I guess that's the demand of the game.

"It's unusual but the group's got to pull together and cover those particular retirements in the short term.

"It affects the younger players because they've got to fill the void in the short term."

Black, who was contracted to the club until the end of 2009, was told by Harvey he was a required player for next year but a frustrating run of injuries convinced the 29-year-old to call it quits now.

"I think about a month ago I had probably come to the realisation I could no longer do this," said Black, who underwent a season-ending shoulder reconstruction last week.

"Injuries are a part of the game and they're the things we have to overcome but at my age I wasn't prepared to overcome the hurdle again."

Harvey paid tribute to Black, who played 138 games for Fremantle and 54 for St Kilda.

"He had that fierce desire that you look for in a player and always wanted to win," Harvey said.

"Sometimes Heath got overzealous with that but they're the sort of characteristics you look for in a player."

Black, who is keen to pursue a career in the media, said his two preliminary finals appearances, one each for Fremantle and St Kilda, were his career highlights.

But it is the boys and the "locker room banter" that he will miss the most.

"The Monday morning stories, I always enjoyed them ... being an older player I require the younger players to enlighten me on their weekend," he said with a laugh.

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