Hawks veteran Crawford to retire - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hawks veteran Crawford to retire

08/11/2008 03:49:12 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn veteran Shane Crawford has shocked the club by announcing his retirement, just hours after re-signing for another year.

The 34-year-old, who battled knee tendinitis throughout 2008, apparently changed his mind suddenly and told the club on Friday night.

The 305-game veteran decided to leave AFL football on a high following Hawthorn's grand final win over Geelong this year.

Earlier on Friday, Hawks football manager Mark Evans said the club was thrilled to have re-signed Crawford as one of the last five players to commit for another season.

But the star midfielder, whose partner Olivia recently gave birth to their second child, Benjamin, then decided to quit after reflecting on his decision.

He told coach Alastair Clarkson and Evans late on Friday night of his decision "following weeks of private reflection over his future" according to a club press statement.

"Crawford had battled with knee tendinitis throughout the 2008 season," the club said.

"However, his condition had seen a significant improvement in the later part of the year, and Crawford had been given the all-clear by the Hawks medical staff to continue in to his 18th season.

"However, despite having recently agreed terms with the club on a new contract for 2009, time away from the game following the Hawks 2008 Grand Final win over Geelong had given Crawford the opportunity to reflect, deciding to end his 305 game career on a high."

Crawford said he had decided to walk away from the game after finally achieving his lifelong goal of playing in a premiership side.

"The recent break and distance away from the game has enabled me to re-think what I wanted to achieve in footy - and the answer is that I have achieved what I had hoped, when I set out," Crawford said.

"Winning a premiership with Hawthorn has been the highlight of my career.

"I am proud to have represented one club and will look back at everything we have achieved over my 17 years at the Hawks with fond memories.

"Having some time to reflect, standing on the podium on grand final day as premiers had always been my ultimate goal," he said.

"It is a great way to go out of the game on a high, with a premiership medal, at a time of my choosing.

"The club have been fantastic through this time and I can't thank them enough for their support in letting me come to my own decision."

Crawford, who made his AFL debut in 1993, won the Brownlow medal in 1999 and was a four-time club best and fairest and four-time All-Australian over a career spanning 17 seasons.

In 2008 he became only the sixth Hawthorn player to play 300 games.

Clarkson described Crawford as "an outstanding role model to so many in the game".

"He was still one of the best trainers and he can stand tall knowing that he gave every last drop for the Hawthorn Football Club.

"He has wrung the towel dry and he can walk away proud, having played his part," Clarkson said.

Hawthorn chief executive Ian Robson said the news was "stunning" but the club respected his decision.

Robson said he was not told until 10pm on Friday night that Crawford had changed his mind about retiring.

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