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Crouch to join Swans' retirement club

20/08/2009 03:02:38 PM Comments (0)

Departing Sydney tagger Jared Crouch says playing alongside fellow retirees and great mates Leo Barry and Michael O'Loughlin in his final game next week will almost represent his perfect departure from the AFL.

But he says a quiet, cowboy-style exit without the fanfare would be better.

Crouch is one of the most respected players in the Swans inner sanctum, with his hard work and determination making him the sort of player that Sydney built their fierce reputation upon.

So you could forgive him for taking a minute to reflect on his own brilliant career.

But the indefatigable Swan was focused on the team's next game - as you would expect from a bloke who managed to string together 194 games in a row after his debut.

He didn't even call a press conference.

"In my perfect world, I would've just happily rode off into the sunset," Crouch told AAP.

He said he was looking forward to his, O'Loughlin's, and Barry's final game, but had his mind firmly on the job at hand - taking on the in-form Magpies at the MCG this Sunday.

"With Mick and Leo announcing their (retirements), it's nice to be able to go off altogether," he said.

"We certainly haven't spoken about anything now, the focus has been on this week's game against Collingwood."

"We'll come to the Brisbane Lions we'll talk about it, and when that game's on I guess we can reminisce about the times we have shared together."

Earlier this year, Crouch launched Brothers Parade, a wine label which he'll have more time to focus on next year.

In paying tribute to Crouch, Sydney coach Paul Roos said he had no doubt that his new venture would be a success.

"From the first moment Crouchy walked into the club I could see he had a single-minded attitude to simply be the best player he could possibly be and he would do everything in his power to achieve that goal," said Roos.

"It was through this attitude that enabled him to play on and beat some of the best midfielders of the modern era and to be one of the most important players in our 2005 premiership year."

Crouch said the friends he had made through the Swans would last him a lifetime, which is why he says he'll never be far from the sport.

"I guess one of the things, or what I've loved most about playing football is playing with my mates," he said.

"As I've told the current group of players, I'm always there for them.

"I'm always going to be part of it, I'm always going to be happy, but whether I'm full-time or not, who knows."

Crouch said the decision, made at the beginning of the year, was made easier by the development of young players like Kieren Jack and Nick Smith.

"I knew at the beginning of the pre-season that it was going to be my last season, a lot of my close friends knew that," he said.

"Nick Smith and Kieren Jack, with those two available and playing good football, it makes it that much easier.

"The last thing you want to do is leave the club not in a good position."

Crouch was reluctant to talk about his infamous run-ins with Jason Akermanis - the flamboyant former Lion once called Crouch a "hack" and a "cheat".

It seems fitting that the two - at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of their media profile - could finish their careers in the same season.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

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