Anthony Rocca announces AFL retirement - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Anthony Rocca announces AFL retirement

21/09/2009 07:38:19 PM Comments (0)

Retiring Collingwood AFL star Anthony Rocca has declared he wants a career in American football as a punter.

Rocca, 32, announced his AFL retirement on Monday after 242 matches for the Pies and previous club Sydney.

The giant forward has suffered a succession of ankle and Achilles tendon problems over the past two years, and was forced to limp from the field in the qualifying final against St Kilda three weeks ago with another ankle injury.

It turned out to be his last AFL match, with Rocca now keen to follow his brother Saverio - also a former Australian rules player - into the American NFL.

"I'm keen to try and get into the punting scene in the NFL, and I'll try my best to get a job in that arena, but if not I wouldn't mind doing some sort of part-time coaching role in the AFL," Rocca said.

"I want to take some time off, first of all take a holiday and go and visit my brother in the US."

Rocca spent just two seasons at the Swans before moving to Collingwood in 1997 to join his brother.

Rocca told coach Mick Malthouse and teammates on Monday of his decision to quit, following the club's exit from the 2009 finals series.

He played in Collingwood's 2002 grand final loss to Brisbane, and was the club's leading goalkicker four times.

"Playing with my brother was a career highlight that I'll cherish forever," he said.

"Playing in the 2002 grand final was a highlight, but also one of the lowlights, but I'll always remember that opportunity."

"2009 has been a battle after I had ankle problems at the start of the year and an Achilles injury midway through the year.

"I really didn't know if I'd get back.

"With the medical and conditioning staff we have at Collingwood I was able to get through it, get back and play five games in the VFL and earn my spot for that final against St Kilda."

Malthouse said Rocca was one of the most courageous players he had ever coached.

"We're richer for him being part of this club ... the courage I talk of refers to his ability to play with injuries, to play through pain," Malthouse said.

"He has his detractors, but very few people worked as hard as he did, and I feel as though we've lost a very important part of our club."

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