Captain Kirk goes out hard - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Captain Kirk goes out hard

By Guy Hand And Roger Vaughan 12/09/2010 06:57:23 AM Comments (0)

Perhaps, in a strange way, it was a fitting end to the AFL careers of Sydney coach Paul Roos and his courageous captain Brett Kirk.

For so long the masters of the close game, they provided a thriller in their swansong.

Yet just as the Swans did in an epic 2006 grand final, they fell on the wrong side of the sort of result that was a regular by-product of the tough, contested footy played by Kirk and played under Roos.

The five-point semi-final loss to the Western Bulldogs at the MCG spelt the end for Roos, the coach who broke the AFL's longest premiership drought, and Kirk, the rookie list poster boy whose bravery helped him overcome deficiencies to become an elite footballer and a premiership player.

Roos departs to devise the Swans' future - taking charge of the club's academy to develop young NSW-based players.

Kirk, 33, leaves after 241 games - and as testament to his longevity following his 200th consecutive AFL match.

Roos also noted that it was somehow fitting that Kirk, in his last AFL match, had to leave the ground under the blood rule.

One of the game's most fearless players suffered a cut to his mouth in the third term while contesting the ball and, yet again, needed treatment for a collision wound.

"It would be a real shame if the guys didn't continue to play the way Kirky has played his footy, which has been fantastic," Roos said.

But there was only raw emotion for Kirk soon after his AFL swansong.

"You're just gutted ... you're a week away from playing in a preliminary final to get yourself into a grand final," he said.

"You're gutted for yourself and your team-mates.

"At this point, I have no reflection at all - for me, it was more about that I was always going to leave it all out on the field.

"I was go and go and go until I fell over - I had a bit of a dog tonight, but I kept cracking in."

There was a Zen-like symmetry in their demise, plotted by the man who effectively started Roos' senior coaching career.

Rodney Eade - shown the door by the Swans in late 2002 and replaced by Roos - marshalled his troops including ex-Sydney bad boy Barry Hall.

Perhaps best afield for the Bulldogs, Hall booted four goals against his old club and set up a fourth-quarter Daniel Giansiracusa goal to break open a three-quarter-time deadlock.

Bulldogs and Swans players made a guard of honour for Kirk as team-mates Adam Goodes and Ryan O'Keefe chaired him from the field.

He was beaten and battered, but the practising Buddhist retired a champion.

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