Prestigiacomo calls it quits - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Prestigiacomo calls it quits

By Guy Hand 10/11/2010 04:49:18 PM Comments (0)

It wasn't any of the 233 AFL games Collingwood's Simon Prestigiacomo played that won him the greatest plaudits on his retirement - rather the one he didn't.

As the Magpies' longest-serving player exited AFL after 15 years and approaching his 33rd birthday, his selfless decision to come clean about a groin injury on grand final eve became his career-defining moment.

Prestigiacomo called it his career lowlight. He missed this year's grand final, the replay and the much longed-for premiership medal that came with it.

Those around him at Collingwood nominated it a highlight - and in their opinion a mark of the man.

"There's not been a more selfless person to play for the Collingwood Football Club ... and that means everything at our club," Magpies president Eddie McGuire said as Prestigiacomo announced his retirement surrounded by teammates in Melbourne on Wednesday.

The fullback had been considering his future since the Magpies' premiership win, but felt his time had come after playing just 13 matches in 2010 because of niggling injuries.

The latest and last was to his groin - damaged in training on the Wednesday before the grand final and aggravated further on match eve.

After getting through a final training session without anyone noticing his injury, he decided to tell coach Mick Malthouse he was not fit enough to stop St Kilda danger man Nick Riewoldt on the big day.

"I suppose it was probably the lowest point of my career, but I'll look back on that decision with a bit of pride," Prestigiacomo said.

"I sort of realised I made the right decision the day after when it was sore and I was hobbling around.

"I to-ed and fro-ed (about retirement) for a few weeks.

"Mentally I was a bit drained, the body was starting to take its toll a bit, so it was probably the right time."

The Magpies will acknowledge Prestigiacomo by handing his No.35 jumper to their first-round national draft pick each year.

Prestigiacomo, himself a first-round pick in the 1995 draft, played in both Collingwood's 2002 and 2003 losing grand final sides.

Prestigiacomo is initially set to move into mortgage broking with Collingwood sponsor Aussie Home Loans rather than take on a football-related role in retirement.

Malthouse said Prestigiacomo's departure - which follows the retirements of fellow veterans Tarkyn Lockyer, Paul Medhurst and Shane O'Bree and the move of Josh Fraser to Gold Coast - was a sad day for the premiers.

"Simon is among the best people and players I've encountered in football," Malthouse said.

"He gets on well with his teammates, does everything for them, and it was a great shock and dismay when ... Simon said I'm not ready to go in the first grand final.

"He played all his life for that moment.

"This is a massive hole in our football club. Simon leaves a massive legacy, and when you leave a legacy, you leave a hole."

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