Former North Melbourne captain Jack Ziebell will retire from the AFL at the end of the season.
Ziebell was drafted to the Kangaroos ahead of the 2009 season
He captained the Kangaroos in more than 100 matches
The 32-year-old says he has “given everything” to the Kangaroos during his time with the club
Ziebell, who has made 276 senior appearances as a one-club player, informed his Kangaroos teammates of his decision on Friday morning.
He was recruited by the Kangaroos with the number-nine pick in the 2008 national draft, before making his AFL debut in round one of the following season.
Ziebell was named Kangaroos captain ahead of the 2017 season and led the club in 111 matches before relinquishing the role.
“On one hand it’s always a hard decision to give up the thing you love the most, but on the other I think my body will thank me for it,” Ziebell said in a Kangaroos statement.
“From the time I walked into the place I’ve felt right at home and I’ve made some amazing lifelong friendships and connections. This is a special place and I’ll always cherish being part of the club.
“I’ve given everything I can for this footy club, but I think the time is right for me to pass the baton to others to take us forward.”
Kangaroos general manager of football Todd Viney, who only joined the club last off-season, said 32-year-old Ziebell had left his mark on the playing group.
“To watch him up close and see the leadership, ability to play through adversity and the team-first attitude has been a real privilege,” he said.
“I’ve only been here a short time in Jack’s 15-year journey but he’s been pillar of strength in what’s been a tough period and he’s been a great support to everyone at the club.”
Ziebell’s announcement comes as Alastair Clarkson prepares to take back the senior coaching reins following Sunday’s match against West Coast.
The four-time premiership coach took a break from his role at the Kangaroos in May to focus on his mental and physical wellbeing.
He stepped away from his coaching duties while he dealt with the fall-out from allegations of cultural insensitivity by First Nations players at his former club, Hawthorn.
Clarkson, current Brisbane Lions coach and former Hawthorn football boss Chris Fagan, and former Hawthorn staffer Jason Burt, all denied any wrongdoing and no findings were made against them in an AFL-commissioned investigation into the allegations.
The Kangaroos sit in 17th position on the AFL ladder, four points ahead of the bottom-placed Eagles.
They have won just two of their 18 matches this season.
Source: AFL NEWS ABC