Swan great calls time on incredible career
JARRAD McVeigh has announced his retirement at the end of the AFL season, bringing down the curtain on one of the greatest success stories in the history of the sport in Sydney.
McVeigh retires as a Swans premiership captain, an All-Australian and a 300-game player after 17 seasons.
He informed players of his decision this morning (Thursday) and it's been confirmed he will join the Sydney Swans coaching staff for the next season.
The 34-year-old has battled a chronic calf injury this year and has only managed five matches, but he is still fighting to return for a final round farewell match at the SCG against St Kilda, or perhaps before.
Aside from his body catching up with him in recent seasons, McVeigh's form has never dropped, and he has remained one of the Swans most important players until the very end.
The no-nonsense key defender is the second most capped Swan in history behind Adam Goodes and has been the heart and soul of the club for many years, even though he is no longer skipper.
McVeigh held the premiership cup aloft alongside coach John Longmire back in 2012, a triumph for the boy from Pennant Hills in Sydney's north.
There are few home grown Sydney players have gone on to achieve what McVeigh has in the game and that was recognised earlier this year when he was named in the Greatest NSW Team of All Time.
McVeigh debuted way back in 2004, but didn't fully establish himself until the 2007. A year later he was the Swans' best and fairest, an award he took out on two occasions.
The Swans have already farewelled fellow veteran Heath Grundy this year, and there is a feeling Kieren Jack may also hang up the boots.
Longmire paid tribute to McVeigh.
"I was very fortunate to arrive at the club at the same time that a young curly haired Jarrad McVeigh was first drafted. To see him develop from a young player with talent into an elite AFL player and leader, has been a great privilege," Longmire said.
"Jarrad has displayed the very best qualities that you could ever wish for in a player - he's talented, a fierce competitor, selfless, a great decision maker, strong leader, elite trainer, has first-class football knowledge and he's a fantastic teammate. Not to mention he's a wonderful husband and loving dad.
"As a coach, I'm forever indebted to how he has played and led this club. He walked into my office in 2011 when I first took over as coach and said that he wanted to lead the club. He was appointed co-captain with Adam Goodes, and the next year stood on the stage absolutely exhausted on Grand Final day and held the Premiership cup aloft - achieving his dream.
"He then continued on to set a great example for every single player that pulled on the red and white jumper. Jarrad has simply made as large an impact on and off the field as any player that we have had through this successful period.
"In addition to his leadership with the team, Jarrad has been an extremely trusted confidante for many years. In 2020, we are very fortunate that Jarrad will join the Sydney Swans coaching panel where he will continue to have a major influence on the club's next generation of young players."