Magpie Luke Ball Opts For Retirement

Collingwood premiership player Luke Ball no longer wants to kick on into 2015 and has instead announced an end to his 12-year AFL career.

Ball backtracked on comments earlier in the week saying he’d like to play on a final season, citing a need for surgery to heal an injured back as the reason for his decision.

“I still have the competitive will to play on but the team is evolving and physically I know I need everything to go right to meet my expectations and the standard required by the team,” Ball said in a statement on Thursday.

“I’m at peace with the decision. If I step back and consider the sweep of my career, I’ve got so much to appreciate and be thankful for.

“I love the game and I want to leave loving it.”

Ball will line up for game No.223 when the Magpies take on Hawthorn at the MCG on Friday night with Collingwood in desperate need of a win to have any chance to slide into the eighth and final spot alongside the league’s teams playing into September.

Drafted No.2 in 2001 between another pair of champions in Luke Hodge and Chris Judd, coach Nathan Buckley described Ball as an inspirational figure.

“It was always going to take a train to stop him, and in the end, it did,” Buckley said.

“You could never ask for more from ‘Bally’ in terms of his preparation, the example he sets, the standard he holds himself to and the effort he brings.”

Ball’s solid 2014 season has seen him average 18 disposals and four marks in 16 games for the Pies after a career high of 22 per contest with the Saints in 2005

Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images


// ad on openWeb