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AFL news; Western Bulldogs premiership captain Easton Wood announces retirement


Easton Wood has retired. Picture: Ryan Pierse/AFL Media/Getty Images
Easton Wood has retired. Picture: Ryan Pierse/AFL Media/Getty Images

Western Bulldogs premiership captain Easton Wood has announced his shock retirement in the wake of last month’s AFL grand final loss to Melbourne.

The 32-year-old held the premiership trophy aloft in 2016, becoming just the second Bulldogs premiership captain as the club ended a 62-year drought.

Wood was a stand-in captain that season for injured club legend Robert Murphy, who famously also made it onto the dais at the MCG that day after victory over the Swans.

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Wood went on to be captain in 2018 and 2019 and finished his injury-interrupted career with 188 games over 14 seasons after being taken with pick 43 in the 2007 AFL draft.

The star defender was the Western Bulldogs’ best and fairest and All-Australian in 2015 but having battled multiple injuries, including ongoing hamstring issues, Wood decided to retire.

“After much thought I’ve decided to retire from the game I love so much, at a club which has been my home for 14 years,” he said.

“Whilst it’s been difficult to confront, the reality is I’ve athletically declined. I wanted to finish up on my own terms and I felt that if I declined further next year, I wouldn’t have that opportunity. I’m proud to go out as a member of the team and being part of an amazing run to get to the grand final.

“Having dealt with numerous injury setbacks over the last few years, in particular my troublesome hamstrings, I felt like the time was right to step away. I’m at peace with the decision, and I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my life.

“As I reflect on my career, I’m incredibly proud of my contribution to this special football club. To every person who has had an influence on my career, on or off the field, thank you for making me a better player and person.

“There have been some up and downs along the journey, but I’m leaving the game content that I gave everything I had, backed by my family, friends, and the loyal and passionate Bulldogs members and fans.

Easton Wood and Matthew Boyd celebrate the 2016 grand final win. Picture: Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images
Easton Wood and Matthew Boyd celebrate the 2016 grand final win. Picture: Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images

“The club is in such great hands, and I can’t wait to sit back and support the boys as a fan in the years to come.”

Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge lauded Wood for his sustained impact at Whitten Oval.

“We’ve been extremely fortunate to have Easton as part of our organisation for as long as we have,” he said.

“It’s not often we find a player who is universally admired for his football ability but also the impact he has on those around him. Easton has left a lasting impression on everyone associated with the club, and we’re better for having worked with him.

“Not only was he meticulous in his preparation and yearned to maximise his potential as a professional athlete, but he succeeded in being an influential leader and he always spent the time to make others better.

“It’s a shame that Easton didn’t have the opportunity to communicate the news and say his goodbyes directly to the players, coaches and staff, but we’ll find an opportunity to farewell him in person later this year.”

Western Bulldogs captain Easton Wood celebrates with the premiership cup. Picture: Alex Coppel.
Western Bulldogs captain Easton Wood celebrates with the premiership cup. Picture: Alex Coppel.

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