Tuesday, June 23, 2009

AFL: Michael O'Loughlin

Sydney's longest serving player, Michael O'Loughlin has announced that he will retire at the end of the season.
Flanked by coach Paul Roos at a press conference this afternoon, the 32-year-old key forward announced that his 15-season career in the AFL is coming to an end.
The future of O'Loughlin and many of his veteran teammates has been the topic of speculation all season, particularly as the Swans look towards youth as they appear set to miss the finals for the first time in seven years.
O'Loughlin told Roos of his decision yesterday, and his teammates this morning. He said that he knew it was time for him to call it quits.
After a late start to the year following off-season ankle surgery, O'Loughlin had said earlier in the season he was happy with his form and at that point would be looking to play on.
"I'm just thinking about the ankle and getting back and playing," he said upon his return to football.
"Last year was an OK year for me apart from injuring the ankle, and those games I did play I felt I had an impact so if I can keep doing that, we'll probably go another year. I'd like to, but that's too far away."As to what has changed his mind, that will be revealed this afternoon.
O'Loughlin has played a club record 293 games with the Swans and is scheduled for his 300th game against Richmond at the MCG on August 9.
He was recruited from the Central District club in Adelaide as a teenager in the 1994 draft, picked up by the Swans as a third round selection, the 40th pick overall.
He didn't need to wait long before making his senior debut, in round five of the next season in 1995, against Adelaide at the SCG, and the man who would be nicknamed 'Magic' kicked three goals in Sydney's big win over the Crows.
Since then he has added another 502 goals to be second only to South Melbourne legend Bob Pratt (681) on the Swans all-time list.
O'Loughlin played in a grand final in his second season, in a losing side against North Melbourne, and would play in two more, in 2006, and in the winning premiership side in 2005.
In 1998 he won the club's Best and Fairest award, and was runner-up in award 2000. He was also the Swans leading goalkicker in both 2000 (53 goals) and 2001 (35 goals), and won selection in the All-Australian team in both 1997 and 2000.On the Swans website, coach Paul Roos attributed O'Loughlin's recent poor form to difficulties gelling with new players

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