Collingwood’s 2010 premiership midfielder Luke Ball has announced he won’t play on in 2015.
The 30-year-old former Saint would have required back surgery to play next season, the Magpies said on Thursday in a statement.
Ball will play game No.223 on Friday night against Hawthorn at the MCG, as the ninth-placed Magpies attempt to qualify for next week’s finals series.
Pick No.2 in the 2001 draft, Ball won All-Australian, captaincy and club-champion honours with the Saints before joining Collingwood in 2010.
Ball met with Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley on Wednesday and the reality of fewer opportunities in 2015 was made plain to him.
“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.
“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.”
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.”