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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Demon captain James McDonald has announced that he will retire after Melbourne's Round 22 game. It was a mutual decision reached between McDonald, Coach Dean Bailey and club president Jim Stynes. McDonald said he felt he could have gone on for another season but that he was comfortable with the club's decision to give younger players more game time. McDonald, 33, said that it had been an honor to captain the club and that missing out on playing in the 2000 Grand Final through injury was his biggest disappointment.

Coach Dean Bailey praised McDonald for his leadership skills and as a legend of the club. He said that McDonald had been more than just a captain, describing McDonald as "... a great bloke." Stynes, who played alongside McDonald until his own retirement at the end of 1998, described McDonald as "... one of the most courageous players ..." he had played alongside. He recalled a game against Carlton in 1998 when "... this young, skinny kid bobbed up ..." and helped put the Demons in front to win the game.

McDonald, who was elevated from the rookie list in 1997, took over the captaincy midway through 2008 when David Neitz was forced to retire due to a neck injury. He was formally appointed captain the following season.

2006 was perhaps his best season. He won the club's championship award and was named All-Australian. He won the club best and fairest award again in 2007. For a time, he was nicknamed "Junior" due to his older brother Anthony also being in the side. Another brother, Alex, played for Collingwood and Hawthorn.

Through Round 21, McDonald has played 250 games and kicked 56 goals.

Source: smh.com.au, afl.com.au, theage.com.au

Article last changed on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 4:13 PM EDT


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