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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Veteran Collingwood defender Simon Prestigiacomo announced his retirement in early November after 15 years and 233 games. He was a first round draft selection in 1995, making his debut in 1996 and developing into an excellent defender with discipline, reliability and courage. His ability to play on despite injury earned the respect of teammates and opponents alike. Prestigiacomo played in Collingwood's 2002 and 2003 Grand Finals, both losses to then powerhouse Brisbane. He was named to play in the 2010 Grand Finals, but unselfishly stepped aside to allow young up and coming defender Nathan Brown to play.

He thanked the club for the support they showed him during his illustrious career and described it as " a long and very enjoyable journey.” Coach Mick Malthouse praised Prestigiacomo, saying he had held the defense together and been a great contributor to the club and their success.He said Prestigiacomo was one of the best people he had met, someone who got on well with all his teammates and would do anything for them.

Malthouse also announced that from next season onward, the club's first draft pick would be given Prestigiacomo's number 35 guernsey for one season. Another Collingwood great, Peter Daicos, also wore number 35.

Source: Nick Hulett, Club Media Release

Article last changed on Friday, November 19, 2010 - 8:08 PM EST

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