by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
Melbourne's Joel MacDonald and Eagle duo Adam Selwood and Mark Nicoski have all announced their retirements. Neither MacDonald nor Nicoski will see out the season as injury has taken a toll. Selwood will see out the year.
MacDonald has not played a senior game since Round 10 due to hamstring, foot and groin injuries. MacDonald, a running defender, was originally drafted by Brisbane as a rookie and elevated to the senior list in 2003. He played 80 games with the Lions before being delisted at the end of 2009. The Demons picked him up in the preseason draft and he has played a further 44 games with Melbourne.
Football manager Josh Mahoney, who played 97 games with Collingwood, the Bulldogs and Port Adelaide, thanked MacDonald for his contributions and acknowledged his struggles to overcome injuries. Mahoney said MacDonald brought an "aggressive, competitive mindset" to every game he played.
Nicoski, 29, has battled injuries pretty much throughout his career. A shoulder injury late in 2004 prematurely ended his debut season. He managed 21 games in 2005 and played in the losing Grand Final. The running defender/wingman was in fine form in 2006 until cut down by an Achilles injury midway through 2006 and he missed the Eagles' Premiership that year. Shoulder and toe injuries restricted him to just five games in 2007. He then struggled for form early in 2008 but played 19 games. 2009 was another injury interrupted year as a back problem saw him play just 13 games. He played just 6 games in 2010 due to back problems. Nicoski fought his way back from adversity to play every game in 2011. He was moved to the half-forward line and kicked a respectable 41 goals for the season. He suffered a serious hamstring injury in the 2012 NAB Cup Grand Final, with several surgeries and complications sidelining him for the entire season. He has been playing in the WAFL all year but a serious wrist injury has ended his career.
Nicoski played 112 games and was a respected leader around the club. He said the damage to the right scapholunate ligament (critical to wrist function) is more severe than previous injuries. Ironically, it was fellow retiree Adam Selwood who became a best friend. Of his teammates and Adam he said, "I've sweated with them, I've bled with them, I've hurt with them, and I'm just temporarily saying goodbye to them now ... I walk away ... with a best friend in Adam ... When I injured my hamstring ... I had a couple of operations ... there was one consistent thing apart from my family and girlfriend ... Adam Selwood coming to visit ... I knew I had a special friend."
Coach John Worsfold said Nicoski's achievements were remarkable for someone coming off the rookie list and acknowledged his last full season as outstanding. Regarding Adam Selwood, Worsfold did not rule him out of senior contention before the season ends. Selwood has been battling ongoing back issues, playing just eight senior games this year.
Selwood did have better luck than best mate Nicoski, although a groin injury in his second season 2004 kept him out of all but three games. By 2005, he had established himself as a hard-running midfielder who could also play as a negating tagger or in defense. He was flying in 2010 before a midseason shoulder injury saw him miss six games during the remainder of the year. He bounced back strongly to play every game in 2012.
Worsfold said Selwood was one of the most reliable leaders whom the club rated very highly and described him as very consistent and dependable. Selwood, twin to former Lion Troy and older brother to teammate Scott and Geeong's Joel, said he rated team success above personal accolades. Of his career he said "fortunately ... I was able to find myself in the right team, playing the right role and we were able to win a Premiership."
Selwood, 29, has played 186 games including the 2006 Premiership. He was a Rising Star nominee in 2005, played in the International Rules series in 2006 and ran third in the club's Best and Fairest award in 2007 and 2008.
Source: sen.com.au, westcoasteagles.com.au, Encyclopedia of League Footballers, AFL Record Season Guides 2008-2013
Article last changed on Friday, August 23, 2013 - 7:46 PM EDT