Fremantle veteran Des Headland has today announced his retirement as an AFL player.

Constant battles with injury forced Headland to end his career after 166 games, 114 with Fremantle and 52 with Brisbane.

His final game came in last Friday night’s Semi-Final loss to Geelong at the MCG, where he injured his left knee early in the first quarter.

Headland had not played an AFL game since round 4 this season after injuring his right knee. The 29-year-old said it was a case of the body not willing to do what the mind wanted.

“It’s been frustrating not being able to get out on the park in the past three years,” he said.

“I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. I felt like I could do it, but I just couldn’t do it.”

Headland said the thought of doing another pre-season, only to get injured again weighed heavily on his decision to retire.

“Mentally, I just didn’t want to do it again,” he said.
“If I went round another year and got injured again I don’t think I would have coped very well.”

Headland said he will now turn his attention towards another passion of his, mentoring Indigenous youth.

“I was a young kid once, and I was lucky enough to fulfil my dreams,” he said.

“I’ll look to steer the Indigenous youth in the right direction and help guide them towards achieving their own dreams, whatever they may be.”

Headland said, without doubt, the highlight of his career was winning the 2002 Premiership with the Lions.

“It’s something I can sit back about and think about more often, now that I’m retired,” he said.

“It was a very proud moment of my life and something that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”

What he will miss most about being at Fremantle are the friendships he has made during his time at the club.

“I’ll miss hanging around the boys and having a laugh with them,” he said.|

“The list has changed over the past few years. I’m going to miss being around the young boys and seeing them develop into great players.

“I’ll still be able to watch them, but I’ll miss the one-on-one time with them. I’m really looking forward to watching them play.”

Headland also thanked all of his fans for their support over the journey, especially during the past three years.

“It’s been frustrating times, not being able to get out there, but everyone has been very supportive, hoping I’d get out there and play,” he said.

“To all those fans out there, I’m sure there are going to be much happier times in the future with Fremantle because they are going to be a great team.”

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