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Black calls time on a golden career

Michael Whiting  October 18, 2013 10:51 AM

Simon Black retires Key moments from Lions champ's emotional and classy announcement
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Lions champion Simon Black has called time on his glittering career


AN EMOTIONAL Simon Black says he wants to continue his football journey into the coaching ranks, and is likely to do so with the Brisbane Lions.

With new coach and former teammate Justin Lepptisch by his side, 34-year-old Black announced his retirement at the Gabba on Friday morning in front of his teammates, club staff and a packed media contingent.

Black said he changed his mind "probably 100 times" in recent weeks on whether to play a 17th season or not, but eventually his body said enough was enough.

The triple premiership player, Brownlow medallist and Norm Smith medallist played a club record 322 games and finishes as one of the code's most decorated players.

With his wife Catherine and son Lachlan watching on, Black had to pause numerous times to compose himself in his farewell address, but said a persistent knee injury took its toll.

"I sat out under the stars the other night and thought about it one last time. My body's been so good to me, it's about time I gave it a favour back," Black said.

"The (doctor's) feedback was if I continued to play, you run the risk of permanent long-term damage and that scared me to be honest.

"I could have run the gauntlet and done that (played on), but I sit here now, very comfortable in what I've been able to achieve over my career."

Black has been offered a contract to continue his stay at the Gabba in an assistant coaching role, but is yet to make a firm decision.

He will head to Perth on Saturday with his family for 10 days to ponder his future.

Leppitsch said he had discussed the scenario with Black even before he was announced as the Lions' head coach in late September.

"We were chatting as friends and I said 'if I do get this position, and you're worried about, if that's the clincher … just know if I get the job, I want you around," Leppitsch said.

"He always knew that a job would be available at the club. He's indicated he'd like to stick around in Brisbane.

"I'm sure there's eight or 10 clubs that have asked about his services so it's really up to Simon to whether he wants to leave the state to chase his coaching dreams originally or have his first three years at the Lions."

Black said he had a passion for developing young players and had enjoyed working with the young Lions list over the past couple of years.

"I'm really enthusiastic and passionate about trying to develop the next generation of footballers," Black said.

"I'm thrilled that Leppa's on board to be our new coach. I'm likely to go down the path of coaching and hopefully at the Brisbane Lions."

Lions captain and long-time friend Jonathan Brown said Black would be sorely missed and that he had a "hole in the heart" with his retirement announcement.

"For a bloke that was so decorated you expected him to be a big head, but the way he made younger players who came into our club from interstate feel so welcome, is one of his greatest legacies I reckon," Brown said.

"He's pretty keen to stay and he's got a young family and Cath's pregnant again, so hopefully they're not real keen to move.

"Certainly we'll be pushing for him to stay but I'm pretty confident he will."