RETIRING Adelaide stalwart Nathan van Berlo has urged the Crows to capitalise on their premiership window.
Former skipper van Berlo announced on Monday he would be hanging up the boots at the end of the season.
The 30-year-old has played 205 games for the Crows, but only three this season having been unable to recapture his best form.
With the entire playing group in attendance, van Berlo said his only regret was playing in three losing preliminary finals.
"There's been some missed opportunities, which is something you always looked back on," van Berlo said.
"I was guilty as a younger player – the first two years I came into the system we played two prelims – to think it's going to roll around like that every year.
"It certainly doesn't, you've got to make the most of every opportunity.
"I know our boys are primed and are ready to make the most of this opportunity knowing next year isn't guaranteed or the year after that."
The Crows take on North Melbourne in Saturday night's elimination final at Adelaide Oval.
While Adelaide's media release said van Berlo was retired effectively immediately from the AFL, he said he would continue to put his hand up for an unlikely recall.
The midfielder's last appearance was in the round 10 win against Greater Western Sydney.
"I probably made the decision (to retire) in July this year," van Berlo said.
"l spoke to some people in the footy world that I trust and had some strong opinions from in the past.
"They helped give me that clarity and in the end it was a pretty easy decision."
Van Berlo defended the timing of the announcement – five days ahead of an elimination final.
"We had these discussions as a football club and we came to a mutual agreement that the timing was the best to make the call now," he said.
"We made that decision together."
The Crows selected van Berlo with the 24th pick in the 2004 draft.
He became the first non-South Australian to captain the club when he was appointed to the top job in 2010.
Van Berlo led from the front until a freak training accident where he tore his Achilles during pre-season training forced him to miss the entire 2014 season.
"There were times where I was thinking, 'why me?' and elements of frustration, but at the end of the day, I had to try and get on with it as best I could," he said.
"I was a bit of a mess sometimes and that's culminated in the past 12 months.
"I've struggled to find the form I've expected of myself and that some of my teammates have come to expect of me over the years.
"I tried to be optimistic as I could to get back to the best form I could possibly play."
Van Berlo's immediate priority is becoming a father for the first time, with wife Jess due to give birth in the next week.
Beyond that, he will consider a career in football or property development having made his mark on the Crows.
"His footprint is as good as I've seen in the time I've been here," Crows head of football David Noble said.
"Nathan came through and captained in a really difficult period of time.
"What he's done behind the scenes has left an indelible mark on our playing group."