THE CURTAIN has finally fallen on Hawthorn premiership player and popular clubman Matt Spangher's career after 56 AFL games.

It has been an 11-year journey with more twists and turns than Victoria's Great Ocean Road since West Coast used pick No.34 to add the Victorian to its list at the end of 2005. 

That he leaves the Hawks as a fan favourite after representing AFL clubs in three states with a premiership is enough for the self-deprecating big man to chuckle down the phone from a house on the Mornington Peninsula.

"[The] statistics in my career are not that impressive, but the premiership is something I can always hang on to," Spangher said.

The 29-year-old knew the end was nigh six weeks ago after a ripped hamstring saw him play just five senior games in the two seasons that followed his key role in the Hawks' 2014 flag.

But he decided not to announce his retirement in case an offer worthy of consideration unexpectedly fell in his lap.

That such an offer was even considered a rough chance of eventuating says something about the respect Spangher gained playing at three different clubs in 11 seasons.

He became a cult figure among Hawks' fans, who reserved the biggest roar of the 2014 premiership celebrations for when Spangher received his long-awaited premiership medallion.

They saw him as a player who was prepared to do any job thrown his way, at whatever level he was needed, in a manner befitting the Hawks' team-first attitude.

It wasn't just his can-do attitude that won over fans however, it was his persistence and resilience after having sat on the sidelines during West Coast's 2006 flag, the Sydney Swans 2012 triumph and the Hawks 2013 win.

"Others got more kicks out of the story than me I think," Spangher told

"I was pretty determined during my time in the Hawks to play in one."

In that career-defining 2014 season, the seas parted for Spangher as the club began to consider him as a potential forward after Buddy Franklin went to the Swans.

Matt Spangher in action for the Eagles in 2009. Picture: AFL Photos

That he was in the selectors' minds was a start, but he was only able to cement his spot in the team as a defender when Brendon Bolton temporarily took over the reins from an ill Alastair Clarkson.

He hit packs hard, fought for the ball and played within his limitations, demonstrating extravagance only in the length of his flowing hair that gave him a biblical look.

"[I] proved to myself that I could actually play the game," Spangher said.

He played 15 games in 2014, four more than the next best of his career, resurrecting his fortunes with hard work and dedication.

Injuries plagued him at times, but he managed to commit himself in a manner that endeared him to teammates as well.

"If you can't have fun playing footy there is no point," Spangher said.

Now he hopes to take that approach into the next part of life, hoping to gain a toehold in sporting administration.
He finished a business degree, is nearing completion of a masters in sports management and spent one day a week in 2016 working with Netball Australia.

"[I'm] hoping to stay at a footy club in an administration or management role, particularly in footy operations," Spangher said.