DUAL premiership player Brad Sewell has announced his retirement at Hawthorn's best and fairest count on Saturday night after being told he would not be offered a contract for 2015.
The 200-game veteran will hang up the boots after the Hawks asked him to make way for the club's young midfielders next season.
Sewell received a standing ovation as he took to the stage and delivered an emotional farewell to the 1300-strong crowd at Crown Palladium.
"As one door closes, another one opens, and what exactly that means for me I'm unsure of just yet," Sewell said.
"I will take the time to work that out and I sincerely look forward to my next journey, safe in the knowledge that I have had the best possible grounding any man could ask for.
"I can't actually articulate how thankful I am to all of you for your support.
"The memories and feelings you have left me with I shall one day share with my grandchildren with the utmost delight and reverence."
The 30-year-old, who was agonisingly overlooked for the Hawks' Grand Final triumph over the Sydney Swans, hailed the club's turnaround under coach Alastair Clarkson.
Sewell joined the Hawks through the rookie draft in 2003 and played his entire career under the now three-time premiership coach as the Hawks climbed off their knees to become arguably the greatest team of the past decade.
"Obviously this year didn't finish as well as I would have personally liked," Sewell said.
"This past week has almost been an out-of-body experience, almost surreal to some extent.
"Yet, no matter how difficult it was to watch unfold … it was impossible not to enjoy that win.
"The manner in which we operated that day was unlike anything we've seen – and I say operated because it was surgical.
"And, in an odd way, it was with a rising sense of pride that I watched the game.
"The development of our players and our systems over the past five years manifested itself for all to see on that day."
Brad Sewell after the qualifying final win over Geelong - his 200th and final game. Picture: AFL Media
Hawthorn captain Luke Hodge lavished praise on one of his most loyal lieutenants who he labelled a "big-game player" and one of the best stoppage players in the AFL.
President Andrew Newbold said it had been a difficult decision to part with a club favourite.
"He's played a fantastic role for our footy club both on and off the field," Newbold told Channel Nine earlier on Saturday night.
"The way he prepares is just outstanding and he's a shining light for all other players."
Sewell battled a series of hamstring injuries through 2014, but notched his 200th game in the club's qualifying final against Geelong.
However, he lost his place in the team when half-back Matt Suckling returned for the preliminary final against Port Adelaide.