Western Bulldogs premiership captain Easton Wood says fear of letting down the AFL club next year was the driving factor behind his decision to retire.
- Easton Wood was the 43rd pick in the 2007 draft
- The 32-year-old retires as one of only two premiership captains in Western Bulldogs history
- Wood says he is “at peace with the decision”
Wood, who famously skippered the Dogs to their fairytale 2016 flag triumph, had one year left to run on his contract.
But on Friday he announced he had called time on a career that spanned 188 games over 14 seasons.
The 32-year-old defender dealt with numerous injuries in recent years, including hamstring and ankle setbacks through the middle of the 2021 season.
He fought his way back into the side in time to help the Dogs reach a second grand final this year, where they fell short against Melbourne.
“After much thought I’ve decided to retire from the game I love so much, at a club which has been my home for 14 years,” Wood said.
“Whilst it’s been difficult to confront, the reality is I’ve athletically declined.
“I wanted to finish up on my own terms and I felt that if I declined further next year, I wouldn’t have that opportunity.
“I’m proud to go out as a member of the team and being part of an amazing run to get to the grand final.”
Wood said he was “at peace with the decision” and “looking forward to the next chapter in my life”, including spending more time with wife Tiff and their two young children.
Wood won a club best-and-fairest award and All Australian selection in 2015 but will be best remembered as one of only two premiership captains in Bulldogs history so far, having taken the reins from injured skipper Bob Murphy early in 2016.
The Dogs won four consecutive finals that year and rose from seventh to end a 62-year wait — which was then the longest flag drought in the competition — and claim the flag.
Wood assumed the captaincy full time for two seasons from 2018 before handing over to Marcus Bontempelli.
Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said Wood had been admired for both his football ability and impact off the field.
“We’ve been extremely fortunate to have Easton as part of our organisation for as long as we have,” Beveridge said.
Wood was initially selected by the Bulldogs with pick 43 in the 2007 national draft.