Western Bulldogs Premiership captain Easton Wood has called time on his AFL career.
The 32-year-old leaves the game as a one-club player, having represented the Bulldogs 188 times over 14 seasons, after being taken with pick 43 in the 2007 AFL Draft.
His on-field achievements include a Charles Sutton Medal and an All-Australian blazer in 2015, and the honour of being Club captain in 2018 and 2019.
He was instrumental in the Bulldogs’ 2016 flag season, becoming just the second Premiership skipper in the Club’s history.
Off the field he was just as instrumental, representing the Bulldogs brilliantly in his role as a delegate and later a board member of the AFL Players’ Association, and as an ambassador for long-standing Club partners, including the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation.
After careful consideration, Wood decided the time was right to step away from the game.
“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,” he 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.
“Having dealt with numerous injury setbacks over the last few years, in particular my troublesome hamstrings, I felt like the time was right to step away. I’m at peace with the decision, and I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my life.
“As I reflect on my career, I’m incredibly proud of my contribution to this special football club. To every person who has had an influence on my career, on or off the field, thank you for making me a better player and person.
“There have been some up and downs along the journey, but I’m leaving the game content that I gave everything I had, backed by my family, friends, and the loyal and passionate Bulldogs members and fans.
“The Club is in such great hands, and I can’t wait to sit back and support the boys as a fan in the years to come.”
Bulldogs’ senior coach Luke Beveridge lauded Wood for his sustained impact at VU Whitten Oval.
“We’ve been extremely fortunate to have Easton as part of our organisation for as long as we have,” he said.
“It’s not often we find a player who is universally admired for his football ability, but also the impact he has on those around him. Easton has left a lasting impression on everyone associated with the Club, and we’re better for having worked with him.
“Not only was he meticulous in his preparation and yearned to maximise his potential as a professional athlete, but he succeeded in being an influential leader and he always spent the time to make others better.
“It’s a shame that Easton didn’t have the opportunity to communicate the news and say his goodbyes directly to the players, coaches and staff, but we’ll find an opportunity to farewell him in person later this year.
“We wish Easton, Tiff, Tilly and Freddie all the best, and they will be forever welcome at our club.”