BACKMAN Joel Macdonald has announced his retirement after 124 AFL matches, including 44 with Melbourne.
The 28 year-old will play one more match with Casey in the VFL, and then call it a day.
General manager of football operations Josh Mahoney acknowledged Macdonald’s achievement in the game.
“Joel has had a frustrating run of injuries this year. To play 11 seasons and 124 games of AFL puts Joel in a category which few AFL players achieve,” he told melbournefc.com.au
“Joel brought an aggressive, competitive mindset to every game that he played.
“We thank Joel for his contribution, and wish him the best in his future business interests.”
Macdonald, who played 80 games with the Brisbane Lions from 2004-09, came to Melbourne via the NAB AFL Pre-Season Draft, held in December 2009. He was the No. 1 pick.
Originally drafted from Aspley/Mt Gravatt in Queensland, Macdonald joined the Lions via the NAB AFL Rookie Draft, held in December 2002. He was claimed at No. 70.
A courageous player, Macdonald was admired for his tenacity and leadership. At his best, he was a dashing, rebounding defender and was a strong role player.
But injuries interrupted his career on several occasions – both at the Lions and Demons.
He represented Australian as an Under 17 in the International Rules series and then Queensland in the 2002 NAB AFL Under 18 championships, before having a fine first season as a rookie with the Lions.
Macdonald made his AFL debut in round 10, 2004 – coincidentally against Melbourne – at the Gabba. He quickly impressed with his efforts on Essendon great James Hird in just his third match.
He played in the Lions’ qualifying final win over St Kilda, and was an emergency in the Grand Final loss against Port Adelaide.
Macdonald missed much of 2006 and the start of the following year with a knee injury, but he bounced back to have his two best seasons in 2008-09.
Despite playing every home and away match for the Lions in 2009, Macdonald was cut down with a back injury in the finals. He was then surprisingly delisted at the end of the season, and Melbourne committed to him early.
He played 17 matches in his first season with the Demons in 2010 – his best in the red and blue.
Macdonald added one appearance this year – in round 10 against Hawthorn – but his season was ruined by hamstring, foot and groin injuries.
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