DUAL premiership player Shannon Byrnes has announced his retirement from the AFL.
Byrnes’ decision is effective immediately, given he will miss the rest of the season with a foot injury.
Manager of football operations Josh Mahoney thanked Byrnes for his contribution.
“Although Shannon’s only had a short time at Melbourne Football Club compared to his career at Geelong, he has certainly had an impact on the club,” he said.
“Besides his on field contribution, Shannon’s experience and training standards have helped develop some of our younger players.
“His upbeat personality has been important during some tough times at the club and it’s no surprise that Shannon is looking at coaching opportunities and we are working with him on how that can be developed for the remainder of this season.”
The 30-year-old played 131 AFL matches, including 108 with Geelong from 2004-12 and 23 with Melbourne from 2013-14.
He played six games this year, with his last appearance coming in round eight against the Western Bulldogs at the MCG.
Byrnes then missed four matches from rounds nine to 13 with an ankle injury, before he returned for Casey in late June.
But his return game in the VFL lasted only seven minutes, when he suffered a foot injury, which has since sidelined him and forced his hand.
Although disappointed that injury has ended his career before the season’s end, Byrnes was philosophical about his time in the game.
“You can’t pick and choose when your injuries come. Some players get them a lot earlier in their career and I’ve had a pretty good run with injuries in my time,” he told melbournefc.com.au.
“I can’t really complain, but it’s disappointing that it’s come right towards the end of my career and I wasn’t able to play out the season.
“Upon reflection, I’ve had a pretty good run, so it’s a little bit bittersweet, but I’ll look back on my career with a lot more fond memories than disappointments.”
Byrnes, who joined Melbourne as an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2012 season, was a member at the start of Geelong’s golden era, playing in the 2007 and 2009 premiership sides.
Originally from Shepparton/Murray Bushrangers, Byrnes was drafted at No.40 in the NAB AFL Rookie Draft, held in December 2002.
He then made his AFL debut in round 16, 2004 against the Sydney Swans at Simonds Stadium.
Byrnes was also a member of Geelong’s pre-season premiership teams in 2006 and 2009.
In 2005, Byrnes received a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination.
Overall, Byrnes said he was proud of his career, which lasted for 11 senior seasons.
“When I first came down to the Geelong footy club, all I wanted to do was play one game of footy,” he said.
“You have to remind yourself that the dreams you have as a kid and as an 18-year-old, and all I wanted to do was play that one game. Then you want to play 50 and then it goes on from there.
“To think I’d still be playing the game at 30 years old, back then, would have been a bit of a dream. I’ve been lucky to play the game for as long as I have.”