Corey Enright admits the tears after Geelong’s preliminary-final loss were a strong sign that his AFL career was over.
But the Cats’ great said he only made the final decision on Sunday, after a week of soul-searching and conversations with several people inside and outside the club.
The three-time Geelong premiership player announced his retirement on Wednesday, after a club-record 332 games.
Geelong’s season ended with the preliminary-final loss to Sydney and Enright cried as he walked off the MCG, heightening speculation that the end was imminent.
Enright also admitted he had been thinking throughout this season that it might be his last.
“It wasn’t until Sunday afternoon, after the grand final had finished and all the emotions had gone,” he said.
“But I guess being so emotional (after the preliminary final) actually tells you something – that maybe your time is up.
“So it probably did saying something to me, that my time was up, and I was thinking that way for most of the season.”
Enright is a six-time All-Australian player and has the rare distinction of earning the last of those selections in his final season.
He said there was a lot to ponder, given his form was still strong and the Cats would go into next season as premiership hopefuls.
“It wasn’t an easy decision, but (it’s) something I’m comfortable with right now,” he said.
“It was more about how I was feeling.
“I’m proud of the fact that I can go out on my terms and I guess still playing good footy, so that was something that sits pretty well with me.
“It wasn’t easy, playing in a preliminary final and getting so close, being a realistic chance next year to contend again.
“All those things, you take into consideration.”
Enright is unsure what he will do next – now the decision is made, he wants time to clear his head and have some family time.
The Cats wanted him to continue and Enright said several teammates had made that clear to him.
“It’s obviously hard when it comes from your teammates, who you love and you’ve played so much footy with,” he said.
“You hear them tug on your heartstrings a little bit and that clouds your decision, because you don’t want to let them down.”
After he told the club officially on Monday, Enright had a beer with captain Joel Selwood to explain the decision.
Not surprisingly, Enright also has the rare satisfaction of no major regrets about ending his career.
“I can sleep pretty well at night – I felt like I’ve given my all,” he said.