Josh Fraser
Josh Fraser

Veteran ruckman Josh Fraser has announced his retirement from AFL football after 218 games with Collingwood and Gold Coast.

The 30-year-old was emotional when he informed team-mates and coaches of his decision before Wednesday's main training session.

"It was sad, but just a fantastic reception for him and what he's been able to do for this football club on and off the field," coach Guy McKenna said.

It brings to a close a career that began when he was selected by the Magpies as the No.1 pick at the 1999 AFL Draft.

After 11 seasons and 200 games, Fraser came to the Gold Coast as one of the club's first uncontracted player signings.

Despite playing just 18 matches for the Suns over two years, McKenna said Fraser brought immense value to Carrara in ushering in a new generation of big men.

Zac Smith, Charlie Dixon, Daniel Gorringe, Tom Hickey and Tom Nichols all worked closely with Fraser in his time with the expansion club, and the fruit of his work is already starting to show.

"I'm sure all our young rucks are better people and our club is a better place for having Josh Fraser in it," McKenna said.

"From a playing point of view you can (ask) was he worth it? But the games he did play, he performed and did what he had to do," McKenna said.

"He probably wasn't in our best six a lot but off-field, and in the NEAFL competition, what he's been able to do for our young rucks is certainly fast-track them into becoming bonafide ruckmen.

"I think he'd put his hand up and say he doesn't have the output of a Gary Ablett or Nathan Bock or Jarrod Harbrow, but his calming influence and his tutelage to our younger rucks (has helped them grow)."

However, Fraser will not be gifted a farewell game against Adelaide this weekend after McKenna told him mid-season that, barring injury to the rest of the club's ruckmen, he would not get an opportunity.

"I said unless all the young rucks are falling over, Josh, this is where it's at - we're going to play these kids ahead of you," the coach said.

"He took that on board, didn't like it - (but) you wouldn't have missed a beat with him. He's trained hard and put himself up ... even though he knew the answer."

But Fraser's time on the Gold Coast may not be up, as McKenna left the door ajar for a possible position as a coach at the club.

"That's something we've got to address at the end of the season. I think he'd be a good fit," he said.

"He's articulate, he knows football and I think he's got the balance right to make a good coach. I think he can be hard when he has to be and can cuddle when you need to."


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