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Gilbee: Dogs in good shape

Sportal August 21, 2012, 10:25 am
Lindsay Gilbee

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Retiring Western Bulldog Lindsay Gilbee has claimed the culture at Whitten Oval under Brendan McCartney is the most positive he's experienced in his 13-year stint at the club.

Gilbee and fellow 1999 draftee Ryan Hargrave will end their careers at the end of the season, with the former finishing up on 206 matches, while Hargrave can add to his 203 as he is expected to return from suspension against Geelong on Sunday.

Despite the Dogs' nine-game losing streak - their worst run in nine years - Gilbee claimed the Brendan McCartney-led side enjoyed a positive culture despite their on-field woes.

"We are building a great culture... off-field, (it) is the best it's ever been," Gilbee told ''AFL.com.au''.

Both Hargrave and Gilbee played in all the Bulldogs' 11 finals since 2001, including being a part of the side that fell agonisingly short of reaching a grand final with three consecutive losing preliminary finals between 2008 and 2010.

Gilbee said his decision to retire was not based on his body failing him, but his inability to give the club his all this season, as he has appeared just four times in the seniors in 2012 - and has been ruled out of a farewell game due to a hip injury.

"It's not so much physical - my body's really good - it's more trying to give yourself to the cause every day, 100 per cent, which you've got to do in this job," Gilbee said.

Hargrave said while the decision was not easy to give up the game he has devoted himself too for 13 years, making the decision was a load off his shoulders.

"It wasn't an easy thing to come to, but once I made the decision I was pretty happy. Probably a bit of relief in the end," Hargrave said, also speaking to the AFL's official website.

"Not the way you want to go out, but you've got to go out sometime."

Gilbee was taken with pick 43 in the 1999 National Draft, with Hargrave taken at no. 66 later the same day.

Half-back Gilbee was recruited after plying his trade at Eastern Ranges in the TAC Cup, while Hargrave came over to the Dogs from Perth.

The pair are among 20 players who have represented the Bulldogs 200-plus times, alongside current team-mates Daniel Giansiracusa and Robert Murphy.

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