North Melbourne veteran Jack Ziebell has been flooded with messages from AFL fans after delivering a tearful retirement announcement on Friday. Ziebell broke down while revealing his retirement plans to the Kangaroos playing group before training on Friday morning.
During an emotional speech, the popular 276-game veteran admitted that he couldn't physically hold up to the brutal demands of AFL footy, adding that his body would thank him after making the tough call to bring the curtain down on his career. Ziebell says he will walk away from the game knowing he's given his all right up until his final game.
"On one hand it's always a hard decision to give up the thing you love the most, but on the other I think my body will thank me for it," Ziebell said. "From arriving at Arden Street as a chubby 17-year-old to leaving as a bit of a banged-up 32-year-old, I feel content, I feel proud and I feel grateful.
"Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd play over 275 AFL games and be fortunate enough to captain our great club for over six years. To start and finish as a one-club player is something I'll be forever grateful for.
"I've given everything I can for this footy club, but I think the time is right for me to pass the baton to others to take us forward. I truly believe we have the building blocks to eventually go far as a club.
"I think back to those finals wins in 2014 and '15 and how amazing the feeling around the club was, and I know those times aren't too far away."
Ziebell took over the captaincy role at the club in 2017 season and led the Roos out in 111 matches before stepping aside from the role before this season. The versatile veteran was destined to be a leader at North Melbourne from a young age after joining the club's leadership group at 21, having been taken by the Kangaroos with pick No.9 as a 17-year-old in the 2008 national draft.
Known as a combative and no-nonsense player, Ziebell has featured as forward and defender for the Roos. Over the course of his 14 seasons with the club, Ziebell has kicked 183 goals in his 276 games.
AFL world celebrates career of Jack Ziebell
North Melbourne general manager of football Todd Viney said Ziebell's wealth of experience and presence on the footy field would be sorely missed. "I can remember watching Jack from afar and thinking that he's my kind of footballer," Viney said.
"To watch him up close and see the leadership, ability to play through adversity and the team-first attitude has been a real privilege. "I've only been here a short time in Jack's 15-year journey but he's been a pillar of strength in what's been a tough period and he's been a great support to everyone at the club."
“It’s typical of Jack that he wanted to do what’s best for North Melbourne in making this call and it’s this selfless approach that will help us get back to contending for silverware.” Viney's sentiment was echoed across the AFL world as fans paid tribute for a player renowned for his toughness and bravery.
— james duke (@jamesduke12345) July 28, 2023
— Suzanne Olsen (@suzannelolsenau) July 28, 2023
Jack Ziebell thank you for everything bloody legend
— Jarrod Crispin (@JarrodCrispin) July 28, 2023
All the best to Jack Ziebell in retirement! A courageous leader, a team-first player and most importantly a #SuperCoach SEAGULL 🥰🥰
You will be missed by footy fans and coaches all around the nation alike! RN
— Third Man Up (@Third_ManUp) July 28, 2023
Enjoyed watching and writing about Jack Ziebell throughout a fine career. The Mitta Mitta Mountain Men produced a good one. https://t.co/8x9ItJFTR6
— Courtney Walsh (@walshcee) July 28, 2023
Well done Jack Z Heart & Soul player. Loved it when you ran through Riewoldt cost you a few games!!!
— Bernborough (@Bernbourgh1) July 28, 2023
— Matt Caddy (@Matt_Caddy) July 28, 2023
Well done @jackziebell no one can ever question your commitment and passion to the North Melbourne Football Club you genuinely gave it your all. Congratulations on a great career you’ve made your family and us members and supporters very proud.
— Cam Marshall (@MultiCamSitcom) July 28, 2023
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