The Australian —

This story is from our network Source: AAP

Smith announces impending retirement

September 06, 2006

WESTERN Bulldogs utility Rohan Smith will retire at the end of this AFL season, whether or not he reaches the 300-game milestone.

Smith, 33, will play his 299th senior game in the elimination final against Collingwood at Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.

He confessed to breaking down in front of his teammates when telling them yesterday of his decision.

"I looked at Johnno and Westy and lost it," Smith said of long-time teammates Brad Johnson and Scott West.

But Smith appeared relaxed about his impending retirement as he sat next to Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade today.

"It is a sad day, but in saying that it's going to be a good day - we're looking forward to the finals series, not just one game but all of them," Smith said.

"If I finish on 299, I feel myself lucky to have played 299, not unlucky to have (missed) 300.

"The body is telling me my time is up and I'm a realist.

"I feel very privileged to have played for the Western Bulldogs."

Smith's parents are Bulldogs fans and he grew up in the area, also as a supporter of the club.

Eade paid tribute to the two-time All Australian as Johnson and West looked on at the media conference.

"Rohan has been one of the greats of the club and hopefully it's more than 299 games, which is this weekend - (hopefully) we can do the right thing," Eade said.

"His achievements have been sensational and he's been a great clubman."

Smith, known as Bubba, is a revered figure at Whitten Oval, and he said his only immediate goal was to beat the Magpies.

"We're just playing finals so whether Westy or I are playing our 299th game, it's really irrelevant," Smith said.

"The one major thing for me is (it's) not for Westy or me, it's for the team and we're going out there to win a final ... that's our sole focus."

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