Fremantle will lose two of their most loyal servants at the end of the season, with veterans Shane Parker and Troy Cook today announcing their retirements.
The largely unheralded Parker is one of just two inaugural Dockers still at the club, while Cook started his AFL career with Sydney but returned to Perth to join Fremantle, becoming one of the club’s most loved players.
Parker is recovering from a hamstring injury and has already played his last game for Fremantle, while Cook will hang up his boots at the end of the season.
The quietly spoken Parker fashioned a career with a unique versatility that enabled him to play defensive roles on both key forwards and small goalsneaks, although he admitted the prospect of playing on some of the game’s biggest names caused some restless nights.
Fremantle’s games record holder with 237, Parker was very matter of the fact about his decision.
“I probably started the year thinking it would be my last year,“ Parker said.
“As it sort of went along, a few things didn’t go quite right and then towards the end with my hamstring I was always going to struggle to play the year out and there was no way I could continue.
“I am satisfied I have taken that as far as I can and don’t have any questions as to how much further I can go.
“I don’t think I’ll have any problems sleeping at night.”
Cook, on the other hand, admitted he was very emotional when he informed his teammates of the decision today.
The rugged, no-frills midfielder will play his 149th game for the Dockers against Melbourne tomorrow.
Cook, who will be granted life membership regardless of whether he plays the following week, said he reached his decision after recent discussions with Fremantle chief executive Cameron Schwab and interim coach Mark Harvey.
“It all sort of came about in the last 24-48 hours, it seemed the right time for me to leave the game,” he said.
“Knowing that you have to say goodbye to the game and your mates is probably the hardest thing about football, I found out.”
Cook said he was proud to have played so much footy, having also notched 43 games with the Swans before joining Fremantle in 2000, winning the club’s fairest and best award in his first season with the Dockers.
“Being tagged as a player who can’t really kick and is not that quick around the ground, to play over 190 games is good, from where I sit,” he said.
Cook said he would consider playing on in the WAFL and could look for an off-field role with Fremantle, while Parker made it pretty clear he was looking forward to a complete break from the game.
Parker’s retirement means fellow veteran Shaun McManus is the last of the inaugural Dockers.
Dockers captain Matthew Pavlich said it was an emotional day for the club.
“We are talking about guys who everyone at the club has so much respect and admiration for,” he said.
“They are so tremendously popular and just terrific blokes.
“They are great players that put their hearts and bodies on the line each week for a very long time and did so with aplomb.”