24/08/2007 4:39:01 PM
Port Adelaide premiership forward Josh Mahoney has announced his retirement as an AFL player, but he still hopes to build on his three-club 97-game career this season and is keen to be an assistant coach next year.
Mahoney, who will be 30 on October 31, played 19 games with Collingwood in 1997-98, 11 with the Western Bulldogs in 1999-2000 and has had 67 with Port since 2004 when he played in the Power's first AFL premiership team.
"It hasn't been a typical career but that's made me stronger throughout and I hope that everyone's learned something from what I've done in my career," Mahoney said at Alberton Oval on Friday after advising teammates of his pending retirement. "If you keep sticking to it and never give up, sometimes good things happen.
"I've been lucky enough to have been involved in AFL footy for over 10 years, starting at Collingwood in 1997, to spend a couple of years there, be traded to the Bulldogs and then to be delisted at the age of 23, and always having the dream of one day getting the chance to play AFL footy again.
"Then this club, Port Adelaide, came along, which I didn't know too much about, to tell you the truth. They gave me a few phone calls and asked if I'd be interested in resurrecting my career, and that they'd give me a one-year contract and maybe a chance to play in five or 10 games, and I jumped at that.
"To be sitting here now, four years later, with a premiership medal draped around my neck, I could not be more proud of what I've done."
Mahoney said Port, now second on the AFL ladder, had 'a chance of making an impact in the last part of this year' and he would be doing everything he could to get back into the side.
"If it does or doesn't happen, I know we've got a great group here that's all pushing in the right direction and looking at making something special in 2007," he said.
Port coach Mark Williams paid a glowing tribute to Mahoney, saying: "His impact on this club is not measured in games, goals or premierships - it's what he's done for the rest of the group. He's selfless, puts everyone in front of himself and hasn't made an enemy amongst anyone at the club.
"I know my wife treats him as her favourite in terms of what he brings to the group, how genuine he is and what a gentleman he is.
"It's shouldn't be dismissed easily that he has had a very difficult career of knocks and doing the hard yards, but he's a great example anyone can look at, that no one can complain about their lot in footy if they look at Josh and see what he had to endure to get to the top of the mountain.
"As he said to the boys a minute ago, he might not have been blessed with everything, but what he did come with was that he never gave up and tried really hard, and if you can start with that, you're a fair chance of making it. By announcing it, he certainly hasn't done his chances of playing in the next few weeks any harm."
Mahoney, who admitted to 'shedding a fair few tears' when he told Port players