Close this search box.

Return match to be Hurley’s last

Bombers defender Michael Hurley will retire after Saturday's clash.

Essendon stalwart Michael Hurley has announced he will retire at the end of the 2022 season, but will fittingly get a farewell game this weekend against Richmond.

The 32-year-old told teammates of his decision on Thursday morning, meaning Saturday night’s match will be his 194th and final game.

Hurley suffered a life-threatening hip infection at the start of 2021 with his career appearing over, before he made a courageous return to the VFL five weeks ago.

He has since put together a strong run of form, earning him the chance to run out with the senior side one last time.

While he says he still has the passion for the game, the veteran believes it is the right time to hang up the boots.

“The decision has crept up a little bit, and at the start of the year, I really wanted to get back out there and play footy again. It was about the middle part of the year where I got close and in recent weeks, running out there and getting a kick again was just fantastic,” he said.

“Physically and mentally, I am feeling up for the challenge, but such a big operation and a big couple of years, and the uncertainty around whether physically I could still keep up with the rigours of AFL footy, it really set in that it was probably time to hang the boots up.”

The defender was one of the league’s top players in his prime, earning himself two All-Australian jackets in 2015 and 2017.

He was forced to have a year out of the game in 2016 due to Essendon’s supplements saga. However, he stayed loyal to the club amid the turmoil and returned in stellar form.

Hurley said he had formed some incredible relationships since joining the club in 2008 and that he was greatful for all the people that had contributed to his journey.

“The most important people at the club to me is my teammates. You come into the club every day and when you’re younger, you don’t fully understand how lucky you are in this job. All you guys in the room hold a place in my heart and my past teammates too,” he said.

“While it’s hard to name everyone individually, I’d also like to thank the admin staff, the property staff and particularly the medical staff, for patching me up for the last 14 years.”

Hurley’s return this Saturday night will give the Bombers a much-needed boost after a tumultuous week for the club, in which president Paul Brasher resigned following the team’s 84-point thrashing by Port Adelaide.

While reports emerged that the club was set to part ways with senior coach Ben Rutten, he has so far kept his position.

However, the Bombers are said to be circling highly sought-after coach Alastair Clarkson in the midst of an external review into their football operations.

Michael Hurley kicking by Flickerd available HERE and used under a creative commons license. The photo has not been modified.

Related Articles

Editor's Picks