They say there is no better time to walk away than after wining a flag. I guess three of them in a row makes the decision even better.
Today, Queensland raised David Hale announced his retirement from the AFL following Hawthorn’s premiership win on Saturday.
Hale, who moved to the Gold Coast from Tasmania before his first birthday, played 237 games across his career, (129 with North Melbourne and 108 with Hawthorn) which included three premierships in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
He spent his junior football days at the Coolangatta Football Club, where he was selected in the Queensland Under 16 State Team and AFL AIS Academy Squad.
Hale moved to the Broadbeach Football Club in 2001, where he would also go on to represent Queensland in the Under 18 State Academy that year.
Hale’s presence in the ruck, mobility around the ground, and ability to stretch back-lines when forward saw him dominate games of football throughout 2001, resulting in him being picked by North Melbourne at pick 7 in the 2001 AFL Draft.
In 2008, just his second year of AFL, Hale took out the North Melbourne leading goal kicker award with 37 majors.
At the end of 2010, Hale was traded to the Hawthorn Football Club; a move that would reap rewards both personally and on a team front.
Playing predominately in the ruck for the rest of his career, Hale still managed to kick 98 goals across 108 games in the brown and gold.
His versatility meant he gave the Hawks first use in the middle, and caused headaches resting forward.
Following last Saturday’s win, Hale can now call himself a triple premiership player, something very few can boast.
A niggling groin injury hindered the 31 year old at times in 2015, but he leaves the game on a high, after a fantastic career.
Not only is Hale one of Queensland’s finest footballers, but will also be remembered as an outright star of the game.
By Andrew Wiles – @andrewjwiles