Geelong Cats great and community champion Joel Selwood confirms retirement of the game

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Geelong Cats great and community champion Joel Selwood confirms retirement of the game

The announcement comes just four days after claiming his fourth premiership medallion and first flag as a skipper.

It’s official: Champion Geelong premiership captain and four-time premiership player Joel Selwood has announced his retirement this afternoon, leaving the game after 355 games.

Selwood announced the news at a media conference at GMHBA Stadium at 1pm today.

Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around the region here

“This is actually probably a little bit easier for me today than probably what most people would think,” he said.

“About six weeks ago, I decided this would be it, that I’d finish my playing days at the Geelong footy club win, lose or draw come the end of the year.

“It was a decision made amongst my manager, who I wanted to catch up with before round 23. We then decided, as I got him to ask a few of the current players on the list – Mitch, Tom Hawkins, Tom Stewart – over the year to just see how I’m going and if I should move on. I then touched base with Patty Dangerfield to see how he thinks I’m going, just through background chats and they’re as loyal people as you would get.

“They all wanted me to play on. It’s not going to be the case. I went to Tommy and I decided we should speak to Hock and get his opinion.

“He said the same thing, it’s up to me whether I go on and I decided, out of that, that I could go probably at 85% next year and everyone would look after me but I had to be all in and I just couldn’t do that.

“To have been able to play 16 years with the club I grew up loving is truly a dream come true,” Selwood said.

“To arrive at the club in 2006 and to share the field with so many great players and to have enjoyed the successes together is better than I could ever have imagined. And to cap it off on Saturday with the premiership was a great way to finish.”

Off the back of the Geelong Cat’s premiership win over the weekend, Selwood has become the only player in the club’s history to win four flags, becoming the club’s games record holder. He is also the club’s third consecutive premiership captain to retire after leading his club to a flag, with rumours of his retirement swirling since the emotion he showed when his teammates celebrated his last quarter goal against Sydney. A special moment for what was his last ever AFL game.

While playing 355 games for the Cats, the 34-year-old Bendigo-born skipper captained the club for 245, a VFL/AFL record for most games captained.


While a leader on the field, it’s Selwood’s presence within the local community that has us most impressed. To cap off a huge year, Selwood was announced as the winner of the 2022 Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award at this year’s Brownlow, being recognised for his dedication and commitment to community engagement. From the beginning of his career, 16 years ago, Selwood prioritized showing up for his community and has not stopped since. Since his first day playing AFL he has visited schools, clubs, Auskick clinics, community camps, country days, and community appearances, passing 1000 hours with Cat’s Community commitments, and that’s just the recorded hours.

Selwood contributed over 20 hours of official community commitments delivery the club’s GHMBA Health Heroes program and embraced his role as a lead ambassador. Selwood has helped empower primary school-aged children in the region to lead healthy, active lifestyles, with an additional focus on mental health and wellbeing. In addition Selwood is a champion for inclusion and played a key role in launching the AFL Barwon region Access All-Abilities Auskick Clinics last November.  He has been a NAB Auskick Ambassador for most of his career. He is a key figure in annual community camps and is also an ambassador for the Cotton On Foundation.

Selwood routinely goes above and beyond what is expected of him, exemplified in his willingness to fulfill any Cats Wish that comes his way. Whether it’s a personalised message, time spent chatting with a fan, or inviting them into the inner sanctum on match day and making them feel welcome, Selwood always brings 100% to his interactions.

This is clearly shown through to his behaviour over the weekend.

The Cats great also won the hearts of people all over the world – footy fan or not – for his acts in the Grand Final both before and after the game. First, there was the special, tear-jerking moment before the game when Cats champion Gary Ablett Jr.’s son Levi was carried onto the field by Selwood, leading the premiers onto the MCG. Then, following the Cats magnificent win, Selwood accepted his premiership medal and handed the Auskicker his game-day boots. He also celebrated with the group of Auskickers in the post-match celebrations.

Finally, our favourite moment, was when the captain shared a special moment with the club’s ‘waterboy’ Sam Moorfoot after spotting him in the crowd. Selwood was walking around the MCG celebrating with fans when he spotted Moorfoot – who has Down Syndrome and has been acting as the club’s water boy during training sessions for a number of years. Bringing Moorfoot onto the field, Jeremy Cameron then draped his premiership medal around Moorfoot’s neck as Selwood put his arm around him and saluted the crowd.

Absolute class. I’m not crying, you are.


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Here’s to you Joel Selwood. Geelong, as a community, is forever grateful.

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