Cats veteran Matthew Scarlett in action against Fremantle in the elimination final. Photo: Paul Rovere
MATTHEW Scarlett's retirement announcement has been confirmed exactly as expected: not at a tearful press conference but simply in a statement to supporters.
The champion full-back said he had relished his 15 seasons at Geelong, which included three premierships, but he felt it was now timely he devote more attention to his family.
"There is no doubt that being an AFL player is a great lifestyle. However there are other people that are impacted by the demands of the game. Number one among them are my family," he said today.
"My wife Milla, and children Tayla, Charlie, Oliver and Harry, have been amazingly supportive. I couldn't have enjoyed the career that I have had without their unwavering support and understanding. Now is a time that I am looking forward to spending with them and enjoying many of the things that I had to pass up when I was a player."
Scarlett, 33, was named in the All-Australian team six times — four came in his last six seasons, during the Cats' golden era — was his club's best and fairest in 2003 and was a three-time runner-up for that award.
Scarlett unsurprisingly cited the 2007, 2009 and 2011 premierships as career highlights, yet he also insisted that success "would not have been possible unless we all worked together along the way".
"I have friends for life from among my teammates, past and present. I will look back on this time with great memories and I look forward to enjoying more good times with them as a past player," he said.
"I have also been lucky to have had many great coaches over the past 15 years. They have all made an impact on me as a player. I would like to give particular thanks to Chris Scott, Mark Thompson and Brendan McCartney for what they have done for me and the club during their time here. They were the most influential coaches in my career and I will always be grateful for that.
"The Geelong Football Club, its coaches, staff, trainers, medical staff, and support staff have been fantastic. It was always enjoyable coming to the club and being around such a good group of people. The club has changed over the past 15 years and it is incredible to see the growth around the place over that time."
Scarlett played 284 senior matches since debuting in 1998 but, despite his widely acknowledged brilliance as both a negating and creative defender, collected only 31 Brownlow Medal votes (excluding this season).