MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 08:  Matthew Scarlett of the Cats leads his team off the field after being defeated by the Dockers in the Second AFL Elimination Final match between the Geelong Cats and the Fremantle Dockers at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 8, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Matthew Scarlett lead the Cats off the field last week. Photo: Getty Images

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, including three premierships, but he felt it was time to 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. ''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 past 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. He 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.

''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 …'' he said. Scarlett played 284 senior games.