West Coast will seek a new captain after veteran defender Darren Glass announced his retirement this morning.
Glass made the decision this week and was flanked by the entire Eagles playing group when revealing his decision at club headquartes today. He will exit the game immediately.
The 33-year-old leaves on 270 games, including the 2006 premiership, with three club champion awards and four All-Australian guernseys. He made his debut in 2000 after being the 11th selection in the previous year's national draft.
Glass made the tough call after struggling to shake hip and ankle injuries.
"I have really been struggling to back up from one game to the next," Glass said. "It is time for me to step aside and give someone else a go.
"Playing consecutive games has been a real challenge for me and as much as I am still mentally sharp and I enjoy coming to the club and training every day, physically I just can’t get to the levels that I want to play at and the levels the team needs.
"It has been a tough decision, but I am comfortable that it’s the right decision.
"I've enjoyed the journey.
"It's starting to really hit home. Telling the family and telling the boys has been big."
Glass had decided the clash with Hawthorn in Launceston last Saturday was the litmus test for his ability to recover from the grind of an AFL match.
And he determined on Monday that he would struggle to be fit for the battle with Gold Coast this Saturday. He advised coach Adam Simpson and West Coast chief executive Trevor Nisbett of his decision and the pair encouraged him to have a farewell match.
But Glass said he wasn't up to the task and believed it was time to give another player the opportunity in the Eagles defence.
Glass led the Eagles in 129 matches, only behind club great John Worsfold, who was captain 138 times.
But he took over the leadership at a tough time for West Coast.
The club was reeling from a drugs scandal and had been disappointed by the return of then skipper Chris Judd to Melbourne.
The Eagles will need to delve into their playing stocks for a new skipper. Vice-captain Beau Waters will miss the rest of the season because of shoulder surgery.
Midfielders Scott Selwood and Matt Priddis loom as likely candidates but club chiefs have hinted they could rotate the captaincy for the rest of the season.
The tributes quickly flowed for Glass.
"Well done to Darren Glass on a great career. A wonderful leader on the field and a gentleman of it. All the best big fella," tweeted former Fremantle foe Paul Hasleby.
Hawthorn premiership player Shane Crawford tweeted, "All the best to Darren glass on his retirement from the @WestCoastEagles he's been a great player and super role model for #AFL.
"One of the great full backs to play the game. Great career," wrote former Carlton and Brisbane full forward Brendan Fevola.