Tigers champ Blackwell bows out
Claremont quartet Andrew Foster, left, Matt Orzel, Trinity Handley and Luke Blackwell. Pic: Ian Munro/WA News

Luke Blackwell has one regret in football.

There is no surprise that the one-point loss to Swan Districts in the 2010 grand final gnaws at the champion Claremont centreman, whose glittering WAFL career will end tomorrow.

"I've played that game in my head a thousand times," Blackwell said.

"We were clearly the best team all that year but we weren't the best team on the day.

"Could I have done something different, should the coaches have tried something else, what might have been?

"Still, it was a great game to be part of and I have no doubt that loss spurred us on to win the next two flags."

Blackwell will be joined in retirement tomorrow by dual premiership teammates Trinity Handley and Andrew Foster, and their great mate Matt Orzel.

Each man has played more than 100 WAFL matches, the majority at the Tigers, and consider victory over top team East Perth at Medibank Stadium would provide their perfect farewell.

Blackwell is only 27 and has the two flags and the 2011 Sandover Medal to his credit.

He could add another Sandover next month after a stellar 2014 season.

Yet his battle with a groin injury for the past year and a desire, for personal reasons, to return to Melbourne, will bring the curtain down on one of the most substantial careers of the modern WAFL era.

Blackwell will undergo hernia surgery as soon as the season ends and said his inability to train as hard as he once did had proved a major frustration as he attempted to help Claremont regroup after the loss of 22 premiership players in two years.

"It's no good if you are just trotting around trying to avoid contact," he said.

"It's been hard getting my head around my situation because I liked being a good role model at training and in games and I don't think I have been able to set that example."

Blackwell considers he got the most out of himself as a player, defining his best qualities as a footballer rather than an athlete, and was satisfied with what he achieved.

"It's been a pretty good journey," he said.

"I might have done more at Carlton and the old man (Claremont and Carlton premiership player Wayne Blackwell) was always at me to kick more goals but I'm pretty happy."

Blackwell said this had been one of his most satisfying seasons and he was content to leave Claremont as they appeared set to return to finals contention.

"We could have run up the white flag after the start to the season but it is a credit to (coach) Michael Broadbridge and the players that we have hung in and played some really good footy," Blackwell said.

"It was great to win the flags with a bunch of blokes who all pulled in the one direction but this has been the most challenging year and one I am pretty proud of."

Claremont are confident that veteran ruckman Mark Seaby, who has had an outstanding second half of the season, will continue next year.

The West Australian

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