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Spurr calls time

Lee Spurr has called time on his career. Lee Spurr reflects on his seven-year career after being drafted as a mature-age rookie listed player.

Defender Lee Spurr has announced his retirement from AFL football after a remarkable rise from the rookie list and an impressive seven-year career at Fremantle.

Drafted with pick no.8 in the 2011 rookie draft, Spurr played 120 games between 2012 and 2017, however an injury-interrupted season with a persistent knee injury has seen Spurr spend the 2018 season on the sidelines.

The 31-year-old said the knee injury was a key contributor to him making the call to wrap up his career.

“After seven years I’ve come to the decision with my wife, Olivia, that it’s time for me to retire,” Spurr said.

“My body let me down a little bit this year. I’ve had some issues and it was a hard decision.

“I’ve loved my time at the club. It’s really hard to say goodbye and I wish I could play on but for me, my knee is telling me it’s time for me to go and I’ve been battling with that all year.

“The hardest thing has been that I’ve been really close to getting back to playing three or four times this year but my knee hasn’t been able to hold up to the load.”

Since making his debut in round six of the 2012 season, Spurr played a crucial role at half-back during the most successful years in Fremantle club history – playing nine finals including Fremantle’s Grand Final appearance in 2013.

During this time, Spurr averaged 5.8 marks per game and took the most marks for the club during his playing years from 2012 to 2017.

Spurr also spent four years as a member of Fremantle’s leadership group from 2014 to 2017, was awarded the Beacon Award in 2012 and Best Clubman in 2013.

After attending five national combines without getting drafted, Spurr said he had considered giving up on his football dream but kept going at the encouragement of his parents.

Spurr moved to Adelaide from Queensland to play in the SANFL, where he played in two premierships for Central Districts.

“Mum and Dad said to me, if you’ve still got the passion go back and try again, and I’m glad I did,” Spurr said.

“I’ll be forever grateful to Fremantle, for Chris Bond, Brad Lloyd and Ross Lyon for taking a punt on me and giving me a rookie spot.

“I was 24 when I got picked and I didn’t play my first game until I was about to turn 25, and I felt lucky to play one game let alone to play over 100.

“I feel very privileged to be a part of that Fremantle era where we played in a Grand Final.

“We got very close, we were minor premiers in 2015 and I have some fantastic memories with the players.

“Even the lows, putting it all on the line and failing, I look back on that fondly. I don’t have any regrets as we did everything we could and I’m proud and passionate to be a part of that.”

Spurr said he’s looking forward to spending more time with his family post-football, with daughter Isla born in November 2016 and another child on the way.

“Fatherhood been an eye-opener, especially when you’re juggling it with football,” Spurr said.

“I’ll have to say Liv has done most of the work. She was the one getting up during the night and those sort of things.

“This year I’ve been able to do more of my share with Liv being pregnant with a second one on the way. With the second child, the due date is next week. We don’t know the sex, we’ve left that one for a surprise.”

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs