Aaron Sandilands said he struggled to break the news that he was retiring to the playing group during Tuesday’s team meeting, especially when it came to making eye contact with teammate Hayden Ballantyne.

The pair, who were both named All Australian in 2014, have become close friends since Ballantyne joined the club in 2008.


“I couldn’t look Ballas in the eye, that was probably the hardest part (of the team meeting),” Sandilands said. 

“I think because you spend so much time with a quality bunch of guys, it is extremely hard to come out and say that it’s all over.” 

He added that his six-year-old daughter Sloane wouldn’t accept his resignation, much to the laughter of the players and coaches in attendance at Tuesday’s media conference.

“I had the conversation with my eldest daughter. I said, ‘I’m getting a bit old and thinking about stopping playing football’ and she said ‘Dad, you’re young and you’ve only just got back playing again’,” Sandilands said.

“Then in the next breath she said ‘make sure you man up’.”