West Coast Eagles stalwarts Adam Selwood and Mark Nicoski today announced that they would retire at season’s end.
The two veterans, who squeezed everything possible out of their bodies and committed all they had to the club, informed their teammates of their decisions at a team meeting this morning before fronting a packed media conference.
Selwood will play out the season in the hope of forcing his way back into the team while, sadly, Nicoski has played his last game.
Selwood, 29, has played 186 games since being drafted with selection 53 in the 2002 national draft and built a reputation as an outstanding team player who could fulfil a variety of roles. He was also utilised in consecutive International Rules series (2006, 2008) against Ireland because of his unwavering commitment to a specific team role.
One of the great late draft selections in history, Selwood was a key member of the 2006 premiership team. Whether playing through the midfield or as a lock-down defender on small opposition forwards, Selwood gave the task everything he had.
In terms of being the best #53 selection in draft history, his biggest challenger to that claim is premiership teammate Michael Braun, who was snared in the 1996 ballot and played 228 games for the Eagles.
Other notable #53 draft selections include Richmond’s Daniel Jackson (2003), North Melbourne’s Lindsay Thomas (2006) and Fremantle’s Michael Walters (2008).
This season, Selwood has battled a couple of injuries and was rested for a portion of the season because a back injury was impeding his output. He fought back, has played eight games this year and will be hoping to break back into the team in the closing rounds.
When he has played at WAFL club East Perth, his professional and whole-hearted approach has been appreciated by the Royals. If he does not regain his place in the West Coast team, he intends to play for the Royals, the club with whom he has been aligned since coming west, as they strive to force their way into the finals series.
Nicoski, also 29, is another outstanding servant of the football club whose impact has been diminished only by the cruel run of serious injuries he endured after being secured with #25 in the 2003 rookie draft.
Initially drafted as a wingman, converting into a rebounding defender and then enjoying arguably his best season in senior football in 2011 as a half-forward, his body battled with the demands of elite football.
Typical of the smooth action which is so prominent in left-footers, Nicoski was a booming kick, boasted line-breaking speed and in 2011 kicked 41 goals, being selected to represent Australia in the International Rules.
Sadly, when his career appeared at its peak, injury intervened. This time permanently.
It started with a serious hamstring injury in the NAB Cup Grand Final against Adelaide at AAMI Stadium in the climax to the pre-season preparation of 2012.
In a seemingly innocuous incident on the half-forward flank, just near the club’s interchange bench, Nicoski collapsed when his hamstring tendon became detached. It was always going to be a battle to resume in the 2012 season, but complications which resulted in further surgery ruined that year and rolled in to 2013.
He missed the first half of the current season, worked his way patiently back to playing football and resumed with the Subiaco reserves. With confidence building, he returned to senior football with the Lions, but another innocuous and peculiar injury halted his 2013 campaign.
Nicoski injured a tendon in his wrist which is a major factor in mobility of his hand function. He only complained of a little discomfort after the match and had no idea it would curtail his career.
Selwood and Nicoski have been wonderful contributors to the club, both on and off field, and they will be presented to the fans in coming weeks to facilitate an appropriate farewell.