Luke Ball has announced his retirement from AFL football.
Collingwood 2010 premiership midfielder Luke Ball has announced he will not play in 2015.
The 30-year-old ex-St Kilda player would have required back surgery to play next season, the Magpies said in a statement.
Pick number two in the 2001 National Draft, Ball won All-Australian and club champion honours at the Saints and was also handed the captaincy.
Ball will play in game 223 on Friday night against Hawthorn at the MCG in a die-or-die clash for the Magpies who must win to give themselves a chance of playing finals football.
He met with Magpies coach Nathan Buckley on Wednesday and was told he would face limited opportunities in 2015, partly due to a disrupted pre-season.
“I still have the competitive will to play on but the team is evolving and physically I know I need everything to go right to meet my expectations and the standard required by the team,” Ball said.
“To be honest, I’m at peace with the decision. If I step back and consider the sweep of my career, I’ve got so much to appreciate and be thankful for.
I’ve had great fun, met all sorts of people, made some wonderful friends, been challenged by disappointments and injuries and derived enormous satisfaction from competing and striving for success.
“I love the game and I want to leave loving it.”
Coach Nathan Buckley said Ball set a fine example to the rest of the players and added that the club was forturnate to have a player of his quality and integrity.
“It was always going to take a train to stop him, and in the end, it did,” Buckley said.
“You could never ask for more from ‘Bally’ in terms of his preparation, the example he sets, the standard he holds himself to and the effort he brings.
“He has been an inspiration for his team-mates, a wonderful player and a person of great integrity. We were fortunate to have him play in a Black and White jumper.”