Ben Jensen 13 October 2010

A DAY AFTER more leadership departures at Geelong, Premiership player Max Rooke today announced his retirement after nine seasons with the Cats. However that was at least the only departure so far today, with the news Darren Milburn and David Wojcinski have been re-contracted for at least one more season each.

Rooke made his debut in 2002, the same season Gary Ablett, Jimmy Bartel, James Kelly, Steve Johnson and David Johnson made their AFL debuts. The difference with Rooke was he didn't come via the TAC or other elite under 18 competitions; his father famously mailed in videos of him playing for Casterton in 200, and the Cats eventually took the bait and listed Rooke for the VFL only, for whom he played in 2001. The Cats Rookie-listed him that same season, and he made his debut in round 2 against Adelaide at AAMI Stadium. He changed his name to Max in late 2006, and made a miracle recovery from a chronic hamstring injury in 2007 after visiting the famed Dr Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfarth in Germany and undergoing radical treatment. Rooke played 135 games and will go down as one of Geelong's most enigmatic players of the current era.

Official statement

“It is a sad day for the Geelong Football Club to lose someone of the calibre of Max Rooke,” Geelong Cats general manager of football operations Neil Balme said.

“Naturally, we would have hoped that he would return to the field with his fearless and inspiring style of play but unfortunately, due to the injury, this cannot happen.

“The Club thanks Max for his service and wishes him the best in the future.”

Rooke thanked both the club and his teammates when saying farewell.

“I’m shattered that I’ve been forced into retirement due to this knee injury but I have to think of my long-term wellbeing,” he said.

“I would like to thank the Geelong Football Club for all the opportunities I have had over the journey and I’m very proud of what we have achieved.

“Most importantly I would like to thank my teammates at the Club and I will miss the friendship we have most of all.”


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