MARTIN BLAKE August 29, 2012
Essendon's Mark McVeigh during a training session earlier this year. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
Essendon's 232-game veteran Mark McVeigh has retired with no regrets.
McVeigh, 31, told his teammates this morning at Windy Hill that he would not go on in 2013. He and his family are returning to New South Wales.
"It's been a tough decision but one that I'm very comfortable with,'' he told a media conference, flanked by his coach James Hird and president David Evans, who are both close friends of his.
"I'm very proud of the career that I've had, especially being a one-club player. I love the club. It's been a place that I've grown up since I was 17 years old.''
McVeigh played just three senior games this season and rarely at VFL level as a string of knee and hip problems dogged him.
"I'm mentally very fresh. My body gave me the signals this year that my time was up. I felt great going into the season. At my age, unfortunately, injuries compounded."
Drafted to the Bombers from Sydney in 1998, he missed out on Essendon's 2000 premiership as a young player, and his timing was out. For the next decade he had to endure a down period for the Bombers. "It's not a regret, I wasn't good enough to play in 2000," he said.
"I was playing in the VFL but I wasn't good enough to make that side. In 2001, I'm proud that I fought and played every game and went to the grand final. I wasn't good enough (in 2000) but I think that made me a better player in the end.''
The tough defender said the Bombers were on the right track, despite missing the finals this year.
"We have the best president, the best coach and the best captain,'' he said.
McVeigh said he would not be joining his old coach Kevin Sheedy at Greater Western Sydney and that his future plans would become clear in the next few days.