End of an era: AFLW trailblazer Daisy Pearce hangs up the boots

BROUGHT TO YOU BYHostplus

MELBOURNE captain Daisy Pearce has announced her retirement from the AFLW after 55 games at the highest level and countless more in the state league.

The 34-year-old made the announcement on Wednesday morning at the MCG, flanked by Melbourne coach Mick Stinear as her partner, two children, and teammates watched on.

"I'm closing the chapter on my playing career with a very full heart, not just because we ticked the premiership box in the season just gone, but because of a career that I've loved and cherished," she said.

The best of Daisy: Highlights from a champion's career

02:19 Jan 18. 2023. 11:43 AM

Check out the highlights of Daisy Pearce's career from seasons one through seven of the AFLW

"I think there was a bit of an assumption that it was win it and I'm done or lose it and I might have to consider going again, but in fact the satisfaction of last season, the enjoyment and the closeness of the bonds that we've now formed, it actually made it a bit more confusing and harder to step away.

"No matter what's happened over the journey, content has never been something that I have felt, so as the weeks ticked by post-season, whilst there were definitely spurts of thinking about going back-to-back... there was also an element of overall satisfaction.

"It's probably been one of the harder decisions that I've ever had to make." 

Pearce captained the Dees in 2017-2018, then again from 2020 to season seven, 2022 after taking time off in 2019 to give birth to twins Sylvie and Roy.

COMMENT Pearce's story one of humour, humility and heart

She made the AFLW All-Australian team in 2017, 2018 and 2022 (season six), as well as being voted the AFL Players' Association's best captain four times.

Her remarkable career was capped off by an elusive premiership in November when the Demons toppled Brisbane in a memorable decider.

Melbourne captain Daisy Pearce and coach Mick Stinear lift up the premiership cup after winning the AFLW S7 Grand Final against Brisbane at Brighton Homes Arena. Picture: AFL Photos

Under Pearce's leadership, the Demons threatened for the premiership nearly every season, and made two Grand Finals in 2022 before finally getting over the line in season seven.

Pearce joined Melbourne as a marquee player ahead of the AFLW's inaugural season after a storied 200-game career in the Victorian Women's Football League.

'I just feel content': Why Daisy chose to retire now

01:15 Jan 18. 2023. 5:04 PM

Daisy Pearce reflects on her decision to retire after 55 AFLW games

Her legacy in the women's state league lives on, with the league's best and fairest award named after Pearce (and fellow footy pioneer Helen Lambert).

ANALYSIS Why Daisy Pearce's impact stretches beyond AFLW

Her impact on footy extended far beyond the AFLW space as part of Channel 7's commentary team for AFL matches. 

Dees OGs: Daisy and Paxy's flag delight

06:49 Nov 27. 2022. 7:04 PM

Melbourne premiership stars Daisy Pearce and Karen Paxman speak to Nat Edwards

Pearce has already secured a coaching position at Geelong, and expects to start at the Cattery later this year.

"Geelong's not putting any pressure on me to make any decision too soon," she said.

"The biggest deadline is Roy and Sylvie starting kindergarten on February second." 

>>Watch the full press conference in the player below

'Emotional' Pearce announces her retirement

33:05 Jan 18. 2023. 11:17 AM

AFLW trailblazer Daisy Pearce says she walks away from the game "with a very full heart".