Western Bulldogs veteran Kirsten McLeod has announced her AFLW retirement after suffering a devastating injury this season.
A foundation player, McLeod was picked up in the inaugural draft in 2016 and played a total of 39 games.
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The 29-year-old played a crucial role in the club’s 2018 premiership, kicking a goal in the thrilling six-point win over Brisbane.
She also fought back from adversity on multiple occasions.
Kirsten McLeod has announced her retirement. Credit: Getty Images
McLeod spent nearly 18 months on the sidelines dealing with the effects of concussion for breaking her leg just four minutes into in her return game in 2022.
She again fought back and played the first seven games this year but was knocked out in a brutal collision with Adelaide defender Najwa Allen, who copped a three-match suspension for the off-the-ball bump.
McLeod missed the following two games, but returned for the final-round clash against North Melbourne.
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However, after post-season discussions with medical staff, McLeod has decided to end her career.
“I’d like to thank the club for the past eight seasons at the club, my footy journey was far from a smooth one, but I am very grateful for the opportunity that I was given to be a part of this great club,” she said.
“The decision to step away from football wasn’t easy, but after having extensive discussions with the medical team and neurologists I’ve decided it’s best to put my health first.
“Thank you to everyone staff, players, family, friends and of course the supporters.
“I’ll cherish all the memories that I’ve had at this club especially the 2018 Premiership. If anyone needs me, I’ll be playing touch footy.”
Bulldogs director of football Chris Grant paid tribute to McLeod for her time at the club.
“Kirsten has been a fantastic teammate over her eight years at the Bulldogs and will be sorely missed by everyone in the red, white and blue,” Grant said.
“She’ll forever be a part of the Bulldogs family having reached the ultimate success in 2018.”
“We thank Kirsten for the amazing contribution she’s given to the program and wish her all the best for the next chapter.”