VETERAN Sydney defender Heath Grundy has announced his immediate AFL retirement due to a lingering back issue.
Grundy, 32, played 256 AFL games, all for Sydney, including the 2012 premiership triumph and losing grand finals in 2014 and 2016.
Because of injury, he has not played since appearing in round one this season.
“I would have liked to have gone till the end of the season, that was the plan,” Grundy said
“I can’t’ really get up to train at the moment. If let it settle down and wait it’s going to be well into next year, so its made the decision for me.
Grundy said the problem flared up in an intra-club game in February.
“I landed a bit funny, my back had been a bit sore from around Christmas time,'” he said.
“I just landed a little but awkwardly and I thought it would be alright, I just thought it was a bit of a stiff back
“But it’s lingered on probably a little bit longer than it normally does and with the doctors advice, and the medical staff, it’s probably the best thing to give it a bit of a rest and let it settle down and move on.”
Sydney coach John Longmire said Grundy was one of the club’s all-time greats.
“He played the most games in the competition between 2009 and 2018 of anyone so his longevity has been amazing,” Longmire said.
“His ability to get up week in week out … for a big bloke playing on the best key forwards, he’s been incredible.”