UPDATE: Dan Hannebery has announced his retirement from the AFL following the Saints‘ season-ending match against the Swans, closing off a distinguished 14-year career with both clubs.
Hannebery met with club executives on Tuesday to discuss his future before informing his teammates of his decision on Thursday.
The 31-year-old joined St Kilda from Sydney during the 2018 trade period on a four-year deal reportedly worth around $800,000 per season.
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When he signed the deal Hannebery’s career warranted the massive pay packet but by the end he’d arguably become the most overpaid player in the game, through circumstances that were mainly beyond his or St Kilda’s control.
During his 208-game decade-long career with the Swans, Hannebery was a dominant star in a powerhouse team. Selected as a 17-year-old by Sydney with pick No.30 in the 2008 draft, he remarkably juggled his recruitment with his year 12 studies in Melbourne.
The three-time All-Australian excelled for the Swans in his early twenties – a member of the 2012 premiership side and the quickest and youngest Swan to reach 200 AFL games before moving on to the Saints.
In releasing Hannebery, Sydney received pick 39 and a 2019 second-round pick in exchange for the midfielder and pick 28.
However, he managed just 17 matches in total for the club – a horrendous return on investment – after an injury-plagued end to his career including recurring calf, hamstring and groin injuries.
All told, Hannebery was paid just shy of $178,000 for each appearance in the red, white and black.
“It was always in the back of my mind what was going to happen next year. I’ve put in a mountain of work this year, so my focus was always on trying to get back and contribute, which I think I have,” Hannebery said at a press conference on Thursday.
“Speaking to the boys this morning I think it was the first or second time I’ve actually said it. It hasn’t really sunk in yet.
“When you go through you are just so tunnel vision thinking about the off-season and getting my body right to go again. When it comes on you it is a little bit of a shock, but obviously in the back of my mind you know it’s a reality though. It’s pretty tough to say.”
Hannebery did not completely rule out playing for a third club if an offer presented itself, but said it is likely he will remain retired after “a tough four years”.
“Look to be honest, I haven’t really thought about it. Right now, probably not. It’s been a long couple of years. This year has been no different; it’s been really trying mentally,” he said.
“There are a lot of people that go through challenging times with more serious stuff than not playing footy, however it’s certainly been as challenging two or three years as I’ve had so far. That’s taken a fair bit out of me. At this stage I’m retired and I haven’t put any thoughts into that regard.”
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