Matt Rosa announces AFL retirement

MATT Rosa announced his AFL retirement on Tuesday to bring an end to his 14-year career at the top level.

He said he would have loved to play forever but his body had been telling him it was no longer up to the rigours of AFL.

“It’s been frustrating not being able to get out on the park more and now it just feels like the right thing to do,” he said. “I’m pretty content that I’ve gotten the most out of myself and my body.”

The former Brim junior and Warrack Eagles recruit played 207 games after being drafted by the West Coast Eagles at pick 29 in the 2004 national draft.

Rosa made his debut for West Coast in 2005 and played 168 games at the club over an 11-year period.

“When I walked into West Coast it was a star-studded squad,” he said. “It was a dream to play just one game.”

He said moving out of home to go to St Patrick’s College in Ballarat had made the move across the country somewhat easier.

““It’s a long way but I think we’re lucky in the career we’re in to go into an environment with a lot of guys who have common goals,” he said. 

“I had a great host family that I moved in with.”

The club played in a grand final in his first season and won a premiership the following season. He played in the 2015 grand final when the side fell short against Hawthorn before being traded to the Gold Coast Suns in the off-season.

Injuries riddled his three seasons at the club but he added a further 34 games to his career tally.

“It’s been an awesome journey to play for 14 years and it’s certainly something I’m proud of,” he said. “I’ve played with some great players and made some lifelong friends.”​

Rosa said winning finals and playing on the last day in September were obvious career highlights.

“There aren’t too many better feelings than that but the relationships off field also stand out,” he said.

“That is right up there with the on-field stuff.”

He said there was no doubt success at West Coast had ensured he would always have close bonds with some of his former teammates.

“In the three years I’ve been here at the Suns I’ve also become very attached to this group,” he  said. 

“I just hope the boys can keep putting in the work and it will eventually turn for them.”

Rosa said he hoped to stay involved in the football industry in some capacity.

“I’m working through a few things but the development space is something I’m really passionate about,” he said.

“There are some exciting times ahead and I’m looking forward to doing something I’m just as passionate about as playing.”

His wife Hayley is expecting a second child and that will play a big part in his next move.

All through his career Rosa has not forgotten his origins.

“I’d like to thank the Brim and the Warrack Eagles Football Club,” he said. 

“I played my junior footy in the Mallee league and it was an awesome time when I learnt a lot.

“Geoff Burdett also did a lot for us when we were involved in the North Ballarat Rebels – he drove us plenty of kilometres to Ballarat and Melbourne most weekends and was fantastic with his support. 

“He taught me a lot about professionalism.

“Obviously to my family as well – my mum, dad and two older brothers have always been my biggest supporters. 

“Hayley has been amazing through it all and I’m looking forward to spending more time with the family now.”