Chris Jackson announces retirement from football

ALL OVER: East Wagga-Kooringal veteran Chris Jackson competes with North Wagga's Brayden Skeers earlier in the year. Jackson has decided this season will be his last. Picture: Les Smith

ALL OVER: East Wagga-Kooringal veteran Chris Jackson competes with North Wagga's Brayden Skeers earlier in the year. Jackson has decided this season will be his last. Picture: Les Smith

EAST Wagga-Kooringal veteran Chris Jackson will close the curtain on his distinguished playing career when the Hawks finish their premiership campaign.

Jackson confirmed on Thursday that this season will be his last.

After more than 20 years and close to 400 games of senior football, the idea of retirement sits well with Jackson.

“This is the swansong, I’ve done enough,” Jackson said.

“It wasn’t really a tough call, I probably made it around Christmas.

“I’ve been playing senior footy since I was 14, I think I’ll finish up with 397 senior games to my name, I’ve had my time.

“It sits easy with me.”

Jackson said it is time for family.

“My daughters are starting to play netball and I want to watch them play their sport,” he said.

“I’ve probably neglected my family a bit through my time in footy so it’s time for me to spend a lot more time with them.”

Jackson has won four premierships during his career, two at Hay and two at Wagga Tigers, plus a national championships victory with ACT in 2004 with Perth.

He spent two years at AFL club Carlton in 1997-98 and has gone on to forge a terrific career in the Riverina.

Jackson rates Stephen Priest as easily the best he played with, while named AFL Canberra forwards James Kavanagh, Merv Armstrong and Steve Mahar as his toughest opponents.

Jackson enjoyed plenty of success, primarily as a key defender, at Wagga Tigers, before accepting the coaching role at EWK.

At 37 years of age, Jackson has passed the coaching baton to Gavin McMahon but is still contributing strongly at centre-half-forward.

He would love nothing more than to finish his career with a Hawks win.

“I just want to finish with a ‘W’,” he said.

“We’ve got a tough one to get over this weekend, an even tougher one the week after if we get through.

“To start with a W and end with a W would be the perfect finish.”

To finish with a win, means a premiership for the Hawks.

They have to get past North Wagga in Saturday’s preliminary final, and then The Rock-Yerong Creek await in the grand final.

Jackson knows exactly what to expect from the Saints.

“Run,” he said.

“They all just run.

“They play numbers behind the ball and then take off, so I’m sure that’s what they will do again.”

Jackson will most likely be marked by young North Wagga defender Brayden Skeers, a case of the master versus the apprentice.

“He’s a young guy with potential, they always have a crack,” he said.