A YEAR of battling injuries has forced experienced Coolamon footballer Ryan Chamberlain to make this finals series his last.
Chamberlain will retire at the end of the season, a decision that means Sunday’s elimination final against Griffith at Robertson Oval could be his final game.
“The body’s telling me no more,” Chamberlain said.
“I’ve had too many soft tissue injuries, especially this year with my calf and hamstrings. They pretty much started three years ago and I’ve been able to cope with it until this year.
“At the end of the day, my body’s had enough. I don’t have the time now with work and a family to be in the gym 24-7 building everything up so I had to call it.
“I still enjoy playing the game with my competitive nature and I’ve still got the passion for it, it’s just the body has said it’s time.”
Coolamon coach Matt Hard said Chamberlain will be dearly missed at Kindra Park.
“He’s been an absolute privilege to play footy with and be involved with,” Hard said.
“He’s always been one of the first picked in my time as coach because you know exactly what you’re going to get. He never lets you down.
“He’s tough, determined and a real competitor. It’s been a privilege to have him at the club.”
Chamberlain, 32, had three seasons at AFL Canberra club Eastlake and one year with The Rock-Yerong Creek in the Farrer League.
He is a best and fairest winner at both Coolamon and TRYC, and was runner up in the Gerald Clear Medal in 2012.
Chamberlain’s career highlight is the 2013 premiership at the Hoppers. He rates Matt Hard, Jamie Maddox, Chris Ladhams and Jason Brown as the best footballers he’s played with.
He named Brad Aiken and Mick Duncan as his toughest opponents.
Chamberlain and Duncan will again lock horns on Sunday and he rates the Hoppers a big chance of progressing part week one.
“I definitely think we’re a chance, that’s for sure,” he said.
“We haven’t played great the two times we’ve played them this year...but this week we’ll go in with a full list so with our best side we will go into the game with every chance.”
Chamberlain is looking forward to one last finals campaign.
“It would have been a little bit disappointing to go out not making finals. It’s great that we snuck in there and can have another crack at finals,” he said.
“We’ll see how we measure up but I think we’re a big chance.”