AFLW legend and Melbourne player Daisy Pearce has officially hung up the boots, announcing her retirement on Wednesday.
A pioneer. A premiership captain. A legacy unmatched. ✨
Daisy Pearce has called time on her AFLW playing career after 55 games, six seasons + an unrivalled impact on the game. ❤️
📝 | https://t.co/5qwYJhW5ch pic.twitter.com/j0f4szr6je
— Melbourne AFLW (@MelbourneAFLW) January 17, 2023
Perace will leave the game on top, having secured an elusive premiership at the end of Season Seven with the Demons as captain.
The 34-year-old has been in the AFLW since the beginning (minus one season for parental leave) and was a marquee player for the women’s competition.
Pearce featured in 200 games prior to her career in the AFLW for Darebin in the VFLW and was a 10-time premiership player for the club.
Now, the Demon three-time best and fairest is more than happy to call time on her illustrious and inspiring time as a professional footballer.
“I’m closing a chapter on my playing career with a very full heart,” she said.
“I will miss the whole program and players and staff. This has probably been the hardest thing in making this decision. It has been an emotional time.
“It’s been one of the harder decisions I’ve ever had to make, but now that I’m here and I’ve been able to say it out loud to Mick and a few of my teammates, I feel like it’s the right decision.
“It probably mostly came down to the fact that I had this feeling of contentness inside me, which is a new feeling as a football player.”
— Footy on Nine (@FootyonNine) January 17, 2023
Inaugural AFLW Melbourne senior coach Mick Stinear spoke about the impact Pearce has had, not only on the club, but the competition as a whole.
“Daisy has been the greatest influence on our women’s program, creating, driving and inspiring our culture and on-field success,” Stinear said.
“At the core of our culture is our ability to be the best version of ourselves for the team, which takes hard work and a selfless approach, and we couldn’t have asked for a better role model in Daisy.
“Combined with her genuine care and the joy she gets out of helping develop others, has made her an incredible and much-loved captain of our club.”
Outgoing AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan also lauded Pearce’s career and the contribution she has made to the women’s competition and aspiring youngsters.
“On behalf of the AFL, we congratulate Daisy for her contribution and success as a player and look forward to her enjoying many more years ahead as a key figure in our game,” McLachlan said.
“Away from the field, she has expanded the opportunities now available to women with her outstanding critical analysis of the game in the media, and will no doubt be in demand as well as a coach and mentor for the next generation of young stars, both male and female.
“Football owes Daisy an enormous debut for her willingness to always step up for women’s football, and she has been one of the key faces in building the AFLW competition as THE inspiration for thousands of young girls to pursue their dream of playing football.”
What’s next for Daisy Pearce?
It has been flagged that Pearce might be heading into coaching in the near future.
Back in June, the Melbourne star, along with nine other females, were accepted into a program that will help fast-track the development of women in coaching to senior roles within the AFL and AFLW.
Pearce was joined by current players Erin Phillips, Chelsea Randall and Alicia Eva according to 7News.
All applicants will be spread over nine different AFL clubs in search of a level three coaching accreditation and will receive a minimum two-year contract between now and 2025.
Pearce will join Geelong as part of the program now that she has officially retired from AFLW.
She expressed her excitement at the time of the opportunity.
“I’m thrilled about coaching opportunities when my playing days at Melbourne have finished,” she said.
“When that is, honestly I’m not sure but coaching is something that excites me when the time is right. I’m grateful for Geelong’s interest and Melbourne’s ongoing support.”
Daisy Pearce career highlights
- 55 AFLW games for Melbourne (2017-2022)
- 2022 S7 premiership player
- Melbourne captain 2017-2018, 2020-2022
- 3-time All-Australian (2017, 2018, 2022)
- 3-time Melbourne best-and-fairest (2017, 2018, 2022)
- 4-time AFLPA AFLW best captain (2017, 2018, 2020, 2022)
- Darebin captain 2008-2016
- 10-time VFLW premiership player (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)
- 6-time Helen Lambert Medalist (2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015)
- 5-time Darebin best-and-fairest (2005, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)