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The Age

Harford calls it quits at Carlton

Author: Emma Quayle
Date: 30/10/2004
Words: 621
Source: AGE
          Publication: The Age
Section: Sport
Page: 5
Carlton midfielder Daniel Harford yesterday announced a decision other clubs were imposing on more reluctant players, retiring from his 162-game career on the final day of pre-draft delistings.

Harford, 27, who had one season left in the two-year deal that took him from Hawthorn to Carlton, realised last year that his role in football had diminished, and retired when he realised he simply did not want to play any more.

His decision came as St Kilda promoted its two tallest rookies, Nick Stone and Dylan Pfitzner, to its senior list, in preparation for losing ruckmen Trent Knobel and Jason Blake.

The Saints did not delist either of the uncontracted players, meaning they can nominate only for the pre-season draft, not this month's national draft. The club cut Brett Moyle, Daniel Wulf and Josh Houlihan.

The Kangaroos delisted ruckman Mark Porter, who played 55 games in three seasons at Arden Street, and former Roo rover Dylan Smith was promoted from Fremantle's rookie to senior list after one year in the West. Ricky Mott's third shot at an AFL career ended when he was axed by the Blues after one season.

Harford added only nine games to his 153-game tally after being traded from Hawthorn last year and said that, while he had enjoyed his time at Carlton, he no longer wanted to be the best, and knew it was time to finish.

"Mentally, I'm stuffed. You can stick a fork in me - I'm done," said the midfielder, who was drafted to the Hawks at No. 8 in the 1994 draft, represented Victoria, finished second in the club's 1997 best-and-fairest award and third in 2000.

"If you can't give 100 per cent at this level, then you're no good to anyone," he said. "I think my best footy's behind me and, especially at this level with the game the way it is, there were only going to be limited opportunities. Coming from where I've been over 10 years, to get to that and just be a bit player is something I can't really cop and handle.

"I've always said, if you've stopped trying to be the best, you might as well get out and I don't want to be the best any more. I've had enough."

Having played alongside young midfielders Andrew Walker, Justin Davies and Kade Simpson in the VFL this season, Harford felt sure the Blues had enough talent to carry them quickly back up the ladder.

"I'm surrounded by blokes in nappies in the locker room and it's great fun because they're learning and their eyes are wide open and you see the things they suck in every time Denis (Pagan) speaks," he said.

"He's got a group of players who are willing to learn and do the right thing by him and the team. This club's going somewhere and I wanted to be part of that, but at the same time, I wanted to be a big part of it or not much at all and that's just the way it is."

In other list changes, the Blues granted Adam Bentick and Andrew Carrazzo permanent promotion from their rookie list, while the Dockers did likewise with Smith and Steven Dodd.

Star rookies Aaron Davey and Paul Bevan were officially elevated at Melbourne and Sydney respectively, while Collingwood and Richmond promoted Nick Maxwell and Kelvin Moore.

Brisbane did not delist premiership players Ashley McGrath and Clark Keating, who are out of contract and are considering joining the likes of Knobel, Blake and sacked Magpie Steve McKee in the pre-season draft pool.

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