Voss hints at retirement

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Brisbane Lions' captain Michael Voss has given the strongest indication yet that 2006 might not only be his last year as skipper, but also as a player.

He said it was "unlikely" a decision would be made prior to round 22, but the "process is in place" in case his weary body, in particular, a nagging knee injury, forces him to give the game away after 15 years at the highest level and unable to fulfil the final year of his contract in 2007.

The 31-year-old veteran of 286 games concedes he remains in serious doubt for Saturday night's clash against Richmond at Telstra Dome, meaning that he will have played his last game in Melbourne two weeks ago with the loss to Essendon in round 17 at the same venue.

"It is very likely that these could be my last four games. It is a real possibility," Voss told the media on Tuesday in response to a newspaper article in The Age speculating this could be his last season.

"Whether people want to be aware of that or not is up to them but, at the end of the day, that is what I am thinking might happen.

"You may not see a Michael Voss running around next year, but that's not saying it's not going to happen either."

"That means you play every game, be fit for every game and play every minute," he said.

"Call it ego, but I don't want to finish as a player who only plays half-a-game (in every match) for the whole year. I want to be able to make a significant contribution."

The triple-premiership captain's troublesome knee that he has managed so well over the last three years is causing him problems again, and that could well be the determining factor in his eventual decision.

"I don?t want to be 40 and getting a new knee. That is more my element of thought than anything else," explained Voss.

"You can consult with family and friends, teammates and coach and hopefully I have a choice, but there are still a lot of questions that have not been answered in my mind.

"The only person who can answer the question of retirement is yourself."

Voss revealed he raised the prospect of retirement with the Lions during the mid-season break, but he's left the matter with the club and managers so he could concentrate on playing football.

It is believed the Lions have been in discussions with the AFL on how to best handle the issue of Voss' retirement because Voss has a year left on his contract which is heavily 'backended'.

In the meantime, the Lions might get a taste of life without their courageous leader sooner rather than later as Voss is a doubtful starter for this week against the Tigers.

"Last time I came off the Dome I pulled up very average, so it is just evaluating whether it is worth doing it again," said Voss who admitted it was "touch and go" if he would play last week against Geelong.

"It (the knee) is angry and irritated at the moment, so it is just a matter of whether you put it on a surface where it reacts the worst."

Voss indicated the decision on his availability would not be made until selection on Thursday night.

In other disappointing news, Nigel Lappin's belated bid to return to action this season is over after requiring a clean-up operation on his ankle which he initially damaged during the pre-season.b>

Source http://afl.com.au/default.asp?pg=news&...rticleid=287492

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