Luke Hodge of the Lions thanks fans after the semi-final against GWS Giants.
Luke Hodge of the Lions thanks fans after the semi-final against GWS Giants.

Legend’s sign-off was typical Hodge

Brisbane coach Chris Fagan has spilled the beans on Luke Hodge's future, saying the four-time premiership winner won't return in a playing capacity following the Lions' heartbreaking semi-final loss.

"Hodgey's finished as a player, that's his last game with the club," Fagan said after the agonising three-point defeat to GWS.

"He won't be lost to the club .. but he's hung them up, the old fella.

"He's finished on a high note and he's been unbelievable for us."

Hodge was one of Brisbane's best players in his 346th AFL game, and he refused an offer to be chaired off the ground by teammates, not wanting to steal the limelight.

He finishes with four premierships at Hawthorn, two Norm Smith Medals, three All-Australian blazers and two Hawks best-and-fairest awards. He captained Hawthorn from 2011-16.

Fagan branded the outgoing Hodge "a bit of a rascal sometimes" but says the champion will be sorely missed on the field.

"I sort of knew but I never directly asked him the question. I sort of said, 'Is that it?' and he said, 'Yep, that's it', so, that's it.

"He's the best leader I've seen, one of the toughest players I've seen, a warrior, that's for sure, but a really intelligent player - he sees the game as good as anyone I know, probably Sam Mitchell's his only equal.

"He's a giver of his time and his knowledge, he's been particularly that to our group of young players and there's no doubt that the development of our team has been accelerated by his presence.

Luke Hodge with three of his four Hawthorn premiership cups. Picture: Michael Klein
Luke Hodge with three of his four Hawthorn premiership cups. Picture: Michael Klein

 

"I'm glad he made the decision to come (to Brisbane).

"When a guy's that old and he's played that much footy and he's been bashed around, you're not 100 per cent certain he's going to be able to go the journey, but he's done so with form all the way through.

"But the time has come. He's one of the all-time greats, and more than anything he's a good friend."

News Corp Australia

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