Veteran Geelong defender Harry Taylor has announced that last Saturday’s AFL grand final was his last game. Taylor retires after 280 games played over 13 seasons.

Taylor leaves as a dual premiership player, having helped the Cats to flags in 2009 and 2011. He was twice named to the All Australian team and finishes in equal ninth place for most games played with Geelong. Taylor has played the fourth most finals in league history (31) and is a life member both the AFL and the Geelong Football Club.

“I want to say thank you for your fiercely loyal support over my 13-year career as a player at the Geelong Football Club,” Taylor said in a letter to Cats’ members.

“I limped into the Geelong Football Club bright eyed and determined back in 2007 and limp off 4,723 days later in 2020 proud that I have given my absolute best to our great club. The one on one contests, the ice baths, the heartbreaking losses and the unbelievable victories at home or far away. I have tried to prepare as well as possible for every battle. You have been there with me through it all.

“I grew up on a farm near a pin head sized country town in the mid-west of Western Australia. We both know I didn’t move like the most graceful looking footballer, nor did I subscribe to the AFL player stereotype. I am unique but I have always just done what I think works best to help my teammates and the Geelong Football Club. I know myself and live by a vision. I strive to be a man of my word. Integrity and authenticity guide my path forward.

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“I would have loved to have helped our great club win more games and more premierships but I leave having fully committed to the process and the values of our organisation. I hope you have enjoyed laughing, yelling, crying, and moving your head both horizontally and vertically with me and at me over the past 13 years. It’s been one hell of a ride.  

“Go Cats.”

Geelong’s general manager of football Simon Lloyd paid tribute to Taylor.

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“Harry’s record speaks for itself and he has been an incredible player for the club over a long period of time,” Lloyd said.

“Harry continued to play exceptional football until his final game. He has demonstrated an insatiable appetite to continue to learn and has always been highly invested in the betterment of the team, club and community. Harry has always been hugely respected by his teammates and everyone associated with the Geelong Football Club.”

“In typical fashion, Harry wants a low-key retirement announcement and we respect his wishes. He will be missed around the club and we wish Harry, Michelle, James, Isabel and Abigail well in whatever the future holds.”

Taylor was heavily involved in all areas of the club’s activities. He was named as community champion in 2012 and was also a member of the club’s honouring the past committee. Taylor twice won the Tom Harley award as best clubman – in 2016 and 2020.