Melbourne veteran Daniel Cross will play his last AFL game when the Demons host Greater Western Sydney at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Cross has featured regularly at senior level in his two seasons at the rebuilding club but was informed this week that he would not be offered another contract.
He joined the Demons ahead of the 2014 season after finishing at the Western Bulldogs and will end his career with a tally of 249 games.
“Crossy has been an important person in our club’s rebuild and we hope this continues with a role he has been offered in the football department,” football manager Josh Mahoney told the club’s website.
“When we first spoke to Crossy, we saw his role at the club as two-fold. Firstly, he could play a role on field and just as important he could play a major role off field working with our players, showing them how to prepare as an AFL footballer.
“He has performed both roles extremely well over two years. His performance last weekend highlighted his character and competitiveness, where he only knows one way to play and that is by giving everything you have and never giving up.
“Right to the end, he wanted to keep playing.”
Cross, renowned for his impeccable work ethic, was rated the Demons’ best player after his 39-possession performance in their heavy loss to Fremantle last week.
In an emotional farewell speech, he urged his teammates to leave no stone unturned as they go about trying to climb back up the ladder.
“It is a privileged existence that we live as footballers and athletes and certainly not one I’ve taken for granted in my 15 years of playing,” Cross said, via the club’s website.
“I was never the most talented or fast player to have ever graced this wonderful game that we play but I wanted to make sure that every single day of every single week that I wasn’t satisfied until I improved myself as a player and was on the right path to help my team succeed.
“Unfortunately fairytales don’t happen that often in this game but I’m very proud of the story that I’ve written.”
Cross, a best and fairest winner at the Bulldogs in 2008, debuted in round 10 of the 2002 season and went on to play 210 games for the Dogs.