YARRAWONGA champion Tim Hargreaves has played his last game for the Pigeons after taking up an offer to coach Mulwala in the Murray league next season.
Hargreaves, 34, told the Pigeons at the weekend he was set to leave the club, ending a brilliant career highlighted by a Morris Medal in 2002 and the 2006 premiership win against Myrtleford.
Hargreaves, who played 62 AFL matches for Geelong and Hawthorn, said the decision to pull up stumps after a decade at Yarrawonga was an agonising one.
“I made the decision at the weekend and told Glenn (Brear, Yarrawonga president) and it was a really tough decision to make,” he said.
“I’ve played at Yarra all my career (in the O and M) since leaving the AFL, and it was a decision I didn’t take lightly.
“I thought long and hard about it, but in the end I was keen to get into coaching.
“I’ll be 35 next year and coaching is always an option towards the end of your career, and it just felt like the right time.”
Mulwala president Adam Thomson said the Lions were thrilled with Hargreaves’ appointment.
“We’re just rapt to have a player that’s had AFL experience and extensive O and M experience join our club,” Thomson said.
“He will be a great mentor for our young side.”
Hargreaves, who will pull the boots on for Mulwala, said he was excited by the challenge of coaching.
“I’m going in fresh, I don’t really know any of the players, so it will be a big challenge for me,” he said.
“I’ve only ever put all my time and effort into playing so it’ll be different, that’s for sure, but I’m looking forward to it.”
Hargreaves was one of the competition’s premier midfielders when he arrived at J.C. Lowe Oval in 1999, before he moved to the goalsquare to become one of the O and M’s most feared forwards.
He booted 68 goals in 16 games this season, the third most in the league behind Adam Prior and Matt Fowler.
Fellow grand final teammate Nic O’Bryan will join Hargreaves at Mulwala next year.
Pigeon president Glenn Brear said the club wished Hargreaves all the best.
“We wish him well, he’s had another great season and he’s been one of the better players to ever come through the club,” Brear said.
“He’s given us great service, he’s captained the club, won goalkicking medals and best-and-fairests, represented the O and M, he’s done it all.
“He was a great contributor to our success this year and we wish him all the best in the next phase of his career.”