LUCK has never been something on the side of Craig Glancy and that has continued into his retirement announcement but the premiership midfielder will go down as one of East Perth's best and most courageous in-and-under midfielders.
Glancy has battled a variety of injuries right throughout his career ranging from a lacerated kidney to a broken jaw, and just about everything in between, but recurring hamstring injuries have seen him sidelined for all of 2011 to date and eventually that's what led to him deciding to retire.
The 28-year-old managed 103 games after making his league debut in 2001 and there is no doubt that there was no player in the competition over the last decade who was any better or more committed to winning contested ball through the midfield.
That dedication to the East Perth Football Club came ever since he made the move up to Perth from Bridgetown to join his hometown heroes Andrew Waller and Rod Wheatley at the Royals, and he was able to put together a career to remember.
He played in the colts premiership of 2000 and the league triumph of 2002, was co-captain, runner-up in the FD Book Medal and last year celebrated his 100th game to book his name on the No. 2 locker with a win over Perth.
More than that, though, it was the way he led by example by always putting his body on the line on the field and he was always a professional in terms of training and preparation off it.
All of that made the decision to retire from the club that means so much to him such a heart-wrenching one, but one that he let his body tell him had to be made.
"It was something I didn’t take too lightly and it was a very hard decision, and probably the hardest one of my life I think. The body is putting up the white flag. Some blokes get injured and some don’t, I'm just unlucky that I'm one of those blokes who got injured," Glancy said.
"You just know in your body. Every other time I've known that I can come back and play decent footy, but this time I just know that my body has got to a stage where it's not really responding to the way I want it to.
"I did a specialised pre-season and was actually really fit, probably the fittest I have been for a few years, but then I got the setback (hamstring) again. I was doing full on rehab training six or seven times a week, and ended up doing it again."
Telling the playing group of his decision last week at training was one of the hardest things he has had to do as well, and it didn’t quite go to plan despite him having a host of pre-prepared notes he wanted to get through.
"I was a bit of a mess and couldn’t get too many words, but hopefully I can do a bit better speech this weekend at the footy club."
Glancy's run of bad luck hasn’t quite ended in retirement, though, with him not being able to run out for a farewell appearance and he also misses out on automatic life membership as he needed to play one game this season to lock in his 10 years of service.
"I'm a bit devastated about that (not getting to play one last game), but it wasn’t to be either. I couldn’t have that fairytale, but I can't do too much about it," he said.
"That's (missing out on life membership) pretty disappointing because I've pretty much spent my whole life at this footy club and that could have been one thing for me to hang my hat on, and look back on in 10 or 20 years time to be proud of, but it was just wasn’t to be."
After playing in the colts premiership of 2000, Glancy played eight games in the league side of 2001 and then 20 the next year including the grand final. He certainly feels his grounding back home in Bridgetown held him in good stead for the WAFL.
"I was fortunate to be around for the tail-end of a very successful period at the club. Especially now when it's all over you can be pretty proud to look back on being part of that," he said.
"By playing a lot of footy down in the country it probably helped and it was something that came naturally (going in hard for the ball) to me. I've probably sometimes been a bit stupid in the way I went about it and that contributed to a few injuries, but it did come naturally."
While the 2002 premiership came in Glancy's second season of league football and just his 28th league game when the Royals beat West Perth on grand final day, the rest of his career certainly shows just how tough it is to make it back to that sort of success.
There were the near misses of making the finals in 2004, 06 and 09, a first semi-final appearance in 2007 and preliminary final last year, but all in all he could never quite get back to grand final day with the Royals.
"It was a very fun period to be down at the club for those few years. Back then you are a bit naive to it and think that it comes around all the time, but once you get to the end of your career you can look back and be proud of it," Glancy said.
"The year before (2009) as well we only just missed making it on percentage. If we made the finals we could have given it a good shake and even in 2004 we did the same thing. We had a slow start but beat South Fremantle by 10 goals in the last round but we just missed out and Subi ended up winning it. I'm not saying we would have beat them, but would have given it a good shake."
There are a few players of the premiership hat-trick team that stand out to Glancy when he reflects back, but all in all coming into league ranks to join a side like that gave him a dream introduction to WAFL football.
"Back then walking into that side I was 18 or 19 and there were a lot of older blokes in that side, and that's probably why we were so successful. Just to be part of that which included five or six legends of this footy club was great. We caught up a couple of weeks ago for the premiership reunion and having a beer with them again was good fun," he said.
"Andrew Waller was a fellow Bridgey boy and when we first came up to league ranks he took all the younger boys under his wing, and you wouldn’t come across a harder man than old Wal. He was a very hard man.
"Then there was another Bridgey boy, Rod Wheatley, and Brent Cowell is a really good mate of mine. On his day there wouldn’t be a better footballer going around that I've seen. There's a few of them."
Glancy's wife Erin has been through plenty alongside her husband, but did want to make sure he was making the right call before announcing his retirement.
"She will be happy, but she was actually the one person who was most vocal about trying to keep going when I told her I was thinking about giving it up," Glancy said.
"She knows what the footy club means to me and she has been through thick and thin with it, including a few hospital visits, but she's a rock for me."