The Port Melbourne Football Club can confirm the recent news of the retirement of Premiership captain and club legend Toby Pinwill.
Pinwill informed Coach Gary Ayres of his intentions to ‘hang up the boots’ following an extended discussion over coffee this morning.
He said that retirement had obviously been on his mind for several months since this year’s Grand Final victory, but a number of factors had come in to play when reaching his final decision.
“It just felt like the right time,” he said.
“It was a tough decision, which is why it took so long, but I wanted to make sure that I was comfortable with it.”
With a successful traffic management business, blossoming relationship and desire to travel forming the majority of his ‘off-field’ commitments, it was predominantly Pinwill’s outstanding individual form which had many fans encouraging him to lead the team out once more in season 2018.
As it were, other elements that eventually tipped the scales in favour of finishing was the “fitting end” of his second Premiership; as well as fellow veterans and close mates Sam Dwyer, Chris Cain and Hugh Sandilands all subsequently announcing their retirements as well.
“Having those guys leave made my decision easy in some respects, but also hard because I was wary of leaving such a big hole in the leadership of the group next season,” he said.
The deeper he dug though, he realised that there are a multitude of ‘next-generation’ Borough players ready to make the next step into a position of seniority if required.
“You look at ‘Tyno’ (Luke Tynan) winning the Best and Fairest this year, ‘Shagger’s’ (Shannen Lange’s) Finals Series, ‘Tos’’ (Tom O’Sullivan) Prelim performance and ‘Jordie’s’ (Lisle) season, there’s a bit to work with there (next year) from a leadership point of view.”
He was also quick to reminisce on his own memories of when experienced Port Melbourne teammates had exited, saying that there will now be “opportunity” for some of the younger guys that mightn’t have been there previously.
Overall, Pinwill leaves a legacy that will forever be remembered at the Borough.
Having chalked up his 200th game in the Round 18 victory over Box Hill this season, he led the club to its 17th Flag – and his second – with the thrilling 4-point win over Richmond.
Pinwill is a two-time Best and Fairest winner, Norm Goss Medallist, VFL state representative, VFL Life Member, PMFC Life Member and his ‘last stand’ for the Borough was collecting this year’s Cup at Etihad Stadium with his long-time coach, mentor and friend in Ayres.
“’Ayresy’ has obviously been there with me for most of my 14 years at the club,” he said.
“He’s among all the lifelong friends that I’ve made here, and I’ll always treasure the supporters who have given me and the club so much as well.
“It’s been special.”
Though his form in 2017 remained as consistent as ever, Pinwill will be due to turn 33 next year and said he had also had doubts about how his ageing body would once again stand up to the increasingly difficult rigours and demands of the VFL competition.
As for what’s next – in addition to his growing list of off-field commitments – Pinwill said he would make himself available to “help out as much as possible” in an unofficial capacity for anyone at the club who wanted it.
Of course, it would be in addition to sharing a “can on The Hill” with some of his old teammates.
“The Port Melbourne Football Club means absolutely everything to me,” he said.
“This is my club.”
Pinwill’s retirement completes an extended list of decorated players exiting from the club’s Premiership side, with the departing Dwyer, Cain, Sandilands (retirement), Brodie Murdoch (relocation), Scott Clarke (relocation) and Brody Mihocek (AFL draft) tallying approximately 800 games’ worth of VFL experience.
An announcement regarding a replacement captain of the club will be released in the lead-up to season 2018.
On behalf of the Port Melbourne Football Club, we wish to extend our appreciation, thanks and congratulations to Toby for everything he has done for us since he started his career way back in 2004.
We also take this opportunity to wish him the very best in all of his future endeavours and can’t wait to continue to see him around the club in the years to come!
Well played, champ.