FORMER Bendigo Pioneers star Brent Guerra has been applauded for his selflessness, but admits ruling himself out of an AFL grand final is among the hardest things he has ever done.
The Hawthorn defender made the early call, telling coaches on Monday his injured hamstring was not up to the rigours of Saturday’s grand final.
He has been praised by everyone from Hawthorn’s president Andrew Newbold, to his team-mates and rank-and-file fans.
“I thought I’d make the call early in the week and then the boys can concentrate on the game and the coaches don’t have to worry about who’s up for selection,” Guerra said yesterday.
“It just wasn’t feeling right at the time and I’m very disappointed, but (it’s) best for the side.
“It is probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to do.
“Definitely it’s tough, getting up in front of your best mates and telling them you won’t be out there on that grand final day.
“But it’s the best thing for the team and hopefully they can go out there and have a win on the weekend.”
Speaking at a pre-grand final lunch in the Melbourne CBD, Hawks president Newbold applauded the 30-year-old for making such a tough call.
“Brent really epitomises the club and that is it’s about the team, not about the individual glory,” Newbold said.
“That’s why this club has had such a fantastic year, because... people are putting the club before themselves.”