Geelong champion Matthew Scarlett has been hailed as one of the greatest AFL players of all time and one of the most intensely competitive.
The 33-year-old 284-gamer, a linchpin of the Cats' 2007, 2009 and 2011 premierships, confirmed his retirement on Thursday in low-key style through the Cats' website.
"Obviously the premierships stand out as highlights, but they would not have been possible unless we all worked together along the way," Scarlett said.
"I am confident that this will continue in the future with all of the young players that have joined the club in recent years."
Coach Chris Scott said while he knew from his own playing days how formidable an opponent Scarlett was, his respect only grew once he took over the team.
"I am proud to have coached a player whose attitude was first and foremost all about the team," Scott said.
"I have no doubt he is a key reason for the team's unwillingness to ever accept defeat.
"Scarlo refused to be beaten and the other players replicated that determination.
"We have had the privilege of witnessing one of the greatest players of all time."
Former Cats teammate Gary Ablett backed that view.
"Scarlo is the most competitive person I have ever met," Ablett said.
"Very rarely did I see him beaten in a contest. In my opinion he will go down as the best fullback of all time."