FRANKSTON YCW’S eight-time premiership player Craig Nankervis said it was “hard, really hard” to announce his retirement last week.
He’d been putting it off, struggling to let go.
Nankervis, 35, has been pulling on the boots for YC for the best part of 20 years, quietly and diligently building a remarkable record.
“That’s why it’s taken this long. I’ve been doing it so long, it’s something I’ve loved doing, you just keep putting it off and off,’’ Nankervis told the Leader.
“It’s just really hard to actually say, ‘I’m not going to be playing any more’. Really hard.
“I’ve been there since 1998 in the U18s, so 20 years basically.
“It’s like a second home down there, I’m part of the furniture.”
Nankervis needs all of his fingers to count all the flags he’s played in at Frankston YCW — 10 in all: eight seniors, a reserves and an U18s flag (in his first season at the club).
He says his playing career has gone by in “a flash’’ and revealed he almost retired several other times, as far back as 15 years ago because of shoulder injuries.
“It’s just all happened in a flash basically, especially the last seven or eight years,’’ he said.
“I was nearly going to retire in 2010, 2011, around that time. I think I said it. But I just kept going. It’s hard to give up. It’s been so enjoyable. Winning makes it fun.
“I think it’s the right time to get out. The club, they’re looking really good again this year but on a personal level I’m just burnt out I think. I’d love to be doing it again but I can’t commit to the level that’s needed.”
Nankervis is looking forward to spending more time with his a one-year-old daughter.
“I found that last year I was struggling to leave her and go to training, I’d rather just stay home,’’ he said.
“That made the decision (to retire) a lot easier, I can spend more time with her and watch her grow up.
“It is a big commitment, I know it’s only local football, but it takes up a lot of your time.”
Looking back, Nankervis played with a galaxy of Stonecats stars.
“Mark Berenger, he was a superstar I thought, I loved the way he played, just so tough and he was just so committed to everything he did,’’ he said.
“Obviously Brendan Long was just a freak. Later on Bundy Barry, he is right up there. Benny Poole, I loved playing with him, he just went about his footy and I used to walk taller running out next to him.
“Ash Eames, obviously…without him there’s no way we would have been successful. He’s a ripping bloke and a gun footballer.’’
Nankervis played under great coaches, but credited Bugsy Barry with turning the club around.
“I got on really well with all my coaches,’’ he said. “Bugsy turned it around, when he came to the club he brought a bit more professionalism and what he put in place 10 years ago is still going through the club now and that’s why they are so successful. He really built the culture.