The Adelaide Football Club announced today Mackay’s 15th year in the game will be his last, with the versatile speedster opting “to leave the game on his own terms”.
His decision to retire at season’s end follows a Crows cull of long-time players Daniel Talia and Tom Lynch.
The move leaves only two players aged over 30 on the club’s list – current captain Rory Sloane, contracted until 2023, and ex-skipper Taylor Walker, who was recontracted for next year but whose playing future remains in doubt after a six-match suspension for a racist remark.
Mackay, 33, was drafted by the Crows from Victoria in 2006, debuting in 2008 and playing 19 games in that season.
“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have represented the club, and have always worn our jumper with pride,” he said in a statement.
“To all my teammates, coaches and the staff of this great club, thank you. I am privileged to have met and worked with so many amazing people.”
He also thanked Adelaide members and supporters “for your passionate and unrivalled support”.
Mackay has at times been a lightning rod for criticism, with club board member Mark Ricciuto savaging his performances in a 2013 NewsCorp column, in which he described the player as “a good challenge for the coaches” who is “starting to enter the frustrating category”.
But Mackay has continued to contribute as a role-player in the young Crows side, with current coach Matthew Nicks saying today the “selfless” midfielder/defender had been “durable and super-reliable for this club for a long time”.
“D-Mac’s playing career speaks for itself… it is a credit to him the way he has continually reinvented himself and improved his game, and this season he has played some of the best football of his career,” he said.
“His reputation off the field and everything that he brings to other areas of the club is equal to what he has achieved as a player.
“He is the ultimate professional when it comes to his training and preparation, he is a selfless teammate who shows care for others and is an outstanding role model for young players.”
It comes amid an exodus of decorated veterans, with former Port Adelaide midfielder turned Hawthorn legend Shaun Burgoyne also retiring at season’s end after 21 seasons in the AFL.
The Hawks’ game against Richmond is set to be his 407th and final game, after he last month became the fifth player in VFL/AFL history to reach the 400-game milestone.
Burgoyne joined Hawthorn ahead of the 2010 season, following 157 games over nine seasons with the Power.
Three-time Richmond premiership player Bachar Houli has also opted to leave the game, effective immediately, despite conceding in a video posted on the club’s website that “I felt like I had more in the system”.
The 33-year-old played four seasons at Essendon before joining the Tigers, where he was a mainstay of their conquering premiership era.
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