Cameron Ling has revealed he'd been contemplating retirement for the past year but only made up his mind once and for all in the wake of last Saturday's premiership victory over Collingwood.
Twenty-four hours after leading the Cats to their third flag in five seasons in his 246th and final match, Ling's footballing life flashed before his eyes when he sat down for a chat with coach Chris Scott at the club's premiership celebrations on Sunday.
"That was probably the moment when I just thought I'm pretty happy with what I've done and what I've been able to push out of my body and mentally as well," Ling told a packed media conference at Skilled Stadium on Wednesday.
"That was the moment where I said, 'yeah, 100-percent'."
The 30-year-old said he was spent both mentally and physically and looking forward to doing nothing much at all for the next few months.
While he's likely to take up a media role next season, he would like to get back involved in football in a club environment further down the track.
Asked to nominate his career highlights, Ling said: "That exact moment when the siren goes on Saturday afternoon on Grand Final day and probably the next two or three minutes after that."
"There's no greater feeling for a footballer."
"It's the greatest thing on earth."
"I can't really separate which one is better, they were all special in their own right."
"But that few minutes out on the ground is the greatest thing and it makes all the hard work worth it."
Scott said he believed Ling had another year in him but backed his decision to retire.
He said there were 'lots of options' for the captaincy next season.
Ling agreed there was 'a big group' of candidates and he expects the leadership transition to be seamless.
"I'm humbled and pleased by the fact that so many people have said, 'play on, you should play on, you've still got something to offer'," said Ling.
"That's a helluva lot better than saying you should have gone a long time ago."
"But I do know that I'm 100-percent certain that I'm finished and therefore, I'm content with everything that I've done."
"It's nice to know that I finished on a positive note and a real high and that I finished being able to contribute something to the footy club."