Burgess announces retirement

With more than 50 Westfield W-League matches and 40 caps for Australia to her name, Joanne Burgess will play her final home match for Brisbane Roar tomorrow after deciding to hang up her boots at the conclusion of the current season.

With more than 50 Westfield W-League matches and 40 caps for Australia to her name, Joanne Burgess will play her final home match for Brisbane Roar tomorrow after deciding to hang up her boots at the conclusion of the current season.

At 34 years old, Burgess is one of the veterans in Belinda Wilson-s squad and has played for the club since joining in 2009 after spending the inaugural Westfield W-League season with Sydney FC, including three Grand Finals.

She was also a member of the famed Westfield Matildas squad that contested the 2007 FIFA Women-s World Cup- where Australia went close to beating eventual finalists Brazil in a tight quarter-final in China.

Burgess describes the experience as the highlight of her career alongside winning the 2011 Championship with Brisbane Roar.

She said it was a difficult decision to decide to retire but said knew it was the right one.

“At first it was hard, especially with people in my ear saying they think I could go around again,” Burgess explained.

“That gives you motivation to want to play again but I do think it-s time. I-m excited about retiring so it-s a good thing.”

Just 20 minutes into the 2012 Westfield W-League Grand Final, Burgess suffered a heart-breaking knee injury and while she knew well enough how tough the road to recovery could be, she said didn-t want that to be the end of her long career, which has also included representing Australia at the 2008 Women-s Futsal World Cup.

“After I did my knee in the Grand Final, I just thought I needed to come back - for myself, to prove that I could,” Burgess said.

“Hearing the commentators saying it was my last game ever, I wanted to prove them and myself wrong.

“I actually thought I wouldn-t be back but Belinda talked me into another season.

“It was hard, I was a bit up and down with my emotions, but I decided to come back and give it another shot.”

In her year-long absence from playing throughout the 2012/13 season, Burgess showed her commitment to her beloved club by helping out on home match day as team manager.

She said it was tough to watch from the sidelines but was pleased to be able to contribute to the squad in a season where Brisbane claimed the Premiership after finishing top of the table.

“I loved going into the changing rooms and setting up all the jerseys on match day,” she said.

“It was good to still be involved in the set up and I wanted to do it for the girls.

“I think this is an awesome club and I-m proud to say I-ve been a member of this squad.”

While she-s saddened that her Sydney-based family won-t be at this weekend-s game against Melbourne Victory in Brisbane, Burgess had high hopes for next week-s semi-final that her side has already qualified for - the opponent of which is yet to be determined.

“Yeah, hopefully I don-t cry!” she said, when asked about tomorrow-s match.

“I wish all my family could be here for it but we may meet Sydney in the semi-final, hopefully we can beat them and they will be there then, no doubt.”

Burgess and her Brisbane Roar W-League teammates tackle Melbourne Victory W-League this Sunday, 9 February at Queensland Sports & Athletics Centre. Kick-off is at 2pm. Tickets: $5 adults / $2 concessions / U15 and Brisbane Roar FC members free.