LAUNCESTON will farewell a loyal servant and three-time premiership veteran today who is set to hang up his boots after playing his final game with the club against Burnie.
Defender Gary Shipton will reach game number 245 for the Blues, bringing to an end a distinguished career, but it is not the way the veteran wanted to go out after an injury-interrupted season.
‘‘I would have liked to have played 250 this year but I’ve had a hip problem that has stopped me from being able to run earlier and that dampened that a bit,’’ Shipton said.
‘‘I shouldn’t have any dramas getting through the game and I’ve been doing some things to keep fit but it’s stopped me from running.
‘‘I’m disappointed to be hanging up the boots and not getting to my 250th.’’
Shipton, 31, started playing footy at Launceston in 1992 in the under 12s and went on to become a valuable defender at senior level renowned for his toughness and courage.
‘‘I played in the club’s 2006 NTFL premiership, then went to Hillwood for a year and came back to play in the 2008 flag and then the 2011 State League premiership,’’ he said.
He said the three premierships ranked as career highlights alongside milestone games for a club that has such a rich history.
‘‘Not many players play 150-plus games and to play for as long as I have is a great honour,’’ he said.
‘‘I consider myself lucky to have played with some great teammates.
‘‘Scotty Stephens is probably the best player I’ve played with, and Beau Green. It will be a great honour to have them run out with me in my last game.’’
Shipton said he will coach NTFA division 1 club Bracknell next year and was excited about the challenge of coaching for the first time.