RETIRING Cat Aasta O'Connor took a while to come to terms with hanging up the boots, but finishing her career in her home state of Queensland was a "fairytale" finish.
O'Connor played her junior and some senior footy in the northern state before moving to Victoria to further develop her game with the Darebin Falcons.
She played her final game on Saturday, against Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium, meaning she retired with 32 AFLW games to her name.
"It was hard at the start. I sat down with the club a month ago, and we had a pretty honest conversation with where my footy was at," O'Connor told the Cutting Oranges podcast with Darcy Vescio.
"I really battled my body this year. It was good to me last year, but this year I really struggled.
"Even so, I left that meeting thinking, 'You could fight it, you could fight harder, you could train differently'. You're trying to come up with solutions in your head to keep playing, because I love footy. It's what I've always done, I've always played football on the weekends.
"And I'm competitive, so how could I let that go? You can't just quit. So I'm going through all these different emotions, but over time you realise – and I rang a few good friends of mine, who were really honest with me as well – and having those close friends and mentors who said maybe it's time.
"I knew it would be the right way to go, especially when the AFL put our last game on the Gold Coast, to be up in Queensland with my family – you don't get many fairytales in footy, but that felt right to me. That's where my footy began, up in Queensland, and it was fitting that's where it finished."
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