Collingwood foundation player Emma Grant has announced her retirement.

The 30-year-old has been an influential and versatile player for the Pies since the inaugural AFLW season of 2017. She played a total of 20 games across four years but unfortunately none in the recently concluded 2020 season.

A head injury during a practice match in January ended Grant’s 2020 campaign before it began. A debilitating and prolonged recovery from concussion did not allow her to again pull the black and white jumper on. 

Known for her versatility, Grant began her AFLW career as a forward but over the years played in both the midfield and in defence. Her ability to adapt to numerous roles with ease made her a crucial player for the Pies, especially in the formative years of 2017 and 2018.

With a football career that has spanned nine years, Grant’s on-field experience and team-first mentality enabled her to help lead and shape a predominately younger squad.

Grant was a member of Collingwood’s leadership team as the side’s vice-captain for the years 2018-19.

“I can’t thank the club enough for the past four years and making my football dream a reality,” Grant said.

“Growing up in the country, playing football with the boys was the only option. I never thought I would get the opportunity to play for an AFL club in a women’s national competition. To know all girls have a pathway from Auskick through to AFLW is amazing.

“In the end I made the decision to put my health first. I have cherished every moment of my football career and appreciate the fact I have played the game for as long as I have.”

Collingwood’s GM of Women’s Sport, Jane Woodlands-Thompson, thanked Grant for her contribution to the side and club.

“As a foundation player, ‘Granty’ has played a key part in the Pies’ journey and we thank her for the impact she has had on the club,” Woodlands-Thompson said.

“She has been a key leader since Collingwood’s AFLW inception despite her ongoing battle with injury. Her resilience and strength over the years is to be recognised and commended.

“We wish ‘Granty’ all the best for her future endeavours.”