After 261 games over 15 seasons, beloved SUN Jarrod Harbrow has announced his decision to retire from AFL football.
The 33-year-old has been with the SUNS since the club’s debut season and was the first player to be inducted as a life member of the Gold Coast Football Club.
He retires having played 191 games for the SUNS and 70 for the Western Bulldogs.
Harbrow informed players and staff of his decision on Tuesday morning and thanked everyone at the club who had helped him fulfill an outstanding career.
“I’ve been really lucky that the game of AFL football has given me this opportunity to live out a dream and helped me set up my family with a great start to life,” Harbrow said.
“I’m appreciative of everyone that has played a big part in my career.
“I’d like to thank my family, mum and dad, my brothers and all my family up in Cairns and down in Mooroopna in country Victoria.
“All my junior coaches, representative coaches, the Western Bulldogs club and players and the Gold Coast SUNS club and players and anyone that has been a part of my journey.
“The main thing I wanted to do was run out in the SUNS colours and represent my family, the football club and the supporters on the Gold Coast with pride.
“I’ll be forever thankful to the Gold Coast SUNS for allowing me to play football up here and I certainly will be a supporter for the club for a very long time and will have their back forever.”
Harbrow’s impact on the Gold Coast SUNS has been profound.
At his best Harbrow has proven to be one of the most consistent small defenders in the league and has been a mainstay for the club, proven by his selection in the Gold Coast SUNS Team of the First Decade earlier this year.
As a proud Yirrganydji/Kuku-Yalanji Aboriginal Australian from Far North Queensland, he has also had a colossal influence on the club’s Indigenous and cultural education programs.
He is an AFL Players’ Association Indigenous Advisory Board member and has been a respected mentor to fellow Indigenous teammates Sean Lemmens, Izak Rankine, Malcolm Rosas Jnr, Jy Farrar and Joel Jeffrey, as well as many former teammates.
Gold Coast SUNS General Manager of Football Operations Jon Haines said Harbrow’s legacy would leave a generational impact on the club.
“Jarrod is quite simply an inspiration to the Gold Coast SUNS and furthermore the Gold Coast community,” Haines said.
“He has had a tremendous influence on the playing group throughout the last eleven years. He is an amazing role model within our club and our community and we will be forever grateful for the legacy he has created at the Gold Coast SUNS.
“Pleasingly, Jarrod will be continuing at the club in an off-field role, mentoring our Indigenous players and leading our Indigenous and cultural programs. As such, Jarrod, Emma, Riley and Reef will continue to be a critical part of the SUNS family and we are thrilled that our relationship will grow even stronger.”
Drafted with pick 27 in the 2007 Rookie Draft to the Western Bulldogs, Harbrow was quick to make an impression and was named for his AFL debut in Round 4 of that season.
He played four seasons with the Bulldogs which included nine finals appearances before having his desire to return to his native Queensland fulfilled when he was announced as the fifth uncontracted player to sign for the Gold Coast SUNS.
Throughout his time at the SUNS he has played AFL football in each of his 11 seasons with the club, with his best individual year coming in 2018.
The 2018 Club Champion awards night saw Harbrow become the first player to be inducted as a life member of the Gold Coast SUNS, take home the SUNS Players’ Player and Community Awards, and cap it off by claiming the top gong as Gold Coast’s Club Champion.
Harbrow has been equally as impactful off the field, harbouring a passion for mentoring Indigenous youth.
Jarrod has already launched his own mentoring program with brother Marc, aiming to further support and educate Indigenous youth throughout Queensland in sport, school and general day to day life.
His endeavours over the past five years have seen him twice nominated as a finalist in the AFL’s Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award.
Jarrod Harbrow will play his final AFL match against Sydney at Marvel Stadium this weekend in what will be a chance for SUNS members and fans to see the club legend in action, one final time.