Melbourne premiership captain Daisy Pearce says an unusual feeling of contentment prompted the end of her trailblazing AFLW career.
Pearce says she retires with a "very full heart" after leading the Demons to the premiership last November.
"There was an assumption that it was 'win it and I am done, or lose it and I might have to consider going again'," Pearce told reporters on Wednesday.
"But in fact the satisfaction of last season and the enjoyment and the closeness of the bond that we have now formed, it actually made it a bit more confusing and harder to step away.
"It mostly came down to the fact that I just had this feeling of contentment inside me - that is a new feeling for me as a football player.
"No matter what has happened over the journey, content has never been something that I have felt.
"So as the weeks ticked by post-season, whilst there was definitely little spurs of thinking about going back-to-back ... there was also an element of an overall satisfaction and feeling like that chapter of my life is a full one."
The 34-year-old, along with Adelaide and Port Adelaide's Erin Phillips, was the highest-profile player in the AFLW since its 2017 inception.
Pearce took a season off to give birth to twins but returned to action in 2020 and retires after captaining Melbourne for six seasons and winning three club champion awards and three All-Australian selections.
Also a respected commentator on the AFL, Pearce will now join the coaching ranks of AFL premiers Geelong.
"I have finished with the emotions of losing a big part of me and something I have loved so much," Pearce said.
"But grateful that I have worked really hard to maintain balance in the rest of my life so I am not in a period of great uncertainty and wondering who I am now.
"I have got wonderful opportunities ahead of me."
Pearce said spending more time with her young family was also a factor.
"I am still going to be an ambitious person but I want to redirect some of that ... give a bit back to the family," she said.
"I am not pinning it (retirement) on the need to go and be a good mum because I feel like I have hopefully been able to do that anyway.
"It was just that overall contentedness.
"I am someone that has always given 110 per cent and I didn't want to be floating around the footy club content with where I am at ... I don't think I could have quite met my own personal standards."