Ryan Griffen's injury-marred stint with GWS didn't deliver the team success he craved but it did rekindle his love affair with the game of AFL.
The 32-year-old former Western Bulldogs skipper led the Giants off the MCG after Saturday night's 10-point semi-final loss to Collingwood and announced his retirement shortly thereafter.
Griffen cited his loss of passion for the game as one of the key factors behind his acrimonious split with the Bulldogs after the 2014 season.
But even after managing just 55 games in four seasons with GWS and watching the Dogs claim the 2016 premiership, Griffen leaves the game better for his time with the AFL's youngest club.
"I don't have any regrets. At that time of my career I did, I'd fallen out of love with the game ... I needed to change something in my life and that was to move clubs," Griffen told reporters.
"It's a fantastic club, it's a club I played for for 10 years (and) I still love the Western Bulldogs and the way they went about it.
"I had close relationships there, so I was happy when they won the flag. Obviously that's probably going to be a bit of a dampener on my career, that I haven't won a flag.
"We all want to win premierships and I haven't been able to do that, but I've built relationships that will last a lifetime.
"I'm pretty proud of my career. It's hard to play at this level and I've played for 14 years. I think I can hold my head up high for what I've done."
Griffen addressed his shattered teammates after the loss to inform them his AFL career was over.
He had been discussing his future with Leon Cameron for some time and while emotional at the decision, is comfortable it's the right one.
"It wasn't so much my age, I just think mentally the game has got to me ... I am slowing down a bit too," he said with a smile.
At his best, Griffen was a fleet-footed, game-breaking midfielder who claimed All Australian honours in 2013 and won the Dogs' best-and-fairest twice.
He captained the club in 2014, a tumultuous season that saw them finish 14th and ended with coach Brendan McCartney sacked and stars Adam Cooney and Shaun Higgins departing.
While delighted to link up with long-time mentor Cameron at the Giants, a wretched run with injuries meant Griffen was rarely able to reach previous heights.
"I haven't played the way that I've really wanted to, I've had a lot of injuries, but the support from Leon, the board and the boys has been unbelievable," Griffen said.
"I love this footy club. I know they can have success in the near-future and I'll be there cheering them on."