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Jan 9, 2009

Petkovic to farewell Glory faithful

Retiring Perth Glory goalkeeper Jason Petkovic will be given one final hurrah when he lines up between the posts in Sunday's A-League clash with Melbourne at Members Equity Stadium.

Petkovic played three games earlier this season but has been forced to watch on as 21-year-old Tando Velaphi established himself as the No.1 custodian at the club.

The 36-year-old confirmed on Friday that season 2008/09 would be his last, ending a senior career that started in 1991.

But with the Glory out of the finals race, coach Dave Mitchell has thrown the former Socceroo a starting berth against the Victory, allowing the veteran to farewell Perth's loyal fans in the club's final home game of the season.

"It means a lot," said Petkovic, who has represented the Glory 176 times.

"(It's a) sense of closure for me and just a way of saying thanks to all the fans.

"It's always a tough decision.

"I've been toying with it for a while now but finally decided this week.

"There was some speculation but I wanted to put a clear message out there."

Petkovic's career appeared over in 2006 when he suffered a horrendous break to his leg during an ugly collision with then teammate Simon Colosimo and former Glory striker Damian Mori, who was playing with Central Coast at the time.

But after spending 14 months on the sidelines Petkovic bravely returned, although he has failed to return to the peak of his powers that saw him lift the Glory to NSL titles in 2003 and '04.

"It's probably been the toughest part of my career," Petkovic said of the time spent out of the game.

"It's been a long road back but I wouldn't have changed it because it's taught me a lot about myself and I came through it in the end.

"There was speculation I wouldn't be able to play again but I proved that wrong and I'm proud of that fact."

Mitchell said Petkovic deserved one final fling in between the posts.

"He's capable of playing in goal," Mitchell said.

"It's not he's a mate of mine or sympathetic reasons (that I'm giving him one final game), it's because he's good enough to play.

"In the old days, he was probably the best 'keeper in Australia, (so) it's a big decision for him and he's been a great servant of this club and Australian football."

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