St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt has confirmed that he will be hanging up his boots at the end of the 2017 season.
The former Gold Coast All Saints student made the emotional announcement alongside coach Alan Richardson on Monday afternoon.
“To be a professional AFL footballer for half of my life, I still have to pinch myself,” Riewoldt told a packed news conference.
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“Its just been so much fun. I have been in an incredibly privileged position to be able to do what I love and call it a career.
“Thank you very much for the opportunity to play a game that I love, thank you to the St Kilda football club for the opportunity to play with a club that I love, its been amazing.”
Coach Alan Richardson described Riewoldt as a leader of the highest calibre.
“I haven’t seen a better leader in my time in football,” Richardson said.
“His preparation and professionalism is unrivalled in the AFL and the standards he drives within our group will remain with his current teammates until their careers are over.”
The 34-year-old has played 333 senior games since making his debut in 2001 and has kicked 714 goals.
To date he has been awarded 149 career Brownlow votes, including 19 in 2016.
In addition to his decorated playing career, Riewoldt has made a considerable impact off the field as an ambassador for St Kilda Football Club and the game more broadly.
Following the tragic passing of his sister Maddie in February 2015, Riewoldt joined his family in creating Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision to help find a cure for bone marrow failure syndromes.
Nick and the Riewoldt family created Maddie’s Match as a major fundraiser for Maddie’s Vision. Maddie’s Match was held for the first time in 2015, and again this year in Round 16 against Richmond.
— St Kilda FC (@stkildafc) July 31, 2017