MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 08: Tom Bellchambers of the Bombers celebrates after kicking a goal during the round 16 AFL match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Essendon Bombers at Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 8, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Essendon veteran Tom Bellchambers has today announced his retirement from the AFL.

The ruckman has played 136 games for the Bombers over a 13-year career.

Taken with the Pick 8 in the 2007 pre-season draft, Bellchambers made his debut in Round 11 of the following season.

The 31-year old thanked the club for the opportunity to play football at the highest level.

“Today I announce my retirement from the game that I love. This club has been a huge part of my life for the last 13 years, I can genuinely say I have enjoyed all the ups and downs that my career has thrown at me,” Bellchambers told the club website.

“I’ve been lucky to live out my childhood dream and in doing so have created some amazing memories and friendships along the way that I will cherish forever.

“Physically, my body is telling my time is up and I go out knowing that I couldn’t have given any more to this great club.

“To my family, my partner and all the people that helped me on my journey, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, and know that I couldn’t have done it without you.

“To the Essendon faithful, your loyalty and support to myself and the football club through a difficult time is what makes this club so great.

“I wish the boys nothing but success and I believe we are on the right path to get there.”

Essendon coach John Worsfold praised Bellchambers for his contributions to the club.

“Tom’s been a loyal and wonderful player for the club over an extended period of time,” Worsfold said.

“His contribution as a ruckman for our team can’t be underestimated and for Tom to have played 13 seasons of AFL football is a credit to the way he’s applied himself to the game.

“While he hasn’t enjoyed the continuity of games which he would’ve liked to have achieved this year, Tom’s role in helping mentor our developing ruckman in Sam Draper and Nick Bryan has been first-class and shows the character and leadership he possesses.

“He’s a highly regarded and valued member of the playing group and everyone from the coaches, staff and his teammates will miss his presence around the club.

“We wish both Tom and partner Olympia, as well as their families, the very best for their future.”

Bellchambers has averaged 5.9 disposals and 20 hitouts from seven senior appearances in 2020, with knee injuries hampering his season.