ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: Port sing the song and drown new players Steven Motlop ,Tom Rockliff, Dom Barry and Jack Watts of Port Adelaide during the round one AFL match between the Port Adelaide Power and the Fremantle Dockers at Adelaide Oval on March 24, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

Port Adelaide veteran Jack Watts has today called time on his AFL career, effective immediately.

Watts was originally taken by the Demons with Pick 1 in the 2008 AFL Draft and played 152 games for the club before moving to Alberton at the end of 2017.

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The 29-year has played 21 games for Port Adelaide but suffered a serious leg injury early last year that has kept him sidelined since.

Watts admitted that he has struggled to bounce from the injury both physically and mentally.

“I have been thinking long and hard about my future for a while and contemplating retirement,” Watts told portadelaidefc.com.au.

“Since my injury, I feel my body has let me down and I have been struggling with the physical and mental requirements of getting back to the level of fitness that’s required at AFL level.

“Speaking with Ken (Hinkley) and Chris (Davies) and my manager in the last few weeks, it feels like the right decision for me to step away and look for new challenges in the next phase of my life.

“I feel lucky to have had 12 years in the game and while there have been some challenges, there have also been some amazing memories both at Melbourne and Port Adelaide.

“I’m so grateful for all of the opportunities and experiences footy has given me and the friendships I will take with me away from the game.

“I’m not sure what the future holds just yet but I’m looking forward to some time away from the limelight.”

Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley praised Watts for everything he bought to the club, both on and off the field.

“We all know Jack’s football ability, and we would have liked to have seen him on the field a lot more for our club,” Hinkley said.

“People might not realise just how important and loved he is around our playing group because of his character.

“Jack always has a way of lifting everyone’s spirits, even when things weren’t going so well for him in the last couple of years. He’ll be missed around the group.”

Watts hangs up the boots with 174 AFL games and 161 goals to his name.