BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 12: Matt Rosa of the Suns runs the ball during the round 21 AFL match between the Brisbane Lions and the Gold Coast Suns at The Gabba on August 12, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Gold Coast veteran Matt Rosa has announced his retirement from AFL football.

Rosa has called time on his career after 207 games in the AFL, with 168 of those coming at the West Coast Eagles.

The 31-year-old last played for the Suns in Round 9 earlier this season.

Rosa released the following statement on

It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to retire from AFL football. Unfortunately, my body has been telling me for some time that it can no longer cope with the demands of the game at the highest level.

The game has given myself, my family and friends so much enjoyment over the journey and I have been so fortunate to live my childhood dream for 14 years.

There are many people I would like to thank for their support through the rollercoaster ride of ups and downs that playing AFL football provides.

Firstly to ‘The little town out in the scrub’ and the Brim (now Warrack Eagles) Football Club. I could not have asked for a better place to develop a love for the game. From the legendary social nights to playing on decks with bindi eyes, I loved every minute of it and the memories of this era are never far from my mind.

A big thanks also to the North Ballarat Rebels and St Patricks College for your guidance and support in helping me reach the highest level. The professional environment you provided definitely made the transition into an AFL club an easier one.

To the West Coast Eagles, it’s hard to find the right words to express my appreciation for calling out my name at the 2004 draft. Walking into a successful era in the club’s history, all I had my sights set on was playing 1 game so to play for 11 years and become a life member of the football club is something I am extremely proud of. It was an environment that valued hard work, resilience and humility and for that I am certainly thankful. There are many great people that make the football club so strong and I thank you all for helping me develop as a player and a person. The relationships built here will last a lifetime.

A special thanks to my WA host parents John and Sherryl Gardiner for welcoming me into your home. Sherryl had the monstrous task of fattening up a greyhound and I was only happy to accept her 3 course meals every night. There is no doubt the Rosa’s consider you part of our family.

To the Gold Coast SUNS thank you for the opportunity to play with an exciting young group. My family and I have loved our time at the football club and we will certainly cherish the relationships we have made. We wish the club every success for the future and look forward to seeing the young talent flourish and grow together.

To the men who have served as my senior coaches throughout my career, John Worsfold, Adam Simpson, Rodney Eade, Dean Solomon and Stuart Dew, thank you for the opportunities and the incredible strengths you displayed as coaches and people that I will take with me in my own future endeavours. Thanks also to all the assistant coaches development coaches that I have worked with throughout the years. Your patience and time to help me develop as a player and person is greatly appreciated.

To my teammates I’ve played with over the years, thank you for the memories. I’ll miss the laughs and the sweat we shared but I look forward to keeping in touch and following your journeys. Same goes to all the staff I have worked with over the years especially the medical and fitness departments who have certainly earned their money trying to keep and put my body back together.

Thanks also to Alex McDonald who along with his guidance as a manager has become a good friend that has ridden the ups and downs of the journey with me and my family.

My family means everything to me, and I wouldn’t have had such a long and enjoyable career without your love and support. To my Mum and Dad who gave up many weekends driving my brothers and I across Victoria to play whatever sport was in season. I can’t thank you enough for our upbringing and your dedication to give us the best opportunity to pursue our dreams. To my elder brothers Luke and Simon thanks for all your support, encouragement and backyard battles. There is no doubt scrapping away in the backyard trying to find a way to win played a big part in my future. To my amazing wife Hayley, you have felt the highs and in particular the lows as much as I have. Your constant love and support is immeasurable, and I can’t wait to see what the next chapter has in store with our little man Otis and our baby on the way.

Finally, to all the fans who cheered me and kept me honest. I will always appreciate the support and motivation your provided me.

What a journey it has been! It is a satisfying feeling to know that I have given my all and emptied out the tank. It was better than I could ever have imagined, and I look forward to hopefully finding another passion as strong as playing the ultimate team game.

Thank you again for all your unbelievable support throughout the years. I will never forget it!