MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 25: Daniel Merrett of the Lions spoils a mark by Tyrone Vickery of the Tigers during the round 14 AFL match between the Richmond Tigers and the Brisbane Lions at Melbourne Cricket Ground on June 25, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Lions defender Daniel Merrett announces retirement

Brisbane Lions defender Daniel Merrett has announced that he will retire at the end of the season.

Merrett told his teammates of his decision on Tuesday afternoon.

The 31-year-old was originally drafted as a forward in 2002, before establishing himself as a mainstay in the Lions’ defence for the best part of a decade.

He will play his 200th game in Round 23 against St Kilda after 14 AFL seasons in what will be his final match.

“I can’t really talk, but I suppose you know what I’m going to say,” an emotional Merrett said when telling players and staff.

“I thought I wanted to play on next year, I thought if you’re able to play, if you’re capable – keep going. But, I probably sat down on the weekend and thought, what do I value in life the most? And that’s my family.

“I just want to give more time to my family and it probably feels like a little bit of the fire has burnt out inside. The one thing that has kept me going is the knowledge I can share with the younger guys, particularly the defenders. It’s one of the main reasons I play.

“I can see the future is so bright.

“For the last 12 years I’ve been playing seniors we haven’t had a whole deal of success. It’s been pretty tough but I wouldn’t give it up for anything.”

Merrett made his debut in Round 2, 2005, after being selected with pick No. 30 in the 2002 National Draft.