MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 01: Dale Morris of the Bulldogs celebrates with the trophy after winning the 2016 AFL Grand Final match between the Sydney Swans and the Western Bulldogs at Melbourne Cricket Ground on October 1, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Western Bulldogs veteran and club hero Dale Morris has announced his retirement from the game after 15 seasons in the blue, red and white.

Morris ends his 253-game career as a premiership player and All-Australian for the Bulldogs, whilst becoming one of the club’s most revered players in their history.

The 36-year-old was renowned for his leadership, perseverance and sacrifice for his club and ends his career with the hall of fame beckoning.

Morris has become a resounding role model for future players and is an honored ambassador for both the Western Bulldogs and the AFL.

“Everyone who knows me knows that if I could play footy forever, I would.  I just love the game so much,” Morris told the club’s website.

“But unfortunately that’s not possible for any footballer, and although it was a tough decision for me to make, the time has come for me to finish my playing career.

“Since injuring my knee I’ve had some time to reflect with my wife Gem, my boys Riley and Charlie, my family and friends, and those closest to me at the Club.  I’m at peace with the decision to retire and I’m looking forward to what life after playing will bring.

“Going through this process has allowed me to reflect on my career, and how grateful I am to have had the incredible support of so many people at this great club – the coaches, support staff, medical and rehab staff, my wonderful team-mates, and of course, our amazing fans.

“It has truly been an honour to represent the Western Bulldogs for the last 15 years.  I’ll take so many treasured memories with me.”

After spending four years with VFL side Werribee, Morris was rewarded with a rookie contract at the end of the 2004 season, selected at 19th overall in the rookie draft.

Morris made his debut the next season in round five, where he would play out a majority of the next nine seasons for the Bulldogs.

Towards the second half of his career, Morris suffered a number of setbacks through back leg and arm injuries, including three ACL injuries.

Morris was soon renowned for his courage to return to the game following long stints on the sidelines and embodied the spirit of his club.

His third ACL in round 19 this season ended his final match in the league.

“Dale is one of the most resilient and positive characters I’ve met in football, who has been an exceptional footballer for such a long period of time,” Bulldogs’ coach Luke Beveridge said.

“Everything Dale does has a selfless edge.  He always wants to make people around him better, and that’s a tremendous quality in such a competitive and demanding sport.

“He is loved and admired by everyone at the Western Bulldogs for his incredible deeds on the football field and for the way he carries himself in everyday life.

“Dale has made the Western Bulldogs a better place over the last 15 years, and his legacy will live on forever.”