St Kilda veteran Nick Riewoldt has announced he will retire from AFL football at the end of the season.
The six-time club best and fairest winner told a packed media conference, which included Hollywood star and Saints fan, Eric Bana, on Monday afternoon it was the right time to call it quits.
“I couldn’t be more convinced that the time is right for me to retire and step aside,” Riewoldt said.
“I’m really proud that I’m doing that with a litre or two of petrol left in the tank, rather than pulled over on the side of the road waiting for help.
“Now, in the remaining four weeks and hopefully beyond that, it’s about repaying those closest to me.”
Riewoldt thanked his family, friends, teammates and coaches who have made his 17-year journey through AFL a possibility.
“When it’s all melted down what we are left with is reality. I’ve been in a hugely privileged position playing a sport I love for a club that I love for 17 years,” he said.
“St Kilda Football Club has been my home for half of my life, I’ve given my absolute all throughout that period, and I would like to thank them for affording me the opportunity to represent them. It has been an incredible honour and you have consistently brought out the absolute best in me.
“To my former and current teammates and coaches, St Kilda staff, members and fans, thank you for your amazing loyalty and support through both the best, and most challenging years of my life.
“Thank you to my friends and family, Mum, Dad, Alex and Maddie, for sharing every part of this ride with me and for your unconditional love.
“Catherine, James and Will, thank you for your support and sacrifice and for making the next chapter of my life so exciting to think about.”
The 34-year-old, who was rested from the weekend’s clash with Port Adelaide, has played 14 games this season, kicking 25 goals and averaging 7.4 marks per game.
He re-iterated he is still incredibly focused on playing out the remaining four games of the season and ensuring the club does all it can to make the finals.
“I’ve got four games of footy and hopefully finals to play,” Riewoldt said.
“I’m excited about the next four weeks and hopefully what follows.”
Riewoldt will retire as St Kilda’s longest serving captain and has played a total of 333 career games.
Fellow veteran Leigh Montagna is still yet to make a call on his future.