HOBART, AUSTRALIA - JULY 31: Shaun Higgins of the Cats leads out the Cats during the round 20 AFL match between North Melbourne Kangaroos and Geelong Cats at Blundstone Arena on July 31, 2021 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Steve Bell/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

Shaun Higgins has announced his retirement after 17 seasons and 260 games across the Western Bulldogs, North Melbourne and Geelong.

The veteran played just five matches for the Cats this season, adding to his tally of 18 in 2021 after joining the club from the Kangaroos at the conclusion of the 2020 season.

Higgins kicked 229 goals across his career, winning best and fairest awards at North in both 2017 and 2018.

The 34-year-old announced his decision to hang up the boots to teammates on Tuesday.

“I feel privileged to have been able to play at this level for 17 seasons at three great clubs. I feel enormously lucky to have lived out a childhood dream of playing footy and I’m thankful for all the friendships, memories and support through the years,” Higgins said.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to have represented Geelong, it’s a special Club and while having only been here for two seasons, the place and people have had a lasting impact on me.

“There have been so many people who have helped me along the journey, I’d like to thank my wife Heidi and children Rosie, Harry and Emme, my Mum, Dad and my extended family. Thank you also to Bruce, Mary, Richard and Kev for the support and role they have played.

“Thank you also to the teammates I’ve been able to share the locker room and field with and my coaches for shaping me as a player.

“While I have experienced some challenges with injury this season, I’m comfortable knowing I’ve done everything I can to make a return to the senior team, and while it hasn’t worked out, I’m focused on playing my part in helping the team best prepare for Saturday’s Grand Final and seeing my teammates run out onto the MCG.”