MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 28: Dylan Grimes, David Astbury and Nick Vlastuin of the Tigers celebrate during the 2019 Toyota AFL Grand Final match between the Richmond Tigers and the GWS Giants at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 28, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Richmond defender David Astbury has announced that the 2021 season will be his 12th and last at the AFL level.

The North Ballarat Rebels product will depart Punt Road after playing 155-games and claiming three premiership medallions as a key member of a yellow and black defense that caused headaches for many key forwards over the past decade and change.

The Tigers publicly announced the 30-year-old's retirement in an official statement on Tuesday morning. 

Within said statement, Astbury spoke about how his journey from a scrawny forward to a reliable stopper had seen him fulfill a lifelong goal.

“It really is a dream to be completely content with what my career consists of and be really proud of that,” he said.

“I am really humbled by the football club wanting to keep me around, but I know this decision is right for me and for the club going forward."

Astbury also reveled the internal pride he felt about having only ever worn one team's guernsey.

“I am so proud that I have fulfilled my career and my dream at one club, this club," he continued.

“People say it is just a game, and they have got a point. It is a game. But that is not the reason that you do it. This group has delivered hope, purpose, connection and joy to our people - the Richmond people. It is really special, and I am proud of that.”

Although one of Richmond's supposed lesser lights in their star studded premiership sides, the defender's rise to prominence coincided with that of his side's, and for this he should always be remembered as somewhat of a barometer inside the back 50.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - MAY 12: David Astbury of the Tigers handballs during the round eight AFL match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Richmond Tigers at Optus Stadium on May 12, 2019 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Despite not claiming all his deserved plaudits outside of the four-walls of Tigerland, Richmond coach Damien Hardwick was effusive in his praise for the often injury hit quiet achiever.

“Dave is the epitome of the Richmond Man that we speak about all the time. The legacy that this man will leave is up there with the very best players at our footy club," Hardwick said.

“The legacy he leaves is one of selflessness and resilience. The man missed two years and has had 14 operations. Most people would have just given up. But not Dave Astbury.

“He has fought for 12 years for this footy club. He is one of the best Richmond Men I have ever seen.”

Astbury will hang up his boots after Richmond's clash with Hawthorn on Saturday and will do so as one of only 14 Tigers to have ever won three-flags across their tenure with the club.

 

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