A Victorian local club has won the race for retired premiership Melbourne defender Michael Hibberd.
Hibberd, who called time on his two-club, 197-game career last September, will remain in blue and red after signing with Southern Football League outfit the Port Melbourne Colts for the coming season.
The 34-year-old joins the local club after 13 years in the AFL, where he plied his trade for both Essendon and Melbourne following a strong stint in the VFL with Frankston.
Hibberd was drafted to the Bombers in 2010 as a mature-aged recruit, earning a debut in his maiden season with Essendon as an attacking backman. He would play 84 games for the Dons, with his last game in the red and black coming in 2015 prior to a season-long suspension as part of Essendon's supplements saga.
The Somerville junior would depart for Melbourne ahead of the 2017 season and would go on to win All-Australian honours in his first year with the club.
Hibberd would be part of the Demons' drought-breaking premiership win over the Western Bulldogs four years later, with his final two seasons with Melbourne limited by injury and form.
Following his decision to hang up the boots, Hibberd will now venture to the local level with Port Melbourne, who are coming off a deep finals finish from last year in the SFNL.
"Port Melbourne Colts would love to announce Michael Hibberd to the team for 2024," a club post read.
"Melbourne premiership player played 197 AFL matches brings alot of experience and talent to our club
"Welcome to the Stables."
Port Melbourne won 12 of their 18 Division 1 home and away games last year before reaching the penultimate game of the post-season, losing to eventual premiers Cheltenham.
The Colts' acquisition of Hibberd comes after the club lost former Geelong and Carlton defender Billie Smedts to Geelong-based side Thomson for the 2024 season.