St Kilda defender Dylan Roberton says he has made his family and health his top priorities by deciding to retire immediately from the AFL.
Roberton, who played 129 senior matches for the Saints and Fremantle, announced his retirement this afternoon, two weeks out from the opening round of the AFL season.
He had played just one AFL match since collapsing at Kardinia Park due to a heart condition while playing for the Saints against Geelong in 2018.
The 29-year-old has been away from the club since January as he weighed up his future.
“I’ve come to a point where I need to put my family and future first,” Roberton said in a St Kilda statement.
“Football has been a huge part of my life for such a long time and I’ve never lost my passion for the game.
“But after lengthy discussions with my family and on the advice of my doctors, I’ve made the extremely hard decision to hang up the boots.”
Following his on-field collapse in 2018, Roberton suffered another incident of heart irregularity during a 2019 preseason match in Ballarat.
He sat out the entire 2019 season but returned to the field in round one last year.
The 2020 season was suspended following round one because of the coronavirus pandemic and Roberton did not feature again at the AFL level following the premiership’s resumption in June.
Saints coach Brett Ratten said the club would continue to support Roberton.
“Dylan is a much-loved and well-respected member of our club,” he said.
“He should be really proud of how he has dealt with everything life has thrown at him — it’s a real credit to his character.
“Dylan has a great footy brain and he’ll remain an asset to our program for the remainder of 2021.”
Roberton played 92 matches for St Kilda after joining the club from Fremantle.
He made 37 senior appearances for the Dockers, having debuted in the 2010 season.
Roberton became a key figure in St Kilda’s defence during his time at the club and made the 40-man All-Australian squad in 2017.
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