AFL fans have been rocked the sad news that luckless St Kilda player Dylan Roberton has announced his sudden retirement at the age of 29.
Robertson - who has suffered a number of heart-related incidents in his 129-game AFL career - confirmed the heartbreaking decision to hang up his boots on Friday.
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The popular defender has been away from the club since January, weighing up whether or not was was ready to have a crack at the new season, which gets underway in two weeks.
Ultimately, the 29-year-old wasn't willing to risk his health and has put his family first after calling time on his career, effective immediately.
"I've come to a point where I need to put my family and future first," Roberton said.
"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."
Roberton had played just one AFL game since collapsing at GMHBA Stadium due to a heart condition while playing for the Saints against Geelong in 2018.
He suffered another incident of heart irregularity during a 2019 pre-season game in Ballarat and sat out that entire campaign.
Roberton returned in round one last year but did not feature again at AFL level after the season restart.
He played 92 games for St Kilda after joining the club from Fremantle - who he appeared for 37 times - at the end of 2012.
Fans pay tribute to popular defender
News of the defender's retirement left footy fans saddened on Friday, with many wishing him a happy and healthy future.
Roberton became a key figure in St Kilda's defence and made the 40-man All-Australian squad in 2017.
Saints coach Brett Ratten said the club would continue to support their former player in retrirement.
"Dylan is a much-loved and well-respected member of our club," Ratten 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."
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