Tiger Kane Lambert forced to retire early

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Three-time premiership forward Kane Lambert has announced his AFL retirement after just 135 games due to an ongoing hip injury.

Lambert featured in Richmond's round 16 win over West Coast three weeks ago but on Monday he informed his teammates of his decision to retire, effective immediately.

The 30-year-old felt his ongoing hip problem meant he wouldn't be able to reach the fitness standards needed at AFL level.

"What Kane has given us since he arrived at the footy club can never be repaid, but it can be learned," Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said in a statement.

"Dedication, resilience and all the things we talk about needed to get the best out of yourself, this man has done it.

"The way he played the game; we changed things based around him and how Lambert would do it. Watching him on the field is like a masterclass for an AFL coach.

"Kane has given us success, but he has also given us some of the off-field stuff that is going to last a long time."

Lambert had been passed up by a whopping 836 draft selections over numerous years before he finally landed on Richmond's list at the age of 23 via the 2015 rookie draft.

He featured in the Tigers' premiership sides of 2017, 2019, and 2020, and finished second in the club's best and fairest count in 2018 behind Jack Riewoldt.

"It is not what you win, it is who you win it with, and it has been an absolute pleasure to share this journey with all our players, staff and members both past and present," Lambert said.

"My purpose has been to prove people right, the people that cared for me and gave me their time and effort.

"I am so fortunate to be able to thank those people."

A calf injury restricted Lambert to just 13 games last season, but he still managed a ninth-placed finish in the club's best-and-fairest award.

It marked the fifth straight season he had finished inside the top 10.

One of Lambert's biggest on-field contributions came in the 2020 preliminary final against Port Adelaide, where his two final-quarter goals lifted Richmond to a six-point victory.

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