TOWERING Fremantle ruckman Aaron Sandilands will play his 271st and final AFL match against Essendon at Optus Stadium on Saturday night.
The 211cm Sandilands, who holds the AFL record of 8466 hitouts, will finish his career in third spot on the Dockers’ list for most games played, behind only Matthew Pavlich and David Mundy.
“It’s all over and I’ve decided to retire,” said the 36-year-old.
“It’s obviously been a good journey but it’s my time to hang up the boots and move on to something else in life.
“It’s been a really frustrating year in terms of not being able to play enough footy.
“The body is at the point now where I can’t get enough kilometres in the legs to be fit enough.”
Injuries have restricted Sandilands to only five matches in the opening 21 rounds of the 2019 campaign.
With the Dockers’ finals hopes effectively snuffed out with last weekend’s three-point loss to St Kilda, he decided to end his career in front of the club’s home fans.
“I had a bit of a talk with family and friends (earlier in the year) and I was keen just to walk off into the sunset to be honest,” Sandilands said.
“(The farewell game) is probably not about me, it’s about being able to say thank you to the people who have done so much (for me) along the way and have been able to help me out and to get me to where I am now.”
Sandilands was taken by Fremantle in the 2002 rookie draft.
He was named in four All-Australian teams and won the Dockers’ best and fairest award in 2009 and 2015.
“It’s safe to say that the AFL will never see another player like Aaron,” said Fremantle general manager of football Peter Bell.
“Aaron has the uncanny ability to make the difficult look easy, but no-one worked harder than him to be at his fittest and strongest every game day.”
© AAP 2019