Rance announces shock AFL retirement
The football world has been rocked by the shock retirement - effective immediately - of Richmond superstar Alex Rance.
Rance, a five-time All-Australian defender, has pulled the pin on his career to spend more time with his family and to travel overseas.
He informed his teammates this morning.
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Rance, who played 200 AFL games and was a member of the Tigers' drought-breaking 2017 premiership, said he achieved everything he wanted from the game.
"I am someone who will always give their best to what they commit to, and I'm proud of the time, energy and dedication that I've put towards my football career," Rance said.
"Right now, I feel I have served my purpose in terms of my on-field performance and cultural impact, and I'm so grateful to the football club for their support and care in allowing me to do that in my own unique way.
"Now I feel is the right time for me to put the same time and energy into other areas of my life that need it, and to prioritise the more important things to me, such as my spiritual growth, my family and friends."
Richmond chief executive Brendon Gale said Rance had been thinking about his future for some time.
"Alex, his manager and the club have been in regular communication about Alex's future, and while we will miss him dearly at our football club, we understand and respect his need to step away from football to focus on his personal life," Gale said.
"He leaves this club a highly-decorated premiership player and it has been a privilege for all us to watch him play. He is clearly one of the greatest players to have pulled on the Richmond jumper."
Rance tore his anterior cruciate ligament in Round 1 last year and missed the Tigers' 2019 flag.
The 30-year-old has made no secret of his desire to explore options away from football.
The Jehovah's Witness almost quit AFL in 2015 in what he described as a "conflict" between football and his faith.
"Yeah (it has occurred to me since 2015) - it's constantly occurring to me," Rance said of retirement two years ago.
Rance pushed hard to make it back for last year's finals but said he would never have forgiven himself if he went down and cost his team the chance to win.