Brett Deledio has decided to hang up the boots.
Brett Deledio has decided to hang up the boots.

Deledio retires from footy

GIANTS veteran Brett Deledio will retire from the AFL at season's end after his latest soft tissue injury setback - one of around 30, according to the former Tiger.

Deledio, who was out of contract at season's end, and the Giants confirmed on Thursday morning that 2019 would be his last year in the league.

Giants coach Leon Cameron earlier this week said Deledio, 32, would be sidelined until the AFL finals after suffering another calf injury in their loss to Hawthorn.

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Plagued by soft tissue injuries, Deledio has played just 31 of 69 games in almost three seasons since arriving from Richmond after the 2016 season.

Deledio said it'd been an "emotional" few days for him, but said the array of issues had taken its toll.

"I've been up and down with weighing up my feelings," Deledio said.

"Mentally I still feel really good, I still absolutely love the game. But unfortunately I've left no stone unturned with my calf injuries to try and get them right. I've tried that many different things.

Brett Deledio says injuries have taken a toll. Picture: AAP
Brett Deledio says injuries have taken a toll. Picture: AAP

"I've probably had close to 30 recurring issues with different strains. Ultimately whatever I've tried just hasn't worked.

"An honest conversation with Wayne and Leon that trying to scratch out another year just for the sake of doing that - I just don't see the point.

"Let me stress I'm not giving up right now. I'm hellbent on getting back to play in that first final and whatever will be will be after that. I'm excited by the next three or four weeks and hopefully that become four, five, six seven weeks."

He was traded to the Giants after playing 243 games for the Tigers. During his 12-season stint at Punt Road, Deledio won the Rising Star award, as well as two All-Australians and two best and fairests.

Deledio said he was "really proud" of what he'd been able to achieve in his career, thanking both past and present Richmond staff and players.

"I'm so proud to have played 243 games in the yellow and black and to have achieved two best and fairests and two All Australians there," he said.

Richmond's Alex Rance consoles former teammate Brett Deledio after the 2017 preliminary final. Pic: Phil Hillyard
Richmond's Alex Rance consoles former teammate Brett Deledio after the 2017 preliminary final. Pic: Phil Hillyard

"I played my best footy as a Tiger but I'm so grateful for the opportunity the Giants presented me at the end of 2016.

"It's no secret I needed a fresh start and to be able to do that at a new club like the Giants has been unbelievable for me.

"I would have loved to have played a lot more footy in the orange guernsey, but it wasn't to be and it taught me the influence I can have on the group without being out on the field.

"I'd like to thank everyone at the Giants, particularly the medical staff, for their support over this period.

"The past few years have been really tough, both on and off the field. But it showed me that football isn't everything and I'm really looking forward to the next chapter of my life with my family."

Deledio was taken by the Tigers with Pick 1 in the 2004 national draft.

A fresh-faced Deledio after earning the Rising Star award in 2005.
A fresh-faced Deledio after earning the Rising Star award in 2005.

Giants football manager Wayne Campbell said Deledio "had a career many would dream of".

"I've known Brett for a long time and what he's achieved in the game is a credit to not only his natural ability but his want to compete and continually improve himself," he said.

"It was a really easy decision for us to try and get him up here at the Giants and he's provided so much to our football club in three short years.

"His body has thrown plenty of curveballs at him over the past few years but the way he's handled himself has been all class and when he has got onto the field he's constantly reminded us of how good a player he is.

"The way he has handled the latter part of his career will set himself up well for his life post-playing career."

News Corp Australia


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