Brisbane defender Daniel Rich has confirmed his AFL retirement at the end of this season and has not given up hope on a fairytale ending.
The 33-year-old made the announcement to his teammates on Monday as they prepare for Saturday night's home qualifying final against Port Adelaide.
Rich has played 275 games and is a well-respected figure at Brisbane, but he has only managed seven appearances this season and his last AFL match was in round 13.
He looms as a hard-luck story of the finals series, given coach Chris Fagan said last month that he would probably struggle for a senior recall because he had missed so much football.
“It’s been a frustrating year that’s for sure, but it is what it is and all I can do is be the best teammate and person I can be to make the group and club better in any way possible,” Rich said.
“There’s still plenty of time to go in this season, so I will work hard and be ready if needed, but if not, I will do my bit to support the boys and to be part of the story whether I am out there or not because this club means so much to me.
“I am super excited for the next chapter of my life. My wife and family have made so many sacrifices for me so quality time with them and supporting the kids as they grow up.
“I would love to stay involved with the club and continue to grow the Lions both on and off the field. It’s easy to do something you love and have a passion for.”
Brisbane chief executive Greg Swann and football boss Danny Daly paid tribute to Rich, who was a 2021 All-Australian.
“There’s no doubt that when people think of the Brisbane Lions, Daniel Rich is one of the main players they think of and that’s one of the best compliments you could have,” Swann said.
Daly also praised Rich for his loyalty and said he would be missed at Brisbane.
“It’s near impossible to find the words that give Richy the credit he deserves for what he has achieved individually and for what he has given to this club,” Daly said.