Suns' AFL veteran Rischitelli to retire

Michael Rischitelli has called time on his career and will play his last AFL match on Saturday.
Michael Rischitelli has called time on his career and will play his last AFL match on Saturday.

He famously had to deny calling time on his AFL career last year but on Tuesday Gold Coast defender Michael Rischitelli announced his retirement from the game.

Last year's Brownlow Medal coverage included Rischitelli in the list of retiring players for 2018, with the player taking a cheeky swipe at broadcaster Channel Seven about the gaffe.

The 33-year-old played on into 2019 but Saturday's clash with GWS at Metricon Stadium will be the 243rd and final match of his career.

"I've loved every moment of my career, it's been an incredible journey," Rischitelli said.

"Throughout my 16 years, I've experienced some fantastic moments and a couple of extremely tough times, but I've enjoyed the ride."

Taken as pick 61 in the 2003 draft by Brisbane, Rischitelli played 111 games for the Lions from 2004 to 2010.

Shortly after winning the Lions' best and fairest in 2010, however, Rischitelli left the club to join the Suns ahead of their inaugural AFL season in 2011.

Rischitelli didn't appear this year until round 17 but has played the past six matches of the Suns' season and his role at the expansion club has been lauded by football operations manager Jon Haines.

"Michael has been a fantastic leader for our young football club, a role model and father figure for players throughout his nine seasons and influential in driving standards on and off the field," Haines said.

"Often understated, Rischa has been relentless in his approach to help drive this club forward and his efforts cannot be underestimated."

Australian Associated Press