Leeton's Jacob Townsend has formally closed the door on a unique AFL career that took in four clubs and a famous premiership.
The 28-year-old was delisted by his most recent club, Gold Coast. He could've trained over the summer and pushed for a spot next season but said he was after certainty and, after being overlooked in the rookie draft, decided to retire.
"I thought about it and knew I was going to be fighting for my spot with someone else and I thought the time was right for me to call time," Townsend told AFL.com.au.
"I've got the next phase already planned out and I'm really keen for that so that was why I chose not to take up that offer."
Townsend will forever be remembered for his role in Richmond's drought-breaking flag of 2017, including two goals and a crunching tackle on Adelaide's Matt Crouch.
"Unconditionally tough and selfless," Richmond CEO Brendon Gale reflected after Townsend's news landed on Tuesday.
"'The tackle' franked our momentum, made the entire team walk taller, and set us on the path to victory."
Townsend only got an opportunity in the closing weeks of 2017 but kicked 11 goals in two games, cemented his spot for finals and helped secure a flag.
It was the highlight of a decade-long roller-coaster ride in the AFL system for Townsend, who was drafted as a 17-year-old by the brand new Greater Western Sydney in 2011. The tough midfielder started his career on a high playing in the Giants' first ever AFL match in 2021.
After 28 games in four years, he went to Richmond at the end of 2015 hoping to reinvigorate his career.
At the Tigers, there was a VFL league best-and-fairest win but only 20 AFL games in four seasons, including five in the success of 2017.
A season at Essendon followed (12 games in 2020) but only a couple of games with the Gold Coast this year, prompting him to confirm his AFL journey had to come to a close.
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