Brisbane Lions legend Daniel Rich has announced he will call time on his incredible 275-game career and retire at the end of the Club’s 2023 finals campaign.
Rich joined the Lions in 2008 after the Club took the highly touted Western Australian with pick seven in the national draft.
The 33-year-old has since forged a career as one of the game’s best defenders with a resume consisting of a Rising Star and AFLPA Best First Year Player award in 2009, All-Australian honours in 2021 and a Michael Tuck Medal in 2013.
It is no coincidence that after bringing Rich to the Club, the Lions have gone from bottom of the ladder to a team playing in their fifth consecutive finals campaign.
Rich made the announcement in front of his teammates and the entire Club at a special meeting on Monday afternoon.
“It’s been a pretty crazy journey with plenty of ups and downs, I have met so many amazing people and close friends who I appreciate so much, and I love this Club,” Rich said.
“I am proud to call myself a one club player and I am proud that I have been a small part in turning things around over the recent years at the Lions.”
Despite starting the 2023 AFL season as one of Brisbane best performed players in the opening rounds, Rich has played VFL in the second half of the year after battling injuries.
As the Lions prepare for a home Qualifying Final at The Gabba in pursuit of another crack at premiership glory, Rich is leaving the door ajar for a fairytale ending should it come.
However, the veteran is under no illusion he might not get an AFL recall and if that’s the case, Rich will be equally happy to see the Club he loves experience the ultimate success.
“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,” he 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 Lions CEO, Greg Swann, paid tribute to Rich following the veteran’s announcement.
“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,” he said.
“Richy has had a career most players would envy, and he has given so much to the Brisbane Lions Football Club both on and off the field.
“He will always hold a special place at the Club, and we can’t thank him enough for his contribution.”
Lions General Manager Football, Danny Daly, echoed Swann’s comments and further praised Rich – a player he shares an extra tight bond with.
“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,” he said.
“Richy is one of the most loyal people you will meet, he genuinely cares for those around him, and he is someone you can always share a laugh with.
“He will be dearly missed by everyone at the Club and including our fans, but we thank him sincerely for everyone and wish him and his family all the best in the next chapter.”