Riewoldt told the St Kilda playing group on Monday morning before revealing his decision to the media later in the afternoon. 

The 34-year-old has spent his entire AFL career with the Saints, making 333 appearances and scoring 714 goals. 

He is a five-time All Australian, and the longest-serving captain (220 games) in St Kilda history. 

“When it’s all melted down what we are left with is reality. I’ve been in a hugely privileged position playing a sport I love for a club that I love for 17 years,” Riewoldt said in a statement. 

“Reaching this decision hasn’t been a ‘fall off the cliff’ type epiphany, rather a gradual acceptance and acknowledgement that it’s time to attack the next phase of my life. I could not be more convinced that the time is right to retire.

“St Kilda Football Club has been my home for half of my life, I’ve given my absolute all throughout that period, and I would like to thank them for affording me the opportunity to represent them. It has been an incredible honour and you have consistently brought out the absolute best in me.

“To my former and current teammates and coaches, St Kilda staff, members and fans, thank you for your amazing loyalty and support through both the best, and most challenging years of my life.

“Thank you to my friends and family, Mum, Dad, Alex and Maddie, for sharing every part of this ride with me and for your unconditional love.

“Catherine, James and Will, thank you for your support and sacrifice and for making the next chapter of my life so exciting to think about.”

Riewoldt will hang up the boots after attempting to help the Saints reach the AFL finals for the first time since 2011.