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Blue walks away from the AFL at just 26

Stevie's exit, Paddy arrives, Murph doubt Matt Thompson with Footy Feed
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 28: David Ellard of the Blues handpasses the ball during the 2015 AFL round thirteen match between the Carlton Blues and the Gold Coast Suns at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on June 28, 2015. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
David Ellard will play his final AFL game on Saturday

CARLTON forward David Ellard has joined the growing list of AFL retirees, calling an end to his career at just 26 years of age.

Ellard will run out for his 63rd and final AFL match when Carlton takes on Hawthorn at the MCG on Saturday.

A qualified carpenter, he has taken up an opportunity to work for a Melbourne building company over the next two years before transferring back to his home town Perth.

Recruited by the Blues with pick No. 34 in the 2007 Rookie Draft, the Swan Districts product made his debut against West Coast in round 7, 2008.

Ellard will join teammate Andrew Carrazzo in running out for the Blues for the last time in the game against the Hawks.

"He has been a great clubman, David Ellard, and he's one of those guys who has got absolutely everything out of himself," interim Blues coach John Barker said on Friday. 

"Those sorts of guys you've got to look up to because his work ethic, his want to continually improve and just his hardness and competitiveness has been a real standout for us, but it's also set a great example for the young guys."

• How well do you know 2015's retirees? Take the quiz

Carlton's "decimated" side faces a monumental task against Hawthorn, which smashed the Blues by a club-record 138 points in round 17.

The Hawks are gearing up for a tilt at three-straight flags and have only rested small forward Luke Breust for the final round, although there's some doubt about Cyril Rioli taking his spot.

"We expect Hawthorn will be rolling the sleeves right up," Barker said.

"They want to get prepared as they can for another tilt, so we're under no illusion that they'll be coming into tomorrow's game with a head of steam.

The match could also be Barker’s last at Carlton, after the Blues selected former Hawthorn assistant Brendon Bolton to coach the team in 2016.

"I will miss it (the senior role), but I will still be in footy and I love footy," he said.

"I've been really appreciative of the opportunity Carlton's given me over the last 14 weeks.

"It's been a great learning experience and I've taken it as such and enjoyed every minute of it."