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Dennis Armfield has made the most of his AFL career

It feels a bit surreal that it's my turn to hang up the boots

CARLTON leader Dennis Armfield will retire at the end of the season.

Armfield, 30, announced his retirement in a letter to Blues members on Tuesday, telling them he did so with "a heavy heart" but content in the knowledge the time was right.

"What a ride it's been. Coming over from Perth to one of the biggest footy clubs in the country at the end of 2007, I could never have imagined that I'd still be here 10 years later," Armfield said.

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"I was just aiming to play one game, so to have played 143 so far and receive life membership is something I'm certainly very proud of.

"It feels a bit surreal that it's my turn to hang up the boots, but the time is right. I am certain that the club is in the best position it's been during my time here, and I can't wait to see all of our youngsters blossom into the stars I know they'll be."

Armfield's high standing at Ikon Park was underlined earlier this year when he was elevated into Carlton's leadership group.

The No.46 pick in the 2007 NAB AFL Draft, Armfield was blessed with genuine speed and a strong work ethic.

A versatile player, he could be relied on in defence, the midfield – usually on the wing or in a run-with role – and, more recently, attack, where his constant pressure made opposition defenders tread warily.

The West Australian missed just one game in 2012-2013, playing every match in the latter season when the Blues made their most recent trip into the finals.

Armfield's career looked in jeopardy several times over subsequent years, but he always found a way to survive, with one-year contracts the norm for him in recent seasons.

Armfield kicked 75 goals in his 143 games for the Blues and was a fan favourite for his wholehearted efforts on the field.