Phil Davis during Greater Western Sydney's R1, 2022 clash against Sydney. Picture: AFL Photos

FORMER Greater Western Sydney captain Phil Davis, one of the most important figures in the expansion club's young history, has ended his playing career.

The 32-year-old defender's retirement is immediate, with Davis finishing with a career total of 192 AFL games. He has not played at the top level since round 17 last year.

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After two years at Adelaide, Davis was the Giants' inaugural co-captain with Callan Ward when the expansion team joined the AFL in 2012.

His 192 AFL games included 174 at GWS, and he was co-captain with Ward until the Giants' 2019 Grand Final loss to Richmond.

Davis overcame a serious kidney injury while playing in 2014. He needed two operations and spent time in intensive care.

Phil Davis leads Greater Western Sydney out for the first time ahead of the round one match against Sydney at ANZ Stadium/ Picture: AFL Photos

"It's hard to put into words what Phil means to our club," Giants chief executive Dave Matthews said.

"When we were building the Giants, we were looking to bring in quality players but also quality people for us to build a club and culture around.

"Phil has exemplified that from day one - and then some - as he's built the Giants to where we are today.

"He is revered as one of the best leaders in the game and he, along with Callan Ward, truly set our club up for success from the very early days.

Phil Davis shakes hands with Callan Ward after announcing his retirement on August 21, 2023. Picture: Phil Hillyard

"Together they set high standards, drove a family culture, and led us through every challenge."

Davis was delisted at the end of last season, but re-signed on a rookie contract.

Giants chairman Tony Shepherd also lavished praise on Davis, saying the defender is destined for further success in his life after football.

"Phil will be a Giant for life and the influence he's had on our group will be felt for many years to come," Shepherd said.

Phil Davis speaks with Giants players to announce his retirement on August 21, 2023. Picture: Phil Hillyard

"Phil is an uncompromising competitor who got everything out of himself, made his teammates better, and leaves the club as an instrumental figure in building the Giants to where we are today.

"He will always be our inaugural co-captain, our first-ever Grand Final captain, and one of the most significant players in our history.

"We wish Phil all the best in his post-football career, which given his tremendous skills, commercial acumen and endearing personality, will be immensely successful."

Teammate Daniel Lloyd also announced his retirement last week.