ESSENDON speedster Jason Winderlich will retire at the end of the season, despite his recent run of good form.  

The 29-year-old has battled serious injuries throughout his 12-season career at the club, but is understood to have told teammates of his decision to finish at the end of 2014. 

Winderlich had a trigger clause in his one-year contract to play on into 2015 and the club was keen to have him continue. 

"I’ve enjoyed every single minute during my timehere at Essendon," he told the club website.

"To be drafted to the club you supported as a kidwas a dream come true. I would have been honoured to play the one game, so topull on the jumper for 12 years has been an absolute privilege.

"I’m certainly going to miss the banter around the club and playingalongside a great group of blokes, but I’ve got a young family and I have tothink about my long-term future and I think it’s fair to say the body probablydidn’t have another full pre-season in it."

Coach Mark Thompson said, "For Licka to carve out a career he did, with all the challenges he faced, really is an incredible achievement.

"There's always a sense of excitement whenever Licka has the ball in his hands. He's a smart player and his blistering speed allowed him to change the momentum of a game.

"Over the later part of his career he's been a great leader and mentor for the younger players and he will be missed, there's no doubt about that."

Used mostly as a half-forward, Winderlich has played 123 games for the Bombers and kicked 78 goals since making his debut in 2003. 

Under coach Mark Thompson he has recently been moved to a role in defence, where his run and creative skills have stood out. 

Back surgery in the middle of Winderlich's career halted his progress and, after recovering from that, he tore his anterior cruciate ligament at the start of 2011 and needed a knee reconstruction. 

Recurring hamstring and soft-tissue injuries have also seen him miss games, but Winderlich has been a popular player in his time at Essendon.