ST KILDA defender Dylan Roberton has told his teammates on Friday morning that he is stepping aside from football in 2019.
Following a second heart scare in Sunday's JLT Community Series match in Ballarat, that required him to spend a night in hospital, Roberton will take the cautious approach to his future.
Despite a series of test this week to investigate his health, the 27-year-old will continue to work closely with club medicos this year.
Last year Roberton suffered a heart irregularity in round four and sat out the remainder of the season.
“I just want to say thank you for all your support”— St Kilda FC (@stkildafc) March 14, 2019
A message from Robbo. pic.twitter.com/GDXJoSyrUO
"It's extremely frustrating because I physically feel fine, and if you exclude those two incidents, I’m as healthy as I’ve ever been," Roberton said.
"Unfortunately, I need to listen to the professionals and take some more time out of the game.
"I still have a great desire to play at the highest level and want to make sure we look at every possibility.
"Given the club’s ability to add a player to the list, I wanted to make the call while they still had time to do so."
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After adding Jonathon Marsh to its list on Thursday in place of injured draftee Jack Bytel, the Saints are set to sign former Carlton defender Sam Rowe to replace Roberton before the selection period deadline at 5pm on Friday.
Coach Alan Richardson praised Roberton for his resilience and said the defender will still play an important role for the Saints in 2019.
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"Robbo is an incredibly selfless player, and nothing speaks more to that than his want to continue to play on and contribute to our group. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen this year," Richardson said.
"To lose a player of his calibre is no doubt a blow, but as he said to his teammates when he spoke to them today, he has enormous faith in our guys to step up and fill the void.
"The club, our medical staff, coaches and the players will support him through this period and with whatever comes in the future.
"Whether that’s working with the coaching staff again like he did last year, I’m sure Dylan will still play an important role for us in 2019 and be there to support his teammates.
"We, like him, are hopeful a solution to his condition can be found and we can see him in Saints colours once again."