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Veteran mid to leave Saints, but 'not closing the door'

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VETERAN midfielder David Armitage will leave St Kilda at the end of the season, but is hopeful of earning a second chance at another club in 2020.

Armitage addressed the playing group on Thursday, revealing his decision, bringing a close to a distinguished Saints career that featured 169 games over 13 years.

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"I'm not fully closing the door on football just yet, and who knows what will happen next, but I'm leaving the Saints knowing I gave absolutely everything I had," Armitage said.

Armitage finished second in the club's best and fairest in 2015, a season where the hardened midfielder also polled 12 Brownlow votes after averaging 28.4 disposals.

David Armitage played in three finals in his time at the Saints. Picture: AFL Photos

However, the 31-year-old could only manage two appearances in 2019.

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"I felt embraced by the club the second I walked in the door," Armitage said. 

"I feel very honoured to have played for this great club for 13 years and I’ll treasure the friendships I have made along the way.

"I could not have achieved any of it without the support from my family, friends, teammates and coaches, and I thank them for everything they have done for me.

"I also want to thank the St Kilda fans for their support. I have loved meeting so many of you over the years."

Saturday's game in Sydney against the Swans is the last audition for the top job for Saints caretaker coach Brett Ratten, who believes he has put a good case forward to become the club's next senior coach.

Ratten will make his final presentation to the coaching selection panel next week, with a decision to follow soon after.

The 300th match for Sydney superstar Lance Franklin, along with the retirements of Swans stalwarts Jarrad McVeigh, Kieren Jack and Nick Smith, has hogged the headlines ahead of Saturday's clash at the SCG.

But the game is no less important for the Saints and Ratten.

"The last game – win, lose or draw – it's just the way that you play because it can leave a bad taste in your mouth," Ratten said.

"We want to finish strongly whether we win or maybe not get the points but play the way that we want to play.

"I think if we do that we'll leave this season and move into 2020 with really good energy and a vision of where we want to go whether I'm the coach or not.

"... If we allow the commentary and the hype around (the Swans) to get into our thoughts and distract us then it will be an issue, but we'll just focus on what we can control and respectfully acknowledge those players."

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Dan Hannebery will play against his old side for the first time, while Jack Steven will get the opportunity to bounce back from a flat performance in the loss to Carlton that followed his stellar return from a lengthy mental health break.

"He had a downer on the weekend but he's a quality player and we'll let him get back and do what he can do," Ratten said of Steven.

"I think history shows there are a lot of players who have a down second week back and that was his."

Former Blues defender Sam Rowe will play his 100th and final AFL game, while Jade Gresham's season is over after he failed to overcome an eye socket injury.

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