Essendon ruckman Tom Bellchambers earlier this season. Picture: AFL Photos

ESSENDON ruckman Tom Bellchambers has played his last AFL game after announcing his retirement on Tuesday.

The Bombers big man, who has been battling a knee injury, has endured a run of injuries throughout his career and his contract was due to expire with the club at the end of this season.

"This club has been a huge part of my life for the last 13 years, I can genuinely say I have enjoyed all the ups and downs that my career has thrown at me," Bellchambers said.

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"I've been lucky to live out my childhood dream and in doing so have created some amazing memories and friendships along the way that I will cherish forever. 

"Physically, my body is telling me my time is up and I go out knowing that I couldn't have given any more to this great club."

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His retirement follows that of Conor McKenna, who last week called an end to his AFL career to head back to Ireland.

His contribution as a ruckman for our team can’t be underestimated

- John Worsfold

Bellchambers played 136 games across his career, which was interrupted by a year on the sidelines after being one of the Bombers players to be hit by anti-doping bans in 2016.

The 31-year-old played seven games this season, having shown throughout his career an ability to push forward and hit the scoreboard.

His departure will see impressive young Bomber Sam Draper take on the reins as the No.1 ruck at the club.


"Tom's been a loyal and wonderful player for the club over an extended period of time," Worsfold said.

"His contribution as a ruckman for our team can’t be underestimated and for Tom to have played 13 seasons of AFL football is a credit to the way he's applied himself to the game.  

"While he hasn't enjoyed the continuity of games which he would've liked to have achieved this year, Tom's role in helping mentor our developing ruckman in Sam Draper and Nick Bryan has been first-class and shows the character and leadership he possesses."