HAWTHORN’S changing of the guard has continued with veteran defender Ricky Henderson announcing his retirement.

The former Crow spent the past four years at the Hawks after crossing to the club at the end of 2016, and will join premiership heroes Ben Stratton and Paul Puopolo in departing Waverley.

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"Since the moment I arrived, I loved the change Hawthorn provided and the environment at the club," Henderson said.

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"I'm really pleased to have been able to spend the last few years of my AFL career in the brown and gold.

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"I’'m happy to be moving into a new chapter of life and look forward to whatever comes next."

The 31-year-old’s 2020 campaign was cut short by a knee injury, seeing his career finishing on 159 games across his two clubs having made his debut as a 21-year-old. After progressing off the rookie list, Henderson played 90 games with the Crows before rejuvenating his career at Hawthorn and enjoying a career-best season in 2019, when he finished second in the club's best and fairest.

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"Ricky has been on a pretty incredible footy journey, over his 12 years in the AFL, he has ridden the ups and downs of the game with class and professionalism," Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said.

"He was quick to become a vital cog in our game during his time at the Hawks and his 2019 season, in particular, is something he should be very proud of."