St Kilda defender Dylan Roberton. Picture: AFL Photos

LUCKLESS St Kilda defender Dylan Roberton has called time on his 129-game AFL career.

The 29-year-old has been away from the club since January as he weighed up his future due to health issues.

But Roberton on Friday announced he was retiring, effective immediately, two weeks out from the Saints' season-opener.

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"I've come to a point where I need to put my family and future first," Roberton said.

"Football has been a huge part of my life for such a long time and I've never lost my passion for the game.

"But after lengthy discussions with my family and on the advice of my doctors, I've made the extremely hard decision to hang up the boots."

Roberton had played just one AFL game since collapsing at GMHBA Stadium due to a heart condition while playing for the Saints against Geelong in 2018.

He suffered another incident of heart irregularity during a 2019 pre-season game in Ballarat and sat out that entire campaign.

Roberton returned in round one last year but did not feature again at AFL level after the season restart.


He played 92 games for St Kilda after joining the club from Fremantle - who he appeared for 37 times - at the end of 2012.

He became a key figure in St Kilda's defence and made the 40-man All-Australian squad in 2017.

Saints coach Brett Ratten said the club would continue to support Roberton.

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"Dylan is a much-loved and well-respected member of our club," Ratten said.

"He should be really proud of how he has dealt with everything life has thrown at him - it's a real credit to his character.

"Dylan has a great footy brain and he'll remain an asset to our program for the remainder of 2021."