ESSENDON Category B rookie Luke Lavender has retired.
Lavender, 22, blamed injuries for stepping away from the game and told teammates of his decision on Monday morning.
At 202cm, he played as a ruck and up forward.
The South Australian lined up in 11 VFL matches last year, which was his only season at the club.
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"I want to thank everyone at the Bombers for the opportunity to realise my childhood dreams," Lavender told essendonfc.com.au.
"Unfortunately, my body just hasn't been able to cope with the demands of the sport. While it's been frustrating, I recently had post-season surgery on my shoulder and I had to be realistic about the prospects of being able to return and push for senior selection, which is ultimately why we play footy.
"I'm disappointed it didn't work out, but I'll always be grateful to the Bombers for giving me the chance to be an Essendon-listed player."
Before joining Essendon, he had thrived as a fast bowler in cricket and as a goalkeeper in soccer.
Bombers football manager Dan Richardson thanks Lavender for his time at the club.
"After sustaining a number of injuries, which impacted Luke's ability to compete long-term in an AFL environment, the decision was made after ongoing discussions in recent months," Richardson said.
"We thank Luke for his contribution to the club over the past 12 months and we wish him all the best for his future endeavours."