FORMER St Kilda captain Jarryn Geary has called time on his career after 207 appearances across 16 seasons in the red, white and black.

The 34-year-old helped guide the Saints through a period of change following the retirement of champion forward Nick Riewoldt and the relocation from Seaford back to the club’s spiritual home in Moorabbin.

After finishing top-five in the Trevor Barker Award every year between 2015 and 2018, Geary was restricted to only 24 games in his final four seasons due to a series of gruesome injuries.

Jarryn Geary and Jack Steele share a joke during Steele's co-captaincy unveiling at RSEA Park on February 12, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

The Eaglehawk product suffered a horrific quad injury early in the 2019 season that required emergency surgery to due to compartment syndrome, before breaking his leg in his first game back in China.

After another broken leg and a shoulder reconstruction wiped out last season, Geary handed over the captaincy to Jack Steele after sharing the duty with the two-time All-Australian midfielder.

But this season hasn’t gone to plan with more injury issues preventing him from building a case for another senior opportunity via his form at Sandringham, with a lingering shoulder problem requiring another operation – the 25th of his career – in the coming weeks, ultimately drawing the curtains on an impressive career.

St Kilda players share a laugh at the team's photo day on February 16, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Geary was selected with pick No.58 in the 2007 Rookie Draft – the fifth-last pick overall – and has squeezed every last drop from his ability. Only eight players remain from that draft class: Travis Boak, Robbie Gray, Jack Riewoldt, Shane Edwards, Todd Goldstein, Josh Kennedy, Tom Hawkins and Joel Selwood, who he grew up with in Bendigo.

While Geary had one of the lower profiles externally of any captain the game, internally he was the most popular player at the club, the glue that helped the Saints navigate a difficult period.

Seb Ross, Jarryn Geary and Tim Membrey celebrate winning a JLT Community Series match against North Melbourne on March 2, 2019. Picture: AFL Photos

Geary announced his decision in front of the playing group on Thursday ahead of St Kilda’s crunch game against the Western Bulldogs on Friday night.

“I’ve loved the journey I’ve had at the Saints and it’s been something I’ve cherished for over 15 years of my life," Geary said.

“I couldn’t have dreamed that when John Beveridge picked me out of Eaglehawk Football Club at pick 58 in the rookie draft that I would have ended up playing for so long and being captain of this club.”

“Keep building your trust with one another, that’s the challenge. I know you’re going to succeed sooner rather than later if you keep digging in and hopefully you can continue to climb and give yourselves the opportunity to play in September.”

Geary will remain involved in the football club in some capacity across the final stages of the season and the club will pay tribute to the warrior at a home game before the end of the year.

“We would not be in the position we are today without Gears’ leadership, honesty and courage, and on behalf of the club, I would like to thank him for all he has done for St Kilda,” St Kilda coach Brett Ratten said on Thursday.

“It’s always sad when one of your great warriors calls time, but you can’t help but feel immense pride for everything Jarryn has achieved and done for this football club.

“He's never backed down or thrown in the towel, he's always fought hard and put his body on the line for his teammates, and his bravery is rivalled by very few. Above all, Jarryn is fiercely loyal, both to his football club and those around him.

“He’s led the club through some challenging times and pushed those around him to improve and bring a high standard consistently. Jarryn has the ultimate recognition in football: he has the entire club’s respect for the way he has conducted himself throughout his career."

Brett Ratten and Jarryn Geary look on during an AAMI Community series game between Essendon and St Kilda on March 5, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

St Kilda COO Simon Lethlean said Geary had left a great legacy for the club's players.

“Gears hangs up the boots as one of the most influential and dedicated players to represent the red, white and black,” he said.

“As a long-serving captain and leader, Jarryn really put the betterment of this club first and has been unflinching in that mission for the better part of a decade. 

“Our next crop of leaders, namely Jack Steele, Dougal Howard, Callum Wilkie and Tim Membrey, have all benefitted significantly from Gears’ input, and you can see a number of those elements within all of them as a result of his commitment.

“Gears has now passed on the torch, and it is now up to us to continue his relentless work and loyalty to the ultimate success he pushed us all towards.

“To Jarryn, his wife Emma and children Harriet and Freddie, you will always be a part of the St Kilda family.”

Jarryn Geary greets his daughter during St Kilda's team photo day on February 16, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos