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Swans Star Armfield Announces AFL Retirement With Blues

Friday, August 11, 2017 - 11:17 AM
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A STANDOUT WAFL season with Swan Districts in 2007 saw Dennis Armfield earn his AFL opportunity and a decade on he has announced his retirement deservedly proud of the career he put together at Carlton.

Armfield came through at Swan Districts as a hard-running defender and midfielder earning his league debut as a 19-year-old in Round 21, 2005.

He went on to play 12 matches in 2006 showing some encouraging signs and finishing up with a best on ground display in the winning reserves grand final coached by Brian Dawson.

Then as a 21-year-old he took his game to another level in 2007. Armfield went on to play all 20 games of the season, averaging 18.3 disposals and emerging as one of the hardest running and most damaging players in the WAFL.

Carlton took notice took him at selection No. 46 in the AFL Draft of 2007 and he has remained with the Blues ever since.

He continued a strong recent trend of Swan Districts players going to Carlton that has included David Ellard, Chris Yarran, Luke Blackwell, Wayde Twomey, Jeff Garlett and Blaine Boekhorst.

Armfield broke through for his AFL debut with Carlton in Round 10, 2008 against Geelong at Etihad Stadium and he went on to play nine matches in his rookie season.

He began his career at Carlton as an attacking small defender and went on to play 17 games in 2009, 19 in 2010 and 15 in 2011. But his role then began to change more into a small forward whose main job it was to put pressure on the opposition.

That's where he spent the majority of the rest of his career including his best season in 2013 when he played 24 games, kicked 17 goals and played in both Carlton's finals.

He has gone on to play 35 games the three years since and another three so far in 2017 including last Saturday against Essendon at the MCG and he remains in the side this Saturday night to take on West Coast back home at Domain Stadium.

But the 30-year-old has decided that the 2017 season will be his last in the AFL.

He has currently played 143 AFL games, kicked 75 goals and is deservedly proud of what he has achieved since joining Carlton. But he feels the time is right to call time on his career.

"It is with a heavy heart that after consulting with a number of my loved ones and close friends, I have decided that it's time to start the next chapter of my life and bid farewell to my AFL career," Armfield wrote in a message to the Carlton members.

"What a ride it's been! Coming over from Perth to one of the biggest footy clubs in the country at the end of 2007, I could never have imagined that I'd still be here 10 years later. I was just aiming to play one game so to have played 143 so far and receive life membership is something I'm very proud of."

Armfield kicked four goals in a performance to remember last year against Adelaide at the MCG including nailing some long bombs. He also picked up career-highs of 25 possessions on a couple of occasions, but there's much more than that to his time with Carlton.

He has been a fine servant off the field highlighted by winning the Jim Stynes Medal in 2015. He has become a favourite among the Blues faithful and as he prepares for retirement, the feeling is certainly mutual.

"It feels a bit surreal that it's my turn to hang up the boots but the time is right. I am certain that the club is in the best position it has been during my time here and I can't wait to see all of our youngsters blossom into the stars I know they'll be," he said.

"I promise that I'll give my all in the coming weeks, whether at AFL or VFL level, and hopefully we can pinch a couple more wins. I will remain a devoted Bluebagger so you can expect this washed-up old footballer to tap you on the shoulder at some stage and ask to join you for a beer at a game."

While it's never easy to say goodbye, Armfield couldn’t be more grateful to everything Carlton has given him after recognising his talents while starring at Swan Districts in 2007.

"I have loved every minute of my time at the Carlton Football Club. Never once did I take for granted the privilege of donning the Navy Blue and running out in front of our incredible members and supporters," Armfield said.

"I'm not afraid to say there have been a few tears shed over the last week or so thinking about how much I'm going to miss the roar of the Blues faithful after a big moment. But having played for 10 seasons, I certainly have enough memories to last me a lifetime."

By Chris Pike.