Essendon champ Jobe Watson announces retirement

Essendon veteran Jobe Watson, who has announced his retirement, with Bombers coach John Worsfold. Photo: AAP

Essendon veteran Jobe Watson, who has announced his retirement, with Bombers coach John Worsfold. Photo: AAP

Essendon champion Jobe Watson has confirmed he will retire at the end of the season.

Watson said the time was right to finish and that he wanted his last games to be "fun and enjoyable". He said it was important to return to football after the season-long ban in 2016 and "finish on my own terms".

Watson was one of 34 past and present Essendon players to serve a 12-month doping ban last year as a result of the club's 2012 supplements program.

"I always focused on leaving the club in a better place than I found it ... I feel like the club is in that position now and that was always something that was really valuable to me," Watson said.

"Part of coming back to footy, the part I really enjoyed was interacting again and the locker-room environment ... and being able to enjoy that with these young guys.

"I'm content with my career ... I love the game but it doesn't feel the same to me as what it did."

Watson, the son of another Essendon legend in Tim Watson, said he will be heading to New York after his football career for business interests. He spent time in New York during his year out from the game.

"It was a dream of mine to play for the Essendon Football Club and I consider myself very fortunate to have done that," he said.

Watson's form has fluctuated this season. He has played 217 games over his 14-season career, including 17 this year. He noticeably struggled during the Bombers' win over Carlton on Saturday, finishing with just 11 disposals.

"Last week's game [against Carlton], I said to John [Worsfold] on Monday, this is what I feel ... I know now this is going to be my last year," Watson said.

The 32-year-old joins one of the most illustrious retirement classes in recent memory with Luke Hodge, Sam Mitchell, Nick Riewoldt, Matt Priddis and Matthew Boyd all set to finish their careers at the end of this season.

Watson has won three best-and-fairest awards with Essendon, is a two-time All-Australian and was the 2012 Brownlow Medal winner before he relinquished it, with the medal retrospectively awarded to Mitchell and Trent Cotchin.

"The medal didn't really matter to me, it wasn't important ... the people whose opinion I value and know the best, they haven't changed because I've handed back the Brownlow Medal," he said.

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