ONE of Bendigo's great AFL careers of perseverance has come to an end with St Kilda's Jarryn Geary announcing his retirement on Thursday.
Initially overlooked at the 2006 National Draft, Geary was given an opportunity by the Saints with pick 58 in the Rookie Draft.
To put that into perspective, 136 players had their name called before Geary through the 2006 drafts, yet he went on to forge an inspirational 207-game career and captain his club for five years.
Frustratingly, the 34-year-old Eaglehawk junior and Bendigo Pioneers' best and fairest in 2006 endured a wretched run of injuries throughout his stint as captain, playing 66 of a possible 107 games while skipper.
A shoulder setback has kept Geary out of the Saints' team this year and with his retirement effective immediately his last game for St Kilda was in a round 12 loss to Sydney at the SCG last year.
Geary's first game had also been against the Swans in a two-point win at Docklands in round one of the 2008 season.
READ MORE: Century up for Jarryn Geary
One of only 31 players in St Kilda's history to play more than 200 games for the club, gritty defender Geary ends his career regarded as one of the Saints' most selfless and respected players of the modern era.
"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'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- Jarryn Geary
"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 been captain of this club.
"I want to thank my entire family for their support, but particularly my beautiful wife and our two children Harriet and Freddie. Thank you for sticking by me and supporting me over the years, I couldn't have done it without you."
St Kilda coach Brett Ratten praised Geary for his "leadership, honesty and courage".
"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 has never backed down or thrown in the towel, he has always fought hard and put his body on the line for his teammates and his bravery is rivaled by very few.
"Above all, Jarryn is fiercely loyal, both to his football club and those around him.
"He has led the club through some challenging times and pushed those around him to improve and bring a high standard consistently," Ratten said.
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