PORT ADELAIDE forward Robbie Gray has announced his retirement from the AFL bringing an end to an outstanding career.
One of the club’s most decorated players, Gray has played 270 games and booted 365 goals across a glittering 16-year career.
A three-time John Cahill Medal winner as the club’s best and fairest, Gray is also a four-time All-Australian, twice led the club’s goalkicking and took home the 2014 AFL Coaches’ Association Player of the Year award.
After winning a record five Showdown Medals, it is fitting that his final game will come against the Crows in Showdown LII on Saturday night.
Public ticket allocation for Showdown LII is now exhausted | SECURE SHOWDOWN ACCESS THROUGH A FLEXI-MEMBERSHIP
The 34-year-old told his teammates of his decision on Tuesday morning.
“I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities I’ve had over the journey with this club,” Gray said. “I’ve got some amazing friends and memories that I’ll take with me forever, but it’s time for others to get their chance now.
“I want to thank my teammates, my coaches and all the volunteers and support staff that have been there along the way for me.”
Coach Ken Hinkley described Gray as an all-time great of the club and the AFL.
“I said last week that in my opinion Rob has been the greatest player at our football club in the AFL era and I stick by that. His record demands that kind of recognition,” Hinkley said.
“I have never seen anyone who can make our great game look so simple, and do such difficult things with such ease.
“We have been able to count on him to deliver in the big moments and he has won so many awards and accolades, yet he remains the most humble, team-first player who focusses so much attention on making others around him better.
“He has played such a valuable role in helping develop our younger players in recent years and we’re starting to see that pay dividends.
“It’s a mark of his talent and extraordinary impact that many others have been described as the next Robbie Gray but I think it is fair to say there will never be another Robbie Gray.”
Gray will depart the competition having played the fourth-most games at AFL level for the club and ranked second on the club’s all-time goalkickers list in the AFL behind Warren Tredrea.
Renowned for his uncanny skills and match-winning goalkicking, Gray was drafted with pick 55 in the 2006 AFL National Draft.
He made his debut alongside fellow draftee Justin Westhoff in Round 10, 2007 and won his first leading goalkicker award in 2011 before suffering a ruptured ACL the following season.
Public ticket allocation for Showdown LII is now exhausted | SECURE SHOWDOWN ACCESS THROUGH A 3-GAME MEMBERSHIP
Gray returned in 2013 but it was perhaps in 2014 that the competition saw his best, and he won the first of his three consecutive best and fairest awards to go with the competition’s MVP award as voted by the coaches.
He was awarded club life membership in 2016 and remarkably, after overcoming cancer a year later, he finished as the club’s 2018 leading goalkicker, as well as winning both Showdown Medals that year and a fourth All-Australian blazer.
A persistent knee injury has limited Gray to 15 games this year but he will have a chance to farewell the Port Adelaide faithful with one more against the Crows on Saturday night.
- All Australian selection (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018)
- AFLCA Player of the Year (2014)
- AFL Player Ratings Team of the Decade (2010s)
- International Rules (2011, 2014, 2015)
- Rising Star nominee (Round 12, 2007)
- John Cahill Medal (2014, 2015, 2016)
- Leading goalkicker (2011, 2018)
- Showdown Medal (2010, 2015, 2018 x2, 2019)
- Life Member (2016)
- Coaches’ Award (2009)