Bombers' Tom Bellchambers retires from AFL

Essendon ruckman Tom Bellchambers has played his final AFL game, announcing his retirement after 136 appearances for the Bombers.

TOM BELLCHAMBERS of the Bombers is seen during an Essendon Bombers AFL training session at The Hangar in Melbourne, Australia.
TOM BELLCHAMBERS of the Bombers is seen during an Essendon Bombers AFL training session at The Hangar in Melbourne, Australia. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Essendon ruckman Tom Bellchambers has retired from AFL football after 136 games and 77 goals for the Bombers.

Bellchambers, 31, was restricted to just seven AFL games this year through persistent knee injuries.

His retirement comes after a season where young gun Sam Draper emerged as Essendon's first-choice ruckman.

"This club has been a huge part of my life for the last 13 years, I can genuinely say I have enjoyed all the ups and downs that my career has thrown at me," Bellchambers said.

"I've been lucky to live out my childhood dream and in doing so have created some amazing memories and friendships along the way that I will cherish forever.

"Physically, my body is telling my time is up and I go out knowing that I couldn't have given any more to this great club."

Bellchambers debuted in 2008 and featured in every season since - bar 2016 when he was one of 34 past and present Essendon players suspended after the club's supplements saga.

He returned to the Bombers in 2017 and had a career-best season in 2018, playing 20 games and finishing sixth in the club's best and fairest.

"Tom's been a loyal and wonderful player for the club over an extended period of time," Essendon coach John Worsfold said.

"His contribution as a ruckman for our team can't be underestimated and for Tom to have played 13 seasons of AFL football is a credit to the way he's applied himself to the game."