Western Bulldogs veteran Liam Picken called an end to his AFL career in 2019.
One of the Club’s most popular and dedicated servants made the tough decision to walk away from the game due to ongoing concussion symptoms.
Picken has not played at AFL level since suffering a head injury in the 2018 JLT Community Series, despite valiant attempts to make a comeback over the last 12 months.
The 32-year-old told his team-mates that he would retire from the game with 198 games to his name.
Picken’s career has been one of perseverance, dedication, absolute physical and mental application, courage, loyalty, professionalism and team spirit.
He comes from a strong football family – his dad Billy was a star at Collingwood, his brother Marcus spent time on the Bulldogs and Brisbane Lions playing lists, and his cousin Jonathon was a premiership player with the Lions.
After several pre-seasons training with the Magpies and then the Bulldogs, he finally got his chance as an AFL rookie at the end of 2008 after winning a VFL Best and Fairest with Williamstown.
He made his debut in 2009, and quickly established himself as one of the competition’s best taggers.
Later in his career he transformed into a successful midfielder/forward with strong goal sense, unrelenting competitiveness and impressive aerial ability.
He will be remembered most fondly by Bulldogs fans for his incredible on-field deeds in the 2016 finals series, where he kicked eight goals in four games, including three in the Grand Final win over Sydney.
“It’s never an easy thing to accept that one of the Club’s great servants will finish his career,” said Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge.
“For the duration of his career, Liam has embodied the core values we hold dear as a football club, and we will miss his presence greatly.
“We have always had a family-first mentality at the Bulldogs, and that should always be the overriding consideration when it comes to a player’s health and any impact that has on playing football.
“Liam can be immensely proud of his achievements. He is loved and admired within the Club, and universally respected by the whole football public, which is a true indication of the impression he has made on the game.”
Bulldogs Director of Football Chris Grant said the Club would continue to support Picken into his retirement.
“Liam has made a lasting impact on the Western Bulldogs and we will not forget his contribution,” he said.
“Over the last 12 months our focus has been to support Liam by providing him with the best medical care and ensuring his health is our number one priority.
“We will continue to provide off-field assistance for Liam to ensure he has the necessary support to return to full health, including his transition into the next chapter of his working career.”