Western Bulldogs midfielder Lin Jong has announced his retirement from AFL football.
The 28-year-old has played 65 AFL games across a decade-long career at the Kennel, after being recruited with pick nine in the 2011 AFL Rookie Draft.
Jong made one AFL appearance in this season – in round six against the GWS Giants, when he suffered a serious hamstring injury.
Despite his best efforts to return to football, time has run out on his chances of playing AFL football in 2021, prompting the decision to retire.
“I’ve done everything I can to try to get back out there this year, but unfortunately time’s run out on me being able to do that and I’m comfortable that it’s the right time to hang up the boots,” Jong said.
“For the past 10 years, I’ve been fortunate to play football at the highest level for the Western Bulldogs.
“I’ve come a long way as a person and a footballer in that time and I’m really proud of everything I’ve achieved.
“There have been some injury setbacks, but I wouldn’t have my journey any other way.
“I’m grateful to everyone who has supported me across the years – all my teammates and coaches, the medical staff, trainers and our Bulldogs fans. And to my family and close friends who have been with me every step of the journey.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of the season holds for us and am excited about stepping into the next chapter of my life.”
In his time as a Bulldog, Jong was part of two VFL premierships with Footscray – in 2014 and 2016. He was awarded the Norm Goss Medal as best on ground in the 2016 decider.
He made his AFL debut in round 20, 2012 and played a career-high 16 games in 2016.
Jong’s impact as a Bulldog and in the AFL industry extends beyond his time on the playing field. He has been involved for a number of years as a mentor with Western Bulldogs Community Foundation programs, as an AFL Multicultural Ambassador and a Movember Ambassador.
Bulldogs head of football, Chris Grant, thanked Jong for his contribution over the past 10 years.
“Lin has made a significant contribution as a Western Bulldogs player. Over the past decade, he has become a much-loved, highly respected member of our playing group and he will leave a lasting legacy here,” Grant said.
“His football journey has been unique – and his pathway to becoming an AFL player was quite extraordinary in itself.
“As a player, Lin has been as tough and courageous as they come. He has unfortunately had more than his fair share of battles with injury over the journey, but he will leave the game having done everything he could on and off the field to get the very best out of himself.
“Lin will always be welcome at our club and we’re looking forward to seeing what the future has in store for him.”