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King retires

King announces retirement Jake King and Damien Hardwick announce Jake's retirement to the media.
Jake King of the Tigers in action during the 2013 AFL Round 23 match between Essendon Bombers and the Richmond Tigers at the MCG, Melbourne on August 31, 2013. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Jake King of the Tigers in action during the 2013 AFL Round 23 match between Essendon Bombers and the Richmond Tigers at the MCG, Melbourne on August 31, 2013. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)

Spirited Richmond small forward Jake King has announced his retirement from AFL football, effective immediately.

King made the decision after receiving advice that he needed further surgery on a toe injury, which has plagued him over the past 12 months.

The troublesome toe had restricted King to just two senior appearances with the Tigers this season.

See the best photos from Jake King's career 

He was hopeful of a return to the playing field in the final few rounds, but the latest prognosis on his injury has prompted him to hang the boots up.

The popular Tiger bows out of league football after a 107-game career in eight seasons.

King is one of the success stories of the AFL rookie system.

He served his football apprenticeship with North Heidelberg in the Diamond Valley league, before joining Richmond’s then VFL affiliate club, Coburg, in 2006.

An excellent first-up season at VFL level, saw King taken by Richmond with its second of two picks in the rookie draft at the end of that year.

Then, on the eve of the 2007 season, King was elevated to the Club’s senior playing list.

The mature-age recruit made his senior league debut for Richmond in the Round 4, 2007 match against the Western Bulldogs at the MCG, aged 23 years, 25 days.

It was a solid first-up effort by King, who had a dozen disposals and took six marks in his role as a small defender.

King, with his pace, poise, fierce desire and bravery in the back half as standout attributes, retained his place in the Tigers’ team for the remainder of the ’07 season.

He continued to impress during 2008, but the following year he managed only eight senior games, as coach Terry Wallace departed the Club mid-season and Jade Rawlings took over in a caretaker coaching capacity.

But it was Damien Hardwick’s arrival as Richmond coach, at the end of the 2009 season, which ultimately revived King’s AFL career.

Following a slow start to 2010, King re-established himself as a senior regular with the Tigers and then, three-quarters of the way through that season, Hardwick threw him the challenge of becoming the team’s permanent defensive forward.

In inimitable style, King embraced his new assignment with great gusto.

The small defender-turned-forward kicked 11 goals in the final five rounds that season, to finish fifth on the Club’s goalkicking list for the year.  He also managed to take the second-most marks inside-50 by a Tiger player that season, to further underline how well he’d been able to reinvent himself at the game’s highest level.

From that point on, King went from strength to strength as a small forward, until a series of injuries, culminating in the nagging toe problem, eventually wore him down.

The little back pocket plumber-turned-feisty-productive-forward, came to be regarded as something of a barometer in the Richmond side.

When he was up and about, strutting his stuff across the forward line, the Tigers were a much better unit, and harder for the opposition to counter. 

King scored a career-high 25 goals in the 2011 season, and finished with 21 in 2013.

He can be mighty proud of what he achieved during his time at Richmond, and the fact he extracted everything possible out of his body for his beloved Tigers.