Three-time Richmond premiership player Kane Lambert has announced his retirement from AFL football effective immediately.
Lambert informed his teammates of the news today, citing his ongoing hip issue and the inability to contribute at the same level due to his fitness as the main factor.
The 30-year-old who was not drafted until the age of 23, having been passed up by 836 draft selections said the purpose of his career had never been to prove anybody wrong.
“My purpose has been to prove people right, the people that cared for me and gave me their time and effort,” he added.
“I am so fortunate to be able to thank those people.”
Lambert added that highlight of his exhilarating career was not about the premierships, but the company.
“It is not what you win, it is who you win it with, and it has been an absolute pleasure to share this journey with all our players, staff and members both past and present.”
The retirement brings to an end a brilliant 135-match career that started as a mature-aged rookie selection (2014 AFL Rookie Draft) via VFL clubs Northern Blues and Williamstown.
A relentless worker and admired teammate, the Tiger Army and AFL industry will best remember Lambert for his outstanding contribution to the Club's 2017, 2019, and 2020 premierships.
Lambert finished second in the Jack Dyer Medal in 2017, third in 2018, and eighth and ninth in the 2019 and 2020 triumphs; such was his consistency through this period. Despite missing nine games last season, Lambert (9th) featured in the top-10 for a fifth consecutive year.
The midfielder/forward also booted Richmond's only two final quarter goals in the Club's thrilling low-scoring preliminary final win against Port Adelaide in 2020, showing his excellent skill level. Lambert managed seven senior games in 2022, with the Tigers winning all of them.
Lambert's high standing among his teammates was underlined off the field by winning the prestigious peer-voted Francis Bourke Award in 2020 for best upholding the group's trademark values.
The popular figure also won the staff and player voted Bunjil Award on three occasions for his exceptional work driving similar Club values such as connection across the entire organisation.
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick paid tribute to Lambert.
“What Kane has given us since he arrived at the footy club can never be repaid, but it can be learned.
“Dedication, resilience and all the things we talk about needed to get the best out of yourself, this man has done it.
“The way he played the game; we changed things based around him and how Lambert would do it. Watching him on the field is like a masterclass for an AFL coach.
“Kane has given us success, but he has also given us some of the off-field stuff that is going to last a long time.”