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Richmond's Jake King retires from AFL

Versatile: Jake King.

Versatile: Jake King. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

The AFL career of pugnacious Richmond forward Jake King has come to an end after the 30-year-old announced his retirement on Monday afternoon.

King had been hampered by a persistent toe injury throughout 2014, playing just two games and none since round three. The ailment meant he had nerve endings burnt off one toe.

‘‘We’ve spoken about it over the last couple of days,’’ King told a media conference on Monday.

Jake King during the VFL game against Williamstown in April.

Jake King during the VFL game against Williamstown in April. Photo: Mal Fairclough

‘‘The foot has been too much. We tried everything we could, five or six procedures.’’

It was a lighthearted press conference, as King joked that he hadn't chosen to retire.

‘‘I’m not here by choice. Dimma’s sacked me,’’ King said, grinning at coach Damien Hardwick.

He said he could not kick a footy or change direction without pain and will now have surgery.But in typical fashion, the push-up King was able to make light of the career-ending injury.

‘‘But I’m not going to die,’’ he smiled.

‘‘Time was up. I’ve gotten everything out of my body I can.’’

Recruited from the Tigers' then VFL affiliate Coburg after sharing that club's 2006 best and fairest award, the mature-age rookie made his AFL debut in round four, 2007, and didn't miss a game until midway through the next year.

He won acclaim as a close-checking and pacy small defender and won the 2007 grand final sprint.

King showed his versatility when moved to a role in the forward line midway through 2010 - a position in which he was able to combine his goal sense and impressive tackling ability.

His career was not without controversy. Suspended in every season from 2009 to 2012, he was criticised for his friendship with former bikie gang boss Toby Mitchell, and warned by senior Richmond staff against bringing Mitchell into the club's rooms after doing so during a game in 2013.

King remains unruffled.

‘‘The headlines are the headlines,’’ he said.

‘‘I live life and that’s all there is to it... I don’t turn my back on mates, I support my friends and family.

‘‘I don’t regret any of it, wouldn’t change anything for the world and can’t thank the playing group and the club enough.’’

Hardwick suggested King’s bad-boy ways was a myth existing outside Punt Road.

‘‘We realise how important a person he is. He’s a great player but more importantly he’s an outstanding individual,’’ he said.

‘‘Players play taller knowing that he’s around.

‘‘When we were playing our best footy, Jake was certainly a part of that.

‘‘We’re going to miss the little fella.’’

The two share a tight bond and King said the closest he got to shedding a tear was telling Hardwick his decision to retire.

‘‘To be honest, I probably just held it together. I said I can’t talk any more, enough’s enough.’’

And Hardwick’s reaction according to King?

‘‘He was rapt. He’s been trying to get me out for five years and it’s finally happened,’’ he joked.

Hardwick said King had the skills to achieve anything - including taking a coaching role - but King kept his future plans close to his chest.

‘‘Time will tell,’’ King said.

The only disappointment was the push-up King declined to drop and give twenty for old times’ sake.

King adds his name to an already vintage list of AFL players to retire this season, including Jonathan Brown, Lenny Hayes, Dean Cox, Darren Glass, Nick Maxwell and Dominic Cassisi.

King retires having played 107 games and kicked 79 goals.

With aap

12 comments so far

  • Sad to see Jake go. A real example of someone who never gave up. Only a few years ago, most opposition supporters bagged him for his lack of skills but Jake proved he could play and have an impact at the top level. He was a very important part of last years team and I think he has been sorely missed this year. Luckily, the Tigers have landed another tough nut through the rookie draft in Anthony Miles. These players epitomise the toughness we want at Tigerland. If King was to play on, Miles may have to return back to the rookie list so his retirement is selfless despite his obvious injuries.

    Commenter
    Andy
    Location
    Tigerland
    Date and time
    July 28, 2014, 3:53PM
    • @ Andy, King may have been a "tough nut" and given us some good games, but I'm not too sure he set a great example around the club and to the younger team members in terms of his behaviour.

      Apart from the above-mentioned association with Mitchell, he also made death threats against another man .
      http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/police-to-quiz-richmond-player-over-death-threat-20110806-1igc6.html

      They say you can judge a man by the company he keeps; if so, then I'm not too distressed that King has departed. Agree that Miles is a great pick up, and here's hoping the Tiges recent form and 4 wins in a row is a sign of things to come next year. See you at the 'G

      Commenter
      Tiger Too
      Location
      Tigerland
      Date and time
      July 28, 2014, 4:25PM
    • Selfless or forced?

      Commenter
      Amy
      Date and time
      July 28, 2014, 4:46PM
    • Steady on, Miles is a far better player. Just remember, King played 105 games in 7 years, a decent return from a grafter but in no way a legend.

      Commenter
      bio logical
      Location
      perth
      Date and time
      July 28, 2014, 8:30PM
  • Will miss the little tiger. Never had the most ability but was always a trier.

    Commenter
    Mike Basil
    Location
    Hobart
    Date and time
    July 28, 2014, 4:45PM
    • Jake King came from a background where he actually had to work(as a Plumber) to survive and not just pass through the private school "pathway" most of the current AFL princesses have arrived from, so his attitude to playing lacked the sense of entitlement so many in the game have these days.

      He will be missed and would have played a lot more senior AFL footy if he had been favoured and gifted senior games as many of his first round draft pick team-mates have received (and still receive).

      Commenter
      DC
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      July 28, 2014, 4:57PM
      • Good for you Jake.
        Now you can concentrate on real business without these silly football distractions.

        Commenter
        Andee
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        July 28, 2014, 7:42PM
        • Even if the Tigers were getting smashed and more than half the team looked like they didn't want the ball, Jake King kept fighting, kept presenting for the ball and looked like he felt the team was a couple of minutes away from turning the game around. As a neutral fan I always found him a real pleasure to watch. He's contributed more to the club than some 200 gamers.

          Commenter
          Robertito
          Location
          Brisbane
          Date and time
          July 28, 2014, 8:26PM
          • Not a Tigers fan but I loved watching Push Up do his stuff, always putting in over and above. Didn't have all the skills, but he was one of the greatest examples of effort over ability. The game is running out of 'colourful identities' like Jake!

            Commenter
            thirtyfiveblack
            Location
            Melbourne
            Date and time
            July 29, 2014, 7:12AM
            • He was a character, I will give him that.
              Not many characters in footy these days.

              Commenter
              Tatts
              Date and time
              July 29, 2014, 10:24AM

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