Inaugural Gold Coast Sun and former Vice Captain Michael Rischitelli has this morning called time on his AFL career.

Rischitelli, 33, has played 242 games after making his debut as a 19-year-old in 2004.

Recruited by the Brisbane Lions with selection 61 in the 2003 NAB AFL Draft, Rischitelli played 111 games, including two finals appearances with the club.

His career with the Lions included a Rising Star nomination in 2006 and was crowned the club’s best and fairest player in 2010, his final year with the club.

Rischitelli joined the Gold Coast SUNS ahead of the club’s inaugural season in 2011, going on to play 131 games during his nine seasons on the Coast.

Affectionately known as the heart and soul of the young club, Rischitelli told his teammates of his decision to retire from the game ‪on Tuesday morning ahead of the club’s final game of the 2019 Toyota AFL Premiership season.

Rischitelli reflected on his time in the game and the people that had the most influence on his career.

“I’ve loved every moment of my career, it’s been an incredible journey,” Rischitelli said.

“Throughout my 16 years, I’ve experienced some fantastic moments and a couple of extremely tough times, but I’ve enjoyed the ride.”

“There are many people I would like to thank for their support throughout, but I have to make mention of my wife Jo, and both our families, they’ve been unbelievable and I can’t thank them enough.”

General Manager – Football Operations Jon Haines, thanked Rischitelli and his family, wife Jo, children Kai and Lia, for their relentless contribution to the Gold Coast SUNS.  

“Michael has been a fantastic leader for our young football club, a role model and father figure for players throughout his nine seasons and influential in driving standards on and off the field,” Haines said.

“Often understated, Risch has been relentless in his approach to help drive this club forward and his efforts cannot be underestimated.

“On behalf of the club, we thank Michael and his family for their contribution to the establishment of the Gold Coast SUNS. He has been an integral part of our history and will always be part of our future, we wish him all the best.”