TRIPLE-PREMIERSHIP Tiger David Astbury has made the surprising call to retire at just 30 years of age.

The key defender was the cornerstone of Richmond's backline during its premiership era, taking the opposition's biggest and often most dangerous forward.

He will play his final game against Hawthorn this weekend.

"It really is a dream to be completely content with what my career consists of and be really proud of that," Astbury said.

WHO'S CALLED IT QUITS 2021's retirements and delistings

"I am really humbled by the football club wanting to keep me around, but I know this decision is right for me and for the club going forward. I am so proud that I have fulfilled my career and my dream at one club, this club.

David Astbury and Dustin Martin celebrate the 2020 Toyota AFL Grand Final victory at the Gabba on October 24, 2020. Picture: AFL Photos

"People say it is just a game, and they have got a point. It is a game. But that is not the reason that you do it. This group has delivered hope, purpose, connection and joy to our people - the Richmond people. It is really special, and I am proud of that."

Drafted as a key forward with pick No.35 in the 2009 NAB AFL Draft, Astbury was given the honour and somewhat daunting task of donning the No.12 guernsey after club legend Matthew Richardson in his second season.

Kicking three goals on debut, he added just another six to his career tally as the backline became his home.

David Astbury celebrates a goal in a pre-season game in Tasmania back in 2010. Picture: AFL Photos

Injuries plagued his early years, but he was a model of consistency from 2016 onwards, and will retire with 155 games under his belt.

"Dave is the epitome of the 'Richmond Man' that we speak about all the time. The legacy that this man will leave is up there with the very best players at our footy club," coach Damien Hardwick said.

"The legacy he leaves is one of selflessness and resilience. The man missed two years and has had 14 operations. Most people would have just given up. But not Dave Astbury.

"He has fought for 12 years for this footy club. He is one of the best 'Richmond Men' I have ever seen."