MELBOURNE veteran Neville Jetta will call time on his career in the red and blue after playing 159 games over 13 years.

Jetta originally joined the club in 2008 as a 17-year-old and leaves the Dees a Life Member and one of the most loved and respected characters amongst both teammates and fans.

Jetta’s journey has been one of hard work and determination, with the 31-year-old delisted by the club in 2013 and given a second chance to reinvent himself as a Rookie, transforming from a small forward to a reliable defender.

Jetta informed the group of his decision in an emotional meeting on Monday as the club prepared to return home to Melbourne following their Premiership victory over the Western Bulldogs.

In speaking of his journey, Jetta said he was incredibly proud and grateful for all he had achieved, particularly the 2021 season.

“Having the chance to be able to witness and be part of the ultimate success at this great club is something I’m incredibly proud of,” said Jetta.

“I’m super proud of my journey as a player, one that has had many ups and downs, and I’m forever grateful for the opportunity to live out my childhood dream and help our club be great again.

“To every single person who has been a part of my journey, thank you for making it such a special one.

“I will never take for granted the support of the fans and the impact you’re able to have on so many people through football.  

“I want to thank all of my family and my whole community, particularly Mum and Dad for all the long car trips from Bunbury to Perth. I’ll be forever grateful for all they’ve done for me.

“Lastly, to Sam, Nalani and Kyree I am incredibly grateful for all their support over my journey. They are my why. They’ve ridden the highs and lows and I hope they’ve enjoyed the ride as much as I have.

“I’m looking forward to the next best part of my life with them right alongside me.”

Melbourne Senior Coach Simon Goodwin said Jetta was a great club man and would be remembered for not only his on-field achievements but for his character and impact on those around him.

“Nev is an incredible person and our players, coaches and staff are better people for having played and worked alongside him,” said Goodwin.

“He is an amazing character and he’s been determined to make sure he left this club as a great club. It’s fitting that he gets to leave our club in the position we are today, Premiers for the first time in 57 years.

“As a player Nev was the ultimate competitor, incredibly resilient and the epitome of a great teammate.

“We’d like to thank Nev, Samantha, Nalani and Kyree for their contribution to our club over a long period of time, they will always be welcome at our football club.”