Fremantle midfielder Luke Valente has called time on his injury interrupted AFL career. 

Selected at pick 32 in the 2018 National Draft, Valente has spent more than three years battling groin issues and other setbacks trying to reach the level of fitness required to play in the AFL. 

“Unfortunately, I have come to the realisation that, physically, I am unable to make the progress required to play at the elite level,” Valente said. 

“It was an incredibly difficult decision to make but after a long period of reflection, including discussions with the Club, my family, friends and management, I believe that, in terms of my long-term health and well-being, it is the right thing to do. 

“So many people at Freo have worked really hard to help me achieve my dream of playing in the AFL. 

“Even though that dream will remain unfulfilled, I’m indebted to the Club for the opportunity it provided me and thank all the players, staff and Freo fans for the huge amount of support I received during my time at Fremantle. 

“I’m now going to take some time to assess what the future holds for me in the long-term. 

“In the short-term, I’m heading back to SA to be with family and friends and continue studying for my uni degree. 

“In the meantime, I wish everyone at the Club and all Freo supporters all the very best for what promises to be an exciting time in 2022 and beyond.”

In his draft year, the now 21-year-old captained the victorious SA team in the National U18 Championship and was also named as vice-captain in the 2018 U18 All-Australian team. 

Executive general manager of football Peter Bell said it was frustrating way for a young player’s career to end. 

“It is always a tough time when a young player finishes their career in this manner," Bell said. 

“Throughout his time at the Club, Luke did everything he possibly could to meet the physical requirements of AFL.  

“Luke is an outstanding young man of great character, who is both popular with his teammates and highly respected for his determination and endeavour.” 

“On behalf of everyone at Fremantle, we wish Luke all the best for the future, knowing that whatever path he chooses he will give it everything he possibly can.” 

Gallery: Match sim 28 January