WESTERN Bulldogs premiership midfielder Hayley Wildes has announced a surprise retirement from AFL Women's.
The 22-year-old is no longer able to combine the demands of AFLW with her professional life away from footy, after accepting a role in the media department of NBL club Melbourne United.
Wildes played 15 of a possible 22 games for the Dogs after being selected from Cranbourne with pick 44 in the inaugural NAB AFLW Draft in 2016.
She has also played her VFLW football with the Western Bulldogs over the past two years.
"Since arriving at the Bulldogs in 2016, my professional life has changed quite drastically," Wildes told westernbulldogs.com.au.
"Although both the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne United have expressed their willingness to help me successfully complete both roles, I know there will be unavoidable schedule clashes that will inhibit my ability to give 100 per cent to both roles, which is not fair to Melbourne United, my teammates or the club."
Wildes' decision demonstrates the difficulty most AFLW players face, with the competition not currently played in a full-time capacity in its early years.
"Hayley has been a valued member of the club's women's football program since the inaugural AFLW season and we are grateful for her contribution over the past three seasons," Bulldogs women's football general manager Debbie Lee said.
"Hayley has made an incredibly courageous decision and she can be proud that she leaves as a premiership player for the club, and for the positive impact she has had within the women's football program."
The Bulldogs will have an extra pick made available to them in October's NAB AFLW Draft to fill Wildes' spot on the list.