SHAUN Ryan, one of the AFL's most decorated umpires, is retiring.
The Warrnambool-raised central umpire will step aside after the 2020 AFL finals series.
Ryan, who has officiated 346 matches, could notch the 350-milestone before bowing out. His resume features eight grand finals, two All-Australian nods and AFL life membership.
Ryan, who is in the Queensland hub, said he was humbled to be part of the "greatest sport at the highest level".
"Like a lot of Warrnambool kids growing up, the dream was to play AFL football. I worked out pretty quickly that wasn't going to happen," he said.
"Umpiring gave me the opportunity to be involved with the greatest sport at the highest level.
"To be honest, my overall feeling is gratitude.
"To be given the opportunity to umpire AFL football, to be involved in so many amazing games and, most of all, to do it with the most amazing group of humans, it has been a huge privilege."
Ryan made his AFL debut in 2003 and umpired five grand finals in succession from 2008 to 2011, including the draw in 2010.
His work as a barrister meant he retired after the 2011 decider before returning to the caper in 2015.
He again established himself among the top rung and has umpired the past three deciders.
AFL head of umpiring Grant Williams said Ryan's dedication was evident.
"To have umpired in eight AFL grand finals across his career is a great achievement and a testament to his commitment to the game and consistency across the years," he said.
"A strong leader and ambassador for umpiring across all levels of the game, Shaun will be greatly missed among the umpires."