St Kilda forward Beau Maister will return to play for his old WAFL club Claremont next year after yesterday announcing his immediate retirement from AFL ranks.

The 28-year-old told teammates of his decision yesterday morning, ending a 44-game AFL career split across West Coast and the Saints.

Maister, formerly known as Beau Wilkes, earned his second shot at the elite level after starring in Claremont's 2011 premiership win.

His five goals in the WAFL grand final earned him the Simpson Medal and he was subsequently drafted with pick No.68 in the 2011 AFL national draft.

Maister kicked 15 goals in a promising first year at St Kilda, but wrist and hamstring injuries last year followed by shoulder surgery restricted him to 21 games over three seasons.

He had previously spent three-and-a-half years stuck on the Eagles' rookie list before being given an AFL debut.

He managed 23 games from 2008-10 before being de-listed by West Coast.

Claremont football manager Dean Horsington described Maister as a "very loyal man".

"I've had a brief conversation since his retirement and he's indicated he'll come back," Horsington said. "We're quite confident he will."

The Tigers are also set to regain dual premiership player Ian Richardson for 2015 in another boost to a forward line that had been weakened by several high-profile retirements.

St Kilda head of football Chris Pelchen said Maister had become one of the "most admired and respected players" at the club.

"Since joining the Saints, he has performed to his absolute ability through sheer hard work and determination … qualities that have endeared him to everyone at the club," he said.

The West Australian

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