Hornby to retire at seasons end
St George Illawarra Dragons captain Ben Hornby has announced his decision to retire from rugby league at the end of this season on Tuesday.by NRL
St George Illawarra Dragons captain Ben Hornby has announced his decision to retire from rugby league at the end of this season on Tuesday.
Hornby, 32, a local Illawarra junior from the Corrimal Cougars, made the decision to step-down despite having the option of a further one-year contract extension.
"It is a difficult time and decision to walk away from the game but having played footy since I was nine and had 13 seasons in first grade I have decided that it is time to move on," said Hornby.
"Whilst physically I could probably continue, mentally I have had enough.
"I feel like I have achieved everything there is to achieve in the game and it is not fair to myself, my team mates or the Club to continue if I can't commit mentally to the level required to play in the NRL.
Hornby made his first grade debut for the Club during the 2000 campaign against the Penrith Panthers in Round 23 and is currently the Dragons record holder for total number of first-grade appearances, having made 271 first-grade appearances to date.
The Dragons skipper made his Australian representative debut in 2006 as well as donning the NSW Blues State of Origin jersey on three occasions between 2004-2008.
"To hold the Club record for the number of first grade games, Captain the Club to a Premiership, represent and NSW and Australia is definitely not something I ever dreamed would be possible," said Hornby.
"I love the Dragons and feel very proud and privileged to have led this Club and achieved what I have but it is time for me to move on and in particular I am looking forward to being able to spend some more time with my young family.
Dragons CEO Peter Doust and Head Coach Steve Price both joined Hornby for the formal announcement today, supporting the captain's decision as well as sharing their thoughts on his services to the Club.
"Ben is a truly inspirational football player, he always puts his body on the line and the Club first every week," said Price.
"Only people within our Club truly understand what a special character he is and the wonderful qualities that he possesses.
Click Here To Pre-Purchase Your Tickets Against The New Zealand Warriors And Cheer On Ben Hornby & Dean Young
"He is an outstanding leader and great Captain, someone who has been a great support to me throughout this season and replacing him will not be easy, he is the spirit of our football club".
Doust was similar in his praise towards the one-club player.
"It is a pretty emotional time for a lot of people involved at the Dragons when a player and person the calibre of Ben Hornby decides to retire," said Doust.
"He is a very proud one club man who has been an outstanding leader both on and off the field.
"Ben epitomises everything the Dragons stand for and is an inspiration to future generations.
"He is a local junior who began his career with the Corrimal Cougars and worked his way up through the Steelers pathways programs into the NRL, New South Wales and Australia.
"His record speaks for itself, the most capped Dragon of all time, a Premierships winning Captain and representative player who has achieved it all."
Hornby indicated that he wasn't exactly sure what life post this season would hold but hoped to remain associated with the game in some capacity.
"I'm not exactly too certain what I intend to do once I retire but Rugby League is a big part of my life as are the Dragons so I would like to be able to remain involved in some capacity," said Hornby.
"I have always thought that I would go into coaching but now is not the right time for me to be focused on what is next, I still have a job to complete with the team on the field for the remainder of the season."
Hornby and Dean Young will both play their final home game at WIN Stadium this Saturday against the Warriors.
Watch more: click for an extended interview with retiring Captain Ben Hornby
Follow rleague.com on Facebook
View profile pages including statistics, results, news, photos and more on all of the following...