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Tony Martin calls time on fine career

One of Super League's longest serving players, Tony Martin, has finally decided to hang up his boots after a committed career in England and Australia.
Tony Martin calls time on fine career
by NRL

One of Super League's longest serving players, Tony Martin, has finally decided to hang up his boots after a committed career in England and Australia.

The former NRL Grand Final winner, who played in the very first year of Super League as a youngster at the London Broncos, has called time on a fine 17-year career that has seen him represent no less than six clubs since his debut in 1996.

Having impressed since joining new club Hull FC for 2012, his season was cruelly cut short by an unfortunate Achilles injury against Hull Kingston Rovers at Magic Weekend and having spent time in rehabilitation from the injury and speaking to those around him, especially his close family, he has decided now is the right time to bring his playing career to an end.

In an exclusive interview with HULLFC.TV, Martin said, "I was just a kid that grew up in Queensland wanting to be a professional rugby league player.

"I've been lucky enough to do that for 17 years and I've played with some great players past and present.

"I have travelled the world playing rugby, I've scored in and won an NRL Grand Final and I've lived my dream.

"Now it's time to retire and I'm excited about prospect of returning to Australia with my wife Mel and son Tana to start the next chapter in my life."

Martin has earned a reputation as a hard-working and committed centre on both sides of the world, as well as being one of the sport's most thought after professionals for his contribution at every club he has played for.

The 33-year-old had two spells with the Broncos, returning twice to the NRL to represent Melbourne Storm and the New Zealand Warriors, before heading back to Super League to play for Wakefield, the ill-fated Crusaders RL and finally the Black and Whites.

That career has brought with it a host of great moments, but Martin admits nothing comes close to his try scoring performance in the 1999 NRL Grand Final.

"My fondest memory would definitely be winning the NRL Grand Final with Melbourne. It was a long time ago now, but it was a massive highlight for me," he said.

"I've played professionally for 17 years in a lot of big games and with a lot of good people, so I've got a lot of fond memories from my career.

"I wouldn't say I've got regrets, but obviously everybody wants a bit more silverware. I would have loved to have played in a Grand Final over here or in State of Origin back home."

He continued, "You look back on things like that and wonder, but you can never really know. I'm pretty happy, I've played a lot of games and done more than I ever expected to.

"To have played for as long as I've had and done what I've done, I'm pretty proud of that."

Having travelled around the world and impressed at every club he has represented, it has been the one constant in his life that has proved to be the main catalyst for his decision to retire.

A true family man, Martin was quick to add a final comment about everyone who has had an influence on him during nearly two decades of rugby league, none more so than his wife and son.

"I just wanted to say thank you to everybody who has helped me during my career. That includes the coaches and the players I've played with, but most importantly my wife, Mel, and my son, Tana.

"For them, it's been hard and I've not really stayed at a club for too long. It's been a lot of moving and making new friends and I want to thank them for putting up with me like they have done."

Commentating on the news, Hull FC's Director of Rugby, Shaun McRae, moved to return the praise and believes Martin has been the epitome of a true rugby league professional.

"As a coach you only hope there can be more Tony Martins in your team. He is a passionate and knowledgeable guy when it comes to his rugby league, whether he is 17 or 33. He has given 110% week in, week out and even during his last few games with us here, and he has gone above and beyond playing with injuries and niggles.

"That is the true sign of the man that he would do anything for his team, whilst he is just as influential off the field being a keen leader amongst the players, looking after our younger guys and so on, and whilst he maybe hasn't quite had the success he deserves as a player, it's pleasing to look back on memories and achievements such as his 1999 Grand Final winners' medal."

He also added, "Importantly though, Tony is a family man and they come first and we know that this decision is about them and an important one. Together they have decided the time is right and everyone at the club and I'm sure across Super League would like to wish them all a bright future after rugby league."

Martin is expected to return to Australia at the end of the season to pursue a number of new career opportunities, although he hasn't ruled out a return to rugby league and sport, with a keen interest in helping nurture and guide some of the young sports stars of the future.




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