Sharks veteran and former NSW State of Origin captain Paul Gallen has confirmed he’ll retire from professional rugby league at the end of 2019.
Gallen, 37, has played 327 NRL games for Cronulla since his 2001 debut, as well as 24 games for NSW and 32 Australia Tests.
He captained the Sharks to their sole NRL Premiership triumph in 2016, and NSW to a drought-breaking Origin series triumph in 2014.
“Definitely retiring from rugby league at the end of this year, without a doubt … I’ve really enjoyed where I’ve been and what I’ve done but I’m ready to retire,” Gallen told Kyle and Jackie O on KIIS FM Radio.
“I’ve just had enough of the rollercoaster, the up and down.
“Even this time last year, I was going through things and thinking, the only reason I’m going to retire is because of my age, I’m still performing a role, I’m still doing it, liking it. But I’ve come this year and I’m still performing … but like I said before, it’s the rollercoaster of turning up.”
Gallen said he’d stay in the game after retirement as a mentor and pundit.
The oldest player in the NRL, Gallen signed on in August for a 19th NRL season and had been expected to retire at the end of the campaign. He is one game behind Andrew Ettinghausen’s Cronulla appearance record of 328.
In last weekend’s round-one 14-8 loss to Newcastle, Gallen made 27 tackles and 73 running metres.