Creagh knocks back Dragons farewell

He appreciates the gesture but retiring St George Illawarra co-captain Ben Creagh has knocked back a farewell game for the NRL club this weekend.

Creagh was surprisingly included in the team named for the final match of the season against Newcastle on Sunday, but on Wednesday he ruled himself out of the match due to his chronic knee injury.

He said it was special to be named to play in a jumper he made his own for most of his career.

“The club’s done a nice thing by naming me in the 12 jersey, I played a lot of games there for the Dragons. But I’ve trained again today and it’d be a token game if I played,” he said.

A member of the club’s 2010 premiership-winning team, Creagh, 31, said he wouldn’t last long on the field and didn’t want to stain his 16 seasons in the game with a poor performance.

“Unfortunately my knee’s that bad now. It’s not getting better,” he said.

“It’s not what I want to remember my last game on, going out there and struggling, getting run past and missing tackles.

“I won’t play this weekend and that’s the way it is.”

Teammate Benji Marshall, who will also play his final game in the Red V against the Knights, labelled Creagh the best captain he has played under in his career.

“I can honestly say with my time here, he’s probably the best leader I’ve ever seen or been under and probably the most-respected player that I’ve seen,” he said.

“Just the way he carries himself and if you talk to anyone around the club, you wouldn’t find a person who’d say a bad word about him.

“From my point of view, the stuff he’s done for me away from football is more important than the stuff with football.”

Creagh said it was imperative the team’s coaching staff and playing group openly discuss the failings of a season that resulted in the club missing the finals for the fourth time in five years.

“There’ll be a lot of learning to come out of this year, hopefully a lot honesty when the season ends between coaches and players, to find out where we went wrong,” he said.

“Not gloss over the things that have gone wrong this year and try and fix it for 2017 because there’s a very talented bunch of footy players at this club.”

Creagh finishes his career on 270 games, three games short of club record holder Ben Hornby.

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