Ben Creagh’s 270-game NRL career is over, the St George Illawarra forward announcing his retirement after struggling to overcome a chronic knee injury.
The 31-year-old will end his career as the second-most capped player in the merged club’s history, while he also played 11 matches for NSW and two for Australia.
However he has not played since round three this year, when he injured his knee in the Dragons’ win over South Sydney at the SCG.
In the end it cruelled his opportunity to break Ben Hornby’s record 273 games for the club and at least play into 2017.
“I have loved my time playing rugby league for the Dragons but unfortunately my hand has been forced with the knee injury getting worse over the course of this season,” Creagh said on Thursday.
“It has been hard decision to make with my heart willing me on to continue playing first-grade for this great club but deep down I know this is the right decision.”
Creagh debuted for the Dragons in 2003 and was a member of the club’s 2010 premiership side.
He became captain in 2013, before Gareth Widdop assumed the role this season which led to Creagh being named the club’s off-field leader.
“I have been so fortunate to accomplish so much with the pinnacle being the 2010 premiership win which was done with a terrific group of players and a lot of hard work and determination,” he said.
“I have also had the opportunity to represent both my country and state which is a dream for every young player as well as being entrusted to captain the Dragons these past four seasons which I have done so with great pride and honour.”
Coach Paul McGregor paid tribute to Creagh’s selfless attitude.
“He has led by example both on the field and off it so it is a shame that he has been forced to retire but his decision personifies his character in always wanting to put the club first,” McGregor said.
“The entire playing squad wish him all the very best and we thank him for his invaluable contribution to the Dragons.”