Mystery surrounds the sudden departure of former New Zealand international and Warriors utility Lance Hohaia from Super League champions St Helens.
The 32-year-old announced his retirement with immediate effect on Wednesday, just over six months since being knocked unconscious by Wigan forward Ben Flower in the grand final, but with no real explanation.
Saints say Hohaia told them he had decided to hang up his boots but they steadfastly refused to offer an explanation for the surprise development other than to say it was the player’s own decision.
“St Helens announce that Lance Hohaia has informed us of his retirement from rugby league and will therefore not play for the club again,” the club said in a statement.
“Lance has been a valued and integral member of the squad for the last three-and-a-half years and we thank him for his service.
“We wish him and his family well in their life after rugby league with St Helens.
“St Helens will make no further comment on this matter.”
Hohaia, who has so far made no comment, was out of contract at the end of the season and, unlikely to be offered a new deal, had spoken about moving to the United States to start a new life with his US-born wife and two young boys, who were both born in England.
He has been studying a diploma in management as he prepares for life after rugby and recently spoke about the prospect of retirement.
“It’s a discussion I’ll have with my wife and we’ll make the best decision for our family,” he said earlier this month.
“Priorities change a bit when you have children and when you get to this stage of my career but I’ve left the door open for the opportunities that are there.”