Leeds’ New Zealand forward Kylie Leuluai, who retired after Saturday’s Super League Grand Final triumph against Wigan, revealed in a Monday newspaper interview that he has a heart condition.
The 37-year-old, Leeds’ most successful overseas player, has been taking medication since being diagnosed mid-season and contemplated hanging up his boots after the Challenge Cup final win over Hull KR in August.
“I was very close to retiring after the Challenge Cup final,” he told regional newspaper the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“It has been a tough year and challenging. I really thought about it.
“I’ve had a few medical issues this season. I’ve had some trouble with my heart. I’ve ended up getting an irregular heartbeat and I’ve been taking medication for it since I did my shoulder.
“Having an irregular heartbeat takes 20 per cent of the oxygen out of your blood, so it’s been very tough for me physically and it has an effect mentally as well.
“That’s the reason why I’ve been playing shorter minutes. (Coach) Brian McDermott and the club had an understanding and I don’t think I could do longer than the stints I was doing because of the implications.”
Leuluai, who spent nine seasons at Leeds after time at NRL club Manly, said there were no implications for his long-term health.