After a successful career spanning 14 years with the Parramatta Eels, 239 NRL games, a World Cup victory with the New Zealand Kiwis and a record-breaking 200 games as captain for one club, Cayless has decided to hang up his boots at the completion of the 2010 season.
“It’s been a privilege to be able to play for so long and captain such a great club,” Cayless said.
“I’ve had great support from my family, team-mates and people within the club. We’ve been through a lot of tough times and a lot of good times.”
Cayless said he had always planned to end his career after this season but was waiting for the right job opportunity post-football before announcing his retirement.
“Irrespective of what was happening this was always going to be my last year, I was always going to announce it once I’d finalised a couple of job positions,” he explained.
“Now I just want to enjoy my last season and have as much success as we can as a team.”
The Parramatta Eels play the Canberra Raiders this Monday night at Parramatta Stadium and Cayless believes it is a game that can turn around the Eels’ slow start to the season so he can finish his illustrious career on a high.
“Obviously we’re in a tough situation but I’m working as hard as I can and the team are working as hard as they can to get out of where we are at the moment,” he said.
“Now we want to play as well as we can and I just want to make it as successful as we can. We’ve worked really hard in the off-season, as a team and individually.”
Cayless has brushed aside recent criticism as a reason for his retirement and will be spending his la st season trying to win that elusive premiership.
“Whatever has been said about me has not affected my decision to play football. That has not had any effect on my career,” he said.
“When I signed this deal it was mid-2007 and I was pretty sure it was going to be my last contract so I just want to enjoy it and try to win a premiership.”
NATHAN CAYLESS FACT FILE
Born: 28 Mar 1978
Junior club: Wentworthville (Eels juniors)
First grade appearances: 239 (4th in club’s history) – 27 tries, 1 field goal
First grade debut: v South Qld Crushers, Parramatta Stadium, June 8th, 1997
First match as captain: Rd 1 1999, v Sydney Roosters at Telstra Stadium, Homebush
Tests for New Zealand: 36 from 1998-08
Captained Parramatta in 2001, 2009 grand finals.