He may only be 28 years old, but NRL players know when the end is nigh – and for Dragons lock Dean Young, he can see it clearly, with the Dragons club legend closing the curtain on his career at season’s end.
Despite having a further year to run on his contract, Young made the decision to retire and leave the game in the playing sense for god, citing his chronic knee issues, as the reason behind his decision.
To highlight the extent of Young’s knee injury over the years, the Dragons lock has been unable to play a pain free game in the NRL since 2006, and was on a revamped training schedule in 2010, as he was a part of the team that led the Dragons to the 2010 premiership.
The decision was not an easy one for Young, who considered making the decision last year – only to be talked out of it by Dragons officials. This time however, he knew the decision had to be made.
“After playing a couple of games I knew with myself that my knee wasn’t up to it,” Young told reporters on Tuesday.
“I wanted to move on.
“I’ve been playing in a fair bit of pain for the last six years.
“I think I’ve had enough now. I’m glad I made the decision. I’m happy with it. And relieved more than anything.
“I’m really looking forward to finishing off the year with the boys.”
Peter Doust, the Dragons Chief Executive knows that replacing Young will be easier said than done, describing him as an invaluable player to the Dragons team and organisation.
“We were on the verge of talking about the future,” Doust said.
“But he believes he should call an end to his career and his time at the Dragons.”
Dragons captain and halfback Ben Hornby also had his say, with the fellow club legend praising Young for his achievements, and putting him in the category of the clubs’ greatest ever players.
“I think he’ll be remembered as one of our great players,” Hornby said.
“He gave everything he had to the club. He put a lot of dedication off the field to get on the field each week and I think a lot of our blokes can take a lot of inspiration from what he does on the field and the way he conducts himself off it.
“He’s our forward leader for the last couple of years and he’s going to be sorely missed.”