He is the only active NRL or ESL player that played in the Illawarra Steelers season in 1998, but now, the time has come for Luke Patten â€“ with the former Steeler, Dragon and Bulldog, announcing his retirement at seasonâ€™s end.
Currently playing in the ESL for the Salford City Reds, Patten informed his team-mates of the news this afternoon (England time).
“My body has made this decision for me,” said Patten, who joined Salford on an initial three-year deal.
“I’m a player who has always got confidence from training really hard, but these days it takes me all week to recover from a game so I can’t do that as well I want to.”
Regarded as one of the most consistent fullbacks of the modern era, and one that was unlucky not to have received more international caps, the man they call â€˜The Generalâ€™, played over 300 NRL games, and scored more than 100 tries.
Luke Patten missed his first game for the Reds in their Challenge Cup win over Whitehaven, with Patten aiming to help his side reach the play-offs before he stops playing.
“The team has played better this year in patches and I have enjoyed that, but I’m still not at where I want myself to be,” he said.
“I want to go out after a strong season. I guess I don’t want to embarrass myself as the guy who had one season too many.
“I’m comfortable with the decision and want to go out playing really well and help the Reds make the top eight and look at beating Leeds in the next round of the Challenge Cup.”
With the possibility of taking up a refereeing role or something on the administrative side of rugby league, Patten has no finite plans for life after football, at this stage.
“I have no concrete plans to be honest.
“After today people will know I’m available and we’ll see what happens. I think refereeing is out of the question now because of the training but I certainly want to stay involved in the game.”