Some of you may remember him from his days at the North Queensland Cowboys, the Adelaide Rams, the Canberra Raiders, or for you Super League fans out there, his days at the Huddersfield Giants – but today, Northern Pride stalwart Rod Jensen has announced his retirement from rugby league, at season’s end.
Jensen, 33, who was a member of the Cowboys team that made the grand final in 2005, will play in his final home game for the Pride this weekend, against the Easts Tigers, as he farewells the fans.
Jensen was also a scorer in the Pride’s 2010 Intrust Super Cup triumph, and joins two other stalwarts in Dave Maiden and Chey Bird, to announce their respective retirements.
Coming from Ravenshoe, Jensen has played in 68 games for the Pride, scoring 36 tries in the process, and said that retirement has been on his mind for the majority of the year.
â€œIâ€™m lucky enough to have had a fantastic career in rugby league, playing in and winning grand finals, enjoying a wonderful experience in the UK, and making many lifetime friends along the way,â€ he said.
â€œBut Iâ€™m not getting any younger, and with a young family to consider, I think nowâ€™s the right time to bow out.
â€œIâ€™d like to thank everyone who has helped over my career, and everyone at the Pride for their support over the past few years, especially the coaching staff, players and fans.
â€œI was tempted to go around again with the new coach (Jason Demetriou) coming on board, but although itâ€™s been a tough decision to make, I know itâ€™s the right one.â€
Dave Maiden, the Northern Pride coach, who will also be retiring from the club, says that since the return of Jensen to Barlow Park, his experience and professionalism, has been invaluable for the club.
â€œRod has played everywhere for us in the past couple of years, from wing and centre, to back row and hooker,â€ Maiden said.
â€œHe always trains with full intensity in both gym and field sessions and has been a fierce competitor for the Pride. Heâ€™ll be missed out on the field.â€
Despite his retirement however, the club will receive a bonus, with Jensen to remain involved with the club, as Manager of the Pride’s Learn, Earn, Legend! program – a program that encourages all Aboriginal kids to achieve their dreams.
Chris Sheppard, the Pride’s Chief Executive, said that Jensen is the perfect role model for the the managerial role.
â€œHaving played with Rod for many years, I know weâ€™ll miss him out on the paddock following his retirement, but the passion he has to change young peopleâ€™s lives is infectious and heâ€™ll continue to offer a great deal for us off the field,â€ Sheppard said.
â€œWeâ€™re very fortunate that Rod will continue to be in and around the Pride to run the Learn, Earn, Legend! program, and use his experience to help upcoming Pride youngsters.â€