Dragons stalwart announces retirement at season’s end

Ben Hornby

Some thought it should have already happened, others are sad to see him go – but if you are a Dragons fan, regardless of your feelings towards his decision, you would probably agree that it was the right decision.

It will mean that the Dragons will be on the lookout for a new halfback, however, as stalwart, captain and Dragons veteran of 13 years, has announced that he will be retiring at the end of the season.

Although he had an option looming of a 1-year extension, the Corrimal Cougars junior, 32, felt that now was the right time to step aside.

“It is a difficult time and decision to walk away from the game but having played footy since I was nine and had 13 seasons in first grade I have decided that it is time to move on,” said Hornby.

“Whilst physically I could probably continue, mentally I have had enough.

“I feel like I have achieved everything there is to achieve in the game and it is not fair to myself, my team mates or the Club to continue if I can’t commit mentally to the level required to play in the NRL.

Hornby, who made his first-grade debut back in 2000 in Rd 23 against the Panthers, currently holds the record for the most appearances made by a Dragons player, with 271 career games to date.

Hornby also has rep experience to his name, making the Australian side in 2006, as well as representing NSW there times over the course of 4 years.

“To hold the Club record for the number of first grade games, Captain the Club to a Premiership, represent and NSW and Australia is definitely not something I ever dreamed would be possible,” said Hornby.

“I love the Dragons and feel very proud and privileged to have led this Club and achieved what I have but it is time for me to move on and in particular I am looking forward to being able to spend some more time with my young family.”

Dragons coach Steve Price also had his say on the formal announcement from Ben Hornby, supporting the decision made by Hornby, but disappointed to see him go.

“Ben is a truly inspiration football player, he always puts his body on the line and the Club first every week,” said Price.

“Only people within our Club truly understand what a special character he is and the wonderful qualities that he possesses.

“He is an outstanding leader and great Captain, someone who has been a great support to me throughout this season and replacing him will not be easy, he is the spirit of our football club”.

Dragons CEO Peter Doust was also full of praise for the retiring veteran.

“It is a pretty emotional time for a lot of people involved at the Dragons when a player and person the calibre of Ben Hornby decides to retire,” said Doust.

“He is a very proud one club man who has been an outstanding leader both on and off the field.

“Ben epitomises everything the Dragons stand for and is an inspiration to future generations.

“He is a local junior who began his career with the Corrimal Cougars and worked his way up through the Steelers pathways programs into the NRL, New South Wales and Australia.

“His record speaks for itself, the most capped Dragon of all time, a Premierships winning Captain and representative player who has achieved it all.”

For Hornby, although he can’t be sure as to what the future will hold for him, he does hope that he can remain involved with the game that he has been involved in, since he was nine.

“I’m not exactly too certain what I intend to do once I retire but Rugby League is a big part of my life as are the Dragons so I would like to be able to remain involved in some capacity,” said Hornby.

“I have always thought that I would go into coaching but now is not the right time for me to be focused on what is next, I still have a job to complete with the team on the field for the remainder of the season.”

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