He has played for a few clubs in his time, and as he approaches the ripe old age of 34, current Canberra Raiders utility Shaun Berrigan, says that he may well put retirement on hold, in order to emulate Darren Lockyer’s longevity, by playing beyond his 34th birthday.
Berrigan, who will play in his maiden finals game for the Raiders this afternoon, is providing an experienced head to an otherwise young Raiders side, Berrigan said that he has no plans to retire, and may play on beyond next season.
“I’m not retiring,” said Berrigan.
“I have another year on my contract, so I will definitely be running around next season, and towards the end of next year I will weigh things up and see how I feel.
“At the moment, the body feels good. Ultimately you need that motivation, you have to still love the game and I love being around the boys.
“That passion for the game hasn’t gone away from me.
“If that ever dies then you know it’s time to give it away.”
Despite playing out the majority of his career with the Broncos, Berrigan actually supported the Raiders side of the late 80’s and early 90’s, featuring the likes of Mal Meninga, Ricky Stuart, Gary Belcher and others.
“When I was growing up, the Raiders were my team and Mal Meninga was my favourite player,” said Berrigan.
“If the Raiders made me an offer as a kid I would have jumped at it, but I was a Brissie boy so naturally I ended up at the Broncos.
“If someone said as a kid you will play for Canberra I would have pinched myself, so it’s funny how it has turned out.”
As a veteran of 226 NRL games, Berrigan has seen first-hand the evolution of the current game, citing the increased speed, agility and mobility of players, compared to a few years back.
“Everyone tends to be a bit more agile and leaner. Now the teams have a lot more structure and more work goes into videos so defences are better, you don’t get as many weaknesses in defence so that is one big thing,” Berrigan said.
“There is so much video now that coaches see everything. You can get caught anytime you have a rest, or if you don’t turn up. Coaches see it straight away. In the past, you might find someone walking back on the short side, these days no-one does it because the coach will pick it up straight away. And if you don’t work hard, they will bring some other bloke in.
“But I feel I’m still competing. I’ve probably lost a bit of speed from when I was younger, but I was quite fast as a young bloke so at training I still keep up and still feel like I’m quick enough to get there, and in the centres I still have enough speed to get blokes.
“As long as you have confidence in yourself, that’s the main thing, that’s a big plus for me I think.”
Regarded as a player who gives it his all every game, and as a no-fuss individual, Berrigan said that the Raiders success has come from doing the 1 percent plays right.
“We’ve just stuck at it,” he said.
“Being a young team, it took a while for the penny to drop. We had to be more consistent.
“Furnsy (coach David Furner) worked hard on our preparation and that’s helped our consistency on the weekend.
“It’s quite simple in the finals, you just have to do the basic things well, defend our arse off and make sure you turn up for your teammate.”
“You don’t need to do anything special in finals games, you just have to do the little things right and the rest takes care of itself.”