Retiring due to injuries is not the way players would like to go out but they understand the reality of the situation when it happens, and for Huddersfield Giants prop Stuart Fielden, a chronic knee injury and infection has forced him to retire from the game of rugby league.
He will not be lost to the game of rugby league, however, with the 33-year old veteran to become a part of the Giants coaching staff for this season and next.
For Fielden, it is a disappointing moment and he is disappointed at how his time with the Giants turned out.
“I said I came here to win things and that remains my aim,” said Fielden.
“The club have been superb with me and this freak infection is just typical of the luck of I have had for a while now.
“We have explored every avenue possible and I have trained constantly to get back on the field but it’s not going to be, so I have to move on and work off the field to help us achieve.
“I am grateful of the opportunity Paul (Anderson) has given me and having got over the shock of the knee ruling me out, Iâ€™m now excited about the next chapter in my career.
â€œI am making this announcement now to put all speculation to bed and want us all to concentrate on the next few games for the club which are simply massive. I hope to be playing a big part behind the scenes and whatever happens, it won’t be for lack of effort on my part.
I really have enjoyed being here – more so than I expected if truth be told and it really is a club that has great potential so I guess I am lucky really that I can stay on and start learning and working under Paul and his team.”
To go with his stellar club career for several Super League sides, Fielden has also represented his country a large number of times and says that it was a honour to do so, as well as playing with and against some of the best rugby league players.
“In my career, I feel fortunate to have played with and against the best players in the world and represented my country 32 times, to add to that I’ve also always been at a top club. I would Pokies also like to specially thank Michael Maguire and Mick Farrell for helping me get my career back on track during my time at Wigan.”
Richard Thewlis, the Giants Managing Director said that Fielden was the sort of player and person that was committed to the club and the cause and that his influence at the club was profound, something he believes will carry on to Fielden’s new role as an assistant coach.
“No man could have worked harder than Stuart Fielden to shake off this infection and it must have been heartbreaking for such a proud man and world class player to have to move on for circumstances beyond his control,” said Thewlis.
“From first meeting him, he has delivered exactly what he promised he would and we are a far better club for his involvement.
“Indeed it was he that took the very first carry of the season and he has been very influential in taking us to a new level and when we have someone of his presence, experience and character who has won consistently at the top level, it made sense to ask him to consider staying with us.
We are all delighted he has chosen to do so and I look forward now to Paul Anderson doing his press conferences without the weekly â€˜when is Fielden back question…â€™ and to Stuart assisting all the teams and players at the club to achieve the success on the field he has enjoyed in his superb career. We move on and Stuart does to.”
Someone who has played with and against Fielden as a player as well as coached him, is Giants coach Paul Anderson. For Anderson, having the privilege to do all of those things with and against Fielden was an honour for him and he looks forward to having the prop alongside him in his coaching staff.
â€œI have had the pleasure in playing with, against and coaching Stuart and throughout his career he has been the ultimate professional,” said Anderson.
“The news is disappointing for all concerned but itâ€™s a credit to Stuartâ€™s professionalism the way he has accepted the decision and heâ€™s now fully focused on his new coaching role.
“He is a great addition to the Giants coaching team as he is a Super League legend with such a decorated medal cabinet and his experience will be invaluable going forward.”