Injury has ended the career of Gold Coast Titans back-rower Ben Ridge who at season’s end, will return home to Roma and start his life after rugby league.
Ridge, who joined the Titans straight out of high school in 2008 has battled some chronic knee injuries of late and at just 25, has opted to retire from the NRL and pursue other opportunities.
Starting out in the Titans U20’s side, Ridge captained the side and went on to make his first-grade debut in 2010.
â€œSince I started here, I have had a bad run with injury and eventually it takes a toll on you,â€ Ridge said.
â€œI probably couldnâ€™t have had a worst year coming off contract and the pressure of that, and in the end I decided it was time to do something else.
â€œOnce the decision was made, it felt like a weight off my shoulders and now Iâ€™m excited about what lies ahead.”
Despite the injuries that have plaged his career, Ridge has no regrets and was quick to thank the Titans organisation and club for their support over the years.
â€œI definitely have no regrets that I came here. I am pretty proud of myself that despite what was thrown at me I played 58 games in the NRL and I put my best foot forward each time I had to come back from injury,” said Ridge.
â€œIt has been the best thing that has happened to me coming to the Titans and the Gold Coast. I have met some awesome people and long term friends and a lot of people outside of football, and it has opened doors for me.
â€œI want to thank the club, my teammates and the supporters, and plenty of people Iâ€™ve met.â€
His efforts at the Titans never went unnoticed, with Titans coach Neil Henry praising his resilience and tough attitude towards the game.
â€œRidgey showed enormous character, courage and resilience since coming here as a country boy straight out of school and is widely liked and respected at the club,â€ Henry said.
â€œHe is most renowned for his fearsome defence and his strong, tough carries and would have played a lot more than 58 NRL games if not for his bad luck with injuries that he worked hard to overcome. He has enormous respect for how each time he fought back and the way he plays the game.
â€œEveryone here wishes him all the best in whatever he decides to pursue.â€