Not being able to go out on your own terms for a rugby league player is a tough feeling. For St George Illawarra Dragons veteran Ben Creagh, he will not be able to do so, forced to retire due to a knee injury.
A workhorse, a leader and a fantastic clubman, Ben Creagh amassed an incredible number of games for the Dragons side, falling just short of Ben Hornby’s club record.
It was in Rd 3 this year when Creagh suffered a knee injury that has limited him to just three appearances this season.
Still only 31, he will end his career with 271 games to his date and whilst he would have liked to have added more to that, he knows it was out of his control.
“Bit of a tough day for me actually,” said Creagh.
“I’ve had to announce my retirement from rugby league. The knee injury has gotten a fair bit worse over the season and unfortunately I won’t be able to compete at first-grade level anymore.”
“I would love to keep on playing but unfortunately, at 31 now, a number of surgeries on my knee have kind of caught up to me and it’s sad but I’m excited at what’s coming in the next stage of life.”
Pleased to have had the chance to represent the Dragons, Creagh is grateful for all the opportunities that came his way.
â€œIt has been a hard decision to make with my heart willing me on to continue playing first-grade for this great Club but deep down I know this is the right decision to make,” said Creagh.
â€œI have been so lucky being a local junior to have represented the Dragons and will retire at the end of the season with a lot of fond memories.â€
A member of the 2010 NRL premiership-winning side, an Australian Kangaroo and NSW representative and a club stalwart, Creagh is pleased of what he has achieved as a player.
â€œI have been so fortunate to accomplish so much with the pinnacle being the 2010 Premiership win which was done with a terrific group of players and a lot of hard work and determination,â€ said Creagh.
â€œI have also had the opportunity to represent both my country and state which is a dream for every young player as well as being entrusted to captain the Dragons these past four seasons which I have done so with great pride and honour.â€
All players dream of long and illustrious careers, as club CEO Peter Doust praises the efforts and commitments of Creagh.
â€œBen has had a long and proud career here at the Dragons and is well regarded by everyone who knows him,â€ said Doust.
â€œPlaying 14 seasons in the NRL is a respected accomplishment and to be able to do that for the same club makes the achievement even more commendable.
â€œBen has been a leader here at our Club and a valued contributor towards the overall game of rugby league through his capacity in co-founding the Graduates of League program.
“On behalf of everyone at the Dragons, I thank Ben for his services and wish both he and his family the very best for their future.â€
Dragons coach Paul McGregor echoed those sentiments on Creagh.
â€œBen has been a significant part of our football club for over a decade and a leader amongst the playing group,â€ said McGregor.
â€œHe has led by example both on the field and off it so it is a shame that he has been forced to retire but his decision personifies his character in always wanting to put the Club first.
â€œThe entire playing squad wish him all the very best and we thank him for his invaluable contribution to the Dragons.â€