He may not have had an opportunity to don the Newcastle Knights jersey due to the unfortunate injury he sustained, but Rory Kostjaysn has made a decision to retire from the game to keep his health in his best interests.
It was during a pre-season training run in January that Kostjaysn sustained a throat injury and despite numerous surgeries to repair it, his airways have been narrowed.
In the end, after taking on board medical advice and listening to the demands of his body, Kostjaysn made the call to retire as a player from the game of rugby league.
“Retirement was a combination of medical advice and how my body was unable to adapt to a reduced airway,” Kostjasyn explained.
“It has by far been the most challenging six to seven months I’ve faced, not only in my career but in everyday life.
“Unfortunately, it’s a challenge that I’ve been unable to overcome.”
Kostjaysn played in 126 NRL games for the Melbourne Storm and the North Queensland Cowboys and admits that the notion of retirement has not fully sunk in yet.
“It hasn’t fully sunk in that I am retiring yet,” he added.
“I’m still frustrated every game day that I can’t run out and play. “When I reflect, I have been lucky to be a part of some great clubs and playing groups.
“I wasn’t fast, big or super skilful but I just worked very hard to do my job for my teammates.
“Apart from not getting to play for the Knights, I can’t think of too many regrets.”
As for his career highlights, Kostjaysn has two main ones; working under the tutelage of Craig Bellamy as a Storm youngster and premiership success with the Cowboys in 2015.
“My debut and being part of the Melbourne Storm system under Craig Bellamy was a privilege,” Kostjasyn explained.
“The 2015 Premiership and 2016 World Club Challenge with the Cowboys stand out for obvious reasons.
“That playing group made those years extremely enjoyable not only because of the success we had on the field, but the times we shared outside of footy.”
The retirement does not spell the end of Kostjaysn’s affiliation with rugby league, with the veteran to take up a role as an Elite Pathway Development Coach at the Knights to work with their U16’s and U18’s teams.
“I am looking forward to working alongside Scott Dureau, as we focus on developing some of the outstanding young talents in our junior squads,” he said.
“I am also excited to see our Club and the NRL squad progress, develop and succeed over the coming years.”
Kostjaysn praised the fans of all three clubs he has been associated with for their undying support.
“Thanks for the support from all the Members and fans at each Club I have played with; running out in front of a home crowd is an experience that cannot be replaced,” Kostjasyn said.