The retirees list for 2018 would make one hell of a team and St George Illawarra Dragons winger Jason Nightingale will now join that list.
After a career spanning 12 seasons, all with the Dragons, the Renown United junior decided it was the right time to hang up the boots.
With 265 NRL games to date, a 2010 premiership win, 33 Tests for New Zealand and appearances at the 2012 NRL All-Stars and 2011 World Club Challenge, Nightingale has done it all.
Known as ‘Gypsy’ among his peers and by fans, his debut came in round 8, 2007.
Since then, he has so far scored 110 tries to date for the club and can still add more to the total.
The time was right for Nightingale to retire and he knows he leaves the game having achieved all he can.
“It’s a very proud and solemn day for me to be announcing the end of the career,” Nightingale said.
“I am extremely grateful for everything that the Dragons and the game has done for myself, and what I’ve been able to achieve.”
With his NRL journey now close to an end, Nightingale thanked all of those who have helped him on his way over the years.
“There are so many people to thank for what’s been a special journey,” the Kiwi international continued.
“From Renown United through to the junior reps to now, through the highs and lows and great successes I’ve had, I’m just so thankful for this incredible journey.”
Winning a grand final is always a huge accomplishment and that stands out for Nightingale in his career.
“The 2010 grand final win was the highlight for me and my family,” he continued.
“There are so many fond memories from that day and the season as a whole.
“Although now is great time to reflect, there are still plenty of memories to be made this season yet.”
Now that he has made his decision, he will dedicate more time to his wife and family, grateful for their selfless support of his career.
“However, I’m also look forward to more family time with my second child on the way.
“My wife Bianka has sacrificed a lot for my career.
“She’s been selfless by supporting me throughout my career, while also building one of her own.”
The plaudits were endless as Dragons Chief Executive Officer Peter Doust praised Nightingale and his club career.
“Jason has always represented himself, his family and the Dragons with distinction and has always been committed to supporting the club’s visions both off and on the field,” Doust said.
“He is an outstanding role model who typifies the club’s values and we have been privileged that he has remained loyal to the Dragons for so long.
“He signed eight contracts to remain at the Dragons.”
Also praising him was Dragons coach Paul McGregor who pointed out the success he has had in his career.
“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up and Gyspy typifies that,” McGregor said.
“He’s very tough and very committed.
If you look at his career, what he’s done season after season is quite incredible.”
“He’s been fortunate enough along the way to avoid too many injuries and has represented his country with pride every time he’s donned the Kiwis jumper.
McGregor has been associated with Nightingale for many years and has enjoyed watching him grow and develop as a player and a person.
“I’ve known Jason for a very long time so I feel very privileged to have had the honour as a head coach to watch this young man develop into a father, a husband,” continued McGregor.
“He is one of the best clubmen we’ve had over a long period of time.”