Luke O'Donnell

Retirement is a time that all rugby league players come to and they often know when the right time is to make that decision, so for Luke O’Donnell, on the back of a premiership with the Sydney Roosters, he knew it was the time to hang up the boots.

O’Donnell, who has played in the NRL for 14 years and enjoyed stints with the Balmain Tigers, Wests Tigers, the North Queensland Cowboys, the Huddersfield Giants – an English Super League side – and the Sydney Roosters, in a career that saw him play in a total of 215 first-grade games.

O’Donnell knew the time was right to hang up the boots and was quick to give praise to everyone that made his rugby league dreams and ambitions possible.

“I’ve had some time to reflect and think about my future since the Grand Final and this definitely hasn’t been an easy decision, but it’s the right one,” said O’Donnell.

“I’m so grateful for everything Rugby League has given me. Each of the clubs I’ve played at have made me a better man and I’ve made so many friends along the way.

“To each and every one of my teammates and opponents from over the years – I thank you. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who has been involved in my Rugby League career.

“Most importantly, I would like to thank my family. My parents for their years of sacrifice to help me realise my dreams, and especially my wife Tania and our two girls for their unwavering love and support. I am definitely going to enjoy spending more time with my family.

Along with an NRL premiership, O’Donnell has also played for NSW and Australia and is grateful for the opportunities the Roosters afforded him.

“I’ve had a great career. I count myself incredibly lucky to have represented my State and my Country and it was a dream come true to return to the NRL with a proud Club like the Roosters, and to cap the year off with a Premiership,” said O’Donnell.

“I quickly found a home at the Roosters, and I’d like to thank everyone at the Club – especially Robbo and the playing group – for making me and my family feel so at home, and for one of the most memorable years in my footy career.

“While I look forward to the next stage that awaits, the Roosters will always hold a special place in my heart – I’ve made so many great friends at the Club and I’ll always be grateful to Trent for giving me the opportunity.”

Someone who was quick to praise O’Donnell, was Roosters Chairman Nick Politis.

After ironically making his first grade debut against the Roosters, Luke has represented at the game’s highest level, and he certainly played a significant role at the Roosters in 2013,” said Politis.

“Luke will always be highly-regarded by everyone involved at the Roosters for helping deliver another Premiership to the Club. He has been the consummate professional and we thank him for his contribution to not only our proud Club, but the game of Rugby League.”

As a coach, Trent Robinson saw first hand what O’Donnell did both on and off the field and said it was his leadership that really stood out.

“Popular with his team mates, staff and supporters, Luke did a fantastic job in buying into our goals at the start of the season,” said Robinson.

“He had an overwhelming impact both on and off the field in mentoring our younger forwards in such a short time with the Club, and I’d especially like to thank him for that.

“On behalf of everyone associated with the Club, we thank Luke and wish him and his young family all the very best for the future.”

By ricky

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