Tanielu draws curtains on NRL career - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tanielu draws curtains on NRL career

By Dave Donaghy 15/01/2007 07:24:04 PM Comments (0)

An emotional Robert Tanielu brought his injury-plagued career to a sad close after a desperate search by North Queensland officials for a way to keep him in the NRL failed.

Cowboys chief executive Peter Parr revealed the club had "explored every avenue" to keep Tanielu's professional career alive when a second neck injury suffered in July last year cast serious doubts about his future.

The club considered a limited training schedule, greater rest or further surgery for Tanielu until specialists warned none of the options would reduce the risk of another neck injury.

"All those sorts of things that may have helped get him on to the paddock and prolong his career but, at the end of the day, obviously his long term health comes first," Parr said.

"He's been dealt a pretty cruel hand to have to retire at 24 but at the end of the day it's the correct decision."

At an emotional press conference at Cowboys headquarters, Tanielu explained how the hardest moment of drawing his career to a close came on Saturday morning when he told his teammates he would be hanging up his boots in premature retirement.

The hulking prop managed just nine first-grade games in five seasons after bursting onto the scene as a fresh-faced 19-year-old with the "Baby Broncos" in 2002.

"Saturday morning was really hard for me because I'd decided on Friday that I'd come out and (retire)," he said.

"Just being around the boys, I'm sure everyone knows we've got a really tight bond in the team, it was just hard to tell them that I was going to hang up the boots."

Tanielu was told by specialists he was at greater risk of suffering a potentially life-threatening neck injury than other players after he suffered bruising to his spinal cord in a sickening clash with Scott Minto's knee.

Ironically, Minto was in the room when Tanielu announced his retirement following his switch to the Cowboys from Brisbane in the off-season.

The 114kg heavyweight previously had neck-fusion surgery during his rookie year to correct a bulging disc complaint.

Tanielu, who also had a stint with Melbourne, said he will relocate his young family to Brisbane to pursue other career options but hoped to maintain a close connection to rugby league.

"I've got a young boy and one on the way and it was pretty clear they were more important," Tanielu said.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news