Tongue calls time on NRL career - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tongue calls time on NRL career

17/08/2011 06:34:26 PM Comments (0)

Canberra skipper Alan Tongue's determination not to let his teammates down prompted the likeable red-head's decision to hang up his boots at the end of the NRL season.

Slowed by injuries over the past two seasons, Tongue on Wednesday announced he would forgo the final year of his contract, with the wear and tear of a 12-year career in the lime green having finally taken its toll.

"The first seed was sown when I copped the AC injury there (in the opening round) and it kept me out for another stint," Tongue told a media conference.

"I think some of the injuries now are starting to affect my performance. And I think that's starting to let myself down and, more importantly, let my teammates down.

"And I'd rather say I've retired a year too early than a year too late."

While the 30-year-old gets to go out on his own terms, he might have seen the writing on the wall with his command of a regular start in the Raiders first-choice 17 having diminished.

His role as the workaholic lock - which he filled for the vast majority of his 217 top grade games - has become the realm of 22-year-old tackling machine Shaun Fensom.

His arrival in the NRL forced Tongue into the hooking role, but with the impressive Glen Buttriss recently re-signing for another two years, Tongue was facing a tough battle for NRL selection.

He will farewell his home fans on Saturday week when the Raiders play their last game at Canberra Stadium for 2011 against Penrith, with his final outing to be against Canterbury the following Sunday.

Tongue said the Raiders' disappointing year had played no part in his decision, with the pre-season fancies in danger of picking up the wooden spoon with just six wins so far.

While he said he had no regrets, Tongue said he would have loved the opportunity to play State of Origin football.

An unfashionable type of player, it has often been said Tongue would have played Origin had he been a Queenslander.

"I always would have loved to have tested myself in that arena," Tongue said.

"I think it's when the special players rise to the occasion and that would have been great to have been able to do that."

Tongue said he hadn't decided what he would do next year, but had spoken to the Raiders about an off-field role at the club.

Raiders coach David Furner said Tongue has been "a tremendous servant to the club.

"He's put those people first before himself and I could say he's never come off the field and say that he didn't put in 100 per cent," Furner said.

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