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Darren Lockyer has today announced that the 2011 season will be his final year in the National Rugby League.

Lockyer, who turned 34 last week, said he was pleased and comfortable with his decision to retire after 17 seasons of top-grade football.

He will leave the game holding nearly every record of note.

 Lockyer, who became a father last year, said today he felt the time was right to move on to the next chapter of his life.

“I am still enjoying playing and am really excited about the Broncos and rest of the 2011 year,” he said.

“Of course it will be hard to leave my teammates and the Broncos’ organisation at the end of the season, but I know the timing is right.

“I have had a wonderful career as a rugby league player, but I just feel it is time to move on to the next stage of my life.”

Lockyer said he had no concrete plans for future involvement in the game at this point in time.

“Of course I will observe the game and watch what is going on, but at this point I am going to take a compete break from the day-to-day grind of the NRL,” he said.

NRMA Insurance Broncos chief executive Paul White said today was a historic day for the club as the Broncos began the transition into life without Darren Lockyer.

“We appreciate the integrity that Darren has shown and the way he has decided to make this announcement now, which will allow our fans to celebrate his achievement for the rest of the season,” he said.

“I think it is fair to say that we will never have another player like Darren Lockyer.

“He has driven success here at the Broncos, has been a tremendous achiever at both club and representative level, and has been the epitome of professionalism for not only our club, but our game.

“Darren’s historical place in the very fabric of the game of rugby league is assured and he has deserved every accolade he has received.”