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Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs captain Andrew Ryan has today confirmed he will retire from Rugby League at the conclusion of the 2011 season.

Ryan has played 213 NRL matches for the Bulldogs since 2003, with his list of career achievements including captaining the Bulldogs to the 2004 Premiership, 11 Test appearances for the Kangaroos, 12 State of Origin matches for NSW, and six Country Origin jerseys.

In total, he has played 286 First Grade matches since his debut in round two of 2000 for the Parramatta Eels.

“I have had a great career,” Ryan says. “After much thought and discussion with those closest to me, I have decided it is time to call it a day as a player and move onto an exciting new chapter.

“Finishing my career here at the Bulldogs was always of utmost importance to me. While there were options to play a few more years in England, opportunities here outweighed the temptation to go around again.

“I’m very excited to announce this is not the end of my time in Rugby League. I have been offered a full time role working within the NRL’s education and welfare portfolio, which gives me the opportunity to give back to something that has given me so much.

“I am looking forward to finishing off my time as a Bulldogs player in the best possible fashion whilst at the same time looking forward to what lay ahead once my playing career is finished.”

32-year old Ryan has also been a major contributor away from the field of play, winning the 2010 Ken Stephen Medal for the player who made the greatest contribution to community causes.

Ryan says he has many people to thank for supporting him throughout his playing career.

“It goes without saying that I couldn’t have done it without my family,” Ryan added. “I want to thank my wife Olivia, our three great kids, my parents Jim and Laurel, my brothers James and Tim and all my close mates for their unwavering support.

“I need to thank the army of Bulldogs Members and fans, who in my opinion are the most passionate and loyal in the game.

“I also want to pay tribute to the fantastic players and coaches that I have worked alongside at the Club. Steve Folkes gave me the captaincy, which is something I will always thank him for, while Kevin Moore and Jim Dymock have been great over the last few years.

“My management team at Titan have always been a great source of guidance and support. I’d like to thank  them for the work they have done for me, my family and my career.”

Bulldogs Chief Executive Todd Greenberg has paid tribute to Ryan’s commitment and contribution to the Club over his nine seasons in blue and white, both on and off field.

“The word role model is thrown around all too easily in sport however it is a fitting title when it comes to a guy like Bobcat,” Greenberg says.

“Not only does he give his absolute all on the field week in, week out, but he sets a lofty standard for his peers off the field as well.

“One of my proudest moments in recent years was seeing Andrew named the winner of the 2010 Ken Stephen Medal. His commitment to using his position as a senior Rugby League player to make a difference for community causes is legendary.

“He’s a Camp Quality ambassador, an Australian Disability Foundation ambassador, and played a lead role in beyondBlue coming on board as a Bulldogs in the Community partner.

“He’s been a supporter of Ronald McDonald House at Westmead his whole career, is a big supporter of junior Rugby League, and personally has been a great support to me in my time as CEO.

“On top of all that, he is a Premiership winning captain, a Test player, a State of Origin player, and a Country Origin representative, and he can be proud of everything he’s achieved in the NRL.”