Wests Tigers vice-captain Dene Halatau has today announced his retirement, with his 14-year NRL career set to come to an end at the conclusion of the 2016 season.
The 33-year-old utility has decided to call time on his illustrious first grade career that started at Wests Tigers in 2003.
Playing his junior football for the Merrylands Rams and North Ryde Hawks, Halatau played SG Ball with Balmain before making his NRL debut as a 20-year-old at Leichhardt Oval against Manly-Warringah.
Halatau has played a total of 241 NRL games across two Clubs – Wests Tigers and Canterbury-Bankstown – and represented New Zealand on 15 occasions between 2004 and 2009.
The Invercargill-product was also part of the 2005-premiership winning Wests Tigers side, starting at lock against North Queensland.
Halatau said that while the decision was a tough one to make, he felt the timing was right at this point of his career.
"Announcing my retirement is obviously a big thing for me as it’s a transition into the next part of my life," Halatau said. "I felt as though the time is right and it’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time now.
"I was grateful to the Club, JT (Jason Taylor) and the coaching staff for giving me this year; I still feel as though I’m playing good enough football to on tribute well for the team.
"I’ve had a few little injuries over the past season that have just been quite frustrating more than anything and while I’m still feeling okay I think it’s the right time to hang the boots up.
"I’m making the announcement now about retirement but it’s definitely not putting a full stop on the season, and I don’t think for the team either as we are building something really good here.
"Everyone is on the same page and we are working well together, there’s genuine excitement among the group and our boys are figuring out how to make the top eight.
"It would be great to finish my career on that note, getting to the finals and showing what this team is actually capable of."