Matt Srama announces retirement
Former Gold Coast Titans hooker Matt Srama has announced his retirement from rugby league just a day after his 26th birthday.
In a video message to his friends on Facebook, Srama issued a heartfelt thank you to Titans members and supporters, urging people to share the video so he could reach the greatest number of fans with his message of thanks.
Srama has spent the past six seasons as a member of the Titans' NRL squad having graduated from the club's under-20s ranks in 2011, making his NRL debut against the Bulldogs at Suncorp Stadium in Round 12 that year.
He went on to play 65 first grade games for the club but has been plagued by injuries over the past three seasons, playing just nine NRL games in that time.
Shoulder injuries were an issue for a number of seasons and then early last season after a strong start to the year with Burleigh in the Intrust Super Cup he ruptured his ACL and was ruled out of the year.
Given he was off contract at the Titans at the end of the 2016 season he was unable to secure a new deal and now under medical advice has been advised to quit the game for good.
Although devastated to have had his career end in such a manner, Srama remained deeply thankful for the opportunity he was given to play NRL with the Titans.
"Unfortunately the past few seasons there have been a lot of ups and downs, a lot of time on the sideline with injury," Srama said in his video message.
"What was actually my first ever knee injury has just been deemed to be career ending. Unfortunately got to hang up the boots.
"Devastated, yes, shattered and always going to be thinking, 'What if?' Would have loved to have taken my game to another level but in saying that I'm super grateful and super blessed and I'm really, really lucky.
"I reflect back and think that there were guys a lot more talented than me but they didn't get that opportunity because injury struck them a lot earlier in life.
"I'm so lucky to have played out my childhood dream. My dream was to play one NRL game but to play six seasons I'm really, really, really grateful and a really lucky guy."
As a way of saying thanks Srama is giving away a collection of Titans merchandise to a Titans fan and also gave them a sense of hope that a maiden premiership may be just around the corner.
"I just really want to say a heartfelt thankyou to any Titans supporters, members, fans and anyone who has ever been to a Titans game," Srama said.
"I notice and appreciate two and three hours after a game waiting out the side of Cbus Super Stadium, waiting to get your jerseys signed, a photo and things like that.
"I met a few families who had travelled really, really long ways to go to the footy so I appreciate and know the time that it takes to get your family to the footy.
"Thanks to all my teammates that I've played with, friends for life, I love every single one of you guys; to anyone I've played against, respect, but most of all to all of you supporters and everyone involved with the club.
"Hopefully the boys can bring you a premiership soon. I think it will be this year, the boys are looking good."
Junior Club: Centenary Panthers
NRL career: 65 games for Gold Coast Titans (2011-2016)
Debut: Round 12, 2011 v Canterbury at Suncorp Stadium