Thaiday hits back at contract talk
Brisbane second-row forward Sam Thaiday has fired back at reports he will be axed from the club at the end of 2018, telling media on Monday that he was never planning on continuing his playing career at the Broncos after his current contract expires.
Reports emerged this week that Broncos coach Wayne Bennett would not be renewing Thaiday's contract at the end of next year, but Thaiday insisted his current contract was always going to be his last after re-signing with the club in 2015.
Thaiday will be 33 years old at the end of the 2018 NRL season and it will mark 16 years in the top grade and possibly over 300 NRL matches.
Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and Thaiday recognised it might be time to move on from the game when his contract expires.
"It's a bit of a funny one. It's been talked about that I'm not going to be offered a contract. I haven't even asked for one," Thaiday said.
"I don't know why it's even a story in the first place. I might just get the paper and use it to start a fire because it's getting a bit cold out in Samford.
"I've got things in place going forward, I know what I'm doing. It's no surprise to me at all. But I'm sure it's a surprise to a lot of fans out there.
"I've had a fantastic run and it just means I've got this year and next year to work really hard and hopefully we can do something as a team here at the Broncos."
Interestingly, the 33-year-old said he is unsure if he will definitely retire at the end of 2018, saying it is a decision he will take plenty of time to make.
"It's hard asking a footballer that question [about retiring] because at the end of the day, none of us want to stop playing the game that we love," he said.
"It's a very, very tough decision that has to be made. But it's not a decision I'm making now or making lightly, either.
"My full focus and full attention is with the Broncos this year and putting ourselves in a fantastic position where we can do something coming to the end of the year."
It may be hard for Broncos fans to imagine Thaiday in another team's jersey, but like Petero Civoniceva before him, it remains an option.
Civoniceva played his last year for the club in 2007, moved on by Bennett to the Penrith Panthers after 215 games for Brisbane.
Civoniceva was turning 32 when told his services would no longer be required, but instead of retiring he proved he had more to give, playing 74 games for Penrith before returning to the Broncos in 2012.
Thaiday is yet to decide whether he will follow in Civoniceva's footsteps and said his family would have a huge influence on this decision.
"I don't know. There's 15 other clubs out there as well. Who knows what will happen," he said.
"I have to sit back and assess and see how the body's feeling. It's more of a discussion now that I'll have with my family and we'll make a decision going forward.
"I've got two young girls now that I have to look after and provide for the rest of my life.
"Whether the body can deal with a bit more banging around is something that I'll assess come this time next year."