Ryan Atkins will retire at the end of the 2021 season.
Starting his career with the Bulls, Atkins made his Super League debut on loan at Wakefield Trinity in 2006 before signing permanently for the West Yorkshire club at the end of that season.
After four years with Trinity, Atkins made the move to top-flight giants Warrington Wolves, with whom he won two Challenge Cup trophies, scoring at Wembley Stadium in their victory in 2010, as well as two League Leaders’ Shields.
2019 saw Atkins honoured with a testimonial after ten years of service to Warrington and, towards the end of that season, rejoined Wakefield Trinity. He spent the 2020 campaign back at the Mobile Rocket Stadium before signing this season for the York City Knights.
Throughout 2021, Atkins has made eighteen competitive appearances for the Knights, scoring eight tries, the last of which came in defeat to Bradford Bulls – the team whose academy he began his professional journey began with.
Discussing his retirement, 35-year-old Atkins acknowledged that it was a tough decision to come to. “I was contemplating going around again but the time is right,” he explained. “I thought at the end of last year that this could be my swansong, having a really good dig at getting to the play-offs and getting promoted this year with York but that’s just not happened.
“The further we have got through the year, the more batterings my body has taken and I just think the time is right now.
“It’s now time for me to transition away and into the real world. I’ve been doing that gradually now for the last twelve months in a recruitment role and I’m absolutely loving it but, for rugby, my body just won’t do what my mind and my brain wants it to do.
“I always said that, when it came to that point, that I would call it a day and thankfully I’ve got to make that decision off my own back. It’s not an injury or a lack of options, it’s down to my wife, my children and I having come to the agreement that it’s time to spend more time as a family.”