Former St Helens and Warrington Wolves man forced to retire

A former Super League Grand Finalist has called time on his playing career.

The player in question is former Super League Grand Finalist Gary Wheeler.

A versatile player capable of playing in the halves or at centre, Wheeler started his career at St Helens debuting in 2008 in their Challenge Cup meeting against London Skolars.

As Saints played in a number of finals, Wheeler finally got his chance in a big game coming off the bench against Leeds Rhinos in the 2011 Grand Final.

He helped Saints take a 16-8 lead with the Saints 8-2 down when he entered the field.

However, the Saints would go on to lose the game and that would prove to be his last chance at Grand Final glory.

After 64 appearances with the Saints, he left for Warrington Wolves in 2015 on a two-year deal however injuries and the like would see him struggle for game time and he would eventually join the Toronto Wolfpack in 2017.

He helped the Wolfpack secure a place in Super League by 2020 but the pandemic ended his return to Super League prematurely.

This resulted in a move to Barrow Raiders in 2021 where he has spent the last two years helping the Raiders gain promotion to the Championship from League 1 in 2021.

He was joined by another former Super League star in the shape of Hakim Miloudi at centre formerly of Hull FC as well as star winger Tee Ritson in a star-studded team that pushed up the league.

However, at the expiry of his 18 month deal, he was been allowed to leave.

Instead of looking for a new club, Wheeler has confirmed his decision to retire on social media revealing injuries have forced him to call it a day.

He said: “Well it’s finally time to call it a day. This is a hard one for me to accept and say. I’ve been putting it off for a while, but now it’s out of my control.

“Injuries have played a big part in my career but unfortunately this one can’t be healed with another operation.

“25 years ago this journey started as an 8 year old kid with a dream! I can say it’s been one hell of a rollercoaster, I’ve had an amazing career despite all the set backs and adversity.

“I’ve met some amazing people along the way and seen the world doing it. So a big thank you to all my team mates, coaches, friends and fans who’ve supported my journey along the way.
To all my family who’s been there through all the highs and lows.

“The sacrifices you’ve had to make to I’m forever grateful.

“Big thank you to every club I’ve played for, it’s been a pleasure and a privilege to be part of your club and heritage.

“Looking forward to the next chapter in my life, still being involved with the sport and also helping out the next generation. Hopefully I can pass on my learning experiences to them and give them as much help and guidance as I can.

“It’s been a pleasure.”

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