As we enjoy the likes of Hull KR, Warrington Wolves and Leigh Leopards battling it out for semi final spots alongside Wigan Warriors and Catalans Dragons, the NRL season has been wrapping up.
As always, NRL stars who haven’t made the finals keep themselves playing in local games.
Josh Addo-Carr dud just that and now according to the Daily Telegraph police are investigating a “vicious brawl” that saw him knocked out in an indigenous rugby league tournament.
This has taken away from all the heartwarming headlines across the sport in Australia at the moment including a tribute to retiring players.
After 16 seasons in the top grade, Wade Graham signs off with 297 NRL games to his name and a place in Sharks folklore as a member of their 2016 premiership side.
Two years prior to the Sharks breaking a 50-year drought, the Rabbitohs won their first title in 43 years with George Burgess in the engine room alongside brothers Sam and Tom.
After joining Wigan in 2020, George returned to the NRL with the Dragons in 2022 and now calls time on his career with 153 games to his name.
Three members of the exclusive 300 Club have also hung up the boots, with Canberra’s favourite son Jarrod Croker, Cowboys premiership winner James Tamou and former Bronco, Knight and Dragon Andrew McCullough calling time on decorated careers.
Croker: It’s been a special rideCroker: It’s been a special ride
Croker: It’s been a special ride
Croker played his 300th game in Round 15 against the Warriors and departs the NRL with 307 games to his credit while McCullough played 309 matches between 2008-22.
A key member of North Queensland’s maiden premiership success in 2015, Tamou returned to Townsville in 2023 after stints with the Panthers and Wests Tigers but was restricted to just three games by a foot injury.
Croker and McCullough also played in grand finals – Croker in 2019 and McCullough in 2015 – as did former Raider turned Eel Josh Hodgson and a pair of Canterbury stalwarts in Josh Jackson and Josh Reynolds, who have decided to call it a day.
Josh Reynolds announces retirementJosh Reynolds announces retirement
Josh Reynolds announces retirement
Jackson played 241 games for the Bulldogs and was part of the 2012 and 2014 grand final sides, as was Reynolds, who bid an emotional farewell to the Belmore faithful in NSW Cup in July.
The man affectionately as ‘Grub’ left the Dogs in 2017 for three seasons at Wests Tigers and two at Hull FC before returning this year to play seven more games, taking his career tally to 167 NRL matches.
A number of departing players are on their way to the Super League, including veterans Lachlan Fitzgibbon, Moses Mbye and Peta Hiku while barnstorming forward Tevita Pangai jnr shocked the NRL when he announced he was retiring to chase a career in boxing just two months after making his Origin debut with NSW.
In the NRLW, former Jillaroos co-captain Sam Bremner announced her retirement earlier this year and recently had a third child. Bremner played nine games in stints at the Dragons and Roosters.
Dragons utility Renee Targett retired following the 2023 NRLW season after 15 appearances for the Red V.
The retiring class of 2023
George Burgess (St George Illawarra Dragons)
Jarrod Croker (Canberra Raiders)
Andrew Fifita (Cronulla Sharks)
Wade Graham (Cronulla Sharks)
Josh Hodgson (Parramatta Eels)
Josh Jackson (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
Andrew McCullough (St George Illawarra Dragons)
Tevita Pangai jnr (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
Jordan Rankin (Parramatta Eels)
Mitch Rein (Parramatta Eels)
Josh Reynolds (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
James Tamou (North Queensland Cowboys)
The departing NRL class of 2023
Lachlan Fitzgibbon (Warrington Wolves)
Matt Ikuvalu (Catalans Dragons)
Kruise Leeming (Wigan Warriors)
Moses Mbye (St Helens)
Thomas Mikaele (Warrington Wolves)
Lachlan Miller (Leeds Rhinos)
Brad Schneider (Hull KR)
Herman Ese’ese (Hull FC)
Peta Hiku (Hull KR)