Leeds Rhinos captain Stevie Ward has announced his retirement from the sport due aged just 27.
Ward played only one game last season for the Rhinos as he dealt with concussion symptoms. He was out of contract at the Rhinos after 2020.
He helped the Rhinos to the Challenge Cup and League Leaders Shield in 2015. A knee injury kept him out from the Treble winning Grand Final at Old Trafford.
However, he added a second Grand Final winners ring in 2017. In total, he made 136 appearances for the club, scoring 23 tries.
Head Coach Richard Agar said: “It is always disappointing when any player is forced to retire from the game prematurely due to injury but especially so when it is someone with so much talent and potential as Stevie Ward.
“I know that our medical team have worked tirelessly with Stevie this year to try and find a positive outcome however unfortunately Stevie has now taken the difficult decision to begin the next stage of his journey after rugby.
“Having made Stevie our captain a year ago, personally it is sad to see his career end this way but I am sure he will continue his work with Mantality and bring the same level of professionalism and expertise to his future work that he has shown on the field throughout his career.”
Director of Rugby Kevin Sinfield added: “On behalf of everyone at the Rhinos, we would like to thank Stevie for his contribution to the club throughout his career.
“Having come through our Academy ranks he has gone to be a Challenge Cup and Grand Final winner. I had the pleasure of playing alongside him and we wish him all the best for the future.”