One of the outstanding outside backs of his generation, Toyota Cowboys centre Brent Tate, has today announced his retirement from rugby league.
The 32-year-old was contracted to North Queensland for the 2015 NRL season, but said the latest serious knee injury of his career had forced him to bring forward his retirement date.
Tate hasn’t played since rupturing his ACL playing for Queensland in game two of the State of Origin series in June – the fourth time he has been unlucky enough to be sidelined by an ACL tear.
He will be honoured for his contribution to the Cowboys over the past four years, and rugby league in general, with a lap of honour at North Queensland’s round 26 NRL clash with Manly at 1300SMILES Stadium in Townsville on Saturday night.
Tate achieved just about everything there is to achieve in rugby league, including playing in State of Origin, grand final and World Cup winning teams.
Despite his injury setbacks, his 14-year career featured 229 matches, including 67 for the Cowboys who he has helped to finals football in each of his four seasons.
“On the advice from the specialist, I’ve had to decide to stop playing rugby league which is unfortunate but necessary if I want to enjoy my post-football life,” Tate said.
“When you have young kids, there’s more to think about than just playing footy and I want to have the best chance of enjoying my life with them.
“I’m really grateful to have had the career I’ve had and will always cherish the experiences and opportunities that rugby league, and playing for three great clubs as well as my state and country, has given me.
“There’s part of me that’s sad I won’t be playing anymore, but there’s a part of me that’s excited to experience something else.
“I’d like to sincerely thank my family first and foremost, all the players and coaching staff that I’ve been in contact with throughout my career and all the members and fans who have supported me over such a long period.”
Cowboys CEO Peter Jourdain said Tate would remain at the Cowboys, working in the commercial area.
“Brent’s record as a footballer at club and representative levels is outstanding even before you consider the setbacks he had to overcome to achieve everything that he did,” Mr Jourdain said.
“The courage and determination he showed to always get his mind and body right after serious injury was exemplary.
“In the four years he’s had at the Cowboys, we’ve seen all that makes him such a great player and person.”
Tate’s time at the Cowboys included winning the Members’ Player of the Year Award in 2013, being a finalist in the Ken Stephen Medal and, this year, earning selection in the RLPA/NRL Academic Team of the Year.
“One of the best decisions I ever made was deciding to come to North Queensland,” he said.
“We’ve loved our time in Townsville and it’s great that it’s going to continue after football.”
NRL debut: Brisbane v Melbourne, round 21 - 2001
Cowboys debut: NQ v Wests Tigers, round 19 - 2011
NRL games: 229
NRL tries: 81
• 26 Tests for Australia (2002-13)
• 23 State of Origin matches for Queensland (2002-14)
• Premiership winner 2006
• 18 NRL finals games appearances