Rabbitohs captain Michael Crocker has announced today that he will retire from playing Rugby League at the end of the 2013 season, bringing to a close a career filled with success at both club and representative levels.
Crocker played five seasons and 92 first grade games with the Roosters where he was part of the premiership-winning 2002 side, as well as the 2003 and 2004 Grand Final teams.
Crocker then moved south to Melbourne where he played three seasons and 44 first grade games with the Storm, playing in the Grand Final-winning 2007 side as well as the 2008 Grand Final team.
Crocker then shifted to the South Sydney Rabbitohs midway through the 2009 season where he has gone on to play 68 first grade games over five seasons, as well as being part of the five-man leadership group that captained the Club in 2012, and being named the Club’s captain in 2013.
Crocker was the 714th player to represent Australia which he did on six occasions between 2003 and 2008, Queensland in 13 State of Origin games between 2003 and 2009, and the Prime Minister’s XIII in 2011.
“After undergoing surgery in April my focus has been to get back on the field. My goal was to captain South Sydney to a grand final win and to play again next season,” Crocker said.
“It has been a challenging year and I have explored every possible option to get myself back playing. Unfortunately, I have arrived at the point where my knee is unable to meet the demands of professional football. Sadly this means I will be unable to play for the South Sydney Rabbitohs for the remainder of this season.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody involved in my Rugby League career. From my parents who allowed me to play the game I loved as a kid, to the Members, fans, corporates, coaching staff, medical staff, and support staff; I thank you.
“To every player I have played alongside and against over the past 29 years; it has been a privilege and I sincerely thank you.
“Finally I would like to thank my beautiful wife Sally, for having the biggest influence on my life, on and off the field. Thank you for your guidance, patience and support. You have encouraged me to become the best person and player I could possibly be.
“It has been an incredible 13 years playing in the NRL and my career has been blessed. I am honoured to have played for my state and country and I am privileged to have experienced grand final success at both the Roosters and Melbourne Storm.
“I have played at three fantastic clubs, coached by arguably some of the best coaches of all time. I have enjoyed every success that football has to offer and most importantly I have made lifelong friends along the way.
“My wife and I are excited about the next chapter of our lives and no matter the path I choose to pursue, I will always remain involved in the football community.”
Rabbitohs Head Coach Michael Maguire said: “From the time of my arrival, ‘Crock’ has been a major part of the cultural change that has occurred here at the Rabbitohs.
“Through his experience, his dedication and his will to find ways to improve his game at the back end of his career, it’s a real credit to him as a person to have seen the effort he has put in over the past two seasons here.
“He has definitely left his mark as a player and as a person on our squad, and I wish him all the best in his next chapter.
“If he dedicates himself to his next path in the same manner he has as a Rugby League player, I’m sure he will be very successful in whichever field he chooses.”