Luke Dorn: Bracing myself for an emotional goodbye at Castleford Tigers

Tigers' Luke Dorn.
Tigers' Luke Dorn.
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He is Super League’s most prolific overseas signing but, after 12 years in the UK, Castleford Tigers’ Australian full-back Luke Dorn is heading home.

I’d been alright about packing in, to be perfectly honest, until about 4 o’clock on Friday afternoon.

I was just sitting at home with my little one and a big, overwhelming emotion suddenly came over me – this IS my final game: Widnes Vikings at classy Cas’ on Sunday.

I think there will be another feeling like that when it comes to actually going back to Australia as everything I’ve done in my life for the last 12 years has been over here in England with London (twice), Salford and Cas (twice).

I’ve been counting down the days to Sunday and our last game of the season but that’s down to anticipation more than anything; I just want to get out there and get on with it.

There’ll be plenty of family and friends to see it and it’s good that one of my best friends – Jon Wells – is going to be doing the questions on the pitch as I leave the field.

That should help keep my emotions in check!

It’ll be hard looking over at Shenny (Castleford captain Michael Shenton) when it does end and Danny Orr, the guys I’ve known for a long time. Likewise, with Galey (Luke Gale) out on the field. We go back a long way to London. I’ve been really close with these fellas and it will be hard to say goodbye.

As for my dream scenario, mainly I just want to win. To get the win – that will see us finish fifth – is what we all want as we are a super competitive group. It’d be nice to go out with a try as well and then the best rendition of Sweet Caroline I can muster would be great.

It’s been brilliant having a good run of games and having some good form since I made the decision to announce back in May my retirement for the end of this season. It was always at the back of my mind hoping that I didn’t get hurt and missed the run-in as it could have happened so it’s been important to string together some performances and finish the year playing some half-decent footy.

I’ve not had any second thoughts about packing in. This wasn’t something we jumped in to. It was a big decision. Moving my family back home to Australia was always something we were going to do and we just had to get the timing right.

My wife’s sacrificed her professional life since we’ve had kids and she will be really able to get back into that when we do go home.

There’ll be that support network for her but also I want my kids to have the same memories I had a kid – growing up with grandparents around and all the fun that brings.

I felt if we didn’t move back now we’d be here another five years and then we would be really, really settled here.

As for where next, I’ll be going full circle and settling back in Maitland, New South Wales, playing (part-time) for the Pickers, and getting some family time in.

I’ve been asked if I’d do another year in the NRL if anything came up as some people still think I can do a job at 34!

That’s nice of them to say and, if that opportunity did materialise, then who knows but nothing’s been mentioned.

I’ve had great times over here at all three clubs I’ve played with.

As for the best I’ve played with, I’m biased but I have to say Shenny.

He’s been exceptional and is just the sort of high-class player you want on your edge.

I can’t ever remember him being beaten defensively and he’s brilliant at getting into position to maximise his skills with the ball.

Rob Purdham was another down in London.

A fantastic leader, out on the field he was everything you wanted from a rugby league player.

You knew you could always turn to him in any situation. He was hugely under-rated and a phenomenal player.

I’ve had a fantastic time. Thanks to everyone.

Interview by Dave Craven