FORMER Bradford Bulls, Hull FC and Great Britain prop Andy Lynch has revealed he will retire at the end of the season.
The Castleford Tigers star makes his 500th career appearance when the Super League leaders host Warrington Wolves tomorrow.
He is still going strong for Daryl Powell’s side but – on the eve of that milestone achievement – the 37 year-old has decided to confirm this will be his final campaign.
Lynch, now in his second stint at Wheldon Road having originally debuted for Castleford in 1999, said: “I discussed it a lot with my wife April and we decided it’s the right time for me now to look to the next chapter of my life.
“My three boys are at that age now where I need to be there more at the weekend.
“They are all playing sports and I’ve already missed out on a lot with them.
“It’s now time to turn the tables and for me to spend my weekend watching my boys play sports.”
Lynch will be remembered as one of Super League’s finest players and, indeed, could still yet surpass Kevin Sinfield’s competition appearance record of 454.
“It’s an amazing achievement for me to be up there with the best, and some great guys – Rob Burrow, Keith Senior and Kevin Sinfield to name a few,” he said, on reaching 500 career games.
“I’m really proud to reach this fantastic milestone in my career.”
However, Lynch has only won one major piece of silverware in his career, the 2006 World Club Challenge with Bradford, something he would like to remedy in the final months of his career.
He was at Bradford when they won the 2005 Grand Final but was unfortunately left out of the squad at Old Trafford following Adrian Morley’s short-term signing from Sydney Roosters.
Lynch did play for Castleford in the 2014 Challenge Cup final having done the same with Hull FC 12 months earlier but lost on both occasions.
Tigers visit Hull in the Challenge Cup quarter-final next Sunday so another Wembley trip is still in his sights while they are also hoping to reach a maiden Grand Final come October with Castleford having still yet to lift a league championship.
“There is still a long way to go for us this season and we will take each game one at a time and work hard to chalk off the wins each week,” he said. “But to bring a trophy back to this club and this town would mean everything to me!
“It’s been part of my life since I was 15; I love this club and I will always be a Castleford fan.
“Bringing a trophy home this season would just be a brilliant way to sign off on a career I have truly loved.”
Lynch has already started thinking about life after rugby.
He has joined his former Tigers team-mate and current assistant coach Danny Orr in developing the Elite Rugby Academy which will see him continue to mould young rugby league players in the making in the Castleford community.
Lynch is also looking forward to getting more involved with charity events, starting with the London Marathon in aid of PhabKids.
“I’ve always wanted to give something back and take on a physical challenge, and in 2018 I’ll be doing just that, running the London Marathon,” he said.
“It’s the first time in my life that I won’t have rugby training, and I’ll therefore be able to commit my time to the training needed to take on a different type of physical challenge to rugby league.”