Bulls’ Diskin to hang up his boots

Bradford Bulls captain Matt Diskin has announced he will retire at the end of the season.

Matt Diskin.

The 32-year-old former Great Britain and England international has made 364 appearances for club, county and country, in a career spanning 14 years.

Dewsbury-born hooker Diskin turned professional as a Leeds Rhino, making his first-team debut in 2001, and went on to win four Super League titles with the Headingley club – three of which came in succession.

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He was named man of the match in 2004 Grand Final, claiming the Harry Sunderland Trophy as the Rhinos overcame Bradford at Old Trafford, and was crowned a World Club Challenge winner in 2008.

Diskin has made a total of 86 appearances for the Bulls, having arrived at the Provident Stadium in 2010, and has skippered the side for the past three seasons.

His representative honours include three Yorkshire, three England and seven England A caps, in addition to a solitary Great Britain appearance – which was cruelly cut short by an injury sustained in the 17th minute of the Lions’ 2004 Tri-Nations clash with New Zealand.

“I have enjoyed a wonderful career, one which I would have happily completed for free,” said Diskin, who has amassed an impressive 244 points.

“I am extremely proud of what I have achieved in the game and, not being the most naturally-gifted player, I have done through sheer hard work and determination.

“There have been plenty of ups and downs but I live with no regrets. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but I would not have changed a thing.

“In my head, I would to think I could play for another 10 or 20 years but my body is no longer allowing me to do the things I want it to do.

“Having said that, this is not a decision I have taken lightly. Since the age of eight, all I have ever know is rugby league. It is still very hard to take but the things I have had to administer into my body this year, in order to keep going this far, is far from healthy.

“I have made this call in order to ensure my longevity as a father, a husband and a person.

“I have been very blessed to have made it this far. I have loved every second of my 14-year career and have been very lucky to have played in some great teams, alongside some exceptional coaches and players.

“I loved my time with Leeds and feel honoured to have captained a brilliant club in Bradford, as well as representing my country and county.

“I will treasure the memories I have made and the people I have met, played with and against. I could not have wished for much more.”

Bulls head coach James Lowes has heaped praise on Diskin, insisting the forward will go down as one of Super League’s all-time greats.

“Matt has had a fantastic career and is a great person to work with,” added Lowes.

“I cannot thank him enough for what he has offered both myself and the team since I arrived here.

“Matt can look back on a great deal of success, achieved at the top level of the sport, and he can retire knowing he has reached great heights, claiming some huge honours along the way.”

Bradford managing director Steve Ferres said: “Matt is a fantastic role model for up and coming rugby league stars of the future.

“He was part of one of the most successful-ever Super League teams and has led this club superbly over the past four years or so.”

Diskin, who spent 10 remarkable years as a Rhino, was also a Challenge Cup runner-up with Leeds, losing out to the Bulls, in 2003, and Hull FC, in 2005.