Hull FC stalwart Kirk Yeaman to retire at end of season

Hull FC legend Kirk Yeaman has made the surprise decision to retire at the end of this season.

Kirk Yeaman celebrates scoring a try alongside captain Gareth Ellis

The former Great Britain centre, who turned 33 last week, has only ever played for the Black and Whites, amassing 371 games for his hometown club and scoring 176 tries since debuting in 2001.

Yeaman, who will look to bow out in style by helping the club complete the treble, became the only player to win the Challenge Cup twice for Hull having featured both at Wembley last month and in the victorious 2005 squad.

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“It was a really tough call to make,” said the player, who also appeared in Hull’s solitary Grand Final appearance in 2006.

Hull FC v Warrington Wolves. Hull's Kirk Yeaman makes a break in the Challenge Cup final win over Warrington Wolves

“Playing rugby is all I’ve done since the age of five but, as they say, all good things come to an end.

“There’d be no better way to finish my career with the year that we’ve had so far and what we could still potentially achieve.

“It’s been something that I’ve been thinking about for a while.

“But I’m 33 and I’m not getting any younger, my body isn’t what it used to be.

Hull FC v Warrington Wolves. Hull's Kirk Yeaman makes a break in the Challenge Cup final win over Warrington Wolves

“These last few weeks, particularly after winning the Challenge Cup, confirmed it for me.”

Hull, who will add the League Leaders’ Shield to their haul if they beat Warrington Wolves tomorrow night, have signed Salford Red Devils centre Josh Griffin for 2017 while youngster Jack Logan is viewed as Yeaman’s long-term replacement at KCOM Stadium.

Coach Lee Radford has also recruited Huddersfield Giants utility-back Jake Connor for next term so, along with the in-form Mahe Fonua, they have plenty of options at centre.

“I have enjoyed some special moments and great memories and would like to thank everyone who has helped me and supported me throughout my career,” added Yeaman, who successfully fought for his place this season after initially playing on dual-registration at Doncaster with Logan - who also claimed his No4 jersey - taking a starting role for the first five games.

“My family, friends, coaches, team-mates, the backroom staff and of course the fans have all been great to me and given me a career to remember.”

Yeaman will retire whilst holding the notable accolade of scoring more tries than any other player in derby meetings with Hull Kingston Rovers, whilst he is only the second player in the club’s history to score more than 700 points without kicking a single goal.

He is also the highest scoring Hull-born player in the club’s history sat in the all-time try scoring charts in third position with those 176 tries, bettered only by Hall of Fame members Clive Sullivan MBE (250) and Ivor Watts (216).

Yeaman has scored seven tries in 26 games for Hull this season and, famously, was part of the last Great Britain side to defeat Australia in the 2006 Tri-Nations 23-12 victory in Sydney.

Radford, a former team-mate as well as now coach, said: “The records that he holds are a good reflection of the career he’s had.

“The many records he has will put him up there as one of the greatest-ever players to have played for the club, and deservedly so.

“He’s really rejuvenated himself in these last 12 months and has shown why, in the past, he’s claimed international honours.

“I hope he can go out on a high, and the stage is set for him to do so with the position that we’re in at the moment.

“It will be sad when he puts his boots up for the final time.”