SIX-TIME Grand Final winner Ryan Bailey has hung up his boots.
The former Great Britain front-rower’s retirement was confirmed on Leeds Rhinos’ website and brings to an end a remarkable - and at times controversial - career.
The 35-year-old made his Rhinos debut in 2002 and was a member of their first Super League-winning side two years later. He went on to play in the 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012 Old Trafford triumphs, was a World Club Challenge winner three times and won the Challenge Cup once.
Bailey left Leeds at the end of the 2014 season and had spells with Hull KR, Castleford Tigers, Warrington Wolves, Toronto Wolfpack, Workington Town and Leigh Centurions. He joined Featherstone Rovers in pre-season as a trialist, but was not offered a contract.
His retirement comes the week after his former Leeds team-mate Brett Delaney, who signed for Rovers last autumn, called time on his career.
Bailey, who made 362 senior appearances, said: “I wanted to retire on my terms, I don’t want to carry on playing for the wrong reasons.
“I’ve had a good career and want to finish with those happy memories, not on a low. I set some goals when I was 18 to play five Super League games. I ended up with around 300 and a lot of trophies. I’ve been lucky with injuries and maintained my fitness. Off the pitch, I’ve had ups and downs, but I’ve come through it stronger.
“I’ve got a family to think about, I’m putting them first now as I start a new chapter.”
Bailey will begin training as a fireman next month. He added: “It’s a team environment with a good bond and will help keep my fitness while contributing to the community.”
Rhinos director of rugby Kevin Sinfield played alongside Bailey and said: “Ryan has enjoyed a brilliant career and achieved everything possible.
I’ve had a good career and want to finish with those happy memories, not on a low. I set some goals when I was 18 to play five Super League games. I ended up with around 300 and a lot of trophies. I’ve been lucky with injuries and maintained my fitness. Off the pitch, I’ve had ups and downs, but I’ve come through it stronger.”Ryan Bailey
“I know how much it meant to him every time he pulled on a Rhinos shirt and I think fans could see that. He was the player opposition teams loved to hate, but his own fans loved him.”
“His team-mates knew his true value to the side and what he did for the team during the most successful era in the club’s history.”