Veteran Australian forward Keith Galloway has called time on his Leeds Rhinos career.
The 32-year-old front-rower has been released from the final months of his Rhinos contract and signed for lower grade Australian club Oakdale Workers.
Galloway has suffered two separate season-ending Achilles injuries since joining Leeds from Wests Tigers in 2016, limiting him to only 43 appearances in blue and amber.
He had been due to return from his latest setback next month, but has decided to end his elite-level career due to family reasons.
Galloway – who was under contract until the end of 2018 – has been continuing his recovery in Australia and was at the game when Rhinos faced hosts Melbourne Storm in the World Club Challenge 12 days ago.
He said: “It has been a tough decision, but I know it is the right one for me and my family.
“Despite my two major injuries at the Rhinos, I have loved being part of this fantastic club. I have made friendships that will last forever and I have enjoyed living in Leeds.
“The time is right for me to move on to the next chapter of my life. I would like to finish my time on the field on my terms, but that will not be as a full time professional now as I look towards a career after rugby.”
He added: “I would like to thank [chief executive] Gary Hetherington and [coach] Brian McDermott for giving me the chance to play for Leeds Rhinos and all our backroom staff and players who have supported me throughout my time at the club.
“I will be backing the boys from here in Australia and will always remain a Rhino.”
McDermott said: “Keith was able to come and speak to the boys himself whilst we were in Melbourne and it was important for him to do that.
“He has been a fantastic member of our squad over the last three years. Obviously having suffered two big injuries, you can talk about how he has dealt with adversity and been a lesson for all our squad in that sense, but more than that, his quality on the field should not be underestimated.
“We are sad to see him go, but he leaves with our best wishes for the future with his young family back home in Australia.”
Hetherington added: “Keith has been a model professional throughout his time at the club and will remain a friend of the Rhinos.
“We are actively looking to replace him as a senior player in our squad however that will only be if the right candidate becomes available.”
Galloway made his debut for Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks in 2003 while still attending high school, a few months before his 18th birthday.
He joined the Wests Tigers in 2006 and made 173 appearances, scoring six tries.
He was selected for City in the City versus Country match in 2009.
In 2011, Galloway made his State of Origin debut, coming off the bench in game three of the series.
By the end of that year he became the first Wests Tigers’ prop to be chosen in an Australian squad and he made his test debut against New Zealand, coming off the bench to score a try.
He went on to play in all four of Australia’s Four Nations matches and was awarded the Noel Kelly Medal for Best Forward at the Wests Tigers for the year.
He gained five caps in total was was Rhinos’ player of the year runner-up in his first season at the club.
He suffered an Achilles tendon rupture in the penultimate game of 2016, but returned away to Hull last year only to suffer a similar injury against the same opposition three months later.
On Facebook, Oakdale Workers described him as “one of the biggest signings in the club’s history”.