Auckland, New Zealand, April 06, 2010 – The NRL’s longest-serving current player Steve Price today announced he would finish his 17-season rugby league-playing career at the end of his 2010 campaign.
Price, the NRL’s oldest player this year at 36, has so far made a total of 313 appearances for the Vodafone Warriors (91) and the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (222).
“I’ve been thinking for some time about retirement. At my age I couldn’t go on forever and this just seemed to be the right time,” he said.
“I’ve had an unbelievable time playing for my two clubs the Vodafone Warriors and the Bulldogs. I can’t say enough about what they’ve both done for me and for my family.
"They’re times I’ll never forget, playing with some fantastic players and working with some great coaches. And I’ve also had the honour of playing for both Australia and Queensland. That has been massive for me.
“But it hasn’t all ended yet. I’m committed to getting my heel injury right and getting back on the field for the Vodafone Warriors as soon as I can. I certainly intend to finish my last season in the game making a contribution on the field.”
As Price made his announcement, his only two NRL clubs also confirmed major plans to jointly celebrate his career.
This would start this week when the Bulldogs host the Vodafone Warriors in Saturday night’s sixth-round match at ANZ Stadium in Sydney and Vodafone Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah announced the club would honour Price later in the season at Mount Smart Stadium.
While Price is not expected to be fit to play this week, Bulldogs CEO Todd Greenberg said the club would honour him in various ways on Saturday night. Together with wife Jo and their children, he will be flown to Sydney by the Vodafone Warriors with the Bulldogs hosting them on game day.
“Steve Price is a life member of the Bulldogs and he will always be revered as one of our club’s true greats,” said Greenberg.
”We have been working closely with both Steve and the Warriors over the past few weeks in an attempt to acknowledge his incredible contribution to the game of rugby league.
”I'd encourage all rugby league fans to be at ANZ Stadium next Saturday night to acknowledge one of our game’s true greats, and be a part of something very special.”
Greenberg said the Bulldogs have agreed to provide free entry to the game for any NRL club member/season ticket holder. He added the initiative was designed to ensure all supporters had the chance to farewell Steve and acknowledge his contribution.
“Whether fans support the Bulldogs, the Warriors, any other club or rugby league generally we just want them to get out to ANZ Stadium on Saturday night and be part of a special event,” said Greenberg.
A tribute highlights DVD package will be screened before the NRL clash, drawing on material covering Price’s performances for the Bulldogs, the Vodafone Warriors, the Kangaroos and Queensland. Together with his family, Price will also be taken on a pre-match lap of honour around ANZ Stadium. After the match, the Bulldogs will make a special presentation on the field to Price.
Scurrah said the Vodafone Warriors’ last scheduled home game of the season against Brisbane (August 27-30) had already been planned as an old boys’ day and would include a special farewell to Price.
“The Bulldogs are doing a terrific job in acknowledging Steve this weekend and we’ll be putting on our own tribute to him when we play the Broncos in August,” he said.
“Steve has made a huge contribution to the game and especially to our club since starting here in 2005. We want everyone to give him the farewell he deserves when the time comes.”
Vodafone Warriors coach Ivan Cleary said Price had distinguished himself as one of the game’s great front rowers over a lengthy career.
“He has been our player of the year twice and has always amazed us with the capacity he has to keep performing at such a consistently high standard,” he said.
“He has been frustrated by injury so far this season but we’re expecting him back soon and know he’ll contribute to the team the way he always has. There’s no question he has been vital to helping to turn the Vodafone Warriors around after some tough times a few years ago.”
During a career which started at first-grade level in 1994, Price has played 15 Tests for Australia and has represented Queensland 28 times in State of Origin, the most by a forward in Origin history. He also played a guest player for the All Golds in England in 2007.
Born: March 12, 1974
Birthplace: Dalby, Queensland
Junior Club: Newtown Lions (Toowoomba)
NRL Debut: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v Balmain, July 3, 1994
Canterbury-Banktown Bulldogs: 594
Vodafone Warriors: 121
NRL Career: 313 appearances, 1994-2009
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs: 222 appearances, 1994-2004
Vodafone Warriors: 91 appearances, 2005-2009
NRL Points: 140 (35 tries)
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs: 88 points (22 tries)
Vodafone Warriors: 52 points (13 tries)
15 Tests for Australia, 1998-2009
28 matches for Queensland, 1998-2009
Prime Minister’s XIII, 2005-2006
All Golds, 2007