Auckland, New Zealand, April 22, 2012 – Vodafone Warriors warhorse Micheal Luck today announced he had decided to retire at the end of the 2012 NRL season rather than extend his playing career to an eighth campaign with the club.
The Vodafone Warriors offered the off-contract Luck a new one-year term for 2013 but the 12-season NRL veteran said after much soul-searching he would end his playing days to begin life after football back in his native Queensland.
Luck told his Vodafone Warriors team-mates and coaching staff about his plans before yesterday’s training session at Mount Smart Stadium.
“This was not a rushed decision, and an extremely difficult one for me to make,” said the veteran loose forward, who also turned 30 yesterday (April 21).
“After carefully weighing up all options with the people closest to me, I have decided that for the good of my family and me, it is the right time to make this decision.
“I would like to sincerely thank the Vodafone Warriors, in particular Wayne Scurrah and Brian McClennan, for their support at this time. I cannot overstate what I owe the Vodafone Warriors.”
Vodafone Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah said the club was keen to sign Luck on a new one-year deal (and an eighth campaign at Mount Smart Stadium) and also wanted to retain him in a role when his playing career finished.
“We made Micheal an offer for another year and would have loved to keep him here,” he said.
“With the skills and reputation he has around the club and in the community, we also wanted to look at a career here for him post-football.
“While it’s disappointing for us that he will be retiring and returning home we respect his wishes. He’s a wonderful person to have at the club and we owe him so much for his contribution in all areas both on the field and off it. It’s impossible to say enough about what he has done for us.”
Luck, who has played 144 of his 220 NRL games for the Vodafone Warriors, said the club had done much to transform both his playing career and his life.
“In mid-2005, I was thrown a lifeline to continue playing in the NRL by Ivan Cleary and Kevin Campion, for which I will be forever grateful,” he said.
“For the last six and a half seasons, I have given my heart and soul to this club. In return I have had some of the greatest experiences and memories of my life, and I am absolutely committed to finishing my career on a high by winning the 2012 NRL grand final.
“I will be forever grateful to the game of rugby league. It has provided me with many opportunities, both on and off the field, and I have made many lifelong friends through my involvement in the game. It has been an honour and a privilege to have been able to play in the NRL for 12 seasons.”
Luck said he was grateful to everyone who had assisted him in his journey, particularly the head coaches who had been mentors and friends from Tim Sheens, Murray Hurst and Graham Murray at the Cowboys to Cleary and McClennan at the Vodafone Warriors.
“I am undoubtedly a better player, and more importantly, a better person for the involvement they’ve had in my life,” he said.
“I am both nervous and excited about the next stage of my life, but I have worked hard off the field during my career to ensure I will have no shortage of options in the future. I look forward to my transition from NRL player to whatever I choose to do next.
“Most importantly, I look forward to spending more time with my family, and watching my son (Murphy) growing up.
“I’d like to thank my biggest supporters, my parents and brother. They have been my biggest fans, not only during my football career, but throughout my life. I look forward to the future, where I will attempt to repay the support they have given me over the years.
“Finally, I’d like to thank my wife, ToniLee. She has been my inspiration and guiding light throughout my career. I have learned more from her than anyone else, and would not have achieved what I have without her by my side.”
Scurrah said Luck’s attitude as a player and through his off-field endeavours had created an ideal example for all young footballers.
“He started with the Vodafone Warriors at the same time I came into the club and throughout he has been a wonderful ambassador for us and for the game generally,” he said.
“His commitment to studying at university during his time with us has set him up for life after football and also provided an example for young players coming through our system. The likes of Elijah Taylor and Ben Henry are so fortunate they’ve had him to look up to as a role model.”
Luck was named the club’s Lion Red 2009 Player of the Year and was the back-to-back club person of the year in 2006 and 2007.
Date of Birth: April 21, 1982
Birthplace: Gatton, Queensland
Junior Clubs: Gatton, North Thuringowa
Position: Loose forward
Previous Clubs: North Queensland 2001-2005
Rep Honours: Prime Minister’s XIII 2010, Queensland State of Origin 18th man 2007
NRL Debut: North Queensland v Northern Eagles, Cairns, April 24, 2001 (Round 10)
Club Debut: Vodafone Warriors v Melbourne, Mount Smart Stadium, March 12, 2006 (Round 1)
Club Number: 126
NRL Career: 220 appearances, 2001-2012
North Queensland: 76 appearances, 2001-2005
Vodafone Warriors: 144 appearances, 2006-2012
NRL Points: 48 (12 tries)
North Queensland: 20 (5 tries)
Vodafone Warriors: 28 (7 tries)