Reni Maitua has revealed that the opportunity to spend more time with his family was the key reason behind his decision to retire.
The Leigh Centurions forward confirmed on social media this week that he will call time on his career at the end of the season, 12 years after his maiden season when he played for the Canterbury Bulldogs.
34-year-old Maitua went on to have a second spell at the Bulldogs after playing for Cronulla and Parramatta, eventually moving to England last year when he joined Featherstone Rovers.
Maitua was snapped up by Salford for the latter end of the 2015 season before joining the Centurions for 2016.
Although Leigh had an option to extend Maitua’s contract for another season, the club didn’t stand in his way after telling them of his desire to hang up his boots so he could return home to Sydney, where he grew up as a youngster.
“My family came over to visit recently,” he explained to TotalRL.
“I think it was a shock to my dad how far it was to travel, and just having them over here made me realise how much I enjoy spending time with my family.
“My mum and dad aren’t getting any younger and I want to be able to spend as much time as I can with them. We’ve just had two new additions to the family, so it just felt like the perfect time to call time on things and head home after the season.
“Beyond that, my body isn’t recovering as quick as it used to, and it’s probably not responding in the way that I would like it to. I could have probably got another year out of my career, but I don’t want to play for the sake of playing.”
Maitua, however, still has one goal he is determined to accomplish, and that’s to help Leigh back to Super League.
“If I can play a small part in helping Leigh get back into Super League, that would be great.
“I wanted to get it out there that I was retiring for the Super 8s so we could focus on the task in front of us.
“I’ve had a great time since I’ve been here. I had an offer to stay at Salford, but having spoken to Paul Rowley I decided to make the move to Leigh in their quest to make Super League. Everyone knows what happened there, but the club has welcomed me superbly and I’ve met a new fantastic set of teammates who I get on with really well.
“Derek (Beaumont) has treated me really well and the club as a whole has been great to be at.”