Super League icon Pat Richards has confirmed that he will retire at the end of the season
The 34-year-old is in the first season of a two-year deal with Catalans Dragons after returning to Super League from NRL club Wests Tigers but has decided the time is right to end his career.
Richards enjoyed a stellar career with Wigan, where he capped an eight-season spell by being named Man of Steel in 2010, and last weekend kicked four goals to overtake Sean Long in sixth place in the list of all-time leading Super League marksmen with 828.
“I’ve decided to hang the boots up,” Richards said. “I spoke to the team this morning and told them of my decision and they were very supportive. “I’m not getting any younger and I feel it’s the right time to move into the next phase of my career.
“It’s something I’ve thought about for a while. I’ve been very fortunate enough to play a long career and I know the time is right to finish playing.”
Richards has made 21 appearances for the French club, who remain in a challenging position in Super League despite losing their last five matches in all competitions.
“Now I’ve got this decision out of the way, I’d like to finish the season off as well as possible, now that we are coming into the business end,” said Richards.
“I’d love to stay in the game,” he added. “I’ve been playing since I was 11 and it’s given me so much so I’d love to give something back.
“There might be a role at Wests Tigers. I’d like to do some junior development, maybe or do a bit of coaching.”
Pat Richards’ most memorable career moments
2005 NRL Grand Final: Richards scored one of the most memorable tries in NRL Grand Final history in his final appearance of his first spell at Wests. With maverick half-back Benji Marshall at his imperious best, Richards snatched a marvellous flick pass from the Kiwi superstar to race the remainder of the field and touch down. Wests won the Grand Final.
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September 2007, v Bradford: Trailing 30-6 in the first round of the play-offs to Bradford, it looked like Wigan’s season was coming to an abrupt end. However, Richards played a key part in the greatest comeback in Super League history, eventually kicking the decisive one-pointer as the Warriors incredibly won 31-30.
2010 season: Richards became the first Australian to pass the 1,000 points barrier for the Wigan club during 2010, and finished the year with a whole host of accolades. He would win the 2010 Man of Steel award – the first winger to claim it since Martin Offiah in 1988 – as well as winning the Albert Goldthorpe Medal alongside team-mate Sam Tomkins.
July 2013, v St Helens: As if Richards wasn’t already a Wigan icon, he produced a piece of sheer magic during the 2013 derby against St Helens. With the game tied at 14-14, Richards kicked an outrageous drop goal from the touchline – from over 40 metres out. It remains one of the most stunning one-pointers ever seen.
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