Warriors great Manu Vatuvei has officially called time on his rugby league career.
The 33-year-old has been out of the game since 2017, when an injury cut his time in the English Super League short. Having previously said he wasn't ready to close the door on his career too soon, former NRL star has come to terms with the decision to leave the game behind him.
"Well as you already know that I've been out of the game and talks that I'm retired or going to retire but I wasn't ready to or accept that my time is up and can honestly say it's been the tough and now I'm ready to accept and announce my retirement," he posted on Instagram.
"Haven't got much to say right now but just like to thank everyone that has supported me through my career. To all the fans thank you for always supporting me and all the kind messages over the years I will always remember them and cherish it for the rest of my life. I know I've been one of those player that always have you on the edge of your seat when ever I played or high ball comes my way hahaha but I like to always try put a good performance for you every time I'm out there on the field."
Vatuvei played in 226 NRL games for the Warriors, scoring 152 tries and earning 29 test caps for the Kiwis as well as two test caps for Tonga.
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Well as you already know that I’ve been out of the game and talks that I’m retired or going to retire but I wasn’t ready to or accept that my time is up and can honestly say it’s been the tough and now I’m ready to accept and announce my retirement... . - Haven’t got much to say right now but just like to thank everyone that has supported me through my career.. to all The Fans thank you for always supporting me and all the kind messages over the years I will always remember them and cherish it for the rest of my life.. I know I’ve been one of those player that always have you on the edge of your seat when ever I played or high ball comes my way hahaha but I like to always try put a good performance for you every time I’m out there on the field... . - I’ve been so lucky to play in a few teams from grassroots(Scorpions/OtaBlu,ETMalosi), @nzwarriors , All Stars, @nzrugbyleague , @tonganrl and @salfordreddevilsrlfc l and have met a lot of friends who I can say are my family... to all the sponsors especially @puma @asicsnz @vodafonenz @airnz @bendonman @barkersclothing and many more but to everyone thank you so much cause you all have played a massive part in my career and I am Iublessed and grateful what everything.. . - To my Family and Friends thank you for having my back every time, through my highs and especially my lows when no one was there for me you guys were the ones that will be there and see the true side of me when people use to think I was the happiest person ever cause of my laughter but behind close doors I wasn’t. Without you I wouldn’t be where I am right now and thank you so much for being there for me and my lil family and even thou I’m having a tough time i can always rely on you guys to have my back and always be there for us. . - My long time mate and manager Peter Brown, the help and support that you have done for me and my family especially all the work people don’t see, it has never gone unnoticed and you have played the biggest part in my career getting my contracts sorted and just sorting out my life, so all I could focus on was footy. really appreciate everything you have done for me and especially my family... . - #OUA #lessssssgoooooo
He parted ways with the club in 2017 to take on a deal with Salford in England, but returned to New Zealand after playing just eight games for the club.
Upon his return, he looked to launch a career as a professional boxer, however he revealed to the Herald in June a brain cyst meant he was unable to follow that path.
"[There were] no symptoms, no nothing … They found it then and tried to rule me out of the fight but I went on with it and came out good."
He won his debut by knocking Letele out in the first round of the fight, but other bouts he had lined up were cancelled because of the discovery.
Vatuvei, affectionately known as 'the Beast', recently won the hearts of the country on his way to winning TV contest show Dancing with the Stars.
The offer to participate in the most recent season of Dancing with the Stars opened a new avenue to express himself and exert himself physically. It was something totally new, and he quickly embraced it - going on to win the competition.
"It was a tough challenge for myself and I've enjoyed it," he told the Herald in June.
"I got told I can't do boxing anymore. It's been tough, but then dancing came along and made it feel a little better so I'll just continue with that and see what the future holds for me."