NRL legend Andrew Fifita has chosen to retire from the sport after discovering his body was so broken down that he required seven different surgeries.
The Sharks legend was already set to leave the club at the end of the 2022 season, however, had initially pledged to play on after his best season at Cronulla since 2018.
He had interest from the likes of the Bulldogs and Sea Eagles, but a post-season medical has made him reevaluate his decision.
He told Sharks Media: “I have made the hard decision to announce my retirement from the NRL.
“I am extremely grateful for all the milestones and memories I have made at the Sharks.
“I can retire knowing I’ve fulfilled everything I had dreamed of achieving.
“Thank you to the Cronulla Sharks and to all of the members and fans for sticking with me and celebrating all of the highs I have experienced in my career.”
Fifita had been keen to lead the forward pack of another team in 2023 having spoken to the likes of former Manly coach Des Hasler and Canterbury coach Cameron Ciraldo.
However, his medical upon departing Sharks suggested he need seven operations.
He told The Daily Telegraph: “What killed me was the medicals. When you’re leaving a club you have an exit medical which analyses your body. The doc sat me down and ran me through it all.’’
Upon a meeting with Sharks doctor George Pitsis, the 33-year-old was convinced it was time to hang up the boots.
He said: “The MRI scans showed that I could keep playing, but I would need to push through a fair few things that my body needs work on.
“I need osteotomy surgery on my left knee, that’s when they actually cut the bone and add tissue to realign your bones.
“I need my left ankle surgically straightened, I need a right shoulder reconstruction, my nose bone is collapsing, so I need a nose reconstruction.
“I need my middle finger fused, a right elbow arthroscopy and I’ve lost all my back teeth, so I need dental surgery and teeth implants.’’
Absolutely wild that Fifita had been playing through all of that.
Fifita has certainly fought through adversity before.
He will go down as one of the toughest players to grace the league after he returned from a lung injury that saw him placed in a coma in 2021.
He finishes his NRL career on a high having led the Cronulla side to finish second on the ladder with his final game in the elimination final loss to South Sydney.
Featured Image Credit: NRL/Supplied.
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