Luke Lewis has announced he will retire at the end of 2018.
Luke Lewis has announced he will retire at the end of 2018.

Sharks veteran announces shock retirement

CRONULLA Sharks star Luke Lewis has announced that he will retire from the NRL at the end of the 2018 season.

Speaking on NRL360 on Tuesday night, Lewis made the shock announcement that he will call time on his 18 seasons of first grade at the end of the year.

Lewis, who will turn 35 next month, has played 315 NRL games, has scored 119 tries and has won two premierships during his career - one with Penrith in 2003 and most recently with Cronulla in 2016, in which he won the Clive Churchill Medal.

He has also played 17 Origins for New South Wales and 16 Tests for Australia.

Host Paul Kent and fellow guest Josh Reynolds both summed him up as a player that never failed to turn up.

"You turned up," Kent said to Lewis. "Your ability just to get the job done every week I think is testament to you as a player and as a man. There was never a week off."

Lewis explained that the work ethic that made him such a fierce competitor was instilled in him by former Panthers grand final winner Brad Izzard.

"I remember as a young kid Brad Izzard came into the room and said to us, 'You might think you're the most talented player in this room, but I promise you the most talented won't make it, the ones that will make it are the ones that are willing to work hard," Lewis said.

"I never made anything as a kid, I never made schoolboys or any sort of representative side but that was something pretty close to my heart what Brad said.

"He said if you're willing to be out training on Christmas Day and the bloke that's coming up for your position is not you get that little bit of an edge over him and you might get an opportunity.

"So, that's something that I've always done, tried to work as hard as I possibly can to put myself in the best shape I can... and fingers crossed I don't let my teammates down."

Josh Reynolds said it was the man rather than the player that he'll remember most.

"I was lucky enough to play in an Origin series with him and obviously he's done so much in footy but honestly off the field he's just a deadset legend.

"I've never heard, and this is the honest truth, one person say a bad thing about him.

"He was there for me in that Origin time, I was so nervous coming in and he was just like, 'Mate just back yourself, back your ability', and I just know in the next chapter of his life he'll touch people in other ways... I'll remember Lukey Lewis for that plus as an amazing footballer as well."

BURNT ALIVE: A story of faith, family and forgiveness

premium_icon BURNT ALIVE: A story of faith, family and forgiveness

20 years on from the shocking attack on Graham Staines and his boys