Sam Thaiday (top left) is to quit the NRL next season. He is pictured at the launch of the NRL finals series with representatives from the other finals teams.
Sam Thaiday (top left) is to quit the NRL next season. He is pictured at the launch of the NRL finals series with representatives from the other finals teams. DEAN LEWINS

Thaiday set to call it a day at end of 2018

SAM Thaiday is aiming to finish his career as the Broncos third one-club triple centurion after confirming he will retire at the end of 2018.

Thaiday has already been told by coach Wayne Bennett that his contract at Red Hill won't be renewed beyond next season, and the 32-year-old has now ruled out seeking one final deal at a rival club.

Instead the club favourite and former skipper will push towards 300 NRL games in a swan song campaign next year, and will finish as Brisbane's third most capped player behind long time teammates Darren Lockyer (355 games) and Corey Parker (347).

On the eve of his 12th finals series Thaiday is preparing to trot out for his 277th game in maroon and gold, and is already eyeing an off-field role with the only club he has ever known.

Asked what had convinced him to hang up the boots after a glittering club career that has also included 29 Origins for Queensland and 34 Tests for Australia, Thaiday pointed to his post-game recovery struggles after 16 years at the top.

"I've got three steps out of my bedroom into the main living area and I struggle to get up those so I thought I was done," Thaiday said.

"It does become harder to get back to training on Monday every week after playing.

"I've had a fantastic career so I'm happy to finish my contract at the Broncos and I've got things in place already that I want to transition into after footy.

"So I'm looking forward to what's going to come next."

Thaiday is one of few players who fits the stringent criteria for an NRL testimonial similar to those planned for fellow Maroons champions Johnathan Thurston and Cameron Smith.

But beyond "helping out with the school fees coming up", Thaiday says he isn't fussed by any significant send-off plans.

Of more pressing concern for Thaiday is Brisbane's No.1 jumper in Friday's away final against the Roosters.

With captain Darius Boyd officially ruling himself out of the clash due to his recurring hamstring issue, the Broncos will field a makeshift spine of Kodi Nikorima at fullback and Benji Marshall in the halves.

Thaiday is backing the same depth that will see him slot into the front-row in place of Korbin Sims (broken arm) to hold Brisbane in good stead.

"There are a few injuries there, but we've got some good depth there," Thaiday said.

"We've got a great senior player in Benji Marshall there that can fill in in the halves with Kodi playing fullback.

"I think Ben Hunt's been playing some outstanding football at No.9 and really came into his own against the Cowboys.

"I fill that role in the front-row with Korbin being out. The beauty of the situation we have at the Broncos at the moment is we have great depth and can fill those voids."

News Corp Australia


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