Decorated National Rugby League prop and North Queensland Toyota Cowboys premiership winner Ben Hannant has called time on a storied career, announcing his retirement from the game, effective immediately.
The 31-year-old forward – who has played 52 games for the Cowboys over the past two seasons – said injuries and medical advice prompted him to call time on his playing days, a decision he didn’t make lightly.
The veteran prop said it became evident after recent knee surgery that the best decision for his family and his body was to retire.
“After my latest surgery, I was spending a lot of time wondering if I could go around for another year rather than knowing that I could, and that was a big thing for me,” Hannant said.
“I’ve always given 100% and I didn’t want to let my team-mates down during the season.
“Also, family considerations were a big part of the decision. I want to be running around with my kids as they grow up.
“My family and I have absolutely loved my time here in Townsville with the Cowboys.
"The home crowds are simply brilliant and I will always remember that special feeling of greeting the fans and members after a win at home.
“Nothing topped that and the fact the Cowboys are such a family-orientated club made it a special place to play.”
A decorated front-rower with vast experience before his arrival at the Cowboys, Hannant has played 245 NRL matches over 12 seasons, represented Queensland in State of Origin 12 times and the Australian Kangaroos on six occasions.
He has won premierships with two clubs: the Cowboys in 2015 and Broncos in 2006.
Cowboys General Manager – Football Peter Parr said Hannant’s contribution to the club under head coach Paul Green was significant.
"Ben came to us as a proven top-level player and in his two seasons here, he only strengthened his resume,” Parr said.
“He played tough, gave 100 per cent every time he pulled on the Cowboys jersey and helped the club win its maiden premiership.
“We wish him and his family all the best in the future.”
Hannant will return to his home town of the Gold Coast and will pursue some opportunities in radio, while also looking at staying involved in the game.
“The door has not completely closed on footy for me. Whether it’s in the media or coaching, I’ll definitely be involved in the game in some form,” he said.