Cronulla winger Beau Ryan, who lives on the South Coast, has announced his retirement, effective immediately, due to an ongoing neck injury.
Ryan, 29, broke the news to his Cronulla team mates and the club earlier in the evening before announcing it on The Footy Show, where he has been a guest panellist for the past five years.
He has carved a reputation in recent years as one of the NRL's brightest off-field talents with his quick wit and many comedic personas.
The 29-year-old has been laid low by the neck injury for much of this season
"I've made my decision to retire, effective immediately," he said.
"I would love to play rugby league forever but with the seriousness of my injury and the risk of further injury I have decided to put my family first and retire.
"At the same time I am excited to still be involved in the rugby league community and thrilled to be part of the special Channel 9 family."
Nine Entertainment Co. CEO, David Gyngell, said: “It’s a case of one door closing and another opening wider. Beau has been a terrific player and a great team man, and coupled with his unique humour and sheer on-air talent they’re the very qualities which have made him such a success on the Footy Show.
Footy Show Executive Producer, Glenn Pallister, said: “Beau is an integral part of the fabric of what The Footy Show has become. His humour and warmth appeals to kids, women and men of all ages, and his infectious energy and razor-sharp wit makes him one of the most exciting footy players to ever step into the media. Above all that, he’s a sensational bloke
“It’s upwards and onwards from here, and we’re thrilled to have him on board full time at Nine.”
The former Wests Tigers utility back's last match was at Remondis Stadium a fortnight ago against his former club.
The Illawarra Steelers junior played 126 NRL matches since making his debut in 2007.
He was a part of the Tigers team which finished one game short of the 2010 grand final, beaten by a point by eventual premiers St George Illawarra.
Ryan, who grew up in Albion Park, now lives on the NSW South Coast with his 18-month-old daughter Remi and wife Kara.