Leeds Rhinos captain Stevie Ward has announced his retirement from the sport due aged just 27.
Ward played only one game last season for the Rhinos as he dealt with concussion symptoms. He was out of contract with Leeds at the end of 2020.
Ward made his Leeds debut as a teenager back in 2012, featuring in a Challenge Cup Final at Wembley in his first season. He was part of the Leeds team that won the Grand Final that year.
He won the Challenge Cup in 2015, adding League Leaders Shield honours later that year. However, a knee injury kept him out of the Treble winning Grand Final at Old Trafford.
Ultimately, he added a second Grand Final winners ring in 2017 with a heroic performance. In total, he made 136 appearances for the club, scoring 23 tries.
Head Coach Richard Agar said:, “It is always disappointing when any player is forced to retire from the game prematurely due to injury but especially so when it is someone with so much talent and potential as Stevie Ward.
“On a personal level, when I became Head Coach back in 2018, Stevie was one of the senior players who was a catalyst for change and getting the club back to our core values.”
Director of Rugby Kevin Sinfield added: “On behalf of everyone at the Rhinos, we would like to thank Stevie for his contribution to the club throughout his career.
“Having come through our Academy ranks he has gone to be a Challenge Cup and Grand Final winner. I had the pleasure of playing alongside him and we wish him all the best for the future.”