An ongoing back issue has forced St George Illawarra Dragons centre Dylan Farrell to officially end his rugby league career.
The local Culburra Dolphins junior sustained a complex and ongoing back injury towards the end of the 2015 season and despite intensive rehabilitation has been unable to overcome the ailment.
Farrell, 25, made his first-grade debut for the Rabbitohs during the 2010 season and was named in the National Youth Competition “Team of the Year” for that year.
He joined the Dragons ahead of the 2014 campaign and played 19 first-grade games for the Club during his three year tenure for a total of 89 NRL games overall.
“It is not the way that I would have preferred to bow out but deep down I know it is the best decision for both my family and myself moving forward in the long run,” said Farrell.
“I have enjoyed every minute playing rugby league and wish I could have returned to the field but unfortunately it was not meant to be.”
Farrell has balanced his injury rehabilitation this season by being strongly involved with the Dragons Community department promoting several of their positive programs.
These programs have included both the Club’s ‘Indigenous Advancement’ program, which saw him visit several local neighbourhood centres and primary schools across the state to engage with indigenous youth, as well as the 2016 Dragons Diary ‘Best You Can Be’ program, which promotes positive lifestyles.
Outside of the classroom, Farrell also assisted at numerous gala days promoting rugby league as well as travelling in and around greater-NSW to deliver the Club’s ‘Tackling Domestic Violence’ program to numerous grassroots clubs.
“I am proud to have been involved in so many positive programs promoting healthy living to children of all ages across the state in my role this season working with the Dragons Community department,” said Farrell.
“It was a healthy distraction from my back issues and helped put a lot of things in perspective for me as a person.
“I am honoured to have been able to play alongside some great players and have made many valuable friendships and memories along the way.
“I would like to thank all the coaches and support staff who I have been under for helping me grow as a player and to them all I am forever grateful.
“I look forward now to the next chapter in my life whatever that may be.”
Dragons Head Coach Paul McGregor has praised the Farrell for his contributions both on and off the field for the Club.
“Dylan is a hardworking player who was never afraid to roll-up his sleeves and help get the job done,” said McGregor.
“It is unfortunate that his ongoing battle with injury has gotten the better of him but he is the type of person who will bounce back from this and turn it into a positive for the rest of his life.
“Everyone at the Dragons wishes him all the very best for his future and we thank him for his services to the Club.”