Former Wests Tiger and Cronulla Shark back Beau Ryan has retired from rugby league overnight. The twenty-nine year old has battled a neck injury over the last year. His future was up in the air before the start of the 2014 season, with reports that Ryan decided to play on with the Sharks in the event that the club was depleted because of the ongoing ASADA investigations.
Ryan never represented his state and it could be argued his off-field work with the NRL Footy Show overshadowed his ability to contribute on the field. He scored 53 tries in 124 appearances during eight season in the National Rugby League. Despite this record, Ryan never scored a hat-trick at the top level.
His exit from the Sharks allows the club to find a replacement before the June 30 deadline.
Official Cronulla Sharks statement
The Sharks confirm that Beau Ryan has retired from the NRL, effective immediately.
Battling a neck injury, one which required off-season surgery and has limited him to just two games in the current NRL season, Ryan discussed his future at length with family, friends, teammates and Sharks management before making the difficult decision and subsequent announcement on the Channel 9 Footy Show earlier tonight.
He attended a team dinner earlier in the evening with Sharks football staff and teammates to inform them of his decision.
One of the games most popular players on and off the field, Ryan will be sorely missed at the Sharks, with CEO Steve Noyce, who had a close relationship with Ryan at the Tigers before being reunited at the Cronulla club, sad to see him hang up the boots somewhat prematurely.
“I had the good fortune of knowing Beau from his early days at Wests Tigers, where he came after the Dragons cut him and told him he wouldn’t make first grade,” Noyce began. “Beau then had one of the most amazing off-seasons I have ever seen and his commitment and hard work saw him earn his first grade debut.
“We all see the funny side of Beau however he is a wonderful son, very caring husband and a devoted father. He has realised that family is now his priority and we wish him every success, good health and much happiness in the future.
“While his playing days at our club might be finished I’m sure he will remain a Shark and lead us in many renditions of ‘Up, Up Cronulla for a long while to come,” Noyce added.
Sharks coach Peter Sharp, was another to sing the praises of Ryan as a player and also for the intangibles he brought to the team environment off the field.
“Beau is a massive loss to the club and to rugby league,” Sharp said. “He was a very talented and underrated as a player, knew about football, had a great football brain and could play multiple positions.
“He was great to have around the place, everyone loved him and he made it a happy place to play and train at every day. He will certain be missed.”
While famous for his exploits in the media, primarily on the Footy Show, Ryan carved out a more than respectable NRL career at the Sharks and at the Tigers before that.
A player with boundless energy on and off the field, Ryan played 104 games at the Tigers over six seasons, before transferring to the Cronulla club in 2013. At the Sharks he appeared in 21 matches, crossing for 53 tries during his NRL career.
Ryan will now focus his attention on his expanding media career, with talks also in progress with the Sharks about the prospects of him continuing to assist the club in an ambassadorial capacity.