Castleford Tigers ace Kenny Edwards makes surprise decision to retire: ‘Now is the perfect time to move on’

Ben Olawumi
Kenny Edwards

Kenny Edwards will retire and return to Australia - Alamy

Castleford Tigers have tonight confirmed that Kenny Edwards is to retire and head home to Australia despite being in the first 12 months of a three-year deal.

Edwards, 34, joined the Tigers on loan for the 2022 season before penning a contract ahead of this campaign which should have seen him remain at the Jungle until the end of 2025.

Earlier in the year, reports started to emerge that the New-Zealand born second-rower had requested a release from his contract.

And ahead of Cas’ final game of the season at Leeds Rhinos on Friday night, the club have tonight confirmed his decision to hang up his boots and head home.

Kenny Edwards explains decision to hang up the boots with two years left on contract at Castleford

In a statement on the Tigers’ website, Edwards admitted he should never have put pen to paper on a new deal last year. He’s made 24 appearances in 2023, including one in Round 1 against Hull FC.

Referencing a more recent game against FC which saw the Tigers take a huge step towards safety, and explaining his decision, the forward said: “It’s been in the offing for 12 months, probably last year I was thinking about it.

“I’ve enjoyed my time here so much so I put it to the back of my mind and signed the contract. It’s probably a year further on than I thought I’d retire.

“My body is breaking down a bit too, so now is the perfect time to move on. The club have got a young crop of players coming through next year, so it’s time for me to move on.

“The Cas fans have been awesome. Particularly last year they were screaming at me to sign the contract. They’re a passionate set of fans and I know this season hasn’t gone as planned but, they’ve stuck with us.

“The Hull FC game was probably the most vocal I’ve been a part of. There’s a lot of good things to be excited about next year moving forward.”

Veteran forward looking forward to Australia return

Edwards made his NRL debut with Parramatta Eels back in 2013, and would remain with them until May 2018, when after some off-the-field issues he moved to Super League with Catalans Dragons.

He won the Challenge Cup with Catalans, their first-ever major trophy, in 2018 with a Wembley victory against Warrington Wolves in the final before heading to Huddersfield ahead of the 2020 season.

And after also twice representing the Combined Nations All Stars against England, having spent four years in this country, he’s now ready to return down under.

The 34-year-old revealed his plans for the future, adding: “More than anything, I just want to take my kids home. They’re missing Australia and they’ve been a big influence. They’ve been wanting to go home now for a couple of years.

“I’ve got a new opportunity in the next phase of my life so that’s another big reason. I work in wellness and mental health in Australia, so through contacts I’ve made along the way, I’ve got a job waiting for me.

“I’ll get my qualifications and the transition into the next phase of my life, and it’ll be a smooth one.”

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