England forward Chris Heighington to retire at end of season

Drew Darbyshire

England international Chris Heighington will hang up his boots at the end of the campaign.

The 36-year-old has announced that this season will be his last after a 16-year career in the professional game.

Heighington started his career with Wests Tigers in 2003 and went on to play 201 games for the club, scoring 39 tries. He then moved to Cronulla Sharks in 2013 and enjoyed five seasons there, making 116 appearances.

And he will finish his career with Newcastle Knights this year, having played 17 games for the club to date.

Heighington has earned six caps for England and played in their 6-0 World Cup final defeat to Australia last year.

On his decision to retire, he said: “A lot of ex-players told me I would know when it’s time, but I haven’t felt that feeling yet, but I do know the pre-seasons are long and another year is a big ask.

“I want to go out on my terms. I’m still playing injury free and I don’t want to be greedy.

“I could try and continue to play but I risk picking up a bad injury or slipping in form, so I feel it’s my time to move over and let one of the young boys come in.

“When you start playing footy, you dream of playing in the NRL but to win a Premiership is beyond a dream. I got to do that twice [with Wests and Cronulla]. It was pretty special and something I will remember for the rest of my life.”

As well as being an England international, Heighington also represented the Prime Minister’s XIII, NSW Country and NRL All Stars.