Ex-NRL, Super League, State of Origin veteran makes retirement u-turn as he finds new club Down Under

Ben Olawumi
Chris McQueen Huddersfield Giants Alamy

Ex-Huddersfield Giants veteran, former NRL Grand Final winner Chris McQueen, has made a u-turn on his retirement plans to link up with Queensland Cup outfit Brisbane Tigers Down Under.

The 36-year-old departed Huddersfield at the end of the 2023 campaign, announcing that he would be hanging up his boots after four years with the Giants which saw him make 83 appearances, including one in the 2022 Challenge Cup Final, winning the Lance Todd Trophy with a man of the match showing in defeat against Wigan Warriors.

Earlier this month, Kingaroy native McQueen featured in the Las Vegas Rugby League Nines competition for the Brooklyn Kings.

And now, the one-time England international has penned a one-year deal to feature in the NRL’s reserve grade for 2024, insisting he ‘wanted to give something back’ in helping bring through some young talent.

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Ex-NRL, Super League, State of Origin veteran Chris McQueen makes retirement u-turn as he finds new club in Queensland Cup Down Under

Speaking to Brisbane Tigers’ club website, McQueen – who won the 2014 NRL Grand Final with South Sydney Rabbitohs – referenced his strong relationship with Matt Church as a driving factor in his decision.

Church is the Tigers’ head coach, and led them to Grand Final glory last year, beating Burleigh Bears 22-18 back in September.

McQueen said: “I saw that the boys had great success last year and I know Churchie personally. We played footy together a long time ago, so when I caught up with him and he said he was interested in getting me here, I just really wanted to come and be a part of that success.

“I also want to help with the next generation of hopefully NRL players, to help give back. I’ve been around the game for a long time so as much as I wanted to come and be a part of a successful team, I also wanted to give something back.

“It’s only been a couple of weeks, but I know some of the boys, which has really helped me settle in. I’m still trying to get to know most of the boys, still trying to remember names, still trying to remember plays.

“It is all still very new, but I’ve enjoyed it so far and I am really looking forward to the season.”

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McQueen has praise heaped on him: ‘He will aid our good group of young players and be a great asset to our team and club’

In McQueen, the Tigers recruit a stalwart of the game who has featured for Queensland in State of Origin, as well as appearing for the Prime Minister’s XIII, picking up his one full international cap for England against Samoa in 2017.

The 36-year-old has over 150 NRL appearances to his name too, featuring for both the Gold Coast Titans & Wests Tigers as well as the Rabbitohs, so it’s no surprise that Brisbane Tigers head coach Church is delighted to have him around.

He explained: “A chance golf encounter just past the New Year led to Chris joining us for 2024.

“When someone has the experience of 250 top flight games, is an international player, origin series and NRL premiership winner, you want to tap into that experience.

“He will aid our good group of young players and be a great asset to our team and club. He’s played with several of our players and staff, which will help his entry into the Tiger,  and in a short space of time he has lifted the professionalism around training.”

The club’s Chief Executive Officer, Brian Torpy, also added: “Chris’ knowledge on how to prepare week-in and week-out, as well as his experience in big games, will be of tremendous benefit to the playing group.

“Chris will add steel and grit to our forward pack, I am looking forward to him pulling on the gold and back jersey this season”

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