Ryan Bailey aims to become firefighter after announcing retirement

Former England international Ryan Bailey has announced his plans to become a firefighter after announcing his immediate retirement from rugby league.

The eight-time Great Britain and England international has hung up his boots after a 17-year career that saw him make 362 appearances.

Bailey spent 13 years at Leeds Rhinos, Bailey won six Grand Finals, two League Leaders’ Shields, a Challenge Cup and three World Club Challenges.

On retiring from the sport, Bailey said: “I just wanted to retire on my terms.

“I don’t want to carry on playing for the wrong reasons, I’ve had a good career and want to finish with those happy memories, not on a low.

“I set some goals when I was 18 to play five Super League games. I ended up with around 300 and a lot of trophies. I’ve been lucky with injuries and maintained my fitness. Off the pitch, I’ve had ups and downs, but I’ve come through it stronger.

“Playing for Great Britain was probably the biggest one for me, playing the Kiwis and beating the Aussies. I played against and with some great players and made a lot of friends.

“There have been some great coaches as well who have given me a shot and allowed me to prove people wrong. I think I’m proof that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

“I’ve got a family to think about, I’m putting them first now as I start a new chapter.”

After his time at the Rhinos, Bailey enjoyed spells at Hull KR, Castleford Tigers and Warrington Wolves, before ending his career outside of Super League with Toronto Wolfpack, Workington Town and Leigh Centurions.

And he now aims to become a fireman near his home in Lancashire.

Bailey added: “I still feel fresh and that’s why I’m joining the fire service.

“It’s a team environment with a good bond and will help keep my fitness while I’m contributing to the community.

“I start training in March and hopefully get out on the road in June time.”