Tuiaki forced into retirement

Wests Tigers winger Taniela Tuiaki has announced his retirement from rugby league, after failing to recover from a serious ankle injury.

Tuaiki, 28, had harboured hopes of a comeback from the injury, which he suffered in the final round of the 2009 season against Parramatta.

Despite three operations and lengthy rehabilitation, Tuaki’s injury, which kept him out of the entire 2010 season, has not improved well enough.

“I am very disappointed to finish my career this way. This is a very sad day for me,’’ Tuiaki said.

“When I first suffered the injury, I knew it was bad but I always believed I would return to the playing field for Wests Tigers. I’ve given it my best shot but all the medical advice now confirms that this is not possible.”

The former New Zealand winger scored 42 tries in 78 matches for the Tigers and was named Dally M winger of the year in 2009.

Tuaki’s retirement clears the way for a return to the NRL by former Canterbury winger Matt Utai.

Utai, 29, is currently on trial with the club and has been named in coach Tim Sheens’ side to take on North Queensland in Friday’s trial match.

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