Young Hull KR player forced to retire

James Gordon

Hull KR centre or back-rower Joe Wardill has announced his retirement from rugby league at the age of just 21.

Wardill, who made 17 first team appearances after making his debut in 2016, has struggled with numerous hip injuries over the past three seasons and has now made the tough decision to call it a day.

He said: “I want to thank everyone at the club for their support over the course of the last three years.

“Mentally, the challenges have been tough to overcome and it has been stressful. I’ve had surgery on my right hip three times in the last two-and-a-half years and it was my own decision to call it a day in terms of playing professional rugby league again.

“Even though I’d had a number of operations, the club were fantastic in giving me a three-year deal to try and get myself fit again, but it wasn’t to be unfortunately.

“I’ve lived the dream albeit for such a short time. To play for Rovers was a huge achievement for me, coming through the academy and playing a good number of games was fantastic.

“I’ve won a derby, travelled to France, Australia and Canada playing this great game.

“I’d like to say a huge thanks to the supporters who have constantly had my back over the last few years.”

Wardill will still be around at KCOM Craven Park, becoming assistant coach of the club’s newly-formed women’s team, as well as working with the under-16s girls side.

Head coach Tim Sheens said: “It’s a shame for such a young talented lad, he’s such a great kid too.

“Joe has had a nightmare of a run through injuries. It just shows how vulnerable you can be in sport.

“He’s one of our own, he came right through our academy, and I’m so disappointed for him and his family. From the staff and the players, we wish him all the best for the future, and Joe will always be welcome back at KCOM Craven Park.”