Injured Flannery likely to retire
FORMER Queensland State of Origin player and NRL premiership winner Chris Flannery is set to hang up his boots after 13 years playing at the top level.
The 32-year-old Sunshine Coast product, who is nearing the end of a six-season stint at St Helens, revealed he had considered lacing up for the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles or the Kawana Dolphins next season.
But he said yesterday he would probably retire because of a busted shoulder.
"I spoke to Kawana and Justin (Veivers) also asked me about having a run with the Sea Eagles and I was definitely thinking about both of them but I've decided against it at this stage," he said.
"I would've loved to have had a run with the Kawana boys next year, as I've still got a few good mates in the team, but I've had a couple of operations on one of my shoulders and it's still playing up now, so I don't think I can risk doing any more damage to it."
Flannery played for Kawana as a junior before being recruited by the Sydney Roosters in 2000.
He notched 126 appearances for the Bondi club over seven years and featured in three NRL grand finals, including a 30-8 triumph over the Warriors in 2002.
Flannery linked with St Helens in 2007 and played in four grand finals for that club.
Now, the versatile 186cm, 100kg back-rower/utility back is poised to return to Australia.
Kawana coach Rob Brough said Flannery had a passion for the Sunshine Coast Gympie Rugby League club and said he had been planning to play his final season there, until injury struck.
"Chris had always said that when he finished his footy he would come back and play with Kawana and that he wouldn't play anywhere else, because this is where his mates are," Brough said.
"He is one of those blokes who never forgets where he came from.
"He's always messaging myself and Paul (Cohen) and Stu (Watt) and checking how we're going.
"On grand final day he messaged me two or three times to remind us to start fast."
Club president Greg Ingram said Flannery had indicated his intention to play with the Dolphins almost a year ago.
"He came and trained with us in the pre-season before he went back to England. He said this was definitely his last year in England and if he could still play the following season he'd play with us."
Meanwhile, there is some speculation that another Sunshine Coast product, Casey McGuire, could return to his roots.
Ball-player McGuire, 32, is off contract after playing for the Parramatta Eels this year.