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Sport NRL star announces shock retirement

23:47  21 january  2021
23:47  21 january  2021 Source:   wwos.nine.com.au

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Bulldogs winger Malakai Watene-Zelezniak has announced his shock retirement from rugby league, following a recent health scare.

The former Panthers and Tigers three-quarter was training with Canterbury during the preseason with the hope of earning a playing contract for 2021. But those hopes have been dashed after the older brother Dallin was admitted to hospital prior to Christmas with acute kidney failure.

In a lengthy Instagram post on Thursday evening, Watene-Zelezniak spoke openly about his decision and thanked his family and teammates for their support.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CKTED9YJWwU/?utm_source=ig_embed&

"Where to begin...after a lot of thinking I have decided to hang the boots up," he said. "I got to fulfil a long life dream of mine to play in the NRL and to do it with my little bro will always be something special. I debuted alongside my bro when it all started and I will retire next to him, I couldn't think of a better ending. "I started training with Bulldogs before Christmas and wow what an awesome club and great squad. The week before Christmas I had a little health scare and was admitted to hospital for acute kidney failure.

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"After 4 days of being in hospital the image of my kids crying as they left me each night worried, stuck with me and gave me a lot of time to think.

"I went back to training as I wanted to focus on the season ahead but unfortunately it ended up with further complications again which made me realise that my health and family is more important which led to this decision.

"I'm so grateful that the watch business is so successful that I can fall back on and transition into it full-time. I'm excited for the next chapter of my life and can't wait to finally give it my full focus.

"I want to thank all the team mates and brothers I have met along the way, you have influenced and shaped a part of who I am today and I'll always be thankful for it."

The 29-year old played 31 NRL games across stints with the two clubs.

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