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Sport Beloved Raiders star announces retirement

06:40  28 september  2021
06:40  28 september  2021 Source:   wwos.nine.com.au

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Canberra Raiders veteran Sia Soliola has announced his retirement after a stellar 17-year rugby league which saw him rack up 336 first grade matches.

The 35-year-old played 229 of his 336 matches in the NRL, making his debut for the Sydney Roosters in 2005, where he played 92 games, before playing the final seven years of his career in Canberra, where he made 137 appearances.

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In between his two NRL stints, Soliola turned out in 117 matches for St Helens in the UK Super League.

Soliola represented both New Zealand and Samoa at the international level, playing a total of 16 representative matches.

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Soliola retires having played 336 first grade matches, with 137 of those coming in the Raiders' green since 2015 © Getty Soliola retires having played 336 first grade matches, with 137 of those coming in the Raiders' green since 2015

"I'm at ease with everything now," Soliola said in a Raiders statement.

"There's a few mixed emotions, I'm excited and a bit nervous but relieved to make the decision to leave the game which has given me a lot and I'm looking forward to what's ahead."

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Despite his retirement, Soliola will remain at the club in a new role in the club's welfare and education team, a role he commenced in 2021.

After his stint in the Super League, Soliola was recruited back to the NRL by Ricky Stuart, who was his coach at the Roosters, and the star man had an immediate impact.

Soliola is one of the most universally-loved and respect players across the entire NRL © Getty Soliola is one of the most universally-loved and respect players across the entire NRL

He was named the Meninga Medallist in his first season at the club, before playing a key role in deep finals runs over the next few seasons, including a grand final appearance in 2019.

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"When I first came here to this club and Ricky spoke about the vision and what he had regarding the playing group and the club as a whole, that's what really excited me," Soliola said.

"Especially being over at St Helens where I really enjoyed my time over there and everyone notices how the English Super League operates and how the crowds and communities come together and he wanted me to bring that energy and experience that I had over there and bring it to Canberra."

During his stellar career, Soliola became one of the most beloved players in the entire NRL and the league community paid tribute upon his announcement.

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