The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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At 2pm today, Dragons Leagues Club CEO, Peter Doust issued a press statement and this was transmitted via media release:
4 June 2002 Media Release
BLACKLOCK RELEASED FROM DRAGONS? CONTRACT
St George Illawarra Dragons, Chief Executive Officer, Peter Doust, today confirmed that the Club had granted a release to long-serving winger, Nathan Blacklock, effective immediately.
Mr Doust said "I can confirm that Nathan Blacklock has requested a release from his contract with the Dragons as he believes Rugby League does not provide the challenges for him as it has done in the past."
"Nathan has enjoyed his time at the Dragons and appreciates the support he has received from the Club and his teammates."
"Nathan has advised the Club he needs to seek out new challenges and has assured us that he will not be playing for any Club against the Dragons in the future."
"Nathan has asked me to thank all of his fans for their unrivalled support and he recognises that without them he would not be the person he is today."
"Nathan will continue to undertake his outstanding work in schools and the community in the future."
"I believe this is a sad day for both Rugby League and the Dragons as we all remember the excitement that Nathan has brought to the game and its many supporters. However, the Club respects Nathan?s personal decisions and we ask all supporters to join in wishing him well for the future".
Nathan Blacklock's retirement today should come as no surprise. He has afterall being going through some hard times both on the personal front and on the field. Its none of our business that he lost his father and family in one year and it wasn't his fault that he was playing injured. As fans, we selfishly tried to ignore this but as time wore on, it had become evident that all was not well. On May 5th (round 8), after scoring his 100th career try, the leading try scorer for the past three seasons went down in the 71st minute of a Saints v Manly match after falling awkwardly in tackle. This caused a painful knee strain and Nathan was stretched off. The injury saw Nathan Blacklock miss his first game in over four years of top level Rugby League. It was an extraordinary effort to see him back after just two matches on the sideline. He put in a top effort against the Broncos in round 11 but last week against the Cowboys, he looked lost at sea. Having said this, we had hoped that Tingha had turned the corner and we'd soon be seeing back on the top of the try scorer's list where he belonged. But things haven't been well with Nathan for some time and like I said, it shouldn't come as no surprise to see him head home. But the fact is, it does come as a surprise. A great many Dragons' supporters will be stunned tonight. Like vultures over a carcass, some will relish and savor this moment. But thankfully, the majority will remember Nathan Blacklock for his efforts on the field and for his tremendous efforts in the rural community of Tingha where he will no doubt continue to be a great inspiration to the youngsters who look up to him. Nathan Blacklock ? NRL/First Grade Career Stats
Career Matches: 117 (89 StGeorge/Illawarra)
StGeorge/Illawarra: 1997 - 2002
Tries: 100, Goals: 14
Career Points: 428
Rep Honours: Sydney Under 19?s Junior Kangaroo 1995 Country Origin 2001 Kangaroo Tour 2001 (2 tests)
Competition's top try scorer: 1999, 2000, 2001. Good luck mate.