Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
2 days ago
St George Illawarra Dragons halfback Nathan Fien announced on Thursday his decision to retire from first-grade rugby league at the end of this season.
Fien, 34, has chosen to continue his involvement in rugby league through a Captain Coach role with the Thirroul Butchers in the local Illawarra Coal League next season as well as continuing to develop his financial servicing business and expertise.
"I feel really fortunate to have had the career and opportunities that rugby league has presented me with," said Fien.
"I am extremely grateful to everyone who has helped me along the way, from the start that the Cowboys gave me, the opportunity to cement a place in first grade at the Warriors and the opportunity be a part of the famous Dragons Red V and win a Premiership.
"Whilst I believe that I could have played on at the NRL level, the timing is right for me to step back from the NRL.
"The Dragons have recruited really well for next season, they are in good shape and I am really pleased to be able to stay involved in the game I love and the area through the Thirroul Butchers."
Fien indicated that the decision to retire from the NRL was tough but made easier by the fact that he has been preparing for life after football for some time and had a few options.
"It is a bit sad that it is all drawing to an end but I have been preparing for life after footy for a while now," said Fien.
"I started my invoice financing business FIFO Capital 18 months ago and I am completing a Diploma of Mortgage Broking through the mentorship of Corporate Finance Group in Wollongong.
"I will be able to continue to build and work on these two businesses and I am excited about this.
"The opportunity with Thirroul means that I can continue my association with rugby league and also give back to the sport with the hope of also maintaining a close association with the Dragons.
"I always thought that I would like to get into coaching one day so this is a great start and it will also enable me to work outside of rugby league as well."
The versatile play-maker joined the Dragons ranks midway through the 2009 campaign and made his Club debut that season in round 18 against the Manly-Sea Eagles at WIN Stadium, Wollongong.
The 2012 NRL All-Star representative has won many honours over his 14-season career including a Premiership (2010) and World Club Challenge (2011) with the Dragons.
Furthermore, Fien has been capped on 22 occasions for the New Zealand Kiwis and won both the World Cup (2008) and Four Nations (2010) with his country as well as representing the Queensland Maroons at State of Origin level (2001).