#ORIGIN | Rick's weekly column looks at whether the dead rubber's worth the hassle - and if it is, w...
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Australian prop Robbie Kearns has revealed he is likely to quit representative league at the end of the Kangaroo tour as father time and an emerging group of front row stars push him for his test spot.
The 31-year-old Kearns played all three State of Origin games this year and was named as Darren Lockyer's deputy on what's certain to be his last Kangaroo tour, with his experience and uncompromising outlook considered vital ingredients.
"I have given it some thought," he said.
"This will most probably be my swansong. I have to get back and have a good think about it but there's too many good young guys coming through now to hold them back.
"You look at the guys we have on tour now, Villa (Villasanti) and Joely (Clinton) and the list goes on."There's too many guys."
The Melbourne forward endured a disappointing 2002, dogged by injury and his well-publicised problems at club level where he was stripped of the Storm captaincy.
He bounced back this year with one of the most consistent seasons in his 10 year-long first grade career, but even Kearns admits he may have struggled to play in the Ashes series if everyone had been fit and available.
"I'm not bagging myself but the reality is without those guys I most probably wouldn't have been here, Ryles, Bailey, (Mark) O'Meley is back at home, (Luke) Davico who was pretty close to the mark and Ryan O'Hara," he said.
"There's a lot of good front rowers and I've had a good day in the sun with it.
"I have been representing since 1997.
"In a sense I'm most probably lucky to be here."
So if this is to be his last series in an Australian jersey, how would Kearns like to be remembered?
"The same way everyone has looked at me throughout my career, just a bloke who got through his work and didn't cop too many accolades or pats on the back," he said.
"That's fine. I can live with that. At the end of the day I have to be happy with what I have achieved in the game and I know both myself and my family are pretty happy with what I achieved.
"I haven't been blessed with a physique of a Jason Ryles and the speed of another front rower. If I can be remembered as someone who had a dig and had a go I'll be happy with that."