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Tongue to retire at end of 2011
Canberra Raiders Captain Alan Tongue has announced his retirement from Rugby League this afternoon, at a Press Conference at Canberra Stadium.
Alan arrived in Canberra from Tamworth at the end of 1998 on a Scholarship with the Raiders after attending Farrer Agricultural High School where he played his junior rugby league.
He made his first grade debut in 2000 against the Brisbane Broncos at ANZ Stadium in Brisbane, a game and went on to win the Raiders rookie of the year award that season.
He's since gone on to play 217 NRL games with the Raiders and will line up for his 218th match this weekend against the Titans.
Alan picked up the Raiders Player of the year award in 2006 and in 2008 walked away with the Dally M Awards for Lock of the year and Captain of the year.
He's represented Country Origin in 2009 and the Prime Minister's XIII in 2008.
He was named Captain of the Raiders at the beginning of the 2007 season and has been at the helm for the past five years.
Off the field Alan has spent countless hours in the community and has helped and touched hundreds of people with his kind heartedness and fantastic spirit for life.
An outstanding leader Alan will be missed by the club in his retirement, but is always welcome at Raiders HQ or here at Canberra Stadium.
A true clubman Alan is one of the few remaining one club players and will be remembered among the Raiders greats.
PLEASE SEE BELOW FOR A FULL TRANSCRIPT OF ALAN'S ANNOUNCEMENT
Thank you, all for being here today. I'm here to announce the toughest decision of my football career, my retirement from rugby league at the end of the 2011 season.
I am particularly grateful to the Canberra Raiders for the opportunity to represent the club for the past 13 years. I am especially thankful for the privilege of captaining the side for the past 5 seasons.
I've always been of the belief that rugby league doesn't owe me anything, it's me that owes the game everything and I still firmly hold this belief as I make this announcement today.
People will ask why have I decided to retire with a year remaining on my contract and I can say with pride that I've given everything I can to the club, my teammates, the raiders jersey and the game. I am at peace with my decision and I know the time has arrived for me to finish my playing career.
Over the past few seasons I've sustained some injuries which have been hard to fully overcome and I know that if I continue to force myself to play with these, I'll be paying for it in the short term by letting down my team mates, but more importantly in the long term by impacting my life after footy.
For me family has always come first and this has been a huge factor in my decision and I am ready to move on to the next part of my life.
I want to thank all of my teammates over the past 13 years for your support and commitment. I've enjoyed being part of a team environment, I've felt it always got the best out of me and I hope I've been able to help other's get the best out of themselves.
There is no doubt I'll miss the day to day interaction with my teammates but I will remain a part of this great club in some capacity.
I've been very fortunate to meet some wonderful sponsors of our club whom I've forged strong relationships with which I know will continue in my life post football. I thank you for all your valued support.
To the Coaching staff, supporters and members of the club thank you for all you have given me over the years.
Finally I would like to thank my family without them there is no doubt none of this would have been possible.