Nathan Friend to hang up the boots at season’s end

Gold Coast Titans co-captain Nathan Friend has announced this NRL season will be his last.

The 35-year-old took to social media on Tuesday morning to confirm the news, which is said to have been sparked by a desire to spend more time with family.

“I want to take this opportunity to announce my retirement at the end of the 2016 season, from the game I’ve loved ever since my first encounter as a 5 year old,” Friend said in a post.


“Thanks to everyone that has had a hand in my career I’m forever grateful for the support & guidance I’ve received.

“It’s now time to give back to my beautiful wife that has sacrificed so much of her life to support me on my endeavors whilst producing 2 wonderful children.

“I look forward to the next chapter of parental duties on weekends & being around family & loved ones once again.”

Titans head coach Neil Henry today paid tribute to Friend’s positive influence since returning to the club last November.

“It’s been great to be able to see him come back and finish at the club where he was a foundation player and played 100 games previously,” he said in a statement.

“He has been a key component of rebuilding the club and a great example to every young player coming through by being a thorough professional in all that he does.

“He’s not a big man in a tough sport and the fact he has played 235 games at NRL level is a tribute to him, his preparation and leadership and we all know that will continue until the end of the season.”

Friend says he is determined to finish the season by leading the Titans to the finals, after being a key player in their only two previous finals campaigns in 2009-10.

“That would be great,” he said.

“But there is a lot to be done before that might eventuate and I just want to work as hard as I can for the team and enjoy every moment I can until whenever my last game might be.”