Ballin announces retirement from rugby league

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Wests Tigers veteran Matt Ballin announced his retirement from rugby league on Monday.

Ballin, 33, played 220 NRL games after making his debut with the Manly Sea Eagles in 2007.

The hooker won two premierships with the Sea Eagles and played for Queensland in State of Origin in 2010 before joining the Tigers in 2016.

Injuries limited Ballin to just three games for the Tigers, leading to his decision to call it quits.

"I never thought I'd play in the NRL, I never thought I'd accomplish that," he said.

"To do that at the Sea Eagles was one of the first steps in a long career that I've been very lucky to have. Just playing first-grade was a massive accomplishment for me and something I'd always wanted to do since I was a young kid.

"Being successful and making the friendships I did at Manly was great, but coming to Wests Tigers for the past two years has also been incredibly rewarding.

"I haven't played much footy, but I've met some great people and been able to help off the field, which I hadn't been able to do as much before.

"It's been a bit of an evolution for me, going from a young guy who just wants to play footy to winning competitions to now getting to the end of it and being able to help the next generation come through.

"My Mum and Dad, and my two brothers have been amazing. The support and love and care they gave me growing up and all the way through to the end of my career has been fantastic as well.

"The ones that are close to you, particularly my wife Shannon and my kids, I can't thank them enough. They see the ups and the downs and yet they support you all the way through, I couldn't say anything but I love them and I'm very thankful for their support."