WARRIORS prop Paul Prescott has been forced to retire due to injury, aged just 27.
The Ireland international – who has figured just once this season due to a back problem - broke the news to team-mates yesterday.Prescott admits he made the decision with a heavy heart after consulting some of the best surgeons in the country.
He said: “I leave the game with an enormous amount of pride at representing the club I supported since the age of five, for over 10 seasons, and the invaluable memories and winners medals from the 2010 Grand Final and 2011 Challenge Cup.
“Although it is disappointing to no longer be able to help my team mates on the pitch, I thank them for the memories, experiences and friendships. I will now be giving my support as a fan to a special and highly talented group of players for continued and increased success.”
He hangs up his boots with 145 appearances for his hometown club since debuting in 2004. He has also represented Ireland, and was drafted into England’s elite training squad before his setbacks.
“This injury has been a persistent problem since its initial diagnosis in 2008 and the constant rehabilitation, treatment and maintenance a daily battle,” he continued.
“Unfortunately, after countless injections and two lots of surgery, the most recent in March of this year, the specialists have advised me that this can no longer continue.”
He thanked his partner, family and Wigan staff for their support.
Warriors rugby manager Kris Radlinski – a former team-mate – reckons he will go on to be a huge success in a new career. Prescott has a law degree, and has not ruled out further study.
“It was a sad day when Paul sat down with Shaun and myself to deliver his news,” said Radlinski.
“It is a day that is inevitable for every sportsman but nothing ever prepares you. We have known that Prek has been in discomfort for some time now and believe he has made the right decision for his future. It is up to us now to support him through this difficult period.
“One of my favourite memories in recent years was seeing Prek and his great friend Joel Tomkins sharing a beer after winning the Challenge Cup in 2011 having both realised their boyhood dreams. “His presence around the club will be missed but I am confident that his career after the game will be a special one.”
Prescott debuted against Castleford in July 2004 and went on to establish himself as a regular in the Wigan team during a transitional period for the club. A whole-hearted forward, he earned a starting squad number and coach Shaun Wane saluted his contribution in making the Warriors a Super League force.
“Paul has been a model professional and is also a great person and he will be missed on the field by everyone who has played with or against him,” he said.
“I have seen Paul come through our Under 18s and Under 21s to become a regular in the Wigan first team squad, and he must feel extremely proud to have represented the club for over ten years. I am certain he will go on to be a huge success in whatever he decides the future holds for him and I wish him all the very best.“