Ben Flower on Wigan Warriors, highlights... and his next step

Ben Flower intends to take a couple of months to plot his next career move after hanging up his boots.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 2:50 pm
Updated Monday, 20th September 2021, 2:52 pm
Ben Flower celebrates with his son after winning the 2017 World Club Challenge

The former Wigan prop, 33, has decided to hang up his boots.

He and his family left the area last Friday to move back to Caerphilly, south Wales.

Flower plans to take a few weeks to weigh up his options and hasn't ruled out a role in professional rugby, in either code.

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During that time, he will no doubt have time to reflect on a career which exceeded all expectations.

"If someone had offered me half of what I achieved, I'd have 100 per cent snatched their hand off," said Flower, who as a promising junior union player, was inspired to start playing league when he went along to watch the 2004 Challenge Cup Final at Cardiff.

"What was great is I did four years at Crusaders, so it proved a really good stepping stone for me to develop.

"When Wigan came in for me, I had options to go to other clubs for more money but I knew Wigan was the best club for me to win things and enjoy success, and that proved to be the case.

"I can't really pick out one highlight, =winning the double was up there, I have to say winning the European Nations with Wales as well was big, but there were so many for so many different reasons.

"To say it's been a blast would be an understatement.

"I'm not sure what's next, I've got a couple of months now to have a think, I've got to decide whether to look at rugby league, rugby union or something else entirely. Another thing I may do is look at property development, but I'll have a good think about it before I decide."

Flower once feared his 2014 Grand Final red card would define his career, but a glittering CV which includes a Challenge Cup, a World Club Challenge and three Grand Finals suggests he will be remembered for much more, certainly by the appreciate Wigan fans.

"Benny is an absolute great bloke, and over a number of years he was the best middle we had," said former team-mate Liam Farrell. "He was a big leader at the club, I'm very fortunate to win trophies with him and I hope he enjoys his retirement because he was one of the best players the club has had in his position."

Flower, wife Laura and their two sons moved back to Wales on Friday but they still have ties to the area - his dad Mike is staying in Wigan.

"It wasn't the plan to go back, it was a really tough decision to make and in the end it came down to family really," said Flower, who left the Warriors last season and spent this year at Leigh.

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"I've had 12 years away, Laura's had 10. We nearly got to a point of saying, 'Let's stay in Wigan', but then we got to the point of thinking we'd missed out on so much, our kids have too, and Laura has a lot of friends down there as well so we decided to move back.

"We loved our time in Wigan and my dad is staying up there. He's also got a place in West Wales, he doesn't mind driving, so he'll be coming down a lot so we'll still see him often... plus, with him being in Wigan it gives us an excuse to go back - and a place to stay!"

Otherwise, Flower will be supporting Wigan from afar - and he had a special thank you message to the supporters.

"I'm 100 per cent a fan now, Wigan are my team," said the 222-game Super League veteran. "I've got mates for life, so many memories, and as I say I achieved far more than I ever thought I would. I want to thank all my team-mates and coaches over the years, and the fans as well - they were always great with me, which we appreciated."