Wallaroos captain Shannon Parry calls time on career

William Ton |

Queensland and Australia star Shannon Parry will play her last match on Saturday.
Queensland and Australia star Shannon Parry will play her last match on Saturday.

Rugby trailblazer Shannon Parry will retire after Saturday’s Test against Fiji, bringing to a close a glittering career.

Parry, who has left an indelible mark on rugby including 24 caps for the Wallaroos, made the announcement on Monday.

“For me it’s giving back to the sport that’s given me so much, but the time’s right to hang the boots,” she said.

“I think I’ve done my job in putting on the jersey and returning it in a better place and hopefully I’ve been able to contribute to the lasting legacy of the Wallaroos.”

Parry made history by co-captaining the Australian team to the inaugural sevens gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, while she also shared the leadership role at the Tokyo games. 

Success continued on home soil when she added a silver medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

“I’m only getting older and people are getting younger,” Parry said of her decision to bow out.

“For me the body’s had enough. Mentally, it’s still going but the body is starting to struggle.”

The 33-year-old led the Wallaroos at last year’s Rugby World Cup – her fourth tournament appearance and third as captain after making her international debut against Wales at the 2010 edition in England.

The Wallaroos flanker also captained Queensland in the Super W competition, with the Reds reaching the grand final this year.

Parry looked back on seeing the competition evolve from amateur to professional.

“You’re seeing a lot of changes around clubs making more socially acceptable change rooms and venues,” she said. 

“That’s just the change of society really starting to accept that women can play male-dominated sports. When I started it wasn’t like that at all. It was very different.

“It just shows the investment in the game, and the future – there is no ceiling there.”

Parry will face off against Fijiana in her swansong Test at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium on Saturday.

“There’s no doubt there’ll be tears but it’s been a crazy ride, but it’s been an enjoyable one,” she said.

The rugby champion won’t disappear from the game entirely, however.

She will take on the position of national emerging sevens coach for Rugby Australia, and will lead a contingent to the Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago in August.

Wallaroos head coach Jay Tregonning paid tribute to the legacy players like Parry have left for the sport.

“It wasn’t till after the success in 2016 that I started having a lot more girls (signing up),” he said.

“Shannon being a leader in that environment has changed the lives of a lot of girls who are now comfortable playing a sport that they love.”

Rugby Australia boss Andy Marinos said Parry’s achievements should be celebrated.

“Shannon’s impact as both a player and a leader has been profound, and her commitment to the game has been exemplary,” Marinos said.